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The Ami Simms Newsletter
May 2001

Hello one and all! We're up to 8,977 subscribers to the newsletter as of this instant and I think we should do something special when we hit 10,000 readers, don't you? Maybe we can all take off work and go see a movie together. Anyone have a more rational suggestion? How about some more delusional suggestions? Any predictions of when we'll hit 10,000 will happen?

As always, please share this entire newsletter with your closest friends, acquaintances, the TV repairperson....

NEW EDITIONS TO WWW.MalleryPress.com
The "What's Up?" section has a new picture now that you've all read about my Palm pilot carry-case fiasco. There's something even more insane up there now.

The "Check This Out!" picture has changed too. Meanwhile, Ellen King had a new twist on using doorstops to tilt sewing machines. She writes: I use a laptop computer pad under my machines. It raises the back, and provides a non-slip surface for the machine. I got a bunch at the dollar store to give as gifts and then realized nobody had a laptop but me who would use them. I've used them for a number of uses, but making the sewing machine more ergonomic has been the best yet. It happened by accident. I meant to use the flat part of the pad to keep my serger from dancing across the table, and I put it down upside down, so that the wrist rest made the entire pad higher in the back. (Good thinking, Ellen!)

The "Show Me Your Stash!" album of embarrassing pictures showing bulging bins of overflowing fabric has also grown. (Have you sent in YOUR photo yet?!) As promised the answer to the foreign language quote on that page is now revealed as promised: Translated it says, "Abandon all hope, ye who enter." It comes from Dante's Inferno---the sign above the gates of Hell.

The newest addition is a section called "Answers To Your Quilting Questions." I wonder what that's about?

Those of you in and about Houston or Galveston come on out and say "Hey!" I'll be with four guilds from May 14-17. Details are at www.MalleryPress.com/teacsched.html

OK, so I don't spell so goodly. You got me. About 8,000 of you. It's OK. I can take it. I'm sure I meant to write STRAW POLL. In any case I was most amused by your comments in the margin and will share with you the top 10 most popular quilters and the 10 most popular designers, but first you have to read Adrian's response to the pole. Er, POLL!

The best quilter I know: You'll never find her name in any fabric or quilt hall of fame and she is remembered now in only a few people's hearts. My grandmother made quilts that were made to be used by grandchildren. Plain blocks that were held together with stitches that came from an old treadle Singer sewing machine. I still remember the sound that old Singer made. Fabrics that have histories before they took their last rest in a quilt. Sisters' dresses, Dad's shirts he wore to work, Gram's old aprons, etc. Quilts that became tents over old hardwood chairs for the grandchildren to play adventures in a make-believe-land; this was long before video games. Quilts that became landscapes for the sick grandchild who had to stay in bed and the materials became fields, forests and mountains. That is what is left by the best quilter I know: Gram. She taught me sewing and hopefully my quilts will create special memories too. I know this won't make it into your list, but I just wanted to share.

Isn't that beautiful? Good job, Adrian.

The top 10 Famous Quilters (in order) are: Alex Anderson, Jinny Beyer, Fons & Porter, Eleanor Burns, Caryl Bryer Fallert, Elly Sienkiewicz, Harriet Hargrave, Georgia Bonesteel, Judy Martin/Nancy Martin (tied), and Carol Doak.

The top 10 Favorite Designers (in order) are: Judy Martin, Jinny Beyer, Caryl Bryer Fallert, Fons & Porter, Katie Pasquini Masopust, Karen Stone, Carol Doak, Ruth McDowell, Nancy Martin, and Pat Campbell.

You've heard of the Computers For Dummies, right? Well this section is called Computers BY A Dummy. Yup, yours truly. I am eminently qualified. My first computer had the word processing program on ONE 6 inch floppy that you had to insert every single time you wanted to write something. Another floppy held the "whatever" you wrote. My first lesson in computer technology was that although the floppies were shaped like coasters you could not set your Coke on them, nor would they survive a trip through the dishwasher.

I have just learned something equally, if not more valuable, and it's so simple I hesitate to share it with you for fear you will ALL know it already and laugh at me. (As if this ever stopped me!) Well, here's what I learned: the secret of life. Or close to it. For all you PC users it's CONTROL + F. The "find" function. Amazing. I have used it for years to look for all sorts of interesting things in my word processing documents. Up pops a window, you type in what you want to find, and like the musical instrument: VIOLA! There it is.

Well, did you know it works on WEB PAGES? No foolin'. So what? Well, imagine you're looking for an "Olfa double bladed stencil cutter." So you go to your favorite search engine. (I like www.google.com because of the cute name.) You type in "Olfa double bladed stencil cutter" and up pops a likely candidate, so you click on it and up comes a ton of other stuff you weren't looking for. Up until last Thursday I patiently waded through all the text, scanning for the tool of my dreams. Well, friends, not any more. I immediately do a CONTROL + F and type in "Olfa double bladed stencil cutter" and up pops the words "Olfa double bladed stencil cutter." I even got a picture too, the first time I tried it. (Go ahead, try it!) What will they think of next!?

Speaking of other wonderful tools, Jeanne sends in this url: Pop it in your browser and it "translates" other web sites into valley girl talk (Gag me with a spoon!) I tried it out on www.MarthaStewart.com and had a good laugh, although normally that website makes me giggle anyway or scream "Get a LIFE!" and the monitor. Enjoy.

Dear Mom,
We have spring, do you? Everything smells terrific and the bugs have come back, and it's sunny and wonderful except that by next week I'll be bald. All my fur is falling out. Every time I shake, I lose some more. I think I will look pretty stupid with just wrinkly skin and no fur, but Miss Ami keeps brushing me anyway and last week she sat me down and took the vacuum to me. Almost lost an ear! No kidding-she's nuts. Whoever heard of vacuuming a dog?! Thankfully she didn't drive the thing over me, she just yanked the hose out and tried to suck my skin into the bag. It's OK, Mom. My skin's still stuck on real good and I have some fur left. (To read the rest of Daisy's letter, please visit www.MalleryPress.com/may2001.html

Thank you to all those who participated, but it was a big dud. (Not YOUR fault, I assure you!)

I had been told that folks were ironing Photos-To-Fabric(r) transfer paper over photo-transfers that had been printed directly on fabric with laser and inkjet printers. Naturally, I wanted to see if it really worked. Sad to say, it doesn't do a thing to keep the ink from washing out. Photos-To-Fabric should only be used as it was originally intended - that is, to make photo-transfers with remarkable clarity and rich permanent color using a COLOR COPY MACHINE. You know, the big $30,000 behemoths you find at large office supply stores. $.99 a copy and all that. Oh well.

In spite of the dismal failure of the Great Printer Experiment, I did learn something else from looking at the 62 different printer samples: Springmaid Southern Belle is indeed the best fabric to photo-transfer onto. No fooling. You can really see a difference. You get the absolute sharpest images when the fabric is smooth, and that stuff is the smoothest cotton there is. (Don't pre-wash it; use it right out of the package.)

I will be sending a little something out to all the people who helped with the experiment after I come back from TX. (I'm just running out of time right now.)

Until next time, have a great quilting day, and a terrific Mother's Day!
Ami Simms