May 2004

Note: This newsletter was e-mailed on May 1, 2004. Please scroll down to the bottom for the active links. If you would like to receive this newsletter in your very own mailbox, instead of reading it here, hit the BACK arrow on your browser and enter your e-mail address in the box on the previous page. You'll get the June issue.

The Ami Simms Newsletter
Copyright by Ami Simms
May 2004

Yes, it's really spring. But only on the calendar. Check out the snow we had here on Tuesday:

Will spring NEVER come?

I've had several opportunities to stick my mug in front of a television camera these last few months. I must say it still is un-nerving, but it is getting a little easier. I still don't particularly enjoy watching myself. I hear drinking alcoholic beverages helps.

I just taped a segment for a new show called Quilter's Toolbox. It airs Fridays at 4pm on Family Net. (My episode will be on Friday July 23rd.) I got to demonstrate how to make my new Rag Fur Jacket, which was way fun. I've been working on it for several months now and I had several prototypes completed, so it sounded like a good match. Having the show taped before the pattern is finished is just a tad "cart before the horse" but it seems my life is going that way these days.

There's no host on Quilter's Toolbox. You just look right at the camera and have at it! There are four segments to the show. First I was asked some background questions. Most of that was pretty normal, except for "What sewing term best describes you?" Brain cramp! I hope that question and answer will be edited… OUT!

Then there was a 4-minute teaching segment. Just like you see in the movies, I got a five-finger countdown, the last one being the cameraman's index finger pointing right at my nose. I thought my problem would be FILLING the time. As it turned out, I had way more that I wanted to say.

The next segment was 6 minutes long. The most difficult thing was to end the segments on time and not act like your skirt is on fire. They don't edit segments, so you have to watch for hand signals---while you're remembering what to say, trying not to trip over your words, look at the camera, smile, and not cut off anything important with the rotary cutter.

I also got to do a 3-minute tip, which will be aired on another day, so you might get to see me twice!

Or three times. My edited segment for FRIENDS IN THE BEE came in the mail the other day too. Not only did I get to see the "finished" version before everybody else does, but my head is now so big I can barely fit through doorways! All I can say is WOW!

Jodie Davis is the host and Blue Heron Films produces "Friends in the Bee." It's unlike any quilting show you've ever seen—--they go all over the place. Even to Flint, Michigan! If I had a chance to invent my own show, this would be it--- part travelogue, part how-to, and part "I Love Lucy." (If you're a quilt shop, now's the time to buy local advertising. This is going to be BIG.)

I don't have too many details yet about exactly when it will air, but it will be on PAX and most likely in September, and as soon as I know, I'll let you know. In the meantime, head on over to and tell them you can't wait to see Friends in the Bee. (The form asks for your telephone number. It accepted 000 000-0000 for mine.) If you prefer to call toll-free, try 1(888) 467-2988.

If YOU want to be IN an episode of Friends in the Bee, you can take part in the Oregon Trail show with Jodie Davis and guest Terry Thompson. You actually get to move west (temporarily, at least, and probably very slowly) in a Covered Wagon! How cool is THAT?! The trip is this summer and it's the chance of a lifetime. For details, see:

Three-year-old mousse coming out of the can smells a lot like skunk. The aroma does not improve when it's massaged into clean hair. Interestingly enough, the smell seems to go away when dried. At least I think so… Oh well, I've only got half a can left.

Lynne Capehart has been watching where she steps and she's been walking all over the place. Check out her pictures of the cathedral in Milan, Italy; the Manial Palace in Cairo, Egypt; and the Sultan's bathroom at the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey! You can also see my photos of floors in Las Vegas (as I looked for stray tokens), plus one at the Grand Canyon that is just a little frightening. See them all at:

Thanks to "marbrenner" for passing along this right brain/left brain thing:

While sitting at your desk, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles. Now, while doing this, draw the number "6" in the air with your right hand. Your foot will change direction and there's nothing you can do about it. This WILL drive you crazy. (Yup, she's right!)

Cindy Norwood made a photo-quilt for her parent's 60th wedding anniversary. See:

Pat Osgerby made a photo-quilt. See:

Debbie Lewis finished a Christmas photo-quilt. See:

Frank Palmer has two photo-quilt projects to share:

Brenda Jonsson just finished a Twisted Sisters quilt:

Becky Vaughan made a Picture Play Quilt:

See Paula's stash at:

There's a new page under the Really Useful Links page called "Famous Quilting Teachers." It's kind of fun to match a face with a name, and with a quilt. Visit:

I bought a Xerox Phaser 8200DP color printer about a year ago and it's done a great job printing my patterns. The color is beautiful, it's fast, prints on both sides...I was really happy. Until I learned that I could have gotten the same exact printer for FREE! If you're a small business, church, school, or just really print color pages like crazy, then you might qualify for the program. Getting the free printer means you agree to buy ink each month for 2 years that you would have bought anyway. After that, the printer is yours to keep. There are other perks too. Just so you know, if you are approved for the program you and I both get 5 free black ink sticks, so my recommendation isn't entirely altruistic. :) If you want to see if the free printer program might work for you, see:

Yes, there really IS a Twisted Sisters Soft-Sculpture Lapel Pin. Each was individually hand-made by Janet Jones Worley just for us and holds a very small Twisted Sisters pattern, a teeny tiny credit card, and a miniature bag of M&Ms. Wait, there's more:

Zenoa Circular Erasers are brand new. Finally, making a mistake can be fun! See:

Our recent April weather notwithstanding, think warm weather and enjoy a Fruit Smoothie. Madison enjoyed the straw, but didn't know what to do with the fabric. See:

We've got new scissor fobs from Korea. Now you've got 19 different ones to pick from! They just make your scissors feel so special. See:

My brother-in-law, Jim, gave me this hint: Next time you're in an elevator hold down the button for the floor you want AND the Door Close button AT THE SAME TIME . In many elevators the car will zoom by all the other floors (with people waiting for the elevator on them) and take you right to YOUR floor! Just in case you're in a hurry. However, if you use that trick, reverse Karma kicks in and you'll get cut off in traffic or blow a tire on your way home. Maybe it's not such a good tip.

A number of items are on sale right now at up to 30% off: Applique Goo Grabbers:

Suction Cup Memo Holder


Plus to get you in the mood for summertime reading, don't think trashy romance novels on the beach, think QUILTING BOOK! Specifically MY quilting books. This is an "unadvertised" sale only for readers of this newsletter. I have six books in print: Fun Photo-Quilts & Crafts, Creating Scrapbook Quilts, Invisible Applique, How to Improve Your Quilting Stitch, Picture Play Quilts, and How NOT To Make A Prize-Winning Quilt. My mother thinks that each of you ought to have all six. And duplicates of most of them. (Thanks, Mom.) So, to make her happy: …buy one book, get 10% off …buy two books, get 15% off …buy three books, get 20% off …buy four or more (see how that rhymes?) books, get 25% off.

You can buy all four of the same book (in case you have 8 eyes), get four different books, get two of one kind and two of another…any combination will work. I'll autograph them to whomever you like.

PLEASE NOTE: Discounts will NOT be reflected on your on-line order form, mostly because we don't know how to set up the web page to do something that complicated! A real human will process your order. (Her name is Debbie.) She will actually read your order and take the discount off before she does anything to your credit card. You will not get any faster service if you write, "Debbie, you're the greatest!" (or something to that effect) but you sure will make her feel good.


The Bikini Quilt is being tested this month. I'm hoping that we can go to print in June, with patterns ready for you by July. Keep your fingers crossed. I'm not making any promises. Take a look at:

The final revisions to the pattern have been made, the final prototype looks fantastic, and the pattern grader is making sizes XS all the way to XXL so that every body gets to have one if they want to "sew on the lunatic fringe!" The pattern WILL be done before the Quilter's Toolbox show airs some time in July. For a picture of me on the set AND one of the Rag Fur Jackets, see:

Lance Myler, the quilting chiropractor, and his family moved several years ago to the frozen tundra of up-state New York. WAY up state. We miss them dearly. The only solace, besides an occasional visit, is getting his wonderful email updates, part of which he has allowed me to share with you.

Lance writes: "Those of you that have heard me play may find this incomprehensible, but I found a new way to screw up the organ during church. I know, hard to fathom, but I really did it. This particular arrangement of Oh God, Our Help In Ages Past was supposed to show off the organ. Just before the last verse there is an interlude with three key changes, each louder then the last. Then, the organ goes to thunder – trumpets playing a busy line in the pedals – and the congregation joins in.

So, I’m playing along, and, just as I begin the interlude, I’m attached by a kamikaze fly. He is buzzing all around my head and there is nothing I can do but play on. And I did it! All three key changes and all three registration changes. I got through all of it. Then the fly died. And fell behind my glasses. And it stuck to the inside of the lens. Right in my line of vision.

Now, one might think I could use the other eye, but all I could see was a big, black blur. So, here I am loud enough to raise the dead, and playing badly enough that most of the congregation wished they were dead. The conductor, being an unflappable retired college professor, cast a wary eye my way, and burst out laughing. The tenors, wondering what the ruckus was about, followed his line of vision and joined him. I didn’t get it together until the "amen." I fear we are all traumatized for life."

Check out page 83 of your June issue of Sew News! Guess what delectable treats are featured there! Pizza Party, Flying Pizza, and Electric Pizza! That's Madison holding the pizza in his mouth. Good dog!

Look for the July issue of McCall's Quick Quilts magazine (on sale May 11) for "Pie in the Sky," an adorable quilt by Brenda Groelz featuring my "Pie a la Mode" fabric. It's so cool. I'm offering a Starter Kit for the Crust and Pie Filling fabrics. See: (scroll down to the bottom of the page)

Thanks to everyone who contributed a block or a buck to help finance the training of assistance dogs for the blind and physically challenged through Leader Dogs For the Blind and Paws With A Cause. This month, the honor roll includes Suzanne Ziel, and Ann Javoroski. No auctions this month. While I have received some awesome quilts, I just haven't had the time to photograph them and get them ready for I hope to get back to it in the fall. If you would like to participate by downloading an "almost free" pattern, see:

The International Quilt Association is including a new competition category: Quilts made 100% by hand. OK, the first step of the binding can be sewn on by machine, but that's it! Thanks to Didi McElroy at Roxanne's for creating and sponsoring this category. For more information, contact

After long consideration I've decided to end the "door prize" on my web page with the April drawing. The results of that drawing are on the page now, so see if you've won at:

I'll hang on to all un-claimed prizes and then, according to the contest rules, and award them to new winners. I will do that at a future lecture, some place, in person, so people will not have to subscribe to this newsletter to win, although they get an extra hug is they do. The time it takes to solicit prizes, photograph them, list them, and then run the mechanics of the contest to make sure everyone has a fair shot at being a winner isn't worth it. What used to take 15 or 20 minutes now takes several hours. I'd rather spend my "free" time on more fun things. I hope you understand.

Join me for two workshops at the Three Rivers Quilt Festival in Ft. Wayne, Indiana on June 3 (Twisted Sisters) and June 5 (How To Improve Your Quilting Stitch). For more information, contact or visit

If you enjoyed this month's newsletter, please forward it to anyone else you think might enjoy it. Just be sure to tell them that all they have to do to sign up is visit and click on FREE NEWSLETTER or see:

I have some BIG NEWS for next month, so please let me into your mailbox on June 1 and double click.

In the meantime, enjoy the warmer (?) weather and one another. Fondle some fabric, and exercise your creativity.
Ami Simms
PS: Remember the right brain/left brain thing from up above. I figured out how to do it. Make the number six "backwards," starting with the circle in the middle instead of the stick on top. You'll be moving both finger and foot in the same clockwise direction! Ha! I'm not as dumb as I look, unless you've been watching me practice foot-circling and finger-writing for the last 30 minutes!

April Snow
Conestoga Wagon Trip
Watch Your Step
Cindy Norwood's Photo-Quilt
Pat Osgerby's Photo-Quilt
Debbie Lewis' Photo-Quilt
Frank Palmer's Photo-Quilt
Brenda Jonsson's Twisted Sisters Quilt
Becky Vaughan's Picture Play Quilt
Paula's Stash
Famous Quilting Teachers
Free Printers
Twisted Sisters Pins
Very Cool Erasers
Fruit Smoothies
New Korean Scissor Fobs
Applique Goo Grabbers
Suction Cup Memo Holders
Ami's Books
The Bikini Quilt
Rag Fur Jacket
Pie in the Sky Starter Kit
Almost Free Pattern
June Workshops in Ft. Wayne
Free Newsletter

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