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The Ami Simms Newsletter
January 2001

Hello again! I'm glad you're here---all 8,207of you according to the last count. (Thank you for reading this every month and recommending it to your friends. That must be how this number keeps getting bigger!) For any new folks, back issues are available at www.eGroups.com. Just click on MY GROUPS, select the Ami-Simms-Newsletter, and go to MESSAGES. There you'll find past issues all the way back to September of 1999. Prior to that you'll have to visit the web page at www.MalleryPress.com and select Free Newsletter.

eGroups.com (the vehicle by which these newsletters are sent) has recently been swallowed up by Yahoo.com. I mention this only because I don't want you to panic if you happen to get some strange email announcing this or see Yahoo.com pop up when you expected eGroups.com. We may see some changes in the near future, but I don't think any will impact this group tremendously. It doesn't matter WHO is sending the emails out for me, just as long as you get them. And, don't forget, you can keep passing them around to whomever you like. Just be sure to tell folks how to sign up. (www.MalleryPress.com or email me directly at amisimms@aol.com)

If you ever need to change your email address, please don't ask me to do it for you. You can do this yourself by signing on to eGroups.com under your OLD email address and unsubscribing. Then go to Ami-Simms- Newsletter group and subscribe under your NEW address. If a password is requested and you don't have one (forgot it, never thought to save it, dog ate it) then follow the prompts on the page for "I forgot my password" and they will email you one in about 30 seconds to 15 minutes. If for some reason you just can't figure it all out, then I will help you, but next months' newsletter will be one paragraph shorter. Send me your OLD address and your NEW address. Label each one and ask me to make the change. If you don't tell me you've already tried and failed miserably, I'll just send you directions on how to do it.

My chats this year in the AOL Chat Room have been set, so I thought I'd give you all the dates for this year. Look for me in the Professional Chat Room from 9 to 10 pm EST on these days: January 18, (that's TOMORROW!) March 15, May 3, July 19, September 20, and November 15. (Only members of AOL can attend. Keyword: quilters. Then follow the prompts to the CHAT area.) We do have our own chat area on eGroups.com but nobody ever wants to come, so I'm at a loss of what to do. Is there a day and time you'd like to meet and chat? Let me know: amisimms@aol.com.

Thanks again to the kind folks at South Seas Imports for letting me pass out all their free patterns to you. Their initial shipment was gone after the first day; I had to make 450 more copies! (It's OK; I got their permission first.) About half of you missed the part where it said you had to postmark your request by December 24, but I was in a generous mood, so you got patterns too. BUT---I don't have any more left, so PLEASE stop sending requests!

We're deep into the Sweet Dreams on-line Picture Play Quilts workshop that I told you about in the last newsletter. With 61 students we're plum full, so I'm not accepting any more registrations. We started on January 8 with the first of seven lessons to construct the Sweet Dreams quilt on page 24 of my new book, Picture Play Quilts. Lessons are posted at a secret website on specific days for students to read at their leisure. In addition, the entire class belongs to a special group at eGroups.com and can talk to one another anytime they wish via emails. They can also email me for clarification and questions any time they like. We have two live chats during the class where I can answer questions in "real time." They are also encouraged to participate in some of the on-line conversational fabric swaps at my other web page, www.PicturePlayQuilts.com. (So can you---at any time, by the way.) They even have a homework assignment due later this month.

Since so many of you expressed interest after the class filled or just couldn't get everything together in time because of the holidays, I will probably do it again some time. The best place to get information about future classes is right here. So, as they say, stay tuned.

Before I share her monthly letter home, I want to thank you for the participating in Dimes For Daisy. You raised over $300 for Leader Dogs For The Blind---one dime at a time! Actually several of you noticed that Dollars for Daisy is just as alliterative and that helped a bunch. So did those kind souls who sent checks made out directly to Leader Dogs For The Blind. That doesn't rhyme or begin with the same letter, but it sure is appreciated. Thank you all for thinking of this wonderful organization. This group is so very generous. And, if you want to send MORE dimes or dollars in Daisy's name, you can certainly do so any time you feel the urge. From now until May we will be visiting Leader Dogs for our Puppy Classes and will happily turn in any money you send for the program. The address to send your donations is on the PUPPY page at www.MalleryPress.com which is where you'll want to head to read the rest of her letter and see the pictures that go with it. Now, here's Daisy.

Hi, Mom,
Well, let me tell you the big excitement around here: we had snow! And we got lots of it. It's up to my....what am I saying, it's way OVER all of me! Miss Ami said we got more than 3 feet and it's still here. In fact every day, there's more. I don't sink down all the way, thank goodness, otherwise my people would never find me again. But I go down pretty deep. Here I am with...

If you'd like to do a good deed, give somebody a free mammogram. I know that sounds about as exciting as a lube job for your car, but hey it's gotta be done and not everybody has the wherewithal to do it. You can help save lives while you're sitting here at the computer. Go to http://www.thebreastcancersite.com. Click on the big pink buttons that says "Donate Free Mammograms: Click Here." That's it. You're done. You can only donate once, so pass this information on to someone else. Ah, if the real thing were that easy. And, speaking of the real thing (you know what's coming...) when was the last time YOU had a mammogram done?

Several years ago I bought a pair of scissors in Holland at the Hema store, the Dutch version of K-Mart. The scissors weren't expensive and it was one of those impulse buys that turned out to be a VST. (Very Smart Thing). Trust me, they don't all turn out that way. That wasn't the case with the lace hat I purchased on the same trip. I looked so "cultural" when I tried it on, and so infinitely stupid when I got it home. There I was in the mirror looking as if someone had dumped a basket of bread on my head, taken away the basket, picked up the bread, and walked away leaving me standing there with the lace doily on my head. So attractive.

No, the scissors were quite nice. In fact, as I recall, I used them to chop up the lace hat so I could attach various pieces of it to my Dutch Treats quilt in Creating Scrapbook Quilts. (Check out page 34 and you can see the HEMA bag in the lower right hand corner and the rosette from the hat about an inch and a half above it.)

The scissors were serrated. Not huge waves in the blade like a steak knife, but little bitty grooves that held the fabric beautifully as I cut along. It never slipped. I used them for everything (paper, too) and I think I lost them before they even started to get dull. Surprisingly, I hadn't seen serrated scissors since. (Actually I have, but I just wanted to put 5 "S-words" in the same sentence.) To my delight I have found serrated scissors again. Olfa makes them and I now have two pair. The bright yellow handles help me find them in the mess on the table and they cut like a dream. What a lovely invention!

Even more clever than serrated scissors (I just love saying that) are two other products now making their home in my studio, also by Olfa. Did you know that they actually make something to keep dead rotary cutter blades in? I didn't. I've been storing them in a cardboard envelope marked with a skull & crossbones until, I don't know, I could figure out how to dispose of them safely. Even though I was the last quilter on the planet to give up ratty cardboard templates, dull chalk and scissors for a new-fangled rotary cutter, I've been slicing and dicing since 1990. Do you know how many used blades that is?! (About a pound and half!) They all fit quite nicely (and safely) inside my brand new Safety Blade Disposal Case, otherwise known as a "caja de seguridad para cuchillas" or so it says on the multi- lingual packaging. How swift! It, too, is bright yellow and works for all size blades. I'm even going to put in my dull and broken sewing needles inside. When I die my family is gonna strike it rich on scrap metal. (Then THEY can figure out how to get rid of it)

The other addition to the studio is a gargantuan 35" x 70" Olfa cutting mat. It's an ugly dull green, but I can't have everything. It came in three pieces with sturdy little clips to secure the pieces together. And, somebody was thinking, the lines on the mats are all numbered consecutively so you can go from "1" all the way up to "70" without repeats or skips. Not only that, the splices where the three individual mats join together occur BETWEEN lines, not ON them so I don't have to avoid certain measurements when I'm using it. "Grunt," "squeal" I am in Hog Heaven! Pass the slop!

Maybe it's YOU! I'm not telling. You'll have to head over to www.PicturePlayQuilts.com and click on WIN. Click MOOSE ON THE LOOSE and see if your name is listed at the bottom as the winner. If it is, email me with the same email address under which you entered and tell me where to ship the fabric! While you're there, it would probably be a great time to sign up for the next door prize. Hmmm....I wonder what it could be. Just one hint: they're YELLOW!

When the phone started ringing off the hook last Wednesday I discovered that the Simply Quilts segment on entering quilt shows I taped back in the spring with Alex Anderson finally aired. That was kind of a shock. I didn't get a chance to watch myself on TV (always a treat---NOT) since I didn't know I'd be on, so unless any of you happened to tape it, I guess I'll have to wait until I'm a re-run. Some kind souls wrote and told me that my hair looked BIG (you know just how to make me feel good) and that they liked my dress (I don't even remember what I wore) and that seeing the "lampshade" quilt was a big thrill (for me too). What can I say, I cling to every nice thing you write.

As luck would have it, the very next day I was on TV again, this time with Kaye Wood and the Picture Play Quilts. I guess the PBS people air the shows market by market and unless you check your local listing for it you won't know when it's going to be on in your area. Kaye was kind enough to send me a tape of the show which I have had sitting on top of the TV for at least a month. I just can't get up the nerve to watch it. (I guess if I don't see it, I can't be that awful.) Even the thought that the editors might have included the one OUT TAKE in my copy (I begged) didn't do it and it should have, believe me. After my segment was finished and Kaye was doing her next segment, the staff set off a whoopee cushion on the set. Kaye's reaction was priceless. Talk about a woman who can take a joke! I may never see that one on tape again, but I will be replaying it in my mind's eye for years. (Thanks Kaye, you're one classy lady!)

Marsha McCloskey's new line of "Staples" is out and if you're ever in need of some good old-fashioned "lights" that work with just about everything, check it out. I love 'em. To get a taste of her new line, Marsha has put together two sampler packets you might be interested in. There's one with 22 Fat Quarters for $45 and another with 22 Fat Eighths for $25. You can order on-line or print off an order form for snail mail at http://www.quilt.com/FSP/FeatheredStar.html.

I'll be with the Southern Comforters of Bowie, Maryland for one day (January 20) this coming week-end. Jennie, my daughter, and Daisy will be joining me for the trip. I'm not sure if the lecture or workshop is open to the public, but if you'd be interested in attending either, please contact Arleen at lawnranger@unidial.com and ask. She can give you the scoop. If you live in Detroit, you can watch us race off the first plane and find a place for Daisy to "park" before we get on the second plane. That should be amusing. Wish us luck!

I hope you have a great month filled with inspiration and creativity. I'll see you again in about four weeks.

Ami Simms