October 2003

Note: This newsletter was e-mailed on October 1, 2003. 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 November issue.

October 2003
The Ami Simms Newsletter
Copyright 2003 by Ami Simms

I’m glad to be sitting in your mailbox. Life has been so hectic I just needed a place to hide for a minute!

I got so many ideas from you about what to do with all my extra tomatoes, from soup kitchen donations to freezing them on cookie sheets and dumping them in stews and pasta sauce during the winter. What clever people you are!

There is a debate raging between readers who think the triangular needle that put a similarly shaped divot in my front tooth was either a canvas needle or a needle used for leather. I'm going to let you guys fight it out. (Confused about the updates? See last month's newsletter at )

The most mail from last month's newsletter had to do with remedies for tartar control for Madison's teeth. At least I hope you were recommending the pig ears, cow hooves, denti-bones, "greenies," CET chews from the vet, and tartar control dog food (Eukanuba and Hill brands) for HIM! I also heard from a woman who scales the tartar off her dog's teeth with an official dental tool (very impressive) and an unusual idea from Carol B. She takes 3 legs from old pantyhose and braids them together to make a tug toy. She's done it for all her dogs and her vet said it helps clean their teeth. She pops it in the washer whenever it gets dirty. This may work for Mattie. If it were Daisy, we'd have been cleaning her teeth, esophagus and flossing her intestines with it, if you get my meaning. Carol did say finding three-legged pantyhose in the store was getting harder all the time. I'd add that this is probably a toy you should monitor closely in case your dog decides to eat all or part of it rather than floss with it.

You can forget about my teeth, but I think I may have had a use for the extra tomatoes.

Mom was working on her Pizza Party quilt. It was about half past midnight and we were finally going to bed. She let me out one last time, and I took off for the back fence lickety-split. Well, there was a new friend in the yard, so I went right up to him and said hello. I have met many nice friends in the back yard and I like them all. The squirrels and birds are fun to watch. We have insects that I try to catch with my mouth when I pretend I'm an alligator, and we have rabbits. The rabbits leave raisins on the lawn and I love to roll on them because they make me smell very nice. Mom doesn't think so and every time I perfume myself she hauls my sorry carcass right into the tub for a bath. (She can be so annoying at times.)

Well, my new friend smelled as if he had rolled in something quite spicy. I was trying to place the source of his intriguing aroma (Burning tires? Molding onions? Spoiled sushi?) and went in a little closer for a good sniff. I thought he was being very accommodating to turn around and lift his tail, but when I stepped closer, he squirted something on my head! What had smelled so interesting before was now all over me, and it was way too much of a good thing! I tried to get it off, but no matter how much I rolled, I was still quite potent, and all covered in wet grass clippings for my effort.

Mom is a lot dumber than she looks. I came in through the garage and all she noticed was the grass clippings stuck to my fur! I hopped up on my little grooming table and she started brushing them out. It's times like this that I really wish she could speak dog. I mean, I'm trying to tell her what happened and she asks me if I rolled in onions! Pa-LEASE! We don't HAVE onions in the garden! (She really needs to get out more.) I was trying to explain the subtle differences between the various perfumes we DO have outside and she looked at me with those cute little eyes of hers. She was totally clueless. (Humans are fun to play with, but they have the brains of a pre-paper trained puppy, if you know what I mean.) To be honest, she's usually smarter than this, but she was sleep-deprived from all that quilting.

After she massaged the smell into my fur trying to get the wet grass clippings off me with the brush, SHE LET ME INTO THE HOUSE! She muttered something like she was too tired to deal with it (huh???) and she'd take care of me in the morning! Jeezle Pete! I just stared at her from behind my personal cloud of stink. I was beside myself. Actually I wished I could have been next door to myself, I stank so badly.

Mom went up to bed, so I decided on a plan of my own: Rather than stay in one place and have the stench burn a hole in the carpet and then eat through the floor beneath me, causing me to fall into the basement, I stayed up most of the night wandering from one room to another. As soon as I stood in one place too long and the cloud of smell caught up to me, I moved on. I don't think I lay down the whole time.

Mom's nose must have been temporarily disconnected. It was working better in the morning. She came downstairs and threw me outside. I heard much vacuuming and cleaning amid exclamations of "What an idiot I am!" and "I can't believe I let him in the house!" Then she covered the bathroom floor with old towels—the international sign for "we're going to have a bath."

As all dogs know, it is preferable to stink to high heaven rather than go freely into the tub. I weigh a good 70 pounds. Mom is a strong woman, for a human female, but she can't lift 70 pounds of dead weight (with fur) over the lip of the tub. She is obstinate, however. First, she got my front paws over the edge. Then, she got behind me and tried to lift my rear end up and over. I employed the infamous "Lead-Butt Misdirect." (Transfer all the weight to your back tires, so to speak, with a standard, self-directed "sit" command. While the human focuses attention on your hind end extract your front paws from the tub.) If the human can indeed raise your rump off the ground (that is SO funny to watch), all they succeed in doing is pushing you against the side of the tub for a slippery U-turn. Simple. Works every time.

Then Mom got into the tub and attempted a traditional Collar Tug. (See? They're such puppies!) That was easily derailed with another sit, reinforced with a Front Leg Lock. She could pull all she wanted. My head wasn't going anywhere. And if my head wasn't going into the tub, neither was I. Simple physics. Mom left the bathroom. I was victorious, if highly odiferous.

Then Mom stripped down to her birthday suit, jumped in the tub, put a dog biscuit between her knees, and gave me a COME command. Naturally, I obeyed. (I am, above all else, a Good Dog.) Before I knew what happened, she grabbed my collar with one hand and used the other to imprison us behind the impenetrable, plastic shower curtain. (I just can't figure out how those work!) This is probably the human equivalent of locking ones own keys in the car. I should have seen it coming. But, as the poodle down the street says, "Se la vie!" I fought the good fight, and accepted defeat like a man, with my tail between my legs.

As the water began to fill the tub it was apparent to both of us that the bath had come none to soon. Water magnified my aroma ten fold. A vigorous scrubbing with my doggie shampoo proved disappointingly ineffective. Mom's shampoo, even in copious amounts, was no better. Neither were the Clorox disinfectant wet wipes, the soap scum remover, or Jennie's shaving gel. I was a veritable bouquet of odors, the most pervasive being "Parfume de Skunk."

I was exiled again to the back yard while Mom went shopping for ingredients to make an anti-stink potion her friend found on the internet (1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, 1 teaspoon Dawn liquid dish soap). The directions said to make only the amount you need and not to store this concoction. Good idea; it would probably blow up! Talk about an invigorating bath! Try to avoid the eyes if possible. If not, rinse thoroughly.

The potion worked wonders, although several return trips to the tub were necessary as the aroma continued to ooze out my pores for several days. I don't think I've ever been this clean in my whole life! And, I've gotten very used to the tub. Now I jump right in as soon as I'm asked. When we're done bathing me, Mom showers while I sit or lay down in the tub and wait patiently. I can shake on command now (BEFORE stepping out of the tub) and rather like being wrapped nose to tail in towels like a mummy while Mom dries off. Just please don't tell the other dogs.

You saw a sneak preview (with Madison laying all over it ---pre-skunk, of course). It's called Pizza Party and you get to make a dozen no-calorie pizzas, plus an additional 50 slices, but they go quick as a whistle with Steam-A-Seam2. It's a great pattern, especially if you know somebody who loves pizza. See it at:

If you're looking for a smaller project (a real conversation starter) try my new Flying Pizza! It's a three-dimensional pizza, soft sculpture pizza. And if you fling it, it flies. (That reminds me of that old riddle: What's green, hangs on the wall, and sings? A herring! Paint it green; it's green. Hang in on the wall; it hangs. I told you it sang so you wouldn't guess.)

Your Flying Pizza can be loads of fun. Display it on a shelf, or just set it on the counter to see if your teenager will try to eat it. It's more fun than a "whoopee cushion!" To make your own Flying Pizza see:

Look for the Fall 2003 issue of Quilts & Coordinates magazine coming out on October 7. On page 40-43 is a pattern for "Hold the Anchovies!" Yes, it's another PIZZA quilt! They're featuring the pattern for the quilt and for an apron. If you aren't a subscriber or can't find it in your area, get the magazine see or the kit at: <

My new fabric line should be coming this way in a few months. I'm expecting fabric in my hot little hands by the end of October so I can make some cool things for Quilt Market in Houston.

This line features food, too, but we've moved on to dessert. What's more fun than a nice slice of pie? There's piecrust fabric (with a latticed top, naturally) and a crumble top, plus all sorts of fruits: cherries, blueberries, strawberries, and bananas. And what's better on a slice of pie hot off your machine? Ice cream! Vanilla, this time, but I promise more ice cream in the months ahead.

Come see the new Pie a la Mode fabric at Quilt Market. I'll be presenting two Schoolhouse lessons in room 307-C. One will be at 3:05pm and the other at 3:25pm. As soon as Market opens, I'll be in my pretend kitchen (with the running water), or right next door in the Pizzeria. Booths #124 and #126, way over in the first aisle. I'll only be at Market for the first two days. On the third day I'll be teaching for Festival!

In addition to the three sessions of Invisible Applique I'll be playing around with pizza fabric at the Wednesday Sampler, and I'm first up for Meet the Teacher at 7:30pm Wednesday night. Please come by and say hi!

I've just come back from a teaching trip to Utah and had a marvelous time. I'll have Georgia on my mind next week when I present a lecture for the Georgia Quilt Conference on the 11th as well as a workshop for the Piecemaker's Quilt Guild in Cumming, GA on the10th. Then I'm off to Houston at the end of the month, several guilds in California in November, and home for a bit to catch my breath until next year. The full schedule is at: Please keep in mind the list only shows confirmed engagements. I won't be considering future teaching assignments until December, and then if will be for 2006 and beyond.

Please keep an eye out for Carol Shoaf's missing quilt. Her art quilt, "An Aura of Enchantment, is 30" x 42" and features a Koi fish heavily thread-painted. Carol hand delivered to the post office in a priority box. When workers at the Pennsylvania Quilt Extravaganza opened the box they found a book had been placed in the box and the quilt was gone. There was a cut in the side of the box that had been taped shut. Please help Carol spread the word. Check the Lost Quilt site so you'll be able to recognize the quilt should you ever see it. See:

I got a great deal on some beautiful black and gray fabrics. Take a look at:

The lucky winner this month will get a Gift Set from Fairfield Products. It includes an 8-ounce jar of Quilt Wash®, a 120-page Quilter's Journal, and two Storage/Gift Bags (one crib/twin, and one queen/king). The Quilt Wash is great for fine washables, delicate fabrics, lingerie, and, or course: QUILTS! You'll have enough for 48 washes. It's "earth friendly" and biodegradable, with no phosphates or bleach. The Journal has room for 60 photos and includes sections to list the maker, date, and location, with plenty of room for more comments. The Storage & Gift Bags are made of 100% breathable white cotton fabric and have a drawstring closure. Seams are finished on the inside to prevent fraying. Each bag comes with a clear pocket on the outside to hold an index card (included) on which to enter information about the quilt. (Washing instructions are printed on the back of the index card.) This is a lovely gift valued at $28. Be sure to enter to win today! Go to:

While you're there, see if you've won the August and September prizes.

The following kind-hearted souls have paid their debt for their "almost free" pattern by donating a buck or a block (or both, and sometimes more) to Leader Dogs for the Blind and/or Paws With A Cause: Mary Trinkle, Betty Donahue, and Susan Bowles.

There are six more quilts created by readers of this newsletter waiting for your generous bids. Please look on my home page and follow the links. Proceeds are sent to Leader Dogs for the Blind or to Paws With a Cause. Or, go to

Have you volunteered to make something for me to auction? If so, your thirty days are about up. You can have an extension, just let me know what kind of progress you're making. Not making any at all? Send back what you've done (or not done). No hard feelings. No excuses required. I'll just pawn it off on some other unsuspecting quilter!

I've received some wonderful quilts and projects from you. Thank you for supporting Leader Dogs and PAWS with your good works. I've checked in 16 new quilts and other projects. They're #98-#13 up on the Charity Quilts webpage. See them at:

United We Quilt is looking for a volunteer to make a wall hanging out of about 150 silk ties that belonged to a man who was killed at the World Trade Center. The quilt is for his wife and five-year-old daughter. If you'd like to volunteer, please contact Jane at JaneAtMil@aol.com.

Jan Munson discovered a 1-stop breakfast solution, Patty Glass wonders about a tanning salon with senior discounts, and Norma Strassler discovers it's the same in any language. Please see:

If you send me anything for the website YOU must have taken the picture.

Karen Diamond made a photo quilt:
Rosina finished her That's Amore pizza quilt:
Diane Michal finished her Twisted Sisters:
Sally Moore has a Worst Quilt Wannabe:
Roxie Harsha finished a memory quilt for her sister:
Fern "Billie" Kilts made a photo quilt for her mom:

Thanks to Ann for this interesting discovery:

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.

(And you wonder why my newsletters have so many typos!)

There's probably more than one, but I'm looking for the creator of the Japanese Folded Purse that was featured in "Quilted Gifts," a special Christmas magazine from Quilting Today (Chitra Publications) back in 1992. Teaches high school math….maybe lived in California. Do you know her? If so, tell her to contact me. (I'm harmless, really.)

You've got a short time left to order "The Reluctant Sailor" at the discounted pre-publication price. I just turned in Uncle Bud's book to the printer and we should have books in hand by early November---just in time for Veteran's Day. If you ever wondered where I got my sense of humor…..wonder no more. Learn more at:

Our shipment of Korean scissor fobs has just arrived and they're wonderful! Slightly different colors this time around. See

No, I haven't forgotten. It's a somewhat difficult quilt to pattern and we want to get it right! It should be ready soon.

Thanks for double-clicking this month. If you enjoyed what you read, please pass it along to a friend. Look for me in your mailbox on November 1st. In the meantime, keep your needles threaded and have a great quilting day!

Ami Simm

Last Month's Newsletter
Pizza Party Quilt Pattern
Flying Pizza
Teaching Schedule
Lost Quilts
Black & Gray Fabric Sale
Win Cool Stuff
Auction Quilts
Future Auction Quilts
What Were They Thinking
Karen Diamond's Photo Quilt
That's Amore Honor Roll
Diane Michal's Twisted Sisters Quilt
Sally Moore's Worst Quilt Wannabe
Roxie Harsha's Memory Quilt
Fern "Billie" Kilts' Photo-quilt
The Reluctant Sailor
Korean Scissor Fobs