October 2004

Warning: this is an OLD newsletter. Time marches on; things change. Information may be outdated, irrelevant, misleading or incorrect. (That means links, which are down at the bottom, may not work either. Unless it sends you to a porno site I won't fix it so don't tell me.) To get on the list to receive the next current newsletter, hit the BACK arrow on your browser and enter your e-mail address in the box on the previous page. You'll get the next issue. If you absolutely can't figure it out then e-mail me. It's free! What are you waiting for?

The Ami Simms Newsletter
© Ocotber 2004

It's the first of the month, so here I am again. Thanks for all the kind comments in between newsletters. As with any "class clown" you probably shouldn't encourage me.

In case you didn't know, back issues of the newsletter (and an exact duplication of THIS newsletter, almost) are on my website at:

Sometimes the newsletter actually goes up on the webpage up to an hour BEFORE it finds its way to your mailbox. So, if you're in need of a "fix" and you just can't wait, try the webpage first.

Diane P. wrote, "The day I discovered Jackie Kennedy wore a size 11 shoe was the day I gained a lot of self-confidence. I have never been ashamed of my shoe size since. Large feet give you a solid foundation." I like the way she thinks!

Numerous people way smarter than I am knew all about the mini showers the divers were taking after their dives into the Olympic pool. Well, apparently, the water in the pool is really cold. The showers are HOT. The hot water helps to relax their muscles! Some venues even have hot tubs for the athletes to soak in. I'd need the hot tub, a bottle of something very alcoholic, and cattle prod to get me to climb UP to the high board let a lone jump OFF of it, so I say give those guys anything they want.

I'm delighted to report that Checker Distributors picked up my Rag Fur Jacket pattern, which means your local quilt shop can order it directly through them (or through me). We're getting ready for the International Quilt Market in Houston now, so I'm up to my ears in "rags." That includes making these cute, little display "thingies" for shops, and building the booth INSIDE the house. That's always fun. I just ordered buttons (badges?) to give away at Market that say "Sew on the LUNATIC FRINGE…make a Rag Fur Jacket." Whaddya think?

I'll take a picture of the finished booth to share on the website after Market, but meanwhile I've got two more finished Rag Fur Jackets to show you. Check out Susan's at:

And Kathy's at:

Have you started your Rag Fur Jacket yet?

You just won't believe how clever Sharon Bockheim is. She shared a photo of some "flip-flops" she made out of extra yarn. Remember the "eyelash" yarn scarves? (See: )

Well, Sharon made me a pair, and since no good deed goes unpunished, I wrote back and asked if she could do anything with leftover Rag Fur. And she did! Madision asked if he could model them, noting that they were remarkalby comfortable even though he only has enough for two of his feet. (I told him the photo-op was a great idea, but he had to keep his paws off my new shoes!) Check them out at:

I told you where I was going next, but not where I've been. I just returned from three wonderful days with the Spokane Chapter of the Washington State Quilters' Guild. I had a wonderful time, but I must say I'm quite spoiled now. Not only were the quilters delightful (they always are) but the guild holds their workshops at the Spokane Club. A waiter SERVES lunch to your table. All you have to do is push aside your fabric, and there it is. It was delicious, but not nearly as nice as the fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies later in the afternoon. Ah, it's a tough job, but somebody has to do it.

I'm just glad it was me! There was also a little bit of excitement this trip. I got stuck in the elevator on the way to dinner. Thankfully, I wasn't alone. Janis and Roberta were stuck in there with me and we laughed so hard we almost had tears running down our legs. And, we have PICTURES! See:

I got lucky. I'm really glad I wasn't alone and that I was with them. That made me wonder: If you COULD pick who you wanted to get stuck in an elevator with, who would you pick? And they have to be real people. Alive; not dead. Email me and I'll compile a list, but there are over 12,000 of you, so I'm NOT writing back. Just put the name of the person in the email and maybe a sentence why. Write to: AmiSimms@aol.com You have to reply by October 10th. Don't write anything you don't want shared in the newsletter/webpage. You can be as anonymous as you want.

Pam Stahl is the creator of a brand new website. It's just starting out, but I like Pam already. She's got a newsletter, featured artists, tips, humor, research projects, professional quilt photography, and the coolest T-shirt around. What does it say? REAL WOMEN QUILT. Right on! Order yours at:

I loved My Big Fat Greek Wedding, especially the running Windex gag. Fixes everything! Here's a new use: getting rings off after your fingers swell. One squirt and off they slide. And it's much easier to get the Windex off than soap. Jewelers tell me that the Windex doesn't leave any film on the jewelry either, and Windex (or parts thereof) is actually part of "official jewelry cleaning solution." Plus, the faint aroma of household cleaner might make your family think you actually cleaned something! I often spray Windex around the house just before company comes. Sometimes all I really want is for someone to THINK I cleaned.

Speaking of rings, if yours flops about to the backside all the time, have your jeweler install "ring bumps." If they are positioned properly, they grip that fleshy part of your finger without being annoying. My "rock" (or pebble, as the case may be) remains upright, yet I can still drag 200 pounds of luggage, grip door handles, hang onto subway poles and swing freely like a chimpanzee, and sadly, vacuum. See:

I just about went nuts when I saw a quilter wearing a necklace like this in Ft. Wayne earlier this year. (I even asked if I could photograph her chest!) I just couldn't get the necklace out of my mind and now I've got one around my neck! I'm so excited; I just love it. Want to be twins? Need a really inexpensive gift for anyone who sews? See:

I lead such a sheltered life. I had no idea rubber duckies were the latest craze. Here I thought I was so clever when I got one for Madison to play with in the tub during his bath. He ignores it totally, by the way, unless the tub is dry. Then he'll hop in, pick it up by the head, and prance around the house with it.

Jodie Davis, host of Friends in the Bee, just wrote her 27th book. It's called Rubber Duckie. Published by Running Press, this is a small format full, color tome with more information on rubber duckies than you can quack at. Celebrity ducks? Historical duckies? Rubber duckie museum? Oceanographers studying currents with yellow plastic ducks? Yes, it's all there and more. What fun! Plus each book is sold with a rubber duckie, in case you don't have one yet. See

Jodie's television show, "Friends in the Bee," will launch on Goodlife TV on October 15th. I have no idea what number that is on our cable service let alone yours, so check your local listings. And, watch for hostess Jodie (Rubber Duckie) Davis on…(drum roll)…the Today Show on October 14th! (At least that's the plan.) Yeah for quilters! Friends in the Bee will also be available on the PBS feed, but PBS stations air things when it's convenient for them and I have no idea when that will be. I don't think my Pizza Party segment will be the first to air, but you never know…

The best paper for drafting quilting motifs and paper folding to create appliqué designs is thin and resilient. I noticed this several years ago as I was sitting in my birthday suit, in a frigid room, huddled under a large paper towel on the examination table waiting for the doctor to arrive. Imagine--- this wonderful quilting paper was right under my butt! As I waited patiently past my appointed time, I was able to amuse myself by drawing a narrow cable border along one side of my leg. I was working on a rather ornate feather circle encircling my derriere when the doctor finally arrived. He was not amused. Too bad. I have decided that my time is worth something, too. So, for every 5-minutes I am kept waiting, I take a foot of examination table paper. That's our little deal. Yes, it can be purchased in medical supply stores for a few bucks a roll, but I feel this way I've earned it, and I'm taking it with me.

My friend Jan Krenz shared this website with me. You can print your own real live postage stamps and use them on mail and everything! Talk about SPECIAL! OK, they're a tad bit expensive so you wouldn't want to use them to pay the electric bill, but for a special anniversary, birthday, or achievement, how cool would that be? Of course I would want to write a message about the cool stamp on the outside of the envelope, with an arrow. And, I'd want to drive to the post office to make sure they didn't cancel my face. And after going to that much trouble, I'd probably want to call the recipient up on the phone to make sure they got the letter and read the note and saw the cool stamp. Boy, that's a lot of work. They couldn't just leave well enough alone, could they! See:

Ooops! I guess this was a trial program with the US Postal Service, ending at midnight Sept 30th. Figures. But it sounds like it might be renewed. You can still see what they look like, but don't click on the "learn more" link, as it goes nowhere. There's also no way to contact anybody on the site to tell them their link is busted.

Margaret Reilly thinks she has a contender for a Worst Quilt Wannabe. Check out:

Deb Gravis and her daughter Annie made a Puppus Doggus quilt:

Kathy Harvey made another Twisted Sisters:

You might want to watch your step in Spokane:

More pictures of fudge signs from Clara Drummond. See:

Jodie Davis sent me to the Infinite Cat site. I didn't get it at first. Maybe I just didn't believe it. But, after the second or third click I was hooked. I couldn't stop. With each picture I moved from smirk to smile to giggle and by the end I was laughing so hard I almost fell off my chair. And I just don't know why! I may have to rent a cat just to participate. Enjoy it at:

Yes, there is such a place. Cole Wing makes all sorts of fun things, including pet food boxes, pet toy boxes, tea light holders (I had to see what that was) and, drum roll……rotary ruler holders! (See what happens when you have friends who are quilters?) I've already moved into my ruler holders and they're marvelous! What's so cool about them? Well there are more slots than I've ever seen and the slots are a teensy bit narrower so my rulers don't flop from one side to the other and cause an avalanche. I have the small size and the big size because I am a pig. Major oink. Go take a look at

Madison has done a fine job in the Therapy Dog Department so far. He dresses up in his Hawaiian shirt, carries a fabric pizza from one room to the other, and willingly demonstrates sit, down, roll-over, and "go visit." This last one is nearly identical to "see I have a cloth pizza in my mouth" and if there is no pizza then it's comparable to "may I sniff your kneecap---see my butt?" (He is very fond of his rear for some reason and thinks humans should be at least equally impressed.) Madison will also jump through a hula-hoop, and bark on command.

I really thought I was very clever with this last command. I used the word "bark" because I figured everyone else uses "speak" and I didn't want anybody else giving him the command. As soon as Mattie got the idea, we went to hand signals. I put my hand up to my ear as if I can't hear anything and lean over. He barks softly first and then with my encouraging facial expressions, he barks louder. Well, stupid me. We go to assisted living centers where there are numerous older people, many of whom are hard of hearing. Madison is so obliging, every time one of them makes the international sign for "Huh, what did you say?" (hand to ear) he barks, obliterating whatever the other person is trying to repeat. We're going to have to work on that.

Madison also learned several tricks, all on his own. First, he will fetch anything. Forever. He has learned to retrieve and drop his rubber ball in people's laps, which is handy, and if they don't throw it right away, he will nose-butt it closer. He will also rest his head lovingly on the offending lap and give his "pathetically ignored dog" look until he can fetch again.

His second self-taught trick was quite by accident. I was sitting on the sofa watching TV and he dropped several balls in my lap. I selected his favorite ball and balanced it on his head. (I don't know what possessed me.) As it rolled off, he whipped his head around and caught it in his mouth. Very impressive. We've now included a "stay" hand signal so he'll sit there balancing the ball for about 15 seconds. The trick is finished with my mysterious swooping gesture releasing the "stay" and indicating that he can tilt his head, roll the ball off, and get it into his mouth before it hits the floor. The last part happens very quickly making this trick a big hit with the over-80 crowd.

The third trick he invented is, I think, the most endearing of all. If you sit with your legs crossed and ignore him, he will come and sit in front of you. Within about 5 seconds he will very gingerly wrap one of his front paws around your elevated ankle and just rest it there. When he gets tired, he switches paws. He doesn't necessarily want anything, other than the contact. He's learning now to do it on command: "Hold paw." It's just adorable.

I mention all this because Madison obviously enjoys learning his tricks. When I first teach something he gets a food treat, so he makes the connection. But after that, praise and a head rub are all that he gets.

Humans need to learn new things too. It's healthy. Learning things exercises our brains, actually plumping up our little neurons so they can relay information better. (Apologies to any neurologists out there, but that's my mental image and I'm sticking with it.) Anyway, I've decided to learn paper piecing. Carol Doak has this great new Foundation Paper---100 sheets that go through most inkjet, laser printers, or copy machines for $8.50 and I got her book called Show Me How to Paper Piece. I think I can do this. Especially if I tape M&Ms after each pattern step. My neurons are plumping already! If you want to try paper piecing too, check out your local quilt shop or get a mail order form at:

I've had numerous chain-yankers (sweet people who agree to remind me via email to actually finish what I start) helping me on this pattern. A bunch of you had suggested that I come out with a smaller version of the American Pie pattern and kit. Well, finally, I was able to find a source for good-looking tart pans. Now you can make a 5" version that is a tad more suitable as a pincushion. At least you won't get a hernia lifting it. See the new Fruit Tart Kits at:

The Fruit Tart Kits are the only place you will be able to purchase my blueberry fabric, at least from me. We have only a few yards left. Troy is totally sold out and has decided not to re-print it. (Major frown.) We have such a limited amount we've pulled it from the Fruit Smoothies, and from the American Pie Kits and Pie in the Sky Starter Kits. So if you want blueberries, this is it. Get 'em while the getting is good.

This month's free pattern is called "Can't Scare Me" by Susan Fuquay and the American Quilt Retailer. Every order we ship this month will get the appliqué pattern for this 17" x 17" Halloween-themed wall quilt. Enjoy!

Pat has two cool products. The first is her "Traveling Quilter," a thread caddy like no other. The four plastic zippered pouches hold anywhere from 8 to 13 spools so you can actually SEE the color. Under each zipper is a strip of Ultrasuede®. Poke your threaded needle from inside the pouch OUT. Remove the needle but leave the tail hang out an inch or two. Then you'll be able to pull out any length of thread whenever you like without tangles. The caddy rolls up and ties. Very portable; very slick. If you appliqué with lots of different colors of thread, this is a must. Her second signature product is Pat's fabric marking pencil. Great for marking on dark colored fabric. See both on Pat's webpage at:

We still have some of the bikini fabric starter kits and lots of the skin and sand fabric. We have lots of the skin and sand fabric because I forgot to put it up on the web page. Couldn't imagine why none of you were ordering it! Duh. See it at:

Here's the link to the Bikini Quilt, otherwise known as "Boobs & Bellybuttons."

I'm Ami Simms and I approved this message:

I guess it's human nature to complain, but if you want to complain about who is in the Oval Office come January, you can't whine unless you vote. It's not my business who you vote for; I just want you to vote! So many people have given so much to protect our right to vote. Show you appreciate the sacrifices by exercising your right at the ballot box. Vote on!

If you're undecided or just want to test your convictions, here's a website that might help. Answer the questions and it will tell you which candidate comes closest to your views. It also shows side-by-side comparisons of the candidates stand on the issues. It's not foolproof, but it is entertaining and can even be enlightening. Try it:

You are encouraged to share this newsletter with all your friends, just send them the WHOLE THING, including the copyright part at the beginning. All they have to do to get their own is visit:

Reprints in newsletters and web pages require permission. Contact me via email.

Thanks for tuning in this month. I'll be back in your mailbox on the first of November, probably with a shorter edition next time.
Ami Simms

Newsletter Online
Kathy's Rag Fur Jacket
Susan's Rag Fur Jacket
Remember the Erie Scarf?
Rag Fur Jacket
Rag Fur Flip-Flops
Elevator Adventure
E-mail Ami
Ring Bumps
Zipper-D-Doo-Dah Necklace
Rubber Duckies
Vanity Stamps
Worst Quilt Wannabe
Puppus Doggus Quilt
Kathy Harvey's Twisted Sisters
Watch Your Step
More Fudge Signs
Infinate Cat Site
Ruler Holders
Foundation Paper and Book
Fruit Tart Kits
Cool Stuff From Pat Campbell
Skin & Sand Fabric
Bikini Quilt
Pick Your Candidate
Newsletter Sign-up
Ami's Web Page

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