October 2007

October 2007
The Ami Simms Newsletter
October 2007
Copyright by Ami Simms

The leaves are finally turning colors here in Michigan and the weather is getting cooler. I have the windows open, mostly because the toaster oven caught fire again. But at least the furnace didn't kick on, so I'm happy. I'll let Madison tell you all about it. I'm too embarrassed.

Madison T. Dog here for my monthly report. I am outside guarding the toaster oven in case it erupts in flames again. Mom threw it out here after it filled the kitchen with black smoke as she was expertly preparing an afternoon repast. Mom told me to write it that way. Personally, if I didn't eat kibble, I'd starve to death.

As we all know, Mom gave up cooking before I was even born. All she does now is re-heat, but apparently now even those skills are in question. According to Mom (who feeds me twice a day without fail) it was the toaster oven's fault. I'll have to agree if I ever want to come back in the house again. Personally, I think we should blame Little Ceasars.

Last night, health conscious Dad ordered his usual no-cheese pizza with mushrooms and green peppers. Mom ordered the same with "LIGHT cheese." I went with her to pick everything up and put my nose in her right armpit just as she approached the window to pick up our order, which is our little signal to add a Greek salad and an order of Crazy Bread. The salad slides the entire meal over to the "moderately healthy" side, and then we get the crazy bread because Mom likes it. I have cocked my head inquisitively numerous times about the Crazy Bread and Mom informs me she does not have to justify anything to me. She is the Mom. She is a multi-talented and mysterious woman who I am to love in spite of the fact that she may be a little inconsistent. (She is, after all, human.)

While Mom believes that the Crazy Bread has no redeeming nutritional value when it enters the car, unless you eat the wax paper it comes wrapped in, once you let it cure for 24 hours in the refrigerator and heat it up again the next day, the fat and calories don't count because it has morphed from "food" into a "leftover." Without the bad stuff it is marginally tolerable, nutrition-wise speaking. There is no point in arguing with her as I am not allowed to eat people food anyway.

So today was the "next day" and out came the toaster oven. This is just one in a long, pathetic, line of toaster ovens. Dad buys her a new Teflon frying pan and a new toaster oven every year. She keeps forgetting not to use metal spatulas on the frying pan, and let's just say that she has yet to read any of the directions that come with the toaster ovens.

Mom was really looking forward to the Crazy Bread. She likes it brown and crunchy, almost rock-like. From as near as I can figure out, she had the thing set on "top brown," "bake at 300 º," and "toast" all at the same time. Hence the black smoke cloud in the kitchen. Thankfully she only re-heated half of the Crazy Bread, so she can try again with the other half once the stink wafts out of the house. As soon as she lets me in, I'm going to hide under the couch until she's done cooking. If I were a betting dog, I would predict ice cream later on today to drown her sorrows and/or freeze her nostrils.

Speaking of food, your click provides free food for rescued animals. Sponsors of the web page pay for the food. You get to exercise your index finger. What a deal! Thanks to Tassy K. for telling me about it.

  • The Priority: Alzheimer's Quilt Auction starts today. I have some wonderful quilts up there that could be yours. 100% of the final bid goes to Alzheimer's research. Please bid generously and often. If you run out of money, tell your friends.
  • Pat Sloan has some wonderful patterns you can use to make Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts for future auctions. She is giving a blanket copyright release form right on her web page for quilts you make for Alzheimer's research through the AAQI. Thank you, Pat!
  • I will be taking more than 800 quilts to the International Quilt Festival in Houston at the end of the month, that's more than twice what I was able to bring last year. I don't yet know where the Priority: Alzheimer's Quilt booth will be, but I will send out a special announcement as soon as I find out. Please find us and help me sell the lot of them. Here's your personal invitation!

  • Please put your name on the AAQI Honor Roll to show that you support the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. Please don't be shy. Your presence on the Honor Roll allows me to thank you publicly (THANK YOU!!!) for your support and it encourages others to help also. Do it now!
  • My radio interview with Jacqueline Marcell on her "Coping With Caregiveing" show has been archived. Go have a listen, and then tell me what I said.
  • Thanks to Karen Musgrave, maker of "Shattered," for offering to interview all the artists who have quilts in the Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece exhibit. The transcribed interviews will be a part of the American Quilters Alliance project called Quilters Save Our Stories. At this time, the following interviews have been posted:
  • Yup, it's time to email Oprah again. This is a long process as we need to keep the Alzheimer's project in front of her producers until we get their attention.
  • Best of all, we are extremely close to the $100,000 mark in funds raised and donated to Alzheimer's research! I predict we'll hit 6-digits by the end of the month!

Gail wore her Rag Fur Jacket to the Sewing Expo this week-end and wrote, " I get stopped every couple of feet and oohed over." She continued, "I am going back to the Expo again today and yes, I am wearing my wonderful jacket. I truly need to just print out the information so that I just hand it to admiring women. It would save me a lot of time but then I would miss out on all the wonderful conversations and opportunities to meet new people."

Well, now Gail can do both. I created a flyer she (and you) can print off to pass out to people who admire your Rag Fur Jacket. Have at it! And thank you for spreading the word.

I'll be teaching for the Kansas Quilters' Organization in Parsons, KS on October 5th, 6th, and 7th. If you can't join me, wave as I drive by. The Geographically Challenged One is renting a car and driving in from Tulsa. If you live on the way give me your phone number so I can call you for directions if I get lost. Here's what I'm teaching.

BACK HOME AGAIN I left some holes in my teaching schedule, but they turned into bigger holes than I thought they'd be. I have been wanting to try out the "classroom upstairs" so is anybody out there willing to come to Flint, Michigan to take a class with me?

Email me if you're interested, and tell me the best month for you (November, December, January, February, or March), where you live, which workshops from my list interest you the most, or if you want to do something off the charts like test out a NEW workshop or work collaboratively on a new pattern.

I'm thinking of ordering some of these lights to sell on the web page. Before I do that, I need to know if anybody out there is interested in buying one. Please take a closer look and let me know:

  • Suzanne shares her stash.

  • Two "interesting" signs have made their way onto the "What Were They Thinking" page.

  • Wendy from Grand Rapids shares her First Place quilt using my Dog-Yeared pattern.

We lost two visionaries in the quilting world this past month. Cuesta Benberry and Laurel Burch have recently passed away. We are all richer for them having been among us.

Blue Star Moms is an organization mostly of mothers of members of the Armed Forces (all branches). Among their many roles is the gathering and distribution of “care packages” containing small goods (e.g., snacks, toiletries, sunscreen, etc.) and hand made pillowcases. They've got plenty of volunteers, but could use patriotic fabric and funds to store and ship these "care packages." Email to find out how you can help.

Remember Inklingo from Linda Franz?? It's a new method of preparing patches for machine piecing, hand piecing, and appliqué — perfect for quilters whether they use a rotary cutter or scissors, beginner to expert. If you can print an e-mail, you can use Inklingo!

Each Inklingo CD prints precise cutting and stitching lines on fabric, eliminating several traditional steps, like measuring, marking, and tracing, and it provides every piece on grain! Inklingo uses a tiny amount of ordinary Inkjet ink in 20 different colors to show up on almost any fabric, and which fade or wash out of the finished quilt.

Just insert the CD to launch Acrobat Reader (included) and print with your ordinary Inkjet printer. (Iron freezer paper to the fabric first.) There is nothing to install. Linda's instructions are excellent and the many shapes and sizes are described on her web site.

The Inklingo Shape Collection # 3 CD is hot off the press with several new features: a project book (I love the book), detailed patterns, worksheets, 30 more shapes, demo ideas, and more! Watch Linda's how-to video. Order your own Inklingo Shape Collection #3 CD and book.

Be good to each other and go sew something.
Ami Simms