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The Ami Simms Newsletter
© by Ami Simms
All Rights Reserved.
Glad to see you. In my mind’s eye, of course. (No, I’m not psychic.)
TO THE LAKE
We took Madison to the lake a few times in August. It was a blast. He'll tell you all about it. See
FLAVORED SHAMPOO UPDATE
Many of you liked the shampoo story. Figures. It wasn't YOU spitting out the suds. It reminds me of another stupid thing I did with my teeth. Years ago, before I started quilting, I was but a young and stupid thing. I was making a wall-hanging with cheap polyester fabric and brightly-colored yarn. I seem to remember making long running stitches: Sashiko on steroids. Not realizing that needles come in sizes and that there was probably a needle actually made for yarn, I just found a needle in the drawer that I could thread. It had a huge eye, so the fat yarn went through it quite easily. The needle was long, sharp, and, oddly, triangular! It had three flat sides running from point to eye. I don’t ever recall seeing one like it before or since.
I didn’t give the needle much thought as I yanked the 4-ply yarn through whatever hideous thing I was constructing, until I realized the intersection of those three flat sides made sharp edges. Those sharp edges were cutting into my fingers as I wrestled the needle in and out. I remember thinking I should use a pair of pliers, but rejected the idea when I realized the gripping ridges on the inside of the pliers might damage the needle. Yup, that’s me. Always thinking.
Then I came upon an oh-so-much-better idea. I put the needle between my teeth and gave it a good yank! Brilliant. Having placed one of those nasty sharp edges I had been so concerned about damaging the pliers with squarely between my front teeth, in just several seconds I was able to create a triangular divot smack dab in the middle of my upper right front tooth! It was one of those rare Darwinian moments when one realizes, in almost slow motion, that one is doing something very stupid. But, it’s impossible to stop. The muscles are already in motion, and the brain is watching, as if it were having an out-of-body experience. Had this adventure taken place with something more dangerous than a sewing needle, I might indeed have been removed from the gene pool. And, it would have served me right.
Thankfully, it was only emotionally painful. Amazingly, excising a 1/8 inch-deep triangular notch from one’s front tooth doesn’t cause the tooth to even throb. I was expecting a small trickle of blood at the very least. Nothing. At this point I even hesitate to mention the fact that I physically felt nothing. I understand piercing some body parts is quite painful and, having shared my experience with you now, I fear I may unwittingly encourage those who like that sort of thing to prairie point their teeth as a new form of personal expression.
My dentist, by the way, was able to correct my triangular defect by buzzing off the bottoms of my front teeth. Yes, both of them. Once the right front tooth was divot-free, the left had to be shortened to match. I can still remember the smell of my own super-heated tooth particles as he buzzed so close to my nostrils. I also remember him trying unsuccessfully to stifle several giggles. Sometimes one’s journey through life serves only an example to others of what NOT to do.
Speaking of teeth, does anybody know of something dogs can chew on to clean their teeth? Mattie loves to chew on sticks, but I'm afraid that's not too good for his insides. Meanwhile, I'm trying to get him accustomed to having his teeth brushed. See
TOO MANY TOMATOES?
What is it with people who garden? Don't they realize that people to whom they might be married, who gave up cooking six years ago, and who eat raw tomatoes at the rate of one per month, might not want to eat 47 tomatoes per day throughout the entire month of August? And what ever possessed them to plant a half-acre of tomato plants, for heaven sake?!
We're swimming in tomatoes. I've got them coming out of my ears, and, you know, you can't GIVE them away because everybody else is in the same boat. THINK, people! Maybe if you grew ONE plant and talked it into bearing not more than one tomato per week throughout the entire year, you'd have something good here.
I did find a way to get rid of 6 to 8 ripe tomatoes: Go to Little Caesar's and buy two uncooked pizza crusts, commonly referred to as DOUGH. At $.50 a pop, this is a real bargain. You do have to mash them flat with a rolling pin, and that's a big mess, but it's worth it.
On your way home from the pizzeria, stop by the grocery store. Avoid doing any other grocery shopping. This just slows you down. Plus it's so annoying to have to come home and put it all away, not to mention having to stand there wasting valuable quilting time while they bag it, and wasting still more time while you push the cart to the car and lift all the heavy bags into the trunk. You could sprain a quilting finger or something.
Just buy a head of garlic, and a plastic box of FRESH basil. (All the food at Farmer Yack comes in plastic. It's the law.)
While you've been shopping for garlic and basil, the pizza dough has been sitting in the nice warm car. Puffy is good. Drive home and mince the garlic (3 cloves, peeled) and the basil (5 or 6 leaves) as fine as you can. Wash and cube the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces and throw them in mixing bowl. Add minced garlic and basil, salt and pepper to taste, and refrigerate.
Remove the batting from the oven and pre-heat to about 425 degrees.
Mash the pizza dough into any flat shape. They must have machines at Little Caesars' to get the pizzas round. This is impossible do to at home, so don't bother. This is just cooking. Someone will eat this in an hour and all your hard work will be gone. It's so unlike quilting where imperfect shapes stitched in cloth will be around forever to haunt you, which is why we care if the shapes aren't perfect. Cooking just doesn't matter.
Grease two flat metal "thingies" that go in the oven. I think they may be called cookie sheets. I don't remember. That spray stuff is fine. Use cooking spray, not WD-40. Spray baste won't work either. You'll never get the pizza off the pan.
Cook the crusts for 10 minutes, or until brown. Or, if you forget to pre-heat, longer. You may have to fiddle with the temperature/time element. I can never figure this out. I take the pizzas out of the oven after all germs have been rendered harmless, or just prior to incineration.
Call your family to the table. Spoon the tomato mixture over the pizzas. Drizzle with olive oil, slice, and enjoy.
This is, by the way, really tasty. In Italian it's called BRUSCHETTA. You can also add onions, but you don't need to. The garlic will be enough. Trust me. Nobody will want to get near you for several days until all the garlic finally oozes out your pores and dissipates into the air. This will increase your time alone significantly. You could quilt!
NEW YORK PIZZA PARTY
Speaking of pizza…Monday, September 22 is the last day to sign up for a "Pizza Party Table Runner" class with Jeanne Simpson at Crosstowne Quilting in Webster, NY. The class will be held on Saturday, Sept 27th from 10 am-3 pm. Employees will be wearing pizza aprons they've made to serve lunch. What's on the menu? Pizza, of course! Deduce which employee made which apron and earn from 15% to 25% off your purchases for the day. (Phone them at 585-872-2080 or email them at Melissapss@aol.com for more information.)
PIZZA PARTY SHOW & TELL
Do send me photographs of anything you make with my fabric. I'd love to see them and share your accomplishments on the web page. If you've done one of the pizza kits (read: FINISHED) all you have to do is send me your name. If it's anything else, send a picture too! Check it out at
PIZZA FLAVORED IRON CARRY
Or, Iron Caddy, if you’re not from Australia! Either way, Bonnie G. from Ohio took my Pizza Party fabric, and Amanda Crichton’s pattern for a Quliter’s Ruler Bag & Iron Carry, and came up with a delicious combination! See
MORE NEW PRODUCTS
Take a look at the new Korean Scissor Fobs. What’s that? Just a great way to personalize your scissors, clippers, luggage handle, camera case…anything that needs a little pizzazz! See them at
Unlcle Bud's book is just about finished. It will be ready for the printer in a few weeks. You've got a chance at the discounted pre-publication price for a little while longer. That will "expire" as soon as we take delivery of the books. See
Helen Marshall has brought out a new and improved version of her tremendously popular Tiny Travel Tote. (The one I call “The Third Boob.”) The instructions have been revamped so they are easier to follow. You can order a printed version of the pattern we will mail to you, or we can send it via e-mail for you to print on your own printer. Please see
Sinking Sailboat has also been re-vamped. Get it as a traditional pattern, or get it via e-mail for less and print it yourself. See
The Bikini Quilt is in the process of being patterned. It recently appeared in Shoreline Quilts and we sold out of the book in which the pattern for the block was originally featured. (That book is now out of print.) This is definitely a case of the squeaky wheel getting the brand new pattern! It's coming soon. I'll announce it in the newsletter as soon as it's ready. See
Who was my "Chain Yanker" on the Quilters' Portable Workstation? You know who you are. Contact me, please…..
WHAT'S UP WITH AMI?
See how I’ve upgraded my carry-on!
Please bid generously on the six auction quilts I just put up on eBay. Proceeds benefit two wonderful charities. See the quilts at
Would you like to help make a charity quilt? There's a funny story about UFOs at
For those of you who have completed their "assignments" never fear, as soon as I finish building my booth for Houston, I'll be able to photograph them for the web page. If you haven't finished, remember the deal was for ONE MONTH. Extensions are granted immediately and for any excuse under the sun. Just keep me up to date on the progress, or ship it back for somebody else!
Hugs to the kind and generous people who paid up in bucks or blocks (or both, for their free Puppus Doggus patterns: Frank Palmer, The Conways, and Rebecca Stern. To see what the hub-bub is all about, see
Kathi and Hal Zeller, the friendly folks at DisplayAway have come up with an incredible offer for anyone who is planning to make my "That's Amore" pizza quilt. These guys are tops! DisplayAway, as you might remember from previous newsletters is a patented displaying system that safely and easily exhibits quilts and other textiles. Well, anyway, they have designed one out of poplar hardwood to fit my That's Amore Quilt and they are offering it at 50% off for readers of this newsletter. Just call in your order and tell them you want the "half-off Pizza Price." These DisplayAways are hand-made, signed, and numbered. What better incentive to get the thing done than a beautiful displaying system to instantly exhibit your quilt once it is finished? For more details call 1-888-487-7233, email Zellerwood@aol.com, or visit them at www.DisplayAway.com. See them at AQS show in Nashville (August 27-30; booth #1652) or at the PA National Quilt Extravaganza (September 18-21; booth #425). See . Special offer good until the end of the month.
WIN COOL STUFF
Not only that, but the Zellers are donating one as a door prize this month. You'll get a 26" long DisplayAway, made especially for my That's Amore pizza quilt. (Don't worry, it will fit any quilt 26" wide or smaller.) Made of poplar hardwood and ready for you to finish with whatever stain you like best (or, cover it in fabric!) this DisplayAway is hand made, signed, and numbered. It's a work of art in itself! It comes with hanging bracket and hardware so you're ready to roll as soon as you put the last stitch in the binding. See
CONVERSATIONAL FABRIC SWAPS
Are you making a Picture Play Quilt? If so, you might be interested in participating in one of the conversational fabric swaps hosted by Carolyn. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org Need a Picture Play Quilts book? See
WATCH YOUR STEP
Melissa Dawson has three additions to this page. See the first three entries at
WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?
There's an unusual sign found in a hotel laundry room by Judith Peabody at
Janet Rutherford made a Twisted Sisters quilt out of African fabric.
Lori Prosser made two Twisted Sisters!
WANNA GO TO A QUILT SHOW?
Thanks to Sue for this link:
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
I'll be with the McComb County Quild Guild in the Detroit area, dressed as an Amish person for their lecture on the 8th of this month. Info: miklos2000@Comcast.net.
Later, on the 24th, I'll be flying to Utah for several presentations for the Utah State Quilt Guild. Info: NTBQuilts@msn.com
"PIE A LA MODE"
My new fabric line is just about done. I'm building my booth for International Quilt Market in Houston at the end of October. We're setting up the whole space: 10 x 20 feet in my garage next week. I'm doing one booth like a pizza parlor for the Pizza Party line and the other as a country kitchen for the Pie a la Mode line. If the pictures turn out, you'll be able to see a six-foot pizza oven, sink (with running water) and countertops, and an electric stove! That Steam-A-Seam stuff is AMAZING! You'll just have to imagine the pie fabric for now. I'm having WAY too much fun with this!
UNTIL NEXT TIME
If you enjoyed this newsletter please forward it to your friends. They can sign up for the next one at www.AmiSimms.com. Click on FREE NEWSLETTER.
Meanwhile, keep your needles threaded and the pointy end down.
Note: This newsletter was e-mailed on September 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 October issue.
Madison At The Lake
Toothbrushing A Dog
Your Pizza Party Quilts
Iron Caddy Pattern
Korean Scissor Fobs
Uncle Bud's Book
Tiny Travel Tote Pattern
Sinking Sailboat Pattern
Quilts on Ebay
Help Make Finish UFOs for Charity
Almost Free Puppus Doggus Pattern
DisplayAway Quilt Hanging Sytem
Win Cool Stuff
Picture Play Quilts
What Were They Thinking
Janet Rutherford's Twisted Sisters
Lori Prosser's Twisted Sisters
Lori Prosser's Second Twisted Sisters
Quilt Show Website
Cool Web Site
Ami's web page