September 2007
September 2007
Copyright by Ami Simms

Welcome to Fall. Say good-bye to the sweet cherries and hello to crisp apples. I guess I can get used to it. The leaves haven't started to turn here in Michigan, and it's still light outside after dinner, so I'm a happy camper. So is Madison as he enjoyed the fountain at Riverbank Park in downtown Detroit (above).

Huge thanks to everyone who has participated in any way in the AAQI. I've just set up a new web page called the AAQI Honor Roll. Please add your name to be recognized.

More than 175,000 people have seen the traveling exhibit which returns to the greater Chicago area this month. More than 1,500 Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts have been donated, with more on the way every day. The book is going gangbusters with all profit donated to the cause. More than $90,000 has been raised since the project began less than two years ago. Next stop? The Oprah Winfrey Show! That's what I'm aiming for. Here is my dream:

I want Oprah to use the exhibit quilts (hung all around the studio) to begin a dialogue about Alzheimer's. The quilters who made them and the quilters who are making Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts have amazing and courageous stories to share about how they have been touched by this disease. Let them share their stories of heartbreak and hope, of ordinary people making a difference. It's about time Alzheimer's got a national audience and Oprah could do so much to let families battling this disease know that others care, and are working towards a cure.

Did I mention that Oprah needs to get a little more "hands on?" I think she ought to learn how to quilt! I can think of a really small project, just 9" x 12", for her to learn on. (Gee, do you happen to know of ANYBODY who would be willing to teach her whose name happens to rhyme with salami?)

I want the studio audience filled to the brim with QUILTERS. Admission for that day would be a Priority: Alzheimer's Quilt — small enough to hold up to the camera as it pans by and get everybody at home thinking about threading a needle, and just big enough to "hide behind" if you're shy. Who wants to come to Chicago with me?

Email is the only way to reach Oprah's producers. That's where you, dear reader, come in. I need an avalanche of emails suggesting that Oprah feature the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative on a future show. Can you help me? Please send a short email. Click here right now and you'll see how easy it is.

Anyone who has ever driven with me knows that I am geographically challenged. I've written about it before — I bought a sewing machine because I got lost!

Several years ago I was given a Garmin PDA with a GPS unit. I have been calling the Garmin people ever since suggesting that they could make a fortune if they'd get rid of the "Annoyed Woman" (who tells me, snottily, to turn left in 400 feet) with celebrity voices I could download and install myself. I am so tired of being given directions by someone rolling their eyes at me. It's like she is betting on me missing the turn. (And I hate it when she's right.) Like I even know how far away 400 feet is! Hey, I do other things really well.

I think Garmin should get a bunch of different celebrities to record the directions that are piped through the little charger cord sticking out of the cigarette lighter, which if you have ever wondered, CAN be totally silenced by a tragically misplaced handbag, causing the owner of said handbag to almost drive into a large lake because she couldn't hear the Nasty Lady barking out the turns. If you WANT witchy, you could download Rosanne Barr or Miss Piggy.

Me? I want Antonio Banderas in my Garmin. As I slide into the seat his melodic voice would intone, "Oooh, Ami, you look wonderful, have you lost weight?" He'd preface each turn with, "Now Ami, I don't want you to be alarmed, but you are going to be turning left in a little bit, right by that McDonalds." Later…"Ami, dear one, your other left. But that's OK, I like this side of the street, too."

Instead of the Ice Princess snarling, 'Re-CALCULATING" at me every time I don't do exactly as she demands, Antonio would just say, "Wait just a moment, darling, I'm finding even a better way to get you there." And, when I complete a direction successfully, he'd exclaim, "That's my girl!" On boring stretches where I now to hear "continue 168 miles, then turn right" we'd chat about quilting.

Madison T. Dog here for my monthly column. I have lots to report, mostly about me. First I discovered cockleburs. Two of them attacked me out in the yard some place, I wasn't really paying attention where. I mean in the yard "WHERE." On ME, it was my right ear. Mom had to cut them out and then I looked uneven, so she tried to fix the other ear to look like the first ear. (She has a problem with symmetry.) Now I just look out of whack. And no, there is no picture because I am too embarrassed.

Before my ear job, Mom and Aunt JoAnn (who really isn't my aunt but we just call her that because she loves me so much) took me out to dinner. A local restaurant has a yearly event where they invite dogs to come to a buffet dinner. There were 65 dogs besides Morgan and me. Morgan is Aunt JoAnn's Leader Dog in Training, so he gets to go everywhere anyway, but since I'm a retired service dog, I don't. Since I miss working, Mom takes me as many places as she can so that's mostly why we went.

We ate in a big tent outside. There were all kinds of dogs from two Bernese Mountain dogs (think furry pony) to a Teacup Chihuahua (think hairless rat). Mom and Aunt JoAnn had a fancy people buffet with 112 different main courses, and us dogs each got a homemade dog bone.

I wore my tuxedo since it was a fancy restaurant, and Morgan went as a Leader Dog who needs glasses. (Don't encourage him…) He actually wore a pair of bifocals and my Hawaiian shirt. What a goof. We were not the only dogs dressed up, but we looked the best and got our picture taken. That's us on the front page of the local paper

In my spare time this month I have discovered a whole city of new friends right here in our own back yard. These little animals are called "Darn Moles." I am not sure why they are called this, but I'm positive it is sewing related. Perhaps it's because they live in little underground tunnels all over our yard which collapse very easily, and they are highly acclaimed for their mending skills. In fact, Dad, who has very little interest in sewing, is highly amused by their darning prowess. I believe he thinks darning is good exercise for them as he often stomps on their tunnels while calling their names.

I just wanted to meet a Darn Mole, so I dug one up. They are delightful and enjoy playing. We played "Flip The Darn Mole In The Air And Watch Him Run Back In His Hole After He Lands." Dad says I should play that game a lot. Mom says next time I play Fetch with Dad, I should swap out a Darn Mole for the tennis ball and drop THAT it his lap.

There are five new entries to look at. I just keep shaking my head!

I'll be teaching for the Salt Creek Quilters in LaGrange, IL on September 13, 14, and 15h. I'll be spending Sunday the 16th of September with the Alzheimer's quilts at the Faithful Circle Quilting Guild's annual show in Woodridge, IL. On Monday I'll be presenting a lecture and a workshop for the Prairie-Pine Quilt Guild in Mexico, MO. For a complete list of where I'll be teaching, please see my teaching schedule.

  • Sue Kummerfeld shares her String Quilt with beautiful applique.
  • Patti Methe shares a special quilt she received from her Mom, Judy Urban.
  • Julie Waldman made a psychedelic Twisted Sisters quilt, and Charla Viehe named her chicken-fabric Twisted Sisters "Fowl Play."

There are 23 little quilts on the auction block for your bidding pleasure right now. This month, I thought I'd include some made by quilt teachers (and designers) whose names you might recognize for a "back to school" auction: Georgia Bonesteel, Carol Bruce, Karen Kay Buckley, Elsie Campbell , Sharyn Craig, Valerie Hearder, Helen Marshall, Bonnie Lyn McCaffery, Brenda Papadakis, Linda M. Poole, Joan Shay, Alexandra (Sandy) Schweitzer, and Wendy F. Strumwasser. Please bid generously, assured that 100% of your winning bid goes to fund Alzheimer's research. This auction runs until September 10th at noon, Eastern time. Hurry, here's how much time you have left until the auction ends:

In an effort to make my life easier, I am trying out a new auction site for two items. Two Little Treasures quilts by Lucille Doxey are offered right now in a 10-day auction at Auction Fire. If this works, I won't have to update each bid manually. Please take a look and try it out. I welcome your feedback.

Bid on "The Pampered Sultan."

Bid on "Stacked Hearts."

Thanks, Karen B. from Texas for sharing this pretty amazing puppet show.

Do you know about Google Alerts? Google will send you an email with a link to web pages anywhere on the Internet according to specific key words you request. Every time a new page is created (or Google finds an old one) you'll be notified. That's how I know if my name appears anywhere on the Internet. And here you thought I was psychic.

Jing is a free program (at least for now) that you can use to capture images AND video on your computer monitor. You can share the photo or video in an email, web page, or just go look at it. The program creates a URL and automatically puts it on your "clipboard." I just put a Jing video showing you how to search for a Priority: Alzheimer's Quilt. (If I had a microphone, I probably could have put sound with it.) At the end of the video is a link to download Jing if you want to. Try it! (Click the word "here" in the first paragraph.

I'm going to be interviewed about the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative by Jacqueline Marcell on Saturday September 22nd at 3pm Pacific time. Jacqueline is the author of Elder Rage and is the host of "Coping with Caregiving" an Internet radio program heard free worldwide.

I get to suggest some of the interview questions. So, let me have 'em. What do YOU think listeners will want to know? Email me.

You can listen to the interview live on the 22nd, or you can listen to it up to a year later as it will be in the WS Radio online archives.

Please do. Forward the ENTIRE thing to all your friends and even some of your enemies. Please do NOT forward just part of it. Somehow my name gets dropped off when these things float through cyberspace and since I’m writing them for free, I should at least get credit for writing them. If you write a guild newsletter (real paper or online) and would like to “reprint” a particular part of the newsletter you must ask first. Here’s how.

Thanks to Sandy Arendsen for the lovely card and kind words.

Please don't forget to email Oprah!
Ami Simms