February 2009

The Ami Simms Newsletter
February 2009
Copyright by Ami Simms

The weather is still cold and white. When I let Madison out on these cold winter mornings I'm afraid I'll find him frozen to the earth, mid-tinkle. Hope it is warmer where you are. Spring can't come soon enough for me.

Do you miss all my cute little stories that used to appear in my monthly newsletter? OK, do you miss Madison's contributions "From Under The Desk?" You don't have to miss them any more, he's on my blog! (And so am I. I just get more complaints that HE doesn't write in the newsletter any more.)

What is a blog? It's short for Web Log, and basically it's an online journal. Mine is called "Through The Eyes Of A Quilter" and I write in it several times a week, instead of just once a month. I was a little slow getting back to it after the holidays, but I posted 10 entries during the month of January. I wrote about my mom, shared 25 photos of pets who donated spare change to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative, showed how the Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts raised more than $45,000 at Quilt Festival in Houston, how I updated Mom's old towels to give me a hug every morning, showed you the new Alzheimer's stamp, told you about my new lenses, a new spaghetti sauce, a quilt I'm making out of Mom's shirts, loyalty punch cards at the China Buffet, and Madison wrote about wearing a blond wig!

So how can you read what I write? (And see the dog wearing a wig?)

1. The easiest way is to go here and type in your email address. Do it one time and you'll get each blog the morning it is published, delivered right to your email address, pictures and all.

2. You can get to my blog through this web site. Scroll up. Find the top gray button on the left side. Click "Ami's Blog."

3. You can go directly to the blog and check to see if I wrote anything.

You can also write comments on what I write. It's a pretty good system. Try it!

On page 42 of the February/March 2009 issue of Quilters Newsletter you'll see Mom and I smiling near the top of the page. We're there because I was voted "Favorite Quilting Philanthropist." If you had anything whatsoever to do with that, thank you very kindly. I appreciate the recognition and I am grateful for the honor.

Yes indeed; it's the first of the month. During the first 10 days of EVERY month the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative holds a "Slow & Silent" online auction. We take the quilts you donate and turn them into dollars for Alzheimer's research.

Bid here.

My new venture just went live: FindAQuiltTeacher.com. My hope is to make it easier for quilt guilds, shops, and conference organizers to find teachers and to present information about the teachers in a comprehensive and standardized format. If you're a teacher (recently discovered talent or "big star") or you hire teachers I invite you to be a part of it. There re some pretty big incentives if you want to get in on the ground floor. Check it out.

Frank Azzzinaro from F&M Upholstery Inc. is offering discontinued fabric swatch books to quilters in New Jersey who can use them for charitable purposes. Swatch sizes range from 6” x 9” to 12” x 12’’ with some larger. F & M Upholstery is located in Monroe Township, NJ. Pick up only. Contact Frank through his web site at www.fandmupholstery.com.

I'm now on FaceBook. Why, I don't know. I understand just enough about it to be dangerous. When I learn why I'm on FaceBook, I'll write again and tell you. Right now I feel as if I'm being swept along by the crowd. If you want to "friend me" tell me you read the newsletter. But please, good old fashioned email is still the best way to communicate with me if you want an answer any time soon. Interesting that "good old fashioned" and "email" can get that close to each other in a sentence. I am getting old.

They're having me for lunch in Lake Orion, Michigan on February 19th when "Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece" is displayed at the Olde World Canterbury Village. Let me say that again: I'll be the luncheon speaker. Details here.

The Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival will be my home away from home February 26-28 where I'll be teaching Twisted Sisters, A New Way to Piece: Applique, and String Quilting. I'll be giving two lectures one called "Living With Quilts: A Survival Guide" and the other called "Quilting & Caring: The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative." If you're attending, please tackle me in the hall and let me know you read the newsletter. I promise to hug back. My workshops have filled, but you can still register for my lectures.

In mid-March I'll be in Illinois with the Riverwalk Quilters Guild in Naperville and the Kankakee Quiltmakers Guild in Kankakee. If you haven't signed up for workshops yet, get to it. Contact information is on my 2009 Teaching Schedule.

My rotary template and pattern is going back to press for another reprint. This usually takes from 4 to 6 weeks. I've held back just enough to make sure students in my workshops have them, but there is an opportunity for you if you've always wanted to make this fun quilt and never got around to getting the template/pattern.

On February 10th the price is going up. We have to do that in order to cover our expenses. BUT, if you order before February 10th, you can get it at the OLD price. You just have to wait the 4 to 6 weeks for us to get them in, package them up, and ship them to you. I know. Economically, that's pretty stupid to offer you the lower price when I have to pay more for the ones you get. Take advantage before I wise up. (That will happen on the 10th, by the way.)

Order here.

If you're taking my Twisted Sisters workshops, don't worry. Like I said, I will bring enough for everyone in the class. Don't order them online.

There is a new entry in the Watch Your Step category featuring a floor in the Grand Bahamas.

There's a new addition to the What Were They Thinking Page that you will surely think about the next time you're on your way to class.

Karen Kay Buckley is one of my favorite people. She makes beautiful quilts and she's just fun to be around. Karen has a new DVD out for hand and machine applique. The close-up shots of the applique are just amazing. Karen gives you lots of information. You'll enjoy learning from her. Even if you're not into applique, you need to visit her web page. Make sure the volume on your computer speakers is turned up so you can hear Karen's video message. Way cute!

I don't remember when I bought my Firewall Laptop Briefcase from eBags.com, but it's been slung over my shoulder, jammed on top of my wheelie cart, stuffed under the seat in front of me, and dragged along to every workshop and lecture since I got it. It is absolutely perfect for what I need. There is a securely padded area for my laptop, a space for my digital projector, my purse, file folders, water bottle, iPod, camera, food, airline tickets, and sewing project. I hate to think how many thousands of miles it's logged, but it has become indispensable.

At the end of last year I noticed it was getting a little ratty looking. The seams were starting to fray. I looked around for something to replace it. Nothing else came close. Back on the eBags.com site I found my beloved Firewall briefcase again and noticed it has a lifetime guarantee. I contacted eBags, described what was going on, and 10 days later I had a replacement Firewall briefcase. OMG, here's a company that says they offer a lifetime guarantee and they really mean it! They were wonderful to deal with, unlike AT&T who have customer service agents who train from old manuals leftover from the Spanish Inquisition. (Seriously, 27 questions on what I might be doing wrong when my cell phone refuses to make or receive calls, and that was AFTER I had been interrogated in person at the service center!)

So, you want a great bag? Go to eBags.com. I couldn't be happier. They have a great selection and they have customer service people who wear wings and a halo.

Here they are. Have at it.

Please do. Forward the ENTIRE thing to all your friends and even some of your enemies. Everybody enjoys a laugh or two. 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.

But that's why I write a newsletter every month. Whatever gets left out of this one goes in the one next month. Theoretically, it's a good thing I forget so much otherwise I'd write nothing at all!

Ami Simms