January 2012

January 2012
I made this bowl for our daughter Jennie. I used a black and white striped fabric and really liked the secondary design pattern the stripes created. This time I brought the wrapped clothesline to the inside of the bowl to finish it — something a little different.

The Ami Simms Newsletter
January 1, 2012

1. Ah…January
2. New Goals
3. Double Diamond Rulers
4. On The Road Again
5. Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative
6. Tom Russell
7. Sew & Tell

Trite but true, the New Year is a time for new beginnings. Usually I don't get caught up in resolutions and big plans, but I feel a need for a new focus. Now is as good a time as any. So here's my list, big and little, and in no particular order.

1. If I want to accomplish more I have to get more organized. The family file drawer is in for a makeover. Bank statements, insurance, credit card statements, paid bills, important stuff all get sorted, with a lot of purging and pitching. Enough already; I can't close the drawer. By the end of the month I want it shipshape. I'd also like to match all those pesky credit card receipts from 2011 with their respective statements and reconcile the checking account. (Maybe I should just throw them out and start clean with January 2012?)

Tomorrow I’m moving all the pictures off my iPhone and onto my computer, sorting them by year. My Camera Roll is starting new for 2012.

And the cutting table is getting cleared off. If you can't swing a 24" rotary ruler, what's the point? Washed fabric waiting to be ironed? You're next!

2. The love handles are going. Chips and Coke is NOT a food group. I'm not going cold turkey, but I shall learn the word MODERATION. (By the way, did you know that you can get a Kid's Meal at Subway? They cut off 1" of bread and put the same amount of stuff on as a 6" sandwich. And you can swap out the milk and apple slices for Chips and Coke. And it's almost $2 cheaper than a 6" meal deal. I don't know how Jerrod did it. Those people behind the counter at Subway are all enablers!)

3. Balance. More time sewing, less time typing. If I can't get into my sewing room and play with fabric for at least one hour each day, the next morning I'm pulling the plug and going off the grid until I make up the time.

4. Take it out, put it back. If I have the energy to step over it, I should have the energy to pick it up and put it back where it belongs. This is against my genetic disposition, but I can try, right?

5. Cobwebs are not the sign of a clean home. I don't want squeaky clean, but something farther away from embarrassing is in order. I don't mind that family members see me get the vacuum out and ask if we're having company, but the cobwebs are history…at least the big ones.

6. Control the muse. I have been blessed with an active imagination. I can get juiced about a new project in about 3 seconds. That's terrific. Dropping what I'm supposed to be working on (the previous great idea) to work on the new great idea? Not so good.

This is the behavior I want to change the most. It is multi-tasking to the absurd. Lots of work, but very little Happy Dancing. Who's in charge here? I am! (Isn't that a great idea?!)

So, after my little rant above, what's on the horizon? What will I FINISH this year?

More blogs are on the way. (I've started half a dozen of them. All I need to do is finish them, right?)

Photographs of some finished quilts will be coming soon. (I'm down to the binding on two.)

Look for an online workshop announcement sometime in January (probably in my blog) for a string quilting workshop in February. (Thanks for the encouraging comments in response to my December newsletter.)

I'm going to finish work on my PowerWrapper tool for making fabric bowls even easier to make. You're going to be able to buy one soon and get all wrapped up in Fabric Bowling. (Look for prototype testing in my @Home Classroom with a local workshop in late March. Springtime in Flint; be a part of it.)

There's a new pattern off in the distance. Know any babies? (Scratch that. Know anybody who is pregnant? This may take a while, but 2012 for sure.)

When I taught for the Quilt Guild of Greater Houston last year, member Lill Hathorn gave me a beautiful bookmark she made using the small size Double Diamond Ruler. (She also donated a boatload of them to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative and helped us raise several hundred dollars at IQF in Houston. Interestingly, Kim Templin, creator of the Double Diamond ruler recently donated two quilts to the AAQI, #8778 and #8779. And, there is a January online auction quilt with Double Diamond embellishment. There are beautiful connections everywhere.)

I came up with my own Double Diamond Bookmark design and wrote my first e-pattern for it. (And by time you read this newsletter, it will be finished!) If you didn't make handmade gifts for everybody this past holiday, then you've got no excuse now. Harness your muse by starting now and making a few dozen each month using scraps from your projects throughout the year. They go fast and they mail easy. My e-pattern is FREE when you purchase the Double Diamond Rulers from me. Otherwise it's a modest $4.99. The first 10 people who order will get a little bit of pre-cut fabric from my stash to get them started.

The URL of the pattern and a password will be emailed to you when your order is processed. It has written directions, still pictures, and videos. (And it helped me learn how to do those online classes I want to offer.)

Order the Double Diamond Rulers here.

If you already have them, order my e-pattern here.

If want the ruler, fusible, plastic, and the cute little bags with a 10% discount, try the Starter Kit!

All three of my workshops at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival filled a while ago, but there may still be room in my lecture on Thursday night. I'll also be with the "Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope" exhibit on Preview Night. Please stop by for a hug.

March takes me just down the road to Monroe, Michigan for a lecture called "How Not To Make A Prize-Winning Quilt." Contact Elaine K. (efkmonroe@sbcglobal.net) if you'd like to attend.

Later in March I'll be lecturing for the Gathering Of Quilters in Toledo, Ohio. Kathy S. has all the details. (maka@buckeye-express.com) Come on over and join the fun.

Details about my teaching schedule are here.

PS: I'm looking for quilters in Virginia (or close by) to add on to a visit I'm trying to work out with the Meherrin Piecemakers Quilt Guild on October 13th, 2012. Does anybody meet just before or just after and need a workshop and/or lecture? Sharing me with another guild saves on my travel expenses.

The January online auction is ready for your bids. Get a great quilt; support Alzheimer's research:

And where does that money go? We just awarded another $30,000 for research! Cheer on the AAQI quilt donors and quilt buyers with a comment on the AAQI Update Blog. (It costs nothing to comment, but your words inspire us to continue the fight.)

Better yet, JOIN US!

Have you met Tom Russell yet? His quilts are amazing. He sews itty bitty pieces of fabric together to make "new" fabric and then creates quilted masterpieces with them. He also teaches and I just discovered his blog! (I signed up to get each new blog he writes delivered straight to my email inbox.) I loved his Notta Christmas Present post (where you will see an amazing quilt by Jim Gatling among other things) and his Magic Camera Mondays will knock your socks off. I seriously salivated. I am inspired!

Arlene Goldlberg finished her Rag Fur Jacket and Charlie Petersen sent me a picture of hers too! Great job, gals! You look beautiful!

Members of the Colonial Quilters and the Greater Houston Quilt Guild star in a short video shot at Fabric Bowling workshops hosted by their guilds. They are stars indeed. Thanks for inviting me to spend the day with you and for letting me film you!

Thank you for reading my newsletter. Some of you have been on this list for more than a decade. I so appreciate your friendship and your loyalty. If you're new to the newsletter, welcome! And to both groups, if there is anything you'd like to see here, let me know.

Wishing everyone a healthy and happy 2012,
Ami Simms
Mallery Press, Inc.
4206 Sheraton Drive
Flint, MI 48532

Also wishing you would forward this newsletter to two people you know.