Archive for October, 2009

Redneck Tape Measure

Redneck Tape MeasureMy friend and fellow quilting instructor Kathy Kansier showed me her “Redneck Tape Measure” when we recently taught at the same quilting conference this summer.

Apologies to Jeff Foxworthy.

She takes a few inches of 1/4″-wide masking tape and wraps it around the thumb of her dominant hand.  Instant measuring tool and literally stuck to you so you can’t misplace it.

As you pick up a piece of fabric to confirm a 1/4″ seam allowance you no longer have to hunt for a ruler or measuring tape. Just line it up with your thumb!Pinch and measure!

Is this not the slickest trick!? Just pinch and go!

Kathy Kansier is a quilting instructor from Ozark, Missouri.

Thanks, Kathy!

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October 30, 2009 at 12:16 am 16 comments

My Favorite Adjective is a Town!

Quilty indeed!Sue R. from Novi, Michigan sent me two photographs from her travels through Ireland last year.  Imagine that!

Have a cold one, or warm one as the case may be, Quilty!

If you live visit or live in a “quilty’ town, or one that conjures up images of patchwork, sewing, or other stitchy pursuits, send me a photo and I’ll add it to the blog. No “PhotoDhopping” allowed. Only pictures YOU take. ONE image per email. This offer is good until I get overwhelmed and need to move on to other things.

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October 22, 2009 at 3:56 am 4 comments


A special request today! Please copy and paste this  into an email and send it to any quilters or quilt lovers you might know! Help me spread the word. Tell me how you helped in the COMMENT section below.

Ami :)

Four Quilting Heavyweights Face Off To Fight Alzheimer’s

Smackdown Quilts

In honor of National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month four small quilts by world renowned quilters Hollis Chatelain, John Flynn, Becky Goldsmith, and Sue Nickels will be auctioned to benefit the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative(AAQI). The no-holds-barred, knock-down, drag-out, head-to-head, quilt-to-the-death (not really), grudge match will be held November 1-10 in the AAQI “Smackdown Auction Arena.”

The 10-day online silent auction is all about bragging rights—and raising awareness and money to fight Alzheimer’s disease.

Smackdown Artists

Chatelain, Flynn, Goldsmith, and Nickels created miniature masterpieces representative of their quilting style specifically for this head-to-head challenge. The quilts range in size from 16″ x 16″ to 18″ x 18″.

The World Quilt Federation Smackdown quilts will be shown prior to the auction, for the first time anywhere, at the International Quilt Festival (IQF), Booth #4660, in Houston, October 14-18. In a gutsy move Smackdown promoter Ami Simms (a.k.a. Founder and Executive Director of the AAQI) will allow the Smackdown quilts to be purchased at the IQF. Each quilt carries a price tag of $10,000.


“I’m fully expecting all four quilts to be available for the November 1st auction,” said Simms, “but I’m pretty sure the George R. Brown has a defibrillator on site just in case.”

A Viewers’ Choice component to the “Smackdown” will also be offered. Anyone wishing to support the work of the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative can make online donations to the nonprofit in amounts as little as $5 beginning immediately, assigning their donation to one of the four quilts. One dollar equals one vote. The quilt amassing the most votes will win the Viewer’s Choice Award. The Viewer’s Choice Award donations have no bearing on the sale/auction outcome whatsoever.

About the AAQI
The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative ( is a national, grassroots charity whose mission is to raise awareness and fund research. The AAQI auctions and sells donated quilts, and sponsors a nationally touring exhibit of quilts about Alzheimer’s. The AAQI has raised more than $316,000 since January 2006. Ami Simms of Flint, Michigan is the founder and executive director of the AAQI, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit operated entirely by volunteers. She is a quilter. Her mother had Alzheimer’s.

*The World Quilt Federation is totally fictitious. Any similarity to professional wrestling is obviously intentional and all in good fun, although the winner will receive this cute belt.

WQF Smackdown Champion Belt made by John Flynn.


Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative
1200 Creekwood Trail
Burton, MI  48509

October 11, 2009 at 1:54 pm 27 comments

I Was On The Radio

Erika Funke WVIA radioI had the honor and priviledge of being interviewed by ArtScene host and producer Erika Funke at NPR affiliate WVIA in Pittston, Pennsylvania this past June. 

I was teaching for several guilds in the area. Erika was willing to stay late at the station, and the quilters toting me around were willing to make a detour so that I could talk about taking care of Mom and the Alzheiemer’s Art Quilt Initiative.

I’ve been interviewed a couple of times over the phone where I can pace and perspire in the comfort of my own home, but actually being in a radio studio, an NPR studio, was so exciting, and thrilling! It was also just a little terrifying. 

In addition to worrying what Erika would ask, what I would say, and who would hear it, I also worried about uncontrolled coughing, sneezing, hiccupping and other embarrassing bodily noises that might be released in my nervous state.

Talking on the radio with Erika Funke.As soon as we began talking, Erika put me at ease.  I knew she was genuinely interested and she was going to help me through this.

Yes, the microphone has to be right in front of your nose. We peered around our respective obstacles as we chatted.

Erika is part mime, part actress, and part mind reader. Without speaking (with just facial expressions, body language, and hand gestures) she let me know if I was on track, or if I needed to expand on a thought, offer clarification, or leave it and move on. 

Talking with Erika Funke, WVIA in PennsylvaniaAfter I returned home I sent Erika digital files I had made of Mom and I singing together. You’ll hear those at the end of the interview.  

Please listen to the podcast of our interview, made available by WVIA on their website. Here is the direct link:

There is information at the end of the interview about the Susquehanna Valley Chorale. They have just hosted “Alzheimer’s: Forgetting Piece by Piece” and will be performing “Alzheimer’s Stories” for the very first time on October 9 in Bucknell University’s Weis Center for the Performing Arts in Lewisburg, PA.

Composer Robert S. Cohen and librettist Herschel Garfein created a stunning 30-minute, three movement choral work with chamber orchestra accompaniment from the comments about Alzheimer’s posted gathered on the Chorale’s web site. If you are anywhere near Lewisburg, don’t miss it.

This interview was first broadcast on October 1, 2009.

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October 7, 2009 at 4:33 pm 10 comments

Ba Doy Ow (That New Taiwanese Place)

Ba Doy Ow We have a new restaurant here in Flint that is absolutely fabulous. It only took me about six weeks to be able to say the name without stumbling, but you may be more linguistically agile than I am. Say it just the way it sounds: Ba (rhymes with “la”) Doy (rhymes with “boy”) Ow (like you just stubbed your toe). Translation? “I’m Hungry!”

Eat at Ba Doy Ow and you won’t be hungry for long, even if you can’t say it right. Most often we just refer to it as “That New Taiwanese Place.” It’s right here on Linden Road north of Genesee Valley Center and I am learning that Taiwanese food is not very much like Chinese food. EVERYTHING is steamed, except for the soft drinks and the 35 different kinds of tea.  No egg roll, no fried rice, and no sweet and sour pork. You won’t miss them, trust me. And it’s HEALTHY food!

If you’ve ever had dim sum, little mouthfuls in a soft noodle covering, you’re getting warmer, but again at Ba Doy Ow, nothing is fried, everything is steamed.

Yi-Lan is the young owner and chef.  Tiffany joins her behind the counter most weekday mornings through lunch. They are both happy to explain the menu (multiple times without making you feel like an idiot) and they set the tone for one of the most friendly and welcoming establishments in Flint.

What should you order? Whatever is on special is a good bet. I’ve never had anything I didn’t like, plus it includes a tea or a soft drink. I’ve tried the rice and pork, bar-b-q noodles, steamed cabbage, bok choy, broccoli and garlic sauce, and more.

Bao, cabbage, and shumaiOn the far right of my tray you’re looking at a Red Bean Bau. A “bau” is something yummy in the middle of a soft covering. For sweet centers (red bean, taro)the outside of a bao is made of rice flour dough. Smaller baos have savory centers (mushroom, spinach, bar-b-q pork) and the outside is more noodle-like.  In the middle of my tray is steamed cabbage. On the right are shumai, open faced dumplings with meat or vegetables inside. I’m on a chicken shumai kick right now, alternating every once in a while with shrimp.

BaDoyOw dumplingYou’ll alway find steamed dumplings on the menu at Ba Doy Ow. You can get them in combination plates or 10 at a time like I do. Choices are pork and cucumber, pork and leek, pork and mushroom, pork and celery, pork and Nappa cabbage, and vegetables, or chicken.

Are you getting hungry? I am! How about lunch? Join me on Wednesday, October 7th for a quick STEAMED bite to eat. I’ll be at Ba Doy Ow at about noon. Here’s a little map.  See you there!

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October 3, 2009 at 2:55 pm 5 comments

Ami Simms

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