Archive for January, 2010

Is This Up To Code?!

This can't be up to code!I travel quite a bit. And I’ve got loyalty cards for more than 54 different hotels to prove it. Never mind that I haven’t been able to earn a free hotel stay yet, because that’s another story.

Upon entering my hotel room for the first time, I cheerily announce to the empty room, “Hi Honey, I’m home!”

Then I busy myself with actually making myself at home. I’m not a coffee drinker so I move the coffee maker out of the bathroom. I know they have to put it somewhere, and the bathroom is often the only source of water, but esthetically speaking, even if I did drink coffee, I wouldn’t want to brew it in the john. It’s just not right.

I also unplug the  hair dryer as I bring my own. I’ve written about my big hair before, so you know how important this is.

I can’t remember which hotel I was calling home when I took these pictures, and I sincerely hope that mentioning it does not embarrass anyone who has made my housing arrangements in the recent past. While I can’t remember where this was, I know that my stay was comfortable as well as thought-provoking.  

So check out the “interesting” way this hotel devised to keep patrons from, I don’t know, walking off with their wall-mounted hair dryers?!


I’m no electrician. I’m not sure how this is supposed to be wired, but I have a feeling this isn’t it.

Put it this way, I’ve never seen this before. I can’t even imagine how they did it, but I have a feeling beer was involved.

When the hair dryer dies, what do they do? Kind of makes cleaning the splash guard a little more difficult than it needs to be. I guess it just proves there’s more than one way to plug in a hair dryer.

Thank goodness the hole in the wall is centered.

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January 21, 2010 at 8:22 pm 9 comments

The Seal of Approval

I like it!Mom was cleaning closets and I was helping.  When she feels the urge to purge (and clean and straighten) she usually takes a nap and waits until the urge passes.

But, for some reason she was MOTIVATED.  Did I mention I was helping?

Readers with very good eyes will notice that there is a bottle of glass cleaner that appears to be coming out of my tail area. It is not. It is on the steps, behind me waiting patiently with the other cleaning things.

First we remove, and sort. Then we clean. Then we put back. And in the middle we play. That’s what we were doing in the picture.

If I remember correctly, my sister (the girl person) found the gloves and put them on to see if Mom would notice. I am so happy when people notice me.

I think I look like the very noble creature, the seal. The black flippers are very atractive on me.  I approve of them. I approve of most things. Therefore, in this picture, you may think of me as the Seal of Approval.

Sadly we had to go back to cleaning.

No gloves were harmed in the making of this blog.

Respectfully submitted and awaiting your approval,
Madison T. Dog

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January 15, 2010 at 5:06 am 31 comments

An Unexpected Quilt Connection

Last time I visited Shipeshewana, Indiana I walked over to the antique mall to have a look. It was summertime and it was hot. I had shot my wad at the fabric department at Yoder’s and I only had an hour to look around, looking being the operative word. 

There were all sorts of treasures to examine, including a wonderful old crazy quilt. It was very past its prime as much of the fabric was disintegrating. Several pieces were in shreds.

I nosed over to see if there was a date anywhere.

Indeed there was! It was on a ribbon of some sort, right at the bottom.

Look, a date!

The year was 1891! Wow!

And then I noticed that the ribbon commemorated a reunion for the Michigan School for the Deaf in….


That’s my town. I could hardly believe my eyes.

There was nobody around I could even elbow to share this with. No camera; all I had was my cell phone. But how cool was that?!

Click on the image to see it larger.

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January 10, 2010 at 8:50 pm 32 comments

Take a Bao

It’s “Take Your Quilt to Lunch Month!”

Yi-lan at Ba Doy OwFor those of you in and around Flint, Michigan, Ba Doy Ow is offering a special treat if you bring a quilt in to their wonderful restaurant during the month of January. Why? Because when I blogged about Ba Doy Ow before a bunch of quilters showed up. Yi-lan,  the owner and chef , wants to thank you. (I’m also trying to get her interested in quilting!)

Big or little, show your quilt to the folks behind the counter, listen to their praise for your talent, and get a free BAO! 

A  free what?! A bao (pronounced BOW, as in “take a bow”) is a tasty, doughy, round thing with either something sweet or something savory inside. Like everything else at Ba Doy Ow it is steamed. Yum! And good for you, too!

(Flavor Tip: Peel the paper off the bottom before you eat it. The paper won’t hurt you, but there are other ways to get fiber in your diet.)

Sweet bao fillings include Red Bean, Custard, Sweet Taro, and Lotus Nut. The savory fillings are Bar-B-Q pork, Spinach, Mushroom, and Leek.

Spinach and mushroom baoI had a Spinach and Mushroom bao this time. See my steamed dumplings in the background? (Yes, I often photograph my food.)

Ba Doy Ow is on Linden Road, north of Genesee Valley Center on the east side of the street. Here’s a handy map.

Enjoy! And maybe I’ll see you there! Yes, I really DO eat here. A lot.

I will warn you, it will take you a LONG time to order unless you’ve eaten Taiwanese food before. Everybody is good at explaining what all the things are, but if you’re too timid to ask, just get a #1 combo. You’ll still have to pick the kind of dumpling you want and decide if you want a Coke or one of the 35 different teas they have.

In the interest of full disclosure, nobody paid me to write this. It was entirely my idea to blog about Ba Doy Ow. Yi-lan did give me a free bao for the photo, and  once I took a bite out of it I had to destroy the rest of the evidence along with the dumplings and pork rice I purchased.

If you don’t quilt, just say that I sent you and you’ll get a free bao. Unless you mispronounce my name. Then the deal’s off.

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January 6, 2010 at 11:23 pm 18 comments

The Sound of Shears Delight

I have two really strong memories about scissors. When I was very young I remember that my mother kept her sewing scraps in the bottom drawer that was built into the wall of our hallway, between the kitchen and the bathroom. The three built-in drawers were always a mystery to me. Where did they go when they closed?!

The contents were a mystery too, filled with a jumble of colorful fabrics of every texture. Mom took in sewing to help ends meet. She fixed zippers, hemmed pants, and let out waistbands for families in the neighborhood. She also made all her clothes and all of my clothes.

I was allowed to play in the scrap drawer whenever I wanted. When I was about three I remember taking her scissors and hacking off a chunk beautiful pink fabric to play with. I hadn’t taken the fabric all the way out of the drawer, I just pulled and some came out. I remember feeling so proud that I opened the heavy drawer as far as I had all by myself (it didn’t slide easily) and negotiated the cutting with Mom’s big shears.  Turned out I cut a rather large piece of out of my favorite pink dress!  Mom had put in the drawer until she had time to lengthen the hem.

It’s funny that I remember that as a “good” memory. I can imagine how Mom must have felt, but she barely scolded me. She just held up the dress to examine the hole, and pretty much that was that. I remember being way more disappointed than she was; I had really liked the dress. Mom had an extraordinary sense of perspective. If she had made a big deal about it, I may never have gone on to sew my first garment a decade later, making a Superman outfit for one of the cats, complete with cape, hat (plus ear holes) and tail cozy. (But that’s a whole other story!)

The second scissor memory is not a particular eve nt, but rather a sound. It’s the sound made by a heavy pair of scissors cutting fabric on a wooden table. What an amazing sound! I love it for the melodious rumble it makes and for the anticipation it triggers. To me that particular sound is filled with promise, excitement, and challenge for what will come next:  SEWING!

Maybe that’s why I thought of it this morning. It’s a great sound with which to begin the New Year. So, put down your rotary cutter for a minute, find the big scissors, and cut something on a wooden table. Enjoy the memories it conjures for you and savor the excitement to come.

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Back to the rest of Ami’s Newsletter.

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January 1, 2010 at 2:09 am 32 comments

Ami Simms

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