June Newsletter (5-cornered pizza, a new pattern, and lots more)

Welcome to the June newsletter!

It’s been a busy couple of days around here. On Wednesday my car was held hostage in the garage. The garage door would only go up about two feet. Even I know that’s not enough clearance to get the car out. Had that fixed.

On Thursday the new faucet for the kitchen sink finally came. The old one decided the sink on the left didn’t need water any more. It was so corroded the plumber had to take the entire sink out, turn it upside-down, and saw off the old faucet. Major mess.

This afternoon the sewer backed up. Let me clarify: I did not move backwards, the other sewer (same spelling) that lives in the basement stopped draining and didn’t tell us. Water everywhere. Nasty water. Late this afternoon the sewer was “snaked” and everything is flowing nicely. Newsletter first; cleaning the basement second. (Buy stock in Clorox, I’m just saying…) Moving on…


PIZZA CORNERS

Electric-Pizza- CROPPEDWhen Debbie (my trusted assistant and order-filler) and I want to splurge for lunch we order pizza slices from Ruggero’s, one of our local Italian restaurants. Their pizza is rectangular, deep dish, and delicious. My quilted pizza hardly does it justice, although it is much higher in fiber. Ruggero’s makes their pizza in a huge pan and the corners are the best. Well, for me, they’re “the only.” I am a corner snob. Crust rules. When we order we beg for corners.

pentagon pizzaPersonally, I think Ruggero’s should give up the large rectangle with only four corners and go for small, square, individually sized pizzas with just four pieces so every slice is a corner. Better yet, they should make a five-cornered pizza so I could get even more corners! Oh yeah! Bake it in the shape of a pentagon like this PhotoShopped version only with real pepperoni!

As I pondered the mathematical possibilities, taking the area inside the crust and the area of crust itself and dividing by pie (pizza pie, obviously), my mind wandered…


HAVE A BALL!

Have a (fabric) ball!Speaking of 5-cornered thins, did you know that if you sew pentagons together they make a ball? Have you ever made a fabric ball out of pentagons? Me neither!

So I tried it! What fun! I had to think for a bit on the best way to join the patches. And (how about this for a coincidence?!) I thought of FIVE different ways to stitch them together!

Can you guess what they are? (Hint: none of the ways involve duct tape or baling wire.)

  1. English Paper Piecing – fold seam allowance over thick paper, baste, and join with a whip stitch
  2. Traditional Hand Piecing – a running stitch on marked lines, then trim seam allowance to 1/4″
  3. Non-Traditional Hand piecing – rotary cut the shape and eyeball the 1/4″ seam allowance from the raw edge
  4. Machine Piecing – rotary cut and machine stitch 1/4″ from the raw edge
  5. Invisible Applique – my very own running stitch done “inside-out!”

Have A BALL!I’ve been playing with balls all week. They’d be great for babies and dogs to chew on (make two: one for baby, one for dog). Young kids can throw them around the house like Nerf balls; they’re too lightweight to do much damage. Teenagers can use them to shoot hoops indoors instead of using wadded up dirty socks. You could learn how to juggle!

Want to make some? I just happen to have a pattern! No kidding! It’s called “Have a BALL!” and it has full-sized pattern pieces for small, medium, and large size balls; assembly diagrams and photographs; plus tips for all five construction methods. Sew by hand or machine. Pick your favorite technique. Learn a new one!

The pattern is $ .01 when you buy three sheets of my newly invented Sticky Template Plastic , since you’d want to use some for all the techniques except for English paper piecing. Already have some Sticky Template Plastic? Get it for just $2.99 when you order anything else from AmiSimms.com. Seriously, you already have everything you could ever want except my “Have a Ball!” pattern? Five bucks (no shipping) emailed right to you as soon as Debbie finishes her pizza. Order HERE.


WATCH FOR SCOOTER

Remember this Scooter video that went viral last year? (I know there’s an advertisement at the beginning, but Scooter gets a half a cent every time it plays. So far he’s earned $37.)

Well, the video is going to be on TV! No kidding. The air date for the episode that is “likely” to include Scooter’s video is Saturday June 15th. The show is called “America’s Cutest Pets” and it is an Animal Planet show, somehow in conjunction with the Discovery Channel. That’s all the information I have. Can anybody help me find out how to watch the show in Flint, Michigan (time/channel)? We have Comcast. Thanks from both me and Scooter.


DO I HAVE 3,000 FRIENDS? (ALMOST)

I’m less than 10 friends away from having 3,000 “LIKES” on my FaceBook page. If you haven’t “liked” me yet, please head over to http://facebook.com/amisimmsquilter and hit the LIKE button. (Or, look on the right sidebar of this blog and scroll up.)


aaqi-logo JUNE QUILT AUCTION

The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiatives June quilt auction is underway. There are 27 awesome quilts you can bid on now through the 10th. All profits fund Alzheimer’s research. Please tell your friends.


I LOVE YOUR COMMENTS

Tell me what you think, ask a question, or just share. This is your newsletter too. Now that we’re on the blog, it’s so much easier. If you came to the blog because I sent you an email with a link to the June newsletter, you are reading the newsletter “on” the blog and there are places for you to click to reply or comment. (You’ll know you’re on the blog because you’ll be able to see the new banner of Twisted Sisters blocks across the top, and the dyed clothesline in the “background” on either side of the text.) You’ll also be able to find the SHARE button which makes it that much easier to invite your friends to read my newsletters too. (Thank you!)

If you get an email from Google, WordPress, Feed Burner (or another RSS feed) you’ll see the entire text of the blog in your email. (It’s not formatted as nicely as it is on the blog.) Please click the title of the blog which is right at the top of the email and go to the blog to comment. Please don’t hit reply as your comment only goes to me.


OK, IT’S TIME TO COMMENT

Comments are moderated before they appear. I won’t be my speedy self tomorrow as I have to clean up the sewer mess. Mine and the one in the basement.

See you next time,

Ami Simms



Jane Babb
Jane Babb

Jane Babb shared this photo of one of her pentagon baby balls. She’s been making them for the past 38 years! Thanks, Jane!

83 thoughts on “June Newsletter (5-cornered pizza, a new pattern, and lots more)

  1. I love Scooter! I like the video of him working his way onto you lap the best and I will be watching for him on cutest animals.

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      1. I sewed them by machine except for the hole to stuff. That was hand stitched. They were given to babies, the pet idea is a good one too.

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      2. Good for you. So many quilters shy away from “set-in” seams. This project is a nice ramp up for that. And my dog isn’t getting one, unless I can sew it out of Tyvek.

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      3. You can get tyvek easily. It is used to make envelopes. Try the U.S. Post Office or any office store.

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    1. Lisa, that’s what they advertise, but they’re still rectangular and unless you tell them, they cut it in 6’s around here. Good, but not nearly as good as Ruggero’s.

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  2. As Lyndon Johnson would say, “I feel your pain”
    It could have been worse, you might have been on a tour.

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  3. Always look forward to receiving your newsletter. It is light hearted and consistently informative. Scooter’s antics are an added bonus.
    Love your web site. keep up the great work. <3

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  4. I have been making the fabric balls for several years now, and I agree, they are lots of fun. (I found them in Ginny Beyer’s book called Patchwork Puzzle Balls, which you might like to check out.)

    When I send a quilt for a new baby, I sometimes send a bigger fabric ball, maybe 7″ or 8″ in diameter, for an older sibling.

    In addition to the usual hand-sized balls, I have made smaller ones, with about 1″ sides, and filled them with rice for my juggling friends. I warn my friends not to let them get wet, or they may be juggling with lunch.

    I look forward to your newsletter every month. Thanks for sending it.

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    1. Anne, thanks for the suggestion on Ginny’s book. I haven’t seen that one. Rice, huh? Someday I really do want to learn how to juggle,but I’m not very coordinated. Glad you enjoy the newsletter.

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  5. First time I read your blog and thanks for the “sewer and balls info…
    I feel for you and you made my day as I too have had things go wrong but I always find a way to put humor with it.!!! Now about that pizza would 4 inch mini pie pan pizza be better ….crust all around…..hmmmm!!!

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    1. Thanks for reading my blog, Annie! Sorry you had some challenges recently too. As for a 4″ mini pie? I’ll see your 4 and raise you…how about 6″ square? (I do need a little cheese and toppings if only to make me appreciate the crust all that much more.)

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  6. Love your outlook on life and sense of humour. Keep it coming! Guard the fridge, Scooter. NOT! Too funny.

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  7. Just an observation for you… Ever been to Pal’s diner in Flint? It made its long journey from Mahwah, New Jersey near where I grew up. I had many, many meals there after football games and late night dates during HS and college!! I am now a midwesterner (Chicago suburbs) and look forward to your visit to our guild in Lockport.

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    1. Jeanne, you’re the second person so tell me about Pal’s. The other person answered a computer software help line a few months back. I’ve never heard of it and have lived here for 35+ years. Where is it? Maybe you’ll have to draw me a map when I come to visit your guild.

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      1. Just an observation for Jeanne Turnock and Ami. Have you ever eaten at Toni’s at the Birch Run exit on I-75. The bacon, lettuce and tomato starts with 1 (one) pound of bacon. Yum.
        I would do a day trip from Cincinnati just to eat at Toni’s.

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  8. Oh gosh… not sure how you missed the Fabric Ball fad – back in the early 2,000s? When JInny (with a J) Beyer’s book came out, I was learning hand quilt piecing… and fell in love with all her work. Ya gotta watch her video showing her hand piecing technique… no one, and I mean NO ONE (well maybe those Japanese gals with the tiny hands that win all the awards in handmade quilts every year now at Houston!?) can sew a line by hand as fast as that gal…her technique is flawless… but her book is THE fabric ball bible… http://www.jinneybeyer.com. I’m sure you’ll be hooked! I have them all over my house. I think you were busy makin those fabulous jackets back then eh? I love it all… especially keeping up with Scooter!

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    1. My readers always know best! And I should have caught the Jinyy (not Ginny). I’ll have to watch videos now too! If I remember correctly I think Jinny quilts with both hands (although not at the same time).

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  9. “On Wednesday my car was held hostage in the garage. The garage door would only go up about two feet.” It’s been 10 days that my own car and two motorcycles have been held hostage in our garage! Please PM or email me with who you got to fix yours. The guy we usually call won’t return our calls. Thanks! Caron

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  10. What a treat each time I see the newsletter in the email box…always hoping for a Scooter video.
    I for sure feel your pain as had to have my sewer line snaked this week as well! Son and DH thought they had fixed it up earlier in the week but…alas had to call the pros of snaking. It was different this time as they took the snake down through the roof vent for the sewer! They sure made a lot more noise on the roof than the birds who wait in que up there for the feeder. LOL
    My friend does the balls in poly double knit when she can find it but assures me that there is still a bunch in her garage “stash”

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    1. Double knit polyester? Great idea, if I could stand to touch the stuff. Probably wears like cast iron. Scooter MIGHT get one of those. Sorry you were snaked. But from the roof!? You sure the “pro” wasn’t pulling your leg. I will spare you all the anatomically disgusting comparisons that just went through my mind.

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  11. Love the ball idea. I could stuff it with the thrums from my weaving. Using scraps from both crafts/very satisfying.

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    1. Mary, that is a “thrum” and how did you come to have one at your wedding. The only “thrum” I know is the digit on my hand that’s not a finger. Or is this a musical reference….something you do to a guitar?

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  12. I can always count on a LOL moment when I read your blog. For anyone who hasn’t had the opportunity to attend one of Ami’s lectures, run…don’t walk to get a seat if you have a chance to go! Thanks for sharing your unique and very entertaining insights.

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      1. Ami, You are too modest. Your dinner/talk at Pigeon Forge, TN at the 2013 Mountain Quilt fest left your audience in stitches from all the laughter.

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  13. Ami. If it helps you feel better, last week our kitchen faucet also snapped in half, our riding lawn mower gave up and I put my iPhone into the wash machine! Must have been the stars in Michigan, do you think?😜

    Sent from my iPhone

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  14. Hi Ami,
    I’ve been making pentagon baby balls for 38 years now, as my signature baby gift to family and close friends. My first pattern came from a 1975 issue of a magazine called Mother Earth News. I do them totally by hand and I use black dmc #8 thread and the buttonhole stitch on all the outer edges. I use a variety of bright colors and prints. It is my handwork wherever I go.

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    1. Jane, I love it! Would you send me a picture? I bet the buttonhole stitch is OUTSTANDING! Maybe I have a new project for the plane? I could stand a few hours of practice on my buttonhole stitch! What size are your balls. (Sorry, I didn’t mean to get personal.)

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  15. Ginny has a cute stuffed football too. My guys throw it at the TV and use it as a neck pillow. I’vve made red, white and blue, and a couple to match team colors. I love this kind of stuff.

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  16. Go to Comcast.com on your computer, plug in your town and zip code, look at the schedule for the day Scooter is going to star and you should find the time and channel with no problems.

    We are putting an apartment in our basement for our daughter and one day my husband found the two toilets upstairs had backed up and had filled her new soaking tub with “stuff”. YUK!!! Water on the floor, actually everywhere. He had to dig out the drain to snake it and clean up the mess. When daughter came home from work she almost cried because she still hasn’t been able to take a bath in her new soaking tub. Poor thing.

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  17. my pentagon balls are crocheted, been doing it for many years. also put in a whiffle ball that i insert not one, but two jingle bells for a pleasing sound. the slit in the plastic ball does not easily come apart and everything remains washable.

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  18. I’m glad Scooter’s going to be on “America’s Cutest Pets”. My honey and I watch that show all the time. Good luck with your basement.

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  19. Hi, it’s the quilt goddess from Davison–Scooter lays by the frig because there’s warm air that comes out. It’s great for drying wet tennis shoes.

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  20. Oh, Ami, we had our sewer back up in the basement last year–twice! Snaked it both times and sent down a camera that revealed a gap in the line. Had to excavate the driveway. Ouch. Anyway, something better than bleach for your basement is OdoBan. It kills germs just as well but doesn’t harm surfaces, and it comes in pleasant scents. The company that cleaned our basement used it, so I bought a gallon at Home Depot to wash and disinfect some towels that got nasty sewer water on them. You’ll find all kinds of uses for it, and it doesn’t cost a fortune! No affiliation, just a relieved user. Good luck!

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    1. Phyllis, I have about 3 inches left in a gallon jug of OdoBan. It’s at least 10 years old. I got if for “puppy accidents.” Works great! Didn’t even think of that! As for the gap in the sewer line, no thank you!

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  21. Hi Ami,
    When my son (now 38) was 3, and it was the first year we had him (he’s adopted), I bought him a soft knitted ball (it was knit in sections like a beach ball) at a church bazaar and put it in his Christmas stocking. It was stuffed with old nylons, and soft and squishy. He really enjoyed playing with that and could throw it in the house without getting into trouble! After his first son was born, I washed it and sent it to him for His first Christmas. I have no idea if Isaac still has it; if so, it’s in Oklahoma now….

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    1. Charlotte, what a cool story! Meaningful things created by our own hands and treasured for decades. That’s what it’s all about. Warm fuzzies for everyone!

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  22. Oh, Ami, so sorry to hear the bubbling in the basement wasn’t oil, like the Beverly Hillbillies got in their backyard. :-). Had a similar thing happen when the pipe between the house and our septic system broke–in 20 degrees, on the day after Christmas, sewage all over our lowest level where my Mom lived–on our beautiful wood floors. Had to open the windows not to gas out Mom, put on the attic fan and bleach like a mad woman ! Make sure you have enough ventilation when you do yours-!!–we want to keep you humming and you need oxygen for that

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  23. I have made the ball as well. It was a great first ball for my baby granddaughter! Sewed it by hand since it was such a small project. Stuffed it with leftover cotton batting pieces.

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  24. Everyone. I enjoy the newsletter and all the comments and Ami’s replies. Keep up the good work.
    So far no plumbing problems. Keeping finger’s crossed because house is getting to be 30 and we all know what happens when you age, things stop working.
    Staying inside in Virginia’s 90 degree heat and reading all the posts.

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  25. Love this format. I like to be able to talk back! I have a set of go to baby gifts, burp cloths, bibs with velcro and my version of a snugglie a 10X10 square usually of flannel with ribbon loops on edges to play with. So now I am gong to order the ball pattern to add to the set, I love having something handmade to gift even when I am not doing a quilt.

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  26. In college, I realized that the main criteria for being my friend was that someone makes me laugh. By that gauge, you have been my friend since I read “How NOT to make a prize-winning quilt” in an hour and laughed so hard I cried. It has been a good friendship so far – you have always acknowledged email I’ve sent, given my orders first priority (to my mind) and been available for questions and, well, a good laugh. So, even though you have no idea who the heck I am, you are a person – a friend – that I value, talk about to the family and wonder “Just what will she come up with next?” I am never disappointed by you – thanks for all these years…
    Leslie O.
    Citrus Heights, CA

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  27. A number of years ago, I made candy or gift ‘balls’ out of the pentagons. I’d cut out 12 pentagons of the outer fabric (either a pretty cotton print, or else a glitzy collections of silks and satins), 12 lining fabrics, and 12 fusible fleece pentagons (minus seam allowances) . Each pentagon was made into a unit, fusing the fleece to the outer fabric. Usually I’d stitch four of the sides of the pentagons, right sides together, leaving one side open to turn the unit, and then slip-stitch the opening closed. I’d blind stitch 11 of the units together and the 12th one (the top unit) would be attached on only one side, creating a lid. After that, the sky was the limit on filling them … using Christmas prints, all different, and filling it with Christmas M&Ms; creating a very glitzy one and filling it with bath oil balls or dry bath salts for a powder room; and the favorite one for a candy shop owner I knew was to line it with tissue and then put in a dozen or so tiny chocolate truffles. That last one was a big hit as a hostess gift. …. hmmm, maybe I need to make more of these again.

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  28. Thanks for the pentagon ball idea… I will make some of those for the grands. I am ready to quilt my spools quilt, and can’t remember seeing how you did the quilting. I do NOT what to quilt over those amazing spools…. can you help me out ????

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    1. I haven’t quilted mine yet, but take a look at the Dancing Spool quilts over on my web site for some quilting ideas. You will have to quilt a little over the spools to nail the batting.

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