Posts filed under ‘Miscellaneous Musings’

Russian Cream

I don’t cook, but I look at this recipe for Russian Cream nearly every day.

My mother framed it and gave it to me.  It was written by her mother, my Gramma Jennie.  Some day it will belong to my daughter, her namesake.

On the back of the frame it says “circa 1945 shower gift card”  in my mom’s handwriting.

Along the left hand side is the recipe. It was written in pencil. The paper has darkened with age and the pencil lines have faded, making it very hard to read. I can’t quite make out the very last part.

On the right side, opposite the ingredients and instructions my grandmother wrote “annotations” in ink. Rather than transcribe them, I’ll let you read them as she wrote them. (Click on the pictures to make them larger.)

Heat in double boiler
1 pt sweet cream
3/4 cup sugar

3 tbsp gelatine (Knox flavorless) dissolved in 1 cup cold water

Cook in double boiler 15 minutes stirring occasionally.

Fold in 1 pt sour cream. Add 1 tsp vanilla, serve with preserved fruit.

My grandmother signed the recipe card this way: “Live life fully and enjoy your many blessings.”

I totally agree!

Happy Mother’s Day!
Ami Simms

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May 8, 2011 at 1:16 am 34 comments

Waiting for the Repair Guy with an iPhone

I’m a busy woman. Lot’s to do. Last week our garage door broke, the lawn tractor died, and the cable went out. Everybody but Sears was willing to believe me when I said I’d be home at the appointed time. Sears had to call and speak to a real person before they would drive over.

The weather was warm and the sun was out. Not too many days like that left before the snows blow, so I made sure Sears had my cell phone number and headed out to the yard to dye underpants and clothesline. 

I may be busy, but I’m not boring.

The plan was to whip off both rubber gloves as soon as the phone rang, iPhones being so blasted innovative that you need TWO hands to answer the dang things: one to hold the phone and the other to swipe your finger across the screen. I could answer my old phone with one hand. That’s progress for you.

I had the phone on top of the deck railing so I could hear it, but I missed the first call that came in because I couldn’t get my gloves off fast enough.  (It wasn’t Sears.) I moved the phone closer to where I was working. When Sears finally called there had been enough false alarms that I figured out a new way to turn on my iPhone: instead of swiping with my finger I kept my hands off the phone, bent over, and swiped it “on” with my nose.

The “Nose Swipe” is re-enacted here.

The Nose Swipe also keeps other people from borrowing your phone.

Underpants are on their way to members of the Yo-Yo-Sisterhood of the Traveling Panties who ordered them. And, fresh hand-dyed clothesline is ready to be purchased.

Look at all the beautiful Ami-dyed clothesline for making bowls! Directions, too!

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October 8, 2010 at 5:37 am 13 comments


I have the best job in the world.  I love what I do and I get to meet great people along the way. occasionally, I get to visit really cool places, too. 

My last trip was to Valdez, Alaska to teach at the  Valdez Quilt Festival. I came a day early to Valdez and stayed an extra day in Anchorage to see at least a little bit of Alaska.  The photo above was taken at the harbor in Valdez (pronounced val-DEEEZ) shortly before we headed out on the Columbia Glacier Cruise.

The cruise was fantastic!

The captain and crew were wonderful, giving us a running commentary of what we were seeing which included the geography, history, and wildlife of the area. They went out of their way to show us the most coolest stuff. And I was such a tourist. I spent most of my time running from one end of the boat to the other taking pictures. Most of them didn’t come out, but a fellow passenger (from Taiwan) named Charles shared his pictures with me (and you)!

It was a gray day and the clouds covered most of the mountains, but it was still spectacular.

We saw an EAGLE!

Or, if you were looking at my pictures, a small blurry object at the top of a tree. Actually, zoomed in so far I had to look through the eye hole thing and got two shots of  the wrong tree!

I just got rocks with blurry things. And my sea lions on the buoy looked pretty fuzzy. Good thing Charles brought his camera!

Yup, he got way better pictures of the icebergs too, but I got to HOLD one!

The crew fished this baby iceberg out of the drink for a photo op. That’s fellow teacher Marsha McCloskey. I’m the idiot without a hat on. And may I mention I’m not wearing any gloves either? Yeah, it was kind of cold.

The best fun was when we saw the WHALE!

We followed it around and cut the engines and waited for it to come up for air. It surfaced a couple dozen times, first on one side of the boat and then the other. Then he popped up in front, and then behind. I got a fair amount of exercise

By time I could get the whale in the camera viewfinder, he was under that water again!

Even without trying to photograph him, he just looked like a big log in the water that occasionally burped a small cloud.

 I need to get my eyes checked again.

The Columbia Glacier was most impressive. So was going through the baby icebergs in the boat! And for that, we have video!  Check out what sounds like rain drops. It’s not raining. The icebergs are making that sound!

Here’s Part 2 of the video. We’re pretty close to the ice!

And finally, Part 3. Listen to the clunking of the icebergs against the boat.

Marsha spotted this little guy in the hotel parking lot as we were having breakfast one morning. I ran out there with my camera, possibly a little too fast. We both backed-up when we realized how close we got to each other. I kept my distance after that, but isn’t he “cuddly?” Love the waddle. He may have left a present in the parking lot, but I’m not sure.

You’ll have to watch the video. The shrieking in the background might have been a seagull. I really wasn’t paying attention.

Later in the week, the clouds began to lift. See the mountains at the top?

Valdez is surrounded by MOUNTAINS! Who knew! (It was dark when I flew in.)

I took this photograph just before sunset. The light was really beautiful.

My Alaska trip was wonderful! I got to visit with old friends and make new ones too. My students were terrific, and the women who put on the conference could not have been nicer.  It was a trip of a lifetime! I hope you enjoyed the little travelblog.


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October 1, 2010 at 1:07 am 22 comments

Socks Appeal

I was so excited that I nearly tripped over my own feet when I happened to see this book at Quilt Market several months ago. A handful of little critters were scattered around it and as soon as I picked one up I fell in love.  They were soft, squishy, and totally adorable.

I begged a copy from the kind folks at C & T  Publishing so I could tell you all about my great find.

Socks Appeal (GREAT NAME!) is written by Brenna Maloney. Where has she been all my life? I love the way she writes.  Her “voice”  makes this pattern book read like a letter from your best friend—who is really smart and can explain everything you need to know about making cool animals from socks.

In describing the types of socks to look for, Brenna doesn’t hold back. With regards to anklets she writes, ” I hold these in contempt; I really do. More on this later.” (Don’t you love it?)

About 2-toed socks she shares, “Okay, I really have no earthly idea what to  do with this one. But don’t you think it’s cool?”

Make some new friends!There are 16 odd little creatures to make from wild socks, and I must admit I have a large personal collection. I’m deciding which pair to sacrifice first, maybe the lone socks who survived the dryer but lost their sole mates.

Socks Appeal has lots of wonderful examples and Brenna invites you to inject your own creativity into each. Bring along your whimsy, a scoop of playfulness, and some smiles too.  Enjoy!

Available someplace near you where books are sold, or at

September 7, 2010 at 3:28 am 8 comments

Best Fortune Cookie EVER!

Best fortune ever!Is this not the best fortune for a quilter to find in her cookie? It’s  been stuck on my bulletin board for probably a decade; I even photocopied it once or twice in case it ever got lost.  

OK, so it says “rags.” “Scraps” would have been much better, but it has the word QUILT on it!

Perhaps my dinner partners will recall where I was and who they were, because it’s been so long ago and there have been so many wonderful meals with students over the years that I can’t remember. The food was great, the company even better, and the memento of the evening was the quilty fortune. 

Mom really enjoyed the party.When my mother turned 70 I made her a photo-transfer quilt. If you have a copy of Creating Scrapbook Quilts, you’ll see it on the cover. They story of how I pulled off the surprise quilt and the surprise birthday party is on page 41. The best picture of her being surprised is this one. (She had a pretty good time at the party.)

I bring this up because I had her surprise party at a Chinese restaurant and mail-ordered special fortune cookies for the event. (Yes, you can do that!) I think there were four different messages in the custom cookies, but I can only remember two: “You’re going to kiss an old lady.” and “There’s a little piece of rice stuck on your upper lip.”

What's your fortune?You can also make your own digital fortune cookie image here. Just type in what you want it to say.

And your fortune would be…..what?

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August 23, 2010 at 2:57 am 10 comments

Audio Post

Trying something new….

Click the little arrow for an audio message.

I won’t do this all the time, but what do you think? (Comment below please.)

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July 6, 2010 at 9:32 am 136 comments

Don’t let me loose with a camera!

Here’s Steve and I in silhouette. We’re leaning over the railing checking out the fish in the Detroit River from the Canadian side. Look closely and you can see the tiny fish in our shadow.

I don’t know what kind they are or where they were going, but there were zillions of them.

This here is Canadian Water, as we had lunch in Windsor, Ontario today, our strange little celebration during the July 4th week-end. We appreciate the USA inside and out.

Straight in front of us was the “Ren Cen” (Renaissance Center) in downtown Detroit. I deleted the picture of the guy zooming by on the speed boat as I had no idea who he was. We did wave to each other however, so I feel a little guilty.

For the rest of the photo album come over and “like” my page on Facebook. Once you do, you can see the Windsor album. Click here.

July 3, 2010 at 5:32 pm 8 comments

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Ami Simms

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