Boracay is a tourist island destination in the Philippines and my husband and I, together with his parents, two sisters, brother and a cousin went for a week, to attend the wedding of his youngest brother.  We got to meet and spend time with the Filipino family of the bride, who were just delighted to meet us and know their sister/daughter was being welcomed into a family that loves her as much as they do.  The brides nieces/nephews were excited to be in Boracay, which was the equivalent of going to Disneyland as far as they were concern, especially after a swim in our hotel pool....their first ever experience of swimming in a pool.  
This was the view from our hotel, across the pool to the ocean.  Yes, looks pretty, but the beach was vivid green with algae, so we only swam in the pool.  Next door to the hotel we stayed in was a fenced block, with local people living in a tin hut with roosters.  The power poles were dripping in wires, mostly connected illegally.  The development of the island has not all been approved or constructed properly, resulting in untreated sewage going into the ocean, buildings not constructed to standards and a host of other issues you can see as you travel around.
The journey to the island was made on this boat.  You paid a local porter to carry your heavy suitcase (he could manage two or three at a time, despite being shorter then me) onto the boat and he threw it up onto the roof of the boat!  
There were many boats outside the hotel pulled up on the beach, for the many tourists who paid for a  scubber diving trips, snorkeling or pleasure crusiers around the island.
Every night we could see a flotilla of local sail boats go past in the dark (without lights), seeking the safe harbour of somewhere south, or just going home after a long days work? The sunsets were spectacular but short.
The morning of the wedding we visited the local market to buy fruit.  As part of the ceremony we presented the priest with baskets of flowers, fruit, a bottle of wine and a few peso's to bless the married couples union.
At the wedding reception we pinned money to the bride and groom.
It was a amazing experience and a great we are in our finery enjoying the reception on the beach.  
Boracay is a lovely place, but the government closed the island to tourism for six months the week after we returned home, so they can repair the problems (we hope).  I suspect that means that there will be more big resorts, like the ones that we saw at the north end of the island.  
Not a stitch was hand sewn in the week we were away, but sat in my suitcase, while I relaxed by the pool,  enjoyed not having to cook, clean, wash or go to work!  But it was nice to come home and be with our children.  There will be time to sew today!
Happy quilting Sue.

Bag crazy

I went a little nuts in the 24 hours before leaving on our holiday, making some last minute gifts with Aussie themed fabric.  This bag has pictures of Melbourne (capital of Victoria, Australia) and the bag below has names of Australian cities.  I recently brought the Melbourne fabric in Spotlight, it is a linen, other fabric was from my stash.    
I got this free pattern from DIY Tutorial Ideas, 
 but there was another link to a Japanese (I think) website Ssu's Daily Page, who I am assuming is the original creator.  
There was no internal pockets on the original pattern, but when I cut the width of the bag, there was a prefect pocket sized piece left over, which I just couldn't resist using. 

So being Japanese the original instructions are in centimeters not inches, however it wasn't hard to figure out sizes with the help of my tape measure.  I will definitely be making more bags using this pattern in the future, so quick and easy and finish at a great size.  Plus I really like being able to make the bottom section a different colour.  
I had been thinking about buying a new toiletries bag.  But in the end I found the time to make myself one from the same free pattern by Noodle Head - that I used to make the Aussie themed ones I was taking as gifts.
I found this cute yellow cherry print fabric in my stash and I only had a white zip on hand that was the correct size, so that forced me to finally use, this much loved print!
But when I put my basic toiletries (I brought special travel sized shampoo)  into the cherry bag that was all that fitted!  
Back to Noodle Head blog to look at her other free patterns, oh yes there is a great picture for a boxy pouch, that looks perfect.  Click on the link  and end up at Pink Stitches blog, this is her free pattern!
So this is a great sized pouch, and I love the shape AND the handle!!  Awesome.  Except in my hurry I didn't read the instructions properly and quilted the exterior and inner fabric to the wadding, instead of just the exterior.  So I had to sew little binding strips to cover the ugly raw seams.  OK for me, luckily it wasn't planned as a gift!
Love this pattern also, easy to follow and results are great.  Going to make it again, when I get home and get time to shop for more zips!
Happy quilting Sue.

Sewing slowly

This is a bad photo of the cute little sewing box that Judy sent me, as part of my prize.  and another of it open with two fat quarters, a sewing kit, tape measure, eye glasses case (with sewing theme), needle book (to attach to your machine), notebook and a missing block of Lindt chocolate....hmmm wonder where that went!

I spent a lovely day hand stitching with friends last weekend and this is Lisa's show and tell, her finished Temecula flying geese quilt.  I am really annoyed at myself, I have only made approximately 12 geese and shoved them in a box somewhere!  But the beauty is the inspiration I need....the fabrics are so beautiful....I might need to add some to my stash!  

The only real sewing I have done is a whole lot of zip pouches, with Aussie themed fabric, mainly a Kookaburra and koala print with gum flowers on it, I brought recently at Maldon.  
The yellow and green prints have maps of Australia and the yellow pouch is lined with a green print that is a Aussie native leaf print...I forget the name right now, but it is silver in colour and florists use it as filler. 
I have also made a some shoe bags and drawstring bag (sorry forgot to take photos they have already been gifted) all gifts for the trip we are taking for a family wedding.  
I really think I need one of these pouches for myself....hoping that I can squeeze in some sewing time today!
Happy quilting Sue.

French General finish

Firstly the exiting news in my house is that I am a winner! A prize winner :) Judy sent me a lovely box of sewing goodies for guessing the closest weight of her new grandchild! 
Second exciting news...the budgies laid eggs over we will have babies of a different kind at our house in a few weeks!
Third exciting news...
French General flimsy finish...these are the centre blocks as I was sewing it together!
Clever trick from the author - make simple blocks in a large size, to form the border.  I say this because I always stitch on plain borders, because I am too lazy to piece something.  But when I was busy piecing the body of the quilt,  I didn't think anything of making these easy star blocks.

Finished flimsy front.  I promise that I did iron it before I took this shot!  But admit to not picking off all the threads...way too many threads on this top, not sure where they all came from!
from the back :)
Happy quilting Sue.

Kim Diehl star in a churn dash blocks

I was just popping in to read some of my favorite bloggers, after a six month absence!  Then I saw that there was this draft post, so figure...