Friday, September 14, 2012


There's nothing like a good swap to nudge the creativity that's been dormant for far too long. I blame it on the back-to-back moves we incurred 18 months apart. But in reality, I suppose it's only right to admit that oft times it takes a deadline to push my ass mojo into gear.

I consider myself FORTUNATE to have stumbled across this Prayer Flag Swap over at Lenna's CreativeSwaps blog. And THANKFUL that unknown 'first timers' were allowed to sign up. And furthermore, GRATEFUL to have secured the very last participant spot.

In hindsight, perhaps these 3 words should have appeared on my flags. But that is not the case. Nor are any of the page full of words I collected for several weeks. Nor did I follow any of my 'thought sketches'. When it came down to creating, I flew by the seat of my pants, so to speak.

Out came some vintage linens that were close at hand - those not buried by the aftermath of a move. Amongst them, an embroidered tea towel, a cheerful hankie, a delightful pieced section presumably intended for a quilt, and a couple of damask napkins.

The embroidered tea towel was cut to take best use of the embroidery. As it filled the 5"x8" area, I felt that it didn't really "need" anything to enhance it so only added the words Imagine The Possibilities printed onto muslin. On the back, I attached another piece of muslin with a quote I felt related to the words on front. Then I stitched on a vintage button and embroidered a stem as I felt I needed to add my own hand to it. The button gave me a place to hang a tag with my personal information. Do you suppose that the embroiderer would ever have imagined her work would become a Prayer Flag?

The damask napkins were cut to form the base for the next two flags. A corner of the hankie was cut,  wrapped around, and stitched onto one of the flag bases to form a pocket. Then I added the words Tend Your Garden Of  Dreams. The pocket allows the recipient to place their own dreams within. A leather flower tassel dangles freely at the bottom. Once again, I stitched a quote onto the back and added a vintage button to hang my information tag.

On the third flag, the pieced quilt section was stitched to a piece of the hankie and found a home on the other damask napkin base. I liked the pocket on the previous flag and decided that I would create this one in the same manner. Once stitched, it made me think of a rainbow. I'm sure the recipient will find their own "gold" if only they Seek. The quote on back is from a wistful song, sung by Kermit the Frog. Once again, a vintage button for the hang tag.

The fourth and final flag was created as a hostess gift for Lenna. I spied this "fun" scrap of cotton knit tangled within a scrap bag and it shouted "Lenna" to me. Now I don't really know Lenna but this bit of fabric kept nagging me. At first, I thought it to be fireworks but upon further reflection, I thought it could be palm fronds (even though I doubt there are red ones) and palms are certainly an icon of Florida. From reading her blog, I have a strong sense that Home is important to her. So the house, cut from a ragged old quilt, came to nestle beneath the palms. And then it hit me, the house is radiating with warmth.

On all the flags, I used my laser printer to print the words onto a piece of muslin leftover from another project.  I had "colored" it with watered down acrylic paints. Feeling that the pocket flags should contain something within, I added some sprigs of  lavender from my garden. These posies were wrapped with tulle in the event they might get crushed during the mailing. I'm hoping the recipients are not adverse to the scent of the lavender. If so, I duly apologize.

Thank you Lenna for this opportunity to share with other artists. And a huge Thank You to the other participants for the sharing of their time and talents. I am so looking forward to receiving my 3 flag swaps!



  1. wow, I am so impressed! I love what you made for me, Jan and you sensed correctly. My husband just walked by and said, "can we use that rosemary for cooking??" I assured him it was from your garden and you said yes!
    Thank you so much. Love what you did and reading about your process was great!

  2. Hi Jan, I just received one of your really lovely flags-the first one pictured with its beautiful embroidery!! I am so glad you happened upon the swap and participated! Upon opening my pkg I immediately caught the scent of lavender(which is a FAVORITE scent of mine). And then to find that sweet lavender wand on your flag was the icing on the cake! Thank you so much!

  3. Beautiful prayer flags Jan! I am thrilled to say one of them has arrived at my home! Yay! I am delighted with your prayer for tending to ones dreams...a perfect prayer for me! Thank you so much for the care and creativity and prayerfulness you put into your creation!
    You have a lovely blog! I am your newest follower :)

  4. These are really SO very beautiful...and sentimental...and sweet. I'm with you. I love the idea of the person who embroidered it never knowing the 'life' her work became.