Wednesday, September 21, 2011

In Gratitude

For the past 18 years I have taught an adaptive yoga class for the local chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to a wonderful enthusiastic group.  This summer, when the NMSS could no longer fund the class, its future was uncertain.  Happily the management at the facility, where we have held classes for a number of years, generously decided to donate the space to us, allowing students to continue to benefit from yoga.  Thank you Angel City Body Kinetics! 

These flags, inspired by the flag for my neighbor, are in celebration of the sun shining brightly on our class again.

Earlier post:  "Gift of Sunshine" 
This was the original flag I created and gave to a friend and neighbor who is very ill... to send a little sunshine his way.  I love using sun images, personally finding them healing and energizing to work with.  What better way to share something?  Saying beyond words,  "I am thinking of you."  
Many years ago, when moving across the street to a new apartment, Mike kindly gave me a staghorn fern that he couldn't house in the new place.  Over the years it has done really well in my yard, in fact, doubled in size growing through the lattice to the backside.  The wonder of nature!  He would appreciate that.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Small Prayer Flags: A Visit From The Muse

This is a series of 12 Prayer Flags made in response to a challenge by the group "Fiberactions".  Every two months, we each make a quilt that is 16"x20" based on a theme chosen by one of the members.  This month's theme was Texture... and I failed miserably at creating a piece which I could post on our blog with pride.  It was awful.  I mean it.  Awful.

Then with only a few days to spare before the posting of our creations, I had a visit from the Muse.  Cut it up, she said.  Fold it over.  Embellish.  Add some felted balls.

The result is 12 little flags, 3"x4 1/2"... one for each of the members of the group.  I will be sending them all their own little flag, in hopes that the Muse also visits them.  You can visit our blog and see all of the lovely quilts made for this challenge (including my original attempt before it was sliced ) at
Finished Now

Monday, September 12, 2011

Craft night of Prayer Flags

I invited 5 friends over to put together prayer flags. The ages ranged from 14 to 63.

Everyone brought trim and embellishments that they had around the house.

I provided pieces of muslin and all my 'treasures'-stamps, inks, scrapbook embellishments, etc. After explaining what a prayer flag was, everyone jumped in.

There was wonderful sharing and lots of ideas passed from woman to woman. The end result was each one of us taking their flag home to hang and send good thoughts up to the heavens.

What a delightful evening of sharing!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Vivian's Prayer Flag #8, Bless All

Some of my friends want me to make a Prayer Flag for them because they don't sew.. Hard to imagine for me, who has done hand work all my life. When I went to hang it with a ribbon it tended to buckle in the middle.

So I solved it by adding a plastic straw the width of flag, and running the ribbon down the center of the straw. Now, it lays flat and can be hung any where.

With 9/11 coming soon,, I thought we all need to be Blessed. Thank you, Jane for suggesting premade iron on labels for the back.

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Jane LaFazio: 15 prayer flags so far

prayer flag 14: love
Jane LaFazio here. Flag # 14: Love. Love of my husband, my friends, my life, of others.
prayer flag 15: say yes
Flag # 15: Say YES. Yes to the possibilities, the opportunities and when asked for help.
14 prayer flags
Fifteen prayer flags so far.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Neora Chana Rut: Four Flags

Neora writes:

I can't remember how I ran across the project, but have been following it for a couple of months and really enjoy the intention behind it.  I am a Reconstructionist Jew; in this form of Judaism, there is a great freedom to come up with new traditions or to adapt traditions and this falls so neatly into that. 
Four Flags
I ended up with 4 flags, and as is true of much of my artwork, started with only the vaguest of planning.  I primarily work in watercolor, but, remembering the project while in an art supplies store, I picked up some canvas.  Later, I started playing with watercolors on it and have been continuing to develop this on both canvas and muslin.  The color is very variable and uncontrollable with this process, so the images were later clarified with permanent markers before coating with gel medium.

Sundown Susans

The first was the black-eyed susans.  When I was a little girl, we would go from Greenwood, MS, to New Albany, MS to visit my maternal great-grandparents.  My mother, sibs, cousins and I would stop to picnic on a hill covered with these flowers and this has always stayed as a vivid memory.  However, while working on it, I also thought of people with dementia; if I was to name this one, I would call it 'sundown susans' in memory of that. 

The second was the peach.  My maternal grandmother did many unique things that were frugal yet very joyful and memorable.  A peach expresses this perfectly as she would pickle the peach and then make peach peel fried pies.  Very Southern and very frugal while enhancing life in a wonderful way.  What better way to be frugal?

Autumn Flowers
The sunflower was the third completed.  I had a brother 5 years younger than me, also an artist, who died when he was 29.  In his last trip to the US (he was living in Italy), we went back to the town where I went to middle school/high school and where he started school.  I had always perceived the area as rough, cold, hostile.  Driving into the area, he and his friend commented on how lush, fertile and vibrant the landscape was, especially the sunflowers.  I learned an important lesson about how emotions color perceptions that day.
Finally are the autumn flowers in memory of my mother.  My mother was a true Southern good girl to her very core and found it very hard to be away from MS while we lived in WI.  You could probably name on one hand the  things she found done/happening better in the North than the South.  One of those was autumn and the color display.  Her memory is even closer in the fall than at other times of the year.
I live in an apartment complex, so still have to figure out where I can hang them outside; the next part of this project.
I have just started a blog for my artwork called 'A Gracious Light'.  The address is

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Prayer Flags for My Community

Sometimes, life just happens.  It just knocks on your door, shakes your floorboards, and rains on your parade... then shuts off your lights, invades your computer, and empties your refrigerator.

That, my friends, is a quick synopsis of "Life" for those of us in Southern New England over the last two weeks.

It all started with an earthquake.   Then a hurricane.  Then toppled trees, flooded streams, and power failures.  Then the fun started.

Troubled Waters and Line Workers
After a week without power and water, an unplanned trip to stay with my siblings,  delayed school openings for my three younger children, and an overflowing compost pile with a direct path to my thawed freezer and refrigerator, it is time to get back to normal life.  I feel so lucky that we had no damage to our property and that my family is safe.  I feel so sad, though, for all of those in the path of the storm who are still suffering from the flooding and terrible surge of the sea.  The following prayer flags are for them.

Lost Threads
Lost Threads is a prayer flag for Ann Brauer and all other artists who lost their studios.  How sad would it be to see your work space floating down the street in a flash flood?  That is just what happened to Ann.  My prayer is that her new space will be dry, inspiring, and fulfilling.

Power and Light
I've heard that there are still, 10 days post storm, more than 300 customers in Connecticut without power.  For us, that meant we had no water or cooking facilities, either.  I pray that the power comes on and that life can resume for those people as soon as possible.  The six flowers on the flag are for the six days our neighborhood was in the dark.

Community Support
Where would we be without our neighbors?  This is a prayer of thanks for our community, which opened its doors and its arms wide to all in need.  Our entire town and three surrounding communities had no power for more than 24 hours.  When nearly 100,000 people can't shower, cook normally, communicate, or even leave their homes because of hundreds of toppled trees and downed wires, we all pitch in.  Thank you for sharing hot showers, freezer space, and dinners with those in need.  Thank you for powering up your personal chain saws and clearing the streets near your homes.  Thank you for acting like a community.

Troubled Waters and Line Workers
As we drove home on Saturday afternoon from our unplanned visit to Northern Vermont, we were astounded by the amount of damage we saw at the riverbeds and creeks.  The scenic covered bridges that were washed away will never be replaced.  Whole towns are cut off from the outside world, both by washed out roads and damaged electric wires.  I pray that they are made whole, and that the waters recede quickly.

Lastly, the most fragile flag of all says "many thanks" to the line workers who came to our rescue.  This flag is made entirely of paper and tea bags...  fragile indeed.  Fifteen trucks were parked at a local motel this week where workers from all over New England stayed between shifts.  They helped us, and I want to extend a very heart felt "thanks" for getting the job done.  Our lives are as fragile as the paper of this flag, and they have helped return our frayed nerves to normal.

These flags were made in less than an hour, using paper and lace that I had on hand.  When today's rain stops, they will be hung outside so their prayers of thanks, hope, and comfort can join the prayers of others on the wind.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Beth Gould: Flags for Grandchildren and Grandparents



Strung on the Porch


Good Fortune 

I read about this wonderful project on Jane LaFazio's blog. After reading about Prayer Flags, I decided to follow tradition using the colors of the elements and adding purple. My flags are simple with a one word prayer on each. I hand dyed each one except the white. 

As a Grandmom who has been involved in raising two grandchildren, I wanted to dedicate the flags to all grandparents and their grandchildren. The white flag shows a elder hand holding a child with the word "HOPE".
The blue flag is a symbol that out of chaos we can achieve "Peace". The rest of the flags are self explanatory.
This project has given me the opportunity to stop and think of what is important.

Peace and Blessings, Beth