Monday, June 18, 2012

Prayer Flags for DD

Have you ever seen photos of the camps on the approaches to Mt. Everest that show the strings of flags all faded and tattered? Did you ever wonder what they mean? The premise of prayer flags is that you make them with intent, putting wishes and sentiments into them, and then they're hung outdoors for the elements to decay thereby releasing the wishes into the world. They are made in sets of 5 and the colors are always in the same order. My daughter has had a hard year with a lot of loss of all sorts, so when I saw an article in Cloth Paper Scissors magazine about making prayer flags I knew what to do. I dug out some plain fabric and began amassing scraps of different colored cottons, then got to work.

The first color is blue. According to Buddhists, blue stands for Space. I made a hug to give her the "Comfort" of the space encircled by my arms.

Next is white. White is for Air, so I made a puffy ruffly cloud of a scrap of eyelet ruffle and I tacked a small tassel with tiny bells on the ends in the center. In the upper left I embroidered "Breathe" to remind her that a deep breath will often clear away anxiety and give you space to think.

In the center is red, red for Fire. I layered flame colored fabrics, tucking a bit of batting under it for dimension, then I machine embroidered a key design around the edge and "Courage" to remind her of her innate fire and the courage I know she has.

Green is for Water. Since we're a SCUBA diving family, we spent a lot of wonderful family time in the water so I layered green print on green print (all of them purchased at the fabric store where she works so she will recognize them), machine embroidered a wave motif over them in pale blue and tacked on 3 little fish appliques. The word "Freedom" is for the feeling that being weightless in the water gives us.

Last is yellow for Earth. I'm a real map lover so I dug out some map fabric, "fussy cut" out North America, and embroidered "Roots" to remind her that we're always here for her.

Then I dug through the boxes of bias binding I have from Mom (one of those losses), stitched it closed, and tacked the flags onto it so she can hang it outside her house and have a piece of Grandma too.

Sorry this is so long-winded but it was practice for the letter I included in the package. This was a very satisfying project to do and if you're ever moved to make some for yourself contact me and I'll pass on the particulars.
P.S.  She got them Saturday and called to say that she loved them, and that they arrived at just the right time.  Now I can publish this post that's been waiting in the wings for almost 2 weeks.

1 comment:

Aunt B said...

This is your best post EVER!!! You are the ultimate mom. I know this wonderful treasure will stay with her always and lift her spirits any time she looks at it. I did mine just reading about it. Love you.