prayer flag swap complete and hanging up!

Wow, this was quite a swap! It was more popular than I expected, with 40 participants registering and 36 completing the swap. Congratulations to the participants!

The flags were sent to me to be exchanged/ swapped and then returned home. View all of the flags that were created for this swap on my creative swaps blog. A visit to the blog is recommended for inspiration factor alone! Beautiful artist prayer flags arrived in my mailbox from Scotland, Great Britain, Germany, Norway, Canada and many of the states across the USA -so much fun!

As part of this exchange I wanted to share photos of my swapped flags hanging up and then invite the participants to do the same. I'm adding a "link list" to the creative swaps blog so everyone can add a link themselves to a specific blog post or photo that shares the flags they received, hanging up. I'll add this to the "link list" on creative swaps as soon as I finishing sharing my photos with you!

As the swap hostess I was unexpectedly gifted with many gorgeous prayer flags, 23 of them to be exact! I also participated in this swap. I made 3 to swap but I also made 3 extras to hang with my received swaps, for a total of 26 flags hanging! Details of the flags I created are shown in my September 17th post if you'd like to see.

I started by dividing my prayer flags in three fairly equal piles, trying to coordinate them. The Super-Tech spool on the counter is the fishing line I decided to use to hang them. Click for details!


I strung each pile on fishing line with a big plastic yarn needle and then laid them out on the floor to see what they looked like. I ended up with 3 groups of flags strung together. I'm thinking I may choose a rope, ribbon or something different next time to string them on, as the flags slide a bit on the fishing line.


My original plan was to hang them over our patio tied to the tiny little lights we have hanging there, but my husband and I unexpectedly put an offer on a home last week (click to view) and it was accepted!!! Amazing. It is perfect for us. The home is on a canal, only a 5 minute paddle from Lucas Boatworks where Steven goes every day. Since we will be moving soon, I went for this easier to reach location, but they still look beautiful! I have already been thinking of where to put them in our new home : )



I love how they catch the breeze and spread their prayers and wishes . . . 











Thank you to all my creative and generous participants! 
Visit creative swaps to see and read more about these wonderful artists.


There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept, things we don't want to know but have to learn, and people we can't live without but have to let go.
 - Author Unknown


prayer flags - more on mine

Back in June when I was preparing for the artist's prayer flag swap I was about to host, I showed you my first prayer flag I ever made. You can read about that first flag and see my process here.
In this post I will show you the rest of the prayer flags I made. If you'd like to see ALL of the wonderful and beautiful, creative and thoughtful prayer flags made by the 36 participants - visit the creative swaps blog. When you get to the bottom of the blog page, you will need to click on Older Posts to view more! I am in the process of swapping them out and sending them home. When the flags are all sent I will give the artists the opportunity to share photos of their own flags and the swap flags they received, hanging up in the breeze! So watch creative swaps main page for more beauty.

I made these two prayer flags while visiting wolfe island, Ontario
My work area overlooking the St Lawrence River. So very peaceful.

The first flag I made on the left. I'm getting started on a new one.

I took one of my grandmother's (Nonie) linen cocktail napkins with embroidered fish already on it and added my own crude embroidery. At first I did not like it, but by now it has grown on me . . . the word/wish I embroidered is "energy". I will keep this one to fly at home and send me energy!

This is before I accentuated it with inks and also beads.




I did really enjoy hand stitching and adding beads in front of the river . . .

Here are some others I made. This one is made out of a hand towel! 
I think I will keep this one. 

I also added lovely handmade beads by Carolyn Saxby, sewn on to the corner...

This one is so simple, but I love it. All glue and no stitching! 
(my machine was at home!) This one will be swapped.

I made this when I returned home . . . I love this flag but I will swap it.

This one was made on the island and will be part of the swap (I participated too)

My first prayer flag I will keep. Remembering balance in my life is something I really need to bestow upon myself! I beefed up the lettering by outlining it with a black sharpie marker.

Love grows by giving. The love we give away is the only love we keep. 
The only way to retain love is to give it away.
 ~ Elbert Hubbard




Reminder: prayer flag swap

Our new Creative Swap: Prayer Flags still has room in it for you! I have a wonderful group of 20 artists signed up for this newly announced swap that I am hosting on the creative swaps blog, but there is still room, if you are interested.

  • This is a 3 for 3 Prayer Flag swap - Create THREE prayer flags in exchange for the same amount in return
  • each flag will have a word, a prayer, a wish or a hope associated with it.
  • simple or no sewing is okay
  • Due in my hands September 15, 2012 

The $10 registration fee includes a 10 page pdf lesson on making prayer flags, plus the return postage for your flags, sent anywhere in the world. Find the complete details on the CreativeSwaps blog! Follow the link below to learn more and register . . .

www.creativeswaps.blogspot.com/2012/06/new-swap-prayer-flags.html



- See more completed flags made for the swap by our talented participant Frieda Oxenham: 
http://friedaquilter.blogspot.com/2012/07/prayer-flags.html

All so very wonderful!!
yours creatively, lenna young andrews


art & life: http://creativelenna.blogspot.com

online classes/free tutorials: http://www.alittlecreativespace.com

art swaps: http://creativeswaps.blogspot.com


If you could choose one characteristic that would get you through life, choose a sense of humor.
  ~ Jennifer Jones



my first prayer flag

Prayer Flags. Have you ever made one? 
Traditional Tibetan prayer flags are usually squares or rectangles of brightly colored fabric, often woodblock printed. Buddhist prayers, mantras and symbols are displayed on them. These flags are hung in multiples on a line, and often in a distinct color sequence. It is believed that by meditating on the prayer, wish, or hope that is used while making the flag - and then by hanging it, the wind will carry the prayer far and wide and bless all the wind touches.

Recently, I became interested in the newer mixed-media/fiber/fabric version of the traditional prayer flag and did a search online . . . I discovered that the magazine Cloth Paper Scissors had done a cover story about Prayer Flags in their March/April 2012 issue-maybe you have this issue? I don't, but was still able to learn more about prayer flags via an online how-to article by Cate Prato on the CPS site. Read it too, by clicking on her name! 

After reading this I decided prayer flags would make a wonderful swap, so watch my creative swaps site for an announcement soon. For this swap, I am organizing a 3 for 3 swap (make 3, receive 3) so it won't be too many to make. Swaps will not be due until the middle of September - plenty of time for you to make your prayer flags. There will be a registration fee to join the swap that will include return postage and handling, documentation of your flags on creative swaps, plus a short lesson on how to make them, by me! My idea is that you'll make some flags to swap and also a few more for yourself, so you'll have a nice bunch to hang when the swap is complete and be inspired by other talented artists. What do you think?
Above, the back of my "balance" prayer flag

I am looking forward to this! 


Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people do that but the really great people make you feel that you too, can become great.
  ~ Mark Twain


If you are reading on the blog and want to either leave or view a comment, 
click on "Add a comment" or "View Comments" below
then SCROLL DOWN using the grey bar on the right side of the page. 

Bead swap coming in strong

Over on my creative swaps blog my current swap (art exchange) is a paper and fabric bead exchange. I am so impressed with what the participants have sent in so far, that I want to share it here!

barbara delisle - florida

cat dodt ellis - idaho

Trish Busby - missouri

Pam Gonzalez - illinois

Whitney Nickels - ireland

Becky Sunderman - arkansas


Margriet van Schaik - netherlands

Nancy Roberts - florida

Sabine Schneider - germany

lenna young! -florida

This is about 1/2 of those who have signed up . . . impressive, isn't it? 
To view more photos of the beads, go here. 

Thanks for your creativity and support! 


New swap I'm hosting on Creative Swaps!

It took a bit of playing, learning and organizing behind the scenes . . . but now I'm finally ready. I've just announced a new swap you can join on my creative swaps blog -which is dedicated to the art exchanges I orchestrate between participants from around the world! It's so much fun. This time we are making and swapping Paper and Fabric Beads - just click on the link to read all the details! Included in the registration fee is a 14 page lesson I wrote on making rolled fabric and paper beads. Below are some of the beads I made and used in the step-by-step lesson. Hope you'll be joining us, the swap registration remains open until all spots are filled!










It will be great fun and easy to do with the lesson I have put together. 
Visit creative swaps for all the info! 

art, nia, paper beads

It has been busy for me as of late, which is good, especially as I've been busy with creative things. I took some Nia classes over the weekend with 2 wonderful Black Belt Trainers, Winalee Zeeb and Caroline Kohles. On Saturday there was a 2 hour Elegant Elements (earth, air, fire, water) playshop, and on Sunday I took a regular Nia class with both trainers teaching. Winalee and Caroline are awesome and in Sarasota to run a Blue Belt Nia training with classes this whole week hosted by Nia Instructor Kelly Atkins at Sara Dance!

Saturday 01-07-12

Sunday 01-08-12 with Winalee on the far left

It was a great experience and fun to dance with my new friends I have found locally through Nia. This morning I will be back to my Nia classes on the beach with Kathy Oravec. Last week was too windy and cold for me to attend, can you imagine? It was in the 40's!

My husband Steven is making a paddle for stand-up paddle boarding for my friend Cheryl. He's made some lightweight kayak paddles and was inspired to try a stand-up paddle after talking to Cheryl about it. On Saturday after Nia, Cheryl and I stopped at Lucas Boatworks on the way home.

Chreyl LOvEs her lightweight custom made paddle!

We went out in Starfish with the electric motor


Cheryl & Chloe - too cute!

Steven with the electric motor - it's rechargable!

Yesterday was my art class at the Longboat Key center for the Arts. I had been taking photos with my instructors approval . . . and yesterday he asked me if I was filming?? I said, no -just taking pictures so far, but I certainly could!! So, I filmed one of his demos, then shared it with him and he said yes -posting it would be great! I will embed it here, but if you cannot see it below, use this link view it here on You Tube. It is fun and only 3 mins long.



  The new header on my blog came from a creative exercise I did in class with Bill last week, I wrote about it here on this post. Besides taking this class, I am preparing to teach a collage class, Collage for the Soul - locally here on Anna Maria Island! This will be mostly Nia students who found out what I do and requested a class . . . I had forgotten how fun and exciting it can be to prepare for a class like this! It has been a little over 2 years since I've taught class in person (the last time was when we lived in Connecticut!) and I am so looking forward to it on February 1st!

I have been working on creating paper beads and learning more about them . . . I am not ready to announce the swap yet but soon! Some of my beads so far . . . .


This swap will be fun! Stay tuned .  .  . 

Hope you are making time for something creative, yes?? 






more mail art

More mail art received, this time in the form of cards! Usually I classify a decorated art envelope or postcard that is moving though the mail stream as mail art. Art for all the world to enjoy on its journey between friends, like the mail art I shared in an earlier post. But I also found on my art table a number of cards I received, lovingly hand-made, that I wanted to share.

I adore handmade cards and Joanna and Linda are beautiful creators of them! 
thank you both, for all the art you have shared with me.
click on any scan for details!

From Cat Dodt-Ellis, Sabine Schneider and Cynthia Zdankus -lucky me!
All of these women play in my creative swaps with me.


Handmade holiday and thank you cards using 2 wonderful wedding photos, by my son Dallas and my new daughter-in-law Liz, especially cherished as their wedding day will always be a bittersweet one. My dad passed away after a long illness on the very same day. I did not attend the festivities in Boston. i love seeing these photos of the happy young couple. It was good they did not find out about my dad until the next day, and so wonderful they used these particular photos (not formal) to create holiday wishes and wedding thank you cards.

That's it for now, unless I find something else (more beloved cards & envelopes) hiding elsewhere in my studio! Perhaps we should start thinking of creating valentine cards?  : ^  )

Need inspiration? A challenge?

Looking for inspiration/ A place to start? Here are some creative things you can do for yourself in the new year. I am either partaking in these myself or I have in the past. They are all FREE! 
  • Strathmore 2012 Online Workshop Series: 3 free workshops. Doodles Unleashed (mixed media technique) Watercolor Sketching, and Force Drawing Technique, with 3 different instructors.
  • Book of Days with Effy Wild: art journaling with videos on how to create your own art journal and inspiration to fill it. This is a year long project with a Flickr group and a facebook group.
  • Green Pepper Press Street Team Challenges: Michelle Ward leads wonderful monthly art challenges for you to do in your own art journal and share as you wish by posting on your blog or flickr or wherever, linking via comments on the GPP blog.
  • Creative Jump Start Summit 2012: Hosted by Nathalie Kalbach and featuring I believe, 22 awesome artists and their "jump starts". I just watched the Jump Start #1 video with Dina Wakely and it was really so good! I look forward to more from the other artists.
  • Creative Every Day: with Leah Piken Kolidas. Inspiration and a place to share your creative activities, based on a theme if you wish. This is a "low pressure challenge with the idea of bringing more creativity into our lives." There is a flickr group for sharing as well.
  • Tag Tuesday: Hosted by Carolyn Saxby. Create a Tag on a seasonal theme that will be posted every Tuesday. Keep and use the tag yourself, but simply post a photo to Tag Tuesday. 
  • Art Journal Every Day: with Julie Fei-Fan Baltzer. I can't say enough good things about this project/challenge where the idea is to try to do a little (10 mins) art journaling every day. Lots of inspiration from Julie and fellow art-journalers on the accompanying flickr group.
  • Green Paper: with Mary Green. Every month Mary provides both images and a challenge to use them in any way you like, then share a link on her blog. The January challenge is here, and you have up until January 8th to upload yours. I often do these challenges and always enjoy. Mary has a wonderful bank of Vintage images which she so freely shares with us for this monthly challenge.
  • Penny from the Linen Shelf is soon to start an ATC challenge. Her idea is that we will make an ATC based on the calendar month and we will keep the ATC but add a link to her site, by the end of the month so we can all enjoy. My friend Joanna in the UK told me about this and it looks promising! 
  • Creative Swaps: hosted by me -but usually not free! (the only one in the bunch) There are no art exchanges running currently, but you will find creative swaps up and running again in the near future. You may sign up for the Swap Participants Newsletter - this will alert you to any NEW art swaps hosted by me. 

Of course, this is not a complete list. Just things I am interested in or involved in. I hope you find something intriguing here . . . . and go do something creative!! 


Welcome in the New Year well! : ^ ) lenna

Another Stack

I was taking photos of my completed mail art postcard swap for my creative swaps blog when I realized here was another "stack" of paper. See Seth Apter's blog for more.


33 participants creating 100 postcards!




A beautiful stack, don't you agree? Thanks to all the participants.

I am going to spend some time with my dad this afternoon so my mom can do a few errands that are a bit of a drive from their home. Hospice is helping my mom out now with my dad, but they can't be there all the time. This is why Steven and I are here. Steven is heading over there right now in fact, to help with the hospital bed. If I am scarce, please know it is because of my family. I just wanted you to know. 
with love, lenna

i am . . . august atcs

Over on my other blog, creative swaps where I host ATC swaps every month, interspersed with other fun things like mail art postcards, little books etc . . . we have a theme for our August ATCs of "I am . . . " The idea is that the participants will fill in the blank after "I am" and we will get to know each other better. I often participate in my own swaps just because I really want to. It gives me a chance to trade for some other artists' fabulous work, it gives me a deadline and an idea, which = more art made by me! Creating always seems to calm me. The act of making something keeps me happy and centered. Perhaps it is my therapy. ; ^ ) Below is what I did for the swap - a long post with 6 ATCs and some step-by-steps so I'll keep most of the photos small. Click for details.

#1. I am a mother
I started with a photo of me & my sons -1995, for this ATC.

Added white paint (gesso) with my finger and watered down Adirondack butterscotch color wash in preparation for adding to the ATC.


I added sunflower sparkle Perfect pearls -
this is why I want to clean OFF my table, I keep reaching for the same things!


 almost there . . .  

The charcoal pencil heart finished it.

#2. I am a teacher
I started with a scrap of actual instructions for making "quilties" from one of my lessons. I glued it to the base but also sewed around the edges with a needle I dedicate to paper. I added transparent decorative tape and wrote my "i am" statement in black sharpie marker.


I printed a photo on transparency film. This photo is 10 years old, from a class I was teaching at Adventures in Stamping in Cleveland, Ohio. It is kind of a funny photo, but shows my enthusiasm for teaching!


 I placed it where I wanted it (so you could see my eyes) after running it through my xyron and  then cut off the extra. Burnished it with my bone folder. To finish, I lightly spritzed Adirondack lettuce Color Wash.


#3. I am still this 19 year old girl
I had a previously painted and stamped ATC blank I wanted to use. I did them back when I was making Yellow & Black ATCs for Colour groupies -same technique -paint, salt, different colors.


I knew what I wanted to say, but not quite sure how. My husband and I brainstormed about it and then I settled on the phrase and tried it out in various fonts. I placed the photo over the mesh stamp but then used a white pen to continue the pattern on my leotard. 



#4. I am a dancer
I started with a transparency of my teacher Truda Kaschmann. I thought an image transfer would be nice, but when I tested it by lifting a corner I did not like the way it was coming out. So I placed it back down on the ATC and burnished well so the gel medium would adhere the transparency to the watercolor card. 


I also used a quote printed on a transparency and run through my xyron by Martha Graham. Dance is the hidden language of the soul. Truda taught me Graham technique for many years and Truda is a huge reason why I feel I am as creative as I am! She always had me thinking about what I could do differently, what could I try . . . she was an amazing blessing in my life. She died when I was just starting out with my jazzercise franchise (dance based fitness). I was 29 then and still visited her classes. I started with her when I was 9 years old! I went on to dance with one of her students after that. 


I added water color crayons which worked nicely on the watercolor card. Some of the color slipped underneath the transparency but of course, I like that! I believe I spritzed denim Adirondack Color wash on this very lightly and as I did with all of these ATCs, I sprayed them with a sealer. I used gloss this time, which is unusual for me.

The last two, #5. I am a big sister and #6. I am still in love with man are done on canvas paper mounted onto a Bristol paper ATC. Both started with watercolor crayons and you can see the rest of the process below.








adding more watercolor crayon . . . 

how that crayon added to this ATC . . .

Below are my two sets for the swap.
You can read more about the swap here.
There is still time to join -they are due September 3rd!



thanks for your attention if you have read this far!
: ^ ) lenna 



1000 posts for me on creative swaps!


Yesterday, I announced a special giveaway on my creative swaps blog to celebrate writing 1000 posts! I know that seems like a huge number, but it is because I write a post for each participant, sharing their swap artwork for every swap we do. Plus, I started using that blog to record and share the art swaps I host back in 2007. Please go to this post on my creative swaps blog to learn more about the giveaway and how easy it is to enter to win! Sunday evening, August 14th is when I will draw for 5 prizes.

I made 3 ATCs especially for this special giveaway. I have photos of all the finished ATCs and for one of the ATCs, I took step-by step photos. Let me share them with you!

ATC #1 -fly

ATC #2 -smaller moments

ATC #3 -works in progress, step-by-step
 I started with an illustration board ATC by Strathmore. 
It is much thicker than card stock.

I put the ATC through my xyron machine which put sticky adhesive on one side of it. 
I pressed tissue paper down on top of the adhesive, crumpled and wrinkled.


I added Citrine Lumiere paint on top of the tissue papered ATC.


I got out my Perfect pearls pigment powders, which do not need a binder 
-they will adhere to the wet paint. First I tapped on Berry Twist with a dry brush.


Then Perfect Gold.

I edged the ATC with a Krylon 14K gold Marker. I really like the way 
the simple addition of tissue paper gives this ATC texture. 


To finish it, I added rubber stamping & embossing.


Hope you'll stop over at creative swaps and enter to win one of these ATCs, 
or a huge collage pack hand picked from my stash, or a free registration to one of my creative swaps! Visit this link:

: ^ ) lenna

new ATC swap - I am . . .


I have a new ATC swap just announced on Monday evening -have you heard about it yet? Just in case, here's a link for you to read all about it. This exchange is organized on my creative swaps blog and joins a colorful July ATC swap and a summer day themed Postcard mail art swap. The three swaps have staggered due dates over the summer months and into September. At this point (July 13) I still have space available in all three swaps should you like to join us for any one of them!  (swaps are completed now) There is a participant list in the sidebar of the blog and Registration is handled here. My creative swaps get rave reviews from the participants!

Today, to my surprise and delight, my dear friend Frieda in Scotland signed up for not one set of the August ATCs . . . but two! Then, in truly record time, she created her ATCs (for the swap I announced 2 days ago) and has already uploaded them to her blog -wow! If you would like a peek to see how she handled the theme, please visit her blog. I think you will be delighted, I love just them!! Frieda also completed her Postcard mail art swaps and you can view those here, equally awesome. ; ^ ) lenna

Color ATCs for creative swaps!

I'm hosting a 'color my world' ATC swap on my creative swaps blog and have joined the swap myself! I made 3 ATCs in 3 different ways and will take you through much of my process.

For the raw umber ATC I started by painting a sheet of watercolor paper.
My idea was to start big and then cut up, making extra ATCs. 
As I was painting I noticed the marks the paintbrush was making -
and that made me get out my paint combs!



I used my paper cutter to measure & cut -
 lots of beautiful "base" ATCs!

The finished, Colour my World raw umber ATC

For the chameleon green ATC, I took a single ATC made of Bamboo
and an image from ARTchix Studio and glued them together.
 I added more green with a water soluable crayon . . . 
Another image (a luna moth) from ARTchix Studio, green rick rack and a greenish glitter to the edges.
I guess I wanted more color/layers because I got out a stencil (Crafter's workshop) and a mister of Adirondack Color wash in Lettuce. I found both of these products at the Artist Cellar -great service!
I sprayed the color wash through the stencil but also added color box ink via a cats eye pad and embossed it a little -that is the lighter color on the flowers you see below. I was playing!
I also edged the chameleon green ATCs with citrine lumiere paint.

Lastly, I made a fabric ATC for my splashed white ATC.
This time, I used a single "Illustration Board" ATC . . . 
and put it in between my fabric. I wanted some substance!
I actually took the ATC - the illustration board, and ran it through 
my xyron twice so it would be sticky on both sides and stick to the fabric. 
I added some of the lace and other fabrics you saw in the first photo
and glued them down with Tacky Glue. 
Then I got out white flowers by Prima which are meant to be dyeable! I am going to 
try that, but first I am using them plain here on my splashed white ATC.
I glued them to the fabric ATC with Tacky glue and then embellished them with 
iridescent glass spheres in 2 sizes - 2mm and 3mm. I found these at Alpha Stamps.

Voila! I am glad I am playing!
We have 24 participating so far, with 4 participants making 2 sets =
28 spots are filled. I will take up to 50 and it is due in my hands August 6th. 

: ) lenna 



Little Book swap video

Frieda Oxenham's Little Books
I just finished a very large creative swap on Little Books. I was not sure I was going to be able to do a video or a slide show that showed off the participants pieces . . . but I just could not help and create one! If you have not seen or been a part of one of my creative swaps before, this little video will show you a bit of what they are like.
* Click on this link and go here: Little Book Swap animoto video!! *

Some instructions: This is a HD (High Definition) video at 720pHD. Just click on that number on the screen if your computer prefers 480p or 360p. Next to the numbers in the right corner of the screen is a little box. If you click on it you can view the video in Full-Screen. Just hit the Esc key when you are done. It is over 5 minutes long, but I think well worth every minute. I am sorry for misspelling "Maryland, USA" twice! I could not go back and fix the spelling after I realized it, as I had finally gotten one photo from everyone included in the song and the video was already produced.... enjoy!

I am really proud of the Little Book swap and all the players! A new swap will be announced later this week, most likely. Go to the creative swaps blog to learn more! : ^  ) lenna