Archive for the ‘Scandinavian’ Category

Flags and Dawn and Dusk?

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015
Micro Patch of Estonia

Micro Patch of Estonia
Approximate size
¾x1¼” (2×3.5cm)

Whilst doing a bit of research for one of our latest Micro Patches (Estonia – coming soon!), we stumbled upon a thought provoking tidbit:

“The flag atop Pikk Hermann Tower on Toompea hill in Tallinn is raised every morning at dawn, but not before seven o’clock; it is lowered at sunset, but not later than ten o’clock. The flags on other buildings are scheduled by local government codes.”

Well, naturally we were sidetracked into reading a bit about the Pikk Hermann Tower from a rather skimpy article from our friends at WikiPediA – for example that flag is only 95 metres (OK, yards) above sea level. Goodness, the photo credits are nearly as long as the article. Thank you, Ivar.

"Pikk Hermann" by Ivar Leidus - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 ee via Wikimedia Commons -

“Pikk Hermann” by Ivar Leidus – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 ee via Wikimedia Commons –

Waving flag of EstoniaBut it wasn’t really the information about the Estonian flag, beautiful as it is, that we found fascinating. We’d just never really thought about what time “dawn” and “dusk” were in those northern latitudes, the “Land of the Midnight Sun” – as regards to flag protocol. Really, in the summer time (hope you all enjoyed our recent Solstice), when the sun never sets up north, how would one know at what time to hoist ones flag? Or to retire it at a “non-sunset”?

Well, now the answer is simple: if the sun just isn’t going to set or rise, hoist it at 7AM and retire it at 10PM. On the other hand, in those darker months, when the sun never rises, the same rule holds: up at 7, down at 10 – even in the dark, we suppose. Gosh. Hope they’re well lit. (Did you know we offered flag lighting systems?)

We haven’t yet researched it, but assume similar protocol exists for Scandinavian and other northern countries. Make sense?

Hmmm. Wonder if there’s a similar issue in the far southern climes, like the tip of Argentina or Antartica. Don’t hear much about that, do we?

smALL FLAGs for smALL DOGs

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Warning: The following is a love story.

Back story: In late May, we were contacted by a very nice customer in Denmark, who had previously ordered some of our Micro Patches.  She wanted some more and was kind enough to write and tell us how she intended using them. We have redacted the author’s name, but let her otherwise unedited emails speak for themselves.

Hello Mr. Gifford

Thank you so much for your prompt reply and fast handling!

I would love to not only tell you how I intend to use the little flags, but also to send you pictures of the final product.

I breed and show dogs, the breed is called Danish/swedish Farmdogs. It is my hobby, been doing this for a decade, and I breed with purpose to improve, not for money. So I only have very few dogs, that are our family dogs, and I am now breeding on my own 4th generation.

Anyway…among my dog friends is a creative person, who sews these beautiful fleece collars, that are wide, soft and comfortable for the neck, and doesn’t rub the coat or break the hair on the neck, which is an issue, when you show dogs.

So since they are wide, there is room for a personal little embroidery of approximately 2 cm’s with on a nylon band in the middle of the collar. She makes the collars on order, custom fit for each dog, and has put out quite a few with dogs’ names embroidered in letters. The fleece comes in a variety of colors.

I have made a special design for the collar I want for my oldest gal, Maddy. She is 12 years old, and the most amazing little best friend I have ever had in my life. She is a great grandmother to my youngest, and she keeps right up with the little booger. Every day of her going so strong is just a blessed gift.

My Maddy I have shown to so many titles in so many countries, among many others, she is a champion in both Denmark, Sweden, and Norway…now I think you might get the drift…

Maddy’s collar will have the fleece in 2 colors, namely the show champion colors that are used for the rosettes and ribbons at shows in Scandinavia, which are red and green. It will have her name embroidered on the 2cm wide black nylon band in the front, and in the neck…tadaa…it will have the micro sized (perfect fit by the way) flags of the countries, in which she titled.

I ordered extra Danish and Swedish flags, as there is a chance her grand daughter and great grand daugther might need a similar collar some day, plus even extra Danish flags, because we have many friends showing their dogs here, who will see the collar, have Danish champion dogs, and probably want a collar like Maddy’s.

I promise I will send you a photo pf the finished collar, which I can’t wait to put on my old Maddy. She will wear it with pride. Here she is, my little princess:

If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you will see a picture of Maddy with one of her champion rosettes in red and green.

Thanks again, and

best regards

A few weeks later, she wrote:

Hello William.

The collar for our Maddy, with the little flags, was now finished, and Maddy has worn it for the first time today. She is very proud of the collar, and for an older lady at 12, it feels good and gentle with the soft fleeze, which the back side of the collar was made of.

I promised you pictures, so here they are. My friend who makes these collars can be proud of this one, it is really cool!

Your flags fit perfect, thanks for fast shipping and handling.

Tail wags from Maddy to Dubh.

Best regards,

Maddy from the left with her collar

Maddy's collar

Maddy from the right with her collar

Now, how sweet is that?

PS Her last comment was referring to our Dubh.

Our Dubh, waiting for Mommy.

Our Dubh, waiting for Mommy.

The King – et ux, et al, etc.

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

New Sweden 375th logoThe Colony known as “New Sweden”  was founded 375 years ago; it ultimately became the City of Wilmington, Delaware. In honor of the anniversary of the establishment of that colony, their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden and Speaker of the Parliament of Finland, Mr. Eero Heinäluoma, are visiting Wilmington today, May 11, 2013. We think that’s pretty cool. Also cool is the fact that there will be several hundred smALL FLAGs of Sweden, Finland and the United States there waving to greet them.


Kalmar Nyckel

Kalmar Nyckel

You know that back in 1638, Finland was part of Sweden. So today’s a big day for the Finns as well. You’ll see both flags here on a replica of the ship that brought those colonialists. Of course it’s all decked out today. (Small pun intended.) The ship is called Kalmar Nyckel and it was a Dutch-built armed merchant ship. Yes, that’s why the flag of The Netherlands is also flying here.

Gee – I mean Uff Da – aren’t flags fun? Did you have any relatives on Kalmar Nyckel?

The Census, Computer and, of course, Flags

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

Recently, a friend of ours, Blane Meier of Meier Wealth Management, sent us a little something having to do with flags. But more about that later. Tracking down its source got us to thinking about the US Census, and the results compiled from last year’s efforts.

Census logoAs you well may know, Dear Reader, the United States conducts a census of its people every 10 years as mandated by the Constitution. We’ve been doing this ever since 1790. What you may not be quite as familiar with is that, prior to the advent of the computer, this took a really, really long time to tabulate. What with a growing population and increases in the type of information collected, the 1880 census took nearly 10 years to count. Well, it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out that this couldn’t keep up. So, one bright fellow, Herman Hollerith, figured out a way to punch holes in paper cards so that they could be read by a machine.

Herman Hollerith

Herman Hollerith in 1888

Tabulation (Census-ese for adding up) for 1890 only took about 2½ years. Clever guy, ol’ Herman. The rest, as they say, is history. Oh, wait. Guess that was history as well. In any event, kindly fast forward to this century and there appear to be a few applications  of electronic computers in our daily lives. And as for the Census Bureau? And what about that curious item our friend Blane sent? Well. It seems those clever folks at the Census are a bit more than (human) being counters after all. Seems they figured (small pun intended) that folks might want to know more than just how many people live in, say, Oregon. So, after “enumeration” (Census-ese for counting) and “tabulation” , they’ve been producing some clever little service – almost blog-like – since what looks like 2006. They call the service “Facts for Features & Special Editions“. Facts for FeaturesCatchy, eh? And, get this, they further explain that these posts “consist of collections of statistics from the Census Bureau’s demographic and economic subject areas intended to commemorate anniversaries or observances or to provide background information for topics in the news.” Thorough. Couldn’t have said it any better.

So which “commemorate anniversary or observance” is immediately upcoming? Yes! The Fourth of July! (Which incidentally and for reasons we don’t fully understand, is celebrated with nearly as much enthusiasm in Denmark as it is in the States. Great, Danes!) Flag of Denmark

Back to the Facts, M’am. The “Facts for Features” to which Blane had drawn our attention (ah, it’s all connecting now, right?) is their entry for “The Fourth of July 2011”. Surprise!


Well, in addition to fascinating tidbits regarding such things as “Fireworks”, “Patriotic-Sounding Place Names” and “Fourth of July Cookouts” (Florida led the nation in watermelon production last year with 750 million pounds), there were also some spicy stats regarding flags. (It always comes to this, doesn’t it?) Specifically:

$3.2 million

In 2010, the dollar value of U.S. imports of American flags. The vast majority of this amount ($2.8 million) was for U.S. flags made in China.
Source: Foreign Trade Statistics <>


Dollar value of U.S. flags exported in 2010. Mexico was the leading customer, purchasing $256,407 worth.
Source: Foreign Trade Statistics <>

$302.7 million

Annual dollar value of shipments of fabricated flags, banners and similar emblems by the nation’s manufacturers, according to the latest published economic census data.
Source: 2007 Economic Census, Series EC0731SP1, Products and Services Code 3149998231

Not exactly a multi-billion dollar industry, would you say? But we do it because we love it. And, by the way, all of our best quality flags of any country are made right here in the good ol’ U S of A.

Waving US flag

Olden Flags

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
Mini Patch of the saltire, the St Andrew's flag of Scotland

Mini Patch of the Saltire, the St Andrew's flag of Scotland.

Mini Patch of the Dannebrog (the flag of Denmark)

Mini Patch of the Dannebrog (the flag of Denmark)

So we’ve been busy adding new designs of our popular Mini Patches; putting up images of some that we hadn’t scanned yet; updating others, as we’ve greatly improved the quality of some. Of the five new images we put up today, (also, Italy, Mexico and the Netherlands), these two have some things in common that gave me pause to consider.

The Saltire, Scotland’s national flag – not to be confused with the Lion Rampant, but more about that some other day – is considered one of the oldest flags in the world. Long story about why it’s called the Cross of St Andrew. Another long story about a vision of this cross in the sky (not Skye) and how it turned the tide for a battle against whom, Dear Reader? Why the Vikings of course. Which is a nice segue to our next patch, that of the Dannebrog – the national flag of Denmark. That’s of course where a lot of those pesky (depending on your persuasion) Vikings originated.

Of course those lusty fellows weren’t flying this flag – more about their Raven flag some other day – but that’s the one that most Danes fly today – most of the time. Not much talk today about the story behind the cross on this one, like other Scandinavian (and one some consider almost Scandinavian) flags; or of the rather different shaped flags those northern folk sometimes fly. The point we’re trying hard to get to today is that Denmark is probably the oldest continuing reigning monarchy in the world, going all the way back to good old king Canute or Knut or Cnut Sweynsson.

Think Canute ever crossed paths with the Saltire? Probably not, but it’s fun to speculate. Ah, vexillology! Ya gotta love it. Well, we do.