Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Sticking Around, Flagless!

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

The daughter of a friend of ours gave him some Disney antenna toppers. (Honest. We didn’t even know they existed.) His problem? How to display them? He drives a really nice ‘vette and didn’t want to stick (smALL pun) them on his antenna, but he did want to show off just how cute they are. Here was his elegant solution:

Flag sticks with antenna toppers

Pretty clever, eh? He asked if we had just the sticks for our 4×6″ flags. Of course! (Sold by the dozens only.) He also got one of our eleven-hole bases to properly display them. OK. Full disclosure: He did clip off the gilt spear-tip finials that come on those empty sticks. Gotta admit. That’s pretty cute. Whadda think? Points for creativity?

smALL Teddy Bear FLAG patch

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

Warning: They say the world is filled with silly love songs.

Aussie Para TedBack story: As if our last post wasn’t sweet enough, here’s an unrelated one from literally the opposite side of the world. Once again, we’ll let the lightly edited emails speak for themselves.

Hi Small Flags,

I’d just like to congratulate your firm for the quality of your product, and thank you for the uncompromising level of service.

Last week I placed probably the smallest order you’ll receive for some time. It was for a very small Australian flag that you could not have possibly made any profit on at the price.

I wanted to let you know that the Aussie flag [Micro Patch] is now affixed to an Australian army para teddy bear, to celebrate our son Michael’s recent return from active service in Afghanistan (working very closely with US troops in a remote forward operating base.) We’re sending the (unnamed) bear to Mike’s newly married wife Jen, as Mike had to return early from their honeymoon to attend a training course for two months (as the Army does). At least Jen will now have a bit of company. …

I notice you have a Latin quote on your web site. [Assumed reference to the bottom of our Mission and Policies statement, linked to from our About Us page.] I was taught Latin by Jesuit priests when I was at school. Thanks again to Small Flags for something that is very important to our family:

Minima Maxima Sunt



Sydney, Australia.

Sweet, eh?

We of course asked if we could post their photos, not only of the teddy, but also of their handsome son. Here’s part of their subsequent reply.

Hi William,

Thank you for making contact.

Of course we wouldn’t mind you using the letter and photos on your blog. It is the least we could do for you giving our family so much pleasure.

When I came home from work this evening I noticed a message on our answering phone from our new daughter-in-law Jen. She only received the teddy bear in today’s mail, and was overcome by the little surprise. It clearly has a special place in her heart already. …

Thanks again,


Oh, and here’s that handsome son:

Mike Para Beret Afghanistan

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.

Frozen fog on Old Glory

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Returning (a little late) from a Solstice fire gathering, I noticed that the flag out front hadn’t been brought in yet. Approaching to furl it up for this longest night, this outdoor flag illumined only by the interior Christmas tree lights, it seemed as though the flag was covered in glitter! Indeed, the frozen fog had clung to the nylon surface of the flag and was truly sparkling. It is certainly beyond my ken, how to produce this effect artificially; I just stood in awe, then tried to capture the moment to share with you all, Dear Readers. Happy New Year!

Atop Astoria during her Bicentennial

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

Astoria ColumnOf course it only happens once, so Bicentennials should be big deals. Hopefully it was for Astoria, Oregon. Yes, it’s been going on all year and now we’re just getting around to telling you about it – or, maybe you knew. Here’s the story:

We were spending a few days at the Oregon Coast earlier this year and decided to stop by Astoria. There’s a lot to see in Astoria, the earliest permanent settlement west of the Rocky Mountains. Our favorite spot is the Astoria Column.

Here’s a 360° view from the top:

Before ascending the 164 internal steps to the top, we noticed a couple of balsa wood airplanes at the base. (They sell these at the gift shop.) They were in pretty good shape, except one was missing its vertical stabilizer. No worries. Once atop the column, I took a post card and snipped a little off, plus a bit for a wedge. Here’s the postcard (the original plus the cut up one):

Astoria Postcard - obverse Astoria Postcard - reverse

The end result was our little intrepid flyer:

Our intrepid flyer

Of course the proof of the pudding is in the flying, to mix metaphors, so we had to try it out. Of course it flew like a little champion – for 24 seconds:

Here’s the funny part: we had resumed our gawking at the beautiful scenery and frankly weren’t in any hurry to take those 164 steps back down. As luck would have it, more tourists arrived at the top – including a woman who had found our little flyer and brought it up with her! I showed her the postcard from which I had cut the stabilizer and she was gracious enough to offer it back. Its second voyage was every bit as successful as its first. But wait – there’s more.

When we finally got back to the ground, guess what we found just in front of the entrance, waiting for us? Of course, our little flyer. This time we took it home for a souvenir – and the postcards naturally. All so we could (eventually) write this little post for your entertainment pleasure.

Remember, Dear Reader, perhaps you weren’t able to climb the Astoria Column during Astoria’s Bicentennial and perhaps you can’t always fly a plane, but you can always fly your flag!

Cross(word) flags

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

Seems as though when one is anticipating having a new child, there are new-born babies everywhere. Looking to buy a new car? The very same model seems to drive by incessantly. For us, of course, it’s flags. They’re everywhere!

NYT Crossword No. 1119

Enjoying some well-earned (well, earned possibly) time off, the wife and I settled into a tricky little crossword puzzle at brunch on Christmas Day. (For you crossword cognoscenti, this was the syndicated version – of tNYT Crossword 1119 detailhe crossword, not the brunch.) We were stumbling along pretty well down to the bottom right corner when we discovered #55 Across: 5 letters – “Place for a small flag”. Well, that should be easy we thought: we considered “GRAVE”, “TABLE”, “ALTAR”; shoot, I even tried misspelling “ARIAL”. But no, Victor Fleming, the author/designer of this puzzle wanted “LAPEL”. [Side note: our Canadian friends (and doubtless others) pronounce this with the emphasis on the first syllable; most swimmers in our local linguistic pool emphasize the second.]

Now of course we realize that the lapel of a jacket is certainly one place for a small flag. Heck, we sell lots of them.Friendship Lapel Pin of US and Norway Lapel Pins crossed with the US flag or just the single flag of every country and state. But enough of the commercial; that’s not why you read this fascinating text – right? It’s for the amusing content – of course.

So what amused me whilst writing all of this for you is the blog I found written by one William Ernest Butler who, after giving us all that name, enjoins us to call him “Bill”. Well “Bill” seems to be what one might call a crossword “nut”. His blog site not only shows us his solution (including how long it took him to solve the puzzle – “24m 04s” – we must trust him I guess; it doesn’t appear to be independently verified), but he also gives enormous detail about the answers – complete with photos, examples, history, etc. – for ‘most every answer except #55 Across.

What? He couldn’t think of anything edifying about “LAPEL”. Heck, here I’ve written an entire blog just about that item which he ignominiously skips over. C’mon, “Bill”. Flags, Lapel Pins. What could be more deserving of attention?

Ah well, different strokes …

Cows and Squirrels and Flags?

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Chatting with a customer in North Carolina a couple of weeks ago (yes, we love to talk with our customers), and he related a curious story: seems a while back he had some flags lining the road in front of his farm. They started disappearing. (Actually, our customer wasn’t calling to replace his flags, he was looking for some windsocks and brackets. That’s not the point.)

This was not one of the cows.

At first, he thought perhaps someone was stealing them. That turned out not to be the case when he discovered his own cows were eating them!

Our customer contended that he got his revenge in the form of hamburgers.

Side note: the selection of images that came up searching for “cow flag” was pretty amazing. The one shown here is from the Napa Valley Vinyards. Has nothing to do with North Carolina; used here blatantly just to get your attention. Guess it worked.

WKBN calls this image "patriotic squirrel". Little rodent.

Meanwhile, about the same time, some “Google Alerts” started popping up about some neighborhood in Warren, Ohio, who was experiencing some flag-stealing squirrels. Cute little public interest story. Appeared on a few TV news station sites. Not a big item. Here’s what’s curious: our alerts actually picked up some blog sites: they just copied the news article and inserted their key words, links and ad copy into the story. They read kind of weird and look funny as well. Guess those bloggers didn’t want to take the time to write up something original; they just wanted the search engines to pick up their blogs in hopes that someone would click on their inserted links to la-la-land. Is that OK? Maybe all’s fair in love and merchandising. We’d just prefer it to be a little more personal.

Flags and Creativity?

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010
Cover of Newsweek magazine July 19, 2010

Nice Flag

The cover story of the July 19, 2010 edition of Newsweek, entitled The Creativity Crisis, had me riveted all week thinking about the premise that, “American creativity scores are falling.” Of course we couldn’t help but notice that the image used (at left) to visualize the subject matter was a flag. (Yes, that’s just about all we think about.)

So it was refreshing to see that, among the many hand-made presents one of my granddaughters made for my birthday last Saturday, were the following:

Emma's four flags

US, Colorado, Ireland (yes), Hawaii

The back of one of Emma's flags

The back of one of Emma's flags, showing the duct tape and flex-straw.

Often it’s best not to ask too many questions of a 7-year old, but rather simply stand in awe of what they can do if we get out of their way. Why she chose those particular flags? Why Ireland’s stripes are horizontal rather than vertical? These are but details in the grander scheme of wanting to create something for her grandpa.

And perhaps it was no coincidence that the Spanish “word for the day” at the Mexican restaurant that evening was popote.

All of this takes nothing away from the creativity of my adult friends, as evidenced by this beautifully woven sachet-like “bouquet” of lavender.

Bev's Lavender

Bev's Lavender

So, a decline in American creativity? Well that’s what the science is telling us: too much Internet and gaming makes us a little smarter, but also a little less creative. Maybe. But I’m not seeing it in my circles. Family and friends. That’s what it’s all about.

Random thoughts on Chaos

Friday, July 9th, 2010

From US Flag Day (14 JUN) to Canada Day (01 JUL) to US Independence Day (04 JUL); topped off with such international events as the (ongoing) World Cup (remember?), the US Open (no vuvuzelas!), Wimbledon, the (ongoing) Tour de France and who knows what-all else. Goodness. It’s no wonder that June and July are our busiest months of the year. People love to wave flags.

So you’ll forgive us, Dear Readers, if we took some time to slip away last weekend for a little family time near the southernmost point of Puget Sound in our neighboring state of Washington. (Our international visitors may want to consult Google Earth.) Some of our time was spent walking the shoreline at Priest Point Park.

It was on these walks that, unwinding a bit, the thoughts began to occur to me on the subject of “randomness”. The accompanying photos perhaps don’t capture the gestalt of the park, but they did speak to me of the beauty of apparent randomness. “Apparent” is emphasized because there is sure to be some controversy as to whether anything can be truly random. Don’t go there. Let’s just imagine that the universe has some sort of sliding scale from Chaos to Cosmos; from disorder to order. A lot of my work time is spent trying to organize things: orders, data, images, plans, physical things like inventory and supplies – just stuff. That’s on the “more orderly” side of the scale.

So it took a bit of time to shift gears and let myself re-learn to appreciate the beauty of the other end of the scale: the swirl of mossy seaweed and jetsam; the un-arrangement of stones; the intricacies of gnarled maple bark. It took some effort not to categorize, prioritize, or attach any value at all to any of the elements. And it’s not just about “nature”.

Random 4657-6Even man-made things are part of “nature”. In our more urban (and urbane) lives randomness can abound. Not just in the clutter of the office or home, but in the juggling of priorities, dates with friends, happenstance. There’s no way to completely “order” the universe. It’s already ordered. Our best hope is just to allow ourselves to adapt like the seaweed tossed on the shore. Do what we can to preserve our sanity, our community, and realize that, from some perspective, we’re part of some larger pattern that some might see as random; others might see it as part of a grander plan. Now: back to work.

One more thing …

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

Perhaps the previous post was a little too early: you know things seem to always come in threes.Musical notations So after yesterday’s two coincidences, this one was bound to have occurred soon enough.

My oldest son, David, dropped by today to take the old man for an “outing”. But first he first had to look at our new blogsite. He read aloud the title of our first blog, back on March 30th, but missed the point. “That’s to be sung to the tune of Hello, Young Lovers,” I explained. Ha Ha.

A bit later, as we hopped in his car, he turned on the radio. And what song do you think was playing? Of course.

Now. Maybe that’ll be the end of this foolishness. For a while.