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Scottish-Wedding-Dreams.com : Wedding Theme Newsroom Home : January 2009

January 5, 2009 08:28 - January Highland Games

There's not very many, but all worthwhile for the fun of it, for the information you can glean as a bride-to-be, or to increase your knowledge about Scotland and things Scottish ~

  • January 10, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida ~ Southeast Florida Scottish Festival & Games
  • January 14 to February 1, Glasgow, Scotland ~ Celtic Connections
  • January 16 to 18, Kansas City, Missouri ~ Winter Storm Weekend
  • January 17 to 18, Winter Springs, Florida ~ Central Florida Scottish Highland Games
  • January 23 to 24, Eureka Springs, Arkansas ~ Celtic Connections Eureka
  • January 24, Ft. Myers, Florida ~ Caloosahatchee Celtic Festival
  • January 26, Sydney, Australia ~ Australia Day Celtic Festival
  • January 31, Turakina, New Zealand ~ Turakina Highland Games

For more detailed information about the listed events, go to

And don't forget the Robert burns Dinner celebrations around the world. Those I've located are listed at Scottish Wedding Dreams.

Coming tomorrow, a winter wedding theme begins…

January 6, 2009 05:44 - Hymn to Winter by Sissel

I first experienced Sissel watching her DVD Sissel Northern Lights, produced in 2007 and available as a rental from Netflix.

If you've never heard Sissel sing, it's a wonderful experience. Some claim she is the one of the best sopranos singing today.

Though popular in her native Norway, Sissel came to the attention of the world when she sang the Olympic Hymn at the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.

Two songs on her Northern Lights album particularly impressed me. She sang Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring a cappella. It's quite impressive. But the one I quickly transferred to a winter wedding theme was Hymn to Winter.

If you're considering a winter wedding, especially in a colder climate, at least listen to the song and see if it's usable for your wedding.


Hymn to Winter

Deep is the darkness that falls down on me

Long is the long night 'til morning will be

Bright be the north star to shine constantly

'Til winter brings you home safely to me

Blessed be the west wind

Blessed be the wild 'fall

Blessed be the ocean to carry you home

Blessed be cold winter, its storm and its sea

Blessed be the true love that brings you to me

Still is the valley, no bell to be ringing

Silent the harsh frost that crushes the tree

Frozen the heart with no song to be singing

'Til winter brings you home safely to me

Blessed be the west wind

Blessed be the wild 'fall

Blessed be the ocean to carry you home

Blessed be cold winter, its storm and its sea

Blessed be the true love that brings you to me

Deep is the darkness that falls down on me

Long is the long night 'til morning will be

Bright be the north star to shine constantly

'Til winter brings you home safely to me

Blessed be the west wind

Blessed be the wild 'fall

Blessed be the ocean to carry you home

Blessed be cold winter, its storm and its sea

Blessed be the true love that brings you to me

Tomorrow, Winter Wedding theme gowns emerge…

January 7, 2009 05:54 - Hymn to Winter, Snowflake Gowns

Using yesterday's Hymn to Winter by Sissel as the starting point, a winter snowflake wedding theme can quickly develop. Many gowns adapt to darker winter's night colors as do the darker blue tartans.

Adding darker blue dresses and a white cape for the bride, white flowers and heraldic glimmery snowflakes would complete the theme.


Meghan Glennon image courtesy Dressed to the Kilt

Worn by Meagan Glennon at the 2004 Dressed to the Kilt Dress Show, which is part of Tartan week in New York City, this could easily be a winter wedding gown, with a cape for warmth, in a rich blue tartan with the bodice trim in a matching velvet. Adding a narrow piping at the waistline in the same velvet, with a matching silk underskirt would really set this gown apart. Though I'd be tempted to cut the skirt on the bias of the tartan.

Godey's 1830's mutton sleeve tartan gown is a more traditional style that would be warmer for a winter wedding.


1830's Mutton Sleeve Dress courtesy Goodey's

Even without the mutton sleeves this could be a great Scottish wedding gown. A simple cap sleeve would work just as well and not be quite as overpowering for a woman with a smaller frame, or one who needs a less dramatic statement.

While no longer displayed on the website, the style dress is possibly still available from Very Merry Seamstress.


Celtic Gown image courtesy Very Merry Seamstress

Combining a darker navy velveteen for the bodice, silk or lightweight wool for the underskirt and a co-coordinating color for the silk overskirt would fit a Scottish wedding theme. The skirt hem could also flow into a modified train. The trim and motif on the bodice could match the bodice or contrast like a snowflake on a winter's night.

The Waterhouse Ophelia Gown from Very Merry Seamstress is another lushly historical gown that could be adapted for a winter wedding.


Waterhouse Ophelia gown image courtesy Very Merry Seamstress

With just the under sleeves, sleeve lining and petticoat in a tartan, a solid color gown, and the gold embroidery, this would be a stunning wedding dress.

Another idea for the gold trimmed area on the hemline and neckline would be found at Stony Korea. They create both ready-made and custom iron-on rhinestone motifs.

Heraldic snowflake motifs in crystal and sapphire blue rhinestones could be used for the hemline and neckline embellishment on this Waterhouse gown.

Tomorrow, more information on Stony Korea Rhinestone Motifs…

January 8, 2009 05:27 - Stony Korea Snowflake Motif Rhinestones

Working with the rhinestone, you can design your own iron-on motifs for your wedding dress, the altar cloth, table runners for the main table at the reception, or incorporated into a bridal concomitant or banners to be carried in to the ceremony, then displayed at the reception.

Two of the ready-made designs are a shamrock crown and a Scotty dog


Shamrock rhinestone image courtesy Stony Korea


Scotty Dog Rhinestone Motif courtesy Stony Korea

Learn more about Bridal Concomitants at Wedding Day Customs. There's also additional information at the newsroom blogs for June 17 to June 21, 2007.

Even T-shirts and baseball caps, which are often seen on the whole wedding party the weekend of the wedding, could carry your own wedding snowflake motif.

Or, if you're going to decorate more comfortable, casual shoes to wear to your reception, a personal motif could be designed for the bride, her attendants, mothers, or other special people who will be at the reception.

Ideas for shoe embellishment were posted to the newsroom blog August 2 to August 7, 2007.

Further ideas can be found at Embellished Shoe sources and ideas.

The Stony Korea Rhinestone Company offers a wide variety of iron-on rhinestone motifs, including some that could be used as snowflakes. They also offer a custom design department to create your own designs in rhinestones.



Rhinestone Snowflake image courtesy Stony Korea


Rhinestone Snowflake image courtesy Stony Korea

Tomorrow, more snowflake theme wedding gowns…

January 9, 2009 05:46 - More Gowns for a Snowflake Wedding Theme


1910 Edwardian gown courtesy Goodey's

This Edwardian gown could be trimmed with a white fur instead of mink, and embellished with rhinestone snowflakes in sapphire and crystal, and tartan across the mid-section where the lace is. Or just above the lace over the shoulders.

House of Brides has an off-the-rack bodice T027 & skirt B020. A snowflake rhinestone border along the diagonal hem of overskirt and smaller ones along the bodice could be added to embellish this inexpensive bridesmaid's ensemble.


Bridesmaid image courtesy House of Brides

Very Merry Seamstress has a Victorian gown which could also complete a winter snowflake theme.


Foral Bustle Gown image courtesy Very Merry Seamstress


Sewn in a rich navy blue, the bustle and overskirt could be in a blue tartan. Or sewn all in navy, snowflakes could be added along the lower edges of the overskirt and bustle. Even a few sprinkled down the bodice front, or an overall scattering of snowflakes on the bodice, would add to a winter wedding theme.

Some wintry colored tartans with blues and purples suggesting a winter's night ~

Blue MacMillan


Blue MacMillan Tartan WR1420

Scotland's Own


Scotland's Own Tartan WR2593

Scotland Forever


Scotland Forever Tartan

Spirit of Alba


Spirit of Alba Tartan

Scotland the Brave


Scotland the Brave Tartan

Coming Monday, heraldic snowflakes for a winter wedding…

January 12, 2009 06:02 - Heraldic Snowflakes for a Winter Wedding Theme

The rhinestone snowflakes from last Thursday's blog could be created in many different snowflake patterns to be used on dresses for the bride, her bridal attendants, and the mothers.

Here's a few heraldic snowflakes and some other ideas…

  • The escarbuncle


    Escarbuncle courtesy
    James Parker

  • The snowflake


    Heraldry snowflake from the Y Romanevkov
    coat of arms courtesy Excursion in Heraldry

  • The Ukrainian or Snowflake Cross


    Ukranian Snowflake Cross
    courtesy Seiyaku

    A fine example of the Snowflake Cross sits atop an old wooden church near Kiev.


    Kiev church with Ukranian
    Snowflake Cross courtesy Seiyaku

    This cross is several smaller crosses arranged symmetrically. The three small crosses on the top symbolize the Trinity and the three crosses of Calvary. The two small crosses at the ends of the main crossbeams symbolize Christ's outstretched arms. The "X" formed by the four crosses at the central point symbolize the Four Gospels and the spread of Christianity to the four corners of the globe.

    The spiky ends make a useful lightning rod. One reason these older crosses are still standing ~ big birds couldn't roost on the spikes.

    Snowflake Pattern Sources

    • Two Crossstitch Patterns using the heraldic snowflake cross are available from About.com


      Snowflake Cross Stitch
      courtesy about.com


      Mini Snowflake Cross Stitch
      courtesy about.com

    • Stony Korea Rhinestone Company
      The Stony Korea offers a wide variety of iron-on rhinestone motifs, including some that could be used as snowflakes. They also offer a custom design department to create your own designs in rhinestones. Information on their products and website were published on Janaury 7, 2009.

    • Paper Snowflake Patterns
      Paper Snowflake Patterns can be found at Activity Village

      Christ centered snowflakes can be found at Christ Centered Snowflakes from a Christian site.

      You can also design your own snowflakes online, then print and cut them out at Explore Learning.

      Paper Snowflakes also has snowflake patterns for your use.

      The paper snowflakes could be used for decorations, while some of the more complicated ones could be given as favors to your guests.

    Tomorrow, rock crystal in Scotland…

  • January 13, 2009 12:34 - Rock Crystal in Scotland

    The Romans used crystal for drinking cups and other vessels. They also used it for personal ornamentation. Ladies carried balls of rock crystal to keep their hands cool in summer. The Japanese still use this form of air-conditioning.

    The Ancients had many recommendations for the use of rock crystal ~

    • Orpheus recommended an external application of rock crystal for curing kidney disease and as a burning lens for sacrificial rites.

    • Pliny prescribed a ball of rock-crystal as a cautery, if the suns rays were magnified though it. Cautery is the act of cauterizing a wound with heat, freezing, or a caustic agent to coagultate blood and destroy the affected tissue.

    • Marbodus ground the crystal to powder and mixed it with honey to increase the milk flow in nursing mothers.

    • The Highlanders used crystal balls to cure their cattle. On May Day some put crystal balls in a tub of water, then sprinkled their cattle with the water. This was to prevent their cattle becoming 'elf-struck'.

    • The rock-crystal balls may have been used as vexilla. Vexillum was a flag-like banner used by the Romans. The cloth is draped vertically, from a horizontal edge. The vexillum is still used in the present day Italian regions.


      Praetorian Guard Reenactor with
      Vexillum courtesy Wikipedia

      This modern re-enactor is holding a vexillum with a scorpion, which was the sign of the Praetorian guards.

    In many European locations, in Iron Age archeological diggings, rock-crystal balls have been found, particularly in England, These are often bound with narrow bands of silver or bronze. At one time, archeologists thought they were used for magic. It's currently believed the balls were worn as ornaments. Later on, crystal balls were used in England for magical purposes.

    Tomorrow, rock-crystal balls found in Scotland…

    January 14, 2009 06:27 - Rock Crystal Balls in Scotland

    Several examples of rock-crystal balls are on display in Scotland. A few are in private collections.

    In a letter written in 1702, the Reverend John Fraser, an Episcopalian minister, told of the numerous fine and precious stones the Highlanders hung around their necks as standards. All were believed to have great virtue.

    The Highlanders called these rock-crystal balls Leug or Leigheagan, a name not commonly used elsewhere in Scotland. Leug translates are precious stone or jewel. Liegh is a physician or surgeon. Leigheas and leighis mean a cure, remedy or healing.

    Looking at the Honours of Scotland, that is the crown, scepter, and sword, the globe of the scepter is a cut and polished rock crystal, with a Scottish pearl on top.

    Well known rock-crystal balls ~

    • The most famous ball, with the oldest history, is the Clach-na-Bratach, or Stone of the Standard. History reports it was protected in a little silk bag, but when carried into battle the ball was in a little cage atop the clan standard pole. It's primary function was for healing and it was believed that any water it was dipped in became a curative. The ball has been associated with the Clan Donnachaidh since before the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.

      Clansmen also believed it foretold the future. When cloudy, it foretold the death of the clan chief. In 1715, before the Battle of Sheriffmuir, the stone developed a big crack through its heart. The clan chief died in The Rising.

    • The Baul Muluy of St. Molio was an amulet of victory believed to have been carried by the clan to secure victory in battle.

    • The Glenlyon Ball was also called Clach Bhuai, meaning Powerful Stone. It may also have been named Clach Buaidh which means Victory Stone. Campbell of Glenlyon possessed this stone. This stone is about 4" in diameter.

    • The Clach-Dearg, or Stone of Ardvoirlich, is a ball smaller than the Clach-na-Bratach. It's set in four bands, suspended with a ring at the top. The silverwork is of Eastern design and workmanship. Believed in particular to heal cattle diseases, people would travel 40 miles for water in which the ball had been dipped. People who came to Ardvoirlich for their own healing would draw the water for themselves, bringing it to the house. The ball would be dipped in the water. This water would be poured into a bottle to be carried home. On the way home, if the bottle was carried into any home, the healing powers were believed to leave the bottle. So these bottles were always left outside.

    • Another ball, about 1 ¼ inches in diameter, with silver bands, has no known history. It's on display in the Museum of Science and Art.

    • A 1 ½ inch diameter ball has no known history and is owned privately.

    • A 1 3/8 inch ball was found in Fife. It is unmounted and was found in a grave.

    Other rock crystal charms are held to have curative powers

    • The Keppoch Charm-Stone is an oval rock the size of a small egg, mounted on a silver chain with a silver bird's claw. This was owned by the MacDonells of Keppoch. The chief emigrated to Australia and it's believed he took the charm with him.

    • The Marquess of Breadalbane has a rock-crystal charm set in silver. The setting is octagonal with eight pearls set at regular intervals.

    • An oblong crystal set in brass is in the Sim Collection. It's history goes back to Oban in 1851, where it was purchased from a jeweler. This stone is 1 5/8 inches long by 7/8 inch wide and ¾ inches high.

    • One last stone is a yellowish oval found at Leac-a-Gellie, Carrochtrie. It measures 7/8 inches long and 1 1/16 inches in diameter.

    This information on rock-crystal balls was mostly gleaned from articles about Scottish Charms and Amulets at Electric Scotland.

    Tomorrow, curling stones…

    January 15, 2009 09:14 - Scottish and Gaelic Stone Words

    Backstane, backstone ~
    1. a stone at the back of the fireplace in cottages which projects and is set on edge, sometimes wide enough for taking a nap.
    2. a pessimist

    Band-stane ~ a bonding stone going through the whole thickness of a wall, adding strength and solidity to the wall

    Bannock-stane ~ for baking bannocks, either a rounded stone placed before the fire or a small flat stone laid among the hot ashes. Also used for warming feet. In the Hebrides, folklore tells of a giant's soul hidden in the bannock-stone

    Black stone ~
    1. a black stones horse of English breed, fit to get foals for the coach
    2. a slab of black marble placed upon a chair or stool where a student sat for examinations at Glasgow, St. Andrews, Aberdeen, and Edinburgh Universities. 'Blackstone chair' and 'sit the Blackstone' came to mean an examination.

    Bore-stane ~
    1. a stone bored out to receive a flagstaff
    2. a boundary stone, either single or one of a series

    Caitrin stone ~ a soft shale found in the coal-pit near Cambeltown, used in place of an ordinary slate pencil

    Channel stane ~ a curling stone, which were originally channel stones from a river with no particular shape

    Chuckie-stane ~
    1. small flat stone for skimming across the water surface, a skipping stone
    2. a curling stone
    3. Quartz nodules of various colors

    Chuckie-stanes [check-stones] ~ a girl's game, similar to jacks. Four pebbles are placed on a rock and while a fifth pebble is tossed up in the air, the other 4 must be quickly picked up, then the descending 5th stone caught in the same hand.

    Cooling stone ~ in or near a school, a stone where a boy is sent to cool himself after a whipping

    Cow-lady-stane, colladie stone, collady stone ~ a kind of quartz with coloring suggesting a beetle, often found in water-worn river beds. Some are large enough to be used as seats.

    Crocking stone ~ a stone with a hollow used for husking barley, from the provincial Gaelic croc, meaning to beat or pound

    Dog stone ~ a piece of stone suitable for making a millstone

    Kapestane, kalpstene, kaping-stane, kepstone, capestone ~
    1. the stone caping a burial vault
    2. full perfection, as in "The house of God shall not lack the kaipstone"

    Knoking-stane ~
    1. a stone hollowed out for husking or knocking-out barley
    2. a flat stone where linen cloth or washing was 'knocked' or pounded

    Pend-stane, pend-stannis ~ a building stone cut to form part of an arch, a vault-stone

    Penny-stane ~
    1. a game, similar to quoits, played with a pennystone, or flat round stone. Referred to as "play at the penny-stane".
    2. the stone used to play penny-stane
    3. penny-stane cast is the short distance a penny-stane can be cast
    4. a large stone shaped like a penny-stane, usually four or five foot in diameter, and believed to have money hidden underneath.

    Semy stane ~ a semi-precious stone

    Serpent-stane ~
    1. an artificial stone used as a remedy for the poison of serpents, sometimes bordered with a gold band
    2. a piece of serpentine, often blue and white

    Splene stone ~ a stone believed to cure disorders of the spleen

    Standard stone ~ a standing stone or obelisk near old churches, about 12 foot high x 5 foot wide and 2 foot thick

    Stepestane, stepestone, steepston ~ a stone vat for soaking brewing barley or wool

    Paving Stone ~ a flat, heavy cookie with a little icing on top

    Stonack, stonach ~ a large brown glazed earthenware marble

    Stone, stoan, stown ~
    1. a trunk or stump of a tree, the cluster of new suckers that spring from a cut tree
    2. to cut away the suckers, to trim, to lop
    3. to go to church, "Have you been at the stones?" means have you been to church
    4. the telling of a calamitous event indirectly instead of a direct address, "To the stones be it told!"
    5. testicle

    Stoned ~
    1. uncastrated male animal, still having its stones
    2. to set with precious stones, of jewelry

    Stoner, stonern ~ made of stone

    Stone-thrust ~ a small pier or quay

    Stonie ~ varieties of the game of tig

    January 16, 2009 13:21 - Curling Stones

    At the other end of the spectrum from curative and protective semi-precious crystals are the curling stones of Scotland.

    The first curling stones were simply channel stones from the rivers. They had no particular shape.

    An older style of curling stone


    Image courtesy Wikipedia

    The best curling stones are created from ailsite, a granite found on Ailsa Craig, an island off Ayrshire. These stones last longer due to low water absorption. They don't erode as readily from the changes between freezing and melting. Ailsa has become a wildlife reserve and this granite can no longer be quarried.


    Image courtesy Wikipedia

    The Marquess of Ailsa, whose family has owned the island since 1560, granted Kays of Scotland exclusive rights to the Ailsa Craig granite. Before it became a wildlife preserve, Kays harvested enough granite to fill anticipated curling stone orders until 2020.

    A top quality curling stone can cost $1500 US. Some clubs use stones that are a lower grade granite with just the surface of Ailsite. Local neighborhood clubs also use cans filled with concrete.

    There are three types of Ailsa stones ~ Common Ailsa, Blue Hone, and Red Hone.

    Monday, the game of curling…

    January 19, 2009 07:46 - Curling, The Game ~ Not Your Hair

    Curling is often referred to as chess on ice. If you're not familiar with the game of curling, it's right up there with golf as the national sport of Scotland.

    Two quotes about curling that express the importance of curling in Scotland ~

    • "Wishin' to goodness we had had . . . a settled doon black frost, so that we could have had a fling at the channel stanes." From Cracks wi' Robbie Doo, 1910
    • "There's no a game amang them a' Can match auld Scotland's Channel Stane."
      Quoted from Whistle-Binkie, Series III, vol. 33, by Hogg

    For a mental picture of curling and the psychology of the game, the 2002 movie Men With Brooms can help you get your head around the game. Wikipedia has an extensive article about curling ~ how it's played, listings of clubs and competitions, the field of play, terminology, etc.

    Some old pictures of curling ~

    1909, Curling in Ontario, Canada


    Image courtesy Wikipedia

    1860, Eglinton Castle, Ayrshire


    Image courtesy Wikipedia

    1854, Fingask, Perthshire


    Image courtesy Wikipedia

    In more modern history, Rhona Martin skipped, or led, the Great Britain ladies curling team to a gold medal in the 2002 Winter Olympics. She also skipped the 2006 team, though they didn't do as well.


    Rhona Martin ~ team leader of Britain's Gold
    Medal Curling team at the Salt Lake City
    2002 Winter Olympics, image courtesy Wikipedia

    See Rhona Martin demonstrate curling on Scotland on TV.

    You can also view a short introduction to curling, courtesy Scotland on TV.

    The curling stones used by the 2002 Winter Olympic Gold winning Women's Curling team were fashioned on Ailsa Craig.

    Coming, more information about Ailsa Craig…

    January 20, 2009 09:05 - Ailsa ~ The Island

    Situated in the Firth of Clyde, this was a Roman Catholic haven during the Scottish Reformation.

    The island is renowned for its rare micro-granite, called ailsite, which has been quarried from the mid-1800's.

    The floor of the Chapel of the Thistle in St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh is laid with ailsite. And top quality curling stones, discussed yesterday, are fashioned from ailsite.


    Ailsa Craig from the Waverly paddle
    steamer image courtesy Wikipedia

    The island is a rocky craig which can be seen from all along the Ayrshire coast.


    Ailsa Craig from the Ayrshire Coast
    image courtesy Wikipedia

    The mists that hang over the island are seen as a coat, hat, and tie. This has given rise to the island being a local weather forecaster.


    When Ailsa Craig has on its coat,
    The Weather will be very hot.
    When Ailsa Craig has on its hat,
    You can be sure it will be wet.
    When Ailsa Craig has on its tie,
    That's a sign its going to be dry.

    The original lighthouse was completed in 1886. Robert Louis Stevenson's father, Thomas, along with his brother, oversaw the construction. Three generations of the Stevenson family were responsible for many lighthouses in Scotland. The lighthouse now runs on solar power.


    Ailsa Craig Lighthouse image courtesy National Lighthouse Board of Scotland


    Ailsa Craig Lighthouse Compound image courtesy Wikipedia

    Since being vacated, the island is a bird sanctuary. Landing on the island is by permit only.

    Millions of birds now nest on the island. Mostly they are the once native gannets and puffins. Other wild life on and around the island include grey seals, an occasional whale, and basking sharks.

    Where did the name Ailsa's Craig come from? That's tomorrow's story…

    January 21, 2009 10:20 - Elizabeth's Rock ~ The Landmark from Ireland to Scotland

    The island's name derives from the Gaelic Aillse Creag or Creag Ealasaid, meaning Elizabeth's rock.

    Naming the rock Elizabeth is actually a corruption of Elspeth, and refers to Elspeth McCrudden. She was the daughter of Alexander Sawney Bean.

    According to local legend, Sawney led a large clan of incestuous cannibals who lived in a cave on the Ayrshire coast. Elsbeth escaped the clan, lived in Girvan, and planted "The Hairy Tree" in her yard. When her family's dastardly deeds became known, as angry mob set out to lynch Elspeth. Trying to escape them, Elspeth began swimming to Ailsa Craig. The mob overtook her and hung her from the Hairy Tree in her own yard.

    On a lighter yet desperate note, Belfast to Glasgow has long been the traditional route of emigration for Irish laborers traveling to Scotland to avoid starvation for themselves and their families. Ailsa Craig is the halfway point and the most conspicuous of landmarks along the way. Thus its local name Paddy's Milestone.

    Reference to the island is found in early Celtic texts and many names have been applied over the centuries ~

    • A' Chreag ~ the rock
    • Creag Alasdair ~ Alasdair's rock
    • Ealasaid a' Chuain ~ Elizabeth of the ocean
    • Alasan
    • Carraig Alasdair
    • Alasdair's Rock ~ from Madness of Sweeney, an ancient Gaelic work of literature that's a mixture of poetry and prose. It tells the tale of a 1st century king going mad and roaming as a bird.

    Due to the quarry of ailsite, the island has a trade tartan ~


    Ailsa Craig Trade Tartan WR1673

    The Marquess of Ailsa
    The Marquess of Ailsa title was created in 1831 for Archibald Kennedy, the 12th Earl of Cassilis. The title Earl of Cassilis was created in 1509 for the 3rd Lord Kennedy.

    Gilbert Kennedy of Dunure, the 1st Lord Kennedy, was born around 1406. His parents were Sir James Kennedy of Dunure, the Younger, and Lady Mary Stewart, daughter of Robert III, King of the Scots. When King James II died, Gilbert Kennedy was one of the six Regents of Scotland.

    Once the most powerful family in Ayrshire, the family seat is Cassilis House, located in Maybole, Ayrshire.

    The Kennedy tartans ~


    Kennedy Clan TartanWR1123, c. 1847


    Kennedy Clan Dress Tartan WR1263


    Kennedy Clan Tartan WR1560, c. 1830's

    Tomorrow, Ailsa ~ The Name …

    January 22, 2009 07:04 - Famous Ailsas

    Alisa is also a name in Scotland. It's pronounced elza or ale-sa, with the stress on the first syllable.

    The name has many applications and as a feminine name has differing spellings and nicknames ~ Aillsa, Ailssa, Ilsa, Isle. It's believed to have come from Elizabeth.

    The Ailsa Parrot is a puffin from the island. Or if you were to hear the term dominie's Ailsa Craigs, it means big, heavy lads.

    In German Teutonic, the meaning is girl of cheer. In Norse, the name means elf victory.

    ElfQuest
    Relating to the Norse meaning elf victory, this is a science fiction/fantasy comic book. , was created in 1978 by Americans Wendy and Richard Pini. Quoting the Elfquest Publication websight,

    From the lands "beyond beyond" (or is it from the wellspring of everyday experience) come the stories and images that are interwoven into the ongoing tale that is ELFQUEST. Yet, even the most beautiful and powerful of stories need expression in one form or another. And since, alas, the storytellers can't gather each and every one of you around a crackling campfire, paper and ink must be added to the mix of imagination and words and pictures to bring the Wolfriders to life.

    One of the Wave Dancer elves is named Ailsa, a deceased female who is the soulmate of Brom and mother of Reanafel. Ailsa has long frosty white hair.

    Currently many series of the ElfQuest are available online for free at the official ElfQuest site. On July 9, 2008, Warner Brothers announced they will be filming the ElfQuest saga. The format ~ live action, computer generated, or traditional animation isn't yet decided.

    Other People Named Ailsa

    Ailsa McCreary
    A Canadian-born session singer who recently returned from living in the UK. Raised in Toronto, she started working professionally in Scotland, singing with her own quartet and others at Edinburgh's major jazz clubs.

    Ailsa Mellon Bruce
    Daughter of banker and diplomat Andrew Mellon. In her own right, a philanthropist who gave to colleges, community services, hospitals, youth programs, churches, cultural organizations, the arts, and environmental projects. She bequeathed her art collection to the National Gallery of Art, whose foundation her father had funded.

    Ailsa Piper
    An Australian TV actress of the 1980's and 90's.

    Ailsa Stewart
    A fictional character in the Australian soap opera Home and Away.

    January 23, 2009 07:07 - Ailsa as a Business Name

    As well as people, there are businesses named Ailsa ~

    Volvo Ailsa
    Ailsa is the British commercial vehicle branch of Volvo. In Scotland, they produce Volvo Ailsa B55, a double-decker bus.


    West Midlands Volvo B55 bus

    Alisa Craig Engines
    Manufacturer of marine and specialty engines from 1891 to 1972. Produced the world's first V12 engine.

    Ailsa Shipbuilding Company
    Founded in 1885 in Troon by Archibald Kennedy, the 3rd Marquess of Ailsa. They stopped large-scale shipbuilding in 1988 and ceased shipbuilding in 2003. The facility is used for ship repair and fabrication of large concrete sections for a pier in Grimsay, which is located in the Outer Hebrides.

    Famed for refitting a Norwegian whaler for the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition of 1902 to 1904. The ship was funded by the Coats family of thread fame and renamed the Scotia.

    This photo was taken at Laurie Island, South Orkneys in 1903-04, with the Scotia in the ice.


    The Scotia image courtesy Wikipedia

    Another achievement of Ailsa Shipbuilding is their paddle steamers. The most famous one, the PS Medway Queen, was built in 1924. She was meant to serve on the River Medway and the Thames Estuary. Today she is the only estuary paddle driven steamer left in the U.K.


    The PS Medway Queen image courtesy the Medway Queen Preservation Society

    During WWII, she served the Royal Navy as J48, protecting the English Channel in the 10th Minesweeping Flotilla. While serving the navy, she evacuated Kent children to East Anglia in 1939, then soldiers from the Battle of Dunkirk.

    As J48, she made 7 crossings to Dunkirk, a record for civilian ships. On her last trip she received considerable damages, but not before she rescued 7,000 men and shot down 3 enemy aircraft. J48 received 4 awards for gallantry and was dubbed The Heroine of Dunkirk.

    After the war she was put back into private service. But in 1953 her presence was requested at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

    Decommissioned and scheduled for scrapping in the mid-1960's, when the Belgian ship-breaker found he was to break up The Heroine of Dunkirk, he declined to destroy "such a gallant and important little ship".

    Next she was sold for nightclub on the Isle of Wight in 1964. She turned out to be a popular attraction, was replaced by a larger ship and was accidentally sunk in the 1970's. In 1984 she was raised and barged back to the River Medway. She sank once again, then was raised in 1987.

    In 1984 private investors purchased her with the intent of raising funds for her preservation. Both private and public funds were donated and, beginning in 2008, her hull is undergoing a two year restoration.

    Hopefully we will once again be able to see the Heroine of Dunkirk in her full glory.

    Monday, geographical Ailsas…

    January 26, 2009 07:05 - Ailsa as a Geographical Name

    There's more Ailsa Craigs and derivations thereof ~

    Ailsa Craig, Ontario
    Part of Middlesex County, Ontario, Canada, north of London.

    Ailsa Craig, Western Ontario
    On the Au Sable River, best known for the annual turtle race.

    Ailsa Farms
    Though listed in Wayne, New Jersey, no other information was found.

    Elsah, Illinois
    Founded by James Semple, U.S. Senator from Illinois, in 1853. Free lots were offered to anyone who built their home with stone from his quarry. As Ailsa Craig was the family's last view of Scotland as the emigrated to the United States, he chose a derivation of Ailsa for his village's name.

    Now a suburb of St. Louis, the village gained popularity when the Great Rivers Scenic Byway, also known as Illinois Route 100, opened in 1964. The Mississippi, Missouri, and Illinois Rivers meet along the byway.

    Though not a "museum village" as the homes are privately owned and not open to the public, the entire village is on the National Register of Historic Places.

    Here's a photo of the Elsah Methodist Church, a possible wedding venue if you live in the vicinity and seek a spot with Scottish history.


    Elsah Methodist Church Elsah Illinois

    You can tour the Elsah Historic District online or obtain more information about the Gret River Road area.

    Tomorrow, a new Ailsa…

    January 27, 2009 10:15 - Beautiful Scottish Names for Twins

    A friend in Canada recently added twin great-granddaughters to her Scottish family. Their names are so rhythmic, while evoking the mists and waters of Scotland. Then when I looked up their meanings ~ what a legacy in four small words…

    A hearty welcome to Ailsa Aileen and Alex Iona !

    • Ailsa ~ Teutonic, girl of cheer, Aillsa, Ailssa, Ilsa, Ilse, Elizabeth, Elsa
      Elizabeth ~ Hebrew, consecrated of God
      Ailsa ~ Hebrew, devoted to God; Danish, pledged to God

    • Aileen ~ Greek, light
      Aileen, Aileene ~ Scottish, 'from the green meadow'
      Evelyn, variant ~ bright, shining one; Irish, light

    • Alex ~ Greek, from Alexander, defending warrior, protector of men
      Alexis ~ Greek, helper
      Alasdair ~ derived from Alexander, another name of Ailsa Craig

    • Iona, Gaelic, St. Columba's island; Norse, island.

    One of the Inner Hebrides islands, Iona holds a very important place in the Christian history of Scotland. It's also renowned for natural beauty and tranquility.

    Thought to be a sacred site before the coming of St. Columba, the monastery became a place of pilgrimage and a sacred burial site for the Kings of Scotland, Ireland, and Norway. The Scottish kings known to have been buried on Iona are Kenneth I, Donald II, Malcolm I, Duncan I, Macbeth, and Donald III.

    Green streaked Iona marble was commercially mined in the 19th century. Pebbles of this marble can be found on the island's beaches. In comtemporary times, Port Bahn beach on the west side of the island hosts an annual Iona Beach Party. Photos and a trailer can be viewed at the official website.

    The Book of Kells is thought to have originated in the monastery on Iona in the 8th century. Read more about it tomorrow…

    January 28, 2009 07:39 - The Book of Kells

    Thought to have originated at the monastery on the island of Iona, this 8th century document is a national treasure in Ireland.

    Also known as the Book of Columba, this is an illuminated Latin manuscript of the Four Gospels in the New Testament. Celtic monks transcribed the text. It's a masterwork of Western Calligraphy and Insular illumination.

    John the Evangelist ~


    Book of Kells John the Evangelist
    image courtesy Wikipedia


    A decorated initial ~


    Book of Kells Initial image courtesy Wikipedia


    Insular illuminations are highly decorated with intricate patterns. These patterns include figures of humans, animals and mythical beasts. Intricate knotwork, interlacing patterns, and vibrant colors complete the patterns which enliven the pages of manuscripts. There is no attempt to give depth or volume to the designs.

    These two examples are embroidered ~


    Celtic Peacock embroidery
    courtesy Embroidery.com


    Celtic Seahorse embroidery
    courtesy Embroidery.com

    A Celtic cross ~


    Celtic High Cross
    courtesy Wikipedia

    The Tara Brooch is of unknown origin and was unearthed in 1850, when this drawing was made ~


    Tara Brooch drawing courtesy Wikipedia

    Typically, Celtic art may include gold, silver, copper, brass, amber, and glass. Christian symbolism is often present, further emphasizing the Biblical themes of many of the illuminations.

    Tomorrow, a whole new theme as I explore the uses for a Cricut…

    January 29, 2009 09:01 - The Cricut

    Last week I watched part of an infomercial on this handy little machine. Of course my mind immediately went to weddings and what an even semi-crafty person could do with it.

    It full name is the Cricut Personal Electronic Cutter Machine. Basically it's a super-duper paper cutter that cuts a range of papers from vellum to cardstock, chipboard and stencils, vinyl and mylar stick-on lettering, and fabric that's backed with Wonder Under.

    The training materials are geared primarily for scrapbooking, but the uses I can think of are almost endless. It can even emboss paper products.

    You could design your own invitations and announcements. How about paper table decorations, rubber stamps or stencils for paper or fabric. You could then custom design table runners or table cloths for the bride and groom table, gift table, and cake table. Or the altar cloth for the ceremony.

    If you're thinking of designing a bridal concomitant [blogs beginning June 16, 2007], banners, or flags this could give you some really nice looking results.

    Want a rear-window decal for the car you'll drive to or from the various venues ~ church, reception, honeymoon? Design and cut your own from vinyl stock. Or how about customized bags and boxes for gifts and favors? And they could all have a Scottish flair with your own designs.

    I'm not sure, but I think you can only use their cartridge designs. Mulling over the dilemma of wanting paper in a specific tartan, one solution would be to print out your chosen tartans on paper or cardstock, then cut the designs on the Cricut using your customized paper

    You could design a custom Order of Ceremony, adding poems, vows, explanations of the Scottish things on your own tartan paper.

    Possibly you could find your clan badge plant to incorporate in your designs.

    The machines start at $300, but you could save yourself a lot of money on your wedding paper goods and fill a creative desire, while expressing yourself and your Scottish roots. When you done, you could auction the Cricut on Ebay, keep on using it yourself, maybe even create some "Scottishness" for friends and family to use.

    They're sold at Michael's, Hobby Lobby, Wal-Mart Superstores, and Joann Fabrics, plus online. So you can readily check them out, see one in action, and find out what specific designs they have for you and what your total cost would be with cartridges, inks, and papers.

    If you do decide to use one, let us see some photos of your designs!

    January 30, 2009 09:56 - Daffodil Cake

    Recently I saw this Daffodil Cake photo by Frosted at Craftster.


    Daffodil Cake by Frosted, image courtesy Craftster

    Though originally made for a birthday, it sparks a myriad of ideas for a Daffodil wedding theme.

    Due to its smaller size, it could be used at a bridal shower, or adapted for a top layer on a wedding cake. You certainly wouldn't need a cake topper with this.

    This Daffodil Cake recipe from Better Homes and Gardens originated in the 1930's or 40's and is still popular today.

    The flowers bear the familiar name Daffy-Down Dillies. And they just scream "It's Spring!" Their perky yellow blooms could be a nice stepping off point for a yellow daffodil wedding theme.

    Tartan Day is coming soon and the daffodil seems to be the unofficial flower for the day. It's also the national flower of Wales.

    Going back to Victorian nosegays, the hidden meanings of daffodils include regard, joy, you are the only one, chivalry, the sun is always shining when I'm with you.

    Coming Monday, February Highland Games.

    Beginning Tuesday, more about daffodils, yellow tartans, uses for the flowers, companion flowers, and suggestions for wedding gown designs…

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