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May 3, 2010 09:11 - May Highland Games & Festivals

According to ancient lore, King Malcolm III of Scotland is credited with originating the Highland Games. That was back in 11th Century. He was seeking the fastest runner to be his royal messenger. He initiated a foot race from Braemar to Creag Choinnick.

King Malcolm not only found his runner, but began the tradition of Highland Games. Many Highland Games, such as the Bathgate event on May 29th, still feature an uphill race to commemorate this first competition.

  • April 29 to May 2, Glen Innes, New South Wales, Australia ~ The Australian Celtic Festival
  • April 30 to May 1, Greensboro, North Carolina ~ Triad Highland Games
  • April 30 to May 2, Cedar Bluff, Kansas ~ Th’ Gatherin’ Ancient Festival O’ Beltane
  • April 30 to May 2, Ardara, County Donegal, Ireland ~ The "Cup of Tae" Traditional Music Festival
  • April 30 to May 2, Bridgeport, West Virginia ~ Scottish Festival and Celtic Gathering
  • May 1, Maynooth, Ontario, Canada ~ Maynooth Celtic Festival
  • May 1 to 2, Koroit, Victoria, Australia ~ Koroit Irish Festival

    Among the events is a display of the 32 county flags of Ireland. Seen here, they're being displayed by school children. In the Festival parade, the flags are carried by local citizens whose ancestors came from the various counties. Any one coming from the counties also march behind their individual flags.


    Irish County Flag display courtesy The Standard,
    Warrnambool, Victoria newspaper

  • May 2 to 3, Chatham, New York ~ Celebration of Celts
  • May 7 to 8, Carrollton, Kentucky ~ Kentucky Irish Weekend
  • May 8, Frederick, Maryland ~ Frederick Celtic Festival
  • May 8, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania ~ Phoenixville Celtic Street Fair
  • May 8, Prescott, Arizona ~ Prescott Highland Games
  • May 8, Savannah, Georgia ~ Savannah Scottish Games
  • May 8 to 9, Chicago, Illinois ~ Celtic Fest Chicago
  • May 9, Inverclyde, Scotland ~ Gourock Highland Games
  • May 9 to 10, Winston-Salem, North Carolina ~ Celtic Music Festival & Highland Games
  • May 11 to 15, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada ~ CelticFest Vancouver
  • May 13 to 16, Strasbourg, France ~ Festival Euroceltes


    Festival Euroceltes logo courtesy Festival Euroceltes

  • May 14 to 16, Gatlinburg, Tennessee ~ Gatlinburg Scottish Festival
  • May 15, Eugene, Oregon ~ Eugene Scottish Festival
  • May 15, Fair Hill, Maryland ~ Colonial Highland Gathering
  • May 15, Nottingham, South Africa ~ The Bells Fort Nottingham Highland Gathering

    Also known as The Howzit Games, the fort served the Natal Midlands region of Africa for 150 years. As well as the Scotsmen who served in the military regiments, many Scottish families settled in the region as farmers.

    One interesting event at the annual Highland Gathering is the Vintage Tractor Parade. To get the tractors to the games, the "Notties Tractor Trek" progresses across farmlands to the parade site at the Fort Nottingham Fields.

    Another historically popular event is "Running the Colours". Regimental colors are ceremonial flags of the military regiments. The colors hold a special place in the hearts of the regiments and their family members. Historically, they were carried into battle. Today they’re reserved for parades and special occasions.

    This race commemorates the efforts of Lieutenants Melvill and Coghill, who attempted to retrieve the Queen’s Colour of the 24th Regiment at what is now known as Fugitive’s Drift. This is an event of the Zulu Wars in 1879.


    Transvaal Scottish Regimental Colors courtesy
    Fort Nottingham Highland Gathering


    Natal Carbineers Colors courtesy Wikipedia

    In keeping with the Regimental flags, the vendor area at the games displays the tartan flags of various Highland Clans.


    Fort Nottingham vendor area
    courtesy Fort Nottingham Games

  • May 15 to 16, Houston, Texas ~ Houston Highland Games and Celtic Festival
  • May 15 to 17, Edinboro, Pennsylvania ~ Edinboro Highland Games
  • May 16, Aiken, South Carolina ~ Aiken Highland Games & Celtic Festival
  • May 16, Albuquerque, New Mexico ~ Rio Grande Valley Celtic Festival & Highland Games
  • May 16, Richmond, Rhode Island ~ Rhode Island Highland Scottish Festival
    May 16, Tallahassee, Florida ~ Tallahassee Scottish Highland Games & Celtic Festival
  • May 16 to 17, Livermore, California ~ Livermore Scottish Games & Celtic Festival
  • May 21 to 22, Mint Hill, North Carolina ~ Mint Hill Scottish Festival and Highland Games
  • May 21 to 24, Rorschach, Switzerland ~ Celtic Days on Lake Constance
  • May 22, Courtenay, British Columbia, Canada ~ Comox Valley Highland Games
  • May 22, Farmington, Minnesota ~ Minnesota Scottish Fair and Highland Games
  • May 22, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada ~ Moose Jaw Highland Games
  • May 22 to 23, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada ~ Victoria Highland Games
  • May 22 to 23, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada ~ Greater Sudbury Celtic Festival and Highland Games
  • May 23, Regina, Saskatchewan ~ The Regina Highland Games
  • May 23 to 24, Costa Mesa, California ~ United Scottish Society of Southern California Scottish Festival
  • May 24, Jakarta, Indonesia ~ Jakarta Highland Gathering
  • May 28 to 29, Greenville, South Carolina ~ Greater Greenville Scottish Games and Highland Festival
  • May 28 to 30, Alma, Michigan ~ The Alma Highland Festival and Games
  • May 29, Bathgate, Scotland ~ Bathgate and West Lothian Highland Games

    In 1922, Bathgate held their first Highland Games. In recent games, Cairnpapple Hill is featured in the traditional hill race. The hill had been a major ritual site for over 4000 years. In 1947, during an excavation, the tree covered hill was uncovered.


    Cairnpapple Hill courtesy Wikipedia



    Cairnpapple Hill courtesy Armadale

  • May 29 to 30, Blair Atholl, Scotland ~ Atholl Gathering and Highland Games
  • May 29 to 30, Pomona, California ~ Scots Fest - United Scottish Societies of Southern California Highland Gathering
  • May 29 to 30, Shawnee-On-Delaware, Pennsylvania ~ Shawnee Celtic Festival
  • May 29 to 31, Perth-Andover, New Brunswick, Canada ~ Gathering of the Scots Festival
  • May 30 to 31, Lucas, Kentucky ~ Glasgow Highland Games

For more detailed information about the listed events, go to

Tomorrow, a lovely detailed tafetta skirt…


May 4, 2010 07:10 - Taffeta Skirt with Embroidery

I've found a skirt on an Etsy site, that could be used as part of a bridal ensemble, if you're looking for something upbeat, contemporary, and street length or shorter.

The artist is Natalia Dieguez and she's located in Santa Fe, Argentina. Her work is free-form crochet. Her color combinations, particularly on the blue taffeta skirt, are exceptional.


Taffeta Skirt courtesy Natalia Dieguez on Etsy

The free form crochet is a combination of blues and peaches, using threads of silk, macramé, cotton, and nacre beads. Nacre is mother-of-pearl.

Though the skirts are displayed as casual or street-wear length, with the right bodice and accessories, they could quickly become the foundation for a bride's gown.

Used as is, off the rack, by changing the bodice to a bustier with an extended lower edge to cover the mid-section, you could quickly have a unique, one-of-a-kind ensemble. If the colors would co-ordinate, you could possibly have a tartan bustier. Clan Gatherings has a selection of silk tartan bustiers.

Other bodice styles and fabrics could also be used ~ chiffon, cotton batiste, lace.

If you select a tartan bustier, the skirt hemline piping could be of the same silk tartan. Even if you extended the skirt to tea length or longer, the tartan piping would add a subtle, Scottish flair. If you're considering a tartan bustier, the same silk tartan could be used for the cording on the skirt hemline.

One of her selections includes a paisley adaptation. The paisley connection with Scotland, on July 22 to August 2, 2009, makes for interesting reading.


Paisley Motif Blouse courtesy Natalia Dieguez on Etsy

Another idea would be to have Natalia do the free form crochet, based on the Scottish thistle.

Her free-form scarf could be worn as a sash with a Medieval or Renaissance gown. Created with thistles or Celtic knots, this would be another Scottish accent.


Freeform Scarf courtesy Natalia Dieguez on Etsy

Natalia does do custom order work. You can send your Custom Orders requests through Alchemy.

Be sure to browse her Etsy website for additional ideas you might like to add to your Scottish them wedding.

Coming tomorrow, a Celtic motif windsock as a Bridal Concomitant…

May 5, 2010 06:46 - Celtic Windsock as a Bridal Concomitant

A windsock to hang outside or inside either the ceremony or reception is another way to display some Scottishness. It could be considered a Bridal Concomitant. From the same Wedding Day page, the motifs could be any of the Good Omens ~ lamb, rainbow, chimney sweet, toad, gray horse, or horseshoe.

The Newsroom blog also featured Bridal Concomitants on June 19 to 21, 2007.

The concomitants were often divided into sections, like a family coat of arms in heraldry. Each section can display a different motif. As well as the Good Omens, another motif could be a Clan Plant Badge.

Or heraldic symbols relating to the families, or where they came from, could be added. Both the Newsroom for August 18 through September 11, 200 and the Scottish Wedding Theme website at Heraldry and Heraldic Symbols have information about possible motifs you can use.

For a quick windsock, or one with less fuss, just use a silk Clan Tartan. The streamers could be the colors found within the tartan.

As a bridal concomitant is often divided into sections, telling different stories, the design on the windsock base could do the same thing.

Tomorrow, instructions about sewing a windsock…

May 6, 2010 08:55 - Celtic Windsock Instructions

Following up on yesterday's Celtic windsock, here's instructions for sewing one ~

Items Needed:
Nylon Lining fabric, or rip-stop nylon for sturdier windsock
For base section - ¾ yard background color
For streamers [tails] - 4 colors, ¾ to 1 yd, for 3" wide strips
Nylon colors for motif around Windsock base ~ ¼ to ¾ yard
Matching thread
16 gauge galvanized steel wire
Wire cutters
4 grommets
Grommet tool
Nylon cord, or a comparable cording

All seam allowances are ½ inch unless specified otherwise

Base

  • Cut one piece of base color and one in complimentary color for lining, 8 ½ inches high x 25 ½ inches long.
  • With right sides together, stitch along a 25 ½ inch length.
  • Press both raw edges up against the outside fabric.
  • Top stitch with matching thread.
  • To create the wire casing, fold the main fabric raw edge toward the wrong side with a 1 inch seam. Press.
  • Fold and press another 1 inch edge, pinning it in place
  • Repeat this process with the lining fabric.
  • Stitch all thicknesses together in a 5/8 inch seam from folded over edge, using thread to match main color fabric.

Proceed to the tails before completing the windsock base.

Tails or Streamers
Cut strips in 4 different colors
6 - 3" x 36"
4 - 3" x 36"
7 - 3" x 24"
3 - 3" x 24"

  • Fold each strip in half lengthwise, with right sides together, pin.
  • Stitch one short end and the length pinned together, leaving the other end open for turning. If you stitch in a long piece of cording or tape along the short end, this can be used to pull and turn the tail.
  • After turning to the outside, press flat.
  • Arrange tails along the bottom edge of the base, pinning in place, allowing for a ½ inch seam on the tails.
  • Stitch through all thicknesses, following the 2 rows of stitching on the base.

To complete the windsock

  • Fold the base in half with the right sides together, pin in place
  • Stitch ½ inch from raw edges
  • Turn right side out
  • Attach 4 evenly spaced grommets to the top, just above the casing seamline. Be sure to leave enough room above the grommets for the wire to pass through the casing.
  • On the inside of the base, close to the seam, cut a small hole only through the inside fabric.
  • Tape the end of the steel wire so it won't puncture the fabric.
  • Pass the wire through the hole, into the casing, which forms the base into a circle.
  • When the wire is all the way around and back to the hole, trim wire, tape the two ends together and slip it back into the hole.
  • Tie a 12 inch piece of cording, or whatever your hanging material is, into each grommet.
  • Holding all four cords evenly, centering the knot, tie them together, creating a hanging loop.

Windsock Motifs might be a Scotch thistle, Rampant Lion, Celtic Knot, Shamrock, heraldic symbols, the claddagh, the Luckenbooth, or clan plant badges.

The cording can simply be a nylon cording. Or if you're feeling more ambitious,
a synthetic or silk cording could be fashioned with a macramé, Kumihimo, or other braiding technique. Another idea would be to fashion the cording of Celtic knots, which you could design.
Aon Celtic Art has lots of ideas for fashioning Celtic Knotwork into other crafts. Their Tattoo Flash designs are a good starting point for a special cording. Be sure to browse their gallery, additional projects, gift shop, and freeware pages. If you decide to do any knotwork designing, their knotwork pages will be of unmeasured help.
The windsock idea and instructions were found on the A OK Corral craft site, where you can view the instructions with accompanying photos.

Tomorrow, a new source for tartan ribbon, including sheer organza ribbon…

May 7, 2010 07:29 - Tartan Ribbon

Tartan Ribbon, located in Lanarkshire, Scotland, has a vast array of tartan ribbon, both in polyester and wool.

They list over 40 tartans available in decorative polyester ribbon in various widths. You can also use their search button to access other tartans. They also have a service where, if you can't find your tartan, they suggest other tartans that are close enough to use as a substitute.

For other tartans, they offer 500+ wool tartan ribbons. Like other sources, these are limited in length to the width of the woven tartan. So they are sold in packages of ten, in widths of 1 to 12 inches.

One product I've not seen elsewhere, is sheer organza polyester tartan ribbon. Though only available in 4 tartans ~ Royal Stewart, Dress Stewart, Black Watch, and Macgregor ~ these are the most popular tartans with the broadest use.


Black Watch organza ribbon courtesy Tartan Ribbon


Dress Stewart organza ribbon courtesy Tartan Ribbon



MacGregor organza ribbon courtesy Tartan Ribbon


Royal Stewart organza ribbon courtesy Tartan Ribbon

Tartan Ribbon also offers traditional polyester Black Watch ribbon with a wired gold or silver edge .

A custom tartan ribbon service, for tartans they don't already carry and custom designed tartans, is also available.

Where most companies deduct the VAT tax for American orders then add shipping charges, Tartan Ribbon leaves the VAT tax in place, but ships for free worldwide.

The company also seems to have a sense of humor, as seen in this photo.


Tartan sheep courtesy Tartan Ribbon

The tongue-in-cheek text with the photo discusses the dubious claims of some clans for "their" tartan, explaining the special sheep found in remote glens being bred for their rare tartan wool.

They also feature the world's first color photograph, taken in 1861 by James Clerk Maxwell.

Their website can be accessed at TartanRibbon.com for more information.

May 10, 2010 12:00 - Jack In The Green ~ Part I

Jack-in-the-Green is found in various, sometimes unexpected places. Also known as the Green Man, he can be seen in paintings, graphics, and architecture.

Even in crosswalks which display a man walking, the go light is often called "The Green Man". Both as The Green Man and as Jack-in-the-Green, the name is popular for pubs and inns. He has been grasped by the Green Movement of ecology and can be seen for sale in garden centers, complete with hardware to mount on a tree.

Older architecture often features the Green Man, as seen in this column capital at Magdalen College, Oxford ~ though this one being painted makes it unique.


Magdalen College Green Man courtesy Green Man Trail

Though the Green Man, aka Jack-in-the-Green, does occur in Scotland and Scottish legends, not many photos are available. This one is from Rosslyn Chapel in Rosslin, Midlothian.


Courtesy Rosslyn Chapel


Courtesy Rosslyn Chapel

Tomorrow, some modern Green Men…

May 11, 2010 07:51 - Jack in the Green ~ Part II, Some Modern Green Men

With a resurgence of interest in the Green Man, or Jack-in-the-Green, since the 1970’s, they not only march in May Day parades. They pop out of paintings, music has been written about them, and there’s even a movie about one.

Artist, Caroline Ritson enjoys painting The Green Man.


Green Man by Caroline Ritson courtesy Green Man Trail

The Magpie Lane band used an old Jack-in-the-Green painting from the 1830’s for an album cover. The music is a mix of old and contemporary tunes, with some dating back to 1816, featuring Jack-in-the-Green.


Jack-in-the-Green painting album cover courtesy Green Man Trail

Even Parker Brothers games got into the picture, when they reproduced this jig-saw puzzle. Albert Ludovici painted a scene from Charles Dicken’s The Old Curiosity Shop. It depicts a May Day celebration.

When Dicken’s 100th birthday was being celebrated in 1912, Raphael Tuck & Sons of London published Ludovici’s scene. Parker Brothers re-introduced the puzzles in 1921.


The Old Curiosity Shop jigsaw puzzle courtesy Wikipedia

This and other Dicken’s scenes are from the Bob Armstrong Old Puzzles Collection.

In the movie, Legend, a modern fairy tale involving fairies, unicorns, villains, and a creature of the forest who is a Green Man, portrayed by Tom Cruise.


Legend movie poster courtesy Wikipedia

Tomorrow, the May Poles of May Day…


May 12, 2010 08:53 - Jack-in-the-Green ~ Part III May Poles

On November 4, 2009, I had written about Scan Tester, a folk musician, in reference to the word P.O.S.H. He was a small town legend who helped keep folk music and dancing alive in England. His talents were honed in his father’s pub, The Green Man.

This led me to learn more about The Green Man. Among other things I learned he was a figure who played into May Day celebrations. In the past all I knew about May Day was children dancing around the Maypole, criss-crossing pastel colored crepe paper streamers, similar to this performance in Sale, Victoria, Australia.


Maypole Dance courtesy
Wikipedia

In my search I also found older, traditional May Pole dances hearkening back to Medieval times, as in the dance being performed at dawn on Ickwell Green in Bedfordshire, England.


Ickwell Maypole Dance courtesy Wikipedia

I had planned on presenting this information for May 1, May Day. But it slipped past me and I’ve just realized I missed the date. And so, on to May Day and the Green Man…

May 13, 2010 07:36 - Jack in the Green ~ Part IV The Milk Maids

The first day of May is thought of as a new beginning. It’s Spring, everything seems new and full of promise. It’s a time to celebrate.

The Romans brought many of their customs to England, including the May Pole, for the goddess Flora. On the first of May, Flora would go into the woods, cut a tree, decorate it with ribbons and flowers, then dance around her creation.

In the 16th and 17th century, May Day celebrations in the British Isles were Bacchanal in flavor, with lots of fun, heavy drinking, the Lord and Lady of May Day, and practical jokes, with all dancing around the May Pole.

Adding to this, English milk maids would decorate their pails for May Day and go through the streets singing. People would toss coins in their pails. The maids also began to collect silver cups and silverware, which they added to the flowers and garlands decorating their pails and their bodies.

As the quantity of silver grew, the maids began to build elaborate headpieces decorated with the silver they had collected. In time this all evolved into parades, with fiddlers and drummers marching along. At the end of the parade, all would dance around the decorated May Pole.

Tomorrow, more about May Day and the chimney sweeps…

May 14, 2010 05:28 - Jack in the Green ~ Part IV The Chimney Sweeps

In the poorer quarters of town, the chimney sweeps and their climbing boys were closing down for the summer when no one needed their chimneys cleaned. For them, it was a season of unemployment.

Taking a clue from the milk maids, the chimney sweeps dressed in their best suits, decked out with colored paper, gilt, and garlands. Walking along with the parade, they would beat their shovels with cleaning brushes, also collecting coins.


Chimney sweep courtesy Stock Exchange

The milk maid costumes had evolved into a conical shape, so the chimney sweeps emulated this by covering a conical form with green leaves and donning green crowns.

This, in turn, evolved into a conical green form covering the man from head to toe. In this illustration, two chimney sweeps dance in parody of the Lord and Lady of the May in 18th century London.


18th Century Jack-in-the-Green courtesy Wikipedia

In the more austere Victorian Era, the Lord and Lady of May Day disappeared, being replace by a lovely, sedate May Queen. There was no place for The Green Man.

During the 1970’s the Green Man began to reappear in May Day celebrations. Today, though the origins and the chimney sweeps are long forgotten, May Day celebrations aren’t complete without a nine foot tall green man.

Monday, the Green Man, or Jack-in-the-Green in modern society…


May 17, 2010 05:48 - Jack-in-the-Green ~ Part VI The Modern Green Man

During the 1970’s the Green Man began to reappear in May Day celebrations. Today, though the origins and the chimney sweeps are long forgotten, May Day celebrations aren’t complete without a nine foot tall green man.

Since the Green Man has re-appeared, many town feature their Jack-in-the-Green in their May Day parades and festivities.

These two contemporary Green Men march in parades in Hastings


Hastings Jack-in-the-Green courtesy The Telegraph April 28, 2007


Courtesy Hastings Jack-in-the-Green

and in the Deptford May Day Celebrations.


Courtesy Deptford Jack-in-the-Green

London’s Jack-in-the-Green


Courtesy London S.E.

Rochester


Rochester, England Jack-in-the-Green courtesy Glen Tour

A montage with the Green Man, a facial close-up, and the Oyster Morris dancers at Whitstable


Whitstable Jack-in-the-Green courtesy Oyster Morris

Two more Jacks ~ one from Bristol and one featured on Historic U.K.


Courtesy Jack-in-the-Green Bristol


Courtesy Historic U.K.

Tomorrow some suggestions as to using Jack-in-the-Green at your wedding…

May 18, 2010 06:18 - Jack in the Green ~ Part VII Jack in the Wedding

Jack-in-the-Green grows in popularity each year. Even a limerick has been written in his honor.

Green Man Limerick

There was a young man from Larkhall
Who went to a masquerade ball
Dressed up as a tree,
But he failed to foresee
His abuse by the dogs in the hall

Courtesy Rampant Scotland

But how could Jack-in-the-Green be added to your Scottish theme wedding?

On the Bridal concomitant or on a windsock as covered last week is one application. Table decorations, printed on the napkins, even a Jack-in-the-Green or Green Man groom’s cake. Particularly if your wedding date falls around May 1st, he would be an added interest to your wedding plans.

Aon Celtic Art has a set of graphics, including a Green Man mask.


Jack-in-the-Green mask graphic courtesy AON Celtic Art

Green Man Suncatchers, from Northern Sun could be table decorations or hung where light would shine through, highlighting their design.


Green Man Suncatcher courtesy Northern Sun

They also have a window decal that could be a wedding favor.

Historic Impressions offers a reproduction Green Man
which could be a wedding decoration, or a gift to give or receive.


Scottish Green Man courtesy Historic Impressions

If you’d like to view more Green Man images, Google lists 140,000,000 images. Some are traditional, some contemporary, some having nothing to do with The Green Man.

May 19, 2010 07:04 - Historic Impressions Plaques as Wedding Gifts ~ Part I

Historic Impressions is an Allentown, Pennsylvania company offering artifact reproduction plaques. After travels in the British Isles, they have faithfully reproduced architectural art as plaques, reduced in size for the average home.

The plaques are formed of durable, custom cast stone. While strong, but brittle, the pieces need to be handles like china.

Some of the pieces offered are ~

  • Celtic Knot, this 12th century knot is named Glendalough and is found in the St. Saviour’s Priory, County Wicklow, Ireland, where St. Kevin‘s monastery was founded.


    Glendalough Celtic Knot Plaque courtesy Historic Impressions

  • Claddagh, from their Irish collection, has long been a symbol of love, friendship, and loyalty. A more complete version of the tradition can be read at Scottish Wedding Dreams Wedding Traditions The Tryste.


    Claddagh Plaque courtesy Historic Impressions

Tomorrow, the Historic Impression plaques continue with The Green Man and others…

May 20, 2010 06:17 - Historic Impressions Plaques ~ Part II

The Scottish themed plaques created by Historic Impressions cover a variety of subjects. Beyond the Celtic knot and claddagh presented yesterday, the Green Man is once again found as a theme.

  • The Green Man is based on a 15th century choir stall carving from Dunblane Cathedral in Scotland.

    Called a misericord, these were carved under the seats in the choir stalls and featured many secular and pagan themes. The Green Man or Jack-in-the-Green tradition appeared in the Newsroom on May 10 to 19, 2010.


    Green Man Plaque courtesy Historic Impressions

    Two more examples of misericords are shown from Ludlow and Cartmel, England.


    Green Man Misericord Ludlow Shropshire courtesy Wikipedia


    Triple Faced Green Man Cartmel Priory Misericord courtesy Wikipedia

  • Inchbrayok Cross, from the 10th century, decorated with Celtic spirals and labyrinths [see The Newsroom Archives April 15 to 24, 2009, for more information on labyrinths].

    Located in Montrose, Scotland, the cross was dedicated to St. Brioc of Wales. It's part of a slab which chronicles the life of Samson.


    Inchbrayok Cross Plaque courtesy Historic Impressions

    Other crosses are available on the Historic Impressions Scottish, Irish, and Welsh pages.

Tomorrow, more Historic Impressions plaques including a piping pig gargoyle…

May 21, 2010 07:12 - Historic Impressions Plaques ~ Part III

  • Luckenbooth, which is often given as a symbol of undying love, more about this tradition can be read at Scottish Wedding Dreams Wedding Traditions The Tryste page.

    Historic Impression’s version includes the cross of St. Andrew in the crown and thistles, which are the legendary protectors of Scotland.


    Luckenbooth Plaque courtesy Historic Impressions

  • Piping Pig Gargoyle, from Melrose Abbey as part of a 15th century reconstruction. In heraldry, a pig symbolizes fertility.


    Piping Pig Gargoyle Plaque courtesy Historic Impressions

  • Scottish Dancers, originating as a 19th century case for photographs, this plaque depicts The Monymusk Reel, bagpipes and agricultural tools as a symbol of prosperity.

    Monymusk is located in Aberdeen and is known for the artifacts and history within St. Mary’s Church and the Monymusk Reliquary.


    Scottish Dancers Plaque courtesy Historic Impressions

  • Scottish Thistle, a popular 19th century design, incorporating acanthus leaves, is taken from an historic house. As an heraldic symbol the Scottish thistle speaks of independence, strength, protection, and healing.

    The tradition behind the thistle can be read on Scottish Wedding Dreams Wedding Symbols page.


    Scottish Thistle Plaque courtesy Historic Impressions

    Any of these plaques would exemplify Scotland and a Scottish theme. They could be given as gifts to the bridal party, parents, or the bride and groom. If in keeping with your specific theme, they could be used as an enhancement at the reception on the bridal couple, gift, or guest tables.

    Coming Monday, the offerings from Historic Impressions continue with reproduction antique butter molds and stamps…

  • May 24, 2010 06:14 - Historic Impressions Butter Molds ~ Part IV

    Butter molds offered by Historic Impressions have many symbols ~ thistles, pineapple, wheat sheaf, pomegranate, acorns, flowers, cow, cookie molds, and shortbread molds.

    Originally carved of wood, these stamps were seen as early as the 17th century. They were used as decoration and as a means of identifying who churned the butter.

    Some molds were intricately ornate and works of art, particularly where wood carving was a popular folk art.

    There are molds with the farmers’ initials and even heraldic symbols. Most simply portray the local surroundings ~ farm animals, birds, flowers, and fruits, both realistic and stylized.

    As ethnic groups immigrated into the U.S., they brought their butter molds and the ability to carve with them. By the 19th century, wooden work factories were producing them on lathes.

    Originally the molds sold for five or ten cents. Antique butter molds now command much higher prices, even as much as $400.

    Some of the styles available from Historic Impressions are ~

    • Double Thistle Butter Stamp, taken from a 19th century English antique. The thistle is the emblem/flower of Scotland. As an heraldic symbol the Scottish thistle speaks of independence, strength, protection, and healing.



    Continued tomorrow…

    May 25, 2010 06:32 - More Historic Impressions Butter Stamps ~ Part V

    • Pineapple Butter Stamp
      The pineapple has long been the symbol of hospitality and welcome. Sailors returning from tropical climates, brought pineapple to their loved ones. As they were rare and spoiled somewhat quickly, a wife would share or rent her pineapple to other ladies in the community for their special events. The pineapple also symbolized hospitality in heraldry.


      Pineapple Butter Stamp courtesy Historic Impressions

    • Sheaf of Wheat Butter Stamp
      A sheaf of wheat was a symbol of prosperity and wealth. A very popular butter stamp, it was considered a good luck symbol, with hope of abundant crops.

      In heraldry, wheat symbolizes faithfulness, plenty, and hospitality. A sheaf of wheat symbolizes "the harvest of one’s hope has been secured".


      Wheat Sheaf Butter Stamp courtesy Historic Impressions

    • Pomegranate Butter Stamp
      Because of the large quantity of seeds inside the pomegranate, it has been a symbol of abundance since medieval times. It was a good omen for abundant crops and many children. In heraldry it symbolized hospitality.


      Pomegranate Butter Stamp courtesy Historic Impressions

    • Acorn Butter Stamp reproduced from an 1800’s antique, the acorn was considered a symbol of luck.


      Acorn Butter Stamp courtesy Historic Impressions

      The acorn or oak is the clan plant for many of the clans ~ Buchanan, Cameron, Hays, Kennedy, MacDowall, MacDuff, MacFie, Moncreiffe, Stewart, and Wallace. In heraldry, the acorn symbolizes antiquity and strength.

    View Historic Impressions Irish & Celtic Plaques.

    View Historic Impressions Scottish Plaques.

    View all their Butter Stamps.

    View all the Historic Impressions listings of their artifact plaque categories, plus the butter stamps.

    There are some fine, fun selections that would make wonderful wedding gifts, or possibly table decorations, adding one more Scottish touch to a wedding celebration.

    Tomorrow, read about Celtic Hair Sticks…

    May 26, 2010 20:56 - Celtic Hair Sticks

    Celtic Croft has a small selection of Hair Sticks. Fashioned of bronze, the heads can be a Celtic cat, dragon, griffin, raven, or wolf.


    Celtic Hair Sticks courtesy Celtic Croft

    Celts used sticks similar to these to hold their hair in place and to fasten clothing. When needed, the sticks also served as a weapon or tool.

    Handcrafted in the U.S., these hair sticks are 6 inches long.

    Over the last few decades, hair sticks have been used primarily in a hair bun. In recent years, they have evolved into many different hair styles.

    As the applications have expanded, so have the styles and decoration. Some are jeweled and carved as elaborate pieces of jewelry, particularly in the Orient.


    Celtic Hair Sticks courtesy Purple Moon Designs

    Historically, the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all used hair sticks. Common wood hair sticks are most commonly found, but luxury ones also exist.

    One project online is a butterfly hair stick found at A OK Corral.


    Butterfly Hairstick courtesy A OK Corral

    With some thought, the butterfly could be redesigned into a Scottish motif ~ Celtic knot, thistle, shamrock, clan plants, heather, horseshoes, or heraldic symbols. Charms used as Victorian Cake Pulls [blogged from July 23 to August 4, 2008, July 2008 and August 2008] could be added to the floral hair sticks, as the Japanese add lanterns, butterflies, birds, and other decorative bits.

    For photos and instructions, see Butterfly Hair Stick, which includes a Tutorial on a separate page.

    Tomorrow, learn about hair stencils to make a Scottish statement…

    May 27, 2010 06:41 - Hair Stencils

    If you want a hairdo that’s unique without spending a fortune, but that can be removed before the honeymoon, this just might be your answer.

    Here’s an idea for the bride who wants something entirely different than anyone else. With hair stencils you can add color and glitter in a Celtic design that’s all your own.

    The design can be big and bold, or small and feminine.


    Hair Stencil courtesy Hair Boutique


    Hair Stencil courtesy Hair Boutique

    Though others might opt for leopard spots or zebra stripes, think about a Celtic knot, or even a modified repeat of your tartan. You can use colors from your tartan, or just set off the design with sparkling glitter and beads.

    Short hair displays the stencils better, but with some thought and creativity, hair stencils can be used with any length hair.

    You should experiment with some simpler stencils, such as a flower, to hone your skills, find how complicated you want to do, how your hair responds, and which finishing touches you’ll need for your hair style and type.

    To create your own stencil, use plastic lids [yogurt, sour cream, etc.] Draw out the design with a permanent marker, then cut out the stencil.

    To create your own stencil, one source for Celtic Knot designs is the Celtic Knot Font.

    Unless you’re experienced in designing and cutting stencils, purchasing stencils online will lead to less frustration. They’ll be classified under Celtic, Irish or Scottish. I’ve seen everything from Celtic knots and rampant lions to shamrocks.

    For years, the Stencil Library has been one of my favorites. They have panels, tiles, borders, and motifs.

    To apply the design, start with clean hair. A leave in conditioner will help protect your hair from the products used to create your stencil design. Straight, dry hair works best. If you’re going to have wavy or curly hair, work the design around your hair type.

    Have someone work with you to apply the stencil. The instructions say to spray the colors on. Elsewhere painting the stencil paints on is suggested.

    After the stencil paint is applied, use a spray to set and protect the design. Then handle your hair as little as possible.

    The complete article about Hair Stencils, with instructions, can be accessed at Hair Boutique.

    While writing, another idea occurred. If you were planning to braid your hair in any type of Celtic Knot, why not paint the plaits in different colors of your tartan?


    1855 Celtic Knot Braid
    courtesy Village Hat Shop
    .

    With all these ideas to mull over, you just might create a beautiful, personal hairdo, unique to you and your wedding. And don’t forget about your flower girl and the other attendants. You could apply simpler, coordinating stencils in their hair.

    For tomorrow, Kanzashi flowers for your hair, or pews, or tables…

    May 28, 2010 06:19 - Kanzashi, the Japanese Art of Folding Silk Flowers

    The Japanese perfected the use of hair sticks in the art of Kanzashi, which is silk flower folding, similar to origami paper folding.


    Flag Iris Kanzashi courtesy Vivcore

    Often jewels and other components are added to enhance the Kanzashi. Following their lead, you can add crystals and beads individually or designed into flowers, animals, or free-form designs. In Japan many brides, both traditional and modern, wear Kanzashi. Women even add Kanzashi brooches to their business suits.

    These flowers are crafted from 1 inch squares of silk, folded into as few as 5, or as many as 75, petals. For larger flowers, 2 or 3 inch squares of silk can be used.

    The designs can be single, clustered, or shidari flowers, which are long chains as in wisteria. Sometimes when clustered, similar individual flowers are scattered throughout the hair.


    Wisteria Kanzashi courtesy Vivcore

    If you’re interested in the Kanzashi flowers, many online sites have photos, tutorials, and videos. Amazon has a really great book that teaches the three basic flower types, then details several contemporary uses for the flowers.

    Samples ~


    Chestnut Kanzashi courtesy Kanzashi Museum



    Forget-Me-Not Kanzashi courtesy Vivcore



    Iced Holly Kanzashi courtesy Kanzashi Garden



    Hydrangea Kanzashi courtesy Vivcore



    Mum Kanzashi courtesy Vivcore



    Spring Bouquet Kanzashi courtesy Vivcore



    Tiger Lily Kanzashi courtesy Kanzashi Garden

    Coming Monday, organza flowers…

    May 31, 2010 07:14 - Organza Flowers


    Organza Flowers courtesy Reese Dixon

    These organza flowers can be used in bouquets, boutonnières, pew bows, hair accessories, and other decorations.

    They’re easy, quick, and look fantastic when completed. You simply cut five blobby flower shapes from a synthetic organza.

    Using a candle or cigarette lighter, hold each edge over the flame. Don’t lower the fabric into the flame or you’ll get ugly, black, charred edges [black ones don’t count]. Practice on scraps until you’re comfortable with the searing process. If you try to make them from silk, the edges won’t sear and curl enough to look like flower petals.

    To make the petals bend and look more natural, practice holding your thumb in the middle of the petal and bending it while heating over the flame. Do all the petals in the same directions, bent over or under your thumb.

    Even if you think the petals are too crunchy, wait until you stack some together. Put the crispy ones over petals that are more floppy. Don’t stack them neatly. Stagger them, place some off-center -- be somewhat sloppy.

    After you’ve stacked several layers, any like the arrangement of petals, stitch all but the bottom layer together with matching thread.

    Sew a grouping of seed beads or small pearls as stamens to the center of the flower. When your stamen in complete, sew back down to your thread tail. Tie a square knot [right over left then left over right]. Then sew on the bottom petal, going back up to your knot and tie again.

    If you’d like someone else to make them for you, Reese Dixon, author of the tutorial, also does custom orders.

    Coming tomorrow, June Highland Games and Festivals…


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