Host a laid back supper with a Scottish twist for family and friends.

Scottish Table Setting
Credit: Beth Dreiling Hontzas / Styling Scott Martin / Food Styling Rebecca Kracke Gordon, Pam Lolley

Scot or not, tartan is in. "I've always been mad for tartan," says designer Stephen Campbell, "but this year especially." This classic plaid, and its many versions, "signifies family, folklore, and the familiarity of home," he says. Cozy and sophisticated, it sets the tone for our open house cocktail supper, designed just for you by not only Stephen, but also Assistant Test Kitchens Director Rebecca Kracke Gordon and Test Kitchens Professional Pam Lolley.

Now come inside, won't you, where it's warm and the air is laced with the sweet spice of mouthwatering crab cakes and fresh-cut fir. Beneath the soaring arches of this Gothic-inspired cabin, we'll unwind, relax, and catch up with friends. When you leave, our hope is that you'll take with you ideas for your next gathering with your own clan.

Designer Tips and Tricks:
Ensure success by using the right tools. Stephen swears by these items and promises you'll love them too.

  • Zip-ties: They come in a variety of sizes and a range of colors. They are faster and more secure than using wire.
  • Craft glue: I prefer Aleene's Fast Grab Tacky Glue. Found at crafts stores, there's no dripping and no extension cord. It does what it says. Apply thin coats with a flat brush.
  • Pinking shears: This dressmaker detail adds charm and is forgiving.
  • Awl: Better than a hole punch, especially when tapped with a hammer.
  • Needle, embroidery floss, and a thimble: You don't have to be a seamstress to take one or two quick stitches. The added detail is great, and you're guaranteed fabric will hold.
  • Sharp scissors and pruners: How could you get through the holidays without them?
  • Computer and color printer: Research your plaid or print out shapes and images of family, pets, fabric, and name tags. I really love using glossy photo paper for tags and labels.
  • 5-inch weaving needle: This is a great way to pull ribbon through holes of jingle bells or foam core board.
  • Dritz Fray Check: Use this to stop fraying on cut ribbon edges.