Scottish Open House Decorating Projects
Here's a temporary solution to seasonal lighting: Hang lanterns (purchased from Pottery Barn) from shepherd hooks anchored in galvanized washtubs planted with ivy. Topped with a cardinal and lined with tartan, this helps introduce our theme that's repeated throughout the home. It's so pretty that you may be tempted to leave it in place year-round.
Star Tree Topper
Oh brilliant star, you definitely are. Cut from 1⁄2-inch-thick foam core board, this tree topper is covered with Royal Stewart tartan on both sides and edged with 1⁄2-inch ribbon. Decorated with a trio of jingle bells, it's studded with custom buttons that are a snap to make or can be ordered online.
Step-by-Step Directions: Star Tree topper
Rubber Boot Stockings
Make a splash with these stockings. Silver rubber Hunter Wellies (purchased from www.shopbop.com) become even more charming when monogrammed with translucent plaid buttons. For permanence, Stephen hand-sewed buttons in place, pushing the needle through with a thimble. If you're in a hurry, use a glue gun to attach buttons instead. Use an awl to punch a hole through the top back of the boot, thread with ribbon, knot, and hang.
Memorable Christmas Tree
Make your tree memorable by using only five favorite ornaments. Silver tassels, reminiscent of a horse's mane, are finished with double knots of plaid. Red birds hunker down in cozy nests, and shiny bells lure kids of all ages to give a little jingle. Two types of wooden crafts store disks, some covered with Royal Stewart and others with Gordon Dress plaid paper, take the place of traditional glass balls.
Step-by-Step Directions: Tartan Plaid Ornament
Gather 'round―it's where memories are made and photos are taken. Lined with mixed garland and accented with white tulips, the look of our mantel is easy to imitate. Create a lasting impression and add a whimsical air with framed silhouettes you make yourself.
Step-by-Step Directions: Family Silhouettes
Play off the view beyond a great window instead of covering it up. Cardinals fluff their nests, made from oval baskets. Use this display as a cache for gifts for parting guests or special Christmas morning offerings. "Decorations should complete the space, not compete with it," says Stephen.
Stack it Up
Rise to the occasion with basswood planks. These versatile finds are a thrifty buy starting at less than $5 each (Basswood Country Rounds and Planks from Walnut Hollow, www.walnuthollow.com). Stack several to elevate everything from the sangría urn to cupcakes and toppings. Cover with an oval of Gordon Dress tartan (the edges are cut with pinking shears) to use as a trivet. Ensure long life and protect from food stains by coating with a thin layer of mineral oil prior to using.
Backed in Plaid
Dress your chairs to impress, but encourage friends to show up in jeans. Wrap chairs in cummerbund fashion, and tack with a stitch to anchor your burlap kilt. Add a single translucent plaid button for decoration. Wrap the Royal Stewart tartan around the middle of the burlap, tie with wide red grosgrain ribbon, and secure all cloth with an oversize laundry pin (available from www.steinlaufandstoller.com). Finish with a few jaunty pheasant feathers.
Become print savvy. Make a color copy of your favorite tartan fabric, cut it into squares, and place in photo coasters. To make gift tags, print names on glossy photo paper, snip to size, and glue in place on rectangles of the plaid paper. Repeat this idea for recipe name cards, but make them more visible by mounting on stakes set into small pots of greenery. Finish backs with grosgrain ribbon and a button.
Create your own winter wonderland with heirloom needlework. Packed away, who can enjoy them? Hand-tatted, starched snowflakes made by Stephen's mother are displayed with care in front of a window for all to appreciate.