Tune Up The SEAson with TARTAN

A few years ago I was invited to the CTV Atlantic Morning Show (back then it was called Breakfast Television) to do a 4 part series on Celebrating the SEAsons.  The idea sprung from all that we do here on Sea and be Scene all year round - making your Holiday merry and bright using all kinds of wonderful things found on Canada's East Coast just seemed natural.  Everything from traditional recipes and cool craft ideas to cocktails and great gifts to get...it was lots of fun! Just click on the pictures to go to the video segment and watch for yourself.

Stephanie Beaumont on BT Halifax for SABS Segment 1 Celebrating the SEAsonsStephanie Beaumont on BT Halifax for SABS Segment 2 Celebrating the SEAsonsStephanie Beaumont on BT Halifax for SABS Segment 3 Celebrating the SEAsonsStephanie Beaumont on BT Halifax for SABS Segment 4 Celebrating the SEAsons

It was in putting this series together that I discovered my love of our Provincial Tartans. The history and meaning behind each pattern can be found on-line through our Canadian Heritage site - here's what they relay...

nb"The New Brunswick tartan was designed by the Loomcrofters of Gagetown, New Brunswick. The design was adopted as the official tartan by Order in Council in 1959. The tartan is registered at the Court of the Lord Lyon, King of Arms of Scotland. Represented in the design are the forest green of lumbering; the meadow green of agriculture; the blue of coastal and inland waters; and an interweaving of gold, symbol of the province's potential wealth. The red blocks signify the loyalty and devotion of the early Loyalist settlers and the New Brunswick Regiment." source

ns"The Nova Scotia tartan was designed by Mrs. Bessie Murray. It was registered in the books of the Court of the Lord Lyon on March 7, 1956, and adopted as the official tartan of the province under the authority of the Nova Scotia Tartan Act in 1963. Represented in the design are the blue of sea and sky; the dark and light greens of evergreens and deciduous trees characteristic of the province; the white of rocks and coastline surf; the gold of Nova Scotia's Royal Charter; and the red symbolizing the lion rampant on the Nova Scotia crest." source

nl"The Newfoundland and Labrador tartan was designed by St. John's businessman Sam Wilansky in the early 60's. The tartan has the colours of gold, white, brown and red on a green background. The gold represents the sun's rays; the green represents the pine clad hills; the white represents the cloak of snow; the brown represents the Iron Isle; and the red represents the Royal Standard for which our fathers stood." source

pei"Mrs. Jean Reid of Covehead designed the Prince Edward Island tartan which was adopted after a province-wide contest of June 16, 1960. The reddish-brown signifies the redness of the soil; the green represents the grass and trees; the white is for the caps on the waves; the yellow for the sun." source

The Sidekick and I also talked about tartan in our SEA AND BE SCENE Workshop watch this...

Stephanie Beaumont Hosts SEA AND BE SCENE TV's Christmas Show 2013Our Provincial Tartans are rich in meaning, available in all kinds of materials and vast on variety when it comes to ways of incorporating them into your Holiday celebrations - so in this year's SEA AND BE SCENE TV Christmas Show (2013) I included a segment entitled "10 Ways to Tune Up The SEAson With Tartan"...

What follows are those 10 ideas along with the respective "how to" where necessary.

I hope they inspire you to find a spot in your SEAsonal celebration for our Provincial Tartans. SABS.


These great books we're written by Newfoundlanders so tartan is a perfect fit. I used material here, folded neatly and tied up with ribbon for a 'tapeless' approach - but you can get tartan paper by the roll too!

2 cover it up with tartan

A salute to the origin... this jam was made in Mahone Bay so the Nova Scotia tartan is a perfect topper, and it gives the jam a homemade feel too.

how to jam coverHow To...

1. Using the appropriate tartan for your jam, jelly, pickles, preserves, etc. etc. turn it wrong side up on a flat surface.

2. Using pen, marker or material chalk, trace a side plate or plastic tub lid with a diameter of approx 6 inches.

3. Cut out the circle with pinking shears if you've got them as it gives a great zigzag pattern and saves on fraying.

4.Flip right side over and and evenly secure with a thin elastic band around the lid (note - if you had a glue gun and would rather not use a an elastic band - you could run a line of glue around lid and secure your topper just be really sure you've centred up your circle on the lid)

5. Cut string, twine, ribbon or yarn to about 20 inches, then wrap around jar neck (covering the elastic if used) leaving equal ties on either side. Then tie off in bow or secure with knot and faux greenery.

6. For additional charm using your ties to thread cranberry beads or glue in beads to knot using hot glue gun.

Skirt the Issue with tartan

tree skirt patternSo easy!!! A tree skirt is really just a circle with a line cut from one side to its centre.

So using a heavier weight tartan, cut one out if you'd like using this pattern and hem if you want or for a 'no sew' version cut a square like I did using pinking shears, then cut a line from one corner to the centre of the square and tuck in the edges each year for a more 'rustic feel'.

Tartan makes for great holiday pillows - coordinated with a fleece throw and you're all set. My easy sew instructions are as follows.

1. Buy an inexpensive sleep pillow and cut in half - then sew the rough ends up - leaving you with two new cushy pillow forms.  NOTE - you can leave them at this size or cut further to make smaller pillows - your call.

2. Cut tartan fabric or fleece to the desired size (include extra for seam allowances).   Some people will cut 2 squares but I cut a piece big enough to wrap around pillow eliminating the 4th side of sewing...your call.

3. With wrong sides facing, sew up sides turn right side out then insert pillow form.  Use a hidden stitch close the opening.

Alternatively - you can just make tartan cases/envelopes to go over existing pillows/cushions at Christmas time - find pattern here

Simply cut a square of tartan to fit and fluff up with tissue underneath to cushion and adorn your offering.


I brought this little reindeer to life with a basket liner and a load of coffee plus a matching scarf for the himself - some cute!

And yes the scarf!!! I wore mine throughout the entire Christmas Show and as mentioned I give them out ever year - using tartan fleece is not only festive but the lines make for an easy cut no sew solution to your gift giving this Christmas.

Puddesters in scarves

This is my cousin and his family with their scarves...even their cat Theo liked my present. That feline's got fine taste! 😉

place setting
Had to sneak in a little Cape Breton tartan there for ya there.  These place mats are so simple to make.  Find the pattern for reversible placemats & napkins here. NOTE: Be sure to use colour fast tartan so mats and napkins can be washed without fear of running.

table cloth
Instead of placemats you can make a table runner or cover it completely - this New Brunswick tartan is the most Christmassy of the lot. Simply cut a square to fit your table and finish edges. Again be sure to use a colour fast tartan for ease of washing.

picture project
Here's a picture perfect project for tartan lovers of all ages - an inexpensive wooden frame (we found these at Michaels for $1.50) can be wrapped in tartan ribbon - adorned with shells and make the loveliest reminder of time spent on the great east coast.  What a wonderful Christmas gift that would make!

wrap a wreath
And finally how about this quick way to salute your home province?! This approach works on great on an evergreen wreath too, but this beautiful burlap from our friends at Oceanview Garden Centre is set off sweetly by PEI's plaid.

Let us know if you use any of these takes on tartan or if you have any ideas of your own - we'd love to hear from you. SABS

No Comments »

No comments yet.

Leave a comment

Follow Sea and be Scene on Twitter