Thursday, October 15, 2009

Readin', Writin and Rithmatic

Busy. So busy.
Wednesday and Thursday was the annual table setting luncheon that I volunteer for.
And now, tired. So tired.

This was the most difficult theme I have chosen yet out of 11 years. 'Readin', Writin' and Rithmatic'. You would think it would be easy because a month ago the stores were full of pencils, papers, erasers, etc.. How hard could it be? Very hard actually. School supplies are really boring.

I don't often do a formal table for this luncheon and this was a fun table, it brought back a lot of memories for people and teachers loved it. I couldn't get a good photo of the whole table so I have posted a lot of details and details really make the difference in so many things in life. Here we go.

I have been wanting to use these plastic cafeteria trays for a while so this was my starting point. They were $1.44 each a couple years ago at Target (I love) or WalMart (I hate). These would be fun for breakfast or movie night and kids would love them. The apples are in a black candle holder from Target.

When I saw a chalkboard globe here, I had to make one. Don't buy one, they are too expensive, beg, borrow or steal, temporarily of course, then return it in it's new and better condition. Countries change all the time anyways. Prime the entire thing and let dry. 5 coats of spray chalkboard paint on the globe drying in between. Cover the globe well and paint the frame however you like. I did write Good Morning Class on it, after the camera battery died of course. This was my favorite thing on the table. It would be nice in the office at a school, which I think is where my globe is going to live now.

Typically, a table has a floral centerpiece. I made mine out of chipboard abc fonts. My whole color scheme was chalkboard and primaries, red, yellow & blue, but stretched in tone and such. I painted them red, yellow and blue, let dry, hot glued to a long floral wire, used spray adhesive and different shades of red, yellow and blue glitter, then added leaves. The pencils were glued to a styrofoam block, plastic grass added to the top and the 'flowers' were gently pushed in. It was really much prettier in person. I have had glitter on me for weeks, it is everywhere.

Some ladies give out favors to their guests. I am half Assyrian, I feed people. Lunch is catered, but I like to provide an appetizer or something, it helps everyone to relax a bit. This year we had kindergarten snacks. Milk in bottles with paper straws and homemade graham crackers. The graham cracker recipe is below.

I found these flower vases and used them as creamers for coffee and dessert.

Fresh ground pepper and Australian Pink Flake salt were placed in glass votive holders to sort of resemble ink wells.

For placemats, I used the large pages of a beginner writing practice tablet, then covered the front with clear contact paper and also a few inches of the underneath corners to keep it from curling. I used a black tablecloth to keep with the chalkboard color.

I used matte black mugs and added an apple sticker. We had lots of apples of course, on the trays, piled into and on a black candle holder. I sent the apples home, I like pie.

Add Image
Napkins were just ink stamped with numbers, then heat set and folded.

I got books for free from a thrift store and covered them with brown paper and maps. But you could use any books from your house.

This is us.
Gayle, Vicki, Pennie, Me
Kelly (Pennie's mom) and her friend who just stopped to chat. These are great women, each of them. We had 3 other ladies at our table that we just met also.

I will be posting more table favorites over the next week or so with lot's of ideas and some do's and don'ts.

This is part of 101 self portraits in 1001 days. I have already deleted 9,326 photos that I attempted and reduced me to humbleness. By the way, I hate this perm.

Adapted from here.

Makes about 16 graham crackers

1 cup of graham flour
1 1/2 c of flour
1 c dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 t baking soda
3/4 t kosher salt
7 T unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
1/3 c mild honey, such as clover
5 T milk
2 T pure vanilla extract

Topping (optional)
3 T sugar
1 t ground cinnamon

Make the dough:
Combine the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Pulse or mix on low to incorporate.
Add the butter and pulse on and off on and off, or mix on low, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal.
You can cut the ingredients together with a pastry blender. Just make sure they're very well incorporated.

In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, milk and vanilla.
Add to the flour mixture and pulse on and off a few times or mix on low until the dough barely comes together.
It will be very soft and sticky.
Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap and dust it lightly with flour, then turn the dough out onto it and pat it into a rectangle about 1-inch thick.
Wrap it, then chill it until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.

Meanwhile, prepare the topping, combining the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and setting aside.

Roll out the crackers:
Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator.
Sift an even layer of flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle about 1/8 inch thick.
The dough will be sticky, so flour as necessary.
Trim the edges of the rectangle and cut as desired.

Place the crackers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets and sprinkle with the topping.
Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes in the fridge or 15 to 20 minutes in the freezer.
Repeat with the second batch of dough.
Finally, gather any scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and re-roll and cut.

Adjust the oven rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat the oven to 350°F.

Decorate the crackers:
Using a toothpick or skewer , prick the dough to form dotted rows.

Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating the sheets halfway through to ensure even baking.
Be safe, check them sooner.


doughmesstic said...

Holy Freaking Crap. Thank you so much for the invite to come see your post! I HAVE to make that globe. HAVE TO. I wish I was at a yard sale right now. Amazing job!
(BTW, I too, hate Walmart. But I bought TONS of those trays for GASP 10 cents each at the end of the season this year. Oh, hey? Your perm is FINE! :)

Robin Sue said...

Amber thanks for letting me know about the table event. What great ideas you came up with. I love the globe idea, very cute. We have the same trays at home here and the kids love to eat off them for special dinners or lunches. They are also what they use to serve me and hubby breakfast in bed on our birthdays!

jek-a-go-go said...

fun! i love the punch of red for the chalkboard globe and how fabulous to find matte black mugs! the milk bottles are just as i pictured them....everything looks so fun!

you did it!

noble pig said...

I remember this from last year. This year's table was fanastic!

Leslie said...

I always enjoy looking at these tables! I love fun. You attention to detail is wonderful! I bet it was a teachers dream!
Thanks for your comment on my cake. I didnt know I was good at it either. But I dont stop till it looks presentable! I think this is my 3rd time working w/ the more I work with it the more comfortable I feel with it.

June Pfaff Daley said...

Hi Amber-

Thanks for writing about the lunch survey. It is so fun to check out these fabulous tables. Thanks for sharing!