"I do not claim that I can tell a story as it ought to be told. I only claim to know how a story ought to be told." -Mark Twain



I've been back in school for a month. 
Actually to be technical...over a month.
We start unbelievably early. (ugh)

But before school started I had my
second annual
Back-To-School Virtual luncheon
for my Kansas teacher friends. 

 And I'm just getting around to showing you. 
 Maybe I thought I had better get the pics off the computer and share the virtual party, because I just got back from a wonderful weekend in Kansas. It was oh-so-great to see many of my friends. 
Last year I did such a fun tablescape and it was hard not to replicate it. So I decided to make this one more black and white (literally). I started with my stash of plastic letters. They have small tacks on the back of them. I got them at a church sale. I have two boxes with various letters. There is not a complete set in either, but it worked. (Kinda. ..I had to use upper and lower case kind of funkily..) But that is okay. I figured it was a nod to quirky penmanship that teachers deal with each day!!  Anyway, I painted a batch of the letters white with spray paint. 

I had a big piece of scrap (very thin) plywood we had torn out of our kitchen. I kept it and pulled it out. I just used my circular saw to cut them down to rectangles (which I had drawn out in pencil). It took a total of about 10 minutes to come up with six placemat/chargers. I then used chalkBOARD paint (as opposed to just chalk paint). I had a can of spray-paint chalkboard paint and I spray-painted the six thin boards. I let them dry then put a little 3-line penmanship chalk line in the corner and tacked each name on the lines....Just as if it had been written on the lines. I seasoned the chalkboards as well. 

 I think those are the cutest placemats/chargers! I can think of all kinds of things I can do with them. I already have BIG plans for them for another tablescape/buffet that I will be doing soon. 
 Here is the table after it is loaded up. Can you guess the theme this year???
 LETTER PERFECT. That is my homage to my teacher friends and all teachers everywhere. 
 I used utilitarian-everyday-silverware for the table. After all, teachers are about as utilitarian as they come. They learn early on to make do with the basics...and make the basics beautiful! 
 Of course I had to include a mini-composition notebook at each plate. ..As well as a piece of chalk. Teachers have to have a piece of chalk. ....Then all is right with the world!! I also used different white dinner plates in each place-setting, to represent the variety of children we teach. 
 I gathered up all kinds of "letter" things from around the house. I tried to stay as close to the black and white theme as possible. There is a little color, but not much. The bottom layer is one of those HUGE spiral note-pads teachers use on an easel at the lower grade levels. It made a nice "runner" for my table. (I'm telling you, teachers are always thinking outside the box!!)
 I included by big lantern that I keep lots of black and white letter balls in. I also included various black letters, like those I used in the names. I put both black and white ones on the table. 
 Here is a close-up of my giant spiral "runner". It worked out perfectly and has found its way into my dish closet to be used again! 
 I included many of my vintage flashcards and my vintage metal letters as well. In one of the pictures you can see my giant metal basket full of metal letters under one of the side tables in the dining room. I love using those letters in all sorts of fun ways. 
 And because it is my tablescape and throw-backs to things I love, I had to include two of my favorite books. One is a big Mark Twain Anthology and one is the (best-book-ever) oh-so-wonderful To Kill A Mockingbird. 
I promise you my virtual guests would be happy with my literary selections as well.  
 I did use the same napkins I used last year. I couldn't help it. They were a perfect match!!!!!!!!!!!  They were made from an Ikea comforter cover last year. 
 ABC's of education....

 I just stuck those big "lettered" napkins in between the salad and dinner plates. That way it broke up the all white a bit. 

 The limited use of color is just right for the table. The color pops in a few places. 

 I miss teaching with all my great Kansas friends. This virtual back-to-school lunch is my way of letting them know I will never forget the years we spent together teaching. 
 Now the challenge will be to come up with another "original" back-to-school-tablescape for next year! 
Linking with:

If you have not clicked over to last years virtual back-to-school-dinner, you can find it here. 


  1. so cute, so clever and unique, wow I just love the table and haven't seen it done or anything close, sometimes the tablescapes all look the same, yours is fresh and awesome, love it...stop over for a visit...Phyllis

  2. It is letter perfect! Your creativity and enthusiasm deserves an A+. Cute idea to make the chalkboard mats. Smiling here because I had sets of those plastic letters with the pin backs and used them for 20 years. My very first principal required us to buy them along with some cardboard ones on which we glued tacks onto the backs. He wanted our bulletin boards to be uniform throughout the school. It was very efficient. Thanks for sharing this fun table.

  3. Oh, I really love this! What a clever idea for the blackboard chargers with letters for placecards! You included so many wonderful letter-related elements -- a treat for any teacher, especially!

  4. You are very creative. Love the napkins and use of note book for a runner.What fun your guests will have.

  5. We are on the same wave link this week! I adore your Letter Perfect table creation. The black and white hues are perfect for the chalk board place mats you created. The different accessories included in the centerpiece is just what teachers have because they never throw anything away! I know for I am a former teacher and I still keep everything because i will use it. I love the metal letters and the lettered balls in the lantern a wonderful addition. I also have a school tablescape but my theme is Numbers maybe we will switch next year and I will use Letters! Hope you will take a peek and enjoy it as much as I have your table! Have a great week!

  6. What a very clever theme you have here, and you've done a great job detailing it.

  7. Anonymous9/22/2013

    What a sweet table...love those chalkboard place mats. Very clever!

  8. Oh my gosh!!!! I LOVE this table! I retired from teaching elementary school two years ago, but I still gravitate to all things "school" related! I love the chargers, the chalk, the lettering, the books, the centerpiece...basically all of it! You are so clever using such great items to make everything fit so well together. I'm visiting from BNOTP...took a week off from blogging but catching up on great posts! I'm your newest follower!

  9. That is crazy! You are so talented and creative!!!!



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