We host dinner parties pretty regularly. It’s a great way to spend quality time with people, whether it’s 2 guests or 8. We change up the attendees and mix groups of friends. Everyone gets to meet people, relax, and enjoy a (hopefully) good meal. And I get a chance to try new recipes on unsuspecting victims. So you can imagine that I was shocked to realize that I’ve never had Carla over for a dinner party! She’s visited Tokyo before, but we were so busy sightseeing and blog-planning that we didn’t have a party. So sad.
This is my attempt to lure Carla back to Tokyo. It’s an imaginary dinner party, spurred on by these fun DIY chalk lettered placemats that double as place cards. We received a package from the good people at Party Pail with these great black placemats. They are sturdy, with a subtle scalloped edge (not too girly) and a slight textile texture. They come in a variety of colors, but the black called out to me. They are just dying to be treated like a chalkboard.
These lettered placemats are fun and easy to make, as long as you’re feeling creative. I set up a card table in front of the TV, pulled up a pin with my favorite chalkboard lettering, brought out some chalk and went to work. One Tonight Show episode later, I had these four hand-lettered, chalkboard-like placemats. If you’re not very confident in your lettering skills, you can make a first attempt in pencil before drawing over it with the chalk. Or just draw any design on them! Even a simple border of dots, flowers, or hearts would be cute, and you could personalize them to the occasion.
What you’ll need:
Black placemats with some texture (flat ones won’t look as chalkboard-like)
Some inspiration for your letters. Try a google image search or searching on pinterest with the phrase “chalkboard letters”. Or use the pin that I used!
What to do:
Start drawing! I just went for it, using the image on my computer as a guide. It was easier than I expected, honestly. These elaborate letters are more like drawing than writing (Thankfully, since I have terrible handwriting). Feel free to work out your design in pencil first then trace over it with the chalk, but one great thing about these placemats is that they’re so inexpensive! If you mess up, just grab another one and try again.
You could also seal these, if you thought they might make it to a second use. I wouldn’t expect that at one of our dinner parties; there’s usually too much wine for the tablecloths to make it out unscathed. Just grab a matte spray sealant that works on paper, like Aleene’s Spray Acrylic Sealer Matte Finish 6oz.
Now, for the rest of the dinner party. What would I serve Carla and her beau? She and I share a love of bubbly, so I’d make this pomegranate rosemary spritzer to start and serve it with some Moroccan spiced pepitas. Dinner would consist of lamb chops over my new favorite farro with preserved lemon and tahini dressing. A colorful salad with some roasted seasonal vegetables would round out the main course. And dessert . . . oh man. This is a tough one. I think I would try my hand at baba au rhum (but without the currants). I’ve never made it before, but we had it at Alain Ducasse’s Beige and it saved what was otherwise a rather forgettable meal. I’ve been looking for an excuse to try it ever since, and boozy desserts always make the party more interesting. 😉