It is February…a month to express love and appreciation to the important people in your life. Our local PTA (Parent Teacher Association) hosts potluck luncheons for the teaching staff at my children’s elementary school every couple of months. I have an extreme appreciation for these staff luncheons since I used to look forward to being pampered as a teacher at my former school. I have now come full circle…I used to be the “T” in PTA…now I wear the “P” hat! So when these events come up…I jump on the opportunity to give back! This time I got to shower our teachers with love.
The theme for the potluck was “we love our teachers”! Everyone knows I LOVE a good theme! (pun intended!) The potluck cuisine was to be soup, salad, bread, and sweet treats. This was a perfectly chosen menu as it has been raining for a week straight! I could just picture the line of steamy crock-pots filled with hearty homemade soups from the kitchens of our grateful families. This was going to be a delightful treat.
I quickly signed up to contribute bread since my mouth waters at the thought of a warm loaf straight out of the oven. However, I knew this was going to be a time sensitive task. I was going to have to get freshly made bread the morning of the potluck and get it over to the school before it got soggy in the rain! Time to put on my thinking cap and make this simple bread display truly special for our amazing teachers!
Since this was a teachers luncheon… I went old school and I busted out my old letter stamps. As you can see, I loved using these stamps in my kindergarten and preschool classes. Just pulling out the stamps and dusting them off brought a flood of wonderful memories. There was NO WAY I was going to leave the warm delicious loaves sitting in the paper bag in which they came…they are works of art that should be properly displayed! I thought I could use these precious stamps to help the teachers distinguish between the different artisan loaves.
I borrowed easel paper from my kids art supplies and got to stamping! I decided to tear the paper for a rough imperfect edge and stamped each flavor of bread on the strips.
I then took each strip of paper and wrapped the warm loaf. I chose loaves that varied in height and size for visual texture in the bread display. I collected some large thick loaves, some small long baguettes, and one round loaf from our local grocery store. Once each of the loaves were identified, I thought they needed a little more flair.
I like to keep things simple… so I headed out to my yard to find the perfect complement. Unfortunately my official herb garden does not produce in the winter months, however, we have rosemary all over our yard that is growing profusely in this rain! The rosemary flowers this time of year so it currently has small purple-blue flowers all over. I knew this would be a perfect adornment to the loaves. I harvested some rosemary and headed back inside.
I decided to tie a sprig of rosemary to each loaf with a sting of jute. I loved how this simple addition gave a personal touch to each loaf. I started with the rosemary round…since it was my inspiration for using the selected herb!
Then proceeded to tie up the remaining artisan loaves.
Once I was finished decorating my loaves I needed to find a basket large enough to hold all of the loaves, and keep them standing tall. I found an old wire milk crate and knew this would be heavy enough to hold all of the loaves upright, yet, it was a little too tall. I wadded up some burlap to place on the bottom… I love a good piece of burlap…this allowed the bread to sit a little taller in the crate and was a perfect solution!
I wholeheartedly believe the saying my mom always told me… “the devil is in the details”. Since it is February and we are showing our love for the teachers I wanted to spice up the old vintage milk create. I went back to my February teaching bin and found heart cookie cutters that my preschoolers used to use at our creation station. PERFECT!! The hearts ranged in size and style so I chose a large red cutter because I knew we were using red table clothes for this event, and carefully nestled a smaller heart cutter inside. I placed the two heart cutters together and tied it to the front of the crate. I liked the small pop of color the hearts provided, yet I desired a little more color. Remembering the rosemary was in full bloom, I took a small silver creamer container and added the decorative rosemary for a little green and purple complement. This was just enough color and worked with our theme!
Now it was time to pull it all together. I found my small Rae Dunn plate with the word “thankful”. This would serve as a perfect butter dish. I loved the subliminal message to the teachers that we are truly thankful for all of the effort they put into our children! I then added my herb dipping oil with a little bit of balsamic vinegar. I placed a butcher block by the crate with a bread knife and a napkin to hold the bread steady.
I had a ton of fun creating this bread assortment! I hope it displayed the love and appreciation I have for the teachers at our elementary school!