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The family cook book project is something I've wanted to tackle for years. I have attempted this project a number of times throughout the last ten years.
Due to my skills not matching my vision, I abandoned the project each time. Argh why do I have such a good imagination and such a lack of skills?
What I want to create is a cookbook that looks both professional and personal. I want the ability to update and add in new favourites, but the book to also look finished.
I also want whatever I added to the book (at a later date) to blend in what was already there.
I want to be able to add personal photos without looking kitsch or scrapbook-y.
I want a memory inducing recipe collection book.
So I've decided to give this project one more attempt. Below are some of the "problems" I have faced with this project. These problems may not be problems to you, so please do not take offence if I have listed one of your favourite systems as a problem.
Each system has their pros and cons and actually binders and recipe cards are very good systems to use in the kitchen. What I am hoping to achieve is a coffee table / library bookshelf book to hold memories as well as family recipes.
The Problem With Plastic Binders
While the plastic binder system is very practical, I don't love it. Binders work great as the pack-horse of the recipe collection systems, but they don't have that "treasured book" feel.
The biggest problem with the plastic binder system for me is that I just don't like the look of them. They are just too plastic. When I first started my recipe collection system there were only A4 binder options available, I wanted a size closer to A5. These days there are A5 binders but they are still plastic-y.
I want something that looks and feels like a book or journal. I'm a total book-lover and planner addict.
The Problem With Pre-Made Recipe Books
The first time I attempted collecting my recipes into a book, I purchased a pre-made recipe collection book that has the blank recipe pages in the pre-determined sections.
The biggest problem I found with this system was that there were a set number of pages per section and I couldn't add in or remove pages.
I don't know about you but I really didn't need 25 pages just for condiments. As it is now I probably wouldn't need more than 5 pages. But when it comes to desserts I'm going to need all those 25 pages and then some.
Since I couldn't remove pages from one section and add them to another my only option was to write recipes in the wrong sections or clip loose pages into the book.
Another problem I found with these types of books was that they only had one page layout. For example, some of my recipes are short and would only need half the page or less. While other recipes were long and would take up two pages making the second ingredients section not applicable.
Total frustration. I wanted neat pages and enough room for all my sweet toothed favourites in their section.
I wanted something beautiful to preserve the recipes and memories of those that have shared these meals.
The Problem With Recipe Cards
Recipe cards are really cute and practical, they can be handwritten, typed, printed and laminated. But they are stored either loose in a draw or a box or stuck in a binder using those plastic protective sheets.
The cards are also not that great if you have a long recipe, unless of course you want to write one recipe over two or three cards.
The Planner Addiction That Inspired New Hope
It wasn't until recently, when I fell down the rabbit hole that is the planner community, that I found something that could be what I was looking for.
The level of creativity in the planner community is insane! I am falling completely and obsessively in love with all things planners and notebooks.
When I first developed this planner addiction I bought myself my first sewing machine (from spotlight) and comb binding machine (from office works).
Last Christmas I designed, printed and sewed version 1.0 of my recipe book idea as gifts for family. I was so happy with how they turned out but I wanted to fine tune it some more. Well it's nearly Christmas again and I have yet to complete a recipe book for myself.
These are the only images I have of the first attempts at creating a professional and personal cookbook. I have edited the photo's to remove the personal information of the recipients of these books. I really wish I had opened them up and taken a photo of the dividers and pages I had in there.
What I liked?
What I liked about these books were that I felt they got really close to what I had been envisioning all these years. Finally.
These were a good test run and I learnt a lot through the process. Perhaps soon I will have the heirloom recipe book I've been dreaming of all these years.
What I didn't like?
My choice in font and that I rushed the front cover and spine label design (or lack there of). I just used the marquee tool in Photoshop and blocked out a section with the paint bucket tool. As always, I left this project too late to do my best work and "done" had to be good enough.
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