Friday, September 20, 2013

Personalized cookbooks ... a nice gift idea!

It occurred to me as I was putting together a personalized cookbook last week that this might be a nice gift idea to share.  I know some people already do this, but for the benefit of those who might not have thought of it or don't realize what a simple process it is, I'll share what I do.

Over time I have put a good many of our family's favorite recipes into a word processing document on the computer.  Then, when I need a gift for a wedding or shower, I print out recipes that I think the couple will enjoy.

I get a large binder, the type with the clear-view covers so I can add cover art to the front and back.  I design covers that I think will go with the couple's kitchen or suit their tastes, then slip them into the covers of the binder.  Sometimes if I'm feeling ambitious I will also design a spine for the binder with the title of the cookbook and slip that in place.

On the printed recipes, I will often embellish the pages with stickers or illustrations cut from magazines or catalogs.  I've done some by adding clip art to the recipes before printing them, but I've found this makes the pages of my document slow to scroll through, so usually I just add stickers or glue cut-outs in with rubber cement.

Then I put the pages in order, trying to keep like recipes together.  I put the pages back to back and slip each pair of pages into a clear page protector.  Then I just add them to the binder.  Simple!

Sometimes I get a little more fancy and add dividers to go between the various categories of recipes.  I've designed sort of generic divider pages that I could put in any theme of cookbook.  I've used them a few times.  I just keep them in a folder in my "personal cookbook" folder and print out as needed.  Here's what they look like:

Here are some cookbook covers I've designed:
Back cover of an apple themed cookbook
Front cover of apple themed cookbook

Finished front of apple cookbook

Finished back of apple cookbook
A lodge-themed cookbook cover

A patriotic theme for this one
 By the way, if any of this cookbook cover art appeals to you and you would like to use it for making cookbooks of your own, feel free to snag images that you like.  I don't mind sharing stuff like this.  But having said that, it is also easy and fun to design your own covers.

If you start now, you could have several cookbooks completed by Christmas!  Maybe someone on your list would like to own a personalized cookbook.  It would be a simple matter to tie dish towels, aprons, etc. to your cookbook theme and give a set of  items.  Have fun with this idea!