As a designer, I am always thinking of different ways I can create things and make things better using my design skills. When it comes to events where a gift is required, I often find myself hand making my own gifts. Not only do I enjoy the process, and not only does it give me yet another piece of work to add to my portfolio, but it also creates treasured keepsakes, which in my opinion are far better than any store bought gift.
If you know me, you know I am a very family oriented person. A few years ago I began to brainstorm ideas that I could possibly create for my family as Christmas gifts. After some debate I finally decided that a family cookbook would be the perfect gift. Over 4 months my Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Grandparents, Parents, and Siblings all submitted their favourite recipes that they wanted to see in the cookbook. I also saw this as a great opportunity to finally get that secret baked beans recipe that my Grandma had been keeping from us for years! Anyway, from there I began organizing and creating from which came Cooking With The Clan, a Collection of Family Recipes.
The title mainly refers to our tartan and being part of the Stewart of Atholl Clan at Church, which is Scottish. My Dad’s side of the family is both a combination of Scottish and Italian. Our family has remained pretty close over the years as well, giving another meaning behind the word Clan.
With the help from my Aunt and, I was able to pull together a family tree going back 5 generations. I’m not usually much of a history buff, but learning about where my family has come from was quite interesting. In addition to the tree, my Aunt also wrote about the Cruickshank family history going back to when my Grandparents were born, met and married.
To make the book a little bit more personal and special, I decided to add in family photos from over the years to fill in the category divider pages. Some of these photos I had never even seen before, so putting together those pages generated a few laughs!
I would be completely lying if I said this book was a piece of cake to put together. Long story short, the first time I brought the file to the printer I lost the entire file when she placed my memory stick in her computer. Of course this is when panic mode set in. Would I be able to have this for Christmas like planned?! Because I didn’t have enough space on either of my Macs to actually save the file onto my computer, I had just been working off a large memory stick. I was able to recover the memory stick but only up until a certain date which resulted in me re-doing a little over a quarter of the book. Following some long days and late nights I was able to pull it off and have the books printed, wrapped and ready for Boxing Day dinner.
The cookbook ended up being a huge hit! It was really great to see everyone bonding about the family memories that were included in the book, and it was a proud moment for me as all the hard work and long hours on this book finally paid off! Above are a few sample images of the pages featured in my very first cookbook!
Now the question is, “What do I make next Christmas?!”
“Your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life. Keep the faith. It will all be worth it in the end.”