When a couple announces their engagement there is much anticipation on both sides of the aisle. We have two family weddings this year and I really wanted to do something unique and special for each. I got the idea to make family cookbooks and to publish them with Blurb.com.
Now that I have spoken to my brother and the bride to be has been properly surprised, I can share my crafty endeavors!
My thought was to make my cousin's cookbook first and just add to it for my future sister in law. It turned into a six month labor of love. It took a village to pull it off.
Cliff took the cover photos. The aprons featured were also gifts to the brides.
The first big job was to scan all the family photos. On my two trips to Florida I did my best to scan as many family photos as possible. At this stage I really had no plan and was just guessing. As the recipes from family members started to come in, I got an idea to match recipes with photos and time periods. For example, pictures of us as wee shrimps to go with shrimp dip. I also wanted pictures of the bride with the recipe contributors. Uncle Fred's favorite cookies along with pictures of Uncle Fred and Suzannah throughout the years.
I have fairly photographic memory of our family photo albums and frequently called home with requests.
"Do you remember the photo of the picnic at Great Grandma's house when Aunt Jean wore a blue jumpsuit? No? Well, it's there can you find it and scan it for me?"
During the process I called my grandfather to ask him for food memories. I got some priceless stories that I am not sure anyone else in the family had ever heard. This alone was a huge blessing.
Suzannah's book was completed fist. We had it sent to our house so that we could inspect it. I could not be more pleased with the quality of the photos. Even scans of old photos that had that bumpy mat texture turned out well.
For my sister-in- law-to-be, I copied the entire blurb book for my cousin, changed the photos to feature my brother and then added my father's side of the family.
My Aunt Janet filled me in on cooking in the "old days" when my grandmother would spend Saturday mornings baking for the week. I think it's genetic that most of the recipes were for desserts.
Another cousin had scanned many pictures for our family group on Yahoo and this was a tremendous resource.
Somehow during the process I joined facebook (a whole 'nother blog post) and was able to connect with other cousins who have scattered far and wide. You betcha I lifted their profile photos to include!
I must admit that at times, after hours of sorting through photos, I became very homesick. This would have been even more fun if completed by a committee of cousins sitting around a table with coffee and conversation. Blurb does have a feature where others can contribute to the books, but I wasn't sure how to get that started with a less than tech savvy crowd.
Now that I have both sides of my family complete, it will be easy to delete pages as necessary, update photos and make books for other cousins. I have plans for a graduation gift and maybe...another bridal shower.