Sunday, October 26, 2008

My cute make-your-own recipe book

This is a project that I've been working on and off for a week or two now, and I'm really pleased with the way it turned out.

I get annoyed having all my favourite recipes spread amongst numerous cookbooks and it's at the back of my mind that if anything were to happen to me, Mitch wouldn't know any of my tried and true recipes, selected from years of experience, or where to find them. (Not that I'd ever expect him to make cakes and biscuits but he would have to make dinner.) Is this morbid? Mitch thinks it is but I'm always thinking "OK, if I were to die suddenly, what could I do to make things easier for Mitch to cope with the girls." For example, I have a slim folder with all of our bank details and mortgage details and forthnightly budget and monthly menu and monthly shopping list etc in it for easy access.
Anyway, back to the topic. My answer to the "dilemma" is of course to write my own recipe book. I've tried a few different ways over the years but never been really satisfied with the final result, until now.

Presenting my "Sweet Favourites" recipe book for all my cake and biscuit needs.

I started with a A5 sized art sketch book. Mine was $4.75 from a newsagent but I have seen ones for $2 from "cheap" shop. I have tried different notebooks over the years and this is the one that I liked the best. This is because I prefer the blank pages to notebooks with lines and I find that sketch books have a nicer quality and thicker paper which is necessary if you are writing on both sides.

I divided it into sections with tabs for easy referral which is something that I haven't done in the past attempts, but which I think is really helpful. I prettied each page divider up by glueing scrapbooking paper and felt ribbon onto a page in the notebook because of course it's got to be nice to look at as well.
Here is my Cake page....

and my Biscuits and Slices page....

and my Scones and Batters page...

and my Desserts page....
and my Sweets page.

On the other side of each divider page I glued textured cardboard in the same colour as on the other side (I used a different colour for each section) which helped make the stick out tab stronger, then pasted a trimmed down page on top for a table of contents. I also numbered each page, not including the dividers, so that if I open to the Biscuits page and want to make No28. Anzac Biscuits (which I did today) I know to go to page 28. I did not start the page numbers again for each section, but kept them going through the whole book. I left 26 blank pages for the Cakes and Biscuits, 19 pages for the Batters, 17 pages for the Desserts and 9 pages for the Sweets.

I've started writing in my favourite recipes using my neatest writing (as I expect to keep this for a long time, this is THE recipe book) and a water and fade proof pen. This is important because in some of my earliest recipe books I can't even read the recipe anymore, through either fading or being spilled on (and washed away). Add a pretty fabric cover and you're done.

I now plan on making a new one for my meals, maybe in blues and greens and chocolates. I think I'll divide it up into sections like "Soups", "Light Meals", "Comfort Food and Casseroles", "Side Dishes", "Meat Dishes" and "Pastas". That should make it easier to plan my menu for the different seasons as well.
I actually think this would make a lovely present for your child as they leave home or become an adult or get married, so they can always have their favourite recipes that they grew up with, with them.
If anyone wants me to do a tutorial on making the fabric cover, just leave a comment asking. It's pretty straight forward though.


  1. What a beautiful treasure this will always be as life goes bye.........all in thier own time generations love to grab hold of the past and I am sure this treasure of your favourite recipes will be part of that path......I just loved your things about you and had to read them all. I too love historical romance's but not those little ones (smiles) I adore the time travel ones that take you back to a time when life was harsh but O! so simple.

    It is always lovely to visit you, my Queensland friend.

  2. oooh that's such a good idea! especially for when someone moves out of home.

  3. Esther - you r amazing!!! :)

  4. Oh it is so cute. Having a nice book like that might actually inspire me to cook! :) It will be so great for you to have all of your favorite recipes all together in your very own creation.

  5. Lovely artwork. Great to see your creations. Yes I would love to have all in one recipe book. I was just thinking when Patrick is in Prep next yr, of all the things I can do at home without distractions, and I was getting excited. maybe I could do one of these.
    Love Bec

  6. That is a great idea, well done. I think I might do the same using your book as an example.

    I know what you mean its harder to find Aussie bloggers but there is a new webiste set up a la SITS, called where the blog are you. There is a button on the right hand side of my blog - it doesnt have many members yet but every day the numbers increase.

    I live in Canberra but moving to Brisbane in the new year. Anyway glad you dropped by my blog and please come back again!

  7. That looks really professional and good enough to be printed! Love the ideas you have used for the dividers and I'm sure it will come in really useful.
    All my recipes are scattered too and some of my old favourites are falling apart.
    I think I'm going to have to do a pale imitation of your recipe book :-)

  8. That is really cute!! I love that idea!

  9. Doesn't every decade turn out fashionly horrible??

    Thank you so much for visiting me on my SITS day!

    I'll be back soon - I'm loving that cute cookbook :)

  10. What a great idea - really creative and cute - and practical . . .and organized - hehe

  11. And the award goes toooo.... you'll have to look to find out... can you believe it? I posted a blog... ha ha I hope you are doing well!

  12. This is such a great idea! I am actually in the process of making a recipe book for my sister-in-law and I stumbled upon your blog. I just might have to steal a few of your tips :)
    I love the fabric cover, adds such a nice warm 'touch.' Did you just wrap the fabric around the book cover pieces and glue it? I guess this is me asking for a tutorial... haha. I'm not the craftiest but I'm working on it..
    Love your blog, and thank you :)


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Get to know me

  • I love the smell of cinnamon and vanilla.
  • My favourite flowers are daisies.
  • My favourite trees are pine trees.
  • I always like to have the bickie jar full and a cake on the cake stand. I know...not that healthy, but so good to look at.
  • Autumn is my favourite month, although I do wish we had more of a change of colours up here in Queensland.
  • I love Anne of Green Gables and Laura Ingalls Wilder. They started my love affair with "old-fashioned" stuff.
  • I'm a boots and jeans kind of girl, but also love vintage skirts and dresses.
  • I like sewing and am in love with quilts at the moment.
  • I love reading. (I have a weakness for archeological thrillers and historical romances, but not Mills and Boon-type ones.)
  • I love old houses with character. No new estate houses for me. (Sorry Rosie.)
  • I love vintage/cottage/farmhouse decorating and pretty pinks and blues, with a splash of red for colour.
  • Polka dots can make me sigh with delight.
  • I have 4 chooks. They are MY pets. Another tick on my dream-come-true chart.
  • I don't eat dessert much any more. I'm not dieting, I just don't want it. (Does that mean I'm growing up if I say no to an icecream cone?)
  • I'll still always say yes to chocolate though!
  • I like to sit on the front stairs in the sun, to drink my morning cup of tea, while I contemplate what to do in the garden.
  • I've got the gardening bug again recently. It comes and goes with the weather. I'm envisioning cottage flowers in pink, blue and white to go with my green picket fence.