Wednesday, 30 March 2011

a labour of love

I can now share a project I completed before christmas. It's been under wraps as these were presents for my three sisters - as I was ill, I never made the christmas family gathering and present giving. Finally, I visited this last weekend, but this is really a post about my Mother and a love of cooking which she has passed on to all of us.

My Mother was an accomplished and creative cook. She loved to cook for family and friends, and frequently entertained. She kept books full of notes from every dinner party and family gathering she gave - who was present, what she cooked, recipes, likes and dislikes. It makes fascinating reading and also shows how tastes and fashions in food changed over the years. One of the ways she kept track of recipes was this little box of recipe-filled index cards, and loose pieces of paper.

In fact, it had contributions from all of us over the years, including recipes we brought home from school. I'm not sure who's writing is on the subject dividers, but it wasn't my Mother's! She died four and a half years ago, and this little box is one thing that would be impossible to divide up fairly between us, so unbeknown to my sisters, I decided to create a 'cook box' for each of them (I've yet to do one for myself). Anyone who reads here regularly will know that I have a passion for paper and card, and using my scalpel and cutting mat, so creating these boxes has been enormous fun, if emotional in places. Each box was made to measure, starting with flat greyboard, cutting the template, and then assembling the box. I've always loved bookcloth, so knew what I would choose for the covers.

I wanted to add some history, and something very personal to my Mother, so I lined each box with pages from her childhood books, along with the inscriptions from her parents (each book I chose was a christmas present from my Grandparents to my Mother in 1944, when she was just eleven years old).
Some of the pages are marked with age, but it adds to the sense of history. In each box I also used pages from the same book to make the subject dividers (mounted on to card, for strength).
Then I copied some of the recipes on to card, and also some of the loose papers with notes.
There are plenty of blank index cards just waiting to be filled with more favourite recipes.
As you can imagine, each familiar recipe, along with my Mother's handwriting, brings back so many childhood memories. I'm really pleased with how this labour of love turned out - and even more delighted that each of my sisters loved the gift. Now I must make my own, and one for each of my nieces, as they've each requested one.

33 comments:

Monica said...

What a beautiful beautiful present... I'm sure they'll be moved and will treasure them forever!

thecatalanway said...

Wow what a labour of love - and so beautiful. Sorry not to see you but before I forget I left you a little gift outside the house under the chimney pot - not sure when you return but hope it's still there. It's only small but I was clearing out things and thought of you K x

Dragonfly said...

Your sisters must be absolutely thrilled! Such a wonderful thing to make for them. I do hope you make time to make one for yourself too.

Simone said...

I bet they were the best presents that your sisters ever received. I like the book cloth and the way you have lined the boxes with pages from your Mum's old books. There must be so much sentimental value attached to the recipe boxes and your sisters recipe boxes will all evolve differently when they add their own recipes. A wonderful thoughtful gift Diana. x

Gina said...

What a thoughtful gift. Something to treasure

rachel said...

What an inspired and inspiring labour of love - how wonderful to have received such a gift!

Poshyarns said...

Oh my, I am quite blown away, what wonderful treasures you have created.

dottycookie said...

That is quite simply the best handmade present I have ever, ever heard of. I love every single detail of it.

Sue said...

A lovely, lovely gift.

MsPurrl said...

Now that is what I call a gift...thoughtful, meaningful and useful. I'm not surprised that your sisters loved them, and your nieces want their own :)

caireen said...

just beautiful - makes me a bit teary - so unique and authentic, and a beautiful idea to inspire others.. Cxx

Ali said...

What an emotional post and such beautiful and inspiring presents for your family.
I recognised the style of your mother's recipe box - my mum has one too with a different image on the outside and a similar quirky recipe inside the lid...I loved opening it as a child and seeing all her handwritten cards or cards with bits clipped out from magazines. It had a characteristic sound as it snapped shut too! She still uses it.....and has passed on many of the recipies much to our delight!
Hope you make your own soon.

galant said...

Such a thoughtful present for each of your sisters. However, it made me feel sooooo old! I'm only 11 years younger than your mother! But how could you cut childhood books in that way? That would've been a step too far for me, I'm afraid!
Margaret P

Diane said...

What a truly remarkable and lovely work of love. xxx

Cottage Garden said...

What a wonderful gift for your sisters and for your nieces too. A truly personal gift, made with love and memories, and they will evolve over the years as avourite recipes are added to them.

You are so thoughtful Diana.

Jeanne
x

Maxine said...

What wonderful, beautiful presents. No wonder your sisters loved them. Brought a tear to my eye!
M x

kristina said...

Oh this is the most amazing gift. I'm actually getting quite teary just thinking about it. Simply perfect.

K x

Petit Filoux said...

How truly wonderful - what an amazing present! So emotional, really, it's very inspiring!

Ionwen Charlesworth... said...

Truly truly beautiful. What a super amazing present and what a fabulous sister you are. Loves Ionwen XXX

sue said...

What a fabulous idea Diana, we all have these treasured collections of recipes and memories and to share them in this way really keeps them alive.

Helen@baby shoes said...

What a lovely gift. I'm sure they will all be treasured family heirlooms.

Colette said...

What a wonderful gift, so personal and moving. These are sure to be treasured by many future generations. Beautiful.

lovethosecupcakes said...

I'm gobsmacked. Never in a million years could I have come up with anything like. And to be on the receiving end, well.....

A time to dance said...

You always have such lovely ideas and everything that you make always looks so clean and neat and totally beautiful....you are such a clever lady...hope you are well...

Lucille said...

I have just seen this wonderful project. What a good idea. I am struggling to know what to do with such a lot of ephemera from my parents' lives and I'd love to make a memory box as beautiful and useful as yours.

Jacqui Dodds said...

These boxes are beautiful and what a great idea. It must have been very emotional to make them. I like the colours that you have chosen to cover them. Have you taught yourself how to make boxes or have you been on a course?

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

A perfect way to remember your mother and to share those memories .... and make more for the next generation .
My aunts and cousins all remember our favourites from my grandmother's enormous repertoire of soups and still argue over exactly how to make them , each convinced that she's finally got it right .(Nonsense , of course , I have!)

girls who like to gorge said...

This is so wonderful! I'd love to have one! Lovely, lovely gift! :) xxx

cedamott said...
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qofaoken said...

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The Travelling Bookbinder said...

Dear Diana, Delighted that you're coming to the bookart workshop at Roselidden. And thank you for posting such a treasure of a project, best and bookiest, Rachel

Susan T said...

I have just popped over from The Quince Tree, what a beautiful present. Made with so much love and care.

Belinda @ Wild Acre said...

I have a little lump in my throat just thinking how much thought and work you put into these and how much they must mean to your sisters.

You have made beautiful family heirlooms. X