Friday, December 31, 2010

Create Your Own Family Heirloom - It's Easier Than You Think

This past Christmas I received a new family heirloom as a gift.

I didn't know it at the start. When I first received this present from my brother I looked at the title and thought I was in for something mushy from my brother and his girlfriend.

Upon second look I realized that they had put together something wonderful, a book full of family recipes.  And they did it on the sly.  They even got a recipe from me who was none the wiser.

Self-Publishing with

My brother and his girlfriend published this 54 page book using  They created a template in a word processor then filled it up with recipes and photos. 

There are all the usual parts of a book including a table of contents and chapters.  Each page contains one recipe and a brief summary in italics before the recipe explains why it is special to the family member who created or used it. The book is filled with recipes from my family and that of my brother's girlfriend.

The book is small and contains no color photos except for the cover. I think what impresses me the most is that they actually put this together all on their own. 

I have always thought about creating something like this but never actually tried.  I have to admit my brother is a bit of a veteran at using   I guess I'm a bit nervous about trying it and messing it up.

Next Christmas?

Perhaps next Christmas you or I might try to create a little book to give as a present and it might just turn into a family heirloom.

Here are some thoughts as to what I might include in a little book for a family gift:
  • A photo family history of our extended family right now with pictures and brief bio (along the lines of a yearbook)
  • A book presenting brief biographies of one branch of the family
  • A family photo book of our ancestors. Instead of continuing to swap them electronically on CD why not print them and put them in a book as a family keepsake?
  •  An annual edition summarizing family research of the previous year
  • A book of family heirlooms and their stories
  • Stories told by elder family members

I'm sure there are lots more ideas of what can be created with a brief 50-page book.  Share your ideas in the comments and then let's make it a New Year's resolution to get it done by Christmas 2011.


  1. I love the recipe book! I have been thinking of doing one like that. I've also thought about doing a book of family heirlooms and artifacts. That would give my descendants something to cite other than "family tradition!" I haven't tried Lulu yet. I've got to put that on my 2011 resolution list.

    I have made some ancestor books. If anyone wants to see them there is a link to one on my website - This truly isn't meant as a plug! Just sharing.

    Lucky you to have such a thoughtful brother, Marian.

  2. I've made several books for gifts using For Mother's Day I did my matrilineal line, with photos and charts and stories, and then repeated it for my husband's matrilineal line the next year. I've done several branches of the family, too, for Christmas gifts. The most popular with my family is a selection of blog posts slurped into a book as a family reunion gift. I've seen several cookbooks done for reunions, too, similar to your new gift book, but with lots of old photos. What is so nice is that the variety is endless!

  3. What a lovely gift! I posted some ideas for heritage gifts back in October. I hope you don't mind me sharing the site
    Happy New Year!

  4. What a great gift!! Just last week my mom and I found an old spiral notebook, while packing my grandmother's apartment, of recipes from my grandmother and my great-grandmother. It is awesome to see the recipes written in their handwriting. I have started to transcribe them and will be scanning the original pages. I will be sharing the book with several family members who have already requested copies. Have a wonderful New Year!

  5. This is a great idea - I would definitely like to use this for a Christmas present or two next year. Perhaps one cookbook and one family history book. I also like the idea of an annual edition. Your brother and his girlfriend sound like neat people!

  6. Marian ~ It's a great idea and one I started on in December. A few other bloggers and I are working on our "family history" recipe book and even are going to swap family recipes.

    What a treasure you have and one I am looking forward to creating too.

    Thank you for sharing just gets me even more motivated to complete mine. Happy New Year Marian!