Secret Christmas Presents Revealed!

And by posting this now, you have time to do something like this for your family next year!

I alluded to the fact that I was making something for them back in February. I got this idea right after last Christmas from my friend, Suzanne, who made a really cool cookbook for her mom. I decided that I would make a cookbook for my dad and siblings from my mom’s old recipes (and even commented on her site that I was going to do it!).

I researched sites for quite a while before deciding on Tastebook, and I am beyond happy that I decided to go with this site. First of all, it’s only for making cookbooks. So while mine didn’t include cool pictures like Suzanne’s did (and I wish I’d done that somehow in this), I think that the format makes it easier to input the recipes than typical photo sites. And Tastebook isn’t just for making your own cookbook from your own recipes; you can draw from literally thousands of recipes from popular sites to make your own cookbook, and while the quality far surpassed my expectations, it’s very affordable. **End of free commercial for Tastebook.**

So, I was really, really excited to give these to my family on the 26th when we got together. We draw names for Christmas, so this was just a little something extra that I did this year, which added to the surprise! I think that they really liked them, and I think I’m going to have to get one printed up for myself sometime, too.

My other DIY project this year was a frame for Zach and Michon with their last name in it. I totally ripped the idea off several online stores that make these and sell them for a mint. Some use real sign letters to make their pictures, and other use things that happen to look like a letter; I went with the latter, and came up with this:

I need to reprint the “S” for them, as it was a little too large for the opening in the frame. In case you’re wondering, the letters are:
P – the end of a wrought iron handrail on our back steps
A – the hardest one to find. It’s part of a streetlight turned sideways.
L – the inlaid floor in Jack Henry’s room
S – our napkin holder

This actually became a really fun challenge, finding letters in everyday things. I’d love to do more of these, but I totally lucked out finding a frame with four openings that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. I’m hopeful that if I contact this guy I bought some custom frames from in the past I can work something out and make a few more of these with longer last names.

This pretty much the full extent of my craftiness 🙂

10 responses to “Secret Christmas Presents Revealed!

  1. I can’t believe you didn’t print one of these cookbooks for yourself in the first place! That’s just crazy. So glad they liked them though!

    I love what you did with Pals. We did this with our last name when we were in South Carolina this past summer for vacay. It’s fun cause I always think of that vacation when I see our name! Gina got one as a wedding gift also….and still tells people that was her favorite gift.

    Great work!

  2. So glad I got to see the cookbook ahead of time–it sure looks like they all loved it!

    Although I quickly saw the framed name, I had no idea where you got the letters–how cool that 3 of them are right from your house!

  3. You are so creative, especially with the name frame! At first I thought you had found the letters already made but when you mentioned you had found them around your house — wow! I am going to share that idea though actually doing it would be something else .. where could I find a “G”??

  4. i’m so glad you did this. my mom still has hers sitting on her kitchen counter on an easel.
    i almost bought one of the letter pictures at the fall festival here in overland park but our last name is just way too long. i love it though.

  5. whoa, i had no idea that you actually took those pictures of the letters yourself! i guess i just figured you found them somewhere online. very impressed, nicole!!! maybe you can draw my name next year for christmas 🙂 hehe.

  6. I love the letter pictures. I have contemplated making one myself but not sure I can find a frame with 9 openings:) The cookbook was a great idea.

  7. My sister-in-law took pictures of the letters in our last name and gave it to us last Christmas. I love it. Great ideas!

  8. Ok, great. It’s S-W-E-E-N-E-Y 🙂

    Great ideas. You’re so creative!

  9. Yay! The cookbook secret is OUT! 🙂 Please note that after two years, I’m still not finished with mine. :\ The Pals thing is AMAZING! What a GREAT idea. This gives me ideas for future gifts. . . thankyouverymuch! 🙂

  10. Great gifts Nicole! I love the name letters. Our neighbor made one for us for Christmas, and we love it. Finding all of the letters of the alphabet is one of my goals this year – so many fun possibilities!

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