Saturday, January 29, 2011

All my paper creations have a story. A memory. (Story No.2)

This is a Recipe Memory Book that I made for my cousin about 3 years ago as a Christmas present.
It is full of my Nan's recipes written in her own hand and traces history and memories through photos and food.
I worked long and hard on this book. It took me hours upon
hours. It had to be perfect. It was a labour of love, after all. I was not going to accept anything less from myself . I think she would have been proud. Well I truly hope so anyway, yes I know she would. I was so lucky to have inherited (most willingly with totally open arms, running and diving in) my Nan's craft stash, well let's say as much as I could store. My Nan 's craft stash was something to behold let me tell you. It was similar to the cartoon when they open the magic cupboard and everything sparkles and tinkles and fireworks go off. There was never ever a time that I asked my Nan for something that she did not have in her stash. It was unbelievable. Using lace and ribbon and buttons (from a selection of a million colours, shapes and sizes), from "the stash", I managed to put together this book. It started off a naked paper bag book that I purchased on eBay. For those of you who don't know, these are made from a bunch (6 or so) of good quality brown (or coloured) paper lunch bags. Yes I can hear you saying "What the....?" They are ironed and flattened and then sewn to form a book. The open edges of the bags form "pockets" and can be used to store and preserve treasures and secrets.
The recipes were copied as there is no way I would use my original cookbook, then they were soaked in tea, coffee, cinnamon and star Anise. My nan used those spices in her cooking all the time and the aromas themselves evoke memories and thoughts. So I infused them into the pages. Then I threw them (the recipes) in the microwave for a few minutes, then ironed them flat. I also added a bit of sewing here and there as of course, my nan was also an expert sewer.

People always ask me "How could you give it away after all that work?" Well I guess that's a fair question. I gave it to my cousin. Willingly. I actually made it for her. She knows what it means and she knows the value of it. I knew that she would feel that way. Only this Christmas gone we had a discussion about it and she told me that this book is a revered item in their house. When they moved it was packed with the "Special" items. You know that "Special" box that you pack all the "Guard with your life" items. I also left spaces for photos of her own and space to record thoughts or memories.
So she is "The Memory Keeper" in this case.

You know what he hardest part was? Finding a title. It wasn't "just" a Recipe book, and it wasn't a photo album, so what would I call it. Nothing seemed to fit. Does giving it a title mean it's a "closed" book, a finished work? It's never finished, memories live on forever so how could it be finished?
I never gave it a title, just a kiss and closed the cover.

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