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Create a Photo Recipe Book with your Printer

There are thousands, maybe even millions of free recipes online, which can be found with a simple internet search. Find a small handful or even fifty that sound good and create a personalized cookbook for your loved one this holiday season. This will make an inexpensive, but welcomed and love gift by anyone on your list.

Begin by purchasing some printer-sized card stock. This is a heavier weight paper, about the thickness of most index cards. It comes in a variety of colors that span the rainbow. Consider a color theme- such as red for red meats, ivory for white meats, green for salads and so on. You will also need a box, recipe card holder, or index card rings to keep these recipes together, as well as some laminating film. This film can be purchased from craft supply stores in individual 8 ½ x 11 sheets or rolls. If you are lucky you may even have the access to a laminating machine, which takes the work out of laminating. Either way, this film attaches to either side of your piece, overhanging each side slightly to create a lasting seal and guards against light water damage, while providing additional stability and fade resistance.

To begin, copy and paste the recipes you find- or even some of your favorites you are willing to type- to your word processing software and adjust the text so that each recipe fits in a 5 x 3 ¾"space. Be sure to leave space around each so you can easily cut them out. Then, simply load the printer with the card stock, check your ink cartridges to make sure you have plenty of ink, print them, and cut them out. For now, set them aside.

Go back to your computer and find images that correspond to each recipe and transform them so they will also fit within the 5 x 3 ¾" boundaries. If you cannot find a picture of the meal, consider a phrase that works well with it, a picture of the main ingredient, or some other kitchen related image that seems appropriate. Once again, load the printer with card stock and print. Cut the cards out and match with the corresponding recipes so they are back to back. You may want to use a small dab of glue or piece of two sided tape so they do not slide around while you laminate them together.

If you decided on a box or card holder for this project, you might consider printing an image on adhesive label paper. This is a product designed to be printed on and used to address large envelopes, but it equally effective as sticker material for all types of craft projects. For this project, the image can be printed, cut out and stuck to the front of the box or holder to give it a final personalized touch.

For those who chose index card rings, simply punch holes in the top corner(s) of each laminated card and feed the ring through. Consider making one or two final cards to act as the cover(s) for this gift. These might depict a simple word or phrase such as "Recipes," or "Holiday Cookbook 2009,"or you might consider a picture of the recipient covered in flour, dressed in an apron, or eating a meal. Creativity makes gift giving special and memorable and this is one gift that it sure to keep on giving for years to come.

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