Does this sound familiar? You purchased a new notebook, journal, or planner and it feels amazing to be holding it in your hands- all shiny, new, and filled with possibility. You’re brimming with excitement to use it, but then the crisp white pages send you into a small panic. Thoughts pop in like: “What if I mess it up?!” “I don’t want to ruin it!” “It’s so clean and perfect!”
And if you’re a lot like me, sometimes the fear causes us to put our new possession on the shelf, waiting for another time to use it. (and spoiler: it ends up on the shelf collecting dust indefinitely!) I want to encourage you to stop this vicious cycle, push through the fear, and make the Keepsake Kitchen Diary your own, imperfections and all.
In speaking with the Lily & Val team about their thoughts on the matter and also working through my own hesitations in my personal Kitchen Diary, we’ve come up with these top 5 tips for getting started:
Tip 1: Make the first mark
I’ve found that making the first mark is the hardest part. So, let’s get that out of the way first thing, by writing your name and dedication on the cover page. There! You’ve taken the first step in making it your own and this seemingly small step is a big one!
Tip 2: Remove the pressure
The connotation of “heirloom” and “legacy” can understandably debilitate us from the beginning. We know hand-written recipes hold such a weighty value and we want to be sure we’re creating something we would be proud to pass down. That’s a lot of pressure!
To help alleviate that, I think about heirlooms that hold a special meaning for me. My Grandma’s recipe notebook is special because she USED it. The pages are splashed with grease and each imperfection shows evidence of her loving hands. Had she gone into it with the pressure of making an heirloom, it may not hold as much character as it does. I think the best way to remove the pressure is to bring that new perspective.
Tip 3: Gather your recipes and mementos
There are probably a few recipes in your head that you know you want to include in your Keepsake Kitchen Diary! Make a list! You can keep it in the front or back pocket of the Kitchen Diary along with loose recipe cards or papers that you want to transfer into your DIY cookbook. Having this list is helpful because when I sit down to work on filling in the pages, I already have a loose plan.
Tip 4: Just fill in a recipe!
Do colorful stickers, stamps, and washi tape light your heart on fire? Do you lean toward clean, minimalism? Without overthinking, bring your style and personality into the first recipe and do what feels natural.
There is not “right” or “wrong” way to fill it in. Your individual tastes will make it special regardless. Don’t feel intimated if you are not the scrapbooking type – filling out the prompts as-is and jotting a recipe with simply a pen is something to cherish. Likewise, adding embellishments and accents may feel natural to you and the Keepsake Kitchen Diary is a perfect place to express that. My style tends to be a mix of both simple and minimally embellished.
Tip 5: Ask your family to help break it in
One of my favorite things about the Keepsake Kitchen Diary is the ability for multiple people to add their own handwriting. My own book includes the writing of Mak, my mom, and mother-in-law in addition to my own. Alivia, L&V Marketing Coordinator, sent her Kitchen Diary to her Mom in South Carolina to fill out her family favorites in a meaningful way. What a treasure! I love seeing the way that my Mom filled in the recipes and the special notes and dates she recorded.
We’ve heard from Kitchen Diary owners that they even like to get their kids involved by allowing them to color in some of the illustrations spread throughout. Those messy scribbles are a precious memory of time spent together in the kitchen. What’s better than that?