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Making The Stone Family Cookbook

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While Austin and Aaron were busy having babies, I was cooking up a cookbook!

When I said “I Do” to Joshua Butler last year, I married in to one of the most fun summer experiences I’ve ever known, the Stone Family Reunion. For a whole week, over 125 members of the Stone family gather at Lake D’Arbonne State Park in Farmerville, LA for game nights, the tennis & kid’s fishing tournaments, late-night poker, softball, and always THE FOOD.


At D’Arbonne in June 2012, while enjoying Aunt Betty’s amazing cheese grits, I overheard my new cousin Carissa mention how disappointed she was that she was unable to finish the new family cookbook in time for the reunion this year. I immediately leaned over to ask her about what happened since printed material tends to get me excited.

The issue was a combination of things, but the main reasons were that the printing quotes were coming in fairly high along with the addition of paying someone by the hour to format all the recipes for print, and Carissa just didn’t have the time (she has four girls 8 years – 7 months old). I jumped at the opportunity in front of me! Carissa had no idea that I was a graphic designer and could handle all of these issues for her. It would be the perfect set up to be able to apply everything I’ve learned through working in a professional studio, and a great learning experience. Not to mention, a fun project to be a part of and an “in” with my new family. It wasn’t difficult convincing Carissa to let me take over the design and coordination of the project. Let the fun begin!

Every night after work from June 2012 until April 2013 I spent approximately 2-3 hours formatting the few hundred family recipes that were sent my way, developed a creative direction, cover design and simplified family tree, all while corresponding with the family to make sure we were meeting everyone’s needs on a practical level as well as an emotional/sentimental level with the book. I also believe that I had five different friends and family members around my dining table at one point proofreading and editing.

The challenge was great, much more than I expected, but isn’t it always? A labor of love we call it. I’m proud of this one; my first true book. Enjoy!