Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Crafty Christmas

A couple years ago my husbands family started this gift exchange where you had to make your recipient a gift.  I hated it.  We did it twice and I hated it.  We drew names at Thanksgiving and the time between then and Christmas is so short and so busy that I felt too much pressure trying to come up with something to make.   This year they let us opt in or out of the gift exchange and it didn't have to be made.  But we opted out.   I was done with the gift exchange thing.  

But then it turns out that my husband and I got our craft on.  

First it started in November when I decided I was making every girl in our families some vanilla extract.

First you buy a LOT of vanilla beans (I had to order more).  And you slice them (but not completely) to open them up.

We bought 2 big bottles of vodka from Sam's and I wanted to make it in two big batches, but we didn't really have big containers.  So we decided to put the beans straight into the vodka bottles.   We lost some vodka that way, but it was the easiest and we were pushing a deadline of it being done in time for Christmas. 

We sat the bottle in the sink and dropped the beans into the bottle letting it overflow as necessary. 

This is a bottle full of beans!

This is after we shook it up.  

The bottles sat in a room we don't really use, covered up.  It said a cool/dark place.  We shook the bottles twice a week to agitate the beans.

On Christmas Eve we got the bottles out. . .  look how dark they were!  You couldn't even see the beans.

We tried straining the vanilla through a coffee filter. It didn't work all that well.  Some people say you want the bean floaties cause that's where the flavor is.  We met in the middle and did some straining, but it wasn't that well done.  I'm ok with the bean floaties though.  I want that vanilla flavor.

We started bottling them up. . . 8 oz in a bottle.  I was worried I wouldn't have enough and I did really cut it close.  I actually put a few pieces of beans in the bottles.  Just to increase the flavor a bit.  As long as the beans stay covered in vodka they are good.  So I put pieces instead of a bean standing up in the bottle.

Then they got labels and cutesy ribbon.

I will admit that I tasted it.  I will also say that I never tasted vanilla plain and not in a baked item before.  Lol.  I also tasted the store bought vanilla in my cabinet.  I didn't like either.  I liked mine better but barely.  Lol!   So. . . . it smelled wonderful and I hope it's good when it's put in a cookie.  But I won't be drinking it any time soon.

I ordered my beans here.   If you wanted to try this on a smaller scale you could order this kit.

Then last week my husband decided to get crafty. . . he made his family members these little snowmen. Each family got one.

We did the same for my family - giving them to the girls.  We did a slightly bigger version for my family.  I just wanted my mom to have one and her house is big so a bigger version would look good standing in her house. . .  but he made three so everyone got one.

This is my mom's.   Might be hard to tell the size difference in photos but this one is about twice the size of the ones in the above photo. 

I was joking with my husband and I said clearly when the pressure is on we suck at being creative.  But when we aren't being forced we rock it!!!  Next year we'll go back to being boring and uncreative :) 

1 comment:

  1. What cute ideas! I'm not very crafty, so I'm impressed when others do crafty things.