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1  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Make Your Own Vanilla Extract *UPDATE* on: September 26, 2012 08:59:51 PM
Hi everyone! It's been a while.  Grin

Hints from Heloise has a similar recipe, but she has you putting just 2 vanilla beans in a liter of vodka or rum.

That's basically how I do it now since my gift-giving is over! Though I just kept adding vanilla beans into the liter as the taste began to weaken, so I can't say how many I had in there last! But it's still the same basic principle--cut the bean in half, give it a shake, let it sit, and enjoy. Grin


It doesn't have to be vodka, you can use any type of liquor with a high level of alcohol, like brandy. But, yes, it does have to be alcohol based. (Store-bought vanilla extract is ethyl alcohol based.) The alcohol will dissipate when you heat it, as in in an oven. I usually recommend vodka because it's a neutral taste, but you can get interesting flavors if you try other types!

Featured this in today's Craftster Project of the Week email.  Thanks again for sharing!

Thank you! Smiley

Just some random reiterations and musings: I've been doing this for a while now and have never ended up with any mistakes or bad batches or anything like that. Important things to remember is that it CAN mold, so make sure not to refrigerate the vanilla. Bean specks and "floaties" and the pods and fibers and things like that are completely harmless. It just happens when you cut the pods in half and give them a few shakes. Wink (And, really, there's nothing more satisfying than seeing those little bean specks when you make your own vanilla ice cream!) And you can save the pods in the vodka and simply refill the vodka to keep it full (once it has set for the minimum amount of time, the flavor is not harmed if you decide to top it off!), but of course the taste will weaken if you never add new pods. Tongue

It's amazing how there are so many things that are far easier to do than you would expect when it comes to baking--vanilla, powdered sugar, brown sugar... it's easier, cheaper, better, and tastier doing it yourself! ...and it impresses your friends. Wink

I hope this is working well for everyone!! Have a fabulous day.  Smiley
2  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Re: Outfits @ Cousin's wedding for Sister & Me! on: December 14, 2011 08:48:22 PM
Wow, fabulous!! You have some excellent skill! (I'm rather jealous... Wink) I love those fabrics.
3  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Best Manual Cookie Press? on: November 29, 2011 10:26:00 AM
Sorry if this isn't the proper forum, I couldn't find a better one!

I wanted some opinions on what everyone's favorite manual cookie press is? My sister had an electric one she hated and said repeatedly that she'd love a manual one instead, but I have no idea if there are some cookie presses better than others. So, I was hoping someone here had an opinion!

Thank you. Smiley
4  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Re: Sherlock Holmes & John Watson charity plushies on: January 16, 2011 06:26:04 AM
What a fabulous job! Immediately upon seeing the thumbnail, I thought: "That can't be Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman as Watson!" But it is! I think they look fantastic, and then you add details like the phone. Fabulous. And what a wonderful thing to do to put it up for auction for a charity. Good for you! Smiley
5  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Re: Die Hard X-mas on: December 19, 2010 05:20:02 PM
I love it!! What a great idea! Way to get into the festive spirit. Grin

("You really think you have a chance against us, Mr. Cowboy?")
6  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Re: Swallow Knuckle Ring on: December 17, 2010 05:12:19 PM
The ring looks very sweet.... even as it looks as if you're rearing back to pop someone! I'm sure it'd leave a lovely indentation, too.  Wink
7  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Re: The Beatrice Scarf! on: December 17, 2010 05:09:59 PM
Adorable scarf!! And I love the long tassels.
8  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Always Adorable Buttercup Bag on: December 16, 2010 04:09:29 PM
I remember last year when Made by Rae (http://www.made-by-rae.com/) shared her pattern for Buttercup Bag, Craftster seemed to explode with the wonderful creations. Every single time I saw one, I thought, "That is the most adorable bag pattern. I wish I had someone who would want one." And now I do! I gleefully decided to make this bag for my sister-in-law. I only wish I had remembered that I planned on sewing some interfacing onto the lining (because of course I forgot) since my bag is a tad too floppy. Ah well!

Instead of the button flap, I just decided to sew a single button onto each side.

I used brown satin for the lining and was very pleased to see that it could hold a paperback book with ease.

So, there is my (obligatory?) attempt at the Buttercup bag! Thanks for looking. Smiley
9  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Re: Crochet Hats For The Homeless (Large Photos) on: December 14, 2010 03:03:06 PM
What a wonderful thing to do. Smiley Good for you!
10  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Make Your Own Vanilla Extract *UPDATE* on: December 10, 2010 02:00:58 PM
3 days and already the vodka is turning brown. Can't wait.

I'm sure it'll go splendidly, it's looking great!!

I never knew you could do this either, I always figured there was some crazy major process to be done to make extract....I'm am definitely going to give this a try :-)
I never thought making vanilla extract was something you could do at home. Guess I was wrong. haha  This looks like a cool project to tackle in the future. hmmm...
That's exactly what I thought, too, before I made it. I always thought it must be difficult for as much as I pay for it. But, now I'm never buying vanilla from the store again! Just as long as I remember to keep the vodka full... Wink
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