Tag Archives: wedding favors

Homemade Everlasting Vanilla

Here’s a great DIY project that any baker will appreciate. And it makes a fabulous gift, too! (In fact, this was part of my thank-you gift to my lovely bridesmaids)

Homemade Vanilla!

This project is so easy, it’s amazing more people don’t make vanilla themselves. I guess the most difficult part of the whole process is collecting all your supplies (and really, it doesn’t take that much effort to find the stuff). And if you’re giving vanilla as a gift, you need ample time to let the ingredients sit (I’m talking weeks, or months!) So you still have time to do this for Christmas! 😉

Anyone who bakes regularly knows how essential good vanilla is. And how expensive the real stuff is! This homemade vanilla will never run out, so long as you have vodka on hand to replenish the bottle. The vanilla beans just keep infusing the alcohol!

SUPPLIES:

homemade vanilla supplies

  • Vodka (the cheaper the better)
  • Whole Vanilla Beans (two per bottle)
  • Glass Bottles with tops

I found my vanilla beans on Ebay, and searched around for the best deal. I found these cool “Boston round” bottles at an online supplier called Specialty Bottle – lots of bottles to choose from! (But you can find bottles from lots of sources – be creative!)

The method is very simple! Take your vanilla beans (2 per bottle) and with a sharp knife, slit them down the middle, length-wise, part way (don’t cut them entirely in two). This will allow the vanilla to infuse much quicker and easier than whole, intact beans.

vanilla beans, bottles, vodka

Insert the beans into your bottles, and fill the bottles with vodka (using a funnel makes this easier). Cap the bottles tightly and store them in a cool, dark place (like a kitchen cupboard) for several weeks. Every so often, check on their progress, and give a gentle shake. Your vanilla will slowly turn light brown, and eventually, it will be a beautiful amber color, and smell like…well, vanilla!
The longer your vanilla infuses, the darker and richer it will be! And any time you use some, just add in more vodka, and it will never run out! Not too shabby 🙂

Homemade vanilla!

For a fun touch, add a printed label and a bow.
M & I modified an awesome label designed by EatDrinkChic that originated here. Another great vanilla label can be found here. And here’s a great resource for blank vintage labels you can customize!

If you’d like the exact label that M & I created, you can download it here: Vanilla Labels

Above all, have fun with it. Happy crafting!

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Filed under Crafts, DIY, projects, Recipes, tutorial

Ceramic vases and tea light holders

One of the things that was important to me when we were planning our wedding was an infusion of hand-made ceramics. In case you didn’t know, ceramics is my thing. 🙂

ceramic vase centerpiece

{image courtesy of Sheila Addleman}

I decided early on that I wanted to make ceramic vases for the centerpieces as well as some sort of small ceramic vessel that would both be decor and double as favors for our guests. For the favors, I was partially influenced by my parents’ wedding – they had an artist friend who made them over a hundred little wheel-thrown bowls with their wedding date glazed on the lip and the phrase “love endures forever.” These bowls decorated the reception tables – each with a single floating flower – and the guests got to take one home to remember the event.

tea light

{image courtesy of Sheila Addleman}

Rather than make bowls for flowers, I decided I wanted my ceramic favors to hold tea lights for a bit of ambiance at the tables.

ceramic lace tea light holders

{image courtesy of Sheila Addleman}

I really wanted to incorporate the lace from my mom’s wedding dress as a key element of the design. She had saved the left-over fabric from her dress, and I have been using it on quite a few of my pieces as of late. By laying the lace over a rolled-out slab of clay and then running my rolling pin over the top, I get an awesome impression of the lace.

ceramic lace vase - detail

{image courtesy of Sheila Addleman}

Both the vases and the tea light holders used the lace pattern, and both are formed by rolling slabs into cylinders. It took me a year to get them all done (well…since I started early I knew I could take my time!) and I wanted to keep it a secret, too, since they would be our gift to our guests.

all the tea light holders!

The tea light holders were a big hit with our guests, and many of my relatives who attended my parents’ wedding recognized the connection, which made me happy!

And there was one final touch that M and I made sure of: for our friends and family who RSVP’ed that they couldn’t make it to the wedding – the week before, we mailed out tea light holders to them (candle included) with a little note, telling them we would miss them and if they would light a candle for us on our special day and hold us in their hearts. We really wanted to include them in our celebration, even though they couldn’t be there in person.

tea lights for mailing

Lastly, an announcement! The vases from our wedding will be available in my Etsy shop! And ALSO, I will have a booth at the Renton Art Walk this Saturday, where I’ll be showing lots of my sculptures, as well as plenty of smaller items for sale (including the beautiful and unique vases from my wedding!!!!). Hope to see you there!

{image courtesy of Sheila Addleman}

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Filed under Etsy, Jadeflower Ceramics, projects, Wedding