With all the great tutorials and inspiration on the internet, making DIY Christmas gifts (or any kind of gift) is a fun, pretty, meaningful - and often inexpensive - way to spread some love.
Last summer, I came across Heavenly Homemaker's homemade vanilla blog post, and decided I would dive in to make my own homemade vanilla for Christmas gifts for Christmas 2013. I believe my materials cost came out to about $5 a bottle.
I ordered my vanilla beans from Olive Nation using HH's promotion code for a discount. They were beautiful.
I cut each bean into halves and then split them down the middle to expose the "caviar." I wanted to have all of my bottles already filled and packaged so they would be ready to go when we returned from India. So my vanilla "brewed" in their own individual bottles and included the actual vanilla beans.
The bottles I ordered were through Specialty Bottle Company online. Very pretty!
I used these Avery labels for the labeling, and simply followed the instructions on the packaging to create.
The ribbon was a dollar at Michaels; I played with it by wrapping the bottles with various ribbons and twine.
We also made a trip to India, so we had some pretty kraft boxes filled with goodies, like homemade vanilla, turquoise earrings from the Himalayas, and exotic spices wrapped up in little wax paper bags. With a pretty stamp on top (from carved wooden block stamps I found in the market for a dollar!), and baker's twine, I was humming "brown paper packages tied up with strings..." while I prepped each gift. I didn't take a picture - drat.
But anyway, back to vanilla. I've been baking with this vanilla now since Christmas and it's been perfect, and I like that it's simple and pure - no junk in it.
Here again is the link to the recipe with exact measurements. Let me know if you too decide to make your own vanilla this year! Also, keep in mind that it takes 4-6 months minimum to be ready for baking, so July/August is a perfect time of year to start your vanilla brewing!