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I made homemade vanilla extract for my mom, mother-in-law, and myself for Christmas this year. I started it in October since it needs at least two months to age. It takes:
Vanilla beans (I used Madagascar vanilla beans) – 3 bean pods per 8 oz of vodka
Clean, sterile bottle(s)
I sliced the vanilla bean pods in half lengthwise then dropped them into the clean bottle.
Next, I poured the vodka in over the vanilla beans. Once that was done I sealed the bottles and let them sit on a shelf in a cool, dark area. About once a week I’d shake the bottles so the vanilla and vodka would mix. Two months later…gorgeous vanilla extract ready for gifting! Simple, inexpensive, and a fun gift!
The first Christmas after we were married we got all done decorating the tree and discovered we didn’t have a topper. A quick run to the corner drug store fixed that with a $1 gold glitter snowflake/star/thing. It wasn’t amazing, but it worked.
This year I decided we needed to actually have a respectable tree topper, so I sewed an angel tree topper. My mom gave me the pattern for the angel they have on top of their tree. It took a lot longer and was a lot harder to make than I was anticipating! Part of that was the fact that I tried to cut a few corners to “speed things up” and, ya know, the way the pattern said to do it might have been right…
So many ruffles! So much gathering! All this took forever!
Princess Leia hair!
I’m probably most proud of the wings. I didn’t like the quilting design on the original pattern so I created a design of my own. For inspiration I looked at quilting patterns online, Maori designs, and butterfly wings. From those, I drew a pattern (freehand!) for one wing and then just mirror imaged it for the other wing.
I decided not to sew a face on the angel because if faces go wrong, they look horrible, and at best they’re staring down at you from atop the tree, which is kinda creepy in my opinion.
I think it looks pretty awesome on top of our Christmas tree! It’s definitely a huge improvement over our $1 tree topper.
Today we picked and cut down our Christmas tree for the year. We were a little more conservative than in previous years and got a 9ft tree. (We have gone up to 14ft in the past.) We thought a fun creative project would be to shoot a time-lapse video of our time decorating the tree. You get to enjoy four hours worth of work in less than a minute – lucky you.
(You may have noticed that our tree does not have a topper yet… we’re looking forward to showing you the one Kristine is making in our next post!)