Thursday, December 17, 2015

Vanilla Extract Update

After three months of sitting, steeping, melding, and getting better with each day that passes......Homemade Vanilla Extract! Let's take a look. 

A few months ago I started a batch of Homemade Vanilla Extract to give away as gifts this Christmas season. What an easy gift to put together. This is where it started. You can see the beans and vodka all nice and fresh in the bottles on the first day.

Ingredients were very simple: good vanilla beans and vodka. You can view that post here: Homemade Vanilla Extract! A little over 3 months later and it's time to get them ready for gift giving. When I ordered the bottles from the Specialty Bottle Company, I also ordered Shrink Bands for the caps. They came in a package of 250......ummmm overkill for my small project, but for the price, well worth it to "complete" the bottles. 

Super easy to use!! Slip one of the shrink bands on top of the bottle, with the cap on tightly, and you are ready to take this project to a more professional look.

It really did take some time to build up my courage to try using the shrink bands. Why, you ask? Who knows. It must have been the fear of trying something new. It was not scary at all. Worrying and fretting was a complete waste of time. 

All you need is a heat gun or a blow dryer. Easy!! There's my trusty heat gun that is used for heat embossing. I did find there was more control of the shrinking process using the "low" heat setting. It only took about a minute to apply the shrink wrap seal to each bottle.

All of the bottles were sealed. Yippee!! And look how yummy the extract looks. Such a nice deep brown, chocolate-caramel like color. It was fun to watch the transformation over the last 3 months. 

Now, on to the fun part: the labels. There are lots of websites to order customized labels, but I just couldn't justify spending money on something I could create myself.  The only thing I purchased for this project was printable vinyl sheets. Actually I needed them for Lavender Body Scrub which I helped my grandson make for his Mom, Great Grandma, and his other Grandmother. Still have lots of vinyl sheets left over, so it was a huge savings as opposed to ordering customized labels. 

Ordering labels is probably less work on the computer, but limited as far as your choice of what is offered. If you don't feel comfortable designing your own labels from scratch, by all means order them. There are many options available. If you design your own labels, then you are only limited by your own imagination. I designed these using Microsoft Word. That's it! No fancy publishing software. It's actually amazing how creative one can get using what some think is strictly a word processing program. 

There was some concern due to the fact that I have an inkjet printer, and there is the possibility of ink run if the labels were to get soaked. No problem!!! Self lamenting sheets. In stock in my craft room, over top of the printable vinyl..... concern removed. No running, rubbing, or peeling off. 

Love the way they turned out. Perfect for the look I envisioned. They look a little old fashioned, kind of vintage. Very neutral, and they don't scream Christmas. 

Now I have 12 bottles of this extract. It will be paired with a jar mix of chocolate chip cookies. Those will be made later this week, and delicious Christmas cookies, again, later this week. 

Sounds like there's a lot to do this week. In the picture below, you can see the back labels as well. This being a first went well. It's a great gift idea. A little pre-planning so the Vanilla Extract can steep for a few months, but a very low impact project. have a few months to design or order labels. 

There you have it: the update and finished bottles of Homemade Vanilla Extract. I'm excited to finish the entire gift and give them away. One thing I can check off of my list. 

Thanks for stopping to see the update of this gift. It's so easy, I would encourage everyone to make a batch to give a way, and be sure to keep a bottle for yourself. Next I'd like to try lemon extract and almond extract. Maybe after the Holidays.

Come back and visit soon!!!

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