Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wedding favors: vanilla extract

For wedding favors, I made homemade vanilla extract! I am pretty in love with how they turned out. I bought a few economy size bottles of vodka from Sam's club, a pound Madagascar beans, then cut the beans in half, took a few shots of vodka to allow enough room in the bottle for the beans and let them sit for a few months, shaking once or twice a week.

And then the fun part began:

I bought a cheesecloth from Bed Bath and Beyond and strained out the bits of vanilla. The cheesecloth had bigger holes and some of the vanilla slipped through, so I folded it in half:

I bought seventy 2 oz bottles online and washed them one by one to make sure they were clean, poured the strained vanilla into a measuring cup and set up a little assembly line:

I had a few casualties along the way. I used a funnel to fill in each bottle, and it turns out the funnel can be deceiving and make them overflow very easily if you're not careful. It smelled really good though!

Then, I was introduced to embossing. And I fell in love and we had a love affair weekend of embossing everything possible. Really, everything. (I found myself making random cards for friends and embossing them just because it's so awesome). I went to Hobby Lobby, got a stamp cut out, a variety of stamps, a variety of color of ink pads, special textured paper, a hole puncher, embossing power and lots of other stuff (for hand made shower invitations, too) and walked out spending a good $100 $150. Oops. Instead of buying a heat gun and doing each tag individually, I googled to see if it was safe to bake a bunch of these in the oven. Turns out you can! Turn it on to about 250 degrees, and let them bake for 5 minutes or so. (I used foil on the cookie sheet, but that was a personal preference).

And since I love embossing so much, I wanted to emboss both sides (the front says 'thank you' and the back says 'homemade just for you by: Stacy and Seth'). But as every embosser knows, you can only emboss one side of a piece of paper. So I did what any normal girl who is crunched for time would do: I used my hand dandy stamper cutout thingy to cut twice as many circles as needed so I could then hand stamp each one, emboss each one, bake them all, let them cool and use a glue stick to glue them together one by one. Then I put them back on a cookie sheet, put DVD's over them, put some cans of vegetables on top to keep them from curling, and let them set over night to make sure they were good and stuck to each other. Then I signed our names on each one. I also stuck a label on each bottle, letting people know it is vanilla extract.

Then one Friday night, I put all the pieces together (after stopping by Joanne Fabric and getting a bunch of cream colored organza fabric). And ended up with these pretty little things:

After I got all the little parts done, and started actually piecing everything together, including cutting the fabric and ribbon and tying it all together, it took about 4 hours totals. We're giving one 2 oz bottle per party (instead of individual gifts for each person) so I only needed about 50. But I had a lot of vanilla left, plenty of extra bottles and other materials, so I made just over 60 total. There will be some lucky guests who get more than one bottle (and I know who they will be!!)

One day closer to the wedding! And to Seth being home :) And to my sister being home and to Patrick meeting his dad :)


  1. This is SO fantastic!! You are a wedding all-star!!

  2. This is such a fantastic idea! I might just steal it for our vow renewal :)

    I'm so excited for you! Enjoy Seth's return, as well as your sister's! And on your wedding day, find someone else to do all the worrying for you so you can relax and savor the day!

  3. You go girl! I also fell in love with embossing before my wedding:) We had embossed place cards and it was also on the center pieces!

  4. I am so darn jealous of you crafty people! I haven't got one crafty bone in my body :)

    Excited for you!!! So many awesome things happening at once!