believe it or not, vanilla extract is ridiculously easy to make. just grab a few vanilla beans, chop them into 1-inch pieces, and soak in vodka for 3-4 months. the alcohol extracts the flavor from the vanilla. true story. check the label on any store bought bottle of vanilla extract- it'll usually say it's about 35% alcohol!
i like to start making my vanilla extract around september/october timeframe, so it's ready in time to be given out as christmas gifts. when december rolls around, i buy the little bottles online, sanitize them, add the extract with a large turkey baster, and apply labels. then i put them in a cute little basket and prance around making my deliveries.
hopefully my extract is quite useful to the friends i give it to. there's nothing like personal touch of a homemade gift. my godparents make homemade ornaments every year, and i always look forward to them. they're always so creative and well thought out.
did you receive any homemade gifts this year or in past years? what is/was your favorite?