Last Minute Gifts – DIY Vanilla Extract

Oh crap! Christmas is a week away! Are you ready? Do you have all your gifts wrapped? Cards sent? Meals planned? NO!?! Me either.

That is the joy of the holidays, seems like it goes on forever (with no help from christmas decorations showing up earlier and earlier each year) but it sneaks up on you and bites you square in the butt!

Dearest friends I have a super easy last-minute gift for you to make!

Vanilla Extract!

Bittersweet Susie | DIY Vanilla Extract

Ohhhhh fancy

What you need:

• Booze

• Glass bottle with tight fitting lid

• Whole vanilla beans

This is seriously the easiest gift to make – and is something that I (as a frequent baker) go through fairly quickly.

First you need some BOOZE. I have seen homemade vanilla made from a number of spirits. Vodka, bourbon, rum and someone even used GIN! Vodka is a good place to start – sort of blank canvas for the vanilla beans but bourbon also sounded like it would be good – I think I am going to try RUM in another batch.

Bittersweet Susie | DIY Vanilla Extract

I raided my fathers liquor cabinet for this little project. My parents are always reliable for a good bar stash!

Dad gave me some of this Bakers Bourbon to use – the bottle was practically empty before I used it – SHUT UP – it wasn’t ME.

I don’t think he got that I wasn’t going to drink it straight. I didn’t have the heart to tell him.

Bittersweet Susie | DIY Vanilla Extract

Filled your cleaned bottles with your booze of choice! These little stopper bottles came from Cost Plus.

Next – fresh vanilla beans! I get mine from this AWESOME spice shop in Santa Barbara store called Vices and Spices. They ship! They also have amazing teas and coffee.

Make sure your vanilla beans are not dried out.

Bittersweet Susie | DIY Vanilla Extract

Cut off the ends – but keep them! Don’t waste the vanilla! Slit the beans open so they can get completely infused – I also cut mine in half because they fit in the bottle easier and they need to be completely submerged.

Bittersweet Susie | DIY Vanilla Extract

I used two beans per bottle.

Shake up your concoction and warp it up for a friend. I have no friends so these are FOR ME.

Give them a good shake and let them sit in a cool dark place for a month. Some people leave it longer for a stronger vanilla flavor. Just check on it weekly for a good SHAKE SHAKE and to make sure the beans are still fully submerged.

Bittersweet Susie | DIY Vanilla Extract

The great thing about these is that it lasts practically forever (or until the beans flavor weekends)

Always make sure beans are fully covered in liquid. I top mine of every time I use it – NEVERENDING VANILLA EXTRACT!

YAY! You domestic badass! People are going to be impressed with your fancy gift!

Here are some posts of Christmas’s PAST to get you through this holiday:

Christmas Tree Skirt Tutorial

Christmas Dance Party Playlist

Holiday Craft Bonanza – part 2

DIY Wrapping Paper


Stay tuned this week for this years Christmas Playlist  – and check out my instagram for all my holiday baking for the BIG DAY. I hope Santa is down with paleo.

Homework:

• What are you making for your holiday meals?

• What dishes or desserts are tradition that you MUST MAKE year after year?

• The best homemade gift you made or received? 

 

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2016 Halloween Playlist!

Bittersweet SusieHi Friends.

I almost forgot to post this years playlist. I didn’t TOTALLY forget, that is a bit of a stretch. I remembered but I just was not into it. I firmly believe that we should have certain big holidays every other year – that way it is like – Yay Halloween I missed your guts SO much – instead of – OH CRAP HALLOWEEN IS NEXT MONDAY!?!?!

I am usually super pumped for Halloween – I do a bunch of posts and take photos of my spooky adventures. I just didn’t this year. I am sorry. I DID decorate the house a little and the roommies humored me with that. “Festive!” “Cute!” “Oh you decorate for EVERY HOLIDAY?” Thanks gang – I appreciate the understanding and support.

I managed go to two of the major theme parks Haunt events – Universal Studios & Knott’s Berry Farms. I had NEVER been to the Universal one before and had not been to Knott’s since *cough* 1998 *cough*.

I was TERRIFIED of these types of things – but this year I was fine. I am either way more brave or so old and bitter I no longer care to be scared. Either way – they are both fun! I felt like I was everyone’s MOM at Universal. So, there was that. And the lines were ridic. What the crap is the purge and why is it EVERYWHERE. If I had to pick one to return to it would HANDS DOWN be Knotts. I love that little park. And the Ghost Town all filled with fog and decorations is pretty much the closest thing you will get to living in a spooky Halloween special of our childhood AND it has Elvira – plus it is half the price – is there even a contest here? We know who the clear winner is.

Bittersweet Susie

I am also most likely NOT going to dress up for Halloween this year. I was never even temped with that idea. Adult Halloween is sometimes just NOT my jam. I do like carving pumpkins! And the smell of a FULL bucket of Halloween candy. It is the best.

As a peace-offering for being the worst blogger ever for the five friends and family members who read this (Hi mom! LOVE YOU) I have two treats for you today!

The 2016 Playlist! AND some crafty fun freebies! Wooooo! Party!

It is time to get crafty because I made you a “Tomb Sweet Tomb” Cross Stitch – AND of you run out of time (like I do every damn year) you can also just download a free printable fakeout – See fellow procrastinators – I GOT YOUR BACK!

Download Tomb Sweet Tomb Freebies HERE!

Bittersweet Susie | Tomb Sweet Tomb

 

And the most important tradition here at Bittersweet Susie – The 2016 Halloween Playlist!

2016 Halloween Playlist

 

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Don’t forget to check out the posts of HALLOWEEN’S PAST – in case you missed them or you are old like me and FORGOT!

2015 Halloween Playlist 

2014 Halloween Playlist 

Vincent Price Cook-a-long

Swingin’ at the Séance

 

Homework:

• What was your favorite Halloween Candy as a kid?

• What was your LEAST favorite?

• Are you dressing up this year??

 

Holiday Craft Bonanza – PART 2

Hey there. Hi there. Ho there.

We are just SO DARN CLOSE now, aren’t we? I still have so many crafts to share with you. I was so so busy about a month ago and then – out of nowhere – my computer died. It was like losing my best friend. I was so worried about the thing and not really having a place to post and well, it was just the worst. So sorry I am late but you may be one of the lucky ones on vacation this week and can just hanker down and craft with your bad self.

I have SEVERAL projects for you today. THAT’S RIGHT! This is a fucking party and you are TOTALLY invited. But don’t bring THAT BITCH I don’t care for. You know the one.

I was going to tease them out up until the BIG DAY but we ain’t got time for that!

OK I will SHUT IT and get on with it.

First up:

Fusible Bead Gift Topper

Bittersweet Susie | Holiday Crafts

You remember these, right? Perler Beads? Hamma Beads? Apparently also RAVER BEADS?!?!? Who knew? Probably you – if you were a raver.

We this little project is a complete throwback to the camp craft time days of my youth. I think I got a bee in my bonnet that I was going to make a bunch of coasters and start myself a nifty little business. That works WAY better if you are little and cute OR maybe if you are a delusional Etsy seller.

Dyed Bottle Brush Trees

Bittersweet Susie | Holiday Crafts

Everyone is making these. Fall into line and make them too!

Felt Christmas Pin

Bittersweet Susie | Holiday Crafts

Got another last-minute party to go to? Only have that ONE red shirt that you have already worn out THREE TIMES? Have no fear – the Felt Christmas Pin Tutorial IS HERE! This is such a fast and easy project you can make this before you head to that family party you have dreaded all year. At least your outfit will be festive even if your face is looking shabby.

Photo Decal Plate

Bittersweet Susie | Holiday Crafts

Are you like me and just gave everyone fat I mean TREATS for Christmas? Deliver that diabetes on a custom plate. You can even put grandmas face on the plate. HO HO HO.

This is a LOT of craft goodness. Pace yourself. Bookmark it for later. Share with your mom.

The 2014 Holiday Playlist is coming. You should subscribe so you don’t miss it, because that would be lame.

HOMEWORK

• Did you DIY this Holiday season? What did you make?

• What are your favorite treats to pass out this time of year?

• If you make anything you see here TAG me in the post or #bittersweetsusie because you love me and I love you right back. 

Holiday Craft Bonanza! – Retro Felt Christmas Tree Skirt Tutorial

Ok how it is only a week before Christmas?  WEEK. I had great plans for making lovely crafted gifts for every person I have ever met. Instead I am going to re-watch Twin Peaks for the millionth time and skip the holiday altogether.

A month or so back I was full stop into the Christmas Spirit. I did manage to crank out some crafts for EHOW and now I can share them with you.

All of them are simple and easily customizable. You still have time to do any of these guys before the holiday knocks on our door. Most you can do while watching your favorite holiday film (or two!) and will give you the satisfaction of being one crafty and creative bad ass mother fucker.

So get on with it!

First up – The Retro Felt Christmas Tree Skirt

Bittersweet Susie | Retro Felt Tree Skirt Tutorial

This project can be easily changed to match your decor. I have GRAND PLANS to make some different versions.

Maybe a Halloween Tree one year???

Tune in every day leading up to Christmas for more tutorials and the long awaited Holiday Playlist (to tide you over click on link to last years!

Homework

• Did you have any grand plans you never completed?

• What is your go to Holiday movie?

Retro Felt Circle Skirt Tutorial

Retro Felt Circle Skirt Tutorial  – say that three times fast! I have such a way with words.

Bittersweet Susie | Retro Felt Circle Skirt Tutorial

Look at this cat skirt I made – LOOK at it! You want one? Of COURSE you do!

Lucky for you I am your bestest pal and have this instructions already done for you.  This is a simple tutorial for beginners (because that’s what I consider myself with the sewing of the clothes). Mine has cats because I am a baking, knitting, old lady glasses wearing, all the cats having grandma but YOU can put whatever you want on there.

This is just in time to make a skirt for every family holiday occasion. Giant turkey circle skirt! Big fat santa eating all the damn cookies circle skirt! Make one slightly offensive and impress those conservative relatives you only see once a year!

The possibilities are ENDLESS.

Click HERE to see how it’s done on good ol EHOW.

HOMEWORK – comment below

• Make your own circle skirt MASTERPIECE – you better show me what you have made OR ELSE OR ELSE

• What are your best ideas for the MOTHER of all felt circle skirts?

Get Crafty – Gum-ball Machine Jewelry Tutorial

Hi friends and others! I have no idea what day it is. It is too hot. I will also complain bitterly as soon as the temp drops below 65 so have that to look forward to.

I am often trying to find ways to use up my hoarded art supplies. See examples here. No matter how many new ways I find to make my crap into something else more crap just piles up. What is a girl to do? MAKE EVEN MORE CRAFTS WITH ALL THE CRAP.

Bittersweet Susie | Gum-ball Machine Jewelry| Ehow

In honor of this never-ending mountain of crap I have a new craft tutorial for you! Gum-ball machine jewelry!

Have you ever seen one funny toy in one of those machines in the front of a store you just HAD to have. A dragon glitter tattoo? Tiny handcuffs? A replica of a surf you swore you had as a kid?

I always have tiny erasers shaped like food, old McDonald’s toys, random party favors. Junk right? Well, it is your lucky day! I am going to teach you to make magical fancy jewelry with it! My generous spirit continues.

Bittersweet Susie | Gum-ball Machine Jewelry| Ehow

Sooooo Fancy! Go make yours.

Bittersweet Susie | Gum-ball Machine Jewelry| Ehow

Homework

• What are some items you have hoarded to make something with?

Craft – Let’s Make Envelopes!

Oh Friends. Its mid August! How are you all holding up? I want you to know I heart your faces!

I have another ehow craft feature – because all I do now is test various glues and glitter integrity. They know be by name at my local craft store.

This craft is for the HOARDERS. We can call ourselves sentimental traditionalist with a love of preservation if it makes us feel better.

I save ALL THE THINGS  – and here is a craft for those of you that SAVE all the things too!

Turn your old & FREE calendars into envelopes

Bittersweet Susie - Make Envelopes From Old Calendars - EHOW

A special bonus of this is that I NEVER have envelopes. I am just not that efficient and I am constantly wrapping burned DVDS for photo clients in paper towels. This is SO MUCH better.

And apparently today is the 3 third anniversary of this blog! WOW! It’s not entirely accurate but it IS three years since I registered this site. Does this count? Talk to me again in a year when I wax poetic about what a long and REWARDING journey it has been. Heh.

Homework

• Do you have a good DIY craft that also recycles?

• What is a common item (like envelopes) that you find yourself never having enough of?

• What are your thoughts on glitter?