LOVE elements ~ homemade christmas



We have so many ideas for our LOVE elements collaborations, but we decided that there is nothing better than receiving a decadent little something on your doorstep to feel loved.  The brilliant Lindsey (of Green Apple Photography)  had the greatest idea to make homemade Madagascar Vanilla for our friend and neighbor gifts this year and of course I was in --  everything done with a friend is always more fun!  

It all started with the idea of the vanilla and then we thought of adding a gift of organic orange infused sugar too -Why not! Who wouldn't love to sprinkle orange infused sugar on their Christmas morning crêpes - c'est magnifique!  We had such a blast making these gifts and the kitchen smelled incredible to say the least. It was amazing to watch petite Lindsey standing on a chair to create magic with her camera.  As for the packaging, (because sometimes it is all about presentation) we found some lovely bottles, weck jars and some adorable red twine to pretty them up.  The darling tags were made exclusively by the talented Jayne Swallow, of October Ink .  We decided hand painting the tags with watercolor would add that unique and personal touch. 

As an extra bonus, our gift to you is that she has made these tags downloadable here ...Thank you Jayne! We have also included the instructions for both the Vanilla and the Orange Sugar below.

Merry Homemade Christmas!

For more of our LOVE elements series collaborations click here


Homemade Madagascar Vanilla Extract: 4 ounces of Vodka, 2 vanilla beans, extract grade.

The recipe takes all of 2 steps, so it doesn’t get much easier than that. We decided on 4 oz brown tinted bottles, which equals half a cup. You could also double or quadruple this recipe. We decided to use Vodka, the cheapest and best we could find. If you want to be more extravagant you could go with bourbon.  This gift ended up not only being gorgeously decadent but also extremely affordable. Our price breakdown per 4 oz was a grand total of $2.50!  -$.70 for the bottle, $.80 for the liquor and $1.00 for two vanilla beans.


1-Split the vanilla beans, and cut to fit into bottles. We cut ours in half, so we put in 4 half-vanilla beans.
2-Top off with vodka, seal, and store in a cool, dark place.
3-Shake once a week for 8 weeks.
4-At the end of 8 weeks, your extract is ready! You can remove the pods, and strain out the vanilla bits of yumminess, but I think I will just remove the vanilla pods. I want to keep as much goodness as possible in these.

Voila!  Don’t worry if you don’t have yours done 8 weeks before Christmas ( we didn’t.) Just add some instructions on your tag, or a little sticker with the ready by date.  I think it will be fun for the recipient to be involved in the process.

Orange Sugar: A whole bunch of sugar, and some orange zest (we used organic from Trader Joes.)

Another simple and easy gift is this amazing sugar-- both delicious and lovely!  I couldn't stop eating the spilled bits on my counter.  Basically, we just combined sugar and orange zest and then tasted it - Voila!  We used a mortar and pestle, but for larger quantities, you could use a food processor or blender. The orange zest is strong, so use sparingly and taste as you go ( my favorite part) You could even play around with different fruits–Pomegranate, lemon or even a combo of the two would be a treat! 


Green Apple Photography: all gorgeous photos, Homemade Tags: Made exclusively by October Ink., Madagascar Vanilla Beans:  we bought bulk extract grade beans, Extract Jars: If you live in Utah, you can pick these up and save some $$ on mailing, Red and White Twine: Maison Confiserie et Boutique, Weck Jars: At your local kitchen supply store.

For more of our past LOVE elements series collaborations click here