Category Archives: Uncategorized

Infused Vodka

One of my favorite ingredients to experiment with is alcohol. You can go in so many different directions with it; baking, flambéing, reducing, and my current favorite technique; infusing. Only often will you see me sipping on a glass of vodka, but after playing around with flavor infused vodkas, this is now a common thing in my household.

While the typical flavored vodkas are neat (strawberry, apple, citrus, etc.), what really intrigued me was the idea of gourmet flavors. So after racking my brain (and my boyfriend’s!) we came up with some deliciously unique flavor combinations and infused them in vodka.

The recipe is so easy and the possibilities are near limitless. Depending on your mood or the season, there is really an infusion combination for any occasion. I recommend giving this a try, even if you are not a vodka drinker, the chilled libation infused with recognizable flavors is something just about any one could acquire a taste for.

FLAVOR INFUSED VODKAS

The process itself is extremely easy; it is the flavor combinations that take some though. The fun thing about this is there really is no wrong way of doing it. Start by using clean, air-tight glass jars. While I searched and searched for the perfect jar, I ended up using old salad dressing jars. I loved the fact that they were all different shapes and sizes; and because they are smaller it allowed for me to make a variety of flavors in one batch.

Choose your ingredients and wash them. Fill the glass jars almost to the top with a good brand of vodka (do not be cheap here; bad vodka equals bad infused vodka). Place the combination of ingredients in the glass jars and secure the lid tightly. Give the bottle a few easy shakes and store the jars in a cool dark place.

Depending on your ingredients the infusion could take 3 to 10 days. Make sure to give your infusion a couple good shakes about 3 to 5 times a day. I kept mine in the kitchen and whenever I walked past them I would pick them up and give them a quick shake. Do not be afraid to take small taste tests to see if your infusion is ready.

Once you feel that your infusion has reached it’s peak in flavor, remove the ingredients from the jar. Strain your vodka, through a fine strainer, to remove any small pieces of ingredients left behind. I transferred my vodka into a clean bowl and then strained it back into my jars.

HAZELNUT + MINT
has a chocolate nutty aroma with a hint of mint
6 Hazelnuts
1 Sprig of Mint, fresh

Let the combination infuse in the vodka for about 7 days.

CHILE+ CUCUMBER
has refreshing kick that is both cooling and spicy
2 Chile Peppers, dried
4 Slices of Cucumber, fresh

Let the combination infuse in the vodka for about 5 days.

LAVENDER + HONEYCOMB
has a relaxing and natural aroma with a sweet and fresh after taste
2 Sprigs of Lavender, fresh
1 ounce of Honeycomb, fresh
Lemon rind

Let the combination infuse in the vodka for about 7 days.

SPICED
gives off a warming sensation that tends to draw you back to Winter
2 Cinnamon Sticks
1 Teaspoon of Black Peppercorns, whole
1 Teaspoon of Cloves, whole
1 Teaspoon of Star Anise
Orange rind

Let the combination infuse in the vodka for about 7 days.

VANILLA BEAN + COFFEE
has a clean and sweet awakening taste
1, 4-inch Vanilla Bean, fresh cut lengthwise
6-8 Coffee beans, fresh

Let the combination infuse in the vodka for about 5 days.

S H A R E - I T|T W E E T - I T|P I N - I T
December 7, 2011 - 9:58 pm

KimberHills - They last quite a while. I highly recommend using these sooner than later though, the flavor tends to be better earlier on. :)

December 7, 2011 - 9:49 pm

Sarah - Kimber- How long do these infusions last? Indefinitely? Or do they start to lose the taste after a while?

September 23, 2011 - 9:00 pm

Cristina - TeenieCakes - What a fantastic idea and could be great gifts too. Did you design, print-out your own labels? I luv this…thanks for sharing.

September 7, 2011 - 11:38 am

daniel - I love the idea of infused vodkas and have tried a few but unfortunately anytime I get vodka in it never lasts long enough for infusing i’m either experimenting with some cocktail or other or have just had a long day at work and need a drink when I get home and at the moment vodka, tonic and lime is my tipple of choice. But I really must get some in and try out some of your combinations for Christmas I especially love the sound of the mint and hazelnut one i think it would be delicious either in a cocktail or in a grown up night cap hot chocolate.

September 7, 2011 - 5:54 am

Christine - Love this. Looks wonderful.

Silk Ribbon Bracelet



Who doesn’t love the soft feminine look of silk? When I found these spools of silk ribbon I just had to come up with an idea on how I can wear them! Using this simple braiding technique, I fashioned a quick and easy bracelet that had many of my friends begging me to make one for them. You can do this too – it’s so simple you’ll want to make one in every color!

Silk Ribbon Bracelet
3 yards of 1/4″ silk ribbon
Scissors

1. Starting at the middle of the ribbon, make a loop by crossing the left strand over the right.
2. Bring the bottom ribbon up and make a second loop and thread it through the first loop and pull the right side snug but not too tight that it crushes the left ribbon loop.
3. Repeat for the opposite side, by making a loop with the right side and threading it through the last loop you just made and pull the left side snug.
4. Continue this pattern until you have enough to fit around your wrist. 
5. To finish, pull the ribbon completely through the previous loop and pull tightly creating a knot at the end.
6. Thread one of the ribbon ends through the beginning of the braid and tie with knot creating a bracelet.
7. Tie the strands in a small bow and trim the ends.

Craft stores often have many different color silk ribbons, you can even experiment with dying your own! Also, if you cannot find silk ribbon, just about any 1/4″ ribbon works too. Get creative with this one by adding beads at the ends of the strands or hot glueing little crystals on the braid. Whatever you do – make it your own!


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May 14, 2011 - 3:05 am

jhawkins4 - OMG! SO in love with your blog! I need one of those bracelets! And I'm totally making my kitties into pet silhouette's for the office! Love, love, love!

Mother’s Day

 

Mother’s Day was a complete hit! I think it’s safe to say everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves as we totally pigged out on Maryland Blue crab! As usual, and possibly a tradition, I was in charge of steaming all 5 dozen of these babies!

Not only were we celebrating our lovely mothers but it was also our dear friend, Linda’s, birthday!

After a celebrating with mimosas, we devoured the bushels of crab and a couple 6-packs of Coronas then topped it off with some cake and chocolate dipped strawberries while the mom’s opened their gifts. I gave my mom a personalized Pet Silhouette of her precious pup, Bailey! (Get the D.I.Y. tutorial here!)

It was so nice to be with family and friends; everyone left with extra-full bellies and smiles on their faces. We love you mom, even if you were camera-shy!

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Pet Silhouettes

Like most pet lovers, I love to proudly show off my little puppy, Link. Link is my 3-year old beagle (his birthday is next week!) I have been looking for ideas to display photos of him that resemble art rather than me as an obsessed mommy. I’ve never really loved the whole “pop art” look of dogs faces in multi-electric colors so when I stumbled upon this idea in “Modern Paper Crafts” by Margaret Van Sicklen, I just fell in love! This totally reminds me of when my sister and I would have our silhouettes cut out by hand at Disneyland and framed in vintage-looking oval frames. I, of course, gave this idea a little more modern twist (so it would match my home decor) and had my artwork matted and placed in a black rectangular frame. If you love your pets as much as I love mine, give this easy craft a try.

Pet Silhouettes
A Photo of your Pet, preferably a side profile shot
1 Sheet of black or colored Cardstock, size depends on size of photo
Scissors
Glue Stick
Frame, size appropriate to photo


1. Staple your pet photo to your card stock paper.
2. Being cutting counterclockwise direction (or clockwise if you’re a lefty like me!) To make your cuts clean and smooth hold the scissors straight and just rotate the paper. Feel free to perfect the details after cutting the silhouette out; such as, adding a few snips in the pup’s belly or exaggerating the shape of his or hers cute little nose. This will only give your silhouette a little extra texture.
3. Mount the silhouette to either a plain card stock or one with a pattern, print, or texture by using either a glue stick or adhesive spray. 

This again, is a craft where you can get really unique. Try mounting the silhouette on newspaper before framing. Or give the silhouette an inverse look by cutting the silhouette out on white paper and mounting it on black. The ways you can make this unique and personal are completely limitless. I couldn’t think of a greater way of turning my pup’s profile into art that would really start a conversation! 

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Wire Wrap Ring


I’ve been eyeballing these wire wrap rings in boutiques for what seems like years now, and the only thing that has stopped me from purchasing one of these pricey beauties is the fact that I knew I could make one myself! So after procrastinating and claiming I can’t find “the perfect stone” I decided to visit my local craft store and just do it already! I thought I would pass along these easy steps to creating your own unique wire wrap ring, and trust me – no jewelry making experience necessary!

 

Wire Wrap Ring
2 feet of 22 gauge metal wire
1 Semi Precious stone bead
Wire Cutters
Needle Nose Pliers
Ring Mandrel to form rings to a desired size (These are kind of expensive, a turkey baster works perfectly!)


1. Start by wrapping the wire around the “ring mandrel” four times.
2. Keep the wire tightly wrapped around the mandrel, string the bead along the longer end of the wire.
3. Wrap the wire three times tightly around the 4-layered band.
4. Continue to wrap the wire three times around beneath the stone, creating a platform where the stone sits.
5. Next, wrap the wire three times tightly around the 4-layered band on the other side of the stone.
6. Lastly, cut the end of the wire and use your needle nose pliers to flatten the end so it does not poke you.

And that’s it, within 20 minutes (give or take) you can have yourself a stunning wire wrap ring for, what I can guarantee you is, less than half the price! Making jewelry yourself gives you the opportunity to customize. You’re able to pick out your favorite gems and colors. Give this a try – I bet people will be complimenting you left and right!

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June 10, 2011 - 6:30 am

sarah - What a great tutorial! I am so excited to try it out.

Braided Chain Link Bracelet

Since I’m on this kick of nostalgic jewelry I thought I’d share this grown up twist on the “friendship bracelet”. This is a great idea I came across a little while back and after making my Leather Lanyard Bracelet I figured I might as well add this one as well. The idea of mixing chunky curb link with multi-colored strands of embroidery floss is border-line genius! I had a blast picking out different colored threads and so will you. This super easy do-it-yourself is a great way to show your own uniqueness and take a stroll down memory lane as well. 

Braided Chain Link Bracelet
A Chain Link Bracelet (Try checking your favorite craft store, you can usually buy this by the yard!)
Embroidery Floss
Bobby Pins
Scissors


Start by cutting the embroidery floss into 2 sets of 15 strands; make sure each strand is about 4 times the length of the bracelet. Knot all the threads together and leave about 2 inches of slack at the top. Slip one bobby pin around one set of strands and the other bobby pin around the other set. The bobby pin will act as a needle allowing you to easily weave the threads in and out of the chain link. 


Place all bundles of threads on the left side of the bracelet. Thread the first color from under the first link and over the top of the left side. Lay the second color over the first color and pull from under the same link and over the top left again. Keep repeating each step, moving onto a new link each time. Once you have reached the end of the bracelet secure all the threads with another know and trim both ends. Clasp onto your wrist and show the world your true colors!

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April 11, 2011 - 9:04 pm

Jenna Kinsbursky - Love this…you can make me one any day :)