Easter preparations

Happy Easter! I want to share a quick post before the holiday weekend gets underway. It’s short and sweet, and I promise to keep it free of egg puns. Enjoy!

Easter Basket

Decorating eggs and making Easter baskets was definitely my favorite activity of the week. I kept my designs pretty simple and mostly used items I had on hand; rubber bands, paint pens, and, of course, the queen of all craft supplies, glitter.

Easter Eggs

Wishing everyone a lovely weekend!

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DIY: 30th Birthday Kit

One of my good friends turned 30 on Monday. She is the first of our group to leave her twenties and I think we did a pretty good job celebrating her milestone birthday over the weekend. I helped with the traditional birthday festivities: coordinating the dinner reservation, ordering the cake and picking up the balloons. But the part that I am most excited about is the birthday present that I created for her.

30th Birthday Kit | On Mill Road

30th Birthday Kit

It’s a kit with the theme of being a kid or being young at heart. I filled it with goodies like a statement necklace, luxe body wash, my favorite lip balm, a beautiful candle, mud masks, and, of course, some wine. I really love this theme and the way it all came together. Here’s how I created it:

The different gifts are from all over and I bought the small white boxes and stock paper at Michael’s.

30th Birthday Kit | On Mill Road
To begin, I created small labels with fun sayings to fit the theme of being young.

30th Birthday Kit | On Mill Road

Then I wrapped each gift individually (because who doesn’t like opening lots of presents on their birthday?) and labeled them.

30th Birthday Kit | On Mill Road      30th Birthday Kit | On Mill Road

30th Birthday Kit | On Mill Road  30th Birthday Kit | On Mill Road

30th Birthday Kit | On Mill Road  30th Birthday Kit | On Mill Road

30th Birthday Kit | On Mill Road   30th Birthday Kit | On Mill Road

30th Birthday Kit | On Mill Road  30th Birthday Kit | On Mill Road

Here are all the wrapped gifts with labels. The label, “When all else fail, take a time out!” went with a candle and bottle of wine. Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of those items.

30th Birthday Kit | On Mill Road

All wrapped up, labeled, and bagged.

30th Birthday Kit | On Mill Road

Last, I created a card introducing the “Essentials for the Young at Heart” kit and added some coordinating tissue paper.

30th Birthday Kit | On Mill Road

Here’s the final product!

30th Birthday Kit | On Mill Road

DIY Gift: Vanilla Infused Vodka

DIY Vanilla Infused Vodka

Today I’m sharing a DIY gift that I made for some friends for Christmas. Infusing vodka or any booze is pretty easy – you just add ingredients to an alcohol base until it achieves the flavor you like. There are some pretty detailed instructions and recipes all over the web for infusing alcohol (even one on how to infuse using Halloween candy yikes!) but I decided to keep things simple for my first recipe.

I bought most of the materials from Michaels (my personal happiest place on earth). Since it’s a pretty simple gift, I wanted to spruce it up with some cute tags and ribbon. Here’s what I bought:

DIY Vanilla Infused Vodka Materials

Said cute tags and ribbons, string and holiday-themed stickers (this is completely optional).

Glass jars with lids. I bought Ball jars at Michaels, but any jar with a tightly closing lid will work.

Smirnoff vodka. I chose vodka because it has a neutral flavor and it was the recommended liquor for beginning infusers (that’s me!). I also read that it’s recommended to use a middle-shelf liquor for this because, like cooking, if you begin with a low quality ingredient, you will end up with low quality product. And there’s no need to spend the cash on a super-smooth, top-shelf vodka that you are just going to change the flavor of. Hence the Smirnoff.

Since it was the holiday season and the other part of my gift bag included some fancy sipping chocolate, I stuck with the theme and chose vanilla as the flavor to infuse the vodka. The beans used are Madagascar vanilla beans from Trader Joe’s (quite possibly my second happiest place on earth).

You can choose almost any ingredient to flavor your vodka; pineapples, chai tea, cucumbers, star anise, etc. The possibilities are virtually endless. If you’re feeling creative, Bon Appetit has a good infusing article to help you find new flavor combinations.

Here’s how to put everything together. First I created some tags using the stickers and tied them to the jars with striped string.

DIY Vanilla Infused Vodka Materials

One the back of each tag I included some tips on how long to allow the vodka to infuse (1-2 weeks), shaking gently daily, and straining it before use.

DIY Vanilla Infused Vodka

Then I washed and dried the jars and lids and divided the vodka evenly among them. I had four (32 oz) jars so I needed two 175 mL bottles of vodka. I split one vanilla bean and added it to each jar and closed the lid very tightly.
DIY Vanilla Infused Vodka

To complete my gifts, I put the vodka into festive gift bags with the sipping chocolate and topped off with some tissue paper.

Here’s what it will look like after a couple of weeks:

DIY Vanilla Infused Vodka
At this point, I can strain and and it’s ready to use. I plan to make a Ginger Vanilla Vodka-tini for my first drink using my homemade vanilla infused vodka.