Of our duo, Heather is the DIY-er. She has a knack for creativity, a desire to plan and put together beautiful events, and I don’t think she actually sleeps at night because I don’t know how else she has the time to do the things she does. I am NOT a DIY-er. I’m the “I will pay someone to do this so I don’t have to”-er. And there’s nothing really wrong with that, but sometimes it’s nice to step outside your comfort zone and try something you’re not good at.
So recently I decided to make infused sugar. I was making goody bags for an upcoming party, and sugar infused with vanilla in a tiny little mason jar (touted as “Ashleigh’s anti-aging magic sprinkles”) seemed like a no-fail addition. I really did pick it because I thought it was the easiest project possible – buy some sugar, some vanilla pods, put them together, let sit. I forgot, of course, that I am the perfect storm of DIY-catastrophe: a heady mix of lack of talent and extreme lack of patience.
So, I dig right in to those vanilla pods, thinking I was going to open the fragrant, somewhat sticky wrinkled pods to discover slippery, round vanilla beans—much like a sugar snap pea. Upon cutting one open with a large knife (narrowly avoiding removing the majority of my manicure in the process) I came to learn that vanilla beans are actually comprised of sticky, fragrant grit—I guess that’s why things made with “real vanilla” are always flecked with dark pieces of delicious, magic dirt. You learn something new every day.
Despite being a child of my generation it didn’t occur to me until after my hands were covered with vanilla goo that I should check YouTube to learn how to cut open a vanilla bean properly, which actually isn’t that tough: slice it down the middle and scrape out the goodness into an airtight container. By the time I had this accomplished and mixed with my sugar, more of the vanilla was on my hands than in the jar and I was already cursing. Heather, where are you??
Flash forward = DIY success? After a couple weeks, I gave the sugar a shake and poured them into their tiny containers, removing any of the bigger pieces of pod I may have left in. The sugar was fragrant and pretty to look at, and was a hit with party guests who used it in their oatmeal, coffee and whatever else needed sugar at the moment. I won’t say this project gave me much confidence to try more fun DIY adventures, but never say never.