Inspired by Clotilde at Chocolate and Zucchini and Katie at Salt and Chocolate, I started my own batch of vanilla extract on Sunday! I took the simplest possible route: 3 vanilla beans, split open and halved, tucked in a carefully cleaned jar and covered with about a cup and a quarter of vodka. Shake once a week or so, and store in a dark cupboard. Alas, it'll be about two months before I can use it, but I'm excited for July!
If you're interested in trying DIY vanilla extract, and you're in the Boston area, might I suggest Christina's spice shop in Inman Square, Cambridge? I got five beans for $10. I'm sure they're not the the finest beans money can buy, but they're plump enough for me.