Place cold cream in bowl and start beating on low speed. After cream gets frothy, gradually increase speed to medium-high, being careful not to fling cream all over your kitchen! (I cover the mixer with a towel so that any splashing liquid gets on the towel and not everywhere else.) Be very gradual while increasing mixer speed. When cream is about 3/4 from being the consistency of whipped cream, add the vanilla and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Start mixer slowly, then gradually work back up to medium-high speed. Beat until just about to the correct consistency. Add more powdered sugar at this point, if desired. Continue beating until you get the perfect consistency. The whole process usually takes 6-8 minutes.