Here's my method for one serving of homemade whipped cream by hand and by power tool ;)
Sorry the pictures are not as nice as my previous food related posts -- I didn't setup any lighting, I was in a rush to satisfy my pumpkin pie craving and I ran out of pumpkin beer awhile ago :P
Step 1: Ingredients
vanilla extract (a few drops) or real vanilla
Spoonful of sugar
You're also going to need a tall cup and a whisk that fits inside.
Step 2: Prepare
Next comes the tedious, but worth it, task of whipping. Hold the whisk between the palms of your hand and whip away. Keep whipping until it becomes frothy - then whip some more. You can stop when peaks start to form when you remove your whisk and the cream holds its form.
The idea is to add air bubbles... Small ones. Eventually, you get an air bubble structure capable of supporting itself. If you keep whipping, the structure will become too dense to support itself and it will collapse into dense solids... Also known as butter ;)
Step 3: Upgrade!
Attach a fork or whisk on the end ;) This will save you some time ;)
Of course, if you're making a larger batch and you have a beater/mixer -- go ahead an use that. I suspect a blender would work well too.