A very Late Merry Christmas

For those of you who do not know me personally I was very sick over Christmas. Turns out when you have bronchitis and do not know and have a whole bottle of cough syrup you can give yourself a pneumonia. It didn’t get quite that far but it might as well have. I was basically dead over the holidays which was sad but I have such wonderful family that took good care of me. I wanted to share some of the home made gifts of our Christmas with you.

The first was a gift for my sister in law. She had asked me to make her a simple recipe box. But I rarely go the simple route. So I found one online that couldn’t be ordered and I had my dad design a whole new one for me. I was so amazed by it when he showed me the finished project I put on a good pout and a couple hours later I had one too! The lower right hand picture is the only thing I gave my dad to go off of, and he created the beautiful box on the left and top. I used rub on letters to create the cute knobs I couldn’t find anywhere. Mine is still in progress as I want to paint it red and beat it up a bit more. So I will share pictures when its finished and full! Thanks again Dad for such an amazing gift.

Another beautiful gift my dad made this year was a set of metal signs. I had found them in an antique shop in texas while I was visiting a friend. I had neither room or excess money to bring them home with me but I managed to take a picture. I had no idea when I tagged him in the picture on facebook that a month later a package would arrive from my dad, with my own handmade set from him. But then he had gotten himself in trouble because my mom saw and loved them too. So for Christmas she got her own set. What Im getting at is that my dad needs to open his own shop of amazing handmade gifts! In clockwise from the top left is the original letters I found, my moms new ones for Christmas and mine hung up.

And todays last homemade gift was a beautiful apron made for me from my sister in law. (the one who got the recipe box) I was not expecting anything since she was also kind enough to get me a subscription to my favorite magazine, scrapbook trends and simply homemade. So I pulled this out and was deeply touched she took the time to make me something. Especially since its covered in cupcakes! Thanks again Deanna!

There will be more homemade gifts to share with you tomorrow but for now we’ve got to get ready for yet another family dinner. We definitely dont diet around the holidays! So I will leave you with some highlights from the holidays. A mish mash of memories if you please.

O and we caught someone spying on lissables on all the new Ipads given out by santa! Were famous!

I hope you all had amazing days with friends and family. And wishing you a happy news years as well!

Guest blogger Gary Blake with photo tips!

So you got a nice camera for Christmas and you want to start taking nicer looking photos. Pouring through photography books and chasing good advice down the endless hallways of the internet can be time-consuming and can frustrate even the most patient people. I say there’s time for all of that later. I’m a self-taught professional photographer I think the best thing you can do is take a little advice and from a trusted source (ME!) and get out there and start gaining experience.

Step 1: Throw away your lens!
Well, don’t throw it away, but if your camera came with a zoom lens you should try selling it. With the money you make invest in a 50mm lens in the $100 range. The problem with those zoom lenses that come with your camera is that they will produce photos that will look similar to the point and shoot you got for Christmas last year. The whole point of upgrading your camera is to take better photos. The 50mm lens you get will allow you to actually see the difference.

If you have a Canon try this lens:

If you have a Nikon try this lens:

Step 2: Drop that F Number!
There should be a little dial on the top of your camera with different letters. Switch it to ‘A’ for Aperture Priority and use your scroll wheel to drop that aperture as low as it will go. With your new 50mm lens it will be 1.8. With other lenses it could be 2.8, 3.5, or higher. The lower that number is the more blurry the background will be.

Here is an example of a photo shot with my aperture at 1.8

Step 3: Are your photos a little blurry?
So you’re shooting in aperture priority and you’ve set your aperture to 1.8… but you’ve gone from shooting in bright light to shooting in dim light and now your photos are blurry? Don’t panic!

The next setting you need to learn is ‘ISO’. This is displayed as 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, etc… In Aperture Priority the higher this ISO number is the less blurry your photos will be. The tradeoff is that with the increased ISO you will also have increased noise in your photos. This noise on most new cameras is only really noticeable at ISO1600 or above.

Here is an example of a couple photos where it was important to freeze the subject. My ISO number was high.

Take your time and have fun! Before hitting your shutter button and taking a photo, think about how the photo will look. Move around and experiment with different vantage points. Nobody ever learned the intricacies of photography in a day. Good luck!


Little Girls Birthday Party Cakes

This morning I got up bright and early to whip up some fun girly cupcakes for two special little girls with birthdays today and tomorrow. They ordered 12 pink and purple for one and 12 green and blue for the other. And  two big ones for the birthday girls, with special monogram toppers.

Then I got them all put away in boxes and ready to go. How cute are they all packaged up. And with the new cupcake business cards too!

Just another beautiful cupcake morning here at lissables. If your thinking these are too yummy to resist you know where to find me ! Have a wonderful day!

Activity Advent Calendar Tutorial

“The 60 min activity advent calendar”

I know as an advent craft this is so very late in the month to bring up. But Hey I saw a piece of paper in Michaels yesterday and knew just what to do with it. You will need two pieces of paper. I used a white sheet and “advent” from the Merry & Bright collection from WeR Memory Keepers. But Ive seen many different Christmas papers in similar styles you could also use!

Take some liquid glue and secure all your sides and in between each window as when you open them they will tend to lift up on the sides. Then write activities you would like to do with your family coordinating with your days. Just like you would eat a new chocolate each morning, you will now have a fun little activity to make some family memories each day! It can be as simple as a phone call to Grandma, a movie or revolve a whole day around ice skating or baking. Plus its less calories than eating 25 chocolates!

How simple and cute is that, 2 pieces of paper, glue, a pen, and sixty minutes later a beautiful keepsake. And if you really love it and want to reuse the same one the next year, cut out the squares with an exacto knife and start with a fresh sheet! You can even use pictures instead of writing in some windows. So keep it in mind for next year, or go get it started now and have a pleasant surprise waiting for next December 1st.

And luckily mine had a giant Christmas door to peak behind for December 25th. Which is good when you have a crazy day of doing 4 houses each Christmas! But that’s another story to share later next week!

Easy Christmas Wreath Cupcakes

Do you have a family dinner coming up? Most people like to cram as many as possible into these couples days around the 25th of December. Well if you do and you offered to bring a dessert here is the answer to your “out of time” prayers. Grab your favorite cupcakes recipe, your favorite butter cream or icing. Ps box cakes and betty crocker icing work just fine for this! Because the wow is all in the presentation.

(all) You will need : A box of mint leaves, White Chocolate and a pan lined in wax paper.

Melt the Chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals, (trust me and dont make me post the picture of me forgetting and setting chocolate on fire in the microwave this past summer) Once melted let it cool slightly. Then simply take your finger, dip it in the chocolate and spread it evenly on the mint leaf. Im sure there is a more professional way but this is the easiest way to make it work. Then lay it chocolate side up on the wax paper and refrigerate for 30 min. Repeat the process for a second coat and refrigerate for an hour this time. Make your cupcakes as directed and let cool, ice lightly with your choice of frosting. Peel mint leaves from Chocolate (carefully but fast so it doesn’t melt in your hands) and place on the cupcakes. Arrange it with red jellies or m&m’s to be your berries. Display your cupcakes on a large dish in a circle to resemble a wreath, you can even add a large bow at the top to top it all off! And there you have it an easy but elaborate looking Christmas dessert your families will envy you for making!

TADA!  You too can do this! Because I believe in all of you!

Annual Christmas Baking Day.

And by annual I mean this is the second year doing this tradition. But hopefully not the last. Since I moved my sister in law has been one of my greatest friends. So last year and today we got together for a Christmas Baking day. We made my mother in laws amazing molasses cookies. Of which I have eating 5 already today. Going to need to make another batch tomorrow if I want them to last the weekend. (On another note that diet for Christmas pictures is going well.) We also both made batches of that Christmas Cookie Bark that I shared the recipe for the other day. If you havent made it already seriously so easy and so good. Then there is also my big family recipe: mice or poor cookies. I have no idea what their actual name is. Its the most basic cookie with a hint of cinnamon. Rolled out in long strips and then cut into small pieces. I’ll dig out the recipe and share it with you this weekend.

And that special cookie on the right was a surprise from last year. My mom sent it in the mail to get us excited about Christmas. It’s a cookie you write on with a special edible marker. How super cute is that, the cookie and her. I just love Christmas baking days. Makes it feel like the season is here. Listening to my Christmas playlist on Pandora, smelling the spices in all the cookie dough. And all those crazy people doing last minute shopping at the malls. Good thing we do all ours online. Now I’m just the crazy lady stalking my mailman trying to make sure everything gets here in time! Luckily today this little box was sitting at my door when I got home! Eeek I do heart Modcloth so. If I ever win the lottery (that I dont ever play) I will spend a good chunk there. My little sister’s present is inside so I cant give anymore hints about the picture but I had to share because it made me so happy! I think I love giving specially thought out presents as much as receiving them.

Hope you guys are all ready and relaxing in this last week before the big day. Im working on all my handmade gifts at this point, but I cant share any pictures or else those people who know me best might peek! But I will have some awesome tutorials lined up after the 25th so check back often!

Christmas Cupcakes

Last night we had a big family dinner at my sister in laws house. Everyone brought their specialty so obviously I came with cupcakes! I made some red velvet with buttercream frosting. Yum. And don’t worry I stayed as far away as possible. I’m making sure no one else gets sick. Ive had to cancel some fun stuff this week, no fun. But Here’s some highlights from last nights family thing. I love how this season makes us get together more often.

And here’s to hoping the rest of the week doesnt look like this:

Wishing you guys a great crazy 10days before Christmas!

Game Night and a Recipe.

Hello all. Tonight we had some friends over for dinner and games. I adore game nights over anything! We started with Domino’s, which I always makes me think of all the games I played with my sister and grandma when we were little. Apparently I was much better when I was 9. I lost miserably, like as bad as you can, every round. I’m cursed! So we moved on to taboo. That’s our territory and me and b finally won something. Although Brandon seems to think a violin is a “mini guitar” ha ha. We finished off the night with some scattegories! My favorite, still didn’t win but I will get them next time. Above all there was lots of laughter and that means we’re all winners! Ha ha At Christmas time we’re allowed to say overly cheesy things like that.

So for dinner I made shepard’s pie. The best part is that there will be left overs all weekend. I also made Chocolate Cookie Bark. Big hit! I dont like Chocolate and I know I need to get it out of my house because I will devour the entire plate. It’s a super easy recipe and a great snacking dessert. Here’s the recipe!

1 box white Chocolate

1 Box milk Chocolate (or semi-sweet)

2 tbsp peanut butter

12 oreo cookies crushed

Melt both Chocolate separately, add peanut butter to white chocolate. Divide crushed cookies between both chocolates and mix well. Drop on wax sheet covered pan and swirl with a knife. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Break into chunks and eat as fast as you can because others will attempt the same thing!

O also while whipping everything up I was wearing my new awesome Christmas Santa apron. Found it in the dollar isle at Target! Isn’t it too cute! And again, only a dollar. <3 Target *sigh*

So to recap, fun games, good food, great friends. Perfect night. O ya and Candy Canes!