Friday, July 30, 2010

Lemony Snickets Lemon Bars

At work today, we had a daylong non-stop feast of homemade tamales, coconut flan, chocolate cake and these lemon bars that I made.  The recipe is from Barefoot Contessa, one of my food idols.  I own every single one of Ina Garten's cookbooks.  I love her recipes (even if they're rich and unhealthy - fat is flavor) and boy, everything I've ever made from her cookbooks has been fabulous and never disappoints.

Lemon Bars (from the Barefoot Contessa Parties! Cookbook)

For the Crust:
1/2 lb unsalted butter at room temp (I used Kerrygold a high quality premium butter)
1/2 c granulated sugar
2 c all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp kosher salt

For the Filling:
6 extra-large eggs at room temp (I used 6 large)
3 c granulated sugar
2  T grated lemon zest (about 4 - 6 lemons) - my lemons must have been big because it only took 2 lemons
1 c freshly squeezed lemon juice (I strained it to get rid of the pulp)
1 c all-purpose flour

Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed.  Press the dough into a 9x13x2" baking sheet (I used a baking pan), building up a 1/2" edge on all sides.  Chill.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned (I had to bake mine an additional 20 min before the crust looked lightly browned).  Let cool on a wire rack.  Leave the oven on.

For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and flour.  Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set (I had to bake mine an additional 10 min - it was too jiggly after 35 min).  Let cool to room temperature.

Cut into squares or triangles and dust with confectioners' sugar.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Graphically Masculine Birthday Card

Inspiration comes unexpectedly.  For instance, I was at Starbucks the other day and saw their bold and graphic, beige and black paper napkins.  Since I have a hard time coming up with masculine cards, I thought I could incorporate Starbuck's simple bold design.  I used a Cricut cartridge called Simply Sweet to cut out the letters.  Three non-fussy elements to do the job of wishing any male in your life Happy Birthday.  How easy is that?

Stampin' Up Supplies Used:

Stamps:  Birthday Bliss
Ink:  Basic Black
Paper:  River Rock, Whisper White, Basic Black
Accessories:  Stampin' Dimensionals

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

FS180 Challenge

Splitcoaststampers is a stamping community where individuals can share their stamping creations.  I contribute often and lately most of my posts have been projects and cards I've added to this blog.  If you want to see prior uploads, visit my gallery here.  There are many weekly challenges to participate in which can help you design things to take you out of your comfort zone and allow you to try new color combinations, layouts, techniques, etc.  Last week, the Featured Stamper challenge (FS180) spotlighted a very talented lady 1busymomof2 and this card caught my eye.  I CASED it and this is my version.  It's pretty clean and simple - just my style!

Stampin' Up Supplies Used: 

Stamps:  Whimsical Words (Retired)
Ink:  Pumpkin Pie
Paper:  Sweet Pea DSP (Retired), Whisper White
Accessories:  1 3/4" Circle Punch, Stampin' Dimensionals, Linen Thread

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

DIY Gift Bag

As I've mentioned before, I'm always on the internet looking for inspiration and design ideas.  One design blog I visit often is called How About Orange;  I saw a tutorial this weekend on how to make your own gift bags out of newspaper.  The gift bag called for a 15.5" wide x 8.25" tall piece of newspaper.  I decided to resize the bag so you can make it with a piece of 12"x12" patterned paper instead of newspaper.  I know it's not as "green" but it'll be more colorful!  I'm going to include step-by-step instructions below, but if you want to visit the original post, click here.

My tote is 4" tall by 3.75" wide by 2" deep.  Here's a picture with the dimensions.  You'll start with one 12"x7" sheet of patterned paper.

The top flap is 1.25" down from the top and the bottom flap is 1.75" from the bottom.  Make these horizontal score lines.  The vertical score lines are at 3.75", 5.75", 9.5" and 11.50".  There will be a 0.5" tab for you to glue the sides of the bags together.  Make nice sharp creases with your bone folder before proceeding to the next steps.

Cut two pieces of cardstock (A) to 3.75" x1".  Glue them on the 3.75" panels just below the score line as shown in the photo above.  These pieces of cardstock will reinforce the bag so it won't rip if it's holding something heavy.  Glue down the top with sticky strip for extra reinforcement.  Also glue the bottom flap and the side 0.5" tab.

The next step is to fold the bottom sides like you are wrapping a present.

Put sticky strip on the flaps to glue them together.

Stand the bag upright and cut a piece of heavy duty white cardstock to insert in the bag as a bottom reinforcement.  That piece will be 3.75" x 1.75".  If you want a handle for your gift bag, punch holes in the top rim of the bag with a Cropadile and add eyelets for guess what?  Reinforcement!  There's no waaaaay this DIY bag is going to fall apart.  String some thin ribbon or cord thru the eyelets and knot them on each end so the cord will stay put.  Standard is for the knots to be on the inside, but they can be unconventionally on the outside as well.  Why not?

That's it.  You've got your own handmade gift bag that you've made with your own two hands.

Stampin' Up Supplies Used:

Stamps:  None
Ink:  None
Paper:  Sweet Pea DSP (Retired), So Saffron
Accessories:  Daffodil Delight 1/8" Ribbon, Silver Eyelets

Monday, July 26, 2010

CAS FTL #100

The Clean and Simple blog just reached its 100th layout milestone.  It's been fun participating in the challenges each week and I look forward to the new layouts each Thursday.  This stamp set is called Tropical Party and is from the Summer Mini which will be available thru August 31st.  I used a simple technique called Paper Piecing on this card which is a quick and easy way to add splashes of patterned color to a stamped image.

Stampin' Up Supplies Used:

Stamps:  Tropical Party, Full of Life
Ink:  Early Espresso, Rose Red, Peach Parfait
Paper:  Whisper White, Island Oasis DSP
Accessories:  Daffodil Delight 1/8" Taffeta Ribbon, Scallop Edge Border Punch

Friday, July 23, 2010

Join My Facebook Group

No cards today but pictures of the amazing part of the country I live in - the spectacular San Francisco Bay Area.  We have it all here:  a cosmopolitan city, gorgeous wine country, sand and sea and mountain ranges too.  What more could you ask for from your hometown?  I get teased a lot because even though I live in an area known for technology and innovation, I'm one of the slowest adopters of technology there is.  I just got my digital camera 4 years ago.  But once I got one, I took off running!  Now I can't wait to go places and take pictures of everything.  Add amateur photography to my list of interests.

I started a Facebook group called Bella Confetti.  If you're on Facebook, join my group!  I'll have postings of my cards and stuff, plus list my upcoming card classes and events.  Click here to become a member!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Breaking Out Forest Friends


This card utilizes a layout by Kristina Werner and also a design concept by my friend Lynda who featured a peek-a-boo owl on her card.  The color combination is from Stampin' Up's Play Date Designer Series Paper.  I can't believe this is the first time I've broken out the Forest Friends stamp set.  I first bought it when it was offered in a mini catalog.

Stampin' Up Supplies Used:
Stamps:  Forest Friends, Woodgrain Background, On Your Birthday
Ink:  Chocolate Chip, Soft Suede
Paper:  Old Olive, Soft Suede, Tempting Turquoise, Real Red, So Saffron
Accessories:  Circle Punches:  1" and 1 1/4", Corner Rounder Punch

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Vintage Matchbox

I'm generally a clean and simple gal, but I'm also drawn to the vintagey, collagey, shabby chic style too.  My friend Terri introduced me to this site called Vintage Home Lifestyle where I saw these fabulous matchboxes.  They gave me the inspiration for today's post.  Why not recreate them using Stampin' Up's Matchbox die, Newsprint DSP and various vintage stamp sets, especially Puns From the Past?  The DSP was distressed a bit to achieve the shabby feel.

Stampin Up Supplies Used:

Stamps:  Puns From the Past, Tiny Tags, Because I Care
Paper:  Newsprint DSP, Bravo Burgundy, Very Vanilla, More Mustard
Ink:  Early Espresso, More Mustard, Bravo Burgundy, Baja Breeze
Accessories:  Jewelry Tag Medium Punch, Linen Thread

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Italian Bread Pudding

Here's another recipe for you to try.  My brother-in-law's birthday was this weekend and I made him a bread pudding as his birthday "cake".  This is the recipe I created when I worked at an Italian restaurant in Ventura, CA.  You can make it in one baking pan or as individual servings in ramekins like I did at the restaurant.

Italian Bread Pudding

1 lb Italian bread (Ciabatta or Pugliese, for example)
8 eggs
2 c heavy cream
2 c half 'n half
2 c sugar
1/4 c Frangelico
1 T vanilla extract
1 c golden raisins soaked in enough Marsala wine to cover
1/2 tsp Amaretto
1 1/2 c white chocolate
1/4 c reserved Marsala wine (soaking liquid for golden raisins)

Trim crusts from the bread and cut into 1/2" cubes.  Soak the golden raisins with enough Marsala wine to submerge it, for at least 15 - 30 minutes)

Whisk the eggs, cream and half 'n half.  Add sugar, raisins, Frangelico, vanilla extract and Amaretto.  Pour liquid over bread cubes.  Let stand 30 minutes, pressing bread down occasionally into custard mixture.  Can be prepared 2 hours ahead.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Prepare baking pan or individual molds with butter and flour.  Fill molds half way with bread pudding mixture.  Sprinkle with white chocolate and fill molds with additional bread pudding mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees F until set in center, about 40 minutes.  If baking in one pan, it may take up to 1 hour.  Check to see that custard has set and is no longer runny.

Serve with caramel sauce.

Monday, July 19, 2010



I'm having so much fun participating in the Clean and Simple Blog layout challenges.  The color combo for this card came from the latest Stampin' Up catalog.  I didn't have to do any thinking to come up with this card!

Stampin' Up Supplies Used:

Stamps:  Morning Cup, Teenie Tiny Wishes
Ink:  Stazon Black, Pretty in Pink, Daffodil Delight, Tempting Turquoise
Paper:  Pretty in Pink, Crumb Cake, Tempting Turquoise, Whisper White, Daffodil Delight
Accessories:  Square Lattice Embossing Folder, 1" Circle Punch, Aqua Painter
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Friday, July 16, 2010

Vellum Overlay Card

Here's another card made with the Hostess set Because I Care.  The vellum cardstock overlay is held together with the Basic Gray layer by my new favorite ribbon, Pear Pizzazz 1/2" Stitched Poly.  Wait until you see the Peach Parfait version.  Both are to die for!  I love this year's In Colors, especially Daffodil Delight, Peach Parfait and Pear Pizzazz.

Stampin' Up Supplies Used:

Stamps:  Because I Care
Ink:  Staz-on Black, Baja Breeze, Pear Pizzazz, Wild Wasabi
Paper:  Basic Gray, Pear Pizzazz, Watercolor
Accessories:  Pear Pizzazz 1/2" Stitched Poly Ribbon, Aqua Painter

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Calling All Creative Souls!

If you live in the Bay Area in Northern CA and you love being creative and crafty, come join my newly forming Bella Confetti Stamp Club!

I'm forming a group of 6 members to join my Stamp Club. The commitment is for 6 months. Each month, we'll make 2 free projects or cards at my place in Sunnyvale, CA. You'll also receive a free copy of the latest catalogs and minis. The commitment means every month you'll place a $25 merchandise order with me. Each month a different Club member will receive the Hostess Benefits of a free Level 1 Hostess Set and $15 of free merchandise.  There will be more giveaways but they'll be surprises revealed at each meeting!  As an added benefit for club members, the projects we make will not be posted on my blog.  Only club members will get to see and recreate them.

At the end of the 6 months, you'll have a stash of cards or projects, you'll have learned a lot of new things, and you'll have met new friends!  Who wouldn't love that?!?  This is a great 6 month period for a club with Halloween and the holidays coming up.  I can guarantee there will be plenty of fun and amazing projects/cards to make!

If interested, please send me an email at to reserve your space.  I'm looking forward to hearing from you. Space is limited to 6 people and there are only 4 spaces left.  Sign up now!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

3D Accordian File Organizer

I found this great tutorial on the ScorPal site for an Accordian File Organizer.  Of course I had to give it a try and see what I could come up with.  I decided to make my organizer sorta generic and came up with alphabetical dividers.  I printed the alphabet groups using the Amelie font and then punched them with the large oval.  The organizer stays closed with magnetic tape.  Wouldn't this be a great way to organize coupons?  I'm trying to play the coupon game, but haven't been too successful.  This organizer will help me store and sort them so they'll be easier to find??

Stampin' Up Supplies Used:

Stamps:  None
Ink:  None
Paper:  Celebrations DSP, Whisper White, Real Red
Accessories:   1 1/4" Striped Old Olive Grosgrain Ribbon, Daisies #2 Sizzix Die, Buttons #5 Sizzlits Die, Punches:  Large Oval and Round Tab

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Aviary: My Favorite New Set

I received my shipment of new goodies last Thursday but didn't get a chance to play until the weekend.  Aviary is my favorite new set; I'm really drawn to birds and cages.  The inspiration for this card came from the one found on page 150 of the new catalog.  I changed up the colors to make it more girly, but the layout elements are the same.  It's fun to take a card from the catalog and give it your own spin.  There are so many wonderful examples to case!

Stampin' Up Supplies Used:

Stamps:  Aviary, Full of Life
Ink:  Versamark, Regal Rose
Paper:  Regal Rose, Early Espresso, Certainly Celery, Whisper White
Accessories:  White Embossing Powder, 3/4" Circle Punch, 1/8" Early Espresso Taffeta Ribbon

Monday, July 12, 2010

Clean and Simple Blog FTL #98

I love the Clean and Simple blog and visit it often for inspiration.  When I saw FTL #98, I knew the layout would be a perfect fit for the new Stampin' Up Level 1 hostess set Birthday Bakery.  I'm going to give this card to my brother-in-law next weekend.  The saying is perfect for him because he's a total sweet tooth and always says one slice will do when I know he'll sneak another one later when no one is looking!  He's asked me to make him a birthday bread pudding instead of a cake, particularly the bread pudding I used to make at the restaurant.  I'll post the recipe next week after I take a picture.

Stampin' Up Supplies Used:

Stamps:  Birthday Bakery
Ink:  Basic Black
Paper:  Baja Breeze, Crumb Cake, Celebrations Designer Series Paper (DSP), Whisper White
Accessories:  Large Oval Punch, Markers:  Daffodil Delight, Early Espresso, Pink Pirouette, Blushing Bride, Poppy Parade, Cherry Cobbler, Baja Breeze, Marina Mist, Pacific Breeze, Pear Pizzazz

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Moist & Creamy Banana Cake ala Sara Lee

When I was growing up, one of my favorite desserts was Sara Lee's banana cake.  I could eat the whole thing myself!  I've always loved cooking and baking and actually took a stint away from my profession (finance) to attend culinary school.  I worked for over a year as a pastry chef for an Italian restaurant in Ventura, CA.  It was a fun diversion, but alas, I decided to go back to high tech and finance...These days to fuel my creative side, I stamp and bake for fun.

I had some leftover cream cheese frosting in the fridge and bananas ripening on the counter, so I made banana cake for our Stamp 'n Chat on Thursday.  Here's the recipe which I think could give Sara Lee a run for her money.  I made my cake in a 9x13" pan and it took about 45 minutes to bake.  Insert a toothpick in the cake and if it comes out dry, the cake is done.

Moist and Creamy Banana Cake

1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 3/4 c sugar
3 large eggs
4 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch of Salt
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup buttermilk at room temperature
1/2 c chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter two 8" cake pans and lightly dust with flour.

Cream together the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs, mashed bananas, and vanilla and mix.  In a separate bowl, blend the flour, baking soda and salt.  Add the dry ingredients and buttermilk alternately to the banana mixture.  Beat until smooth.  Add nuts if desired.

Bake 30 minutes or until cakes test done.  This is a dense and heavy cake.  Make sure it is thoroughly baked before removing from the oven.  Remove from the oven and allow it to cool on a baking rack before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
3/4 stick butter at room temperature
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla

Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Scrape the sides of the bowl often.  Add the 3 cups sifted confectioners' sugar and beat until smooth.  Add the vanilla.  Chill in the refrigerator to set.

Friday, July 9, 2010

July Stamp 'n Chat Card

Last nite was my monthly stamp 'n chat.  Boy!  Do we have talented ladies in our group.  I'm so grateful to be in the company of this fabulous group of women.  I look forward to this monthly event and always learn wonderful ideas and techniques.  The shoebox swap I designed last nite showcased the spotlighting technique.  It's a great way to highlight a portion of a stamped image such as the bird in the cage.

Stampin' Up Supplies Used:

Stamps:  Chic Boutique
Ink:  Early Espresso
Paper:  Melon Mambo, Crumb Cake, Early Espresso, Pink Pirouette, Whisper White
Accessories:  1" Circle Punch, Rhinestone Brad, Silver Cord, Beautiful Wings Embosslits Die

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Flower Seen Round The Internet


Hi Everyone!  I took a few days off from blogging to enjoy the long 4th of July weekend.  I'm going to receive my box of new SU goodies on Thursday so check back often for projects using new product in future posts.

Now onto today's entry...I'm sure you've already seen a version of this scalloped flower somewhere in the blogosphere.  My talented friend Lynda first introduced me to this gorgeous flower at a stamp 'n chat session.  She had seen Dawn McVey make them by punching out pages from a vintage book.  When I first tried making my own, I used a retired background stamp called By Definition and stamped both sides of a piece of cardstock before punching out the scallops.  Needless to say, a wee bit tedious.  I was really excited when Stampin' Up introduced the Newsprint DSP in the new catalog.  Why?  Because I immediately saw scalloped flowers!  This card took less than 5 minutes to put together.  If you haven't seen this flower elsewhere, email me at for instructions.

Stampin' Up Supplies Used:
Stamps:  Teenie Tiny Wishes
Ink:  Early Espresso
Paper:  Pink Pirouette, Very Vanilla, Early Espresso
Accessories:  Early Espresso 1/8" Taffeta Ribbon, Newsprint Designer Series Paper, Scallop Punch

Friday, July 2, 2010

It IS Easy Being Green

Have you seen these adorable gift coins at Target?  You can find them at the end of the aisles that hold gift cards; they're sold in bags containing 5 coins.  I thought these gift coins would be a wonderful favor for a child's birthday party and I was thrilled to see they fit perfectly in the Bitty Box Bigz XL die by Stampin' Up.  Ever wonder what to do with the brown paper that comes with your Stampin' Up shipments?  Go green, shred it and use as filler!

Stampin' Up Supplies Used:

Stamps:  Everything Nice
Ink:  Early Espresso
Paper:  Wild Wasabi, Marina Mist, Whisper White
Accessories:  1 3/4" Circle Punch, Linen Thread, Bitty Box & Envelope Bigz XL Die

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

A while ago I found a handmade paper birdcage on a design blog.  I saved the instructions but not the name of the blog so unfortunately I can't give credit where it's due.  I immediately thought the cage would be a great place to house the bird from Stampin' Up's Extra-Large Two Step Bird Punch.  And what is the birdcage lined with?  Newsprint Designer Series Paper of course!  Isn't that clever? 

The bottom of the birdcage is actually the top of an ice cream carton.  We have Smart 'n Final in CA where they sell empty white non-printed ice cream cartons.  If you can't find them, you can use any carton top or lid as long as it has a 1/2" lip.  

Start by cutting four 1/2 x 12" strips, one 1 x 12" strip of patterned paper and a circle large enough to line your cage bottom.  In the picture below, I originally cut two strips of patterned paper but only used one.  If you opt not to put the placard on your cage, you may need two strips.  It all depends on how big your birdcage bottom is. 

Punch out the bird and two wings.  Next line up the four 1/2 x 12" strips and poke a hole in the center at 6".  Poke a hole at the top of the bird and draw an eye.

Run one piece of linen thread through the four strips and also thru the bird.  Pop up the wings on both sides with Stampin' Dimensionals.  Then run a brad thru all four strips to secure them and for decoration.

On the side of the birdcage bottom, attach sticky strip.  Then stick the four strips to the bottom leaving even spaces in between.  Tip:  start with one strip on one side.  Then attach the other side.  Attach the next strip in the middle of where the first strip was attached.  It's like dividing a cake.  First you slice it in half, then the half into quarters and the quarters into eighths.  It's easier to get the even spacing if you work in alternating fashion like this.

Now you're ready to attach the patterned paper.  The last step is to add a placard if you choose.  I used two brads on the placard to make it look like a name plate.  Do you love how I photoshopped "Tweetie" into the picture?

Stampin' Up Supplies Used:

Stamps:  None
Ink:  None
Paper:  Greenhouse Gala DSP, Very Vanilla, Newsprint DSP, Baja Breeze, Daffodil Delight
Accessories:  Linen Thread, Extra Large Two Step Bird Punch, Paper Piercer, Stampin' Dimensionals, Rhinestone Brad