Friday, January 31, 2014

{scrapbooking} glued to you layout + video

I'm behind on editing and printing my photos for Project Life this week, so instead today I have a fun and simple grid layout to share. The idea behind this layout is that I wanted to use up more of my Project Life cards as well as some of my baker's twine collection. The scrapbook paper is from the Dear Lizzy Polka Dot Party paper pack, and the Project Life card is from the Sunshine Core Kit.  Love that is layout can be easily copied (there's even a second example at the end of the video), and that the embroidery is creative but so easy to enjoy while watching a movie with your sweetie ; )  Here's the video and some detail shots.  Have fun!  XO

Thursday, January 30, 2014

{what i wore} a gold sweater and a baby + video

I haven't done an outfit post in a while, so today I thought it would be fun to share one of my everyday looks accompanied by my adorable baby niece. She is at such a fun age, and I can't get enough.  Period.  Also, one of the coolest things about this post is that my littlest sister took all these photos as well as the video at the end. She is such a talent....i love her! 

It was late afternoon, so the sun was getting lower in the sky on this clear cold day. I'm wearing one of my favorite pairs of high waisted jeans, a black tee shirt, gold sweater, black boots, day old styled hair, and no makeup. Pretty typical for me.

Those tiny moccasins and ruffled leggings. I can't.

And here's a short video of the little munchkin in all her cuteness.....and me chasing after her. XO

I couldn't decide which version I like better, so above is colored, and below is sepia.....which do you prefer?
H Walking Jan 2014 (Enhanced) from Carrie Elias on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

{diy} embroidery heart coasters + video

Year round I pretty much love anything with a heart. It's probably my favorite shape, so I've been using/making these handmade heart coasters for the last couple years and they've held up well. Today I'm sharing a process video of how I like to put them together. I've tried a couple different methods, and found this one to be the fastest and look the best.

These coasters are a great size for glasses, candles, and vases. Hope you enjoy! XO

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

{recipe} bbq pork & fancy green beans

This recipe may not look like much, but it's my favorite thing I've made so far this month other than the baked donuts!  For the pork I just decided to go for it without using a recipe, and it turned out great!  The fancy green beans are my version of The Pioneer Woman's Best Green Beans Ever, and are pretty much identical to hers with a couple minor changes.

One of the reasons I like to share yummy food here on my blog is because it's also my recipe book of sorts.  When I'm visiting family, or away from home, it's so easy to access my favorite recipes here....and it really helps to have my notes about little details most people take for granted since I don't cook much : )

BBQ Pork Tenderloin
Serves 4


1 small pork tenderloin
1 bottle TJ's Bold & Smoky Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce
Sea salt
Ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Add the sea salt, pepper, and olive oil to both sides of the pork tenderloin and place on your baking sheet.  Cook for 30 to 50 minutes, until safe interior temperature is reached checking with a meat thermometer (you're thermometer will be labeled).  Once fully cooked, use two forks to shred the pork into bit size pieces.  Turn your crock pot on high.  Add all the shredded pork and the full bottle of BBQ sauce into the crock pot.  Cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  Serve warm.

Notes:  My meat thermometer is broken, so I ended up overcooking the pork just to be safe (it was a very small pork tenderloin and I cooked it for the full 50 minutes.  This worked out fine, since it became extremely moist from simmering in the BBQ sauce.


Fancy Green Beans
Serves 4


4 oz fresh green beans (approximately)
Grease from 6 strips of bacon
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 large onion, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Ground black pepper


Cook 6 strips of bacon, leaving the bacon grease inside your skillet/pan.  Package up the bacon and refrigerate for a later snack.  Cut off the stem ends of the green beans (I used a package of Trader Joe's fresh green beans). Add the garlic and onions to your skillet with the bacon grease and cook for a minute. Then add the green beans and cook until the beans turn bright green, about a minute. Add the chicken broth, chopped red pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Turn the heat to medium (or low depending on how hot your skillet gets) and cover the skillet with a lid, leaving the lid cracked to allow steam to escape. Cook until the liquid evaporates and the beans are a little soft, yet still crunchy, 20 to 30 minutes. You can add more chicken broth during the cooking process (if it evaporates too quickly), but don't be afraid to let it all cook away so the onions and peppers can start to caramelize.

Notes:  I don't have a lid for my stove top pan, so I used a larger lid that fit over most of the ingredients with lots of room for steam around the edges.  Because of this, I had to cook my green beans on medium-low for 15 minutes and medium for 15 minutes.  After, the green beans were perfectly cooked while still crunchy, but there was quite a bit of chicken broth left.  Next time I'll probably use a little less broth so the veggies will caramelize even more.  I recommend serving the green beans with all the cooked veggies for amazing flavor.

I cannot recommend trying these two recipes together more.  They compliment each other perfectly!  Hope you enjoy!!  XO

Monday, January 27, 2014

{about town} jt in concert

So this month has totally been amazing. On the 17th my sister Sarah and I had the best time at the JT concert!! Below is a video sharing some clips.....
JT 2014 from Carrie Elias on Vimeo.

The live music was fantastic. The crowd was the loudest I've EVER seen (There were a lot of Seahawks fans there).  The dancing was flawless. The backdrop consisted of all octagons, and there was live video and pre-recorded graphics projected onto it for a super artistic touch. At one point the stage moved across the stadium and it's pretty much one of the coolest things I've seen at a live show. We had great seats, and I knew the concert would be great, but I had no idea it would be that awesome.  So thrilled to both check this off my bucket list and have an unforgettable perfect long weekend with my sister. XO

*All photos by Sarah (except the collage with the pic of us together....that one's by me). All the video clips also by Sarah. Photoshop action and video editing by me.

Friday, January 24, 2014

{project life} week 2 video

This week has been crazy busy for me (hence the absence of blog posts), so today I have only the process video for my Project Life Week 2.  I have a feeling, that every once in a while there will be weeks where I don't have any project photos, but instead a process video and I hope that's okay.  I'd rather share what I can when things are busy rather then nothing at all : )

For this video I tried my hand at doing a voice over instead of only music and would love to know what you think/prefer.  Also, if you have any questions or suggestions please leave a comment.....I'd love to hear from you!  Have a great weekend!!  XO

Project Life is a memory keeping system created by Becky Higgins. You can read more about her amazing system and how to make it work for you here.

Friday, January 17, 2014

{project life} week 1 + video

Hello Project Life Week 1!   It's time to try this project again.  Below is the process video for December 31st - January 5th. I apologize for the over exposed lighting, I'm still adjusting to the moody weather here in Seattle.....

I sewed a few of the elements down to make them more permanent using yellow thread and my sewing machine.

Isn't that puffy lion sticker cute!?!  I used the Project Life Sunshine Core Kit for all the 3x4 and 4x6 card inserts.

Love it when photos have negative space for adding embellishments.

Below is the first of two inserts for this week's spread.  The recipe I used for baking yummy donuts!

I cut a piece of Glitz Design Wild and Free paper down to 8x12 and ran it through my printer to add the recipe.  For the page protector to hold this 8x12 insert, I just trimmed off the right side of a 12x12 page protector and sewed the right side shut with my sewing machine.  It fits perfectly.

The backside of this insert is an enlarged photo of Gatsby, enjoying the afternoon sunshine.

The second insert is a single row of 4x6 photos/inserts.  The 2014 calendar is a free download from Jasmine Dowling.

I also sewed the top opening of the 4x6 insert below to keep the confetti from falling out.  I thought it was a fun addition to our new years eve photo.

The Chargers logo was cut using my Silhouette.

For the journaling, I printed what happened on each day using my printer and a Sunshine Kit 4x6 card.  I'm sure in the future, I'll have more detailed stories to tell, but for now I'm liking this format a lot.

And that's it!  Happy Project Lifeing!! XO

Thursday, January 16, 2014

{memories} of our dog keno

Sadly my little sister and brother's dog Keno passed away last week. He was the same age as my dog Gatsby, and they'd known each other and played together most of their lives.

In my family we are all animal lovers, so a few weeks ago during Christmas, we did a mini photoshoot with Keno. He'd been having health problems and we wanted to capture some of his sweet spirit on camera before it was too late. Here are a few of my favorite shots.

He was such a happy dog.

My little sister had also known him most of her life, and they were besties.

He was such a handsome black beauty.

He loved being a part of whatever you were doing and would follow you anywhere.

He didn't have a mean bone in his body. He was the sweetest. Period.

He always loved to play.

He exuded this happy, yet patient spirit that made him a joy to be around. He is missed. XO

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

{recipe} baked mocha french toast

I love breakfast for dinner, so on Monday night I tried a little experiment, and mixed the Barefoot Contessa's recipe for French Toast Bread Pudding, with the High Life's Cafe Mocha French toast.  The result:  YUMMY.  Here's how I did it.....


  • 1 loaf of bread (or enough to fill up your baking dish 3/4 of the way to the top, I used whatever sandwich bread I had on hand) 
  • 8 extra-large eggs 
  • 5 cups half-and-half 
  • 2 tablespoons espresso powder 
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder 
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 5 tablespoons butter 
  • 1/4 cup hazelnut syrup (I used the kind found in the coffee isle at the grocery store) 
  • powered sugar and extra butter for serving 


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Arrange the bread in layers 3/4 of the way to the top of your 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish, cutting the bread to fit the dish. ***I actually split this recipe into two batches, a regular and gluten free version, so I used two smaller Pyrex dishes that both fit inside my roasting pan. 

In a large bowl, first whisk the eggs, then add the half-and-half, cocoa powder, vanilla, salt, and hazelnut syrup.  Set aside. 

In a microwave safe container, melt the butter in the microwave, then add the espresso powder, stirring well.  Add this mixture to the other liquid mixture until well combined. (It's a lot so you'll need a big bowl.)

Pour the finished mixture over the bread and press the bread down. Allow to soak for 10 minutes. Note: this was perfect for regular bread, but not enough soak time for gluten free bread.  I soaked the gluten free for 15 minutes with a weight on top of the bread (I just used another heavy dish) to submerge it in the mixture and it still wasn't quite long enough.  Next time I'll try 20 or 30 minutes.

Place the baking dish(s) in a large roasting pan and add enough very hot tap water to the roasting pan to come an inch up the side of the baking dish(s).

Cover the roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil, tenting it so the foil doesn't touch the pudding. Make two slashes in the foil to allow steam to escape. 

Bake for 45 minutes, remove the aluminum foil, and bake for another 40 to 45 minutes, until the pudding puffs up and the custard is set. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Lightly dust with powdered sugar and serve hot in squares with butter.

*Additional Notes:  The regular bread version turned out perfectly.  Ryan said he wanted me to make it again.  The gluten free version had a thick layer of custard underneath the layers of bread since I didn't soak the bread long enough.  I still really enjoyed the bread part, but the custard alone was just okay.  Next time I'll soak it longer and probably pour out more of the excess custard mixture after the soaking process.

*Also, since this recipe takes almost 2 hours to complete from start to finish, make sure to plan ahead.  Serves 6 to 8 : )

***The great thing about this recipe is that you can really add any ingredients to the base custard (eggs and half and half) so you can flavor it however you want.....and bonus, your not standing over a hot stove, just pop it in the oven, go about with your morning, and enjoy when done!  XO

Monday, January 13, 2014

{video} instagrams of 2013

My 2013 in Instagrams.  Watching this short video makes me so happy.....It was a great year!  XO

Are you on IG too?  My username: carrieelias

Saturday, January 11, 2014

{one little word} january + video

This week my friend Amanda and I signed up for Ali Edward's One Little Word Class.  I've chosen a word to represent my main goal for the last four years, but this year was a little different.  I decided it was time to take extra steps to make my word visible since it is going to play such an important role in my life.  My word for this year is STRONG.

This first page is a visual reminder of what my word is and what it means.  I cut up a Becky Higgins page protector and sewed an old piece of Hambly to the top.  On the transparency is my word and the year, and below are photos of me and the definition which I added using my home printer.  I just love these bright, happy, energetic colors!

There are many ways in which you can be strong, but the two main areas I'm focusing on this year is physical and emotional.  One the physical side I'm focused on my health.  I cope through life due to health issues, and even though I'm a very happy person I know it's time to challenge myself to be more.  In the past I was not actually capable of more, but this last summer I had a revelation per say and found that my body has slightly changed giving me strength I didn't know I had.  Don't get me wrong, it's NOT easy to push your body through the tough stuff, but I'm slowly making progress and it feels great!  I want to be stronger so I can be more for my family, more for myself.

On the emotional side, let's just say that having a clear head makes everything easier and leave it at that.  I'm sure I'll share more about it later, but I think it's pretty obvious that most people can benefit from having emotional strength : )

For the backside of the first page, I cut up a 4x6" card so it would fit into two 3x4" pockets, and just slid the other 4x6" card into it's own pocket.  Each of these cards (including the one on the front page) was made using Ali's OLW Class png's and adding my text in PhotoShop. I printed the completed png's using my home printer onto paper from the Dear Lizzy Polka Dot Party 12x12" paper pack.  The journaling is very personal, so I'm not going to share it in detail here, but let's just say that going through each of the different prompts for this month has made me really think about what I want out of my word and how I'm going to achieve it.

There are two more full sheet pages which are both 8.5x11", and I did the same with printing them out as the others.  It was fun going through the paper pack and choosing patterned paper that would still show printed text well.  That peach paper has a beautiful white paint splatter to it that I love!

That's pretty much it for sharing my OLW for this month.  If you're also taking the same class, I'd love it if you could leave a comment so I could take a peek.  Have a great weekend!  XO

Thursday, January 9, 2014

{diary} of a disposable camera

It is a well known fact with my friends and family how much I love to take photos. So, I'm happy to say some of my favorite gifts the past couple years have been different toy cameras. Ryan's cousin and his girlfriend gifted me the disposable camera shown above this year as my Christmas gift (sadly it is no longer for sale at Urban Outfitters). They gave it to me a little before Christmas day so I'd have it to take holiday photos with. The fun part is that with each photo a variety of graphics are already on the film and you don't know what you're going to get until they're developed! It was so fun passing this toy around Christmas morning for different people to use so we could document our morning!!!  And honestly, it was almost as fun opening the bag of developed photos so I could see how they turned out!  Here are some of my favorites:

The only bummer is, Costco no longer develops film and so I had to take this roll to Walgreens.  I'm not thrilled with the fact that they only have glossy prints available for developing film as well as that when you have the pics put on CD the resolution is not nearly as good (plus they are almost double what it use to cost me at Costco).  I'll be doing a little research before developing my next roll for sure, but was wondering if anyone else had already gone through this and if you found a better solution?  Thanks in advance for your input : )  Here's to the LOVE of film! XO

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

{goals} january 2014

This is such an interesting post for me to write.  I'm not big on New Year's resolutions.  In general I don't feel like it's starting anew at the beginning of each year.  Most of my inspiration, motivation and organization is seasonal....Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall.  There are however, three areas I can think of that do indeed feel more like yearly goals to me.

First is my One Little Word.  I'm taking Ali Edward's workshop for the first time this year as extra support to help make my word more visible.  I'll blog about this soon, but the point I want to make is that the last four years, I've chosen a word as inspiration to help guide me through the year and it's been great.  Definitely a New Year's resolution that is very important to me.

Next, is my photography.  I really enjoy taking photos, but each year there are hundreds I absolutely love but never take the time to edit and print out.  This year, I am making a conscious choice to take less and yet more intentional photos so it will be easier to choose my favorites and make the time to edit them.  As a part of helping to make this goal more attainable I'll be looking at my photos on a monthly basis, setting aside specific time every two weeks to choose, edit and print them, with a goal of being caught up by the end of each month.  In the past, my goal was seasonal and three months at a time did not work.

This leads me to the third area.  Project Life.  My version of project life comes from a different place then Project Life in the traditional sense.  I was quite successful back in 2011, but failed miserably in 2012 and 2013.  I'll go into detail about my process in another post, but the main idea is that at the end of the year I want to have an album filled with all my favorite printed photos, souvenirs, stories and notes.  Again, to help make it happen this year, I'll be looking at it from more of a monthly basis than weekly, which does not work well since big chunks of many of my weeks are spent traveling.  It will be interesting to see how this first month goes.

As far as monthly goals, for January I'm thinking about the following.

I'd like to try out making and following a blogging schedule.  This should help with both my photography and Project Life goals, but will also add to enriching my life as I will be trying out more new recipes, sharing more crafts, and in general exploring more new fun lifestyle stuff : ) 

I plan on crossing "See Justin Timberlake In Concert" off my bucket list.  (This is a BIG one for me!)

Currently I'm designing new Valentine themed shop items that I want to have for sale mid-January.  (Finger's crossed ; )

I want to really enjoy an awesome family long-weekend.

Even though I've purged my craft room recently, I'd like to do it again.

I also would like to find a better storage solution for my CDs at home.  Any suggestions?

And lastly, continue with Ryan and my newish food and date schedule. XO

Saturday, January 4, 2014

{recipe} baked donuts

Happy New Year!  I still haven't caught up on my Christmas Countdown Mini, but really enjoyed a lot of time with family over the holidays.  Lately I've been taking a little time to relax before starting up my projects, so you'll be seeing more crafty goodness here soon : ) 

Today however, started out with Ryan waking me up, and reminding me that I had promised to make donuts this morning.  I promptly popped out of bed (a rarity for me) and baked these yummy treats first thing.  The last two evening's I've been watching the Barefoot Contessa, and was inspired to try THIS recipe of hers with a few minor alterations.

Cinnamon Sugar Baked Donuts
Makes 12 to 14 donuts

Baking spray ( I used Pam)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups half and half
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the topping:
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 doughnut pans well.

Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, half and half, melted butter, and vanilla. Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined.  I used my mixer.

Spoon the batter into the baking pans, filling each one a little more than three-quarters full. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then tap the doughnuts out onto a sheet pan.

For the topping, melt the 10 tablespoons of butter in an 8-inch saute pan. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Dip each doughnut first in the butter and then in the cinnamon sugar.  I only dipped one side, and left the other plain.

*For gluten free I made the following changes.  Instead of all purpose flour, I used white rice flour, and instead of 1 large egg I used two.  This meant that the gluten free version made 16 donuts.

*A side note:  I thought these donuts where great, but a little too sugary for time I will try a little less sugar.  Also, Ryan really enjoyed the gluten free, even though I made both, so he said next time I only need to make the gluten free version which is great!

In addition to enjoying these delicious donuts, we've also been LOVING the sweet aroma to these fresh freesia's from Trader Joe's!  The new year is lookin' good.  XO