Sunday, July 29, 2012

Christmas in July Giveaway

Henry Glass Fabrics is doing a Summer Party blog hop this week! Of course there will be lots of giveaways and goodies......  I have a BIG giveaway here on my blog as well, so keep on reading.....

For this post I am supposed to write something about summer.... my favorite summer things, or summer plans, or new products being released this summer....

So of course I decided to write about.... Christmas! Because as far as I'm concerned, it's never too early to start thinking about it and getting some projects done. And when it's really hot outside, you can crank up the air conditioning and the Christmas music and have a little party....

I actually celebrated Christmas in July just yesterday at my church. Every year, our church participates in an event called Operation Christmas Child. It involves packing shoe boxes with little toys and gifts and candy, and then they get sent to children all around the world- many of whom have never received a Christmas gift in their whole entire lives. You can even track your box and see where it goes- last year, my family's boxes went to Malawi and Kenya. We usually pack and send our boxes in the fall, but we thought this year it would be fun to do them in the summer, since everyone seems to be so busy in the fall.

Some of the ladies from our church got together to go shopping, then we came back to the church and made a party out of wrapping and assembling the boxes. Of course there was Christmas music, Christmas cookies, and Christmas decorations. It was a fun and festive time!

(And, you know, there had to be food involved, 'cause you can't do all of that hard work on an empty stomach..... It was also a chance to pull out some of my favorite Christmas dishes that don't get nearly enough use.)

At the end of the day, we had about 30 boxes to donate to Operation Christmas Child. An afternoon well spent.....

For a few FREE Christmas projects you can work on RIGHT NOW, click below:

The panel and fabrics for my Oh Holy Night fabric collection are now available on my website, too, for fun holiday sewing:

Click here to see swatches for this collection.

Stop by the Henry Glass blog today and everyday this coming week- they will be giving away lots of fabric!

Now for MY giveaway:

The prize is this great collection of fabric, patterns, and note cards:

The prize includes:
5 Christmas/Holiday themed quilt patterns
3 Packages of Cards
A fabric panel and assorted fabrics from my Oh Holy Night fabric line
A kit (pattern and fabric) for a Thimbleberries Table Runner
A double sided snowman pendant

The RETAIL VALUE on this prize is over $120.... there are several ways for you to enter:

  • Leave a comment here telling me what is your favorite holiday to make crafts and projects for? Is it Christmas? General winter theme? Valentine's Day? Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving? Or some other holiday????                                                                                                                                        
  • For an extra entry, be a fan of The Noble Wife on Facebook, and leave a comment here letting me know that you are a fan                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
  • For an extra entry, share this post on Facebook. This is super easy- just look for the little row of icons at the bottom of this post, near the comments. Click the "f" for Facebook button. Leave a comment here to let me know that you have shared it.                                                                                                                                                                                     
  • For an extra entry, follow me on Twitter, and leave a comment here letting me know that you are a follower                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
  • For an extra entry, you can also Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter (must provide link to THIS post), and mention @TheNobleWife, and leave a comment here letting me know that you are a fan (again, there is a oh-so-easy-to-use Twitter button ("t") at the bottom of the post near the comment section). Leave a comment here to let me know that you have Tweeted.                                                                                                                                              
  • For an extra entry, become a follower of this blog (see right side bar, under Fellow Artsy Folks), and leave a comment here letting me know that you are a follower
Gee, so many ways to enter, there's no excuse to be left out....
Remember to provide a SEPARATE COMMENT here on this post for EACH way that you have entered. (You will see something at the bottom of the post that says 0 comments, or 5,683,598 comments, or something like that. Click on it and it will bring up a comment box.)

I MUST be able to easily contact you, please make sure your email is included in the comment or that I can reach you through your Blogger/Google account.

You have until Midnight EDT, Monday August 6 to enter.


Friday, July 27, 2012

DIY Designer Flower Pots

Today, daughter and blog contributor extraordinaire Samantha shows us that inspiration is all around.

If you are anything like me, you love all of the colors, patterns, and trends that are popular right now.  From colorblocking to herringbone to chevron, we are seeing these trends everywhere. And while I can't always afford the designer products, I can make my own, and so can you!

The great part about a lot of the trends going on right now is that they are graphic, bold, and easy to copy.  I tried this on a set of flower pots I'm planning to put in my kitchen to house some potted herbs.

I tried to focus on a different school of style for each of my pots, drawing inspiration from home decor and high fashion...

I drew inspiration for this pot from a lot of the graphic bold prints I've been seeing lately, as well as a collective obsession with yellow.  Would you believe that I found this pillow after I painted this pot?

This pot I took from a more tribal/free spirit side of trends this season.  This peacock-inspired print has been everywhere lately...  it's called Ikat...

And last, but my personal favorite of the pots (don't tell the others!), is the Kate Spade inspired pot.  Preppy but bursting with color, this flower pot emulates a lot of Kate's work.

So what are my tips for being a Designer DIY-er?
  • Keep your eye out for any trends/colors you like and keep track of them.  That's what Pinterest is for!
  • Practice finding new ways to flesh out the patterns you like.  You don't have to copy exactly what you see; be creative!
  • Use the colors/patterns anywhere you want! I did flower pots, but you can make a designer tote bag, wall hanging (there'll be more from me on this), or whatever else you can think of.
I can't wait to get the herbs for these pots and set them up on my kitchen window sill; they'll be a much welcomed pop of color in a yet-to-be-decorated room.

Happy weekend!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Un-Recipe: Summer Fish Sandwich

A lot of the cooking that I do, I would call "Un-Recipes". Basically, I just look in the fridge, see what we've got, and try to make it work. I happen to be a girl who hates following rules (I know, I'm really a rebel....), so recipes are difficult for me to abide by. I don't want to weigh or measure anything, and I certainly don't want to make a trip to the store for just one or 2 ingredients that I happen to be lacking (actually, make that 8 or 10 ingredients that I happen to be lacking- I just don't feel like going to the store, OK?)

So this is not a recipe, it's more of a suggestion, regarding what to make for dinner sometime soon....

I had some frozen breaded fish fillets in the freezer. (I know, I know, it's summer and I should have gotten fresh fish and made a beer batter and fired up the deep fryer.... but I didn't feel like it....)
Anyway, back to the frozen fish fillets.... here is a way to make them tasty. Really tasty. Make a sandwich out of them.

I always have bowls and bowls of Fresh Salsa made in the summer. I make a big batch and then we use it on everything (fish sandwich: case in point.) I put whatever I happen to have in there- the non-negotiable ingredients are

  • fresh ripe tomatoes from the garden
  • some finely chopped jalapeno peppers from the farmer's market
  • fresh cilantro (I know some people don't like cilantro- I suppose you could substitute parsley, but it just wouldn't be the same. sorry.)
ADDENDUM: Snoodles just reminded me in her comment about the LIME JUICE. I almost ALWAYS have fresh limes in the house during the summer, so yes, I always add that too....  please continue....

Then I add whatever else I have- scallions or white or yellow onion, garlic, fresh tomatillos, black beans. My very favorite thing to add, if I have it, is left over fresh corn, cut off of the cob. The crunch and sweetness in the salsa are, let me tell you, fabulous and delicious and lots of other adjectives that I won't get into for the sake of time.
Season generously with salt. If you think it needs a little more flavor, add a few dashes of garlic powder.
Let sit for at least an hour or two before serving.
Then eat it before someone else gets their hands on the bowl.

Also, Chipotle Remoulade is really, really easy to make (this is not a true Remoulade- but it sounds better than "flavored mayonnaise," so that's what I'm going with.)

  • Mix together equal parts mayonnaise, Miracle Whip, and chipotle hot sauce (or a few spoonfuls of sauce from a can of chipotle peppers.)

Yeah, that's the ticket....

Slice up a fresh avocado if you have it (but if you don't have it, and you don't feel like going to the store for it, that's OK.)

Prepare the fish fillets according to the box.

To make the Summer Fish Sandwich, place some Chipotle Remoulade on a bun, top with fish fillet. Top fish fillet with more remoulade, Fresh Salsa, and avocado.

(Here is the thing: It is OK to take it easy on yourself and use a frozen fish fillet, when you are piling it high with lots of other fresh ingredients, like the salsa and avocado.)

Serve with slaw and frozen sweet potato fries (it's OK to make these in the oven, since we didn't feel like getting out the deep fryer anyway.)

Have plenty of napkins handy. Devour, repeating over and over again how gosh darn good it is.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Roller Derby! Yeah, You Heard Me!

Have you seen the movie Whip It? I like the transformation in Ellen Page's character, Bliss Cavendar, as she goes from quiet teen trying to live up to her mother's dreams and expectations, to a confident young woman who finally finds the thing that she is "totally in love with." I like the camaraderie of the girls on her team (The Hurl Scouts) in the movie. I like that they are tough and strong and take a fall and get up and go again. I really like some of their Derby monikers- like Babe Ruthless (Page's character), Maggie Mayhem, Smashley Simpson, and Eva Destruction. And I love their motto:

Some of my long time readers will remember that I came up with my own Roller Derby moniker, and a friend PhotoShop'd me to see how I would look in the gear. Click here to read that story.

All of this brings me to what I am writing about today.... Did you know that Roller Derby is not just in the movies??

A couple of weekends ago, I was reading the paper on a Saturday morning, and there it was- The Philly Roller Girls were having a bout that night. I talked my husband into taking us..... Oh yes, we went (lest you think I live a boring, uninteresting life!!!)

 (Photo courtesy of

(Photo courtesy of

First, the Independence Dolls (Philly Roller Girls) took on the Honkey Tonk Heartbreakers (Texas Roller Girls), and won the bout 144-109. Then, the Broad Street Butchers beat the Philthy Britches (both Philly Roller Girls) 152-111. (And please note, that's BRITCHES, with an R.)

These girls are athletes and show true sports(wo)manship. I found myself, once again, wanting to join their ranks. But alas, I think I am probably 15 or 20 years too late (I could, in all honesty, easily break a hip).... I can still cheer them on, though. Actually, here is an example of cheerleading, Roller Derby Style:

It's not quite as strenuous, but still looks pretty fun.... Do you think it's a look I could pull off??

Want to find a league in your area? Click here.
For Roller Derby Training Tips, click here and here.

As I said, the girls are supportive of each other, including the girls on the other teams. The next bout is August 11 at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia. Who wants to come??
(Seriously, who wants to come? I think it would be a fun group thing.)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Homemade Pecan-Balsamic Dressing

My daughter, Samantha, has been busy in the kitchen, making some delicious summer food.... Here is her guest post for today:

On a hot summer day like the ones we've been having, the last thing I want to do it turn on my oven or stove.  Actually, most of the scorching days, I don't even want to eat dinner.  Conversations with my husband go like this.

Hubby: What's for dinner?
Me: Uuuuhhhh... hadn't thought about it yet.
Hubby: Well, what are you in the mood for?
Me: .........Watermelon.
Hubby: That's all you want for dinner?
Me: Yes.

So you see, when I thought of making a blackened chicken, apple, and pecan salad, I thought I was hot stuff.  Because I didn't even have to do much to make this meal.  Hooray!

I did, however, decided to do a little something extra.  Something that's been on my "Kitchen Bucket List" is to make my own salad dressing.  So I threw together this little recipe that I am happy to call my own.

Pecan Balsamic Salad Dressing:

3/4 c sour cream or yogurt (I did a mixture of both)
1/3 c mayo
3 Tablespoons honey mustard
1 1/2 tb lemon juice
4 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon crushed pecans, toasted
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1 tsp sugar

1. Mix ingredients together, tasting and adding salt and pepper to taste.

Boom! Done!  Throw that dressing in with some greens, chopped green apple, chopped pecans, and blackened chicken and you are in business for dinner.  It was really great to serve this salad along with a loaf of Italian bread dipped in seasoned olive oil.

And that, my friends, is how I made one of my favorite summer meals of all time.  Enjoy!

Happy weekend!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

In The Studio This Week....

I have been working on new artwork for a couple of weeks now. The colors are gorgeous, I have to say! I am using watercolor paint and watercolor pencils.

Yes, those are my magnifier glasses. I find that I have to use them more and more often when doing detailed work. *sigh* I really thought that middle age would never happen to me! But it seems I can't escape it...

Last weekend I took the time to bake a Pineapple Upside Down Cake. We had a church meeting/potluck luncheon on Sunday, and the theme was Hawaiian! Some of the guys made Chicken Teriyaki, pineapple, and vegetables on the grill. Oh it was so good! 

Someone also supplied fruity blender drinks.... they were delicious and refreshing:

Here is my cake before the batter went into the pans (I think it's really pretty, even in this stage):

And here is the finished product:

I don't use a recipe- This will make 2 round (8-9") cakes. Just melt several tablespoons of butter in the bottom of your pans (I put the pans right on the stove top burner over very low heat). Stir about 1/2 cup brown sugar into each pan until it forms a paste with the butter. Arrange drained canned pineapple rings and maraschino cherries in bottom of pan.

Prepare a boxed yellow cake mix. I add an extra egg and use melted butter in place of the vegetable oil. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake according to box directions. When done, loosen edges of cake with a knife, and turn out onto plate (if any of your pineapple sticks in the pan- just replace it on the cake. No one will ever know). Ta da! It's really really good.....

I also have been playing with a new quilt pattern. I experimented using fabric from my Apple Blossom Acres fabric line. I was going to just make a block or two, but I was having so much fun that I kept going and ended up with a whole stack of blocks.... Now I just have to sew them up into a quilt.

My sample fabric for my next fabric line will be here soon- I think I am going to try this pattern with my new fabric.

That's it for now. Have a Wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Morning Fun

Everyone needs some fun on Monday morning, right? Here are some videos and websites to get your week off to a humorous start...

I put this video on my blog 4 whole years ago, and  when I watched it the other day, it made me laugh and laugh- it's just so bad... it's awesome. It is called "Worst Music Video EVER"- watch it and you will see why. It truly lives up to its name. It is a weird 1970's Swedish homage to the movie "Grease":

I was a big fan of the show Whose Line Is It Anyway? I have chosen a "clean" clip below. There are a lot more clips on YouTube, if you want to laugh, laugh, laugh.

You can spend hours on the Awkward Family Photos site:

And one of my very favorite sites when I need a good laugh, Cake Wrecks. These are actual cakes made by  actual paid employees at actual bakeries. Apparently, they take the instructions about what to write on the cake very literally- as you will see with the third photo. It's just not right!

I hope you have been amused and entertained. Have a great week!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Pinterest Pick: Words, Words

Samantha, my daughter and favorite English major geek, talks about her love for language today in her guest post...

I don't know about all of you, but I love a good word or collection of words.  Some of my favorite words are the following:

kismet (the name I wish I could name my future daughter, but decided to name my car instead)

I pick a favorite word basically because of how it feels to say or hear.  It just feels good to form the word in your mouth, or it makes a beautiful sound.  Anyone else have favorite words, or am I just a weird English major?

What I might love even more than words is quotes.  When I was a student teacher, I put a "Quote of the Day" on the board every day to get my students thinking.  To be honest, a lot of the time I found my quotes on Pinterest based on some beautiful design work...

Source: via Samantha on Pinterest

Beautiful words? Check.  Beautiful design? Double check.  I found this print by Alyssa Nassner around Valentine's Day this year.

C.S. Lewis is a personal favorite author, philosopher, theologian (can he be my favorite everything??), etc. and I think he would have particularly loved this illustration by this lovely lady.  I know I do.

Source: via Samantha on Pinterest

Goodness gracious, do I love watercolor. (Oh, you love watercolor too? Then you should go here.)  This print and others are sold by The Wheatfield on Etsy.  The colors are just marvelous.

Here are a few more designs that are just for fun :)

Source: via Samantha on Pinterest

Abraham Lincoln, teehee.

Do you have any favorite words or quotes?  Share with me! And remember to follow The Noble Wife on Pinterest!

Happy pinning, and happy weekend!



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