Shalom's Cottage Home Blog

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Rock Island, IL, United States
Hi, I'm Shalom. Artist, crafter, gardener, flea market enthusiast, bargain hunter, and lover of flavor. Welcome to my journey!

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Last of Summer's Bounty: Sunflowers

Grew all of these beauties from seed and faithfully watered aaaaaaaaalll summer long, then staked so they wouldn't fall over. Now, I'm finally being rewarded with multiple blooms on each tall stalk. Happy, happy, happy. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Autumn is HERE!

Honestly, walking around outside and seeing the tips of tree branches just starting to turn is like opening up one Christmas present after another. So excited!
Lovely fall scene from

Adorable art print with the famous quote, 'Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile.' (William Cullen Bryant) By PrettyPrintShop on Etsy.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Why Craft Stores Start Stocking Christmas Merchandise in August

Ever wonder why craft stores start stocking Christmas merchandise in August? It's for people like me that have to think waaaaay far ahead in order to be ready for the holiday shopping season. Plans are well under way for 3 holiday events I'm planning and this week I started working on my 2015 calendar (which I hope to have finished by October). For some reason I felt like working backwards this time (probably because my mind is already full of Christmas ideas). Here's a sneak peak at what I have done so far. I'm thinking I may also need to convert that December design into a set of Christmas cards and gift tags with multiple colors. :)

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Grateful Heart is a Happy One

'Never let the things you want make you forget the things you have'. Love this! Beautiful artistic quote from blog

Monday, July 28, 2014

The First Sunflower of the Year

When you wake up to find this lovely addition to your garden, you know it's going to be a good day. :)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

10 Simple Ways to Enjoy the End of Summer

It's hard to believe we're now staring down the last full month of summer. Wow! Now's the time to make plans to soak up the last of the long, long days and make some family memories (before school starts up again and your schedule gets packed to bursting). Here are 10 of my favorite ideas for simple, summer fun that don't involve a lot of planning or expense. Have fun!!

 Go to the fair. August is a popular month for local and state fairs and there is something for everyone to enjoy, whether it's rides, games or great food. Check online to find one near you.
Photo by bomobob on Etsy

 Go to a farmers market. Most markets will stay open into October, depending on the weather, but don't wait that long if you want to score some of the more seasonal fruits & veggies. You will also find flowers, crafts and wonderful food from local vendors and admission is generally FREE! The one where I live always has live music and fun activities for kids, including a playground and bounce house. It also happens to be located right on the Mississippi River, which is a fun place to hang out, all by itself. Some of them will even let you bring your leashed pets. The markets start early in the morning and are usually done shortly after noon, so you'll want to make sure to get there early in order to shop the booths before they're sold out and also to beat the heat.
Photo by thewheatfield on Etsy

 Get wet! Whether it's swimming at your local pool, a nearby lake, a friend's house, or even just dancing through a sprinkler in the backyard, you don't want to miss out on this summer-only activity! Many local pools now offer waterslides for the big kids and fun toddler-only areas. To save money, check to see if your local pool has a discounted rate for evening swim hours (mine is half price!)
Photo by NostalgiqueImages on Etsy

 Eat outisde! It doesn't have to be an elaborate picnic spread with Pinterest-worthy decor (although those are awesome too, if you have the time). Even if all you do is grill some burgers and dogs, there's nothing quite like eating a meal outdoors. Pretty soon it will be too cold, so ignore the bugs and get out there!

 Have a water balloon fight. This is seriously one of the cheapest, and easiest ways to stay cool & beat boredom. Kids of all ages (and adults!) will have an absolute blast. Just be sure to clean up all the balloon shreds when you're done. Here is a list of ideas for water balloon games.

 Go on a family hike. Wherever you live and however old your kids are, there's bound to be a trail nearby for you to explore. Go for 20 minutes or 2 hours. Whatever you're comfortable with, but spray yourself down with bug repellent, wear comfortable shoes & get out there! Also, make sure to bring along water, maybe some snacks and don't forget your camera.

 Do footprint painting. All you need is a few different colors of kid-safe paint, and a large sheet of cardboard or paper. Then, let the kids go nuts. The best part is, clean up is a cinch. Just hose 'em off before they come inside!

 Go see a fireworks show. The fireworks don't stop after the 4th of July! August is usually a popular time for end-of-summer celebrations featuring free fireworks. It's a great way to get the family outside for the evening. Check online for a show near you.
Photo by happeemonkey on Etsy

 Make homemade ice cream. It's easier than you think and a fun activity to do with your kids. It's also technically a 'science experiment' with delicious results! Here is even a recipe for making ice cream in a ziploc bag - no machine required.
Blow bubbles. This activity never gets old. Seriously. Never. Head to the store for bubble supplies before they're all sold out (you may even get them at clearance prices by now). Or check out this recipe for homemade Giant Bubbles!
Photo by LightofLorrainePhoto on Etsy

Monday, July 21, 2014

Gifts from Nature

Took a break from designing today to gather some of nature's bounty to brighten up my kitchen and to admire the close-up, intricate details of my newest arrivals.

 I've got a bumper crop this year (and the bugs have been kind - not eating that many holes in the petals). My kitchen is so much happier now with this terra cotta jug of Purple Coneflowers to brighten it up.

New Zinnia blooms are popping open every day! I love the bright colors of the blooms and the geometric shapes of the buds are so interesting. These will last into October.