Shalom's Cottage Home Blog

My photo
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!

Visit my Etsy Shop!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Welcome to my 2014 Holiday Home Tour!!

I'm a big believer in grabbing joy wherever you can, which is why I tend to be a little nuts about Christmas. Life's not perfect (far from it), but I've found that a little 'sparkle' goes a long way. So, this holiday season, I hope you find lots of reasons to smile and spread a little happiness to others as well. Merry Christmas!  
Welcome to my home! I like to keep things simple on the outside. With just a few pine cones, green bows and a shiny, red wreath I've had forever, I've dressed up my summer gardening pots in holiday style.

Once you step inside, you are right in the middle of my open-plan kitchen/dining/living room. This is the organizational center of my home and it's always pretty wild with color, but I tend to go a bit over the top during the holidays. This area's all about fun! Since nothing needs to match, it's the perfect spot to display greeting cards on a garland decorated with handmade snowflakes.

The shelf over my kitchen cart is a great spot to display smaller figurines that I'd rather keep out of little hands. I love the way they mix with the family photos. Oh, and I found yet another use for those adorable mini pails that Target sells in their $1 section.

Round the corner to my built-in shelf which looks over the dining table. Festive, no? I left it pretty much exactly the same as it looks normally with the simple addition of some snowflakes (strings weighed down by books, etc.), and a few unbreakable ornaments tucked in here and there. So far, my 3-year old's left it alone. Fingers crossed.

But wait! Take a closer look. Can you spot the present I very cleverly 'hid' on this shelf? Hee hee.

What about this one?

This shelf is directly across from my front door and is high enough that I can do a little more 'grown-up' decorating on it. Garlands are homemade from TP rolls, yarn and beads. I got lazy and ordered the orange slices online (instead of taking a whole day to dry them in my oven, as some folks do). I did spent a ridiculous number of hours wrapping the 'JOY' letters in cream yarn and jute, but I really like how they turned out. Additional sparkly/rustic things tucked in here and there. I find it very welcoming to come home and see it first thing each time I walk in the door.

You may have noticed this very little tree in one of the previous photos. Yes, this is how I do Christmas trees in my 700 sq. ft. house and have for years. The convenience of a having a mini tree that fits perfectly on top of my corner fireplace definitely outweighs the hassle of moving furniture to accommodate a larger tree, with the added stress of trying to keep dogs and a small child away from it. But, you'd better believe I still spend hours trying to get it 'just right' each year and packing in as many ornaments as possible (mostly handmade with my vintage blue bulbs adding just the right 'pop' of color to my all-time-favorite 'white-on-white' look). The stack of books under it (on top of which usually sits a potted plant) gives the tree some nice added height to fill the space.'But where are all the PRESENTS', you ask? More on that later.

A couple of presents in matching hues, look just right under my mini tree.

In my son's room, a tiny reindeer watches over him from on top of a shelf (also high up).

A handmade candy cane adorns the window in my son's room. Are you noticing a common theme yet? Soft? Unbreakable? No small parts? When it comes to decorating children's rooms, I definitely follow the rule of 'safety first'. Less stress for me means I can enjoy more of the holidays. 

Aha, presents! I'm no Scrooge. Just because I don't have a lot of space under my tree for gifts, doesn't meant they aren't piled up elsewhere. And I rather like having this festive little stash to look at each time I go into my bedroom. That's all folks. Merry Christmas to you!!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Festival of Trees 2014

I took my family to Festival of Trees last weekend and my 3-year-old son, Connor, was just as fascinated with all the sights and sounds as I'd hoped he would be (especially the train!). Next, year we might all have to bundle up and head downtown for the parade. While we were browsing through all the displays something caught my eye...MY display had already sold (all profits going to support Quad City Arts) and I won a ribbon for best 1st time designer in my category. What a fun creative experience this was! As a natural 'introvert', who often feels more comfortable behind my computer screen than anywhere else, it was good to put myself out there and be part of something bigger than my self. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Joy to the World!

Unusually early rounds of snow and cold seems to have put everybody in the mood to decorate early for Christmas and I'm no exception. When you're fighting off the winter blues, you need a little extra sparkle in your life. So I spent my weekend making the jute and yarn-wrapped 'JOY' letters with just a touch of silver and gold for added cheer. I have to say, I do find myself smiling every time I walk down my hallway now. 

This is a wreath I did as a donation for a silent auction fundraiser a few weeks ago and is part of a larger front porch display. My theme was 'Winter's Garden' and I was going for a natural, outdoorsy look. I happened to already have the grapevine wreath (leftover from my wedding!) which sparked my idea for the theme. I had some leftover oranges, pine cones and cinnamon sticks, which made their way into my personal holiday decor above.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

2015 Calendar by Shalom Schultz Designs

My 2015 Calendar is online! This year I wanted to focus on encouragement and positivity so I chose 12 simple phrases for each month and matched it with my original artwork to help convey the message. Available in printed form as a desktop or hanging calendar and also as a digital download.
Click here to purchase.2015 Calendar by Shalom Schultz Designs
© Shalom Schultz. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Shop Additions: Upcycled Earrings

It's fun to watch my shop filling up with cute little gems like these...hoping they will find their way into someone's stocking this Christmas. I just wish I had more time for making them. Most of these earrings contain elements that have been upcycled from old jewelry and probably have a story of their own to tell.  If anyon'e interested you can find them here.
 Genuine turquoise nugget (upcycled from old jewelry) and silver-tone wire drop earrings. (to buy)

Sterling silver rose-patterned beads (upcycled from old jewelry), and silver-tone beads and wire, dangling earrings. (to buy)

Pink-toned mother of pearl, silver-tone beads and silver-tone wire drop earrings. (to buy) 

 Sterling silver rose-patterned beads (upcycled from old jewelry), black glass beads and silver-tone wire drop earrings. (to buy)

Iridescent mother of pearl, silver-tone beads and silver-tone wire drop earrings. (to buy)

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