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!

Visit my Etsy Shop!

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. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Time to get stuff DONE!

Boy do I need to get my hands on this mug! We've been blessed with a cool front that has had temperatures dipping into the low 70s all week, ensuring you need a light jacket to be comfortable. It's been a wonderful respite from the heat, but when I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy sitting around in my hoodie, it seems all I want to do is read a book or browse Pinterest for hours on end while I sip my coffee. I guess in a way it's like a mini stay-cation and I've definitely enjoyed it. But I still do have quite a long list of projects to complete and deadlines to meet, the couch I go! 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

July and Purple Coneflowers

All year long, I look forward to July, when my Purple Coneflowers finally bloom and all of the sudden my garden is an explosion of color. These last til the end of summer too, making them an especially welcome addition. Up next, Zinnias and Sunflowers! 

Monday, July 7, 2014

If You Have a Garden and a Library You Have Everything You Need

 I have had this quote in another style pinned up in my office for a while now. Obviously, it's meant to be kept in a certain context, but at it's heart it is a great reminder to me that sometimes the simplest things in life can bring you the greatest pleasure (especially when that's all you have at the learn to be very grateful for every good thing). Words of wisdom from Cicero, many moons ago.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Making Mini Display Pillows

 We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful Independence Day yesterday, so I supposed it's only fitting that today is cool and cloudy with more thunderstorms onthe horizon. Still, it's a nice opportunity to just relax indoors after all the excitement. A good day for a long bath (for the little one) while I work on my next sewing project. I made these 'LOVE' pillows back in February for my Valentines display and I want to make more like them for my Etsy shop. I also like the words 'HOME' and 'NEST'. Any other suggestions for words you'd like to see on display in your home?

Me getting some work done while my son takes his bath (sometimes it's the only way - haha!). I'm fraying the edges of the 'O' by pulling the outer threads loose with a straight pin and then trimming the ends.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

No-Bake Cool & Creamy Berry Dessert for the 4th of July

Looking for a quick & easy dessert for your 4th of July party? Try this cool & creamy, no-bake dish topped with fresh berries in festive red and white. I know what I'm making this Friday!! 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Appreciate Life As It Happens...Black & White Art Quote

Wherever you are I hope you have plans to make some memories with friends and family this weekend. Challenge yourself to enjoy every good thing - the sun on your face, the laughter of children, the taste of good food, bright lights in the sky, and the aura of freedom. Drink it all in.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

10 Easy 4th of July DIY Decorating Projects

Here are 10 of my favorite Easy 4th of July Decorating Projects. Whether you're 'crafty' or not, there's something here that everyone can do with just a little time (or hardly any). Happy Independence Day week everyone!!  
 1) With a little paint and a little tape, and possibly a stencil for the stars, you can turn every-day mason jars into wow-worthy and reusable vases for your 4th of July party.

2) Simpy tie American Flag-printed bandanas together for instant festive bunting!

 3) Making these lawn stars involves just cardboard or posterboard and some flour. A great project to get the kids involved!

 4) Just write your favorite patriotic saying on a chalkboard and surround it with a few pieces of red-white-and-blue decor.

5) Use colored sand to create festive 4th of July votives. A great project for older kids.

 6) Even if you don't have a big American Flag to hang up, you can still get in the Independence Day spirit by adding some red-white-and-blue throw pillows into your exisiting decor.

 7) I love this ridiculously simple decorating idea! Works for inside OR outside. I think the mini flags are only about $1 each.

8)  Cut triangles out of red-white-and-blue fabric or bandanas. Fold the top edges over and secure with safety pins or sew. Run a length of yarn through them and you've got a super-cute banner!

9) Sew some red-white-and-blue bandanas together for a festive tablecloth.

10) This ribbon wand could be a safe alternative to sparklers or just a way for the kids to have fun and show their patriotic spirit while waiting for it to get dark outside.