Buried (in a dumpster) Treasure

Last month I was backing out of my parking space at work (a historic mansion currently undergoing renovations) when something sticking out of the dumpster caught my eye…before I could talk myself out of it, I’d dug up 11 vintage wood drawers + 1 matching chest, a metal bin and 2 planks of wood. I had just enough time to stuff them in the back of my car (narrowly avoiding ruining my dress clothes) and speed away to pick up my son from summer camp. Not everyone understands the thrill of such a find appearing right next to your empty car (ahem…my husband), but to the natural-born junkster, such a gift cannot be ignored.

And I’m happy to prove that I’ve since put *most of my discoveries to good use. My 5 year old son, Connor, immediately claimed the metal bin for his toy cars (smart kid). But I’ve turned 2 of the lovely, chippy drawers into functional & decorative storage boxes and the chest, which sits next to my kitchen table, is great place to keep paper plates, cups & napkins within easy reach for summer entertaining. 


I love having such a convenient & well-lit spot to put reading material (with extra room for my coffee!) and even my husband can’t deny that his keys aren’t getting lost nearly as often. A thrifty find is always thrilling, but hands-down, nothing beats free!

*OK, so I still have no idea yet, what I’m going to do with the other 9 drawers or the planks of wood, but experience has taught me that if I wait long enough, inspiration will come. Until then, my “collection” is stashed safely out of the way in my basement laundry room.

String Art Valentines for Kids (and Adults too!)

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Connor and I had such fun making these string art hearts which look so cute on our front door! I cut out the hearts and he punched the holes around the border. Then I let him use my huge (not sharp) quilting needle to pull the strings through. Great fine motor activity and precious time spent with my true love. 🙂 Looking forward to spoiling my family this weekend for Valentines Day!

DIY Pine Bough, Ribbon & Jingle Bell Swags

Real Pine Bough Swags for Front Porch with Silver Ribbon and Rustic Jingle Bells. Country cottage style Christmas & holiday outdoor decorating. By Shalom Schultz Designs.

What do you do when a big storm leaves a pile of fallen pine branches in your front yard? Make festive holiday swags for your front porch of course! After clipping off some smaller segments, I bound them together with yarn & tied them to my railings. Sparkly silver ribbon and a rustic jingle bell on each add just the right touch of Christmas curb appeal.

DIY Christmas Star Stained Glass Ornament Craft For Kids

Kids Christmas diy paper star ornament craft uses crayons & wax paper for a faux stained glass hanging that will look amazing in any window. Preschool art project. Make a fun & easy suncatcher for the holidays. By Shalom Schultz Designs.

What a fun weekend project this was & the perfect way to spend some extra time with my little helper! First we used pencil sharpeners to spread crayon shavings over a piece of wax paper I’d taped to the counter (with card stock underneath), then we placed another piece of wax paper (topped with more card stock) on top & mommy ran an iron over it on a ‘low’ setting to melt the colors together, giving them that lovely stained glass look. After the paper had cooled, we traced star shapes with a cookie cutter & I cut them out with my exacto knife (which I found produced cleaner edges than scissors). They are truly show-stopping when the sunlight is streaming through the window! And we even have enough left over to decorate his teachers’ Christmas gifts.

Wood Block Nativity Advent Calendar

DIY Nativity scene advent calendar. Black graphics on weathered wood blocks, individually wrapped to count down the days til Christmas. Country cottage style rustic holiday decorating. By Shalom Schultz Designs.

Day 4 of December and all 3 wise men are now on their way to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus! This is the first year I’ve done an advent calendar with my 4-yr old son, Connor and I wanted it to be a fun way to teach him about our faith, so I decided to make a 25-piece nativity set and wrap each one individually (Connor LOVES having a little present to open each day!). My husband kindly cut the wood blocks for me out of old garden fencing and then I designed the images (pasted on with Elmer’s glue) to look like they had been printed on weathered wood. The whole set will be centered under an antique wood frame I keep on the mantel, over which I have hung a rustic wood star. Stay tuned for more pics, as we get closer to Christmas!

DIY Mason Jar Lid + Chalk Snowflake Ornaments

DIY Mason Jar Lid Snowflake Christmas Tree Chalk Ornament by Shalom Schultz Designs

New additions for my tree this year. Mason jar lid ornaments with hand drawn chalk snowflakes! I just replaced the black paper on the lid tags I’d previously made for my husband’s graduation party back in May (used glue dots to adhere the paper to the lids & a scrapbooking punch to make the holes) & then spent an hour or so on the new drawings. They turned out so cute and add a fun, rustic element to my tree (more pics to come!).

P.S. I’ve been getting a lot of question about how to get fine detail with chalk & the trick is to use a chalk pencil, rather than a regular stick of chalk. You can find them in the chalkboard aisle at your local arts & crafts store or a white charcoal pencil from the drawing supplies aisle will work too. Then, if desired, you can seal your chalk drawings with a light coat of hairspray.

DIY Christmas Sweater Ball Wreath

Handmade Sweater Ball Christmas Wreath by Shalom Schultz Designs. Recycled holiday decorating.

I made this sweater ball wreath over the weekend as a donation for Quad City Arts Festival of Trees auction fundraiser. All proceeds support the arts in my community & I’m excited to be a part of the festivities again this year. A little sad to say goodbye to something that looks so nice on my own front door, but I hope it finds a lovely new home to adorn this holiday season.

Rustic Fall Front Porch

Fall front porch planter. Antique metal wash tub filled with pumpkins, autumn flowers & wheat stalks, and a vintage style harvest sign. Diy pumpkins studded with upholstery tacks add a touch of rustic glam to the steps bordered by lush Colius leaves. Country, cottage decor. By Shalom Schultz Designs.

I can’t believe it’s the 2nd week of November here in IL & I still have flowers! Not many, but I sure have been enjoying the nice weather & soaking up as much of the outdoors as I still can (what allergies?). Last weekend, after raking the yard, I cut down the spent blooms on my front porch planters, gathered pumpkins I had sitting around elsewhere & tucked dried leaves into the spots where dirt was showing to make the full fall transition. The pumpkins, studded with decorative upholstery tacks were decorated a couple weeks ago after family trip to the pumpkin patch. All the pretty leaves are now blowing away & it’s definitely getting colder, but it’s been a wonderful autumn season & I’m very much looking forward to the Thanksgiving finale!

Easy DIY Paper Leaf Garland Craft To Do With Your Kids

Easy DIY Fall Paper Leaf Garland Craft for Kids and Adults. Autumn decorating with unique modern art you make yourself.

The autumn wind has been doing a very thorough job of blowing away all the gorgeous leaves from the trees on my street, but my 4 yr old son Connor & I found a way to keep the vibrant fall colors around a bit longer. Using simple clip art images from the internet, I traced the shapes on to colored paper & he made them pretty! When we had all we wanted, I cut them out & he helped me punch holes and string them together.

Easy DIY Fall Paper Leaf Garland Craft for Kids and Adults. Autumn decorating with unique modern art you make yourself.

When we were finished, I hung the garland up in his window. We make a great team & I love the unique, organic appearance of each leaf. If you’re looking for a way to spend some quality time with your little ones – whether you have just a few minutes, or a whole afternoon – you might want to give this a try. Happy Fall Crafting!

Not So Spooky Halloween Mantel

Fall mantel decor with country cottage style vibe, featuring autumn leaves in a mason jar, wicker and handmade fabric pumpkins, mercury glass votives and an antique frame. A black raven bird and dark brown candlesticks with black taper candles add a touch of Halloween fun to this warm & cozy decorating scheme. By Shalom Schultz Designs.

For some reason it is REALLY hard to find decorative black birds, so I had to make my own by getting creative with a paper mache egg, masking tape & fabric (Who knew I could sculpt…sort of?). While I’m not into super spooky/gross Halloween decorating with spiders & such (I have enough of the real kind, thank you very much), I do enjoy incorporating a subtle nod to horror into my fall decor. So for me, the little black ‘raven’ and matching taper candles give my fall mantel just the right touch of spine-chilling fun while not taking away from the warm and inviting scene that I look forward to creating each year.