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.

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Cozy Cottage Christmas

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The hard part is over, so now all that’s left to do is wait…and bake…and bake some more! I’ll most likely be spending quite a few evenings this week curled up on the couch with cookies, coffee & some holiday tunes while I enjoy the view…before it all gets torn to shreds. Ha ha. I’ve always admired the look of a potted tree, but could never find a container large enough for my artificial tree’s base. So, this year I decided to see how it looked if I put my presents in baskets and metal buckets around it. Love!!! Plus it’s super-easy to move them out of the way when little ones come to visit. ūüėČ

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.

Christmas Cards and a Cozy Cottage in the Woods

Cottage style Christmas mantel decor with a green tinsel tree in a white pot, mini lighted paper house , a red & black fabric bird, and a wood snowflake ornament. Rustic country style holiday decorating. By Shalom Schultz Designs.

The magic is in the details! I love how cozy my little cardboard cottage in the ‘woods’ looks at night when I flip the switch on the led tea light inside. Overhead, my collection of Christmas cards is steadily growing. Holiday cheer is in the air!

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!

‘All Things Fall’ Free Printable Chalkboard Art by Shalom Schultz Designs

All Things Fall Free Printable Chalkboard Art by Shalom Schultz Designs. Autumn illustration decor. Country cottage style rustic decorating. Falling leaves and acorns. Black and White.

Someone asked me the other day what my favorite part of fall was and I simply could not come up with just one answer. There is so much to enjoy – hot cider & warm blankets, tall boots & cozy sweaters, pumpkin patches & bonfires, colorful trees & jumping in leaves…
I love absolutely everything about autumn and make it a point to pack in as much of the seasonal fun as I can each year, since it goes by way too fast (and before you know it, we’re counting down the days to Christmas and dreading having to shovel snow for the next 4 months). As I was thinking about what to draw¬†on the little¬†framed chalkboard that sits on my hall shelf year-round, the idea of this ‘All Things Fall’ illustration came to me.

If you feel the same way as I do, you can download the printable version of my chalk art for FREE and enjoy it in your own home! Click here for the PDF file (includes an 8×10 print, a 5×7 print, and a 4×5.25 folded greeting card which will fit in a standard A2 size envelope).

I’d love to know what you think or to hear about your favorite part of the fall season. Feel free to share your thoughts by commenting below.¬†And have a Happy Fall!!

© Shalom Schultz. All Rights Reserved. For individual and small group use only.
This document may not be altered, sold or redistributed as a download. Links back
to original download page on http://www.shalomschultzdesigns.wordpress.com
are permitted with proper credit given to author.
Please send inquiries to shalomschultzdesigns@gmail.com

Fall is for Family Time

White Fireplace decorated for autumn with a grapevine wreath and a sign that says family. Firewood piled up ready for cooler days. Fall leaves and berries. Family comes first. Country cottage style rustic decor.

I love the simplicity of this photo ( @countrylivingmag on Instagram) & the timely reminder that even as our lives become busier with the approaching holiday festivities, at the end of the day all that really matters is family. So make sure that you put them first, cherish every fleeting moment & don’t stress too much about the little things.