simple is beautiful

October at My House & Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Thank you for making Cottage & Vine one of your stops!  In case you are stopping by for the first time or might have missed a project here or there, here is a round up of happenings around my house in October.  Enjoy!

1 - Getting Organized

2 - My Fall Mantel

3 - How to Recover and Ottoman

4 - Changes in the Sun Room

5 - How to Recover a Dining Chair

6 - Add Pinch Pleats to Store Bought Curtains

7 - A Tufted Bench

8 - "Re" Arranging Flowers

Are you Trick-or-Treating tonight?  I have learned my lesson in years past not to buy candy until Halloween day because I eat it all my little monsters eat it.  So I need to make a candy run today.  Happy Halloween!

Wayfair DIY Challenge: Project Tufted Bench

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A while back a Wayfair representative contacted me to see if I would be interested in participating in a DIY project challenge.  Wayfair is a great on-line source for the home, hence the tagline, "a zillion things home".  I got to choose between three items and thought we would get the most use out of the coffee table.  I knew that it would either be used by the back door as a boot bench or as an ottoman in our playroom.

Just to give you an idea of what the table actually looks like, here is the image provided by Wayfair.  As you can see it has nifty little storage bins - great for storing things like gloves, hats, & shoes. provided a $50 giftcard to use for the project.  Once the giftcard arrived, I went to work on the challenge. 

My goal for the piece was to paint it and add tufting.  Once I determined the placement of the holes for the tufting I lightly sanded the surfaces and began painting.  Because the table is laminate, I used my favorite primer Zinsser.  The final color is one of my favorite grays, Urbane Bronze by Sherwin Williams.  I painted all the pieces before assembling which I believe made the project a little easier to manage. 

Some of the other items I used were a long needle (This was the closest thing I could find to an upholstery needle - not good.), fabric covered buttons (I returned these for larger 1" because you can only cram so much fabric into the 5/8" buttons), and nylon thread for buttons.

The tufted portion of the bench is made of a 3" thick piece of foam wrapped in quilt batting.  The layers go like this:  table top, 3" foam, quilt batting, fabric.  This is a job for more than one person.  So fortunately I had extra hands to help hold things in place.  Using a very long needle, I came up through the drilled holes in the bottom of the table, through all the layers and threaded a fabric covered button.  Then went back down through the layers.  I did this what seemed like 100 times  for each whole.  I didn't tighten all of the strings until all of the buttons were secured this way.  Then I flipped the piece over and tightened and knotted the strings to pull the tufting tight. 

Here is the final result. 

If you would like to check out more of the DIY projects, Wayfair has started a pinboard to showcase them all. 

"Re" Arranging Flowers

Monday, October 29, 2012

It is no secret that fresh flowers are one of my favorite things. Over the weekend I freshened up the arrangement that my in-laws gave me for my birthday. As much as I liked the existing arrangement, I really like to see flowers arranged by color. It makes more of a visual statement in my opinion.

Here is what I do to make flowers last longer:

1.  Remove the extra greenery from the florist.
2.  Trim about an inch from the bottom of each flower stem at an angle.
3.  Clean the vase and refill with water + 1 teaspoon of bleach.

By dividing the flowers I was able to create three different groupings, easy!

Two Years Ago...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

...and completely on a whim, I started an Etsy store.  I remember it well.  We were in Maryland for Thanksgiving.  I had just made my first table runner and decided to start selling them.

  Then I made two sets of place mats and listed those - promising myself to never make them again.  Ever.

Once those sold (to the Verdant Works Museum), I began receiving Etsy conversations asking if I would make more of the place mats.  Reluctantly I would.  As time went on, I got better at making them and found more efficient ways of doing it.  Today, I have sold 244 orders of place mats.  Whew!  I guess in hard times, we let the customer drive the business. 

I often receive custom orders like this family/party of fifteen personalized set.  By the way, everything is made to order which gives me time to reflect about the people who will be using my creations.  I love picturing families cozied in around the Thanksgiving table using my place mats.  Warms my heart!

And in case you are wondering, not everyone wants words on their place mats, so I now offer them plain for a little less than the others. 

Thank you to everyone who has supported this journey!  I could not have done it without you!  

Just a reminder that today is the last day to enter the Aubrey Home giveaway.  The winner will be announced tomorrow.

How To Re-Cover a Dining Room Chair

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I'm slowly working through some of the projects that have been lingering around Cottage & Vine.  One project was to find a chair for our son's new (to him) secretary desk in his room.  I happened to find a great little chair for only $5 at a local thrift store.

The chair was small in scale and with a fresh coat of paint and a fun fabric, I knew it would be perfect!  Recovering dining chairs is easy enough, but I'm always surprised to find that people are afraid to try it.  I thought I would share the steps I go through - and really start to finish, it only takes five minutes or less. 

Most seat cushions are secured with screws so I remove those first.  You may or may not want to remove the old fabric - it is usually a good idea.  As a side note, I lightly sanded, primed, and painted my chair first.  I normally cut my fabric so that 2-3" will wrap the back of the seat.  I lay the fabric face down with the seat cushion top down and centered on the fabric.  This project is much easier if you work on a table so that you can stand while working.  Next, the fabric gets secured with staples every 2" or so inches.  I usually begin in the center of one side and work my way to the end, then the other end.  Then I start on the opposite side, pulling the fabric tight as I staple.

I continue stapling each side all the way to the corner.

The finally step is to staple the corners down and trim the excess fabric.

Once the fabric is on, I reattach the chair pad to the chair.

I'm a big fan of chair pads and those are a must for painted  wood floors.

P.S.  Are you on instagram?  You can find me at cottageandvine.

Thank You!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Thank you for all the happy birthday wishes!  I am truly thankful for my friends and family, our good health, and the love we share.  Not a day goes by that I do not stop and give thanks for these blessings.

Having a Friday birthday makes it extra special - especially when followed by an absolutely gorgeous weekend.  For as long as I can remember, I worked at the furniture market on my birthday.  My market friends always went out of their way to make my day special, but honestly nothing beats being at home with my family!  My sweet husband surprised me with a night at the O.Henry Hotel

I used to not get why people would stay in a hotel in their own town - I totally get it now.  Talk about relaxing!

Adding to the celebration, last weekend was Grimsley's homecoming.  I love seeing the kids all dressed up and having fun.  Such great times!

On a totally unrelated note, my friends from My Pillow Studio sent me these yellow pillows.  Love!

A Giveaway With Aubrey Home!!!

Monday, October 22, 2012


Happy Monday!  I hope you had a chance to get outside and enjoy this beautiful fall weather!  Weekends like the one we just had never seem to last long enough.  Just gorgeous!

As promised, I have more pictures to share with you from my tour of Aubrey Home.  If you missed the first half of the tour, you can see it here.  Aubrey Home is the one-stop-shop for many of your decorating needs.  They have beautiful antiques and accessories to complete your home and decorating projects.

Aubrey Home has a wonderful selection of paintings made by local artists.

Chalk paint anyone?  At Aubrey Home, you will find an entire vignette of vintage furniture painted with chalk paint.  I just love that pink demilune table!

I was very impressed with the great selection of designer pillows!  This same supplier offers custom window treatments and these wonderful custom tea towels - perfect for holiday gifts!

If you are like me, you can never have enough fun jewelry.  The bubble necklace in green & blue, I die!

Now the news get even better.  Aubrey Home is giving a $100 gift card to one of my lucky readers.  Sorry, but this is for local readers this time.  If you live in the Greensboro or surrounding area, this giveaway is for you!

To enter the giveaway:

1.  Like Aubrey Home on facebook.  Leave a comment here on this post stating this.

2.  For a second chance to win, like Cottage and Vine on facebook.  Leave a comment.

3.  For a third chance to win, share this giveaway on your personal facebook page or share the link to this post on your blog.  Leave a comment.

Help spread the news - tell your friends.  The lucky winner will be announced this Friday.  Good luck everybody!

Aubrey Home

Friday, October 19, 2012

Last week the nice ladies of Aubrey Home invited me in for a tour of their lovely space.  Aubrey Home is a great one-stop-shop for many of your decorating needs. There you will find a great selection of fabrics, antiques, custom upholstery, pillows, & window treatments, and much more.  Have any of my local readers been there? 

I enjoyed seeing the beautifully styled vignettes and took lots of pictures.  It is probably best that I divide this post into two different posts for that reason.  Today, I wanted to share a few of my favorite pictures larger vignettes.  Enjoy!


Be sure to stop by Monday for more lovelies from Aubrey Home and a special giveaway announcement.  Have a great weekend!

How To Reupholster an Ottoman

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thanks so much for all the nice comments on the family room changes!  I have enjoyed all of the projects you linked up and look forward to sharing some favorites tomorrow.  Also, if you haven't entered the giveaway or shared a recent project, there is still time.

Several of you asked about the ottoman and wondered if I would share how I reupholstered it.  This was such a simple project that anyone could do it!

The fabric that I used had a fairly large pattern and I wanted it to be centered on the ottoman.  For smaller patterns you don't need to worry about this part.

This may sound crazy, but when I upholster ottomans & stools, I like to turn them upside down and literally get on top of them.  This flattens the padding down and allows me to get a nice, tight result.  No one wants to flip the ottoman over to find that the fabric is droopy, right? 

Once I had the fabric positioned (centered), I began stapling every 3" or so, pulling and spreading the fabric as I went.  I always start in the center of the long sides and work my way toward each corner.  Then I do the same thing on the short sides stopping within a few inches of the ends.

Once all four sides are stapled, I pull the fabric tightly and staple as close to the end as possible (on the long end). 

Next, I take the fabric from the other side and pull it tightly making a nice, crisp fold.  Then I staple everything into place.

After everything is stapled, I cut off the excess fabric and finish the job by re-attaching the black cloth to the bottom.

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