Friday, September 30, 2011

UPrinting Giveaway!

I'm interrupting my usual chair-loving Friday celebration for a great giveaway from Uprinting!  Everybody likes free stuff right?!

I can't think of a better time of year for this giveaway.  One of you lucky readers will win 100 postcards! Postcards are one of the best things to receive from a friend or family member.  It always puts a big smile on my face when I receive something fun in the mail!  Online printing gives you the opportunity to create and design your own.  They allow you to spread a little cheer and brighten someones day!  

Here are all the deets and specifics on the giveaway:
One (1) Winner will receive
100 Postcards
5" x 7"
14 pt. Cardstock Gloss
No Folding
Front Only Printing
2 Business Days Print Turnaround Time *Free Shipping
Limited to US residents 18 years old and above only 

To enter this giveaway!
 You must be an Our Fifth House follower
Then you can do any or all of these for your chance to win:
 - leave a comment letting me know how you'd use these postcards if you won
 - Follow Our Fifth House on Twitter
-Follow Our Fifth House on Facebook 
- Follow UPrinting on Twitter 
(Make sure to leave a comment for each entry!) 

Good Luck! 

I'll announce the winner on Monday!  Enjoy the weekend!  
*This giveaway is sponsored by UPrinting, no monetary compensation was given and I will receive a postcard for hosting.

Winner! Winner!

I've got two winners!  Awwww to the yeeaahhh!

I used to generate the winners for both giveaways.

The winner of the My Memories digital scrapbooking software giveaway is comment #3- Karen!

Karen said...

Congratulations! Can't wait to see what crafty goodness y'all come up with.

I've always wanted to try digital scrapbooking.... but it seemed kind of intimdating. This looks like fun. I really like the Cherry-O paper pack... but all their designs are gorgeous.

Also, the winner of the Pawmetto giveaway  is comment #3  - Kristin!

Kristin said...

My rescued furbabies are Joey and Emma. We've been looking for a new, all-natural treat to try! Sounds like a great one. :o)

Congratulations Karen and Kristin!  E-mail me at by Sunday night to claim your prize or I'll have to draw a new winner.  That would be such a bummer, so don't forget to contact me!

Also, look for another great giveaway announcement later today!  What a great way to kick-off the weekend!  

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I've received many e-mails with questions regarding chalk markers.  I thought the easiest way to answer them would be to put all the info in one post.  The chalk markers that I use are the Marvy Bistro Chalk Markers.  (This is my personal opinion from my own experience using that particular brand only.)

The Good
What I love about using a chalk marker is how smooth the writing looks.
This is chalkboard vinyl with chalk marker writing. 

In comparison to using regular chalk, you have more control over the size of your writing.  Chalk markers are very easy to use and really don't cost very much.  The price per marker is comparable to a paint marker.  I also like that they don't erase as easily as regular chalk does.  So when you're using them for something like labeling a child's closet you don't have to worry about the writing being erased by little fingers.

In addition you don't have to deal with chalk dust.  Although, there are two sides to every coin, and this "erasability issue" will also be covered under the ugly section as well.  More on that in a bit.

Lastly, if stored properly they will have lasting power making the small expense very worthwhile.  Store them horizontally and make sure the cap is on tightly.  I've used my white marker a ton and it still has a long life left!

The Bad
Really the only bad thing is the fact that they are hard to find.  In my town I have only ever found them at Hob Lob and only sold in sets of four.  They come packaged - white, blue, red, and black.  I have never used any other color than white.  You can buy them separately online, but I feel silly buying an item that is less than $2 online.
Marvy Bistro Water-based Chalk Marker (480S0)

That is probably just my own weird personal issue though.  Anyhow, I really wish you could buy the white ones separately and that they were available at more stores.

The Ugly
Going back to the "erasability issue" I have to say that these markers just don't erase as well as regular chalk does.  Although even regular chalk can leave a film, all you need to do is use a damp cloth to wipe that film off completely.  When you are using chalk markers simply wiping the surface down with a damp cloth will not do the trick.  I have noticed that the longer the chalk marker stays on, the harder it is to erase.  Here's a personal example.

These chalkboard shutters sat propped up on my potting bench all summer long.

The writing stayed perfectly in tact even being outside and exposed to the elements.  These shutters are in a covered area but they would still get a little rain on them.  The writing wasn't phased at all.  I pulled them down to erase our Summer list and write down our Fall list.  This is what wiping them down with a wet cloth looked like.

Not quite erased they looked like an ugly, hot mess.  So I used a little bit of soap (just a mild hand soap) on a sponge and gave them a good scrubbing.

This erased the writing.  I used the green abrasive side of the sponge and a little of the chalkboard paint came off.

I'm fine with this because I like the worn look out here. In addition, if I want to freshen the chalkboard surface sometime in the future (which I probably won't) I'll just add a fresh coat of chalkboard paint.  They look just fine.  If I was using regular chalk than anytime we had any rain at all my list would be washed away.  So, the marker may be a bit harder to remove when I want to erase my list, but I don't have to keep writing my list over again every time it rains.  Sometimes you just have to take the good with the ugly.  In the case of my chalkboard shutters out on my potting bench I can definitely deal.

When it comes to using the chalk markers on chalkboard vinyl.  Erasing is a bit easier.  You will still need to do something more than simply wiping with a damp cloth.  I have found that acetone (nail polish remover) works quite well to remove the chalk marker.  Also a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser will magically erase chalk marker too.  (I couldn't resist!)  I would not recommend using the acetone or Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on your painted chalkboard surfaces only on your chalkboard vinyl surfaces.  I honestly don't know what acetone would do to your paint job, but I don't think it sounds like a good idea.  I have always felt like the Magic Eraser is best used on light colored painted surfaces.  Anytime I've ever used them on a darker paint color they have left a little white residue.

So there you go.  That is my take on the good, the bad, and the ugly of using chalk markers.

In a nutshell- 
1.  I recommend using them on surfaces where you want the writing to stick around for awhile.  Using them for labeling.......

or for projects you don't plan to erase very often are your best choices.

2.  For areas you want to erase with ease use regular chalk.

3.  To erase chalk marker from painted chalkboard finishes use a mild soap and water on a soft lint-free cloth or sponge.  (Don't use the abrasive side of the sponge unless you want the paint to come off too!)

4.  To erase chalk marker from chalkboard vinyl use acetone or a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

No go forth and chalk up the world!

What is your experience with chalk markers?  Any special tips for usage?  Have you found them sold separately in any stores?  Have you tried any other brands?  Let's swap chalk marker stories!

*Linking up at Tutorials and Tips Tuesday at Home Stories A to Z

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fall Mantel

Ok, is it mantle or mantel?  Does it matter?

Anyhow, here is mine ready for Fall.

I think I'm the last person in blogland to make a fabric pennant!  It was so fun and easy.  I have no idea why I'm so late to that party!  I just used a little fabric scrap (remember how much I've been loving leopard lately?), some burlap, a black fabric marker, and raffia ribbon.  Hot glued the whole thing together and taped it up there.  So easy and I love the end result.  Can't beat a 5 to 10 minute project can you?!

Other than making the fabric pennant, I pretty much kept the mantel the same.  I just made a few tweeks here and there.  In my silver Target urn, I added in some dried wheat ( I told you I was obsessed) and some feathers (Michaels).  The feathers give it a little chicness (that's a word right?).  At least they do to me.  ;)

I'm pretty much in love with my Ballard knockoff burlap message board, so I had to keep it up on the mantel.  I found a few of my favorite fall pictures of the kids from a few years ago and had them copied to black and white.  I really love displaying things in my home that mean something to us.

The gold pumpkins were another Michaels find.  I love mixed metals, but you already know this about me.  ;)

Now for the full monty.  (I try to stop myself but the words just get typed anyway.)

Bring on Fall!  I'm ready to curl up with a pumpkin spice latte and finally finish The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Good heavens it is taking me sooooo long to finish that book.  I am determined though! The movie comes out in December.  Have you seen the trailer?  I think the movie is going to be soooo good!

So, have you added in a little Fall decor to your mantel?

* Linking up here!  Between Naps on the Porch, Thrifty Decor Chick
The Lettered Cottage

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall List/Potting Bench

It. finally. stopped. raining!  Finally!  Literally, the skies cleared for a hot minute so I decided to get my outdoor fall decor on.

I started with the potting bench.
fall decor - potting bench

I used the chalkboard shutters (repurposed cabinet doors) to make a fall list of things we want to do!  The kids really enjoyed making the summer list.  I thought it would be fun to continue the tradition.
fall potting bench

fall list

Notice the "celebrate mom's b-day"?  That mom would be me.  ;)  My birthday is in October.  I like to leave my family little reminders.   ;)  Considering that last year my own dad who was visiting from California didn't remember my birthday until 8:00 PM (emphasis on the PM), I think reminding everyone early is a good thing.  YES, that. really. happened!  It wasn't even my 16th birthday!  ;)

fall list

I already had everything except for the wreath, flowers, and pumpkins.  I purchased the wreath at the Hob Lob at 50% off a couple weeks ago - $19.99.  I figured to buy the supplies to make my own would probably cost just as much.  Flowers and pumpkins came from the Home Depot.  The baskets I bought at JoAnn Fabrics a few years ago.  The yellow rakes belong to my two yard crashers.  I bought them at Lowes at the start of the summer.  My kids have used them a bunch.  They are like adult tools for kids and are very well made!  Gotta train them young.  ;)

The candy corn lights my mom gave me years ago.  I added them in for the kids.  Ok, ok, I'll make any excuse to string up some festive lights!  I tried to get a night shot, but Sunday nights are hectic.  I had to get inside and get the ol' dinner, bath, bed thing going.  Here's a shot with the lights on as the sun was just beginning to set.

Oh and I also busted out and dusted off the pumkinaries!  I'm using them on the patio this year.

fall potting bench
I told you I like lights.  I keep white twinkle lights strung up on the patio all year round!  They are just so pretty at night! 
I know many of you have made your own pumpkinaries using my tutorial.  I just love receiving those e-mails!  Thank you so much for sharing your creations!

So, what did you do this weekend?  I still have a few more outdoor projects that I'd like to do before it gets too cold to work outside.  For now, I'm really happy to have a little bit of fall decor on the patio.  Anyone else bringing the pumpkins out?  I mean it's just a few more days 'til October 1st!  Crazy, right?!

Lastly, I'd like to announce the winner of the Pawmetto giveaway  using is comment #3- Kristin!

Kristin said...
My rescued furbabies are Joey and Emma. We've been looking for a new, all-natural treat to try! Sounds like a great one. :o)

Congratulations!  E-mail me and I'll get your furbabies all hooked up with some awesome treats!

I'll be back tomorrow with my fall mantel!  I just love this time of year!

Happy Monday!

Take a look here at the other lists we've made!

*Linking up to Inspiration Friday at The Picket Fence, Thrifty Decor Chick

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday's For The Love Of Chairs #16

A match made in heaven.

                                                                                Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Happy Weekend!

If you want to know what star I'm paired up with for the Crafting with the Stars competition head over here.  The theme for Round 1 is knockoffs.  What do you all think I should attempt to knock off?  I've got until October 3rd to come up with something.  You all can play along to if you'd like.  On October 4th there will be a knockoff linky party and the best project will win a prize!  Go get your copy cat on; it'll be so fun!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Announcement & Another Awesome Giveaway!

Guess what?!  I was chosen to be one the contestants in the Crafting with the Stars competition over at Sew Dang Cute Crafts!  I'm so excited and a little nervous too.  I was so honored to be included in such a talented group.  I can't wait until Friday when the contestants/stars pairings will be announced!  It is such a fun competition, and I'm looking forward to sharing each of the challenges with you.  For now pray that my creative juices start flowing.  I'll need all the help I can get; the competition is fierce.  (Who remembers which Project Runway star used that word about a million times?)

Now on to the awesome giveaway!

My Memories Suite wants to offer one of you lucky readers a FREE copy of their digital scrapbooking software!

I was excited to receive a copy myself, and I've had all kinds of fun playing around with this scrapbook software!  I was a little reluctant to try it at first because I'm not very savvy when it comes to using software.  Believe me, if I can use this software, anyone can!  It is so easy to use.  They have all kinds of free tutorials available, but I didn't even need to use them!  It was really very self-explanatory.  You can use this digital scrapbooking software for so much more than just creating scrapbook pages too!  You can make photobooks, cards, videos, calendars, and so much more!

I've been working on a little yearbook of sorts for, ahem, 2010.  It's better late than never!  With this software it is really easy to put it all together.

I really love that you have so many options with this scrapbook software.  You can print your pages at home, have them professionally printed, or export them to JPEG (which is what I did with the above layout).  The possibilities are really endless.

Here's a page of a calendar I'm still putting together.  It may or may not end up being a Christmas gift for the grandparents.

There is also a My Memories store filled with tons products and freebies that you can download right to your scrapbook software.

So, want to know how you can win a FREE copy of the #1 rated My Memories Suite 2.0 Software (which retails for $40)?! 

There are lots of chances to win! 

-Visit My Memories and come back to leave a comment telling me your favorite digital paper pack. 
-Follow My Memories on Twitter
Be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry!  

****In addition to this awesome giveaway, My Memories is also offering Our Fifth House readers a promo code that provides a $10 discount off the purchase price of their digital scrapbooking software AND another $10 off for the My Memories store!  
To take advantage of this offer 
and enter
Promo Code

The lucky winner will be announced next Thursday, September 29th!

****This giveaway is now closed****

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Little Rub 'N Buff.......

did the trick.  Remember when I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do with these sconces in our entry foyer?

Then after you all came through in a major way with all of your wonderful suggestions I gave them a mini- transformation just by reinventing the candle sleeves.

Well, even after the mini transformation I still felt like they weren't quite working for me.  Sometimes it just isn't right until it's right.  You know?  I learned about the awesomeness that is rub 'n buff from the extremely talented Janell of Isabella & Max Rooms.  The main thing that wasn't sitting well with me was the super shiny finish.  I like gold.  There's no doubt about that, but something about the shiny gold of these fixtures just wasn't working here.  So, I ran not walked to my nearest Hob Lob and picked up some rub 'n buff in gold leaf.  (Before I used it on my sconces, I experimented with it on some cabinet hardware.)  I just rubbed and buffed each sconce.  I didn't even take them down from the wall.  Yes, I am a rebel; thank you very much!

Here's how they look now!

Much better, no?  Still goldtastic but in a not so flash back to the 80's kind of way.  I also changed the candle sleeves again!  White greek key ribbon this time.  I like this look much better.  I'm actually sort of obsessed with my little tube of rub 'n buff now.

The hubs is sceeered!  I can't help myself; it's like the greatest thing since Coke Zero!

I mean look what Andrea did with the stuff!

From this.....

to this!


Amazing right?

Are you obsessed with rub 'n buff too?  It's a tiny little tube that makes a BIG impact.

- Don't forget the Pawmetto giveaway is still open!  Your fur people will be so proud of you for entering!

*Linking up to Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style, Thrifty Decor Chick

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Piano Keys And Telling Our Story

When our painter friend came to lighten up the kitchen walls I also had him tackle another project.  I have always wanted an entry foyer with a piano key staircase.  That is the best way I know how to describe that look.  You know white risers and black treads.  I have always been a sucker for anything and everything black and white.  This was a project I could have done myself, but our painter friend is much faster than I am.  He was already going to be painting our vaulted (I don't paint vaulted rooms) kitchen so why not have him tackle the stairs in between coats?

Here she is - the staircase I have always wanted!

Ack!  I'm in love!  He used an oil-based paint and only applied 2 coats.  I'm sorry I don't know the brand of paint he used.  I didn't want a full coverage.  I asked him to let a little wood grain show through so it would look more like a stain.  Painting is much less labor intensive than staining.  There's a lot less sanding involved as you don't have to remove the top coat of poly from the wood treads.  He did sand them lightly just to give the paint something to stick to.  I would only recommend using an oil-based paint for a project like this one.  It really is more durable than acrylic.  Each coat had to dry about 8 hours before anyone could walk on the stairs.  Thank goodness we have a first floor master!  The kids enjoyed sleeping in our room for a couple of nights.  We were thankful when the stairs were completely dry and they could return to their own beds.  ;)  Again, this is a project I could have tackled on my own, but getting it done quickly was sort of a priority (what with the kids sleeping in our bed and all).  No doubt this would have taken me much longer than it took our professional painter friend.  

I never got a true before picture.  Here's a glimpse of how they looked before.  


Is the black going to be easy to keep clean?  I'll answer that with a question.  Is anything easy to keep clean when you have 2 kids and 2 dogs?  Some of the very best things in life are high maintenance.  Babies and black floors are two of them.  In my opinion - both. are. totally. worth. it!  

As for the "telling our story" part of this post, I added some story telling artwork to the staircase wall.  In addition to giving our entry foyer a sassy dose of snarkiness, I also wanted to give it some history.  I guess I like to let the walls do the talking?   I picked up some frames in the home section of Kroger.  They were marked 50% off and cost $10 each.  They came with a white mat that had three 8x10 inch openings.  I had space for five of them on the staircase wall.  Can you think of anything else of which we've had five?  Does five houses ring a bell?  ;)  I enlarged a black and white photo of all five of our houses and hung them in order first to last (and current) going up the staircase.  

Here is a close-up of our third.  

That house will always be very special to us.  It is where we went from a family of 2 to 4.  Even though our daughter had only lived there for 6 weeks when we moved to Pittsburgh.  

The hubs printed the numbers and addresses from his computer.  He doesn't remember what font he used.  This is why I'm the blogger.  ;)  My only regret is that we used regular printer paper; card stock would have looked much better I think.  I didn't think of this until after I had hung them via black command strips on the wall.  Did you know they come in black now?  So great for hanging black frames!  

Measuring and hanging these frames was super fun!  Said in my most sarcastic voice ever.  All I can say is I hope these stay on this wall for a long time because I DO NOT want to go through the process of hanging pictures on a staircase wall ever again.  Make sure you have a partner to help you.  You will need someone to pour you a glass of wine. ;) 


Anyone else enamored with all things black and white?  What type of artwork is hanging in your entry foyer?  Have you framed a picture of your house -past or present?

*Linking up here
Tip Junkie handmade projects

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