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Making Your Home A Haven

"Doodling is thinking in disguise."

By Cristine L Masson | Agent in 85331
  • Natural Pest Control Solutions !

    Posted Under: Going Green in Scottsdale  |  May 7, 2013 6:29 PM  |  367 views  |  1 comment
    ANTS be gone .....the green way

    1. Baking soda is poisonous to ants, spinkle it around your plants to ensure ants will stay away.

    2. Flour & Baby Powder will keep ants from reaching your plants, ants will not cross the powder – so circle your plants with it.

    3. You can use coffee grounds, chili powder, cinnamon, peppermint or black pepper. All deter ants and if you pour coffee grounds directly on an anthill, they will eat the coffee grounds and implode.

    4. Grits, instant rice & cream of wheat can be sprinkled around plants. The ant will eat a piece of whichever you sprinkle, drink water and the grain expands and kills the ant.

    5. Fill a spray bottle with 1 part vinegar and 1 part water and spray on plants. The acid in vinegar will kills ants.

    6. Mix together one-third cup of molasses, six tablespoons of sugar, and six tablespoons of active dry yeast into a smooth paste.
    Use the mixture to coat strips of cardboard. Keep out of reach of pets and small children. You can leave mixture on a saucer outside anthill and they’ll eat it and die!

    7. Fold contact paper in half, with the sticky side out and make a circle around base of plant. The ants get stuck on the paper – problem solved.

    8. Cut off the bottom of a paper cup and cut a slit up the side of the cup and coat outside with vaseline and place around base of plant. You can also use packing tape.

    9. Mix one cup of borax, two-thirds a cup sugar and one cup water. Dip cotton balls in the solution and place in areas near your anthill Ants will leave the plants alone and ingest the sweet mixture. The borax kills the ants.

    10. Diatomaceous Earth is a commonly sold organic pesticide that will destroy the insects outer skeletons, causing the pests to die from dehydration.

    Set out cucumber peels or slices in the kitchen or at the ants' point of entry. Many ants have a natural aversion to cucumber. Bitter cucumbers work best!

    Leave a few tea bags of mint tea near areas where the ants seem most active. Dry, crushed mint leaves or cloves also work as ant deterrents.

    Stay Tuned and will post more on other pests and natural remedies over the next few days !
    Hope these help in your efforts to control the pests without hurting your families.


    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Scottsdale, Going Green in Scottsdale  |  September 5, 2012 11:55 PM  |  529 views  |  No comments

    Scottsdale Police Department's Drug Take Back

    September 29, 2012

    The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has scheduled another National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.  This is a great opportunity to dispose of any unwanted, unused prescription drugs.

    Safely dispose your medications at the Scottsdale Police Department Kiosk in the Barneys New York Wing 10am - 2pm, Saturday, September 29,2012

    7014 East Camelback
    Scottsdale, AZ 85251
    (480) 941-2140
    Get Directions
  • What are the messages your home is sending out to you?

    Posted Under: Going Green in Scottsdale, Design & Decor in Scottsdale  |  February 1, 2012 4:19 PM  |  592 views  |  2 comments

    6 Easy Steps to a More Clutter-Free Life

    "How we care for our home is a subtle but significant expression of self-esteem."
    —Gunilla Norris

    What are the messages your home is sending out to you? Are you receiving peaceful or chaotic vibes? You must realize that your home is revealing your life story and can either facilitate your growth or stunt it. As you know, clutter shrinks your personal and professional energy, binding you to "things" rather than allowing your energy to skyrocket. By the end of the first week you will find that all that ‘stuff’ has really been weighing you down and how little you will miss most of it.

    Imagine you are the driver in the front car of a train. You are going from New York to California to follow your dream of living by the beach. Your plan is to get to Los Angeles in three days, but at every stop, you pick up dozens of freight cars that attach onto your back. Your speed becomes slower and slower. You suddenly realize that you have accumulated five miles of cargo behind you. Do you think you'll get to California in the same amount of time as originally planned? Are you lagging and more likely to get bogged down with engine problems?

    Here's the message. Keeping your clutter is like carrying miles of freight energy on your back. It blocks you from stretching your wings and flying towards your successful destiny.

    Trying to figure out how to free up the clutter causing stress in your life?  Working one room at a time , set a timer (this gives you ‘permission’ to stop at the end of a predetermined time or reset to a new stopping point), and put on a great audio book or a friend with a good glass of wine will all make the job less daunting.

    It’s important to begin clearing clutter today. Try to look beyond the clutter and visualize how you will feel when your home and mind are clean. Start with the baby steps listed below. If you find your momentum, don't stop. Clearing clutter is your ticket to happiness, success, productivity and a beautiful home!

    1.      In general, quickly recycle junk mail as well as old newspapers and magazines. If there are articles you want to keep, cut them out and put them in a special box. When it is full take a few moments at the end of each week to reduce.

    2.      In the bedroom, clear clutter from underneath your bed. Go through your closet and let go of old and unworn clothes, shoes, belts, hats and scarves. They can be given to a charitable organization or friends. Remove photos or mementos from people that drain your energy. Wash your drapes and bedding.

    3.      In the living room, go through your bookcase and give away half-read books that you never intend to read again. You can keep books you love, refer to, have sentimental value and move you forward towards your goals. Let go of books that no longer serve you (i.e. books from a past career, from college or an outgrown hobby) and donate them to a local library. Clear your bookshelves to open the door for new interests. Buy a couple books that move you in your desired direction. Repeat this with your CDs, DVD's and photos. Excessive amounts of freebies, such as all those pens you’ve collected are great things to give away, and the ones you want to keep put in a silverware organizer so they are easy to get to and only the ones that will fit in are kept.

    4.      Vertical surfaces attract piles, cleared surfaces attract smiles! De-clutter your coffee table and mantel. Take everything off and then only put back the objects you need, use or love. Beauty and organization is the key.  Get a decorative box to place your remote controls!  Instead, place a favorite book with a beautiful picture on the cover.  It’s a good conversation piece.

    5.      Re-access your collections. Group like items together so you can truly see all of an item that you have (e.g. Vases).  Can you downsize? You may want to give a few away or sell them on the Internet. Making space and some money for new hobbies and interests. If parting with particular items is stressful, try putting them in a closed box for a trial separation. Label it and put the date on the bin; a year from now, if you haven’t used anything in the box, donate it without even opening it.

    6.       Dust, vacuum and clean your windows. Open the windows and let fresh air inside. Invite the fresh energy of spring to flow into your life!

    Maintaining a clutter-free life gets easier as you establish new habits. Avoid the urge to buy more stuff; as time goes on, you’ll find its second nature to ask, “Do I really need this?” Need to let go of some belongings? Here’s inspiration from architect Sarah Susanka, bestselling author of The Not So Big House: A Blueprint for the Way We Really Live (Taunton, 2001). “We are all hunting for more meaning in our lives. And the way that we do that is extremely ineffective. We buy more and more stuff, believing that the stuff is going to give us that feeling of satisfaction. There’s always this longing for something we don’t have. We end up in this cycle of accumulation of things that are supposed to make us feel better, but with multiplicity, we end up overwhelmed and incredibly dissatisfied––overwhelmed with what was supposed to be this life-enhancing thing that has become this albatross. And the more we have the more of an albatross it is.  What we really want is meaning. And we can’t get meaning with stuff. In the same way stuff is a surrogate for meaning, a bigger and bigger house is what we think is going to make us feel at home. In fact, it has the opposite effect. An awful lot of the stuff we have—and I’m not talking about one or two things, I’m talking about 50 percent—we literally never use and are never planning to use again, but can’t let go of. They are basically objects in which we’ve invested dreams that didn’t happen. It’s very difficult to let go of the dreams, even though we know that they didn’t actually bring us the satisfaction we were hoping for. What I recommend is: Get a self-storage unit. Give yourself a year. Take the things that you are not using right now and know that if you really miss something, you can go get it. And then after the end of that year, see if you actually even remember what is in that storage unit. If you don’t, that’s The Stuff—you need to have a big garage sale or estate sale.” 

  • 5 Key Actions to help water savings around your home!

    Posted Under: Going Green in Scottsdale, How To... in Scottsdale, Property Q&A in Scottsdale  |  August 23, 2011 7:06 AM  |  533 views  |  No comments
    So many ways to save water, here are the highlights for 5 key actions to help you capture the water savings around your home. Click on the "Learn more" to find out additional information for each action. Remember, every drop counts!
    1. Stop Those Leaks!
    Check your indoor water using appliances and devices for leaks. Check out Leak Detection and Repair. Many silent leaks allow water and your money to go down the drain. To help detect unseen leaks go to Read Your Meter. Studies have shown homes can waste more than 10% due leaking, which costs both you and the environment. Another large water waster can be leaks in your irrigation system. Fix irrigation system leaks quickly and check for water in the gutters or mud puddles. Inspect your sprinklers and drip sprayers regularly for leaks during the daytime since the optimal time to water is in the nighttime hours when you cannot observe leaks. If you have an older irrigation system, over 50% and even more than 75% of the water can be lost to leaks. Learn more about irrigation systems...
     2. Replace your old Toilet, the largest water user inside your home.
    If your home was built before 1992 and the toilet has never been replaced, then it is very likely that you do not have a water efficient 1.6 gallon per flush toilet. You can check the date stamp inside the toilet by lifting the lid and looking at the back of the toilet at the manufacturer's imprint of the make, model and date of manufacture. Learn more about toilets...
    3. Replace your Clothes Washer, the second largest water user in your home.
    Energy Starâ„¢ rated washers that also have a Water Factor at or lower than 9.5, use 35-50% less water and 50% less energy per load. This saves you money on both your water and energy bills. There is a current qualifying products listing of water efficient clothes washer models maintained by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency. Learn more about clothes washers...
     4. Plant the Right Plants with Proper Landscape Design & Irrigation
    Whether you are putting in a new landscape or slowly changing the current landscaping at your home, select plants that are appropriate for your local climate conditions. Having yard with 100% lawn turf area in a dry desert climate uses significant amounts of water. Also consider the trend towards Xeriscapeâ„¢ and a more natural landscape or wildscape. Learn more about landscaping...
    5. Water Only What Your Plants Need
    Most water is wasted in your garden by watering when you plants do not need the water or by not maintaining the irrigation system. Be attentive if you are manual watering by setting your oven timer or some other reminder to move the water promptly. Make sure your irrigation controller has a rain shutoff device and that it's appropriately scheduled. Most water is wasted in months prior to or just after the rainy season when intermittent rains occur. You can also consider installing a weather adjusting ET irrigation controller (see description in glossary) that automatically saves water by not watering when the plants don't need the water, check with your local water provider to inquire if ET controllers work in your area. Learn more about using the features that you have in your garage for efficient watering like your hose and irrigation controller timer... Be sure to call your local water provider for more information and potential incentives.
    On this web site http://www.h2ouse.org/index.cfm are many book and web site resources available to help research choices for water saving home appliances and landscaping choices. Check out the Library, Bookstore and Links web pages under Resources for more information. Enjoy looking through the rest of the water saver web site. For all the ways to save, start with the whole home tour. GO NOW!

  • Is your irrigation system leaking?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Scottsdale, Going Green in Scottsdale, How To... in Scottsdale  |  August 23, 2011 7:01 AM  |  487 views  |  2 comments
    Water Meter Leak Detection  (found at H2ouse.org)

    First it is important to understand how to read your water meter.

    To check for leaks follow these steps:

    Method 1

    Turn off all water taps inside and outside your home. Record the meter reading and return in two to three hours to check for movement. If the meter reading has changed, you may have a leak.

    Method 2

    Many meters have a small red (or blue) triangle on the meter face, designed to detect even small leaks. If this red triangle is moving when you have all water off inside and outside your home, you may have a leak.

    Common sources of leaks are a toilet that is running, a constant drip in a sink or outdoor faucet, a loose or dripping washer connection, a home water treatment unit, an evaporative cooler unit, or a sprinkler system.

    Shutting off Water at Your Meter

    Should you need to shut off the supply of water to your house (to repair a leak, etc.) there is usually a shutoff valve right at the water meter. The water meter shutoff valve typically looks like a brass bolt located on the pipe connected to the water meter. Often this bolt will have an arrow stamped into the top indicating the direction of flow. To shut off the water supply, use a large pair of pliers to turn the bolt 90 degrees. You can check to make sure that the water is off by operating a faucet or hose bib. To restore the water supply to your home, simply turn the bolt back to the position you found it.

    As water is absorbed quickly in the desert, the faster you determine the source of the leak the more money you will save on your water bill which is usually billed in tiers.

  • PACKRATS a problem? If you live in AZ the answer is YES!....

    Posted Under: Remodel & Renovate in Scottsdale, Going Green in Scottsdale  |  June 8, 2011 8:07 AM  |  574 views  |  No comments
    http://mrpackrat.net/Packrats.htm has to be one of the most informative sites to explain how they think, where they can and will get into and how to prevent damage from these critters.  Although I love the wildlife here in AZ, nothing better than listening to the coyotes at night, I am not willing to risk my family's health (rat droppings) and replace wiring around the home. 
    Here is one of the categories they cover:

    Doing it Right – Step by Step

    1. Inspection

    Determine the buffer zone. Locate existing nests and potential nesting sites in the area. 


    Experience makes a difference. There is no cost or obligation for an inspection by Tucson’s expert - Mr. Pack Rat.


    2. Live Trap at the nest sites

    Nests should never be disturbed until the resident rat is caught and removed. A displaced pack rat must have shelter and may seek a car or your house for its new home. 


    Mr. Pack Rat is licensed by AZ Game & Fish to live trap pack rats and other nuisance animals – landscapers and typical exterminators are not.


    3. Treat the Nest

    Once the resident pack rat is removed, the parasites and other pests living in the nest may move outwards if the nest is not promptly treated. 


    Mr Pack Rat is also licensed and certified by the AZ Structural Pest Control Commission to apply pesticides. Mr. Pack Rat uses only natural materials to treat nests.


    4. Remove the Nest

    Within 24 hours of removing the resident rat the nest needs to be completely removed before another rat moves in. Proper thinning and trimming needs to be done in the immediate area to prevent new nesting. All debris should be removed. In some cases physical exclusion is needed to keep rats out. 


    Again, experience counts! Mr. Pack Rat knows how to do the job right so that the rats won’t be back!


    5. Prevention

    Pack rats need a sheltered area to feel secure enough to start a new nest. Deny them protection and they will move on. Refer to the Pack Rat Prevention Tips section for details. Homeowners in high risk areas may also want to consider Mr. Pack Rat’s “rat-proofing” to protect their home, garage, pool heater, spa and out buildings. 


    Mr. Pack Rat provides prevention recommendations with each free inspection and also offers Deter-Scape, a natural landscaping nuisance wildlife prevention service.

  • Easy and Inexpensive Green Energy Savings To Do Now .....

    Posted Under: Going Green in Scottsdale  |  June 7, 2011 11:08 AM  |  305 views  |  5 comments
    Simple and efficient green home improvements are on the minds of many homeowners today.  Small actions can create big change -- especially when it comes to the environment.
    • CFLs use less energy to cast the same amount of light. (A 13- to 15-watt CFL, for instance, is equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent.). Do remember because CFLs contain mercury, they shouldn’t be thrown in the trash. You can recycle them through Ikea and Home Depot, or check at your local recycling center. If you break a CFL do note that because CFLs contain small amounts of mercury, you need to be meticulous if one shatters. Ventilate the room for 15 minutes. Wearing rubber gloves, scoop up the debris with cardboard and use duct tape to secure any fragments. Place the pieces in a zippered plastic bag and toss in the trash.  If you want to use dimmable feature please make sure to buy dimmable CFLs. Since the avg home in Scottsdale has at least 40+ bulbs in it and each one of these 60W replacements save almost $12 a year (see this site for exact savings calculator)  http://www.pathnet.org/sp.asp?id=19983   --- the standard bulbs can even be found at your local dollar store making the savings add up quickly.

    • Walk around your home and ,on all of your interior walls which are also exterior walls,  note the number of outlets / lightswitches ........for very little money your local home improvement store carries pre-cut foam inserts (contractor multi-pack available for even more savings) that you simply place between the outlet / lightswitch cover and the wall.  The amount of heat / cooling loss that you save will add up very quickly with just such a small effort to stop the leaks that are found around all of these areas. Particularly as the A/C season is just starting ...saving money and doing the green thing does not need to be expensive nor cumbersome ...have fun and use the savings for other things!
    Making a difference one home at a time !

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