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Archive for July, 2007

Firepits are great in the winter but pretty much just a collector of desert dust all summer long.  Here’s an idea for putting this popular winter must-have to use when it’s 100 degrees-plus outside, brighten it up with a colorful plant!

First, be sure to select a pot that compliments your firepit as far as color and design goes.  In the photo shown, the firepit has a border of earth tones so we went with a standard terracotta pot, but with a more flared shape.  If you have a firepit that is one solid color or all metal, select a pot with more color to make it pop.

For lower profile pots like the one we used, you can raise it by placing one pot upside down, then placing your planted pot on top of it.  This helps lift it out of the firepit (see the two photos) so you can see more of the flowers and the pot itself.

Obviously you need to pick a plant/flowers that can stand the heat, which can be the real challenge.  Succulents that tolerate direct sun, like the variety of portulaca shown, tend to do best. 

Just another fun use of stuff you already have to add color and depth to your backyard during the hot summer months!

firepit-flowers1.jpg  supporting-pot.jpg supporting-pot-2.jpg

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I hit the jackpot today on patio furniture and thought I’d pass along my find.  The Ahwatukee store has limited stuff left and it’s marked down 30% so I was going to make my move.  There were two chairs, a table and an outdoor rug that I liked.  While awaiting an inventory check I ended up speaking to one of the salespeople at length.  This is what I learned:

 Apparently the Tukee store is one of the leaders in the state for sales.  Because of that it’s one of the last to have merchandise marked down.  I had to test what I’d just learned so promptly headed to the Chandler store and what did I find but 50% off for the same furniture!!  Lucky for me they had more chairs that weren’t available at the Ahwatukee store and a bigger selection on the outdoor rugs.   I bought two of everything.  (just kidding, I left a few things…)

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Little Remodeling Secrets

Just like finding a killer deal on a pair of shoes (or something else that stikes your fancy, guys) , finding a great deal when you’re remodeling is equally as exhilirating.  Here’s a couple of places to keep in mind when you’re shopping a remodel.

Stardust Building Supplies.  Obviously it’s a great place to donate the stuff you take out of your house (and get the tax deduction).  But have you ever thought to look there for your remodeling needs?  It’s a stretch, but every now and again you can find what you need. 

When we remodeled our master bathroom I was tempted to tear out our bathtub.  But, being a Realtor I know better; you keep the tub for resale value.  We had to trash the old one and to replace it we were looking at $500-600.  I wanted to spend that money on nicer fixtures or higher-end tile so we began to hunt for an alternate solution.  We found a great soaking tub (see picture below) at Stardust for $100.  Killer deal.  Check them out at http://www.stardustbuilding.org/    Be sure to take your measurements on stuff like this before you go.  My friend recently did the same but came home with a tub that was too big for her space. 

Construction Lots.  My neighbor turned me on to them.  They have higher end stuff for less.  So, while it’s not cheap, you can get a deal on bigger name items.  Sinks and plumbing fixtures are a good find here and the tile prices are decent, too.  Here’s an example: Lowe’s has a 3″x11″ glass tile/mix border for $16 ea.   You can get a similar 12″x12″ sheet at Construction Lots for $25 then cut it into three 3″x12″ strips which amounts to a little more than $8 ea.  Actually, it’s a better savings than that when you consider you’ll have 2″ left on each sheet that can be added to the left-over on another sheet.  Here’s their website http://www.constructionlots.com/   

Craig’s List.  You can find various deals here, too.  It just depends on what you’re looking for – or what you want to get rid of.  You can typically do much better selling larger items (furniture, baby gear, housewares, etc.) on Craig’s List than via a garage sale.  When we tore out our old bathroom I sold our glass block on Craig’s List then applied that cash toward the remodeling project.  One woman’s trash was another man’s treasure.  Be sure to check the going rate for certain items.  If you price items too high they’ll just sit.  Sort of like trying to sell a house that’s priced too high, it’ll just sit in this market!

Soaking Tub

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