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In many places, spring got a late start this year. So it’s no surprise if you’re just now getting outside to look around at what Mother Nature left behind and decide on what you need to do to tune up your home for summer.
Here are a dozen to-dos to make certain that your home is in top shape – healthy, attractive, and performing well.
1. First impressions. Take a hard look at the impression your front entrance makes, especially if your house is on the market. Look at places like Pinterest and HGTV for ideas on how to make a better first impression. Some examples include adding a pop of color by repainting your front door, changing door hardware, adding lights, installing window boxes, and ensuring that your steps and railings are sturdy and look fresh. Learn about the value of doing outdoor upgrades and the projects that bring the greatest joy and ROI.
2. Winter damage. Do an exterior walk-around and check for winter damage. For example, be certain gutters aren’t clogged with leaves and debris. Inspect your foundation for cracks and openings that could allow bugs and vermin to get inside. Check decks and porches for loose boards, rot, and unstable railings.
3. Clean air. Tune up your air conditioner to keep it working at ideal capacity and save energy.
4. Leaks. Check your faucets, toilet flapper, and valves and fix any leaks. According to the EPA, a leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year – the equivalent to 180 showers. Also, turn your shut-off valves on and off to be sure they don’t get frozen in place.
5. Keep cool air inside. Check your weather-stripping to be sure it’s not dried out or falling down. Though it’s thought of as a winter project, weather-stripping also helps you keep cool air in and hot air out during the summer.
6. Purge chemicals. Hunt through your garage, basement, and cabinets and round up all the toxic chemicals, paint strippers, weed killers, toxic cleaning products, and so forth. Find a local recycler.
7. Lawn alternatives. Letting go of the lawn eliminates the need for maintenance and mowing, which buys you more leisure time. By replacing a chemical hungry lawn with native plants, you can save water (and money spent on your water bill) and eliminate pesticides and fertilizers, which is better for your family’s health and the environment. Learn more here.
8. Plant trees. Strategically placed trees on your lot can provide shade that reduces your energy costs by up to 25%, according to U.S. Department of Energy’s computer modeling. Learn to pick, plan, and maintain trees here.
9. Compost. Build a compost center and to reduce your garbage output and create a free source of rich nutrients for your garden.
10. Harvest water. Reduce your water bill by installing a rain barrel to capture rainwater that can be used for watering plants and flowers. Buy rain barrels or take a DIY approach.
11.  Mold. Maintain your house in a way that prevents mold growth. According to the University of Georgia, mold sources include:
Plumbing pipe and fixture leaks
Roof leaks
Flooding
High humidity levels from:
        o clothes dryer that is not properly vented
        o non-working exhaust fans in kitchen and bathrooms
        o a large number of indoor houseplants
        o unvented kerosene or gas heaters
        o water collection in crawl spaces or basements
12.  Leave your shoes at the door. Look closely at the sidewalks you walk on. Do you want to track dust, pesticides, cigarette ash, and dog waste into your house and on the floors where pets and kids play? See the University of Arizona study to learn about the gross, unhealthy things that come inside on the bottoms of your shoes.
Article written by Elyse Umlauf-Garneau

Gardening can help decrease stress, improve physical health, better your nutrition, and help you socialize. Here are the health benefits of gardening.
— Read on www.marthastewart.com/gardening-health-benefits

Nice to come home & be greeted in the driveway by these lovely beauties. Two weeks of daily rain & sunshine has doubled the size of my hibiscus 🌺. After a super busy-long day, the sight of all of these flowers made me smile. I needed to stop & appreciate the bright colors on a such gray day. 😎

So many things to do & so little time …this weekend in the St Pete, Florida area. Such a variety that something should tickle your fancy.

Friday, June 9th

Brucie Klay Dance Center: Happily Ever After at The Mahaffey
A show containing all types of dance starring children ages 3-18. Includes many well known stories such as ‘Sleeping Beauty’, ‘Babes in Toyland’ and ‘Alice in Wonderland’. 7pm. $21. The Mahaffey, 400 1st Street South.

Cocktails at the Chihuly Collection
View the new special exhibition at the Chihuly Collection – Solas: Light Informs Glass while enjoying cocktails, light eats and a talk by Chihuly Collection Executive Director Andy Schlauch. 6-8pm. $25 per person. Chihuly Collection, 720 Central Avenue.

Tampa Bay Rays vs Oakland A’s at Tropicana Field (All Weekend)
The Rays face the Athletics this weekend in St. Pete. 7:10pm on Friday, 2:10pm on Saturday, 1:10pmon Sunday. On Friday, the Rays host their PRIDE Night! OneBlood will be on-site collecting blood donations from 4-9pm, and the Rays will salute Pulse Nightclub survivors with a recognition on the field, beginning at 6:30pm. Use code PRIDE5 at checkout for discount tickets. Special performances of the National Anthem and flag ceremony are also planned. Tropicana Field, 1 Tropicana Drive.

Ink Mania: See the wide range of artistic, often beautiful forms of self expression at the Ink Mania tattoo convention this weekend at St. Petersburg’s Coliseum. You can get inked by a number of award-winning tattoo artists from around the world, get a body piercing, attend seminars and enter a tattoo contest. There’s an art fusion wall and a graffiti contest, as well as a pin-up pageant. The family-friendly expo features specialty vendors, live entertainment and a DJ battle. There will be beer and food trucks. Proceeds help benefit children with autism. Admission is $25 for a single-day ticket, $48 for two days or $60 for three. It runs from 2-11 p.m. Friday, noon to midnight Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. 535 Fourth Ave. N. inkmaniaexpo.com.

Project: Art Lounge: St. Petersburg’s Museum of Fine Arts invited area brewing companies to create Florida-themed limited batch “liquid art” for a one-night-only exhibition and tasting party on Friday. The evening will also include a special Florida-themed beer in celebration of the upcoming “Skyway: A Contemporary Collaboration,” crafted by 2016’s Best of Show winner and the St. Pete Homebrew Club. The taps will be open at 7 p.m. at 255 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg. $60, $45 for members in advance; $75 at door; $30 designated drivers. Includes beer tastings, glassware, food and the galleries.

Bone Fishing Slam and BBQ: A family friendly weekend of fishing, live music and barbecue with pig races each day is coming to Madeira Beach. “The Baddest BBQ on the Bone”, running in conjunction with the Bone Fishing Slam, will also have a boat showcase, marine and art vendors, a kids fishing rodeo, live concerts and a kids zone. Anglers of all ages and skill levels will compete in a multiple species, inshore and offshore fishing tournament with more than $25,000 in prizes up for grabs. Friday night will be one of the largest seawall fishing tournaments for kids in the state, and it’s free admission, free parking, free water ferry from parking lot to event site and even free fishing rods to the first 250 kids. The festival runs 5-11 p.m. today and Friday, noon-11 p.m. Saturday at the Madeira Beach recreation field at 200 Rex Place. oldsaltfishing.org.

Saturday, June 10th

International Young Eagles Day Flight Rally at Albert Whitted Airport  AWESOME!!!
Come experience the thrill of flying with free flights for kids ages 8-17. You will have the chance to actually fly in an airplane and look at the world below you. You are invited to take to the skies and become a Young Eagle! 10am-1pm. Albert Whitted Airport, 451 8th Avenue Southeast.

Retro double-header: The Tampa Bay Rays will be in faux ’70s jerseys for a Turn Back the Clock event Saturday at the ballpark with ’70s music, “Hamburger Helper in a cone,” as well as TV dinners, fried Twinkies rolled in monster cereals, fried Kool-Aid and a Buzz Aldrin drink special. SAY WHAT?!?!??  For the 2:10 p.m. first game Saturday, the Rays will wear their retro uniforms, there will be a banner parade after the first game that fans are invited to join. One ticket gets admission to both games; prices start at $26. raysbaseball.com.

Fringe Flea Market at Urban Deli and Drafts
Flea market under the stars during the St. Pete Art Walk in Grand Central District. Vendors include B + G Succulents; Soydles Candle Co.; Organic Beard Supply; Feathers, Fate & Steel Boutique; Crochet Diva; Nativa Accessories; Gems N Jewels By Delilah; Hahn’s Kettle Corn. 7-10pm. Urban Deli and Drafts, 2410 Central Avenue.

Works in Lego at Studio@620   YES!!!!
The Studio@620 presents a unique exhibition of artwork created with LEGO blocks from local artist Jay Hoff. Works are inspired by everything from Star Wars to your neighbor’s dog… that is to say something for everyone! Opening reception begins at 5pm. Free and open to the public. Studio@620, 620 1st Avenue South.

Tampa Bay Rowdies vs Rochester Rhinos at Al Lang Stadium
Bring #MLS2STPETE by packing the stadium. Join us this Saturday, June 10, to celebrate Pride Night at Al Lang Stadium!
The Rowdies host the Rochester Rhinos, presented by USAmeriBank, with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. With the Green & Gold in second place in the USL East, the players need your support now more than ever to fight for first place! Come watch 90 minutes of nonstop soccer action! Tickets start at just $11 for kids, students and members of the military. Al Lang Stadium, 230 1st Street Southeast, St Pete

Third Eye Blind: The band’s self-titled debut has aged so well that it’s spawned a 20-year anniversary reissue and tour, during which they’ll play it front to back in full. Their show with Silversun Pickups hits Clearwater’s Coachman Park at 7 p.m. Saturday. $25.25 and up. (727) 791-7400. rutheckerdhall.com.

Sunday, June 11th

Yoga on Tap at Green Bench Brewing with Alix, Zach & with musical guests DUO VIDA for a Flow Down in the great outdoors. These talented beauties will create an atmosphere that invites transformation. Begins at 11am. $10 in advance/$5 BE members (yearly or monthly unlimited)/$15 at the door. Green Bench, 1133 Baum Avenue North.

Rainwater Harvesting Workshop with Anthony Paglino at St. Pete Eco-Village
Learn how to build and install an internet connected rainwater harvesting system for your home garden from Anthony Paglino, creator of Raincube.io. 1-5pm. St. Pete Eco-Village, 302 15th Street North.

 

 

IMG_9434

Last Friday, after having 4 home inspections, I decided on the way home to St Petersburg from Ruskin/Apollo Beach area to take a 15 minute break in a very hectic week. In the last 3 months I have passed this fruit stand almost weekly but never have had the time to stop.

 

 

Oh, I am so glad that I did. As I pulled up there sat a John Deere tractor sporting its famous green & yellow paint. Good so far. The closer I walked to the building the stronger the citrus smell was-one of my absolutely favorite scents. It immediately took me back to when I lived in Northern California and when the Silicon Valley which was still called the Santa Clara Valley filled with orchards, fruit stands & small vineyards.

IMG_9431

Did I mention that the temperature here in Florida on this sunny clear January afternoon was 72 degrees? The license plates in the parking lot read their cold winter names off to me-Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Connecticut, Iowa, Quebec, Ontario, Vermont, Maine-you get the idea. I thought how nice it is that I live  just only about an hour away, but yet 50 years back in time.

I was greeted by several happy Dooley Grove employees with samples of orange & grapefruit juices only hours off the trees, one of which spoke German to me so I was able to practice a little bit of my German. There were also samples of various citrus fruits including grapefruit, pink Pomelos, tangerines, Ponderosa lemons, Orlando tangelos, Honeybells & oranges (of course, this is Florida after all). I was in citrus heaven!! You can buy the fruit individually (as I did) or by the pound or by the peck or the bushel. When was the last time you bought something by the bushel or a peck? So a bushel is equal to 8 dry gallons or 4 pecks, used for corns, oats, & various grains. I knew that one. Okay, so I had to look up a peck. A peck is equal to 2 dry gallons or 8 quarts or 16 pints OR 1/4 of a bushel. The other guests were buying bags or bushels full of fruit while I purchased my 5 Honeybells & Orlando tangelos. Some guests were waiting for their tour of the groves & then a turn at picking their own fruit. Everyday in January & February they have “u-pick” tours for groups of 6 to 24 people. Dooley Groves is a 3rd generation family owned & run business in Ruskin. Ruskin was founded in 1908 on the shores of the Little Manatee River.

So if you ever find yourself in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, you might want to stop by for some fresh citrus & take a step back in time.

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deck3

Houzz

1. Poolside lounge. If you have a pool (lucky you!) why not steer away from the usual plastic deck furniture in favor of something sleeker and more chic? A sea grass daybed, linen-backed deck chairs and a Moroccan tea table create a light, airy feel in this poolside space. Unwind under the shade of an oversize umbrella with a tall glass of something on ice and your favorite trashy novel. No pool? This look would work equally well on a backyard deck— I would surround
the seating area with big pots of fragrant plants, like lavender.

eclectic porch

Houzz/Sarah Natsumi Moore

2. Patio hangout. Who says only kids get to have fun on swings? Juice up your patio with a colorful indoor-outdoor hanging chair and a few big potted plants with interesting foliage, and swing your worries away.

traditional deck

Houzz/Hunter Design

3. Secret reading nook. If what you love most is to escape with a good book, a tucked-away reading nook is what you need. In a corner of this garden, a cushioned bench gets extra privacy from hanging vintage shutters and vines trailing down from overhead.

farmhouse porch

Houzz/Moontower Design Build

4. Napworthy porch. A covered porch is the perfect place for napping — the fresh air and gentle breeze soothe, but the roof is there to protect you if a sudden shower springs up while you snooze. Any daybed makes a fine napping spot, but I think the rocking motion of a hanging bed is especially restful.

eclectic deck

Houzz/Vuong Interior Design

5. Backyard hideaway. Make a simple pergola in the backyard feel like an exotic getaway by stringing up white curtains all around and placing a cushy outdoor sofa or daybed underneath. The curtains not only create privacy but can also be adjusted to block the sun on a hot day.

contemporary landscape

B. Jane Gardens

6. Classic hammock. If you have nice, big trees in your backyard, why not put them to good use? String up a hammock and let the relaxation commence. Come home from work, kick off your shoes, grab something to drink and make a beeline to the backyard. No trees? You can also find hammocks that come with their own stands.

mediterranean patio

Houzz/Esther Hershcovich

7. Private dining area. Whether you want to dine al fresco or just bring a glass of wine outdoors on a pleasant weekend, having a welcoming table for two is essential. Find a place blocked from the wind — a corner of the garden would be ideal — and make it feel even more private by surrounding it in lush plantings. Keep a stash of fresh tablecloths indoors and carry one out with you when you want to hang out at your table — it’s the quickest and easiest way to keep your table looking fresh.

tropical porch

Houzz/Ashley Camper Photography

8. Tropical retreat. Deep, dark tropical and reclaimed wood furniture, moody lighting and a hammock converge on this porch to make an irresistible hideaway. Whether your idea of R&R involves pouring cocktails and playing cards with friends, or enjoying a little peace and quiet solo, a setup like this will have you covered. On a deck that gets a lot of sun, curtains or blinds can make the space much more comfortable. For a tropical look, try hanging simple (and inexpensive) bamboo blinds.

modern deck1

Houzz/Churreria Photography
9. Rooftop refuge.
 A chill-out zone like this one is essential for city dwellers. Even if your space is small (and the budget is limited), you can pull together a cute retreat with a café table for sitting and a blanket-covered futon and burlap pillows for lounging.

modern landscape

Houzz/EPT DESIGN

10. Simplicity. Sometimes all you need is a place to get away. Tuck a pair of chairs (butterfly chairs are always stylish) and a small table into a hidden area of your garden — perhaps even in a side yard. Surround the seating area with native grasses that will rustle in the breeze, and hang a wind chime for gentle sounds that help release stress.

This article originally appeared at Houzz. Copyright 2014. Follow Houzz on Twitter.

 

Sunken GardensOn Friday, June 6th from 5:30pm to 7:30pm

Join Us For Our “Pink Partaay” with a Local Artist Art Show, Live Music, Raffles and Refreshments.

Marion’s Gifts and Clothing

George and Lucy

George and Lucy

 

Sunken Gardens is a botanical garden in the middle of our city. As St. Petersburg’s oldest living museum, this 100 plus year old garden is home to some of the oldest tropical plants in the region, as well as exotic plants from around the world. There are more than 50,000 plants waterfalls, ponds and, of course, FLAMINGOS!!

Please read the wonderful message from Marion:
May 16, 2014
Hello,
My name is Marion Mitchell, owner of Marion’s Ladies Clothing and Gift Store on 4th Street North.  As a young girl, my family would travel 1500 miles from upstate New York to St. Pete at Christmastime.  A highlight of our trip was a visit to Sunken Gardens to see the flamingos.  The original flock of 17 flamingos was born in 1956 and over recent years the flock has been reduced to just 2 (George & Lucy).
As a business owner on 4th Street for the past 27 years, we realize the importance of Sunken Gardens as one of St. Pete’s treasures for tourists as well as us, the residents.  What would Sunken Gardens be without flamingos?  Wouldn’t you like to help rebuild the flock?  We are planning a couple of fun events to promote awareness and to raise funds to help purchase these wonderful birds for Sunken Gardens and we need your help:
Business Owners: We want to “Flock” 4th Street with Flamingos on this Saturday.  Our Goal is to have Flamingos in front of every business on 4th Street between 9th Ave. & 22nd Ave. N to show support and raise awareness.  Please see the attached form for Sponsorship information.  You do not want to be left out, so make sure your business is included!
Friday, June 6th 5:30-7:30 pm—“Pink Partaay” at Marion’s
We will be hosting a “Pink Partaay” featuring an Art Show with local artists and their works created just for this event.  There will be live music, refreshments and raffles.  We hope it will be a great start to your weekend, so you will want to be there!
Business Owners: We are asking that local businesses decorate their flamingos to be raffled off as an added fundraiser. Also, we are in need of raffle items for Drawings from our great local Businesses & Supporters.
Several businesses are interested in helping and we don’t want you to be left out of this special weekend.  We are super excited about these plans and there are many ways in which you and your business can be involved.  We think this is a wonderful way to support a St. Petersburg treasure and hope you will join us!
Sincerely,
Marion Mitchell Marion’s
1301 4th Street North St. Petersburg, FL 33701   727-821-2345   marmitch2@yahoo.com

 

 

 

Make a great first-impression and rev up the marketability of your home with eye-catching plantings that hide foundation walls. These ideas come from HouseLogic.com.

Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)

Height: 3-5 ft.
Spread: 3-5 ft.
Zones: 5-9
Best for: Front-and-center locations where hydrangea’s thick foliage and large, loopy blooms do a great job of hiding plain-Jane foundation walls. In neutral soil expect ball-shaped, pink and lavender blossoms; in slightly acidic soil, they’ll bloom deep blue.

Tip: Keep plants at least two feet from your siding to prevent moisture problems and give them room to spread.

Credit: Kathryn Zbrzezny

For more ideas on foundation plantings, please
Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/photos/plants-trees/foundation-plantings/slide/hydrangea-hydrangea-macrophylla/#ixzz32MTAjadd
Follow us: @HouseLogic on Twitter | HouseLogic on Facebook

Metal edging around grass in yard

Metal edging around grass in yard
Rigid metal edging creates a crisp barrier between grass and flower beds. Image: Jonica Designs

Ramp up your curb appeal with cool landscaping projects you can easily pull off in a weekend.

Project #1: Install Rigid Flower Bed Edging

The setup: A crisp edge where the lawn meets the flower beds looks great and eases mowing. Opt for rigid edging — the flexible plastic stuff looks amateurish from day one.

Use a charged garden hose to lay out a smooth curve.

Tip: A “charged” garden hose full of water makes for a smoother, kink-free curve; charge up by turning on the spigot but leaving the sprayer off.

With the hose as your guide, use a lawn edger or spade to cut away excess sod and make an incision for the edging. Tap in the edging with a rubber mallet and add the stakes. Trim the edging with a hacksaw, using a speed square to mark for cuts.

Specs and cost: Steel — $1.25 per lineal foot; aluminum — $2.25 plf; rigid plastic or fiberglass — $1.65 plf.

Tools: Garden hose, flour or powdered chalk, lawn edger or spade, shovel, speed square, hacksaw, rubber mallet, hammer.

Time: 1 day to edge a typical yard.

Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/landscaping-gardening/easy-landscaping-projects/#ixzz318NAe2jY
Follow us: @houselogic on Twitter | houselogic on Facebook

Earth Day has been celebrated since 1970.

Earth Day is held annually worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection.  Earth Day was first proposed in San Francisco in 1969. In 1970 Senator Gaylord Nelson started an environmental teach day for Earth Day on April 22, 1970 but it wasn’t until 1990 that Earth Day became an international day with 141 countries participating. More than 20 million people turned out for that first “Earth Day” on April 22, 1970. Dennis Hayes who had originally proposed Earth Day in 1969, organized it into what it is today. It is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and is celebrated in more than 192 countries every year with billions of people participating. This year marks the 44th year.

April 22nd was chosen as the date for Earth Day because there was no conflict with any religious holidays, school exams and school breaks. Senator Nelson wanted as many students, especially college students, to participate as possible. It also happened to be the anniversary of the death of one the first American conservationist John Muir. John Muir was born in Scotland in 1938 and his family moved to a farm in Wisconsin when he was 11 years old. As a young man, he traveled across Canada and in 1867 he started his walk from Indiana to Florida. He then wrote a book about that journey entitled A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf. In 1868 he arrived in San Francisco and then headed off for a week-long visit to Yosemite, calling it “The grandest of all special temples of Nature.” And as they, the rest is history…

John Muir wrote letters, essays, and 12 books telling of his adventures in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. He helped to preserve the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park and started The Sierra Club.  John Muir Trail,  Muir Woods National Monument, Muir Beach, John Muir College, Mount Muir, Camp Muir and Muir Glacier among many others were named in his honor. He was instrumental in opening President Roosevelt’s eyes that there needed to be a national park service. They first met in 1903.

My great-great uncle Virgil T McCroskey was born in Tennessee in 1876 but spent most of his life in Eastern Washington. He retired from the pharmacy business in 1920 and spent the next few years traveling throughout Washington and California. Somewhere along the way, he met John Muir according to family letters. Virgil T. also saw the need for saving the old growth forests and the surrounding nature. So began his second career as an amateur conservationist. Virgil T. used his money and energies to buy parcels of land which eventually became two new state parks. The two state parks are: Steptoe Butte State Park in Washington State and Mary McCroskey State Park in Idaho. Vrigil T. McCroskey is listed as one of the top 200 “American conservationists”. How cool is that???  I became a member of the Sierra Club as a teenager long before I had ever heard of Virgil T. McCroskey but apparently conservation is in my blood.

Some things that you can do today to participate in Earth Day and every day are:

Reduce, reuse, recycle 

Buy locally and buy toxin-free products for your home (Seventh Generation is a great resource as well as others)

Walk around your town or city and pick up trash

Plant a tree and a garden, bring some plants into your home to help clean the indoor air

Use soaker hoses and put water system on a timer to water early in the morning

Start a compost pile

Fix dripping faucets

Ride your bike or walk to work 1-2 times a week

Take  photos of nature while walking on the beach or in the woods

Eat one of your organic meals outside while soaking up the rays, sights & sounds of nature

Use reusable shopping bags

Join your local Freecycle to pass along items instead of throwing them  away

Exchange your light bulbs with energy-efficient ones                                                                

Collect hazardous materials like paint and batteries and dispose of them  properly

Join a Community Supported Agriculture group

Educate yourself on environmental issues and renewable energy sources

Get involved with your local environmental groups by donating time and/or money

AND just for fun, take CNN’s Earth Day Quiz: http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/22/world/earth-day/index.html

Annalisa Weller, Realtor®, Certified International Property Specialist

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