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Archive for the ‘Fun Stuff’ Category

Fact Finder about People Living in any Zipcode

Friday, October 17, 2014 posted by Tommi Crow

Whether you are looking for property or you are just curious…type your own zipcode, or someone else’s, in the search box and discover some very interesting and curious facts about the people who live there.  Very cool and freakishly accurate.

Zipcode Search http://www.esri.com/data/esri_data/ziptapestry

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outdoor built in seating   This years #1 favorite home improvement is an Outdoor Living Room.   Homeowners, feeling more confident in the value of their homes, are remodeling and making improvements like we haven’t seen in years.   This year, creating an outdoor living space, is the hands down favorite project for DIYers and professionals, alike.

outdoor living arbor

Must Have/Wish List Features for Outdoor Living:

  •  Arbor. Arbor. Arbor. 
  • Built in seating with cushions
  • Firepit or fireplace
  • Grilling or Kitchen area
  • Drapes for shade and ambiance
  • Dining area
  • Water Feature
  • TV or Projection screen

outdoor living drapes

Consider adding some outdoor life to your dull backyard or builder slab patio.  You not only create more space, economically, you create a whole new spot to relax and entertain.

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Home Staging for Pet Lovers

Monday, September 9, 2013 posted by Tommi Crow

Staging your home for potential buyers can be quite the hassle. You may start moving your furniture around spontaneously, or become tense when your children or spouse make messes in a room that you just prepped for show. With all of the planning that one can put into making their home shine, one crucial step in home staging is often overlooked: your family pet.

For the sake of simplicity, I will outline a few things that you must keep in mind when cleaning up after your pet in a home for sale.

Pet presence – For obvious reasons, some pets can’t leave the house. Giant enclosures, aquariums, and disabled pets are hard to relocate sometimes, and a lot of people will be understanding of this. But if your dog or cat is healthy, then you’ll want to strongly consider relocating your pets temporarily. Many people aren’t pet owners, and don’t like being around an excitable golden retriever or a yippy chihuahua when they are trying to imagine their family occupying your home. Remember….You are trying to make the potential buyer as relaxed as possible. Ask a friend if they wouldn’t mind looking after your loved one for a bit, and if all else fails, look into a reputable boarding service for your pet.

Fur – Fur can get everywhere. Even in places that you, as a resident of your home, don’t necessarily notice all of the time. Be sure to give your couches, chairs, and love seats proper attention. That means taking the pillows and cushions off, and using a hand vacuum or brush to remove all of the fur you see. After you are sure that they are thoroughly cleaned, use a fabric freshener to finish it off. Try to do this well in advance of the potential buyer, as some people have sensitivities to fabric fresheners.

Litter – No matter what kind of animal you have, odds are you have do deal with some form of waste. It may sound pretty obvious, but make sure your litter beds are clean and well hidden. Even if you own an exotic pet like a reptile of amphibian, this includes you too. Many people don’t like snakes, but they’ll like a messy snake cage even less. Another important thing to remember as an exotic pet owner is this: even though you may not be able to smell anything offensive coming from your reptile’s cage, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t an odor. Many people who live with reptiles get used to the subtle odors that emit from the cages, and will tend to spot-clean their animal’s cage without giving it the proper scrub-down that it needs.

Odors – Don’t use air fresheners to mask pet odor. It is meant to freshen the air…Not cover pet odors up. Instead, use powdered cleaners on carpets and rugs that your pets frequent. These can be purchased at your local pet store in the cleaning isle. Odds are, if someone has a severe allergy to animals, then they are going to be at risk of having a reaction. The cleaner the house, the less dander will be in the home.

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The warning on the gates, ‘These Plants May Kill’ should not be taken lightly by anyone, for with familiarity comes contempt, and from contempt – danger.

Come take a stroll with us through a deadly garden located in Northumberland, UK.    Behind the locked gates of the Poison Garden, guides and marshalls share tales of deadly plants. Myths and legends are uncovered, along with facts from science and history.   No touching, no sniffing and no cutting is allowed. 

The Poison Garden at Alnwick Gardens is on around the clock surveillance for the safety of the public and would be thieves.  Some of the plants are even kept in specially fenced areas to avoid accidental poisoning or theft of the plants for use in making narcotics.  In this garden, the plants are so dangerous and toxic that they may be kept in large cage like structures.   To highlight its hazardous nature the garden’s beds are laid in the shape of flickering flames.  

There are over 100 plants of varying deadliness grown in the Poison Garden.  Some of the plants are beautiful despite being deadly, and other look so harmless it is hard to imagine their dangerous, even fatal, qualities.    Also grown within the guarded confines of the Poison Garden are many other plants which are easily recognisable by even the most reluctant gardener, for many killers grow in your own back yard.

Foxgloves, Wolfsbane, Mandrake, Ricin, Belladonna, Poppies, Laburnam and varieties of Aquilegia thrive among the rarefied atmosphere of the Poison Garden.  Those who work here treat the plants with the utmost respect, wearing gloves when working with them.   The owner also has  a licence to grow marijuana, cocaine and magic mushrooms in the poison garden – for educational purposes.

A few of the plants you will find inside this poison garden….

 Foxglove (digitalis) may contain several deadly physiological and chemically related cardiac and steroidal glycosides.  Thus, the digitalis plants have earned several, more sinister, names: dead man’s bells and witch’s gloves.  The entire plant is toxic (including the roots and seeds). 

Foxgloves fatal accidents involve children drinking the water in a vase containing digitalis plants.   Drying does not reduce the toxicity of the plant.   The plant is toxic to animals, including all classes of livestock and poultry, as well as felines and canines.

Belladonna or Nightshade (Soleanaceae) has a long history of use as a medicine, cosmetic, and poison.  It was used as an anesthetic for surgery and embedded a poisonous sting with arrows made for battle.  The name “bella donna” is derived from Italian and means “beautiful woman” because the herb was used in eye-drops by women to dilate the pupils of the eyes to make them appear seductive. 

Nightshade is an incredible poison, but an amazing aphrodisiac, too, and you see it everywhere.  In Argentina, even nowadays, some people put a bell of datura like this one (pictured above) on a baby’s pillow at night, then take it away after five minutes and the baby has gone to sleep.  If it were left all night the baby would be dead in the morning.   Victorian ladies used to sit around a table with a nightshade plant in the middle and play cards or have tea.   They’d pop their cup under a bell, tap it, and pollen would fall into the cup.  They would experience similar effects to that of LSD.

Belladonna is one of the most deadly plants on the earth.  All parts of the plant are poisonous, but the sweet, pretty berries are especially alluring for children.   Although no eye surgery is performed today without the help from the nightshade family…The plant’s deadly symptoms are caused disruption of the nervous system, inhibiting its ability to regulate involuntary activities, such as sweating, breathing, and heart rate.

Lily of the Valley, popularily used in wedding bouquets is highly poisonous. Its toxicity is the plant’s defense against animals eating its seeds.  All parts of the plant—the stems, the leaves, the flowers and the berries—are extremely poisonous and close to 40 different cardiac glycosides have been found in the plant so far.

Ingest just a bit of Lily of the Valley if blurry vision, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea, disorientation, drowsiness, headaches, red skin rashes, excessive salivation, sudden alterations in your cardiac rhythm and possible death sound like your idea of fun.

Its Nux vomica’s Latin name implies much, but it perhaps rings more bells as strychnine. Interestingly, hemlock, a poison in its own right, can be used as an antidote to Strychnine, but don’t tell Socrates, who was sent to his death with a cup of hemlock.

Strychnine (pictured above) is not the most poisonous substance known to man (you need at least 50 mg to kill someone), but a you’d have to go a long way to find something that provokes a more violent death.

Strychnine poisoning can be fatal to humans and animals and can occur by inhalation, swallowing or absorption through eyes or mouth, as explained above. It produces some of the most dramatic and painful symptoms of any known toxic reaction. For this reason, strychnine poisoning is often used in literature and film. It is also used as a rat poison, but is not specific for unwanted pests and may kill other small animals.

Hemlock was used in ancient Greece to kill condemned prisoners, including Socrete’s, as mentioned above.  The plant also kills animals.   A dose of the poison results in an ascending muscular paralysis with eventual paralysis of the respiratory muscles which results in death due to lack of oxygen to the heart and brain…but it has also been used in medicine to treat arthritis, muscle spasms and works as a seditive.

Those of a certain age will be familiar with Castor Oil, which is made from the plant Ricinus communis (above), but a single seed from the same plant will kill an adult in the most horrible way. Ricin causes nausea, severe vomiting, convulsions and subsequent disintegration of the kidneys, liver and spleen…

The old expression “It will either kill you or cure you” could not have been more apt!

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Explore the Lost Garden of Heligan

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 posted by Tommi Crow

On a palatial estate in Cornwall, a massive and unique garden has been restored to its original beauty after 75 years of languishing unloved.

Since the late 1500s, The Lost Gardens of Heligan belonged to the Tremayne estate evolving and becoming more extravagant with each passing generation. One head of the household inspired the jungle gardens, while another requested that giant rhododendrons be cultivated. Although the Tremayne family often inspired new additions to the garden, they were above manual work and hired countless low-paid gardeners to take on the tasks of improving and maintaining the gardens.

Throughout the 19th century, the gardens thrived, growing larger and requiring greater staff to manage them. Before the outbreak of World War I, the Tremayne estate employed 22 gardeners. Many of those loyal gardeners went to fight, and after the war their numbers had diminished so that the gardens fell into severe disrepair. As the rest of the estate was rented out, the gardens became an afterthought and were not rediscovered until the 1990s.

Their rediscovery by a distant relative of the Tremayne estate, led to a widely publicized attempt to bring the gardens back to life. The restoration of the Heligan Gardens was undertaken by Tim Smit, the same architect who conceived The Eden Project, the largest Greenhouse complex in the world.

Under his innovative and watchful eye, the Heligan Gardens were restored to their original size. Besides restoration, floral art was commissioned as well, resulting in the Giant’s Head and the Mud Maid, a sleeping woman of the forest made out of wood, grass and earth. As the gardens quickly became a tourist attraction, the gardens also served to bring life back to St. Austell, and some of the other neighboring towns in Cornwall.

Today, the spectacular gardens feature everything that they were once renowned for including massive rhododendrons, Italian gardens and the jungle gardens. Along with being beautiful, they are also productive, growing large amounts of vegetables for consumption and sale.

Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net.  We love gorgeous gardens and if you do, as well, follow our blog or “Like” our Facebook page.  We will be highlighting some incredible places you may not have imagined….

Awning Canopy Made From Recycled Soda Bottles

Thursday, July 26, 2012 posted by Tommi Crow

Garth Britzman’s installation, called (Pop)culture, is a colorful canopy made recycled soda bottles that are filled with a little bit of colored liquid. The bottles, which are suspended by strings, create undulating waves of color that almost remind me of the Dale Chihuly ceiling at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

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The Perforated House by Kavellaris Urban Design

This once vacant site is nestled at the eastern bookend between a row of single fronted Victorian terraces and a double fronted Edwardian weatherboard house.   The strategy was to critique and respond to ongoing research into the Terrace typology.   The built form is essentially an urban infill within a 5.5×14.4m envelope.  The perforated house is our response to establish an alternative language to the accepted notion of our cultural attitude towards critical questions of identity and heritage.

Kavellaris wanted the house to be more than just a facade.   More than just a message or a graphic stuck to a building.  The building was not an urban canvas paying tribute to Venturi’s “decorated shed”, instead the external facade could be experienced internally and is also a multi functional device that constantly transforms the built form from solid to void, from private to public, from opaque to translucent.

By day the building is heavy and reflective and by night inverting into a soft translucent permeable light box. The operable wall or the absence of the facade enabled us to remove the idea that houses are static.

The use of operable walls, doors, curtains and glass walls enables the occupants to change the experience and environment. This architectural manipulation of space blurred the boundaries between inside and outside, the public and private realm. The manipulated spaces overlapped and borrowed the amenity and context of it’s surrounding environment.

The plan inverts the traditional terrace program with the active living zones on the first floor opening onto a north facing terrace thereby generating a primary northerly orientation to a south facing block.  The perforated house incorporates passive sustainable interventions by orientating north glass bifolds doors and louvers for cross ventilation as the primary means of cooling.  In addition, solar hot water and 5 star rated sanitary ware fixtures were incorporated. The north facing terrace redefines the “family” backyard, reinforced by the childlike mural reminiscing on a past era and making commentary on the changing demography of the family unit and ultimately the inner city house typology.   The mural also hides a not so attractive view of the back of the neighbors house.

InfoTube Loves this house…and the way it transforms to fit the life of the owners.  We need to see a lot more of this type of architecture in the USA.   If you aren’t a Friend of InfoTubes Facebook page, you are missing a lot smart, fun and cutting edge stuff.  Click the button at the top right of the page and never be out of the loop again.

Some New Very Cool Bathroom Sinks

Monday, July 9, 2012 posted by Tommi Crow

If you are considering a bathroom redesign, take a look at some of these new sinks.  Why just buy the “same old” when you can install an art piece?

Taking inspiration from Nature  is the Ammonite Sink, named after the extinct marine animals that have left such bewitching fossils for us along the shorelines of the world.  It is fashioned from concrete to a variety of widths, and will give you hours of fun chasing dropped bars of soap out of its depths.

The Artic Sink bowl is looking especially tranquil on a sm0king hot summers day.

Don’t know how hard this is too clean…but it is very relaxing to look at.   The Moody Aquarium Sink is from Italbrass. It’s all the rewarding work of a fully-functional fishtank, coupled with the odd sensation of washing your hands in it.  The soap dishes on either side of the watertight main basin conceal entrances into the tank, allowing feeding and maintenance, and the whole structure is mounted on an integrated chrome finish brass stand.

We hope that seeing these wonderful sinks will get your creative juices flowing.  For daily inspirations and great new product photo’s and reviews…Like our Facebook page.    We update it at least once everyday with something unusual or smartly designed.

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                If you think that the world will not end in your lifetime, then this condominium project is probably not for you.   But, it is definitely an interesting project, nonetheless.

A score of billionaires have recently caused a run on condo units at the Survival Condominiums project based in Kansas.  The facility is built deep underground in an old, 1960’s nuclear missile silo, and is said to be self-sustaining in the event of a nuclear attack. 

A few of the Doomsday ammenities include:

This project offers is much more than just a “Survival Condo Unit”.   This “Package” includes mandatory training, a five-year per person food supply, fully furnished and custom designed interior, special equipment for registered members, computer access to condo systems, and much more. Only a portion of the total fee is for the actual Survival Condo Unit. 

Each Full-Floor $2 Million Dollar Unit Includes these Key Features:

  • Approx. 1820 sq. ft. of Living Space (accommodates 6 to 10 people)
  • High-end floor and trim packages of your choosing.
  • 3 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms, Kitchen, Dining room, and Great Room.
  • LED Big Screen TV in every unit.
  • State-of-the-art Kitchen: Stainless steel kitchen appliances include refrigerator, dishwasher, dual-fuel (electric & propane) professional range, wall oven, professional ventilation hood, wine cooler or beverage center. Granite or custom concrete countertops.
  • State-of-the-art energy efficient washer and dryer in each unit.
  • Built in recessed full spectrum LED lighting.
  • Kohler bath fixtures and jetted Jacuzzi tub in each master bath.
  • Digital HVAC controls.
  • State-of-the-Art Home Automation System with structured wiring throughout including closed circuit security system camera viewing, public address/intercom system, digital weather station access, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, satellite TV feeds, public and private Internet access.                             
  • Outdoor “simulated view” window in each unit. Window simulates “Life-Like” outdoor views complete with varying light levels that reflect time of day, creating a normal living experience as if you were above ground.
  • Biometric Key locks (you won’t need to worry about losing a key).
  • Elevator and Stairwell Accessibility to all Units.
  • The $1 million units offer the same ammenity with the half the square footage and serve 3-4 people.

    The infrastructure also offers features and ammenities to shield owners from armageddon.  

  • The Missile Silo is capped by a type of monolithic dome known as a Torus. This dome is capable of withstanding winds in excess of 500 MPH, well beyond the winds of the most powerful F-5 Tornodos which produce winds up to 300 MPH.
  • The air supply for the entire facility is filtered by Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) filters and the physical air intakes are protected by what are known as blast valves. Blast valves function to prevent an overpressure air wave created by a nearby explosion from entering the facility and killing those inside.
  • The facility has a military grade security system that includes visible spectrum cameras, infrared cameras, proximity sensors, microphones, trip sensors, passive detectors, as well as confidential defensive systems both automated and manually operated.
  • The facility has two floors of hydroponic gardens that will provide fresh produce as well as an aquaculture system designed to provide fish for food.
  • Additional amenities include a minor medical/surgery center, an indoor pool with waterfall, a workout room, a home theater, a classroom & library, pub & game room, bulk storage, walk-in freezer, elevator, security & communication control center, spare parts, machine shop, high-speed fiber optic network, both online and offline Internet and computer communications.
  • And, finally, there is a full-sized pool featuring a massive wall mural and curved ceiling to enhance the feeling of space and height.  
  • Of course, there will be plenty of guns and ammo, too.  

If you think that this project is just a dream of a crack pot…think, again.  The developer, Larry Hall, reported that every one of the $2 million full-floor units have been sold…and only a few of the $1 million, half floor units are still available.   Doomsday Prophets with an extra $1 million on hand may want to inquire today.  Evidentally, these units are selling like there is no tomorrow :)

Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net.  Visit our website to learn about all the marketing tools we offer to sell your home and save a ton of money.

Wrong Garden by James Dyson

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 posted by Tommi Crow

Industrial designer of Dyson vacuums created this illusion of water running upward.

To view a chart of how he did it…CLICK HERE

InfoTube.net can help you defy this real estate market.  Visit our website to learn how we have helped sell homes since 1988.

A Green or Living Roof… is a concept that has been around for centuries and is becoming increasingly popular in the United States.    Cities such as Atlanta, Portland and Chicago now offer incentives to encourage builders to put green roof’s on their buildings.  The green roof on the Chicago City Hall (shown below) is one of the earliest and best known examples in the USA.

Why are Green Roofs Good for Man and Earth?

1.   Adding Green Roofs to Buildings in Urban Area’s has a dramatic effect on high temperatures, which are increasing.          A green roof can decrease cooling costs by 50-90% depending on the amount of glass used in the building.  On average, the use of green or living roof materials in cities can reduce overall summer temperatures by 4-7 degrees.   Imagine a July high temp of 82 vs 90.

2.  Living roofs dramatically reduce storewater runoff and they filter pollutants and heavy metals out of rainwater.                           They can retain up to 75% of rainfall and reduce the need for expensive underground sand filters that meet storm water regulations. 

3.  Green Roofs Filter pollution and carbon dioxide out of the air, which lowers respitory diseases such as asthma.  Check out the green walled homes built in Austria below.

4.   Living Roofs create a Natural Habitat for Birds, Bee’s, Butterflies and Insects in Urban and Rural Settings.  They increase our agricultural space and can be used to grow food, herbs, fruiting tree’s and shrubs.

5.  Green Roofs Require Little to No Maintenance…and Mowing can be fun :)

6.  Living Roofs dramatically improve a roof’s insulation value and cuts heating and cooling bills about 25% on average.  The roof’s also last two to three times as long as a standard asphault shingled roof.

Flower Tower Building – Paris, France

7.  Green Roof’s Increase Real Estate Values and Earn LEED’s points

The idea of Green roof’s may be centuries old..but in the 21st century they are becoming new again.  They increase life, and the beauty of it…in addition they make financial and environmental sense.  

Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net.   If you are installing or caring for a green roof…please send us your pictures or share you story with us.  We are always looking for new ways to improve quality of life and the value of real estate.

If you are one of the millions of Americans who would love to take advantage of record low home prices and record high levels of foreclosures, but your cash on hand is coming up  little short… consider using a portion of your IRA funds to buy a piece of rental property.

Millions of Americans have billions of dollars tied up in IRA’s that nay be paying little to no interest or gains to investors.  Maybe it’s time you considered diversifing from stocks or mutual funds… and add some tempting real estate bargains into the mix.

Here are the basic rules:

  • The funds used to buy the property must be held in a self directed IRA.  You can not use 401K funds or Roth IRA’s to buy real estate, but you can roll over those funds into an IRA before you buy.
  •  The property you buy must be an investment property.   You can not buy a second home or primary residence with IRA funds without paying a penalty.
  • You must pay cash for the investment property.  You can not borrow or take out a mortgage against your IRA investments.  
  • Monthly rental income must be placed back into the IRA account.
  • When the property is Sold…the sale proceeds must be deposited back into the IRA.
  • No taxes are due on rental income or capital gains held in the IRA, until the money is withdrawn at retirement age, so earnings grow tax free.
  • The IRA can pay all expenses associated managing and maintaining the property.
  • You can use a property manager or manage it yourself.

Real Estate IRA

Here is a simple example of how the investment could grow and fund your retirement.

  • You buy a $100,000 rental property with IRA funds.
  • You collect $10,000 a year in rent that is paid directly back into the IRA. 
  • After 10 years, the entire $100,000 you invested in the home has been paid back into the IRA.  Bonus, you still own the property and you can sell it anytime you chose and put the proceeds into your account, too.
  • You pay NO TAXES on income or capital gains until you withdraw money from the IRA.

Tax deferred gains

Buying a foreclosure with IRA money can be a great way to diversify your retirement portfolio and take advantage of historically cheap real estate prices and highly motivated sellers.  As with any tax related investment…ALWAYS consult your tax expert before investing.

Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net.  The spring home selling season is underway and it looks to be the best one in several years.  If you are in the market for home, this is a great time to be shopping.   Check out some of the great deals on our site…or place your property listing on our site for FREE.

If you are selling a home, we can set you up with an MLS listing and you can still sell the property yourself.  Click Here to learn more.

Micro House Offers Big Living

Thursday, March 1, 2012 posted by Tommi Crow

We just love this smart, green designed, micro house that lives BIG.  

The architecture blends into the environment and requires no maintenance.

The bright, open and contemporary design offers everything you need in a guest house or secret hideaway.  

Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net.   Take a minute to search our database of Homes for Sale to see what surprises await for you.

Infotube LOVES smart and flexible housing like this worry-free, Fold and Go Writers cabin.

Fold down one wall to make it cozy..or fold down all four walls to become one with your surroundings. 

When the walls are lowered, they make a great ourdoor deck to set on and take in the starlit skies.  

Smart and worry free design inspires your artistic side.

Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net.  Search free, private website to find your dream writers cabin.

   Be inspired and create a modern, progressive space with Aspect decorative tiles — the radiant look of metal brought to life in an eco-friendly, affordable alternative to high-end installations.  The overall look?  Clean. Contemporary. Pure luxe. Shine on…with Aspect.

This striking backsplash or wall treatment provides high-tech sheen to a room, or if surrounded by softer textures, conveys luxurious sophistication. Tiles are 3″ x 6″ and are sold in eight-tile packs (enough for one square foot).

These peel and stick metal tile couldn’t be easier to install. Unlike traditional metal or ceramic tiles, with Aspect there’s no grout, glue or adhesive needed. You can literally peel the backing off the tiles and stick them to whatever surface you want.   An average homeowner can resurface their kitchen backsplash or fireplace surround in less than 2 hours, with tools you probably own.

The tiles come in 4 modern finishes, bronze, stainless, copper and champagne; tiles are made from 60% recycled material and 99% of the waste in the manufacturing process is recycled.  The company is LEED’s certified and products are Made in the USA.

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