Archive for July, 2010

For Rent In Tracy, CA – 5 Bed, 3.5 Bath, $1,600/month

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

If you like what you see, call me today! Tony Martin (209) 610-3431.

This 2-story 5 bed, 3.5 bath home is available now in a great neighborhood for $1600/month.

It includes the refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, washer, and dryer. There is a double-door entry, new carpet, and newer paint.

The property is fully landscaped with a wood patio in the backyard. Close to schools and shopping, with easy freeway access.

For Rent in Tracy CA 105 Carmel Way

If you like what you see, call me today! Tony Martin (209) 610-3431.

FOR SALE: Over 5 Acres in Valley Springs, CA

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

If you like what you see, call today for a viewing appointment! Helen Coppage (209) 640-8708.

This gorgeous spacious home sits on over 5 acres of land, complete w/ a pond & stream.

Main home is 3,341 sq. ft. w/ 1,200 sq. ft. fully finished carpeted bonus room above garage, and 350 sq. ft. attic storage.

Includes beautiful Master Suite with double doors, separate sleeping area & sliding door to outside.

Large open kitchen is a cooker’s delight, w/ built-in fridge, center island, double oven, pantry closet and more!

Words don’t do this home justice – it truly is a MUST SEE!!

Acerage For Sale in Valley Springs CA 9888 Questo Road

If you like what you see, call today for a viewing appointment! Helen Coppage (209) 640-8708.

U.S. Foreclosure Filings Down Slightly In First Half Of 2010

Monday, July 19th, 2010

According to a new report by RealtyTrac, property foreclosures filings in the United States dropped 5% during the first half of 2010; this is due to lenders continuing to delay foreclosure proceedings so they can focus on short sales and load modification efforts.

The same report states that over the past six months, more than 1.6 million homes have received at least one filing, such as default notices, auction sale notices, and bank repossessions. So while foreclosures filings were down slightly during the first half of the year, there is still an abundant amount.

There is growing concern that a backlog of homes in line for foreclosure could build up, which may result in a double dip in the market when said homes are dumped at some future date.

The chief executive of RealtyTrac, James Saccacio, contends that at the current pace, more than 3 million properties will receive foreclosure filings by the end of this year; leaving lenders to repossess more than 1 million of them.

“The roller coaster pattern of foreclosure activity over the past 12 months demonstrates that while the foreclosure problem is being managed on the surface, a massive number of distressed properties and underwater loans continues to sit just below the surface, threatening the fragile stability of the housing market,” Saccacio said.

Saccacio continued, “The second quarter was a tale of two trends. The pace of properties entering foreclosure slowed as lenders pre-empted or delayed foreclosure proceedings on delinquent properties with more aggressive short sale and loan modification initiatives. Meanwhile the pace of properties completing the foreclosure process through bank repossession quickened as lenders cleared out a backlog of distressed inventory delayed by foreclosure prevention efforts in 2009.”

For all the numbers and figures of the RealtyTrac report, visit Property foreclosure filings in US down slightly in the first half of 2010.

U.S. Foreclosure Filings Down Slightly In First Half Of 2010
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Curtains, Draperies And Other Window Treatment Ideas

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Author: Business Local

Finding the right window treatment for your Tampa home shouldn’t be too hard. There are about 5 important considerations when it comes to decorating your windows, and they are: (1) your interior design scheme, (2) privacy, (3) climate, (4) budget, and (5) maintenance.

Let’s start with curtains and draperies. Curtains are the basics of window treatments. It’s only a matter choosing the right curtain for your home. Tampa has a very tropical climate and heavy and dark curtains would be your worst choice. If your want heavy curtains, make sure you choose a color that is light or at least one side that has a lighter shade. Lighter colors bounce off sunlight which helps keep room temperature cool.

Bold colors are the trend for 2010, so choosing curtains, or any window accessory with splashes of color instantly updates your house’s interior design. Match your curtain’s color scheme with your beddings and you already have a cohesive look. For Tampa, sheer or light fabric draperies best compliments a tropical mood to the room. You can also choose to match heavy draperies with sheer curtains to give a balance to the windows.

Maintenance of curtains and draperies is relatively low, unless you’ve chosen ready expensive or delicate fabrics.

Blinds and shutters are becoming more and more popular because of their designs. Bamboo blinds should fit in perfectly with your Tampa home, especially if you’re going for a more relaxed look. Blinds are also very effective insulators of heat during the summer. Timber blinds and shutters are classics and they never get outdated. They are also very durable and easy to clean. Vertical blinds, on the other hand, look very modern and are quite ideal for larger windows. In terms of cost, blinds and shutters are cost-effective choices because they can be used over and over for a long time. Furthermore, blinds and shutters can provide greater privacy for rooms, especially for bedrooms and bathrooms.

Hunter Douglas has a wonderful line of blinds and shutters which are readily available for Tampa residents. Artistic Windows, Inc. of Tampa carries Hunter Douglas products for all types of window treatment and accessory needs.

There is a smorgasbord of window shade designs you can choose from if they is more of your preference. Shades are practical options for a house in Tampa because it serves several functions—insulates heat, elevates privacy, and enhances any interior design. Choose from honeycomb, woven and fabric, pleated, roller, or solar shades. Roman and solar shades are one of the most popular types in Tampa since 2009. Solar shades, in particular are popular for its anti-UV function, which is perfect for a hose with children. Maintenance for shades, however, requires more time and effort.

In order to make the right choice of window treatment and accessories, make sure do the following:

1. Know the measurement of your windows.
2. Choose materials that match your house’s interior design.
3. Determine if your priority is for aesthetic or functionality.
4. Make a list of your top choices for curtains, draperies, shades, or shutters.
5. Know your budget.

Lastly, choose a window treatment that is durable. Windows get a lot of abuse—more than we know, so investing a little on the good stuff isn’t such a bad idea. Constantly having to fix or replace shutters or blinds costs more than spending a little more money on good treatments.

Try Artistic Windows, Inc. for all your window treatment needs for your Tampa home.

Artistic Windows Inc.
Contact: Scott Sowder
Address: 4004 W Neptune St #102, Tampa, FL 33629
Phone: 813-835-8805

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window treatment ideas

How to Build a Porch Swing

Monday, July 12th, 2010

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Few things beat the relaxation of sitting back in the shade passing a cool spring evening in a porch swing. For those who have some basic power tools and skills to use them, here are the steps to building your own wooden swing.


  1. Determine the appropriate size for your swing. This includes the overall width, which may require locating the centers of porch ceiling joists to give optimum anchoring locations, but also will require you consider how deep the seat will be, and how tall you prefer the back.
  2. Choose the materials you will use for building your swing. This article describes building with treated southern yellow pine, but cedar, fir, cypress, juniper, or even birch will work equally well, so long as the thickness of the components are adjusted so they are strong enough to support the weight it will carry.
  3. Gather all the tools, fasteners, and lumber you need for the project. Here is the list broken down by type, see Things you will need for dimensions and sizes.
    • Tools: circular saw, jigsaw, hammer, tape measure, square, and drill with bits.
    • Fasteners: wood screws, eye bolts.
    • Lumber:15-1X4 (50 × 100 mm) by Ten foot (2.4m) boards.
  4. Set a table up to work on. The illustrations show a pair of metal sawhorses with a sheet of plywood as a make-shift table, but any flat surface that provides a workspace at a comfortable working height will do.
  5. Measure 7 2X4 boards the length you will want the finished swing to be. The one used as an example here is 5 feet long. Cut these boards to length, being careful to make all cuts square (90 degrees).
  6. Set blocks on the table to support the boards, then attach a stop for keeping them from sliding while you rip them to width. The seat slats are 3/4 inch (1.9cm) thick, the back slats (which support less weight) are 1/2 inch (1.25cm). For a seat 20 inches (51cm) deep, you will need about 17 slats, for a back 18 inches (45cm) tall, you will need 15.
  7. Rip the number of slats of each width you will need, depending again on the height of the back and width of the seat you choose to build. Again, the illustrations show a swing 20 deep and 18 inches tall, which is comfortable for a fairly tall individual, but may not be as comfortable for a person with shorter legs.
  8. Drill through each strip one inch (2.5cm) from each end with a 3/16 drill bit to keep the wood screws that will attach them from causing the strip to split. Drilling for the center support is optional, depending on how hard the lumber you choose to use is.
  9. Mark a pattern with a curved edge, rounded over then curving back out of a 2X6 board, similar to the one in the picture. The amount of curve depends on your preference, the seat and back can actually be straight if you prefer.
  10. Carefully cut three identical pieces of the curved back and seat boards with a jigsaw, leaving the narrow end a bit long for trimming to fit the joints together.
  11. Cut a miter at the ends of the back and the seat board so they join at the correct angle for the amount of slant (recline) you want your seat to have. You can start by cutting a 45 degree angle on either piece, then lay it on top of the opposite piece, and judge the amount of angle you want. Mark the angle by scribing to the piece previously cut on a 45 degree angle. The length of the two angles will probably not be the same, but it won’t matter, since they are on the bottom rear of the swing, out of sight.
  12. Drill pilot holes for the screws which will join the seat and back boards together, then fasten them with 3 1/2 inch, #12 gold plated wood screws. This is a critical connection, since the screws are the only support for this joint, and it will have a good bit of pressure in it, so depending on the length of the joint, use two screws set at opposing angles and tightened securely.
  13. Set the three completed frame (connected back and seat) pieces on your table, and lay the strips of wood you ripped earlier across them. Screw the ends to the outside frames, then center the middle one and fasten it, also. It may be easiest to attach one strip to the rear of the seat first, then another at the front edge, lastly attaching one at the top of the back.
  14. Use a framing square to check the angle of the back and seat to make sure it is square, and rack (shift sideways) it if needed. Space additional strips across the seat, leaving a 1/4 to 3/8 inch (6 – 9.5mm) space between them. You can tack these temporarily or go ahead and fasten them securely, but you may find it necessary to adjust them to get your spacing to work out uniformly. Take note that you are using the thicker (3/4 inch, 19mm) strips for the seat, and the 1/2 inch (13mm) strips for the back.
  15. Cut a wedge shaped 2X4 board about 13 inches (33cm) long, tapered from 2 3/4 inches (7mm) on one end to 3/4 inch (19mm) on the other for each (two) armrest support, then cut another board 22 inches (56cm) long, tapered on one end from 1 1/2 inches (3.8cm) to full width in 10 inches (25.4cm) for each armrest itself. Generally, the armrest will be about 8 inches (20cm) high, and 18-20 inches (approx. half a meter) long.
  16. Locate the height you want the armrest on the back frame, and locate the position you want the support on the seat portion of the frame, and attach these with 3 inch (7.5cm) #12 wood screws. Fasten through the top of the armrest down into the support board with two more wood screws.
  17. Drill a hole through the armrest support and the seat frame for the eyebolt that will attach your swing chain to the swing, and drill through the back frame for another eyebolt for the back chain. Install your eyebolts, using washers to keep the nuts from drawing into the wood frame, and tighten them with a wrench.
  18. Locate the position and height you will install your swing, install eyebolts or eyescrews for the overhead connection, and measure the length you will need your chains to hang your swing. You may find you need to adjust the chains to get the swing tilted back the proper amount to be comfortable for you.


  • Sand any edges smooth to prevent splinters or other injuries which may occur from the wood.
  • Curve any edges that may need it to prevent children from bumping into them and injuring themselves.
  • Finish with an exterior coating such as polyurethane or paint to make your swing look better and last longer.
  • Use galvanized or coated fasteners to prevent corrosion. Galvanized fasteners are not recommended for cedar wood, however.
  • Consider making the length of your planks 8 feet when you buy them. Typically, 8 foot lumber is least expensive, and scrap may be used for other projects.


  • Use safety precautions when operating power tools.
  • Connections must be secure for safe use of the finished swing.
  • Never let small children play on this swing unattended, they may fall off, and it may swing into them.

Things You’ll Need

  • Fifteen 1×4 boards as long as the width of your swing
  • One 2×6 board, 8 feet long
  • 30 (approximately) 3 or 3 1/2 inch, number 12 gold plated screws
  • 180 (approximately) 2 inch, number 8 or 10 gold plated wood screws
  • Two 3/8 inch by 3 inch galvanized eye bolts with nuts and washers
  • Two 3/8 inch by 2 inch galvanized eye bolts
  • Length of chain (3/16 inch) to hang swing
  • Power tools and hand tools described in project steps

Related wikiHows

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Build a Porch Swing. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.


6 Ways You’re Wasting Water And May Not Know It

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Did you know that the majority of wasted water in households is through the bathroom? It’s true. Here are a few ways your bathroom habits may be running up your water bill, as well as a couple other things you’re doing to waste water that you may not even be aware of.

1. Leaking Toilet: Of the more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted by households each year, the majority comes from the toilet. If your toilet constantly runs, check the flapper valves and the inner parts. To check for “silent” toilet leaks, put a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank; if the coloring makes it to the bowl within 15 minutes, your toilet is leaking.

2. Trashcan Toilet: Even if your toilet isn’t leaking, improper use of it can lead to unnecessary flushing, which results in wasted water. Do not use the toilet as a trash can – if you have a tissue, throw it away or compost it. Flush nothing down the toilet except bodily waste and toilet paper.

3. Asleep at the Sink: When you’re standing at the bathroom sink shaving, brushing your teeth, or even washing your face, turn off the water when you’re not using it. Simple as that. Also, taking showers uses much less water than taking baths.

4. No WaterSense: In an effort to make your home as water efficient as possible, look for the WaterSense label when buying or replacing appliances. Working with the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the WaterSense program makes it easier for consumers to identify water-efficient products.

5. Overwatering the Lawn: Reports show that more than 50% of residential water – water treated to be drinking water – is used to water the lawn. To help conserve water without having to let your lawn die, do not water it during the hottest part of the day so you’re not losing water through quick evaporation. Also, avoid watering when it’s windy so the water isn’t blown away before it hits the grass. Lastly, make sure the water lands only on what you’re watering – don’t let it water the driveway or street.

6. Small Loads of Laundry: Only use the washing machine when you have a full load of laundry. Combining small loads will minimize the use of your machine, which means less water is used.

Do you have any other ideas on how to stop wasting water and saving money at the same time?? I would love to hear them…..


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Convictions Upheld For East Bay Mortgage Scam Artists

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

In 2007 Dale Scott Heineman of Union City and Kurt Johnson of Sunnyvale were convicted on one count each of conspiracy and 34 counts each of mail fraud stemming from their fraudulent business practices while operating the Dorean Group in Union City and Newark from 2003 to 2005. The pair pocketed millions of dollars by claiming they could help people eliminate mortgage debts.

In early 2008 Kurt Johnson was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison, while his partner Dale Scott Heineman got 21 years and 8 months.

Prosecutors said Johnson and Heineman victimized at least 20 lenders and as many as 3,500 homeowners across 35 states with their idea that borrowers could ditch their mortgage debts through a legal and bureaucratic process. Homeowners first transferred their interest in their properties to a trust, naming Johnson and Heineman as trustees. The pair would then send demand notices to the lenders questioning the validity of their lending practices.

When banks failed to respond or “prove” their lending practices were valid, the pair recorded bogus documents with county clerks’ offices supposedly establishing that the homes were no longer under a mortgage. The homeowners then refinanced with different banks using their supposedly unencumbered homes as collateral.

Heineman and Johnson took upfront fees as well as a cut of the homeowners’ new equity loans; they admitted making more than $3 million, and were later ordered to pay almost $513,000 in restitution.


On Tuesday July 6th 2010 a federal appeals court issued the decision to uphold the convictions.

In the ruling, Judge Barry Silverman of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote:

“[Heineman and Johnson] were adamant in their desire to represent themselves and assert an absurd legal theory wrapped up in Uniform Commercial Code gibberish…Both defendants were examined by a psychiatrist and found to have no diagnosable mental disorder.”

…“The record clearly shows that the defendants are fools, but that is not the same as being incompetent,” Silverman wrote for himself and two other circuit judges. “(T)hey had the right to represent themselves and go down in flames if they wished, a right the district court was required to respect. There was no legal or medical basis to foist a lawyer on them against their will.”

So basically these two scam artists are idiots and deserve to be right where they are – behind bars.

convictions upheld for east bay mortgage scam artists

4th Of July Fun! Uncle Sam Hat Treat Holders!

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

By: Amanda Formaro via

What you’ll need:
-Styrofoam cup
-Red and blue felt
-Red paint
-Silver chenille stem
-White craft glue
-Black marker

How to make it:
Place cup, open end down, on top of the red felt and trace with a marker.
Cut around the traced circle leaving a ¾” border around it.

Fold the circle and cut a slit in the center of the circle to allow your scissors to get in. Cut out the inside circle, leaving about a ¼” border around the inside of the trace line. Set felt circle aside.

Paint red stripes all the way around the outside of the cup, stripes should run up and down. Let dry completely.

Cut a strip of blue felt about 1.5” wide. It should be long enough to wrap around the brim of the cup.

Glue felt strip around the outside of the top of the cup.

Lay red felt circle on to work surface, black trace line should be facing up.

Line the lip of the cup with white glue and press down onto black trace line. Let dry.
Turn cup over and place on work surface.

Use silver chenille to bend into star shapes, trim where needed. Glue onto the blue hat band.

When everything is dry, fill with treats.

To make our treat cups sturdier, especially if using outside, glue a heavy washer to the bottom of the cup.

You can add handles to your cup by twisting to chenille stems together and poking through the sides of the cup and running over the top. This step should be done before adding the blue brim.

You may also use white paper or plastic cups for this project.

Uncle Sam Hat Treat Holders