art, Good Works, Money Sense, North Carolina Finds

Art Walk and Good Works

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A pretty bunch of flowers I walked past

Today I went to the beautiful downtown 11th Annual Front Porch Artwalk at Historical Mordecai/Oakwood in Raleigh NC. There were several lovely displays of handcrafted art work of quite a span. One man was selling lovely birdhouses, from his front porch. He priced them low, in my estimation, but he told me he just enjoyed making them to keep his mind busy. He reminded me of my late father who loved to do woodworking. It kept his mind and hands busy in his retirement.

It was enjoyable to interact with the vendors and to get to know them. There was no pressure to buy anything, but more an interest in telling about their items. A silk painting artist fascinated me with her works and how much she enjoyed creating such beautiful works of art. She had lovely silk scarves and jackets.

There was a lot of jewelry and all authentic. This was the same with pottery with each artist having their own unique designs.

I wish I had taken a picture of the lady who had the encaustic art paintings. They were so beautifully done. I am not sure I have ever seen anything like them.

I had to spend some money as I purchased some hot pink earrings. You can see some of her work on Instagram and her website Suijinli

Pictures of the artist and her works

Last, but not least I met three ladies who were with the Green Chair Project, offering lovely gift baskets via raffle. As one who likes to feature charitable organizations, I inquired about this interesting group. Here is some information about this organization ABOUT GCP

Their Mission Statement sums it up:

“Working together to provide everyone the comforts of home.
We reuse donated household furnishings to renew lives of participants referred from area programs who are recovering after homelessness, crisis or disaster.”
As one who has given furnishings to organizations, it was nice to learn of another resource that helps people in need.

I took a pictures of the ladies. Here you go.
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It was a great way to spend a Saturday morning and from what I could see there were several others who were enjoying the displays.

This was yet another day of going to an event for free. It was up to us if we wanted to spend money while there. I am already thinking of how I may be on an artist for 2020. 

Financial, Money Sense, Uncategorized

Intro to Budgeting FREE Webinar Coming Soon!

My friend and fellow blogger Jacki Smith is presenting a free webinar called Intro to Budgeting.

Here’s the information: “30 minute free webinar with information about how to budget and what to do if you need added support. Great if you want to change your financial situation and have no idea where to start. If you’ve ever felt stressed or overwhelmed with your money register to join us live or register to be emailed the replay following the event.”

The event will be held online on Monday, March 25 at 7-7:30 p.m.

Although I am good at budgeting, I am going to attend and see what new things I can learn. Would you like to go? Here’s the link: Intro to Budgeting Webinar

Read more about Smith on her website Big Picture Budget

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Big Picture Budget 

Money Sense, Uncategorized

Simplifying Life-Renting vs Owning a Home

Growing older (not old-shh) gracefully takes some planning. One of the most important areas of planning is home ownership, having a home set up, examining renting instead of buying, and looking at eventual possibilities of long term care.

Granted, we are not retirement material, as yet, but life happens. The reality for us was that we did not want to reach full or even partial retirement and not be prepared. We lived in a two story, single family home. All of the bathrooms and full bathrooms were upstairs. This left a half bath as the only main floor source. To move all living to the main floor would cost more as renovation would have to be made in the bathroom and dining room. This would also leave a very small amount of living space and no home office or studio. The upstairs would be a lot of useless space. It also housed the laundry room, so that would be another issue. We decided to evaluate further and came up with a list of needs for planning ahead.

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We started with a list of what we desired for home ownership or renting. These were the considerations:

Considerations for Simplified Living

We took a long, hard look at home ownership vs renting. Here are the pros and cons we came up with, as well as some areas in common:

comparisonsrentbuy

Since we love being close to nature, we started with a search near a nearby lake, close to our community. We fell in love with this type of setting, having lived with a ravine and wooded area behind us. We just needed to be certain, so we checked out a few places, before narrowing them down. This was a major change and, although we could always move again, that is a rather tiresome process. We found some interesting, scary and stinky places. We saw various pricing and lots of “glitter.” We explored high rises, but the thought of using elevators in an emergency, such as a fire, was scary. One manager told us that they would be sure to get us downstairs. I could visualize a scenario that scared me. There was also no washer and dryer connection and one small laundry room per floor. Storage could be rented, but that is not convenient for our lifestyle.

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We ended up with the first apartment community that we toured. The view is outstanding and it is walking distance from the pool and a lovely lake. We can watch wildlife from the window. Our home faces northwest and there is very little sun, except a small amount at sunset. The trees offer so much shade that we barely see the sun. That benefits us for utilities. Being in a second floor walk in with a ramp, we have the advantage of being sandwiched between the first and third floors and a side wall to the back and end neighbors. This is a great utility saver. We didn’t have to turn on the air conditioner until mid June and the winter was very pleasant. We did a comparison of the electric and water bills from when we owned the house and renting and found amazing savings!

One of the other requirements was to have no maintenance. Other than cleaning and minor things such as hanging pictures, we wanted to be able to call for help whenever something went wrong. We have been very fortunate that when we ask for maintenance, we have issues resolved quickly. If there has been any urgent concern, they will come right away. I have had experiences with renting that were not so pleasant, so I was, naturally, concerned. So far, so good. They are upgrading all of the units as tenants move out, so we moved in to discover we had new appliances, fresh paint and new carpet. There are several exteriors upgrades, as well. We just got a brand new roof, exterior painting and more to come. Of course, we have to wonder if the lease renewal will reflect any of these changes, let’s hope not.

Since the time we moved, there has been some criticisms from people who own homes, such as how we should go ahead and buy something else, how home ownership is an equity boost, and how apartment living, at it’s best, needs to be in the swanky parts of town. We have long term goals that include retiring. With debts wrapped up in homes and costs of upgrades, repairs, maintenance, we just could not see going there. I am not saying it won’t happen, but right now this renting thing is working out rather nicely. Who knows if we may need to be in a retirement community or need expensive health care? It seems wise to be prepared. And we would love to do some traveling.

Don’t get me wrong. The idea of having a home where you can do anything within legal code, is very exciting. You can have man and woman caves, recreation rooms, built in wet or dry bars, decks, yards, neighborhoods with opportunities with meeting neighbors. Ideally, though you can have many of these things in an apartment community. Clubhouses, fitness rooms, pools, tennis and other courts are common. While you are enjoying amenities, you get to meet neighbors and build friendships. And that is another plus, with more leisure time. We don’t have a man or woman cave, but we are fine with our rustic setting and have plenty of space for a nice home office and studio.