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Category Archives: 900 square feet

The move is on!!!!

We’ve been spending the last several weeks getting rid of more STUFF and revamping our furnishings. We are getting ready for our next chapter …our road to adventure…our move to Texas.

It’s exciting because it has been quite some time since I lived in my hometown AND Juan as never lived in this part of the country. Juan LOVES the Southwest and has enjoyed our trips to Texas and New Mexico….he is a big lover of history and has always been fascinated with Billy the Kid.

I do have mixed emotions as I am leaving many of my family members whom I love so much! However, we are not far from one another and a quick hop on a plane or even a drive…will get us together quickly!

We are looking forward to trying new things and taking chances! I’m all about taking chances right now…or even a calculated risk. Life is too short and I do not wish to look back with regrets. If I fail miserably, well at least I had fun trying and learned how “NOT” to do something that way again. (wink wink smiley face)

Much different from last year, Juan and I are managing our STUFF much better, we are not ready to argue due to too much STUFF (yup word of the day), we are much more organized than ever before AND the best part is I am sitting here blogging while Juan is packing up the kitchen how cool is that! (smiley face, giggle now laughing and snort)

So join us this week for the Smith’s family move…..

 

We’re moving!!!

Yup…Juan and I are on a new adventure. We are so excited about this next chapter in our lives and we welcome you to enjoy the ride.

We are moving virtually to a new blog site Urban Hobo. Urban Hobo is our new business ventures. We will feature “artful edibles”, handmade and unique gifts. We embrace local and regional styles and flavors. Sure to tantalize your taste-buds and/or add flair to your home. 

We will also keep you posted on events we will be attending….hopefully to meet you in person.

Secondly, Juan and I are heading out of Arizona and back to my home town in Texas. I encourage you to check our new blog site Urban Hobo as I’m sure I will be sharing some of the craziness involved in moving Juan, me, two Dachshunds and a now 32 year old parrot across the states AZ, NM and then TX!

Urban Hobo https://urbanhobo.wordpress.com/

 

What I’ve Learned by “Right-Sizing” My life

As I mentioned in my last blog…(Change is Coming) I wrote about this new chapter Juan and I will be entering in the coming weeks. I will be “spilling the beans” soon…I promise!
In the meantime, I wanted to share with you what I have learned over the last year and a half about living smaller, simpler and of course “right-sizing” our lives.
It started when Juan and I were thinking about moving into yet a larger home with only two dachshunds and a 31 year old parrot. Why did we need all that space? What were we trying to do? THEN…the economy took a turn for the worse which affected our business (Staffing).
I read two quotes that really hit me by Henry David Thoreau…. “Only have things of beauty or usefulness in your life”. Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”And this oneSell your clothes and your keep thoughts”. You always have your memories, but items get packed away and you only enjoy the memory.
This is what started this journey and has now taken new turns. Now, a quick view of what we’ve learned and when you see parts that are highlighted, they will take you to the blog I am referring to.
We’ve learned that bigger isn’t always better and some of our happiest times were when Juan and I were first married, living in a small apartment. Since we did not have the challenge of cleaning and maintaining a large space, we had time to do fun things with each other.
I learned that you spend your life accumulating stuff to only do what???Pack it away! Take out and dust off your beautiful dinnerware/china…use the sterling enjoy these pieces; don’t hide them in a box to only use a few occasions.
We’ve learned that a garage sale can turn two people that were so worried about getting rid of stuff into two greedy, commissioned driven sales hounds. We’ve learned that bigger isn’t always better and all the wants” in the world will not make you a better person nor change your social status.
We learned that when moving into a small space, it’s hard to go to many of the furniture stores and find sleek, fun furniture to fit in tiny rooms. (Of course today more stores are embracing small space living) Seek out and find vintage or retro stores that sell mid century modern furniture. Great pieces that fit in the small spaces you are trying to furnish and decorate. However, we did learn that in a small space you have to live a lot closer to everyone and IKEA is also a great place to find loft style stuff!
We’ve learned that 900 square feet is a huge piece of living space for so many others. We’ve learned that Facebook has been an awesome way to reach out to old school friends and have the opportunity to stay in touch and learn about their lives/families….and in my case get back in touch with a dear friend who has found paradise in a small beautiful beach cottage on the coast.
We’ve learned that if you spend the extra time, and in some cases, a little extra cash, you can find great organizational bins, boxes, dividers etc to make living in a small space easier.
(This is more about me than Juan) I’ve learned that no matter how much technology you have or love to work with….sometimes going Old School is the best way to enjoy an evening of bar-b-que and the love of a soul mate.
I was amazed…as well as Juan at how so many people in the world have started thinking the way we do. AND….at a much earlier start in life. We’ve learned that there are so many people dedicating themselves to talk about green products, clean technologies and social responsibility and live a sustainable life.
We’ve learned to incorporate some of our treasured items that we stored away into storage organizers. And to look at a room at what you plan to use it 90% of the time…not 10%…and amazed that there are so many wonderful products out there that can transform one room into three rooms.
Juan and I have learned that riding our bicycles to close destinations verses driving your car make a much more enjoyable adventure. That you enjoy the scenery much more pedaling by than driving. That by bicycling to may of our destinations is a great mental break as well as exercise and save on the gas.
For me…one of the neatest (I know …I just wrote the word and thought neatest? Okay Brady Bunch)….yes, I said one of the neatest things this whole experience has done has brought me and Juan into a new direction and adventure. A beginning of a new business…doing something I have always been passionate about and enjoy doing 24/7.
Whether it’s bicycling, building this new start up adventure and getting the opportunity to meet people face to face across the southwest, Juan and I will continue to enjoy a simpler lifestyle, promote “right-size” living and promote “Mom and Pop” business across the Southwest.
The journey continues…..

 

Gotta LOVE Salted Caramels

New product I will be adding to my Urban Hobo line…”Salted Caramels”. Yum Yum! I have to tell you….this was NOT an easy task for me. Being new to candy-making…I was trying to master the “soft ball and hard ball” stages. Like I said… not an easy task.

First time I made it, was too hard. However, Juan (my master taste tester) LOVED them. Reminded him of a See’s Sucker…I wanted them to be soft and chewy, not hard that would break your teeth. I tried a second time and was so nervous about the candy getting to hard I took it off the heat too soon and now way too soft. (I know it sounds like Goldilocks and the Three Bears) Again, Juan loved the texture and taste with the bit of sea salt it really topped it off.

I tried again and again… a little nervous as my candy thermometer I began to have no faith in and started doing it more traditional or old school….getting a small dish of water and testing for hardness of mixture.


It was better; however still not keeping a form (cut into small squares) so it needed to go longer. HOWEVER, Juan did come up with a great idea…”Dipping Sauce”

Of course we tried it by reheating the mixture and slicing some apples and dipped into the warm caramel goodness. You know what??? It was awesome. A great sauce to heat up fondue style or top your favorite ice cream dessert.

Alas, SUCCESS! I got the soft ball stage perfect AND I was able to cut into squares and wrap with wax paper. They look great, kinda “old school” style candy.


My “friends” like it


So now…I will have caramel suckers, caramel chews and delectable sauce ready to order in the very near future. I’m so excited to have mastered the caramel chews as I hate to lose at something …. And each day I would gather the ingredients and explain to Juan that “This is it!…I am getting it today” Well, I attempted many times and FINALLY won! 

 
To be continued…

 

Happy Valentine’s Day

Wow! It seems like yesterday I was putting up a Christmas tree! (I know I know time flies for me)
Now we have red and pink hearts decorating windows and storefronts…cookies, cupcakes and chocolate with “I Love You”, “Be Mine” or “Run Away with Me”.

For me…Valentine’s Day isn’t about the one day a year….it is about the other 364 days…. a reminder how lucky I am to have Juan in my life!

He is my best friend and I married him…of course if you ask him, he would say that I would have had a much L-O-N-G-E-R engagement and I should’ve said yes sooner etc. (wink wink smiley face)

Juan doesn’t have to worry about spending the outrageous cost for flowers or buy me another sparkly diamond…I really never was into that. A homemade card or dinner made at home is perfect for me.

Taking the time to do something special for your loved one can make up for any pricey gift or flowers.
So today I wish you and yours a wonderful Valentine’s Day and I hope it’s special. Especially if you live in a cozy 900 square foot home.

 

Greatest "CLICKS" for January

In case you might’ve missed something in the month of January…Here are the top greatest “clicks” for the first month of the New Year!

Here they are;

How can I have an office in such a small space?

What to do…What to do

Roses are Red…Violets are Blue…
Trends for 2012

Top Hits for December

Always and Urban Hobo

Please feel free to contact me anytime. I love all your ideas and comments.

Shawn
Shawn@urban-hobo.com


 

Trends for 2012

I have seen a lot of talk from many sources about trends in furniture and living spaces. Yes!!!! Living small is the new BIG! (wink wink smiley face)

Here are some things to think about when you are looking to “right-size your life(looking to downsize your home etc) and how manufacturers are listening to the consumer needs.

Living/Dining rooms molded into one room with the kitchen seems to be what you see (obviously) in small spaces. So having the ability to hang out comfortably…eat in style or “chillaxin” (I know it’s really not a word but my nephews and nieces use it a lot) and gather around the “entertainment box” called a TV.
We have a very sleek 40 inch screen TV in our small space. We have it on top of a metal style console that has the ability to store our other equipment (blue ray player, music DVD’s plugs etc) neatly away. Trends for 2012 say that furniture companies are creating better/sleeker consoles to accommodate any size screen TV and different ways to place or hang on the unit itself. Trends state that hanging the TV on the wall will be fading….I find that hard to believe…we will see.
Sectional sofas are always growing and changing. Nowadays, manufactures are giving the consumers multiple options for the casual urban young shopper looking for a comfortable couch. The ability to create and add how many sectionals plus options to add a chaise on either side gives consumers countless ideas to place furniture in any challenging small or large space. Juan and I currently have a cool teak sofa and chair, however having the sectionals to create two small love seats facing one another or a sofa with chair on one side etc…would give me the option to change my space when I am having a party or just have the urge to make a change.

Bringing back a larger coffee table seems to be the style for 2012. If you were a kid growing up in the 60’s or 70’s, you remember the times you were able to take your dinner plate to the big coffee table so you could watch your favorite program…what a treat. Trends for 2012 say they are bringing back the larger more functional coffee table especially since family gatherings are more casual and small space living needs to have multiple eating options. 



Small triangle tables underneath for additional space

Juan and I have a cool mid century modern coffee table (shown above) that has four small additional tables underneath that can pull out and provide additional eating spaces for our guests or for when we want to hang out on the sofa!



Starts off as a coffee table
Resource Furniture (an awesome company) has wonderful options as well. One in particular gives you the ability to eat and work at a lower seating level PLUS bring the table up to you verses you having to lean down. Be sure you check out their website Resource Furniture for additional space saving furniture needs.
 

Now a great work space or additional dining option @Resource Furniture
Another type of trend many are speaking of is storage in or under beds. Not just for the kid’s room…but for the adults too! Juan and I did purchase a sleek bed from IKEA and enjoy having the ability to have four large drawers we can access easily. Many designers seem to be doing away with having so many chest of drawers in a bedroom. Making your bedroom a retreat with a possible writing/office space or a comfy chaise to read a good book are more popular options than trying to add drawers etc. What’s in for 2012 is the ability to store within a platform bed or other solutions that can go into a closet and have a beautiful bedroom retreat!





Well… based on the few articles I read….Juan and I have made many of the same choices in regards to “What’s Trendy” without even knowing it. Except for the sofa…maybe I should take Juan out this weekend for a little bit of furniture shopping. He’ll groan when I tell him. (wink wink smiley face).

Speaking of office space…I wrote a recent blog “How can I have an office in such a small space”, where I blogged about cool, sleeker furniture out there that is capable of making any room an office. There are great options available… from an office that can close up and become a beautiful piece of furniture, or a sleek desk that has the ability to hide in plain sight. Multi-purpose furniture…of course the advancement of technology where you can have wireless throughout your home and a plethora of options to make any room in your house a place to “get things done”!

 

Upcoming Artist Equals Cool Furniture

Thinking back on the past…I LOVE the 1960’s and 1970’s style furniture. It had such style and “swankiness” about it. One piece I remember well is a “sweater chest” my father had. It had two sliding doors that opened up and had adjustable shelves for your cool sweaters. I loved when he would open up the sliding door and reveal what super cool style sweater he was pulling out for the day.

I feel at times that we have lost the art of “swankines” when it comes to furniture. Sometimes I feel we are just trying to get the basics accomplished…”Yup, this can hold a lot of stuff!” and call it good.
However, now there are wonderful new artist out that there that are trying to combine small space living, multi-purpose furniture and art all in one…and here is a great piece of furniture created by Edward Taylor that I keep seeing in FX The Business of Design, ICON, AnOffice Magazine, and most recently in Design Milk.

He calls it “The Show Off and it truly is a show piece. What a great way to combine some fun and organization plus “swankiness” in a beautiful piece of furniture. On his website it states…Iit’s quite unlike anything you’ll have ever seen before. What it represents is a new breed of furniture – one that refuses to comply with convention, or adhere to tradition – in order to give you, the user, exactly what you want.
Constructed from oak, walnut, laminate and ply, the Show-off provides the missing link between formal and informal clothing storage. Most at home in the hallway yet able to adapt to any given context, the Show-off is no ordinary cabinet. (taken from his website)

I have to admit…the main storage piece reminds me a lot of my father’s sweater chest….That right there had my attention. Yet the addition of the “tree style” stand really adds some fun and uniqueness to the piece.

I think this is a cool piece that would look great in any room! Be sure you check out his website.

 

How can I have an office in such a small space?

People often ask how I could possibly office out of my 900 sq ft home (along with Juan) without bumping into one another. Well…I know people that live in 400 square feet and work out of their home. It can be done with a little imagination and creativity.
First off, one can make an office space virtually anywhere in a home. Even if you do not have a dedicated room for an office, you can grab a tiny piece of real estate in your home and make it your company domain! (wink wink smiley face) Especially with technology….computers, tablets and TV’s can be placed anywhere in a room. No more need to get that “cable guy” out to add another line on a wall.



LOFTWall



“Carving” out a space is easy….keeping it clean, organized and clutter free….well that can be a challenge at times especially in small spaces.
Today, we have manufactures that are dedicated to small space living and providing furniture that is multi-function and/or narrow to accommodate apartment style living. Here are some ideas that you should think about when creating your work space at home.
Dividing out your space….
Whether you have a small house, tiny cozy apartment or high rise loft, dividing a space to dedicate as an office is a great way to start. A great company called LOFTWall offers beautifully designed dividers for your home or office. Should you not have a room or four walls to surround you when working….how  about a LOFTWall divider to create your office environment and give you the feeling of a quiet space to accomplish your activities whether you are a stay-at-home OR working professional. For me…that ability to separate home life from work is helpful every time you need to “get to work” yet enjoy the comforts of home!



Murphy Desk Beds



 So you actually have an extra room OR you have some extra space…
For someone like me…I am always concerned about the ability to have overnight guests AND have space to work. However, how can I do both? The good people at Murphy Desk Beds can offer great solutions for your work/guests overnight needs!



Murphy Desk Beds



If you are searching for a twin, queen or king bed you will have numerous options plus a variety of finishes to accomplish those needs. A beautiful yet sturdy office desk by day and comfy cozy bed at night. Again for those wonderful people that have a 450 square foot home by the beach or some cool hip metro area….you can office during the day and have a place to sleep at night! A Murphy Desk Bed is a simple and cost effective solution that will have you set up in no time and ready to accomplish your 2012 goals!
Building furniture dedicated to small space living….
As I mentioned before in past blogs, more and more people are trying to simplify their lives and downsize their space. Juan and I made a decision to “right-size” our lives and find a space that works for us where we are not a slave to our home.
With a small space like we have, it didn’t make sense to bring in the Copenhagen square table that seats 8 people or the “Monster” of an office desk that would take up a room. We found many companies out there dedicated to small space living. IKEA, Crate and Barrel and CB2 are great places to seek out furniture to utilize in your tiny abode. (wink wink smile face)
Example here is from CB2. They have great options for desks that you can create a small working space anywhere in your home. Using furniture that is narrow, simple or even acrylic can give the illusion of more space. (With the acrylic, it is like having invisible furniture lol….I know I’m sorry)



CB2
Even these cool “table options” that can store your laptop easily or set up while watching your favorite TV shows….well there is no excuse now for getting out those emails or projects.



CB2



The great thing about building an office space in your small home is that you are not limited. AND….if yu are lucky to have a gifted carpenter like my Juan….well any design he sees at stores  or online he can copy and create for a lot less $$$$!
UPDATE: Juan and I have managed to clear more “STUFF” and clutter from our second room and have found a beautiful desk at IKEA as a start for our office. I will post the update next week.
If you have created a cool office space in your small space….I would love to see and share!

 

What to do…What to do…

Won these on eBay. What are they you ask???These are vintage punched tin bulb reflectors….I know…Cool huh! (I know you might be thinking I’m crazy, right?)

Well now what I am thinking is what I am going to make out of these cool piece of history. If you’ve been reading this blog you know I love to create things. During the holidays I had a hit with tin ornaments (check out this past blog about them) and so now I am thinking some sort of Christmas ornamentation!

I love Christmas and yes…it is January and I am already thinking about Christmas. The vintage stuff from the 60’s and 70’s I really la la love. I guess because it brings back such awesome memories for me as a child. But something I am looking for and I know it is from an earlier era….an aluminum Christmas tree! (happy happy joy joy face) Of course I’ll keep you posted.

For now….I am going to think about these vintage punched tin bulb reflectors and what they are going to become! I’ll keep ya posted (wink wink smiley face)

 
 
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