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Category Archives: christmas ornaments

Lamp work beads, some of the pieces that go into our tin ornaments.

As we are creating bunches and bunches of tin ornaments for the holidays, I thought I would show you some of the pieces that go into our unique ornaments.

Lampworking is a type of glasswork that uses gas fueled torch to melt rods and tubes of clear and colored glass. Once in a molten state, artists will shape and blow using tools and hand movements.

Each bead is unique…although you might find the exact same bead color and all….they will not be exactly alike.

Many of our tin ornaments have unique “mini pieces of art” each different be it a lamp work bead, recycled charms from vintage pieces or other additional handmade “trinkets” to make each tin ornament unique and special.

Hope to see you at this seasons craft fair events!

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Tools…Juan’s Perspective

One of the things that gives our art work a unique character are the tools we use. These aren’t just any run-of-the-mill hardware store tools. These tools have a history. A soul. Many of them belonged to our parents and grandparents. We don’t simply enjoy using them because of their family history. It goes much deeper than that, because we each grew up using these very same tools. And, each of them has provenance. Each of these tools were used in a professional trade.

Here are a few examples of the tools we currently employ in our tin work. The two dollies were used by my Grandpa Smith in his Radiator/Body Shop in the 1920’s, ‘30’s and ‘40’s. Back when cars were made from actual steel. If you needed to shape a new body part or re-shape a damaged one, you would place the appropriate dolly behind the piece of steel and pound on the other side with a hammer, until the desired shape was achieved. These dollies are made from solid blocks of steel. After they were retired to my Grandfather’s personal workshop, I used them for many “important” projects when I was a kid. I even used them to pound out a few dents in friend’s cars.

One of the ball peen hammers belonged to my Grandpa Swinford. He used it in his carpentry business and I used it when I first learned to hammer nails (it was a lot lighter than a claw hammer and I hit the wood as often as I hit the nail, so it really didn’t matter if it was the right tool or not).

The other ball peen hammer belonged to Shawn’s Mother, Phyllis. She used it in her Art Gallery. Shawn spent a lot of time working in the gallery and used it to hang pictures.

Each of these tools were originally used professionally, for years, in artful endeavors. Over time they developed scars and wear and characters all their own. These very tools were used by our parents and grandparents to teach us skills and pass along a little bit of their knowledge. We are carrying on that tradition by using them in our own artful endeavors. Used together, they shape our tin work and give each piece a unique appearance and a little bit of history all their own.

 

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New Inventory at Urban-Hobo.com

 

Our Last Weekend of Bicycling in AZ

Juan and I are trying to soak up our last weekend of bike riding in Arizona. The orange blossoms seem to be extra fragrant today. Juan loves this time of year and I feel he is getting something extra special where everything is in bloom.

Juan and I are so excited in this next chapter in our lives. Life is so short and we plan to try to live and enjoy every minute of it.

So today…the weather is gorgeous, very light veil of clouds and my Juan by my side…life couldn’t be any better.

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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/

 

A Special Ornament Every Holiday



My Dad

 During the Christmas season…Tons of memories flood my tiny little brain. The main one is always of my father. My Dad LOVED… I mean La La LOVED this time of year! Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole Christmas music was blaring on the stereo and we set out to find the perfect  Christmas tree (which meant HUGE). Oh and it had to be flocked…you know …for the snow effect. Although we did not get a lot of snow in El Paso TX…my Dad loved the flocked trees. I guess it reminded him of the wintery settings he enjoyed through his youth in Rochester NY with his 8 brothers and sisters! (Big Irish Catholic Family)

When I lost my father, I lost my best friend…my support….my hero. He was John Wayne! I was the youngest and only girl and I believe my Dad was wrapped around my little finger. (wink wink smiley face) We did a lot growing up together and yes, I would do all the “boy stuff” like camping, fishing and working in the yard with him.

He was a man of integrity… with God in his heart, strength in his hands and very humble. My family and I were amazed at the countless letters of condolences regarding my father’s passing that year and how much he did for their family. Juan (hubby) could not believe the charitable things he did without telling anyone…without saying a word. He was a good man with a HUGE heart.

I honor Pops each year during the holidays. If you have lost a loved one…or know someone who did…this is a great token to give to a loved one who has lost someone special.

I know you can buy these at any craft store; small picture frames that are made to hang as ornaments. My sister-in-law found several of these and put dad’s picture in it. She made one for me, her husband (my brother) and my other brother. It was a tough year 2007, the three siblings PLUS their spouses each lost a parent that year. No kidding… each one of us. So my beautiful and thoughtful “sis-n-law” created such a beautiful token to honor my Dad each year when I trim the tree. For me…that small little picture frame ornament was THE most precious gift I received that year. No amount of technology, jewelry or clothing could top such a gift. It brought tears to my eyes and I will never forget such a thoughtful and wonderful gift.

So if you’ve lost someone special OR you know someone close who has lost a loved one, I would recommend getting one of these little frame ornaments and creating a special gift.

May this year be the merriest of holidays for you and your family.

 

Can your table do this???

Yes, it’s the holidays and time to gather around the table with family and friends. What? In your small space??? Just because you decided to “right-size” your life and downsize your square feet, doesn’t mean you can’t have a party. That is where cool functional/multi-purpose furniture comes in to play.
I don’t know about you…but we grew up in a very large home equipped with huge eat-in kitchen and a separate formal dining room. The cool thing was getting to eat in the formal dining room. I must admit… my mom and dad truly enjoyed to entertain and enjoyed eating in the formal room, however as we got older and our lives got busier…less time was spent in the separate dining room and more…much much more time in the eat in kitchen.
I’ve talked to a lot of people and when asked about growing up with a formal dining room….all agreed….they rarely ate in that room! (Another room that can be eliminated from your square footage)
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a nice area to sit down and enjoy your meals…do you need more than one?
Another point I would like to add is how many times in a year do you have a large crowd? The obvious times are during Thanksgiving, Christmas and possibly a momentous birthday. So the way to think about your space is to think what the function of your space needs to be 98% of the time THEN follow up with the leftover 2% of the time. I am guilty of doing this too. I found myself always looking to have extra rooms. You know…I need to set up my home office AND I need a separate room for guests. The occasional guest…let’s see…in 7+ years in my bigger house that would be 5 times having guests over. Yes, in the course of 7+ years!
All of us in general tend to think about the one time we might need the extra space or a certain item verses the other 364 days of the year.
So here’s a solution from my good friends at Resource Furniture when it comes to dining and having more than the typical 4-6 guests at your home. It looks like a regular console for the 98% of the time you need it. However, when it’s time to have 2, 4 or more guests???? This sleek piece with aluminum telescoping mechanism and FIVE extensions becomes a gorgeous dining table at an unbelievable 117” long!!!!
What is so great about this piece is you focus on the furniture on what it is supposed to be most of the time and when you need to host a large gathering, you have an instant table. With the five extensions, you have the ability to make the table any length. It also comes in other colors and finishes. So be sure to check out their web site @Resource Furniture.
If you think you are going to re-do a room… think about what the room will be the majority of time…not for “that one time”. Be creative with multipurpose furniture or if you have a knack for carpentry, look through magazines or online for ideas and build your unique piece.
Remember to focus on what you need the majority of the time and purchase or create a unique way to utilize your space when you are entertaining, having guests overnight or whatever purpose you might need for the few times!
 
 
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