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Category Archives: decorations

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

 

Going…Going…GONE!

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Wow! Dia de los Muertos has taken off for Urban Hobos! Juan and I are so excited. We have been able to sell many of our “Folk-Art” Skull friends. The colors are bright the subject (although skeletons) is fun and native to the area we live in.

I do not know why we have taken this road with a Dia de Los Muertos theme, I grew up celebrating this special holiday with many friends since I grew up on the border. I’ve enjoyed sharing with Juan the meaning behind the “Day of the Dead” celebrations.

For my friends and readers that are not familiar… Día de los Muertos is a holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. Focusing on family gatherings and friends to pray for and remember family members who have died. The celebration takes place on November 1, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day. Some of the traditions connected with the holiday include building altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. They   also leave possessions of the deceased.

I know I know….many of you might think this is slightly gruesome celebrating with skeletons and honoring a day for the dead, however, I love the bright colors and festivities that come from the celebration. When I think how much I miss my Father, I would much rather honor him and think of him with happy and wonderful memories. Remembering all he taught me and the great traditions that are now in me.

However, we do have some more “Dia de los Muertos” on its way along with a series of crosses I am working on and will have ready in the next week. So I will do my best to keep you posted on any new products we have.

Be sure to “LIKE US” on Facebook as well. Would love any and all feedback too!

 

Funky, Kitschy, Dia de Los Muertos

What a fun way to brighten your kitchen wall; add a “pop of color” in a small nook or any part of your home! They are small yet fun pieces of art that can be added anywhere without breaking the bank. We never knew how popular they would become, so we are going to continue adding more to the collection.

I was born and raised on the border and have always enjoyed the bright colors, history and culture of Mexican folk art. Juan and I try to capture that in our funky eclectic art. Simple, colorful….FUN!

If you are interested in any of these paintings, please email me shawn@urban-hobo.com. They are easy to ship and if you are located in the El Paso area, I am happy to deliver! (smiley face)

Sarape Truck 11X 14 acrylic $35.00

VW Dia de Los Muertos 8X10 acrylic $25.00

Collage Folk Art 12X12 acrylic $30.00

I tried to take the best pictures, however, if you need additional info, photos, questions or comments, please email me shawn@urban-hobo.com.

To see some of the sweet treats we deliver, be sure to head to our website Urban Hobo!

 

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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…..

 

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.

 

Greatest Clicks for November!



Juan is not too sure about this guy, with his sister



I know I am getting this started a little late as we are now into the first week of December and would be remiss in not providing you our “Greatest Clicks” for the month of November!
In case you missed any postings in between shopping, baking and decorating…here are the top five for the month!

1. Happy 1 Year Anniversary
2. Organization For The Holidays
3. Juan says…”Our house is too big!”
4. Myth #1….My place is too small to entertain!
5. The Tree Is Trimmed…All Minus 1 ½ feet


Me!



As always…Juan and I appreciate your continued interest and support. If there is anything you would like to share or if you have questions…I am a quick email away!

 

The Tree Is Trimmed…All Minus 1 ½ feet

WOW! It seems like Labor Day was just here and we were THINKING about Halloween. How’d we get to Christmas so fast? I tell Juan every year, Christmas comes faster and faster.

I la la LOVE Christmas. Everything about it. As a kid I loved the holiday decorations, the holiday spirit in everyone’s hearts and the joy of family and friends getting together. It is my time of year. As a child, my father loved Christmas too. I spent many days just hanging out in the living room with my Dad as he blasted Bing Crosby or Nat King Cole Christmas music on his “Reel to Reel” stereo. (For the much younger generations it was like a HUGE cassette!)

I collect Santa ornaments. When I travel, I love picking up one in remembrance of my trip. For years, I’ve been trimming an artificial tree. I put mine up so early, I want to be able to have it up after Thanksgiving and enjoy through Christmas. This is a challenge if you buy a real tree…besides some of my ornaments are heavy and the fake branches can hold the weight.

Since we moved to our 900 square foot home, I did have to get rid of the 9 ½ foot pre-lit tree I used in my old house. It would be folded over due to the low ceilings and the circumference would take up the whole living room. So we purchased a 7 ½ foot unlit slim tree. It is perfect for a smaller space especially with the narrow diameter….you do not feel that each time you walk by you will take an ornament out!

Since I had to manually light the tree I got started. How spoiled I’ve become with a pre-lit tree. It sure made it easy to put together. I was able to concentrate on getting the branches bent correctly and fluff the tips up to look like a real tree. Now I will have to wrap the lights AND get the branches ready for decorations. Juan hates this part as I become very picky on how the lights go on and how the branches are set. He would run around the tree in circles with the lights and throw a clump of tinsel at once if he could. (wink wink smiley face) I however like to weave the lights in and up to the trunk and back out trying to give the tree a perfect glow. (Wow that is so Martha Stewart, right?) Okay….I am a little particular when it comes to festive illumination!

Well, back to lighting. I thought I would be smart by setting up the first tree section and wrapping the branches before I add the middle and top section of the tree. That way I could easily lean over the top of the section and really weave the lights perfectly. Heck I am so smart…I’ll have this tree glowing and ready for ornaments in no time.

I spent a lot of time getting that first section lit. It was perfect….a perfect glow and the branches looked great. Now on to the middle section….I carefully lined up the pole to add to the bottom section and it doesn’t want to go in???!!!! Why? I thought well I must be way off and got under the branches to see what was going on. I am sure most of you know by now what happened. I did a beautiful job of lighting the MIDDLE section of the tree first! Crapola!!!!!Needless to say, Juan was laughing hysterically a good 10 minutes before he calmed down. It was pretty funny but now I am thinking “How can I add the bottom piece without disturbing the middle section?” or “Am I going to have to undo ALL the lights and start over?”

 
 So….I decided to continue on and instead of trying to pull out the section I did…I went ahead and added the top section and began my weaving wonderment of lights. It was beautifully lit….heck I should have another 1 ½ feet of tree to light but alas I was not paying attention when starting this project. Instead of a 7 ½ foot tree….I have a 6 foot tree and you know what???? It looks great. Juan agreed, he said you don’t even miss it and it fits so nicely in the room.


 

This year I decorated with my glass and German glass Santa and Snowman themes ornaments…went with heavy red accents and a dash of green on top!

Note to self:
 
* Be sure you check the labels of the tree to be sure you are starting with the correct section
 * Maybe you should hold off lighting the tree before you put the whole thing together

 
* Don’t get upset of you make a mistake….it’s the holidays and not worth it

* If you do mess up….take a break, have some eggnog and get creative!

              HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
 

Myth # 1… My place is too small to entertain!

Tis the season to entertain. You live in a small space (right size living) and you feel you do not have the ability to invite family, friends or colleagues to enjoy some great food…a little wine and fun.

So not true! If you are organized and have your small space in order… It’s easy, manageable and can be stress free.

I will be preparing Thanksgiving for Juan and I as well as my mom and her friend. I’m not worried and it’s not about stressing myself out…it’s my holiday too and I want to enjoy.

When you walk in the main area… It’s a long narrow rectangle space.  So… not a lot of counter space to place covered dishes or hot plates, etc. I have seating inside and outside, however outside is not quite ready. Simple yet not formal seating…narrow area to sit and hang out….no problemo!

I try to create intimate areas for people to hang out and enjoy without creating a huge roadblock of the narrow walkway through the house. The patio is a great place to have cold beverages on ice as well as glasses etc and place to have people enjoy and hang out.

In the living area is a great place to have horsderves and another area to have people mingle and enjoying while you are doing the finishing touches in dinner. What is so great in being in a small space, you stay connected to everyone.

So back to Thanksgiving dinner…

Me… I’m always thinking out of the box! Tradition dining with different thought process about how we go about doing it.

Thinking about Thanksgiving Day and trying to prepare a hot and delicious meal for all to enjoy is all about timing. Cook the stuffing and prepare the turkey. Then you have to boil potatoes…gotta have some greens. The rolls…where are the rolls to bake?…pumpkin pie from scratch??? Oh and then the homemade gravy…and all needs to be ready and hot all at once without drying out or burning what is already cooked. I’m tired just thinking about it.

Now the way I do this will probably not be an option or desire for you, but I find this way easier on me and then I can enjoy like everyone else.

I started thinking about the meal and the best part of Thanksgiving for me is leftovers. So I took this idea and worked it to my advantage. Why not prepare dinner a day early? (I know you think I’m nuts about now)
I’m typically home on Wednesday and by then I’ve been to the store and hopefully got everything I need.  (Juan can always make a run if I forgot something). There’s no stress as I start cooking the stuffing and prepare the turkey. I enjoy some wine as I boil some potatoes and decide to get all my dishes and dinnerware ready for tomorrow. I continue preparing additional dishes if needed and get the table ready for a party.

Basically I prepare pretty much all of the dinner or the majority of it so that on Thanksgiving Day I’ll be ready, happy and stress free to enjoy my meal with my family. By doing this, I do not have the extra dishes around where I don’t have room…I’m able to heat in my ceramic ware and place on the kitchen granite countertops.

I’m able to reheat the turkey and stuffing…heat and add additional cream to mashed garlic potatoes, prepare the rolls and everything will be hot and ready at ONCE!

You probably think I’m crazy or weird but for me…I’m able to enjoy Thanksgiving morning with a bike ride some coffee and Juan. Enjoy a relaxing rest of morning adding final touches to my table. Have my meal heating while guests arrive and have everything hot and ready at once when everyone gathers around the table for grace.

I enjoy entertaining and I enjoy having people over to my small space…this works for me and I truly enjoy cooking and baking. I’m forever trying to do things easier and better each time…you might think of something different, if so…you should share and I would be happy to post!

Right size living has made me and Juan much better at eliminating the clutter or STUFF…keeping organized and in their place and enjoying a simpler lifestyle.

So why not cook ahead of time and enjoy the “meal/leftovers” on Thanksgiving Day.

 
 
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