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Category Archives: fun

Urban Hobo Hits the News

We hit the BIG TIME!!!! Urban Hobo made it to an online magazine. Wooooo Hoooo!!
Okay, I shouldn’t get so excited, but I can’t help it….I am.

It’s a great piece that speaks about how we got started and our journey to where we are today. If you are not from El Paso, you can check it out here

We are so thankful for the staff at 2310ScenicDr2310ScenicDr for posting our story.

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SWEETS!!!

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Urban Hobo is about “artful edibles” ….simple great goodness delivered in cool packaging. Great gifts at great prices for yourself or for someone special.

We are happy to speak with you regarding our cookies and caramels and customize your order for corporate gifts, events or something for yourself!

Our goal is to provide cool gifts that are handmade and unique and not pricey.

Be sure to check out our website http://www.urbanhobo.com.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Shawn O’Hara-Smith
Urban Hobo
shawn@urban-hobo.com
480-929-4008

 

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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!

 

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.

 
 
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