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El Paso, a wonderful place to explore!~Juan’s Perspective

As I mentioned awhile back, Juan and I relocated back to my hometown. Here is Juan’s perspective on our recent move and why El Paso is a great move for us. Urban Hobo is rapidly growing and can’t think of a better place to build this start-up fun company than here!

Shawn and I recently relocated to El Paso, TX from Phoenix, AZ (my hometown). For Shawn, the decision (and transition) was an easy one. Shawn was born and raised in El Paso and most of her close friends still live here. Since we’ve been married, we’ve visited at least once a year so I’ve had some exposure to the city and, an idea of what to expect.

When we informed every one of our plans, most of our friends and family (not living in El Paso) had the same initial reaction, “Why?” Some were downright scared, “It’s not safe!” “You’ll get shot by the Cartels in Juarez!” If you actually do some research (instead of believing the newspapers and tabloids), you’ll find that El Paso is one of the safest cities in the U.S. After analyzing the data myself, and comparing Phoenix to El Paso, it appears that only by the grace of God did we get out of Phoenix alive without becoming a crime statistic!(ha ha ha) And, El Paso has a VERY strong economy (the overall cost of living is much cheaper than Phoenix). Less crime, stronger economy, lower cost of living and much milder summertime temperatures! All positive reasons to live in El Paso.

Shawn is excited to be back and loves her home town. However, being familiar with the city she takes many things for granted. Conversely me being new to the city and region my perspective on things is slightly different. Furthermore, I’m an avid history buff. I’ve read a lot about the history of the area and have even had a chance to visit a number of historic sites within the region. Many of the sites where historic events took place that helped shape the state, the region and the Country, are within the city limits. Many more are a short car ride away. Besides the historically significant aspects, El Paso has so much more to offer. The culture is evident. Unlike many other Western/Southwestern areas, the culture in El Paso is alive! The Spanish, Mexican, and Southwestern influences are all around you. Not in a phony, tourist or commercial way. The city does not try to hide its heritage, rather it embraces it!

El Paso is a medium-sized city, but with a small town feel. It is also the largest border city in the world. El Paso is also home to Ft. Bliss (the Army’s second largest installation) drawing people from all over the United States. It is this cultural diversity that gives El Paso an energy that I’ve not found or experienced in other cities in the West/Southwest, Northwest or Pacific Islands. Something else I’ve noticed; the residents are much more polite and friendly. El Paso is the kind of city where quality of life is the number one priority.

As I settle in and learn more of my new home, I am finding that El Paso is not just a wonderful place to live; it’s also a wonderful place to explore!

 

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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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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!

 

Top "Clicks" For February

Wow…we are now in March! My Mom always said time flies…

I always like to start the first of the month revisiting the “Top Clicks” for last month. I am so excited and happy with all the views, responses and feedback you all provide.

There will be a lot of changes in the coming weeks…I’ll keep you posted. Until then, if you missed one of these posts…here they are.

I Am Addicted To Pinterest
Gotta LOVE Salted Caramel
A great day…
Happy Valentine’s Day
The Calm Before the Storm

Thanks again for stopping by for a spell and reading one of my posts….it certainly makes my day!

 

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”!

 

Another Art Project

Just a quick note to show another art project Juan and I are playing around with.

Simple silhouettes on fun fabric. We are working on some projects with silhouettes of skills, vintage silver streams, birds AND some of my friend’s furry friends.

I’ll keep you posted.

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2012 in Art, crafts, simplify your life, Small spaces

 

So…Started the New Year Off Breaking Any of Your Resolutions?

Happy New Year! Juan and I love this time of year…time to release the old and on with the new….wipe the slate clean….start fresh! Hold on…. how many of you started with the best intentions only to have “blown it” already. That’s okay each day is a new day and you can always start fresh, however maybe this time set more achievable goals.

Begin with the end in mind.-How many of you just make a list that states…”I want to be in a new small space” (sorry I am always thinking right-sizing)”I want to be skinny”, “I want to ….blah blah blah. Start with the end in mind. For example; if you want to own a house…think about the cost of a home you will afford as well as the down payment that will be needed and realistic mortgage you can afford. Once you have that amount in mind then you are able to work backwards to the present as to how much you will need to save on a monthly basis to have the down payment on a future home. If you have a wish for a larger home and the down payment is big, you might need to either A) Save more on a monthly basis or B) Make a goal for the first year to save “X” amount and the next year (or less) the rest….We could go on…but I believe you get the picture. Bottom line is that you start with the end result and work backwards. Whatever the goal is start with the end and work backwards. You might reassess and adjust your goals.

Set realistic goals.-Sometimes we get waaayyyy toooo ambitious when it comes to goals. For years that has always been my downfall. I have always battled with weight and I would make a goal to be a size 2 in six weeks. I am not a contestant on The Biggest Loser….so it makes more sense to set realistic goals that can be achieved than to get disappointed with lofty ones.

Start off small.-If you wish to add exercise into your regime, try to start off with small goals and mark dates/time lines to move to the next level. Start off with 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening…OR…taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking your car further and walking more. If you start small it is easier to stick with it. Many tri-athletes had a starting point when they first started training…the same should be for you.

Include time for self or just relax. – In our very busy lives, we tend to keep running until we collapse. Or burn the candle at both ends. Give time to rejuvenate…meditate…or try yoga. The say it’s a great stress release and can lower your blood pressure.

Think about giving back or volunteering as one of your resolutions.- Volunteer!!!What a great way to give back and another great way to lower your blood pressure and de-stress! Volunteering or giving of your time etc., is a great way to feel good about yourself and doing something positive for the community or for someone in need. However, do it for the right reasons

Now…start making your New Year’s resolution(s) with some of these tips in mind. I guarantee better outcome and results. Good Luck!

Cheers to an awesome 2012!

 
 
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