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Category Archives: urban hobo

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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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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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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New Inventory at Urban-Hobo.com

 

Change is Coming….

Well…a new chapter in my life will be here in the coming weeks. Juan and I are so excited about this new adventure and what new things we will discover together. I know I have posted a lot of info about “Urban Hobo (website coming REAL soon!) and it has taken me in a new direction in regards to my blogging.

I will be moving to a new blog within the week and hope you will “follow” me over to the new site. Although I am still a big believer of living simpler and “right-sizing” my life….I also wish to blog about local “Mom & Pop” haunts and great things to do locally and on a nationwide basis.

Of course I will be discussing my latest edible art creations and where Juan and I might be in the Southwest where you can visit with us and partake in some of our home baked goodies and eclectic art!

I wanted to take this time to express some of the things Juan and I have learned over the last 1 ½ years regarding… “putting what’s important in perspective“. I’ve learned that it isn’t the quantity of “Stuff” you have accumulated over the years….It’s the quantity and quality of friendships you have built. It’s not about the “status” level you’ve climbed but about the time and ability you give to others in need. It’s not about wearing a huge banner saying “Look at me and what I am doing” but about being there for others and doing whatever you can without recognition. It’s about truly finding what really matters in your life…the love of a spouse and the love and time you spend with your family and close friends. For me…“right-sizing” (I know my favorite word of the day) my life has helped me enjoy the simpler things in life and enjoy my family and friends more.

I hope that some, or even one, of my blogs have helped you in some way. I have received many emails about changes you’ve made and how much happier you are. I am so glad to always hear from you and hope to receive more input in my new blog.

Next….What I’ve learned by right-sizing My Life

 

Caramel Dipping Sauce

As I continue my quest for building my repertoire of tasty goodies….I’m happy to report a new addition!

My quest to make the perfect caramel chew. If you recall, I made several attempts and FINALLY nailed it. I was so excited. Of course Juan was too as he was busy being my ever ready taste tester.

Now…I have created a wonderful caramel dipping sauce. Delish!

It’s great to heat up (60-90 seconds) in the microwave or in a hot water bath. Or…setting up a fondue night and having the caramel sauce for dessert.

Slice up some green apples and what a tasty treat!

Next…will have some cool packaging put together soon to make this a beautiful hostess gift or thank you favor at any function.

 
 
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