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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/

 

What I’ve Learned by “Right-Sizing” My life

As I mentioned in my last blog…(Change is Coming) I wrote about this new chapter Juan and I will be entering in the coming weeks. I will be “spilling the beans” soon…I promise!
In the meantime, I wanted to share with you what I have learned over the last year and a half about living smaller, simpler and of course “right-sizing” our lives.
It started when Juan and I were thinking about moving into yet a larger home with only two dachshunds and a 31 year old parrot. Why did we need all that space? What were we trying to do? THEN…the economy took a turn for the worse which affected our business (Staffing).
I read two quotes that really hit me by Henry David Thoreau…. “Only have things of beauty or usefulness in your life”. Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”And this oneSell your clothes and your keep thoughts”. You always have your memories, but items get packed away and you only enjoy the memory.
This is what started this journey and has now taken new turns. Now, a quick view of what we’ve learned and when you see parts that are highlighted, they will take you to the blog I am referring to.
We’ve learned that bigger isn’t always better and some of our happiest times were when Juan and I were first married, living in a small apartment. Since we did not have the challenge of cleaning and maintaining a large space, we had time to do fun things with each other.
I learned that you spend your life accumulating stuff to only do what???Pack it away! Take out and dust off your beautiful dinnerware/china…use the sterling enjoy these pieces; don’t hide them in a box to only use a few occasions.
We’ve learned that a garage sale can turn two people that were so worried about getting rid of stuff into two greedy, commissioned driven sales hounds. We’ve learned that bigger isn’t always better and all the wants” in the world will not make you a better person nor change your social status.
We learned that when moving into a small space, it’s hard to go to many of the furniture stores and find sleek, fun furniture to fit in tiny rooms. (Of course today more stores are embracing small space living) Seek out and find vintage or retro stores that sell mid century modern furniture. Great pieces that fit in the small spaces you are trying to furnish and decorate. However, we did learn that in a small space you have to live a lot closer to everyone and IKEA is also a great place to find loft style stuff!
We’ve learned that 900 square feet is a huge piece of living space for so many others. We’ve learned that Facebook has been an awesome way to reach out to old school friends and have the opportunity to stay in touch and learn about their lives/families….and in my case get back in touch with a dear friend who has found paradise in a small beautiful beach cottage on the coast.
We’ve learned that if you spend the extra time, and in some cases, a little extra cash, you can find great organizational bins, boxes, dividers etc to make living in a small space easier.
(This is more about me than Juan) I’ve learned that no matter how much technology you have or love to work with….sometimes going Old School is the best way to enjoy an evening of bar-b-que and the love of a soul mate.
I was amazed…as well as Juan at how so many people in the world have started thinking the way we do. AND….at a much earlier start in life. We’ve learned that there are so many people dedicating themselves to talk about green products, clean technologies and social responsibility and live a sustainable life.
We’ve learned to incorporate some of our treasured items that we stored away into storage organizers. And to look at a room at what you plan to use it 90% of the time…not 10%…and amazed that there are so many wonderful products out there that can transform one room into three rooms.
Juan and I have learned that riding our bicycles to close destinations verses driving your car make a much more enjoyable adventure. That you enjoy the scenery much more pedaling by than driving. That by bicycling to may of our destinations is a great mental break as well as exercise and save on the gas.
For me…one of the neatest (I know …I just wrote the word and thought neatest? Okay Brady Bunch)….yes, I said one of the neatest things this whole experience has done has brought me and Juan into a new direction and adventure. A beginning of a new business…doing something I have always been passionate about and enjoy doing 24/7.
Whether it’s bicycling, building this new start up adventure and getting the opportunity to meet people face to face across the southwest, Juan and I will continue to enjoy a simpler lifestyle, promote “right-size” living and promote “Mom and Pop” business across the Southwest.
The journey continues…..

 

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”!

 

How can I have an office in such a small space?

People often ask how I could possibly office out of my 900 sq ft home (along with Juan) without bumping into one another. Well…I know people that live in 400 square feet and work out of their home. It can be done with a little imagination and creativity.
First off, one can make an office space virtually anywhere in a home. Even if you do not have a dedicated room for an office, you can grab a tiny piece of real estate in your home and make it your company domain! (wink wink smiley face) Especially with technology….computers, tablets and TV’s can be placed anywhere in a room. No more need to get that “cable guy” out to add another line on a wall.



LOFTWall



“Carving” out a space is easy….keeping it clean, organized and clutter free….well that can be a challenge at times especially in small spaces.
Today, we have manufactures that are dedicated to small space living and providing furniture that is multi-function and/or narrow to accommodate apartment style living. Here are some ideas that you should think about when creating your work space at home.
Dividing out your space….
Whether you have a small house, tiny cozy apartment or high rise loft, dividing a space to dedicate as an office is a great way to start. A great company called LOFTWall offers beautifully designed dividers for your home or office. Should you not have a room or four walls to surround you when working….how  about a LOFTWall divider to create your office environment and give you the feeling of a quiet space to accomplish your activities whether you are a stay-at-home OR working professional. For me…that ability to separate home life from work is helpful every time you need to “get to work” yet enjoy the comforts of home!



Murphy Desk Beds



 So you actually have an extra room OR you have some extra space…
For someone like me…I am always concerned about the ability to have overnight guests AND have space to work. However, how can I do both? The good people at Murphy Desk Beds can offer great solutions for your work/guests overnight needs!



Murphy Desk Beds



If you are searching for a twin, queen or king bed you will have numerous options plus a variety of finishes to accomplish those needs. A beautiful yet sturdy office desk by day and comfy cozy bed at night. Again for those wonderful people that have a 450 square foot home by the beach or some cool hip metro area….you can office during the day and have a place to sleep at night! A Murphy Desk Bed is a simple and cost effective solution that will have you set up in no time and ready to accomplish your 2012 goals!
Building furniture dedicated to small space living….
As I mentioned before in past blogs, more and more people are trying to simplify their lives and downsize their space. Juan and I made a decision to “right-size” our lives and find a space that works for us where we are not a slave to our home.
With a small space like we have, it didn’t make sense to bring in the Copenhagen square table that seats 8 people or the “Monster” of an office desk that would take up a room. We found many companies out there dedicated to small space living. IKEA, Crate and Barrel and CB2 are great places to seek out furniture to utilize in your tiny abode. (wink wink smile face)
Example here is from CB2. They have great options for desks that you can create a small working space anywhere in your home. Using furniture that is narrow, simple or even acrylic can give the illusion of more space. (With the acrylic, it is like having invisible furniture lol….I know I’m sorry)



CB2
Even these cool “table options” that can store your laptop easily or set up while watching your favorite TV shows….well there is no excuse now for getting out those emails or projects.



CB2



The great thing about building an office space in your small home is that you are not limited. AND….if yu are lucky to have a gifted carpenter like my Juan….well any design he sees at stores  or online he can copy and create for a lot less $$$$!
UPDATE: Juan and I have managed to clear more “STUFF” and clutter from our second room and have found a beautiful desk at IKEA as a start for our office. I will post the update next week.
If you have created a cool office space in your small space….I would love to see and share!

 

Top Hits for December

And the winner is…….

Wow… it seems like yesterday I was getting ready to put up the tree and plan for the holidays…

Now, all that is left is some sparkle left on the floor that my vacuum refuses to pick up and all the shelves and spots in my home where Christmas lived seem blank….(sigh)

Well, I have listed the top blogs for December and in case you might’ve missed one….here they are.

Urban Hobo Cookies-A Couple of Friends Helping Me Out!

Can your table do this???

Regrets; Juan’s Perspective

Urban-Hobos-Patron Your Local Neighborhood Haunts!

Recycling Your Christmas Tree

Juan and I are always interested in anything and everything you have to say! If you have a suggestion or have a home, furniture, art, food, organizational tricks/ideas….you’d like to share, we would love to hear about and post!

Here’s to a hearty, happy, healthy and prosperous 2012!

 

"Now This Is Some Amazing Furniture!"

Have you ever played with one of those wooden puzzles? You know the ones that might be shaped like a cube or box and there are intricate wooden pieces that you have to figure how they connect to create the original shape? What was so cool about them were the beautiful colored woods so smooth and the challenges of figuring out where they go!

Take that same amazing talent of a puzzle and create furniture! What do you get??? Claudio Sibille! Claudio is a Uruguayan industrial designer who graduated from IUB (Instituto Universitario Bios) in 2009. He is known and recognized for creating beautiful and unique furniture for small spaces. (From his website)
It is amazing to see this simple “sideboard” looking piece of furniture and watch how it transforms into a desk, two chairs and a file cabinet.

I love the attention to detail where the backs of the chairs has the same pull handles so when placed back into the cabinet it lines up as if there are multiple drawers.

His expertise is furniture and more specifically how to create furniture that is fully functional in limited spaces.
Claudio has been recognized and selected in furniture design contests and you can see why he will be someone we will see more and more of in the future.

Be sure you check out his website….awesome pieces and other neat furniture ideas.

 

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!
 
 
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