Thursday, August 18, 2016

Who put the hobo in the hobo bag?

This year marks the 10th anniversary of my funky handmade shop for crossbody hobo bags and upcycled clothing: The Hobo Train. Wow! It has been a helluva ride aboard The Hobo Train and I look forward to many more years of riding the rails!  If you want to check out the shop, head on over: .  

Over the years I've had countless conversations with curious customers about my business and about the unique way in which I live.  In particular I often get asked about my shop name and I'm always thrilled to indulge.  Read on to hear about it.

At a life-changing music festival in the hot summer of 2006 I decided to start making large over shoulder bags and selling them at craft shows. They are commonly called hobo bags or crossbody hobo bags. Funnily enough I connected immediately with the word hobo. The original hobos were free-spirited wanderers who thirsted for new horizons and adventures and traveled the countryside by hopping trains. I am a love-filled free-spirit who thrives on learning new things and expanding my realm of experience. So it was an instant match.

But what do hobo bags have to do with hobos, you may ask? Well, today's hobo bag is an updated version of the bindle, the fabric sack that the hobo would commonly carry on the end of his stick that he propped over his shoulder. The bindle was the original hobo bag and it was a precious carryall for his worldly possessions and a witness to his many adventures, too.

The crossbody hobo bags that I lovingly make have a similar purpose in mind. They are not just any old over shoulder bag. They are a loyal and ever-ready companion for any journey, pilgrimage, trek, venture, march, or migration you might take or be swept into. They are up to the task for going to the grocery store at midnight, totally game for a chicken bus ride through Guatemala, and ready to jump in with both feet to any hippie happening there is. They will happily accompany you on your adventures and surely lead you on some too. They can carry your stuff to work, can chill on the beach, and they can rock out at a music festival.

Now what's behind all this sweet soul adventuring? Is it running away? Is it futile wandering? It might appear to be so at times. But the word hobo itself holds the key. It actually contains the answer within it. Hobo is a contraction of the two words 'HOmeward BOund'. The hobo is always searching for his or her home, the place that feels right, the place that belongs to him or her. This isn't something that can just be picked off a map or decided at random. It is something that must be discovered, felt, and experienced. And not everyone finds that place. But all the adventures, all the wildness, all the novelty, all the risk and all the rewards lead to the same place...

They all the lead home.

So when you're carrying your crossbody hobo bag you are in fact ready for any adventure, big or small, and you are part of a decades-old tradition of soul exploration that will also find you going in the right direction. Home.

To take a peek at my adventure-filled crossbody hobo bags, 
hop aboard The Hobo Train for a soul-sizzling ride!!  

Friday, March 4, 2016

Animal tracks, VIP treatment, and being cool!

G'day passengers of The Hobo Train!  

I've got country living, my new Facebook group, and the coolness factor of handmade on my mind today.  Read on and I'd love to hear some feedback in the comments.  

Stay beautiful and thanks for riding The Hobo Train! 

I live in the country, near the end of a dirt road in a valley flanked by the incredible Green Mountains.  Every Friday in the winter I have a regular snowshoe date with some friends and we plough through the woods motivated by the pot-luck lunch that follows.  This morning was glorious - a true cold winter day with a bright sun and deep blue sky.  We saw some exciting animal tracks: snowshoe hare, fisher cat, deer, mink, and lots of mouse activity.  Check out these snowshoe hare tracks next to the long shadows of the trees:

I recently started a Facebook group, which is different than a Facebook business page... who knew?! This new group is a VIP club where I will be pampering my much-loved and kind-hearted customers with some awesome sales events.  Members of the VIP group will received top-notch treatment and first dibs on the best of what I have to offer.  Not to mention it will be damn fun.  I will be hosting my first sales event next Wednesday, March 9th at 7pm EST.  Join in the party!  Click 'VIP CLUB' below and then click 'join' at the top of the page: 

(I'm also having a giveaway there TODAY!)

I hear a lot of talk about handmade artisan products.  People say that it's good to buy handmade because of the quality, that they last longer, or because it helps a small local business survive, or even because handcrafted items usually come with a unique story of the artist's process, life, and personality.   But one thing that often gets overlooked is COOLNESS.  Handmade items are downright cool.  They are a means of self-expression and when you are able to express your inside on the outside, that equals COOL.  So let your freak flag fly my friends!  Take the opportunity to buy handmade when you can and boost your cool factor.  People know it when they see it and they won't be able to miss it!  'Cause nothing says cool like handmade! 

As always, I love and appreciate you all.  Comment below and I'll be over the moon!

Much love!

Renée <3 font="">

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Sweet art of the soul!

Sweet art of the soul!  

I came across this painting by Octavio Ocampo as I was researching visionary art.  Stunning!  The age-old theme of time mixed with love and music.  It also reminds me of how many elderly people say that they don't feel old inside.  It's only their bodies that are old.  Inside each of us is the lovestruck spirit of eternal youth that sings out the swoonful serenade or is drinking it in.  May that spirit live strongly in all of us and therefore keep us spirited and youthful! 

Another visionary artist that I'm particularly fond of is a fellow Canadian -- Autumn Skye Morrison.  I met her first at the Filberg Festival in Comox, British Columbia.  We were both participating artists of that show.  I recall being struck by some of her works that incorporated sea shells.  I later started following her online and she is an inspiration!  Here's one of my faves, entitled 'Pura Vida':

Visionary art is art that transcends the physical realm and touches on themes of spirituality, mysticism, divinity, and other-worldly concepts.  I would love to incorporate some of these themes into my craft.  I'm not sure how yet.  I have experimented with painting on fabric and then making it into something.  I do infuse a spirit of WILDNESS into my work, if not in the fabrics and colour choices, then through a transfer of my energy into the work itself.  

Stay wild!

** NEWS **

I've started up a newsletter to stay updated on all The Hobo Train's adventures!  Follow the link for a quick and easy sign-up!  You will receive one juicy update per month along with sneak peaks, promos, special coupon codes, and some surprises!

Do you like visionary art?  Who are your fave fine artists?  What brings out the wild in you?  I'd love to hear from all of you!

Much love,


** 'Cause nothing says cool like handmade! **