Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Table of Contents

I always say that we travel through different windows in our life, often passing through the opening so quickly that we don't realize how the time has evaporated. My husband and I went through a few windows during out "downsize" period. It's the time when you find yourselves wondering through a large cavernous home with more rooms and furniture than you need. So you sit back and identify the next step, hmmm - this is a different experience because you don't have to be concerned with school zones, work commutes or who gets which bedroom. Just focus on your needs and wants.

The first "downsize" came fairly soon after our youngest started college. We thought we had found the perfect home. It was a lovely home, less rooms then we currently owned, open floor plan and a beautiful setting. It was a contemporary farmhouse on a large lot overlooking the river and rolling meadows. Lots of natural light and custom features, everything and more (this being the key word) that you could ask for in an empty nester's home. Needless to say, after a few years in this beautiful home, we realized that we really had not "downsized".

Second time around for the "downsize". Ok, let's be realistic about the needs and wants. Less is definitely more... we begin to think about what we wanted in the next home and most importantly how we wanted to live. One of the things that was important to us was to still be able to seat up to eight people for a meal. Yes, this is an odd expectation for empty nesters. We had a few challenges; our home had sold in such a timely manner (thank you Sandy and Angela) that we were not really prepared to custom build, unless we did the two move thing and this was not an option for me. Therefore, we were frantically searching for smaller and roomy. Oxymoron, I know but that is what we wanted.

We overcame the dining room and seating issue by choosing a home with a large open plan. This enable us to use the family room space as our dining area. Remember it is your home, use the space that works for you. Next came the furniture, selecting a long table was essential for the space. What I did after that was to create a concept, more so than a space.

I decided it would be fun and interesting to let each family member choose their own chair. I also offered my guidance with some "up cycling" if needed. To my pleasure, everyone embraced this assignment with much thought and determination. Each person selected their chair and pre-approved any changes to be made with paint or fabric. The results of this project have been endlessly rewarding for everyone.The concept works so well that other dinner guest try to identify which chair goes with which family member. My remnant of joy is that I live in a home in which the furniture is more than function and decorum, it is family.

Here are a few tips when looking for a dining table and chairs. Please note I sometimes reference a table and chairs as a dining set, however a table and chairs can be purchased independent of one another. Do not get concerned with matching a table and chairs. What you should want mostly is for the table and chair to compliment each other. Remember, furniture can be up cycled, painted or re-upholstered to suit your desires and needs.

Identify - Find the shape and size table that best fits your room and needs. Do you want a table that has leafs? What type of leaf would work with your room? Butterfly leaf is nice because it is stored in the table, drop leafs are a great way to drastically increase or decrease a table size. Do you want a standard table height or a bar height?  What type of legs, pedestal or base do you want on the table? Remember these decisions will influence the type of chairs you will need.

Create -  A dining set represents more than functionally. They are a part of the meal and the people involved. Create a concept of who you are when selecting dining room furniture. Look at your daily life, your closet - yes your closet. The clothes in your closet are a prime example of you. If you are relaxed and casual, you will be very uncomfortable with a formal dining set. You will need to create a way to make the dining set less formal and more you.

Invite - Invite ideas and thoughts of those in your life. They are most likely the ones sitting at the table with you. Jot down their comments and make notes of how to visually interpret. Take a deep breath and let the creativity flow.

Enjoy - The most important factor for any dining experience is to enjoy. This is achieved through comfort, energy and visually pleasing aesthetics,

and of course your friends and family.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Postcard Wall

As the electronic world speeds up and takes over communication, we lose the tangible beauty of snail mail. I remember the days of excess junk and an overstuffed mailbox. This is a rare occurrence these days; however when mail does arrive I hold on to the invitations, cards and postcards. Being a mixed media artist allows me this indulgence, because I might "need" something for a project...

Postcards have long be one of my favorites, they are small, precise and to the point. I like this brief interlude with the sender. We can communicate on a format as small as 4" x 6". Most postcards have beautiful visuals, photos, graphics or prints. My favorite postcards are the ones with handwritten messages - this completes the package. Let's look at this little piece of real estate, you've got a visual, message or invitation, sender and receiver's information, a postage stamp (or meter stamp) date and bar code - all on a single two sided card. Who or what can do better than that?

Ok to the point of this post, are you also collecting postcards, cards or notes? If so, consider this form of wall display; place your cards in an interesting arrangement on the wall, hanging them with putty. You may purchase a pack of putty in most stores (usually in the picture frame area). Simply roll up a small bit of putty and adhere to back of the card and press into position on the wall. The nice thing about the putty is it doesn't mark up the wall or leave residue. As you begin to collect more cards, add them to your wall space.

You can enjoy your card wall everyday, the beauty of the cards and the memories of events. And if you have some extra time, drop me a postcard - would love to hear from you!

Kimberly Santiago
Creative Corner @ Hodgepodge
125 Franklin Street
Clarksville, TN 37040

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mixed Media Collage Bangles

Mixed Media Collage Bangles
Looking a fun project for you and your friends? Check out Creative Corner in Hodgepodge, Downtown Clarksville for some great ideas, including this Mixed Media Collage Bangle. The kits are a mere $4.95 and they include a wooden bangle, beautiful collage paper, sandpaper, instructions and helpful hints. Read on and see how easy and fun this project can be. 

 Once you purchase your kit, you may use the paper included or select your own. Perhaps add a copy of a personal photo. You have several options, you may paint the entire bangle, paint the inside of the bangle or chose not to paint at all.

 If you chose to paint the inside of the bangle, like I did here. You will need a paint brush and some acrylic paint (also available at Creative Corner).

 After the paint has dried, select your background paper and cut or tear in manageable sizes, about 1" by 1 1/2". Apply the adhesive with a brush to the back of the paper. You may use white glue, Mode Podge or matte medium as your adhesive.

 Use your fingers to smooth down the paper onto the bangle. Remember there will be wrinkles and overlap. Continue to cover the paper on the inside of the bangle if desired or allow it to overlap and remove it. Once the bangle is dry you may tear or cut away excess paper.  

 Once the bangle is dry, you may add embellishments like the cut outs shown. Keep in mind different options; you may want to photo copy a personal photo and add it, or use vintage letters, postage stamps or maps.
 Add adhesion to the embellishment in the same matter as before. Smooth down and let dry.
Once dry, you may sand the edges and wrinkles to get a smooth and finished look. Optional - coat the entire bangle with a matte or gloss sealer (mode podge works). Have fun! Be creative!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Zentangles Kits are available in Creative Corner @ Hodgepodge  Franklin Street Downtown Clarksville TN. 

Books, paper (tiles) and other supplies are also for sale. These kits are a great way to get started creativity, they are fun, energetic and easy. This art process is for all ages and skill levels. 

Come by and check out our Zentangle Inspiration Board today! 

What Is Zentangles?
Zentangle is an easy to learn, relaxing and fun way to create images by drawing structured patterns. Its application and use is widespread in many ways, such as  problem solving, creativity, personal expression and more. 

Zentangle’s process offers a quick way to intentionally redirect your focus and enter a relaxed state of mind. It does not require any particular art skill or expensive materials. Using simple materials, 3.5 x 3.5 paper (referenced as a “tile”) and a drawing utensil (pen or pencil) anyone can create a Zentangle. 

For people who are convinced they can’t draw, the Zentangle method removes that barrier as well. Zentangle instructions lead you through the “blank page” syndrome. It eliminates any intimidation of “what to draw”, providing you with all the tools to move forward and create. 

Come on by Hodgepodge! 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mixed Media - Cut out flowers

Cut out flower artwork
painted plats
black sharpie

Prepare plat (maps) with acrylic paint. Paint on up to three colors. Set aside to dry.

Prepare canvas with background paint. This is a good opportunity to re-use canvas. Set aside to dry.

Trace flowers onto painted plats. Cut out with scissors. Lay the flowers in a pleasing arrangement. 

Apply adhesive on the back of the flowers and press down. 

Optional - Fill in the background with small cut out circles. 

Once dry, trace the cutouts with a black sharpie. 

Hang art and impress all your friends. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Vintage Textiles

Introducing fabric into Mixed Media Art is a another great way to add a new texture. Vintage Textiles are readily available with traditional designs. The idea of a hand stitch item among paint and other mediums is interesting. This opportunity to gather and present a variety of items in one piece of art is what Mixed Media is all about. Grab some Vintage Textiles, be bold and brave; cut up, paint or layer more items on the art. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Mixed Media Discoveries

Washi Tape - Check it out at www.wishywashi.com

What is it? Washi is a style of Japanese paper. Washi tape is made from Washi paper; commonly made using fibers from the bark of the gampi tree, the mitusumata shrub or paper mulberry, but also can be made using bamboo, hemp, rice and wheat.

What the heck can a mixed media artist do with Washi tape? Unlimited potential - This beautifully designed tape may be used on numerous projects. I encourage you to give it a try and please send me any photos of how you used it.

A little bit more about Washi tape - it is reusable and biodegradable. Just like masking tape it does come off...unlike duct tape it does not leave a sticky mess. The "coming off" obviously depends on what you stick it on...