From our hearth to yours.
Tom and I have been hanging around the house a lot lately – as everyone is and we had the idea to freshen things up. What better way to pass the time than an easy (and free) home project. When was the last time you rearranged your furniture? How about today? You can give your main room a different look by changing where you’re seated. Build your seating around a painting, television or fireplace. Remember your traffic pattern too. How do you get to the seating? Three feet between furniture works. If you have a coffee table, keep the table about eighteen inches away from the sofa so you can put down your wine goblet.
I could go on, but because you are spending most of your time at home these days, try out what you rearrange and if you don’t like it change it!
Do you have a collection? Paintings, African masks, antiques, signed baseballs or model airplanes that you’ve built? Collect music boxes. Look around your house—you may already have a collection.
Framed photographs of horses, dogs, or animals make interesting components.
If you want to use framed pictures, here’s an idea of how to hang them. The center of the grouping should be at eye level—that means 5’-6” off the floor, the spacing between each picture is about 3 inches. You can create a rectangle or square with the outside of the group. For more ideas go to Pinterest.com, once there look for Framed Pictures. Lots of terrific ideas.
The images I have here are of our Great room where we spend all our time, and it’s open to the kitchen.
Maybe you’re passionate about family photos. We all enjoy finding folks we know in the pictures. Set them up on a table as a conversation piece. The picture here is an idea.
Feel free to ask questions in the comments. For those of you that don’t know me, I’m a seasoned, professional Interior Designer and taught the subject for half of my fifty-year career.
Gail Ingis is an artist, interior designer, and published author. Her historical romances Indigo Sky and The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin are both available on Amazon.
My current books
A visit to Coney Island in 2010 and hundreds of photos later, I began painting the Wonder Wheel while studying portraits with my friend, and portrait artist, Laurel Stern Boeck. Laurel said, “You grew up in Coney Island, you love it, why don’t you paint images as an art project?” I took her suggestion and ran with it. Half a hundred paintings later, Susan Gilgore, Director of Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, invited me to exhibit my work at the museum. My project will be installed on July 9, 2016. Art bash to be held on Thursday, September 8, 2016, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
A sultry day in Brooklyn, you can see the heat rise up from the streets, you can smell the heat, it’s like dancing in a frying pan. Kids in my day didn’t open up fire hydrants, they gathered their friends and bathing suits and went to the beach. A walk across the street, climb the stairs and catch the train (BMT) to the beach. Coney Island, Surf Avenue—last stop.
On the walk from the train station, we stopped for nothing, the quest for sea and sand took precedent. Later, on our way home, came the fun foods, a bite of Nathan’s hot dogs, Chow Mein on a roll and sugary cotton candy that melted in your mouth. Custard with sprinkles; piled high on a cone, you couldn’t lick fast enough as it dripped down your arm.
We paid frequent visits to Coney Island, at first mostly to visit my grandma. I fell in love with this playland, this dreamland, a place of make-believe and fantasy, like imagining being Cinderella.
Cyclone ticket booth
My friends loved the famous Cyclone, a ride I dared to take. The ride moved me to frightening frozen tears. Never again, twice in my lifetime was twice too many. We took pictures of ourselves in picture booths, went to the freak shows, the house of wax, the animal nursery, restaurants—like Child’s on the boardwalk—rifle ranges, push cart rides and parades.
Washington Baths W. 21st big pool That’s me somewhere in there.
I swam in the briny Atlantic, bobbled floating over the waves, cooled off and played under the boardwalk, and watched the fireworks on Tuesday nights. I belonged to Washington Baths where I swam in a huge salt-water pool, dived from the low diving board. No one complained about stinging eyes from the chlorine, but mine were sure red after all those hand stands under water. I sunned myself on the private beach. When I got there in the mornings, I left my friends on the beach, donned my glove and played blackball on the Washington Baths handball courts. The experienced, intelligent men were super competitive. I did well, but I think those seniors went easy on me; they kept calling me pretty girl. Hmm, I wonder?
I will never forget the polio scare. Kids were dropping, and we all thought we were going to get sick. I didn’t, and none of my friends got sick. We were lucky. The Polio scare didn’t deter us, we kept on coming to Coney Island.
Finally in 1952, I got the Salk vaccine.
My Coney Island paintings can be viewed at www.gailingis.com.
Hasn’t everyone been to the big city? New York City. That’s also known as the Island of Manhattan. That plot of land in-between two bodies of water, the Hudson River on the Westside, and the East River on the, well, you can guess.
The Westside has the Battery with the Statue of Liberty,
Ellis Island in the distance
Ellis Island and One World Trade Center and Chinatown. The East Side has Gracie Mansion (NY Mayor’s home) and the Brooklyn Bridge, a historic landmark. Battery Park, seen here, is worth a visit.
It’s because of Lana, our house guest, that we visited all these places, neglected when you live in their midst. Here’s pieces and pictures of the city. Over the city sounds you can hear the hawkers selling food, pictures (a law prohibiting hawking by Spider Man and his friends is coming), clothes, souvenirs, and more. Below there are photos of St. Patrick’s under renovation, the flags at Rockefeller Plaza, city view lights, cars, people, Lana taking it all in.
One World Trade Center (Renamed from Freedom Center)
Ellis Island close-up
You have to love living here with all there is to explore. When’s the last time you toured “the city”?
Gail's Christmas angel on her angel tree
Twinkling lights hung on fragrant boughs, laced with golden antiquities; garlands strung from the mantle, framing a glowing fire of crackling pinecones, the family Bible prominently displayed on a table, opened to the greatest story ever told. Walking from room to room, the heavenly scents of fir, pine, hemlock, sweet spices of cinnamon, cranberry, and apple fill the air. Windows are frosted and the walls faintly shudder with the howl of the snow-laden winds outside. Guests filter in and leave their calling cards at the foyer desk, each one a brightly decorated token of the season.
Fireplace in the dining room at the Biltmore
Names are crisply spelled out in fine script, surrounded by pictures and designs in bright, cheery colors. The mail basket is overflowing with cards lavishly printed with the lithographs of Currier & Ives and Louis Prang. A scrapbook in the parlor, another in the children’s playroom, announce with appropriately selected pages, that Christmas is here in all its spectrum and splendor.
Currier & Ives winter scene
When we celebrate Christmas with family and friends, we have the Victorians to thank for many of its joyful festivities and delightful customs. They revived old traditions, such as caroling, and invented new ones such as sending Christmas cards.
The Victorians also promoted church-going, gift-giving, and charity to the poor as essential parts of the holiday. They transformed the folk figures of Father Christmas and Santa Claus into symbols of holiday generosity, and they greatly popularized Germany’s traditional Christmas tree or Christbaum.
A Christmas Carol
Most of all, the Victorians made Christmas a family celebration, with its primary focus on the Christ Child and children. A Victorian Christmas entailed the exchange of gifts between parents and children; attendance together at Church services; a multi-course family dinner; and visits with friends, relatives, and other families.
Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum Victorian Christmas
Christmas was certainly celebrated in this Victorian Mansion. Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum welcomes guests to enjoy the decor of a true Victorian Christmas. For hours and information please go to: www.lockwoodmathewsmansion.com. Those of us involved with the mansion are working towards complete restoration. Will you get involved?
Pine tree aromas pine cones all around
From our house to yours-Greetings of the Season
Christmas evening on the grounds at The Biltmore - I could not pass this image up, it is too beautiful.