***Happy Holidays Everyone***

The Christmas light display, here at Whimsey Hill House, 2014

The Christmas light display, here at Whimsey Hill House, 2014


To all of my readers…

Wishing you the Merriest of Christmases, the Happiest of Hanukkahs, the most Joyous of Kwanzas and the best of everything in the New Year!

Fred Gonsowski

Here are a few photos of this year’s holiday decorations Continue reading

Posted in CHRISTMAS / Easter | 8 Comments

Interior Decorating Ideas for a Small House, Condominium or Apartment

Some things to think about when decorating a small house, condominium or apartment.

Some things to think about when decorating a small house, condominium or apartment.

A lot of people live in small spaces. It might be a first apartment, a starter home, or the cost of housing in a large city might make a person, even with a large paycheck, have to reside in a place that has limited square feet of living space. Even with space limitations, I think a person/couple/family can live in a place that can look fabulous. In this blog post I’ve come up with 34 decorating ideas that I think will help you live with style, even in a small space. Continue reading

Posted in Interior Decorating Principles | 4 Comments

How to Decorate a Christmas Tree with Tulle

Putting the finishing touches on a tree at the Albany Institute of History and Art, Festival of Trees

Using tulle to decorate a Christmas tree is something a lot of people are starting to be interested in. In the mid 1980’s and 1990’s I used it to decorate theme trees at the Albany Institute of History and Art’s Festival of Trees. With this post you will see how easy it is to work with tulle, and you will soon be on your tulle-tree swagging adventure. Continue reading

Posted in CHRISTMAS / Easter | 2 Comments

Christmas Tree Decorating…Step by Step, Like a Pro

Decorating a Christmas Tree at the Albany Institute of History and Art

For 10 years I decorated Christmas trees for the Albany Institute of History and Art’s FESTIVAL of TREES.

Each year I came up with a different theme, like a tree covered in antique looking bulbs, a tree covered with dried flowers, a gold tree for King Midas, and Mardi Gras inspired tree to name a few. For all my creative efforts, I won the Popular Choice Vote twice. I won over florist stores, garden centers and other venues that had seemingly unlimited budgets and product to work with, versus the $250. they gave me to buy tree decorating supplies.

All the Tricks of the Trade, that I used to decorate a Christmas tree like a pro, on a limited budget, I am going to go over with you in this post. Continue reading

Posted in CHRISTMAS / Easter, How-to | 14 Comments

Putting Lights on a Christmas Tree…The EASY WAY

The EASY Way to put lights on a Christmas Tree

Putting lights on a Christmas Tree, for some is a laborious chore. The act of going around and around, trying to get the lights evenly placed can wear you down.

For 10 years, I decorated Christmas Trees for the Albany Institute of History and Art’s FESTIVAL of TREES. The easy way that I put lights on those trees, I am going to cover here. Continue reading

Posted in CHRISTMAS / Easter, How-to, The Winter Garden | 17 Comments

Cutting / Making Paper Snowflakes

Cutting Paper Snowflakes, a Fun Family Project

The art of folding and cutting / making paper snowflakes was taught to me, in the fifth grade, by a lovely Nun named Sister Mary Charles (nee Catherine Lily). Sister Charles was a very artistic lady who cut the most beautiful silhouettes of people, and encouraged my artistic interests.

From those days in the 1960’s to the present, I have cut hundreds of snowflakes for myself, taught friends and coworkers, and today I am going to teach you this wonderful Winter craft. Continue reading

Posted in CHRISTMAS / Easter, How-to | 13 Comments

Today I awoke to seeing my blog has passed the 750,000 mark for Page Views/Articles Read

Fred Gonsowski Garden Home.com has reached the three quarters of a million point for page views/ articles read.

Fred Gonsowski Garden Home.com has reached the Three-Quarters of a Million point for Page Views/ Articles Read.

Today September 13, 2014, at 7:26AM Eastern Time, I saw that my blog has passed the Seven Hundred Fifty Thousand point (really 750,706) for page views/articles read.

If you are one of my followers, you have most-likely noticed that I’ve not posted anything since the beginning of August.  My life has been filled with one project after another, along with a mountain and many big bumps in the road that have consumed all of my time, and made it virtually impossible for me to have time for anything except the essential things that I had to face at the moment; and I still have some more things that need my attention.

During the month of August, my garden never got weeded nor watered once, and the only plants that got the smallest bit of my attention were the things in containers. When it came time to pick the fruits from the neglected tomatoes plants, I called up my neighbor and offered them all to her, just to not have them completely go to waste.

During the month of July I took a lot of photos of my garden, and those photos are still in the camera. When I have time, the next post up (hopefully sometime in October???), I will show you all how nice the garden looked before the weeds kind of took over.

Right now I want to go over the three pages that are provided daily by WordPress that show how things are going with my blog, and even without my love and attention, at this moment in time, my blog is doing really good. I see a lot of my readers are interested in the interior decorating and gardening topics that I’ve written since starting this website almost four years ago, so the posts have staying power. I think my blog has become a go place for the do it yourself person who wants to tackle projects, more than a place for that person who looks to be entertained. So now lets look at the statistics that WordPress gave me this morning when I turned on my computer for one minute. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

One of my Decorating Posts has been Featured on Redbook Magazine’s website….Redbookmag.com

As seen on Redbookmag.com

As seen on Redbookmag.com

Hi there Everyone. I’m soo excited. Recently the people at Redbook Magazine got in touch with me because they liked my post titled The Right height of Table Lamp for your End Table, and asked if it could be part of a piece they were writing for their online presence Redbookmag.com. The title of the Redbookmag article is 9 Decorating Hacks From Top Design Gurus; I’m number five. Continue reading

Posted in Interior Decorating Principles, Uncategorized | 19 Comments

My visit to the Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, NY

IMG_0850

Here I am at the entrance to the Farmers' Museum: the Colonial Revival Styled Barn designed by Frank Whiting

Here I am at the entrance to the Farmers’ Museum; the Colonial Revival Styled Barn designed by Frank Whiting

Located in central New York, one mile north of the Village of Cooperstown, on the west side of Otsego Lake is the Farmers’ Museum. The museum is sited at 5775 State Highway 80 Cooperstown, NY 13326, which is on land that was once owned by the popular and prolific early 19th century writer James Fenimore Cooper. Cooper was the author of The Last of the Mohicans. Since Cooper’s days, the land changed hands a couple of times, until the Clark family bought “Fenimore Farm” in the 1870s. Edward Severin Clark in 1918 commissioned architect Frank Whiting to design a Colonial Revival Styled barn, creamery and herdsman’s cottage using local stone. Those buildings were erected to house his prized herd of cattle, and are now offices, display and public areas that you first see and enter through before you step back in time to rural life in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

The Farmers’ Museum is a private, non-governmental educational organization. The 19th century historic village that makes up the museum, and houses over 23,000 items, ranging from butter molds to the Cardiff Giant, is composed of buildings not initially built on the property, but gathered from rural communities around central New York State. All the restored buildings provide a glimpse into the commercial and domestic life led by rural people of the time.

Recently I attended the Member’s Meeting for the New York State Historical Association, which is on the campus that makes up The Farmers’ Museum and The Fenimore Art Museum, so I took my camera along. For this post I am showing you one of my favorite places The Farmers’ Museum. Hope you like my little tour. (Click on photos to expand images) Continue reading

Posted in Garden Visits (Road Trips), The Summer Garden | 9 Comments

A Look at My Garden here at Whimsey Hill House (June 2014)

The Front Garden here at Whimsey Hill House June 2014

The Front Garden here at Whimsey Hill House June 2014

June is a transitional and busy month in the garden. The many hundreds of daffodils that I’ve planted years ago (there used to be over a thousand) have finished blooming, and the perennials have all come up and are doing fine. The main colors in the June garden are pinks, blues, whites and purples that come from the peonies, iris, lupine, columbine and bleeding hearts that used to grow in my grandmother’s garden, and the different colors of the many perennial plant’s leaves; green, blue-green, chartreuse, burgundy and gray. I have many times thought that with the minimal amount of plants blooming, and with the different colors and textures of the plant’s foliage, there is kind of a Zen quality to the beds and borders at this time of year.

June is a super busy month for me, I seem to be working constantly. Besides all the perennials that come up yearly, there are tender bulbs and tubers like canna, elephant ear plants, dahlias and gladioli that I planted on or around May first that start showing up; as well as hundreds if not thousands of annuals that have self seeded from last year like cleome, amaranths, gloriosa daisies and cosmos to contend with, not to mention the pesky weeds and grasses that fill the beds and borders that have to be pulled out and thrown away.

This year I bought twenty six packages of different kinds of annual seeds that I planted up in pots at the end of April to plant in-between the perennials so there would be spots of constant color in the garden until the first frost. Last year I had success starting a few different packets of zinnias and cosmos seeds, so this year I thought I would try some other things. This year I planted many different varieties of zinnias, white and yellow marigolds, alyssum and sunflowers that all came up in abundance with no problems. I thought, when buying my seeds, why not grow things like Bells of Ireland, Brazilian Vervain (verbena) and Heliotrope (Dwarf Marine), you know, the kind of plants that you see selling for five dollars each at the garden center. I now know why they are priced at $5. Those kinds of plants are finicky as hell, and even when they sprout just sit there not wanting to grow a bit. Now I know what the phrase “Hot House Flower” refers to. Along with the annuals I started, I bought four flats of red salvia to plant at the garden’s edge and a lot of Wave Petunias and other things to fill the many hanging baskets, pots and planters that I plant up yearly. So now that I’ve almost completed my Spring planting, I want to show you what I’ve done so far. Continue reading

Posted in Fred's Garden at Whimsey Hill House, The Spring Garden | 10 Comments

A different kind of container to plant Hen and Chicks in

The PERFECT Centerpiece for a Picnic Table

The PERFECT Centerpiece for a Picnic Table

Plant Hen and Chicks (Sempervivum) in old Cupcake or Muffin Pans

Plant Hen and Chicks (Sempervivum) in old Cupcake or Muffin Pans

A few years ago I started collecting different varieties of hen and chicks (Sempervivum). I think I took interest in them because I had already planted the “big stuff” like bushes and trees, as well as all kinds of perennials on my property, and I have a strip of crushed stone behind my house that needed decorating; so hen and chicks I thought would do good there.

After buying my first few hen and chicks (sembervivum) I quickly found out their likes and dislikes. Sempervivum like sun. Hen and chicks don’t need or probably even want fertile soil to grow in, and above all else don’t want, like or need too much water. Over watering is the number one way to kill them; I learned that the hard way.

Years ago I bought an expensive and quite oddly beautiful sempervivum at the White Flower Farm in Litchfield, Ct. I got it home, planted it up in good soil, gave it a good drink and a week later it had died. The plant was perfectly healthy when I bought it, but too much of my “Tender Loving Care” killed it. I now know less is more when it pertains to hen and chicks, as they don’t know when to stop taking in water, which over hydrates the plant, which brings on its demise.

This post is about planting up hens and chicks in cupcake, muffin or popover tins, here is how I planted up mine. Continue reading

Posted in Roses, Peonies, Tulips, etc, The Spring Garden | 2 Comments