In Memory of a Great Garden Friend

Our good friend Lynne Travis-Pence passed away this week after a courageous battle with cancer. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Pete her husband and her Proven Winners® and Pleasant View Gardens family.

Lynne, we will never forget how you brightened our gardens.

Designing Indoor Spaces with Rhythm


Hello, again, friends and fans of Allen. I’m so glad to be back with you today!

One challenge many people face is how to design their interiors so that the distinct spaces flow together, without making them all matchy-match. So I thought I would share a tip for how I manage this in my own work. As I see it, the key to doing this successfully is to choose one element (it can be a color, a finish, a pattern, or a theme) and repeat it–ever so subtly–in each room of your house.

Here are some examples from one of my own projects:

The motif throughout this ornate, Mediterranean design is GOLD: gold finishes, gold leaf, gold detail, a gold thread woven throughout!

Gold in the Master Suite…

Gold in the Living Room…

Gold in the Powder Bath…

And a slight nod to it in the metallic touches in the serene Guest Room!

 

And though there are a lot of differences in the moods, uses, and styles of these rooms, can you see how the gold is a thread that weaves through all of them?

So now go and try this motif magic in your own home, and let us know how it goes!

Xo,

Let’s Hang Out

Hangout Starts at 6pm cst

Watch Live!!

I’ve spent most of my life learning about things like gardening, farming, design and décor and I always want to share these new ideas with my friends and followers. It’s amazing how our communication channels have changed over the years and just how many of them there are- books, television shows, videos, print articles, radio shows, my website, social media… you name it, I’ve used it! Now there’s a new technology that I can’t wait to try out, because it brings you, the viewer, into the conversation unlike ever before.

This Thursday at 6pm CST, I’ll be hosting my first Google+ Hangout all about chickens. Don’t know what a Google+ Hangout is? Don’t worry, I only recently found out. Essentially a video conference, Google+ Hangout allows you to “hang out” with a group of people in an online chat room and have a virtual conversation, meeting, brainstorming session, or any other type of get-together.

The brilliance behind it is that while my friends and I have this conversation with one another via webcams and our Google+ accounts, YOU can watch and engage on YouTube. It actually streams live, so you can comment on the video and we’ll be able to answer your questions and comments in real time. For a guy who has a habit of responding to fan questions once a week, this is a huge improvement in communication!

Speaking of communication, I can’t wait to kick off the chat where I’ll be joined by a few poultry experts and friends alike. Dr. Mikelle Roeder, a nutritionist from Land O’Lakes Purina Feed, Jeff May, a poultry specialist with Dawe’s Laboratories and Keith Bramwell from the Department of Poultry at the University of Arkansas will share their chicken wisdom and insight. Kylee Baumle, a garden blogger and backyard chicken owner and Heidi Berry, another chicken owner and gardener will also join in for what I suspect will be a fun and very informative “chicken chat”.

Want to get involved? I’ll share the link to the chat on my Facebook page, Twitter, and homepage- all you need to do is head over from 6-7pm on Thursday and click on the link to join in. If that time doesn’t work well for you, don’t worry- you can still get the chicken scoop! A recording of the entire conversation will stay on my Farm Raised YouTube channel. While I’m really looking forward to getting together with these guys, I also think it’s a great way to share information on a topic that I find to be more and more popular with my fans. I hope you’ll join me!

Adventures of Smudge and Squeak: The Vet!

This summer, Smudge and Squeak went on a series of field trips to the vet for their puppy shots. It’s a big job to choose the right vet for your furry friends, but after getting several recommendations for one doctor and then seeing how he got along with Smudge and Squeak, I knew we had found the right guy for the job!

The girls seemed pretty content to head towards the big city for an afternoon.

But, as puppies will do, they dug their heels in and didn’t want to head inside for their second checkup. It took a little pleading…

…and a little bribing.

…but eventually we got them inside

And once we got them inside, we started to learn a lot about them and their health.

Because they’re outside puppies, we have to worry about things like biting fleas and gnats (their ears have already been attacked) and heart worms. Heart worms are spread by mosquitoes, and an Arkansas summer produces more than its fair share of mosquitoes.

Being surrounded by other animals means they come in contact with a lot of germs, so we gave them their last vaccination for parasites.

We also want to make sure we prevent distemper virus from growing, so we took a little medicine back to the farm with us. I don’t know how the ladies will like that…

Even so, I was proud to see that they’re growing fast and look healthy on all fronts- Smudge weighed in at 38 pounds, and Squeak took the lead at 41 pounds.

When we come back in 4 weeks for rabies I bet they’ll weigh 70!

Whatever they weigh, I hope they remain good little patients and stay healthy and happy!

Ten Cool Things I Discovered in Chicago

There was lots to see at the IGC show.

Whatever way you spin it, Chicago is a great getaway. Pair a week there with a gardening conference, fabulous fall weather, and interior design shopping and you get a better picture of why I loved my visit to the Windy City. My production crew and I headed north for the annual Independent Garden Center Show where we met up with old friends, bloggers, Garden Home partners, and a whole slew of Chicagoans ready to show off their city. These were a few of my favorite experiences and finds:

Peterson Garden Project

The Peterson Garden Project is a collection of Chicago’s urban gardens started by my friend LaManda Joy and inspired by WWII victory gardens. I love American history, so pair this with my appreciation of community gardening and you’ll understand just how much I enjoyed learning about them.

Moss Garden at Garfield Park Conservatory

I spent a morning at the Garfield Park Conservatory and each of their nearly dozen garden rooms were fabulous. While the outdoor garden drew my attention, it was the moss garden full of ferns and other tropical growth that really transported me to a different place.

Artiflor

Artiflor is a Dutch company that had a booth of home and garden décor at IGC. Besides the fact that the two owners were a couple of the nicest men I’ve met in a long time, they had some fabulous and fun designs.

Topsy-turvy Pots

As I was rushing to find the room where I was meant to speak, I got distracted by this funky, and functional, garden sculpture. I can’t remember who made it, but I sure do wish I had bought one.

Colorful Dramm Water Tools

Having lived through this summer’s Arkansas drought, I’ve become well acquainted with my hoses, sprinklers, and water tools. Coming across the Dramm booth at IGC was like stepping into the sunlight! These watering tools are not only functional, they’re beautiful! I wanted one of everything, all in different colors.

Jellies at the Shedd Aquarium

Speaking of colors, I have never seen color composition like the jellyfish exhibit at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium. We got an early morning pass and had those silent wonders all to ourselves. With about 10 different species in the exhibit, I found myself simply mesmerized. Luckily we had penguins to visit post-jellyfish, otherwise I may still be there!

Salvaged Metal Cello

My friend Julia Edelmann from Buckingham Interior Design has a simple, stylish and somewhat quirky sense of design, and this upright bass shows that off. It was resting in a corner of her office, and she mentioned that it was made of recycled WWI aircraft metal! She bought it for her a son, a cello player, but it ended up in her shop. Sadly, it didn’t fit into my carry-on.

Jute Light Fixture

Julia also brought us to an apartment in downtown Chicago that she had recently redesigned. While the views stole the show, this particular light fixture made from jute really centered the breakfast nook and gave the airy space a cozy feel.

Skydeck

We began our final day in Chicago at the former Sears Tower, 103 floors up at the SkyDeck. While a couple members of my crew were nervous about the glass-floor lookout, I couldn’t wait to experience that view!

All in all, it was a fabulous trip full of good finds and great memories. I can’t wait to head back to IGC again next year.