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Little By Little Magazine - April 2022 Issue

Stepping Out

Figuratively and literally - in some ways we are seeing the world opening up around us with relief from mask wearing and temps that allow us to step outside again; not to mention venues opening up again has us seeing special occasions and events snapping back into action. I have to say we love it all. But for all this getting back out into the world there is an inner peace that exists when getting back into the garden.


This photo was taken at Garvan Woodland Garden. It was the first time I had seen a peacock since I lived in Wisconsin.



Planting for the Future

In our own way when we plan for the future it usually involves planting for the future. Mike walks about the garden tapping into his imagination, watching YouTube with me and finding sources on-line and on social media for our garden needs. For me it is about dreaming, gathering inspiration, researching, reading, visiting gardens, painting, drawing and plotting a garden. It seems I am continually finding new tools and ways to expand what we can create in the garden. Most recently, it was the discovery of Iscape, an app you can use for garden and landscape projects that allows you to visualize what you wish to create.

This year while Michael gets busy digging holes for a micro-orchard; I am envisioning the front yard scape filled with the reoccurring beauty of bulbs, busy planting veggies and herbs in our raised beds and inviting more pollinators into the garden to encourage the fruits of Mike’s labor to grow. Remember to call before you dig, it’s all too easy to cut a utility line. Our fruit trees were purchased from Freedom Tree Farms thru Kroger.



Fig & Olive Trees

This Spring, Michael is transplanting this fig into the ground while taking cuttings off the larger fig for propagation. The olive tree planted in the ground in 2021 took a beating by the last of the snowfall but we are hopeful after his vigorous pruning session that life remains in the green stems. Now we wait and water weekly when rain has not fallen. Our late start due to the move prevented us from harvesting the many figs on the trees; one purchased from a local Arkansas backyard grower, Brian Teeter 501-317-8646 with an extraordinary and impressive array of varieties from around the world. We are hopeful for this year's fig harvest and a longer season of growth.


Spring Gatherings

Double Old-Fashioned glasses make a lovely collection of vases for a table setting. Set one at each place setting as a gift for guests this Easter or at a wedding dinner reception. Try Poms, Alstroemeria and Chrysanthemum in purple, red, and lime green to make a colorful mix. A gorgeous butterfly adds to the Springtime statement. Looking for some new elements to add to your garden this year? I did some research on what’s available on Kroger.com and was delighted to find Noble House urns such as those featured in the video below and many other brands selling items I hadn’t seen in store. Click on the photo above to see some of my favorite pics for this Spring!



Easter party favors- flower vases filled with flower, treats and bright Easter grass. Exclusively at Kroger on Military in Benton Arkansas only while supplies last.



Homegrown Style This Spring we were able to share some seeds with other garden growers in our local area thanks to the generous seed gifts from High Mowing, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and Renee’s Garden seeds. Each of these seed companies will share previous year’s seeds with community garden projects. Although the seeds may be expired for commercial sale, they are often still plentiful in their ability to sprout and thrive in our gardens. It gave me a great excuse to connect with other gardeners while sprinkling seed around for local community garden projects.






Fit For a Queen

Guess who’s celebrating the Queen’s birthday in proper homegrown style?

Click the picture to find out.




In the Garage The Triumph TnR6 carried d us safely on a recent road-trip twists and turns to Wye Mountain to see the hilltop covered in daffodils by the local community church. 44 years in the making it was such a pleasure to see their mission of bringing beauty into the world in real time.





Click on the quote above for garden and landscape Planning Apps you can try as you layout this year's garden.



Thanks to IScape I can get an instant gratification sneak peek at how the front gardens will evolve.





Outside Interiors There are so many companies doing design work that it is easy to fall down the rabbit hole while doing research for this beloved section of Little By Little. Since the season is upon us and it's all about stepping out (in this case out of doors) I am seeking solitude in our backyard area as we plan patio and garden transitions for 2022. The Lifestyle Co. is doing such brilliant work from Arizona; they have coined the style as organic desert living. Since I linked you to their website; please be sure to check out their YouTube channel to see the true fruits of their labors. Kristen Forgione only began this firm in 2012 as an evolution from a personal home renovation and with the help of her talented team there is already an incredibly impressive body of design work and the scale of each project leaves one in awe.

Garden Design Studio is another new discovery. Click on the photo above to see some of their projects.




The Old Country

If you have been following our married adventure for a while you may already know that our love of our shared Italian heritage runs deep. While we look forward to the journey back to “the old country“as family called it we had a wonderful boost of optimism from friends who recently returned to their version of the old country by visiting France. I had the pleasure of traveling with them to Paris back in the mid 90’s and was delighted to see that their zest for adventure and overseas travel had not paled one iota in the current state of world affairs. If you’d like to follow the Porters on their journey as they house hunt and consider a part time relocate to France; you can find them on the Porter Collective and may recognize them from a previous Creative Couple feature.

Click on the watercolor images above to see where we’d love to stay on our next visit to the Tuscan region of Italy. Michael takes full credit for finding this enchanted eco friendly oasis called Borgo di Sotto.

Below is a picture I took of John and Tracy Porter in front of the Medici Fountain in Paris during our travels in the mid 90’s and below a photo Tracy took of John and I standing in the same place on that trip. Click on the THEN photo below to see the recent version of the photo.


Outrageously Practical Style It seems that with event’s getting back into full swing the need for gowns and special occasion dresses is rising in a way that’s been dormant during the past couple years. It has given me some opportunities to alter a few of these garments for others in need adjustments as with turning the very on trend keyhole shoulder into a simple off the shoulder style. The client added her own special flair with a trim of feathers to complete the look of the festive gown.


Watercolor Wanderings

Watercolor can be a wonderful and meditative way to visualize your dreams and images. In this series of images; I bring together people and places in a new way. Using Waterlogue, an app that instantly turns your photography into watercolor art. As I learn this new process I find it a helpful and useful to tool to create a watercolor rendering of a photograph prior to use as a guide for shapes, paint placement and colors.






Truly fun stepping out to see Trey Johnson perform some live music at Bobrook Farms and Winery in Roland Arkansas.

Clarity Finding clarity in a rose petal bath is kind of like finding your positive spirit with rose colored glasses. It can also be found in a steaming cup of tea




Dario The Dog

If your pet pooch is anything like Dario he gets bored with new toys unless we can infuse some creative ways to get him engaged in the activity. What worked for us recently was this mega bone


we found in the pet section at Kroger. He needed nothing but his nose to engage with this tasty treat!

This video was taken two hours later. You can see for yourself he was still going strong!


Cooking Per Tutti

Michael whips up a traditional favorite - steak prepared with garlic, parsley and stewed tomatoes with Barese potatoes - made with vinegar and red onion.



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