All photos/art by Webb Chappell
The May basket — let’s bring back a small gesture of caring and celebration of this season,” says Jayne Ward, who has enjoyed a lifelong career in the antiques and gift business. This, her third shop, Homeward Designs’ Cottage Style, in Rindge, New Hampshire (603-899-9545), is co-owned with her daughter, Melissa Ward Messer, formerly a dancer with Boston Ballet.
Here the two women collaborate on decorative, seasonal gifts for the home. “After years of watching Mom in her shops, it clicked for me,” Melissa says. “When I retired as a dancer, I wanted to follow her passion. We have a special creative synergy, and we love to celebrate the seasons and holidays of New England.”
In spring Jayne and Melissa focus on May baskets, containing the traditional posies as well as a new twist: locally made treasures such as stationery, tea, and cookies.
“When I was a child,” Jayne recalls, “we took great joy in filling homemade baskets with candy and flowers. We’d fashion Dixie cups with pipe-cleaner handles and decorate them with crepe-paper leaves and flowers from our mother’s garden.
“Or we’d make a cone of construction paper with a ribbon handle and embellish it with flowers, a few candies, or perhaps some homemade cookies.
We’d sneak over to a neighbor’s house, leave the basket on the doorstep or doorknob, knock or ring the bell, and go hide. We loved watching the surprise and joy on our neighbors’ faces. The anticipation of giving was even better than receiving one of our own.”