I like flowers. I like them planted on the sides of garden pathways or the walk leading up to the house doorstep. I like them planted in rows, with their mix and match colors that transports me to a French country cottage where you can smell the fragrant aroma of different floral blooms.
I like them in vases, old watering cans, antique silver champagne bottle holders, colored wine bottles, pewter cups and baskets. Especially baskets that make the home’s outdoors as pretty as the indoors.
But ideas can only be so many, and if your only skills are exclusive to writing, cooking, dishwashing, horse riding, badminton and gift wrapping (like mine), the gardening magazines can offer only so many tips and give so much advice and you’re stuck in a cerebral function block worse than what writers have.
That’s why finding Jane Windham’s blog on a different take regarding flower baskets caught my eye and my interest at the same time. If you take a look at the photos on http://cottageatthecrossroads.com/how-to-mount-flower-baskets-onto-wooden-posts you will die from envy!
But luckily for us, we don’t have to get an aneurysm because Jane has done a step-by-step procedure on how to those to duplicate the look of her unique arrangement of beautiful flowers in a jiffy.
She even lets us in on her “winning combination of plants” such as begonia- and dusty miller-surrounded baskets with a dracaena in their middle.
Jane’s blog on flower basket arrangement is a step-by-step procedure which also tells you how to plant flowers differently when you do so with soil contained in basket liners. The way she writes the instruction is not at all like a botanist’s manual that you have to read with a lexicon by your side to understand.
Very encouraging, too, because Jane writes like your friendly neighborhood gardening and landscape consultant. She advises her readers on the kind of plants that are most suitable for certain seasons and casually mentions what she improved on with the basket liners (she poked holes in them and let the ivy come through them so they look like they’re “peeking” from the holes), which, if you see the photos, look quite distinctive from other flower basket arrangements.
Her website also has other but equally informative posts on how to create an interesting mantel, redefining what makes a remarkable tablescape and a make-over for your porch for the fall season.
Jane’s site includes web pages on projects such as a burlap wreath, fabric-covered cabinets, raised flower beds, repurposed grill, fabric hearts, even going the whole nine yards by making a chair planter, a stained deck, a stone walkway, decorative pine cones and, my favorite, a strawberry topiary! Nate Berkus, eat your heart out!
Reading through Jane’s website, Cottage at the Crossroads, is an excellent way of being informed without getting bored and being inspired without getting overwhelmed.
She even has recipes for spaghetti sauce, pickles and dill relish which are all homemade, incidentally. And she has several recipes which are prepared in the traditional method but with certain twists which, I suppose, would make the recipes even more delicious.
Take a look at her meatloaf, which has her “secret” ingredients of oatmeal and beef onion soup and dip mix, her take on fried green tomatoes with Remoulade sauce can give any Southern chef west of the Mississippi a run for his money and her chili is spiked with bourbon, natch!
While I think of myself as, modesty aside, an expert baker and an excellent cook, I never really considered myself as a homemaker. Jane Windham’s down-to-earth, highly informative and engaging writing style has made me determined to include homemaker skill in my resume.