A Taste of Fall


When our calendars show up at the studio is when, for better or worse, I start thinking about fall. I’m a Pavlov’s dog that way.  Calendars = fall. And the calendars showed up yesterday!  That, along with all our pumpkin talk lately, and I have that little quiver of excitement zipping through me just knowing fall is on it’s way!

I love all the changes of season, but no other one gets me like fall!  I even Christmas-shopped yesterday! Not for me yet, I’m not THAT organized, but for things for the web store, like cute dishtowels, and these great jars of wonderful clover honey, and my favorite, big jars of Wisconsin sour cherries that I’ve fallen in love with. It’s, as usual, the little things!  Our web store isn’t big, but it’s sweet — all stuff we want ourselves!

I came by store-keeping naturally, my mom started me young. She set up a store in a closet in the laundry room, and saved us all the tiny one-serving cereal boxes, old crackerjack boxes, the flavor-straw boxes, cream bottles the milkman left, Jell-O boxes, Kool-Aid envelopes; she washed out soup cans, and we arranged everything (which was the fun part) on the little book shelf she put in the closet.  We had to climb under the “counter” (kids table with “marble” top) to stand back there and sell our stuff (for poker chips).  It was probably the entire inspiration for the store I used to have in California.  Childhood things do that to you!

W a i t ! I have pictures!  I have a blog!  Want to see the store?  No problem! . . .

Here it is, my one and only store, I called it, of course, Heart of the Home.  (I can see right now I should have held on to that soup tureen on the right.) I wanted to make it like a little “department” store, in about 300 square feet!  There was a kitchen, a bedroom, dining room (where there was always a “girl party” going on), baby’s room, bathroom, a corner for “afternoon tea;” lots of vintage mixed with new things, and even a garden shed on the back porch. It was a work of love.  Isn’t it darn cute?

My brother Chuckie made the bead board walls and the counter…he liked playing store too!  I made the curtains behind the counter and for the storage room.  I cut Just Joey roses out of my garden for it almost every day.

Once in a while I would get out the old wood-burning set and burn a quote on a giant wooden spoon, because people loved it, so you know, gotta do it! There were little SB stickers on all the handwritten price tags that were tied on everything with ribbons.

We even had furniture, old stoves from the 50’s, hutches, spool beds, children’s furniture.  The fun thing was it was constantly changing.  Stuff would go, so I would have to “redecorate!”  Seasons would change, had to redecorate. It was my job. 🙂

Yes, we had fun with it! Girlfriends worked there, Judy was the manager, Kellee made all the signs for it.  It was in a really cute little town near San Luis Obispo, near the coast, called Arroyo Grande, (halfway between LA and San Francisco) in California.

Decorating, la la la la la, it was honestly like a giant toy, a massive game of playing house.

The Baby Department.

←This was part of the garden shed on the porch. We sold little bundles of fresh herbs from our garden, also, of course, because we were insane, all sweetly tied with ribbons.  Baskets of organic apples, plums, walnuts and avocados from our California trees.

Which, then, all turned into a farm stand.  Yes, we had a farm stand too.  I’ll show you pictures of it someday.  It’s hard when the world is so beautiful to only choose one thing to do and do it.  A person wants to do everything!  But, in 2008, I longed to get back to writing books, which, after three years of running Heart of the Home happened to coincide with the renewal of the leases, and I thought, that was fun, but….gotta go.  And so now I look back and remember. Once, I had a store . . . 

Anyway. . . losing train of thought, the calendars are in!  🙂 Fall is coming, redecorating is coming!

It’s cold here today. It’s pouring rain. It’s a breath of fresh fall.  It’s not supposed to make 70! Low humidity!  Into the weekend!  Oh Boy! I feel a casserole of corn pudding coming on. I feel weeding in the garden coming on!

Sending creative lightening bolts of love to you. xoxo me

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107 Responses to A Taste of Fall

  1. Misty says:

    When can I move in? That is my idea of heaven – especially as a mother of three boys surrounded by masculine decor. Absolutely dreamy! Well done!

  2. Pom Pom says:

    The store WAS gorgeous! I’m glad you took all those pictures. I get little surges of excited about fall, too. School starts and the marathon begins, but the leaves and the soups and the crispy walks . . . I’ll be ready. Have a cozy day, Susan.

  3. THAT is the kind of store I like to shop it. In fact I was doing a little shopping from my chair. LOL! It sounds like it was a fun season of your life.
    No Fall weather for us. It’s in the 90’s but when you live in Florida you learn to live with it because we have the best Winters on the planet. LOL!
    Have a blessed day.

  4. Beautiful items you had in your store, Susan! Love that large cloche pictured. I love getting a new calendar. Makes me feel everything starts over fresh.

  5. susan desimone says:

    OOHHH I feel some bittersweet feelings coming on… just got a catalog from King Arthur Flour with recipes that were very fall like…sigh
    I never made it to your store…but my friend Terry did and when she was out in California a few years back she took some photos of your shop.. they are on my desk here at work… 🙂 Loved the crisp feeling when I got out this morning….again feeling a little bittersweet.

  6. Doreen Strain says:

    Just got struck by your lightening bolt Susan! I’m happy to hear you are experiencing cooler weather! Not here in FL ;( but that’s part of life in the south). I too am getting excited for fall. I posted here on the blog yesterday that I went to Yankee Candle and loaded up on all my fall scented candles. Nothing like having all the fall decorations out and the house smelling just wonderful and being able to start using the fireplace. (So what if I have to turn the AC on high because it’s FL…it’s still FALL right ???? LOL ! ) Shame though, because I’m rushing my summer…I really need to slow it down and spend some time pondering about the dog days of August…as my mother used to call them. And by the way…we used to have make a little store at our house too and we even had a little cash register. It’s no wonder I became a nurse…we used to take Smarties (the candies) and unwrap the wrappers and put the candy in old pill bottles my mother used to save for her bottons and play pharmacy! Oh yes…memories of years gone by! Have a wonderful day today contemplating the goings on of tomorrow but take the time today to live in the moment! 😉
    ~ Doreen ~

  7. pam says:

    I loved that store. Several times we made the drive for an overnite trip to visit
    staying at the Apple Farm. The shop was sweet as is the little town. And you. Miss the chance to drive down for a visit but I am happy knowing you are happy. And oh that peek at the bowl with the birds. What a lovely piece that was.xo

  8. Marsha Gibbons says:

    Goodness!! Fall is my very favorite season, but it’s July people. JULY!!
    I was in retail for years and that surely messes with your mind. You are always ordering for a few seasons ahead and anticipating what’s around the corner. Right now in Dallas we are sweltering. We’ve gone from one of the coldest winters to a record heat wave. I love your “used to be” store. It would do well here!!

    Do you still sell the 2011 calendars?

  9. Jamie Willow says:

    Oh how I wish I could have visited your darling store 🙂 it looks just perfect!

    We still have a while here in Nashville before anything resembling fall shows up. It’s hotter than blazes right now and feels like a sauna when you step outside. Southern heat at it’s finest I guess.
    Fall will be lovely…

  10. Sharon from Maine says:

    Oh Susan thank you so much for letting us take a peek at your store pictures, it was adorable! And I would feel the same way, like I was playing house with all those goodies around me everywhere. I loved the little child’s ironing board, and it even had the cloth cover like a real one! We played store, too, growing up and saved a lot of empty cans, boxes, etc. I had 7 brothers and sisters, so we didn’t just play store, but there were enough of us so we actually could play house, with the mother and babies staying home(big and little sisters) and the fathers (brothers) going off to work. Somebody even played mailman. It usually didn’t last too long, though, because the boys would usually get bored. — Fall is my favorite time of the year! It gives me that wonderful ‘homey’ feeling. Thanks again Susan!

  11. Rosinda says:

    Dear Susan,

    Your Heart of the Home store was absolutely beautiful! Everything looks so pretty and you can tell it was all decorated with love! I did not have the pleasure of walking in there, I’m scared of what I may have come out with. Everything is so eye-pleasing! I just loved the story you shared about your Mom turning a closet into a “store” for the children to play! I wish I had an extra closet for my girls to play “store” in. But you’ve inspired me to collect real boxes, can and jars. I’m going to save them secretly and one day I will set something up at home for them to play. My little one, especially, will find it such a hoot! Thanks for sharing your wonderful stories and memories. Happy Thursday!! xoxo

  12. Jacqui G says:

    So happy to see your calendars pop up on the shopping site. Of course, I bought one of each…..but where is the blotter? I need it to get through my workday 🙂

    FOSB 4-Ever

  13. Amy D. says:

    Susan, Please come decorate my house!!!

  14. Debbie says:

    What beautiful pictures! You made me miss the occasional cool, rainy days that you get in the Northeast. Here in Illinois, it is just plain hot, day after day. I always look forward to fall…my favorite season!

  15. Karen P says:

    Susan! Thank you for posting those pics of your store! Absolutely charming…so much to see that I’m sure people spent hours and hours just meandering. Talk of Fall always gets me excited, too. Here in Wisconsin we’re experiencing a couple of early fall-like days (70 degrees)…feels like a breath of fresh air but heat is coming again this weekend! Like Marsha said, “It’s JULY!” Reality check!

  16. Judy C in NC says:

    Ahhh…. you had a store and it was lovely. So is your blog … so are your books… everything you have put “your signature” on is beautiful. So “Susan Branch” as I always say and I just love your art work. Beautiful, calming and peaceful. Judy C in NC sends her best on this lovely journey of today

  17. Patricia says:

    Flavor straws! Wow, what a blast from the past. I can remember them, but just barely ~~~ so barely, that sometimes thinking back I would wonder if they were real, because I’ve never heard of them again. Until now. Oh my gosh.
    I think chocolate and strawberry flavors come to mind. Thanks.

    • sbranch says:

      I think the idea of Flavor-Straws was a good one, the reality, especially the Strawberry, not so much!

  18. Sharon says:

    Your store was so beautiful and fun. A few years back, we did a road trip from Alberta, Canada to Disneyland. There were many highlights on that trip. It was the first time I was at Disneyland, the first time in San Francisco and driving on the Golden Gate Bridge, and the first time we came to your store. Pure Magic.

    Have a wonderful day, Susan. Thanks for all the inspiration.

  19. Kim says:

    All that cuteness along with fresh roses and herbs. I would have been there at least once a week and I would have bought that adorable child’s ironing board and one of your big wooden spoons with the quote on it and I would have wanted to stay in the kitchen area near that Adorable vintage stove forever and ever.
    I’m so glad you shared your pictures today. I enjoyed window shopping.

  20. Hi Susan! I say that so casually, yet I have been a big fan of yours for many years. It’s cool here today too, with rain and I have also been dreaming of fall ~ sharpened Dixon Ticonderoga No. @ pencils, pumpkins and cozy sweaters. I love your darling shop! I’m so glad that you have a blog where I can visit you often!!

    Susan and Bentley

    • Lori says:

      I was thinking of a bouqet of sharpened pencils (You’ve Got Mail) and then I saw the name Bentley … is there a connection?

      Yes, the stores are already doing the Back to School sales. Fall is coming …

  21. Angie(Tink!) says:

    “A Breath of Fresh Fall”………..Your Words are Magic Sweet Sue…all The “Pumpkin~Talk” did Put that Feeling Of Fall into My Soul toooooo! I actually Think “Autumn” Lives inside Me Everyday!…lol…Living In Central Florida…We really do have The Seasons…not exactly like Up North but The Seasons do Change..You have Been Blessed this Summer with the Fall~Like Temps…Send some of Your Magical Fall~Coolness to us…Pretty Please…& Christmas Shopping…ho-ho-ho & Jingle Bells…The Other day I was in Jo~Ann Fabrics & Outside they already Had Put Out those 6 foot Scarecrows…& Inside there were three rows of 70% off all Summer Things & a Lady was Surrounded by Boxes of Autumn Treasures…I reached in & picked up this tiny wooden carved Pumpkin & was covered in Goosebumps…Thinking….Fall is not too Far Away!…but I Must Savor these Summer Days & & Like a Kid waiting for Santa….I count down the Days till September when Poof! I Begin The Tranformation & Turn my Home into an Autumn Enchanted Cottage(Oh Joy!) 🙂 I wish You Still Had Your Charming Enchanting Store…& that You could Open a few of Them all Over… & I could Work for You in The Florida Store…I Know…Dream On Angie….Sending Love & Joy for Your Day Sweet Sue & Thanks for a Breath of Fresh Fall! xoxo Poof! 🙂

    • Angie(Tink!) says:

      P.S. Hello again…I keep looking at Your Pics of Your Store…omgggggggg it’s just Beyond Cute & Charming & Magical….all those Beautiful Things… that song popped into my head…♫♥♫♥♫♥Rain~Drops on Roses & Whiskers on Kittens….these are a few of My Favorite Things….♫♥♫♥♫♥ Perfection….Sweet♥Sue….”Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrfection” :-)♥

  22. Rachel Lucas says:

    I am so glad that we made it to Heart of the Home that time. It was wonderful while it lasted …like The Little Blue Deli! Life goes on…but lovely memories xoxo Me

  23. Vickie T. says:

    Oh, how I wish you still had a store! Thanks so much for showing us the pictures.

  24. Peggy Cooper says:

    Love the crispness and sunlight of fall. And I love your Autumn book so very much. Corn pudding is one of our favorites, as is the macaroni and cheese recipe, which is the best and easiest one I have ever tried. My husband even knows the name “Susan Branch” because of these and other recipes. One Christmas my oven died right in the middle of cooking the “roast beast”, but I finished it on the gas BBQ, and then used your recipe for Yorkshire Pudding and it came out great. One of my proudest moments :o) Oh, to have been able to shop in your beautiful store. I’m afraid I would have gone broke, because I’d want everything.

  25. Lois says:

    I was at your store several times. I LOVED it, purchased some sweet things. I miss it. It was adorable.

  26. Nellie says:

    Good Thursday morning, Susan! Your Heart of the Home store was the kind of place where I could cheerfully spend my whole day! Absolutely charming!

    My “gift drawer” is an on-going project, and I have a few Christmas things already there. Before then, however, come some birthdays, so I have shopping on my mind almost constantly.:-)

    All the family is here today, and my husband harvested our volunteer pumpkin! There is another vine in another location in the garden, also with a pumpkin growing on it.

    That is the only sign of fall we have around here. I chuckled at my feeling of relief when the predicted high temperature was “only” 90 today, a few degrees cooler than the 95 and 97 we have had in the past week.

    Our attempt at being farmers has given us the squash casserole, stuffed zucchini, and green beans with new potatoes that we will have for lunch. Wish you could join us! Dessert is blackberry pie. Does that tempt you?

    • sbranch says:

      Ohhh, yeaahhhhh. 🙂

      • And oh, what a store it was!!! I bought so many wonderful treasures there, including our 4 year old grandson’s first toy….. A wooly lamb. And for him I couldn’t decide which Christmas stocking so I bought all 3 sizes. Every detail in the store was so carefully thought out, from the delightful window displays right through to the back porch with treasures along every step of the way. As the owner of what is now the oldest children’s bookshop in the country, I appreciate all you did as a merchant and an artist/author..I sold my shop (called Once Upon a Time) 8 years ago but it’s time to thank you for all of your books that we had the pleasure of selling. Thanks for making it possible still to receive the copious amount of gifts you offer.. Your talents know no bounds!

  27. Barbara (WA) says:

    I, too, wish I had been able to visit your darling shop. But it can’t be Fall yet since I haven’t finished reading your Summer Book. Every summer I read every page, savoring the quotes & artwork & humor. Each Fall I read your Autumn Book and display it on my china hutch. Love them!

  28. Sandra Gillanders says:

    Oh, your store was darling and I would have been a very good customer if I had still been living in San Jose at the time. It’s the kind of place that’s homey and beautiful and makes you want to sit down and have a cup of tea and buy lots of things. Lol! So glad you put up the pictures so I could see what I missed moving to East Coast. Think I would have swooned upon entering store ~smile~
    I love your blog and there is no way you post too much, let me re-emphasize that, NO WAY!

  29. Laura Jenkins says:

    Love the pictures…the store was charming…I know that it is 24/7 to do it right..and I have no doubt that you did it perfectly! A labor of love! Now, your treasures and special finds are available on your website…just as cute and thoughtfully procured…We are in a drought here in TX..and soaring heat and humidity…HOWEVER, last night as my sons were perusing the game closet, I heard one of them ask “what smells so good in here?” He walked out with a seasonal candle, Fraser Fir, by Thymes…and asked it we could light it to enjoy while we played Monopoly….we did…and we were enveloped in that cozy feel of a fall evening…in July…loved it! xo

  30. Deborah says:

    I loved to play store as a child, in fact my favorite xmas gift of all time was “the Corner Store”, and the play food that came with it. We played library too.

    Yes, Fall is like a little secret in the corner of my mind that I know I can break out soon…I watch the Mountain Ash trees…when the berries turn orange, I know we are close. It’s my favorite season, always has been~and the anticipation is a big part of it for sure. Cool here in central NY as well, Susan, only no rain, in fact we need rain-happy baking.
    ps. If you still have that sweet gingham red pillow from your store, you have a buyer here! Adorable~

    • sbranch says:

      Funny you ask because we’re in the throes of trying to find them again! I love them too, have them on my kitchen chairs. And btw, played library too, but brothers not interested as much in me putting cards in book and handing to them. I did it so efficiently too.

  31. I had hopes of making a visit to So. CA to visit the store but it closed before I will get there (we’re hoping this Fall, my very first visit to CA!). I’ve placed orders from your website though (in fact, just received a new one a few days ago) and love, love, love your merchandise, especially fabric since I’m a quilter. I love your blog and being able to peek into the cyber-window of your life that you so willingly share with your fans and friends. I ordered the book MOM and the snail mail Willards too, along with fabric. Lucky me! Love them all ‘tho I haven’t yet taken time to really enjoy each one, just a quickie look for now. It’s chilly here this morning too and cloudy, and made me think of Fall (my favorite season) so I can identify. Have a lovely rest of the day. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Connie! I’m signing books at the Remnants of the Past Flea Market Event at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo on the weekend of Oct. 8 and 9th … http://www.remnantsofthepast.com — it was voted the best Flea Market in the country by both Country Living Magazine and Romantic Homes. F. U. N. Just in case you have a choice about when you go, thought you might want to keep this in mind.

      • Thank you for the info ~ Hubby John lived in the So CA area for two years so he knows his way around and perhaps we can time our visit to include your signing (awesome thought, sigh!!!). I haven’t been west of Phoenix so CA will be a BIG adventure for me. ;D
        I wrote to you once about the quilt I wanted to make from your Tea Party fabric line ~ well, I’m FINALLY working on it and have included some of the Martha’s Vineyard fabrics with it … still thinking I needed more fabric variety, I ordered some of the other lines too (that’s what just arrived in recent shipment) and once they’re pre-washed and pressed I can cut and sew. You should see the happiness on my face just thinking about it. I want the quilt to be large enough for bed-size thus the changes along the way. And a little PS, I played ‘store’ as a kid too … growing up in the 50’s as a kid was a time for bikes and make-believe … no computers, very little tv, and lots of real fun … we really lived our childhood!

        • sbranch says:

          Can’t wait to see the quilt! Sounds wonderful! Hope to see you in CA. Try to see Big Sur, it’s prettiest place in the world.

          • Thanks for reply and info, all has been written down so I can remember ;D
            I’ll continue posting about my quilt on my blog (so far only a few pix to show the beginning and slow progress). Eventually it will be a quilt!

  32. Lorrie says:

    What a gorgeous store. The line you wrote in your post “It’s hard when the world is so beautiful to only choose one thing to do and do it” struck me – you are so right. But you have chosen well – all that you do fits you and your personality. How lovely!

  33. Pat Mofjeld says:

    Well, Susan, the hard thing looking at the photos of your store is that I’d love to step into the photos and look around. I see several things I’d have loved to have bought! (If my husband were not on lay-off due to the Minnesota State shutdown, that is!) 🙂 Your shop would have been a favorite place of mine, I can tell by looking at the photos. I’m sure it was fun to have the shop, hard work but fun work. But we appreciate your going back to book-writing as we can all have access to your wonderful recipes and artwork! Will be fun to see the sour cherries in your online store. That is one of the things we love about our vacations to Door County. The big industry on the penninsula (in addition to tourism) are cherry and apple orchards. We always bring home big containers of frozen sour cherries for our freezer. It is wonderful to be able to make cherry pie, cherry muffins, or fresh jam in the middle of Winter…

    • Pat Mofjeld says:

      P.S. Love your about Fall. Rainy and cool here today but starting tomorrow and through at least all next week we are expecting temperatures in the 90’s with high humidity! I absolutely WILT in this hot and humid weather so am holding my breath for Fall. Heard a cicaida singing the other evening so hopefully we’ll have an early fall…

  34. Stacy says:

    It is a nice coincidence that your post talks of fall and your store as my family and I made a detour to visit your store during one of our annual pumpkin buying trips to Solvang oh so many years ago. My mother bought and gave me a bundle of your wooden garden stakes which I still have not been able to bring myself to use…they serve as decoration on one of our bookcases. Thank you for being the source of so many wonderful memories for me and my family:)

  35. Lisa says:

    Wow!, Hearing you reminisce about when you where young reminds me of my childhood memories. My mother saved soup cans, small pot pie boxes, cereal boxes, and just about everything you can think of so I could have my own play kitchen. Probably one of the reasons I love to cook so much. I too long for fall. All the sents of fall, warm colors, crisp mornings! We are having a nice semi cool day here in the great midwest, MO is where I call home, and fall here is beautiful! I now can’t wait for it to get here. I think it is my most favorite time of year. But first to the garden to bring in the crops! Loved your blog today and just couldn’t help but respond. You always brighten my day. Thanks! <3

  36. Jake says:

    What a fun and beautiful store! I am so sorry we missed it! We’ll just have to console ourselves with your blog and online store! I sure would like one of those fifties stoves, though…


  37. Gaylene says:

    Don’t speak of Fall yet (let alone Christmas)! Summer was late! Just want to enjoy more summer . . . smell of the sea, the taste of salt on my face, the exhaustion of bouncing in the waves, the warmth of the sun on chilled skin . . .

  38. Cheryl says:

    I live in Massachusetts . . . a few years ago when I was visiting my son in Sacramento, CA . . . I convinced him to take me to San Luis Obispo so I could go to your store . . . I LOVED IT !!

    I actually missed you by only seconds the people in your store told me . . .

    I did meet you at a signing in Hyannis several years ago at a rubberstamp store . . . Susan I love everything you do . . . especially the calendars . . .

    I missed having your easel calendar this year . . . I hope it will be back for 2012 . . . I still have the 2010 out on my kitchen window sill . . . everyone tells me to put it away . . . but I love it too much !!

  39. Shannon says:

    Hi Susan!
    I’m in love with those beautiful dishes in the first photograph!
    Any chance you know the name of the pattern?
    I sure wish I could have seen the store! It looked amazing!!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, those are Johnson Brothers Rose Chintz. I have a set, and have to say, they are the cheeriest dishes I’ve ever owned. You can still find them out there at decent prices, but you have to be patient and keep your eyes peeled. Nine out of ten times they’ll be too expensive, but if you can wait, sooner or later, you’ll find them at a price you can feel good about!

  40. deezie says:

    What a fabulous post!! I love everything about Fall too. The way the air smells and the way the trees look. Its like heaven. Love your store too. Its so cozy, like you:)
    happy day to you
    its beautiful here. In the low 80’s no humidity and what do you know, no mosquitoes so far 🙂

  41. Terri says:

    I got to visit your little store once and it was wonderful. We flew to CA and drove up the coast in a convertible (typical tourists!). We overnighted in Arroyo Grande just so I could visit the Heart of the Home store! Everything was just perfect. Your blog is the same – a chance to think of the world in another way for a bit. Hearing about fall and your 70-degree temps makes me feel cooler in our 105-degree heat. Thank you!

  42. Pattie says:

    Oh, how I miss your sweet store! I live in Ventura County and would drive three hours north, just to drink in the ambiance (and buy an item or two or four, of course!) In fact, my BFF was visiting once from Utah and I brought her to Heart of the Home. The staff helped me with a sneaky purchase: your “Girlfriends” book, which I gave to my BFF when she returned home. Sweet memories!

    I’m with you: I LOVE everything about Fall. In fact, I’m creating cards today from photos I took last autumn, while vacationing in the Berkshires. What a beautiful place!

    Thanks for sharing your talents with us, Susan. You’re a one-of-a-kind treasure!

  43. K. F. Ross says:

    Ugh!! We need a store like that in Danville, VA!! Please move south! If you have any of those crow items still looking for a home, please post them on your web shopping page. I have the Johnson Brothers china (inherited from my mom) and never realized how pretty it is until I looked at your photos. I need to start using it again! Thank you for the lovely photos, Susan. You inspire all of us!

  44. dawn says:

    My mom caved in to all my begging and took the long trip from the Bay Area to your store all those many years ago. She bought me a flower pot, a candle holder, and PJs and sent them for Christmas. I was so happy when they arrived. I must have the shop’s business card somewhere still…that’ll be worth something some day! 🙂

    I’ve been sweltering here with my 7 month beach ball belly (I’m about as agile as a rhinoceros), so I’m looking forward to frost on the pumpkin and wood smoke on the air even more this year.

    • dawn says:

      P.S. How incredibly cute is that green car on the top shelf of the children’s section!!!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s going to be wonderful Dawn! And you are beautiful! And you know how to spell rhinoceros! All so impressive! xoxo

  45. Wylie says:

    Just love the white bowl with the birds perched around the edge. I have a very similar one that a friend gave us, and I have it on my dining room table filled with fruit. Your store is absolutely enchanting…..

  46. Kathy T says:

    So, so beautiful! And I am so jealous of your weather – what I wouldn’t give for temps in the 70’s on a hot day like today – Heat index of 105!!! Spending even a weekend on Martha’s Vineyard has been on my “Bucket List” for years! One of these days…….. Enjoy your touch of Fall and send a little prayer for some rain and relief from these temps down here in Texas!

  47. “Who Law”, as we say in the South! I would have to put my head in the freezer to be able to think about Autumn! I divide my time between the Florida Panhandle “The Emerald Coast” and HOTlanta, GA and it’s a scorcher everywhere although tomorrow’s projected high for Atlanta is 85 dee-grees…a cool snap for us! Autumn and Christmas are my favorite times of year, and you, my dear Susan Branch, help me celebrate ALL the seasons! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your new blog! “Wishing you quiet summer nights with starlight and [lightning bugs as we call them in the South] lighting your way…”
    Connie B.

  48. Virginia says:

    Living in the Bay Area, with a daughter in LA, I stopped at Heart of the Home on all my trips south (and then again when I went home. One can never get enough SB, after all!). I really miss that wonderful store. I bought so many gifts there, but only one thing for myself (how did that happen?) – a red leather checkbook cover, still in use. I always hoped for a matching wallet (hint…).

    I loved playing house, school, store, etc. as a child. So much that I majored in Home Economics in college, a field that probably doesn’t exist anymore 🙁

    I’m so enjoying your blog, Susan. Reading it with my morning tea is such a treat. You’re spoiling us! But in a GOOD way.

    • Pat Mofjeld says:

      Well, Virginia. The U of Minnesota closed their College of Home Economics several years ago–unfortunately. I know as I am a graduate from there…. 🙁 But I think there are other universities out there that still offer a degree in Home Economics…

  49. Carlie says:

    I miss that little store also! I live in Mission Viejo (40ish miles south of LA) and we take a little mini vacation in Morro Bay each year, which means we have to pass Arroyo Grande. I looked forward to our stops at The Heart of the Home to find out what I couldn’t live without. I have many treasures from that little dream shop. Anyway, believe it or not, today in Southern CA feels like autumn, too – 67 degrees….heavenly!

  50. MerrieSherrie says:

    Oh, how I loved your darling store…sigh…I treasure the photos I shot there, too! And all the wonderful things I bought, including books you had signed! I have to put in my 2 cents worth and tell you how much I love reading your blog…always lights up my day! Love the stories of your childhood…I didn’t play store, but I had my mom’s record books and on our big wide porch, played teacher to all my little dolls and stuffed animals. Enjoy your summer evening!! Hugs, Sherry xx

  51. Carol Hesch says:

    Loved the store pictures!! So great that you are
    Living your dreams! Carol

  52. Nancy says:

    I have 2 questions. Can you tell me where to get those wonderful dishes from your store? The pink and white. AND what about a recipe card HOLDER? That would be lovely.
    I can’t wait for fall, it being my favorite season, but as you know in CA it won’t come until November – darn! But Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

    • sbranch says:

      You have to haunt flea markets, antique stores for those dishes, yard sales too. They’re called Rose Chintz, by Johnson Brothers. What would a recipe card holder look like?

      • Nancy says:

        I meant a recipe card box. Sorry, I guess I didn’t explain myself well. I haven’t been able to find one that I like. One of yours would be soooooo cute.

      • Nancy says:

        I forgot to thank you for the information. You so sweet to take the time to answer my questions.

  53. Evelyn says:

    Loved your store!!!! Never got out to visit it but loved seeing the pictures of it. Bought some Christmas kitchen decorations from you 6 years or so ago that I still use every Christmas. I still get excited when I unpack them to decorate for the holidays. I love them still. So wished I lived in Cal. just so I could shop in your store.
    But I’m so not ready for Fall…..feels like summer just really got started. Please don’t rush the season.

  54. Gert says:

    Oh Susan…how I wish I’d have been able to visit that beautiful store… I’m afraid I would have had to have had your ‘truck’ to haul everything back to Iowa in…smile It was set up so inviting…Wow!!! Only…Susan Branch could have accomplished that…ha

    Sorry I’m posting this so late… I read it this morning, then my Tom called me to help clean out my office…I couldn’t say no to that offer…smile… And finally here I am at my computer!!! And we had a rainy morning too, so the mention of fall made me feel all comfy, my favotite time of the year too… the food, the decorating and of course the cooler temps!!

    Bless you…
    xoxo Gert

    Bless you….hope

  55. Tami says:

    So nice to see (pictures of) your store again! Makes me wish it was still there! I got to go a couple of times & bought such cute things. Went to the Farm Stand & loved it as well. I didn’t realize that it was gone too… 🙁 Had heard there was talk of you & Joe opening a restaurant. Is that still a possibility? Our family likes to camp in Pismo & your shop & stand were the “mommy part” of our trip. My husband would take our youngest & walk into the all the shops near yours so I could actually take my time at the Heart of the Home & boy did I enjoy that!! We haven’t been back since your store closed, just doesn’t hold the same appeal I guess. We’ll eventually make it back someday, little guy is a beach enthusiast. I suppose I can still go to the Avila Beach Farmer’s Market (or maybe the flea makrket you are signing books at!!)… It is pretty cute… Have you ever been? That place makes me think of fall when we go. All the produce and the hot roasted ears of corn for sale… Yummy! For me the fall thoughts really kick in when we camp at Kings Canyon National Park. It’s right near Sequoia where you vacationed as a child. Ever heard of it? Smells so good and is absolutely gorgeous! Sugar Pines, Oak Trees, water falls & the Kings River. Hume Lake is up there too & if you paddle out on the lake,it’s like being in the middle of a postcard! If you’ve never been, you should go. You might wind up with another “heart magnet”! 🙂 Something about those last few nights sitting around the campfire gets me thinking about school supplies, apples, pumpkins… Fall.The smell of the woodsmoke maybe?! Anyway, love your new blog! It’s kinda like your store at our fingertips! Enjoy your cooler weather & fall fantasy moments! Thanks for all you do! You really make the world a nicer place just by being you!

  56. Brenda says:

    That was my kind of store!!! Actually took a break today from the “daughter wedding in our back yard work” to go to a barn sale that was set up so wonderfully like your shop. I would want one of everything thank you very much.

  57. Janelle says:

    Oh Susan, I loved your store. I spent hours in there every time I went. It was only a few times, but there were so many beautiful things that I wanted to buy everything! I think my favorite part was that little back porch….wait….the kitchen was my favorite. Every time I went in you had a vintage stove. I’m just ever so grateful that you have your web store. It’s almost like getting to go back and visit your charming store……….sigh……..almost.

  58. Heather Smith says:

    I LOVED your store…..and now it’s a (dredful) wine bar…. 🙁 Currently on my fence, but usually on my front door I have a metal box from your “backyard” and I should tell you, it still has your red and white gingham ribbon on it!!!! <3

    • peg says:

      Heather! I saved every red gingham ribbon that were on the items I purchased from Susan’s store! I have them stashed in a little box along with her store business card, the little tin of flower seeds she gave out as a party favor…all those treasures that remind me of her and her lovely store! I purchased a garden fountain-planter and on the tag, I wrote a little story about the grand opening. I laminated it and left it on the fountain for years…until it was so weathered, you could no longer read the story!

  59. Siobhan says:

    My first store was in the backyard of my apartment building with the neighbor kids. I had a plastic cash register from Blue Chip stamps, and we saved every empty kitchen item imaginable and shopped and shopped! Haven’t thought about that in years!

    So sorry to have missed visiting your Heart of the Home store! Really, really wanted to and it just didn’t come off…so love seeing Rose Chintz so prominently! It is my favorite tea set, from the moment I set eyes on it so many years ago.

    But, so grateful you have your online store. Love all your little things so much, such great gifts.

    You da bestest! <3

    • Nancy says:

      OMgosh, I remember doing that as a child. Especially the green stamps! Thank you for that memory

  60. peg says:

    Pismo Beach has become one of our most favorite places….we probably would never have found Pismo had it not been for your wonderful shop, Susan! I remember arriving the day before the Grand Opening…we hit town and Charlie said, “let’s do a drive by so we know where we need to be tomorrow!” We peeked in the window and it was everything I imagined! That trip was one of many before your store closed. We still love the central coast, and we have you to thank for that magical place! ♥

  61. Ginnie says:

    So much fun seeing pictures of your store! Sounds like it was wonderful fun while it lasted. Also looking forward to the new calendars – it’s been part of my Christmas-giving tradition for a long time. My cousin who introduced me to your first cookbook (she had made the rainbow jello recipe for a family party and then had to bring out your book to all of us who exclaimed over it) is first on the list each year of people to give your calendar to, as a continuing thank you to her for the intro. Also my friend in Australia (for whom our “reverse seasons” charm her) loves getting one, and my mom, and… So you bring me and lots of others pleasure with your creation each year.

  62. Mary says:

    ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, thank you so much for sharing those pictures. This may sound strange, but it was always my regret that I never made the trip to the west coast to SEE YOUR SHOP. I almost had my hubby talked into it!! : ) But these pictures are precious and now I feel like I got to see it, kind of.
    Perhaps some day there will be a The Heart of the Home shop in MV and we can just make a little 6 hour drive up to see it! Love, Love Love it! mary

  63. Virginia says:

    I so coveted the beautiful stove (O’Keefe & Merritt?) in the kitchen section of the store and wondered what became of it when the store closed. I hope it found a loving home.

  64. Ann says:

    How I would love to work in your shop! That would be a dream job. And all this talk about fall–we haven’t taken our vacation yet and won’t until September! So don’t be so ready to move on.

  65. Jessica says:

    Oh how I would’ve loved to have visited your store, it couldn’t have been more perfect…I see a few things I would buy this instant! I’m sure the farmstand was just as wonderful too…it’s fun to be able to ‘dabble’ in our dreams…you dabble very well!
    We visited Avila Beach quite often when I was young and I remember how beautiful the area was, I wanted to live there…it was like Little House on the Prarie meets the ocean, at least that’s how I remember it.
    Thank you for your reminisces….they help us to reminisce too, which is always a lovely thing to do.
    xo J~

    • sbranch says:

      You have that just right, Little House meets the ocean! Tiny town — and don’t we all want to live in Little House on the Prairie! That Pa!

  66. Shannon says:

    Just a thought!
    What about getting out that “Old wood burning set” and do some wooden spoons for the website! I know I would want one!! OR a rolling pin that you could mount over the stove with a quote in your beautiful handwriting!

  67. Cathy in Golden, CO says:

    Your store is lovely – I love the china and stove also! I love your website store too. Everything – love, love, love. Blessings to you!

  68. Christine from Lafayette, CO says:

    Dog-gone-it… never had the chance to walk through your store but the pictures are the next best thing. It puts
    me in mind of the Apple Farm in SLO, although YOUR store had so much more character and charm ;-). I’m glad to hear you hold onto your memories but don’t let your past hold onto to you – its good to move forward and try new adventures. Your’s is the only Blog I visit!! My only fear is that you’ll burn out – take care of yourself!

  69. Melissa says:

    My family and I were just vacationing in Pismo Beach and I REALLY missed shopping in your store in A.G.
    I was blessed to have been able to visit it when it was open though. It was a wonderful shop!

  70. Sandy from Santa Maria, Ca. says:

    Hi Susan, I really loved that store. It was my favorite store to go to while it was open. I have since moved to Bakersfield,Ca, not the sme as the coast. I wish there was some way you could have that store again, I would work for free!!!!! Is there going to be a 2012 appointment book? I just love the 2011 one. You make my day everyday with your art and all of the books you have done. Will you ever be able to do a decorating book or youtube demo. I need help with that and would be honored to have you show me how it’s done. We miss you here in Ca but are very happy when you come home for a visit.

  71. Gabi says:

    Golly what a lovely market you have there! Wish I could visit it. I must say that I particularly love the little felted hedgepigs. :0) Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment there it brightened my day to see it. xoxo

  72. Giovanna says:

    Thank you Susan, for being the generous person that you are and for sharing yourself with all of us. I remember the first time I discovered you. One evening a very dear and old friend suggested we get a coffee and we headed to the bookstore. I spotted this adorable little book on the shelf called “LOVE”. Bought it, grabbed the coffees and we sat for an hour reading the book aloud to each other. We laughed about how some points really applied to us…and if we’d found the book sooner …who knows what love would have brought us!!! hehe. It is one of my fondest memories. Since then I’ve collected many more of your books and gifted nearly as many to friends. I’m a New Englander, but Block Island is my island. Someday, I my just take the wrong ferry and come visit your island. Wishing you many good things. G

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