Domesticity City


If your house is really a mess and a stranger comes to the door, greet her with, “who could have done this? We have no enemies.”

Phyllis Diller

H A P P Y   S U N D A Y !

One of my best friends and her husband are coming to stay for a week. We pick them up at the boat on Wednesday!

When I’m working hard on a book, like I am now, I try to stay focused; which means our house suffers from drop-it-and-leave-it syndrome. We drop it, then we leave it.  Nothing like company coming for inspiration to get things picked up and organized!

So today I take the day off to “play house.” I started out right by making pancakes.  I don’t make them very often; but they were delicious, in butter and maple syrup! With cold slices of juicy cantaloupe! And then we got busy… Joe went outside to clean the fountain, and I started working on the kitchen.

I took the yellow wine glasses off the high shelf and put them in the dishwasher.  They don’t get used often enough and have tiny little dead bugs in them. Very nice. They had to be washed.

Then I noticed the sugar spoon, it looked so tarnished; it made me remember, just the other day, a girlfriend told me about this method she has of cleaning silver that she says definitely works, and gave me her recipe for it.

I’d heard of doing it like this before, but I never really thought it would work, so I never tried it.

But all my silverware looked so bad; what did I have to lose? What if it really works?  Way better than polishing every piece, one at a time.  On a summer day. Which I wasn’t going to do anyway. Then I thought, Maybe the girlfriends would like to see this scientific experiment; I could blog it!  So out came the camera and, here we are.

I did what my friend suggested: I lined the sink with aluminum foil, the bottom and up on all sides.

Then into the sink, I poured a half-cup of ordinary table salt and a half-cup of baking soda; filled the sink with hot water, and dropped in the silverware.

You can see, if you look close, that I also dropped my wand in there.  Even though the wand is brass and not silver, I thought I’d give it a try. Joe came in, peered into the sink, and said, “what’s that?”  “It’s my wand,” I said.  He looked at me, rolled eyes, and said, “Why didn’t you just wave it over the silverware and forget all this?”  He is very funny.  He makes me think of that quote by E.M. Forster where he says, “Logic? Good gracious!  What rubbish!”  🙂

So, how did it work? It worked pretty good!   I left it in the water for about a half hour.  Here are the before and after photos:  “Before” is on the left, and “after” is on the right.  There’s definitely a big difference. I think you get more of a polish when you do it by hand; however, for speed-cleaning, and getting so many pieces done at once, this is my new, go-to way to do it.  Then I polished my wand the old-fashioned way.


Time out: I just turned on some music and this song came on, thought you might like to listen while you read . . .

But you don’t have to! (It’s Frank )

But here’s the real magic…I went to clean up, and look at this…the tarnish is all over the aluminum foil. Some sort of transference has occurred. Must have been the wand!

So OK, that was the silverware; next, up to the bedroom.  I can’t put our friends in the Peter Rabbit room, because these people bring half their house with them. Since we bring half our house with us when we travel, we understand perfectly.  They need the front bedroom, it’s bigger, at the top of the front stairs; it’s the one I would have loved being twelve-years-old in.   Has two windows that look out over the front street, and one that looks out on the garden.  I love it in a snow storm when the flakes are whirling around in the sky, leaves are off the trees and you can see all the way up the street.  But I digress  . . . first I wanted to iron a clean dresser scarf.

Then I realized we’re out of iced tea, so I started some.

Joe was out weeding the garden, I took him my other favorite summer drink, sparkling seltzer water with a splash of lemonade in it.  Over a ton of ice.  With straws.  Because he deserved it!

♣  ♣  ♣

Now upstairs, to the bedroom, to fluff it up, put it in order.

I could spend hours in here; it’s a perfect room for dreaming.  I put a pillow in the chair, hung the quilts, straightened the heart rocks on the window sill…. I put out a copy of two books I love, one is Consider Poor I (a biography of Nancy Luce, which I tell all about in the next Willard that goes out starting Tuesday), and the other is A Short Guide to a Happy Life by Anna Quindlen.   Both of these books you could pick up, start anywhere, and be happy you did. 

I put clean sheets on the bed; tucked them in with neat nurse’s corners, put a clean cover on the comforter.   I have a thing I do with sheets . . . I put a one-inch fold across the bottom of the top sheet, the entire width of the bed, so when my friends put their feet in, there’s plenty of room for their toes. One of the only Girl Scout meetings I really remember in detail was the one where our leader taught us how to put on a pillowcase without using our teeth. Why do I remember that?  I guess because it was a homemaking tip and I couldn’t wait to grow up and have a house of my own.  So I glommed on to pillowcase 101.

O Bed! O Bed! O delicious Bed!  That heaven on earth for the weary head.  ♥ Thomas Hood

I found this seashell in a California antique store and couldn’t resist it.  So homemade.  I think you could do this with any quote if you used a permanent ink marking pen to write it on the shell with.  And look what a charming little thing it turns out to be.  

Then I put plate hangers onto these old fish plates, to hang over the dresser. I love dishes so much, I don’t just put them in the kitchen; I put them everywhere, even in the bathroom!  These are hand-painted Limoges.

I put my favorite Laura Ashley hat on the bed post.  And then I gave this room the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval…

With this old magazine to sit near the chair.  And that was it, pretty much ship-shape and ready to go.  I still have a little bit to do, I need to cut flowers from the garden for the  pitcher on the dresser top.  But that will do for now; it’s iced tea time.

Now in a cottage built of lilacs and laughter, I know the meaning of the words, “ever after”. . .

Hope you’re having a wonderful day! ♥ xoxo me

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118 Responses to Domesticity City

  1. Pom Pom says:

    Oh, so sweet! All that tidying and shining and anticipating the arrival of people you love! Preparing a place for others is such a high privilege, isn’t it? I love to put all the dishes that sit around on shelves into the dishwasher before company comes, too. Aren’t plate hangers one of the BEST inventions? Have a wonderful time with your friends!

    • sbranch says:

      If they hadn’t invented them, we would have had to do it! Yes, best friends…can’t wait.

  2. laurie says:

    Don’t you feel so clever when you do the silve r this way..I know I did.I also was told of this tip and its wonderful.I inherited my great aunts silver and as she did we use it everyday.She also used her china everday ,, didn’t believe in saving for special ocasions,, she thought everyday was special.She had no children and thats why none were lost.G and I use it everyday since moving to the apartment,, no children running outside with spoon to lose in the sand box!This guest room is befitting a Queen,, just lovely, thanks for sharing this,

    • Kathy Phenix says:

      I was thrilled to see that you have some “Buttercup” by Gorham Silvermakers. I inherited my grandmother’s service for 12 of “Buttercup”. It is my absolute favorite! When I was growing up it was my “chore” to put the silver on the table for Sunday dinner. I think that is when I fell in love with real silver. I picked out my own pattern “Debutante” when I was 16 but only got 6 teaspoons before I realized that I would receive the ultimate gift-Grandma’s silver. Some of the pieces are inscribed with the date 1907. It is truly precious to me. Thanks for the tip. I’ve not tried that one. Kathy

  3. pam says:

    Oh it all looks so sweet. I would love to play house there. My own house isn’t so delicious. xo

  4. Judy C in NC says:

    Watch out – with posts like this you could very easily have a waiting list to visit that bedroom. What a wonderful, whimsical and calming space. Thanks for sharing. Judy C in NC who just said “see you soon” to company.

    • Paula B. says:

      So funny, Judy. I was thinking that most of us (Susan’s dear followers) would love to be the expected guests who will enjoy the big front room and Susan and Joe’s company!

  5. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Company’s Comingggggggggggg…Yay! Twirling with Delight How You have Shared Your Very Busy Day with Us Sweet Sue…Your Guests will Be Quite Comfy in This Charming Cozy Room…all Clean & Shiny…Just for Them….I Love the Foil thingy to clean the Silverware I’ve heard about it but have Yet to try it…& Poof! You have Proved that it really Works…Science! & Thank You for Frank’s Music! I still Swoon when I Listen to Him…♫♫♫ 🙂 & Oh Sweet Sue…how I L♥ve L♥ve L♥ve Your Magic Wand…My ♥ Heart went Pitter~Patter with Glee…as I Glanced at it…:-) I Know as You Polished it…You Remembered all The “Poofing” You have Done & are gonna doooooooooo! Here’s to Raising Our Magical Wands & Spreading Lots ofFairy~Dust for You & Joe & Kitty to have the Most Enchanting Week with Your Best Friends….Eat Drink & Be Merry My Friend!…xoxo Poof! P.S. I Think the Best way to Make Iced~Tea…Pure Yumminess! ♫♥

    • Angie(Tink!) says:

      omgggggggggggggg Polka Dots & MoonBeams…..♫Frank~Perfection♫ Thanks again Sweet Sue! 🙂

  6. Karen P says:

    The Hostess with the Mostest! That’s what YOU are, dear Susan! Love your quilted ironing board cover…so NOT boring!

  7. Ginny Petitt says:

    I love you, Susan Branch! Just reading your blog makes everyday special, just like you!

  8. Nancy Settel says:

    Der Susan I think from the picture that you had the shiney side out of the foil. I have tried this in the past and couldn’t remember if it was the shiney side or the dull side. Did your instructions say which way? Inquiring minds want to know!! nancy settel

  9. Pat Mofjeld says:

    I’m still laughing at the quote you started with at the beginning by Phyllis Diller–TOO FUNNY!!! I must remember that one… 🙂 Also the “drop-it-and-leave-it syndrome” phrase–we do that here at our house when we get busy. Oh well, it always waits for us–neither of the schnauzers pick up stuff or tidy up when we are away, for instance, shopping or at the library!!! 🙂 Thanks for the tip on cleaning silver…

  10. Evelyn says:

    Happy Sunday to you Susan. We just got a little rain down here in burnt up Phila. Pa. so we’re all happy about that after this week’s scorching heat. Anyway, I’ve used the aluminum foil/salt method of cleaning silver and it does a fairly decent job. Your guest bedroom looks so cozy and inviting…your guests are lucky to get to stay in your “bed & breakfast.” Enjoy.
    Hope the heat has ended for you up there. Enjoyed this post as usual…always a day brightener. :0)

  11. Lin says:

    Lovely post, as always……I am a kindred spirit in so many ways…….I leave my housework until we have guests, and then wonder why I don’t do it more often, as the results are so appealing! Your bedroom is lovely – love the thought of all those windows in all seasons. We have a corner bedroom which I turned into my “girl” room (I was surrounded by my husband, 2 sons, and a male dog, but when the oldest son moved out, my girl room was born!), and it has a Betty Magnolia right at the corner. Over time, it has grown around that corner so that when it is in bloom, both windows are a mass of pink! Love it!

    Was that really you who commented on my blog? I was thrilled! Thank you! Please come again!

  12. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Loved visiting with you by blog today, sorry, can’t stay longer, have to go look for my magic wand, it must be here somewhere!

  13. Jacqui G says:

    Thanks for the uplifting blog- I had a hard day today and this was lovely to come home to. What lucky friends to stay in such a pretty room- and visit with YOU 🙂

  14. LOVED that you wrote about cleaning your silver this way… I actually did this not long ago. The discoloration on your foil though was probably from your brass. The foil and baking soda (should be with boiling water) are actually reversing the oxidation process of tarnishing. (The tarnish IS silver that has bonded with oxygen in the air and has “discolored”). Polishing silver with silver polish is actually taking off silver, or better put, wearing it thin. If you use the baking soda method, it is reversing the tarnish back to silver instead of rubbing it off! Chemistry is a little magical, I think 😉 One tip, however, you should never mix metals in there, and the silver should not touch one another. I spread mine out in a baking dish and it should be “shiny” side up.

  15. Nellie says:

    How well I understand that “one thing leads to another!” I must do my silver very soon. Thanks for the reminder.:-) Stay cool! xoxo

  16. Carol Ann says:

    Lovely bedroom, lovely photos, terrific blog. As always, thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful week and enjoy your friends!!!

  17. Judy says:

    Can I have the front bedroom next visit? xo

  18. Betty says:

    Love this room Susan. Your friends will feel very welcome here.
    Thanks for the tip for cleaning silver.

  19. Gert says:

    Oh Sue what a lovely..and beautiful room your company will be staying in!! Isn’t it just so much fun to have company?? My daughter & granddaughters are here visiting from Geogia! However, they surprised us so we weren’t able to clean ahead of time. smile..
    We were just talking about silverware & how it always needs polishing!! Wish I had this info earlier.., I could have shared oraybe just sounded really smart… lol
    By the way…I Love your ironing board cover!!
    I’m so glad you are doing this blog!!!! Makes my day!!
    xoxo Gert

  20. Theresa says:

    Awesome Susan…so refreshing to come to your blog site in this reckless world. The world of Susan Branch is a gift. Thanks Susan….blessings to you….Theresa

  21. Jamie V. says:

    Sue, you rank in the catagory of an excellant hostess! My mother told me long ago that preparing for company was an art and obviously you have the touch. I would say that I would be tickled pink to stay in your guest room. Have a fun and relaxing visit with your friends.

  22. Kate says:

    I love the “Frank”music!

  23. Peggy Cooper says:

    Oh my Susan, this brought up so many thoughts. First, I’m happy to say our best friends are coming to spend the night this Wednesday also. But what really came to mind is something funny that happened this week which shows that we sometimes stress for nothing, at least I do. I have the most wonderful neighbor who brings us treats for every holiday. Well, I forgot to give her back the silver tray she brought cookies to us on for Easter, and when I came across it, it was covered in grease. So silly me stuck it in the dishwasher and was devastated when it came out looking all gray and dull. I tried everything to get it polished up shiny again, but to no avail. I was afraid to face her with it thinking it might be a treasured heirloom from her mother, but my husband took it to her and told her what happened and that I was so upset and how could I make it right. She laughed and said she had bought it at the Dollor Store, and didn’t expect to get it back.

  24. Margie says:

    Your guest room looks so inviting! I love the puttering around to get my house ready for guests. Fortunately we have guests quite often as we live almost half way between our New Jersey relatives and our Florida relatives. We have a lot of one night stays and then another one night stay for the return trip! My guest room has the white cottage furniture and the pink and white quilt and quite a few birdhouses. I loved the poem on the shell! I will have to make one (or six)!

  25. Sivje says:

    Oh Bliss! It must be bliss to cozy in to a room at your house. Lucky, lucky guests!

  26. Sandra says:

    ‘happy ever after’…oh my YES!

  27. f. says:

    My grandma went to college with Phyllis Diller (and Hugh Downs, small world). What a great quote from her! Going to try your cleaning recommendation for silver. I hate those harsh chemicals you have to use, cannot be good for us.

    Hope you and your friends have a wonderful week!

  28. Jake says:

    I can relate to Phyllis’s quote… but I do know who the “enemies” are… seven little and bigger boys! They have the drop and leave syndrome in the worst way!

    You’ve inspired us to get out the old silver and polish it up… why put it away to use only on “occasions”… Every time we all get together at one table is an occasion!

    By the way, if we hop in the minivan and drive across the country, we could be at your place in three or four days… do you think you could fit all ten of us into the front bedroom and Peter Rabbit room? I promise, you’ll never even know we’re there!

    Enjoy your newly fluffed house and your guests, it all looks very, very inviting.

    All the best,


    • sbranch says:

      It would be just desserts . . . am oldest of eight, and have always thought my punishment in life would be a family of ten buying the house next door! 🙂

  29. dawn says:

    Such fun preparing for company! They will have such a lovely stay.
    xo Dawn

    • sbranch says:

      I hate to think what our house might look like if we didn’t have company every so often!

  30. Wild Rose says:

    The Phyllis Diller quote made me smile. As we are in the process of moving house, our home is much as you described! We were running around on Saturday morning trying to tidy up before our friends arrived. What a welcome sight your guest room would be at this very moment.

    Marie x

  31. Cathy Wegner says:

    Your guest room is beautiful. The bed looks like the perfect place for an afternoon nap. I tried the Summer Tomato recipe this past weekend and my hubby and I love it. I hope you have a wonderful time with your friends. Oh, I love The Vineyard.

  32. Rachel Lucas says:

    That room is Heaven. And I’m sure your next guests will love it just as much as these ones will….xo

  33. First, thanks for the tip on cleaning the silverware (since mine needs attention, this is timely help!). Your lucky houseguests will love being there! Have a fun week. 🙂

  34. Maryellen says:

    Wonderful – I would love to be your house guest in that marvelous room – but I am afraid you would have to call some authorities in to evict me! I enjoy all your tips – the tootsie tip in the bedmaking department and the polishing silver – another project for my list. We are suffering with the drop-it-and-leave-it with this heat. Combined with my busy summer schedule of 4-H judgings and county fair planning, my dining room is suffering from pile-itus. I think I will have to use the b&e quote – I would not notice if someone had broken in!

  35. Sandra Gillanders says:

    Your guest room is so charming, like a really nice B&B. Love having company and I even enjoy cleaning and making room special. Don’t get the sheet thing, have to re-read it again.
    Great tip on the silverware. Was just polishing some thrift store cream soup spoons yesterday and I should have read your blog first.
    Love Joe’s comment about wand, he, he…. just wave it, lol!
    Think your friends are going to have a wonderful visit. “A good friend is like a rare shell washed upon a quiet beach, a rare gift.” Lynne Gerard
    Always such a pleasure reading your blog, xoxoxo

  36. Pat Mofjeld says:

    Susan, your tip about putting the extra 1″ fold near the bottom of the top sheet for extra “toe room” is brilliant! My husband and I, for the 27 years we’ve been married, have been discussing this issue as he likes the sheets loose at the bottom of the bed and I like everything tucked in tight with “hospital bed corners”. (Home Ec. training!) I’ll never forget the first time he brought the subject up as he asked how I thought he could sleep on his back without a place for his toes to go and did I sleep on my back with my toes extended like a ballerina’s–it just struck me as being so funny! I’ll tell him your solution… 🙂

    • Peggy Cooper says:

      I have to leave the sheet untucked at the bottom or my husband says his toes get a cramp. After 36 years of marriage, I’m pretty used to his quirks. He’s such a lovable guy otherwise, reminds me of Susan’s Joe. Always busy doing something.

  37. Jackie says:

    Dear Susan,

    Simply….your blog is a ray of sunshine and filled with fun, sunshine and “girl stuff”. ‘Nuff said….thanks for sharing your world with all of us.

  38. deezie says:

    How I love when I see you have done a post on your blog. But you know what I love the most, is that you make it so real. We all can relate to you so much because of that. I love that you said there are little tiny dead bugs in the yellow glasses. How hysterical is that. But so true for all of us.
    I bet your company can’t wait to come and spend some time in your beautiful home. You make it all so cozy
    have fun with them.
    I have done the cleaning method in the sink and it works pretty darn good right
    happy day Susan


  39. Barbie Tabb says:

    Oh dear Susan, I love ever so much more for telling us about the little dead bugs in the wine glasses! I find them in my tea cups (on display on a shelf on the wall). Funny how everything looks so lovely from a distance, but don’t get too close or you’ll see the dead bugs, Your company will have a wonderful time with you and think that your house is totally perfect and a treat to visit – plus you will feed them marvelous goodies and they’ll sleep with heavenly dreams in the pretty guest room! You are a treasure, my dear. AND yes, that Phyllis Diller quote will end up on display in my home somewhere. My mother used to say….Never apologize about the condition of your home if guests show up unannounced. another good quote: Cleaning your home while your children are still growing is like shoveling your driveway before it’s stopped snowing. (mine are grown now, so I needed a new excuse) xoxoxo

  40. Ann says:

    I’ve looked all morning in the stores for those plate hangers! And there you are with them in MV. I love the last quote about lilacs and laughter. I just had 3 new lilac bushes planted in our yard and can’t wait for them to bloom next year. We already have the laughter.

  41. Christine from Lafayette, CO says:

    Summer company! My sister-in-law Lauri from California is out for to visit for a few cherished weeks. I,too, was busy cleaning “her” room and decided I need to get a few extras for her. I picked up some lavender soap, new hand towels and candle. 40 miles north of Denver in a quaint little town (Hygiene) I stopped in the General Store for a much needed “cuppa of tea”. Amongst the many shelves of goodies and antiques I spied an oversized tea cup with the small rose-colored flowers on it. I loved it and thought how cute the candle would look in it. It wasn’t until I was at the counter and discovered it was a SUSAN BRANCH creation!! SCORE!!! It was one of the first “ooo and ahh” as she unpacked! Love it Susan! 🙂 xoxo

  42. Jeannie M says:

    I love love love your guest bedroom! I have already checked at my local library for the books you set out for your lucky guests, and they have Anna Quindlens book, can’t wait to pick it up! I don’t get the sheet fold trick, could you explain? Enjoy your friends! Thanks for the blog! xoxo

  43. Terry says:

    I have been a fan of yours since I was a newlywed thirty years ago, and I picked up a copy of Country Living and found your gorgeous recipe. I still make your fudge every Christmas. Thirty years later, you still inspire me. Thank you for everything that you do. I am so blessed to have discovered you. You are a joy to follow.

  44. K. F. Ross says:

    When and how do you use your wand? To remove the Fairy Dust?! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      When Joe is good, I tap his shoulder. 🙂

      • K. F. Ross says:

        From the way it sounds, he probably gets tapped pretty often! He sounds like a good guy.
        (By the way, is the bathing beauty in the framed painting on your bedroom wall your mom? Great nostalgia!)

        • sbranch says:

          No, but that’s exactly why I bought it, it looks like her!

          • K. F. Ross says:

            The neat thing about you, Susan Branch, is that you don’t just “think” about how great something would look displayed . . . you actually do it!! You’re a great inspiration for those of us who are bold “thinkers” but timid “do-ers.” You keep my mind spinning! Thank you!!

  45. Lee Ann G. says:

    Oh I LOVE reading your blog and just coming here. Makes me smile from ear to ear. I loved listening to your music Polka Dots and Moonbeams. It just made the visit even more special. Thank you Susan!

    ♥Lee Ann

    • Sharon Calvert says:

      Just checked out Lee Ann’s blog and ADORE it! I am ‘encouraged’ to contemplate my own potential whenever I check in with Susan and her FOSB-4ever’s…

  46. Beth says:

    I want to live at your house – your pictures make me want to move in 🙂 I am a huge fan and look forward to your posts at the end of a long day. My family always ask me how many times I can read the same books!! My idea of a perfect afternoon is to curl up with one of your books and a cup of coffee. Now I like to end my day reading your posts and looking at your beautiful pictures. Enjoy your friends visit! I wish it was me 🙂

  47. Lori says:

    We are in a quandary now – which room to stay in when visiting you? They are all lovely. Enjoy your company!

  48. Joann says:

    I am definitely going to try this silverware cleaning idea—I don’t have a wand, but I’ll wave my hand over it and hope for the best!!! I LOVE how you get ready for company- we have that in common; it’s all in the details honey and you are details, details, details!!!

    If you ever come to visit me, I think I may make the bed wrong, but you can just wiggle those toes around til ‘ya fit in there real nice!!

    Thank you for making me smile every day of the year!!

  49. Mary says:

    What a wonderful blog!! I loved it all, but this was my favorite part:
    “I took the yellow wine glasses off the high shelf and put them in the dishwasher. They don’t get used often enough and have tiny little dead bugs in them.” – I laughed and laughed!! We all (most, anyway) get those, but how many would be transparent enough to confess to it!!
    You are so cute – I love you!

  50. Sandy from Santa Maria, Ca. says:

    Susan, you always delight me with your blog,so happy you started it. I was so surprised to see your shell came from Oceano,Ca. It means like old home week when I visit with you. I know your friends would love to stay even if you didn’t use hospital conors!!!!! Thanks for sharing.

  51. Deborah says:

    Wonderful! How smart you are that you can look at prepping your home for guests as fun and part of the anticipation and joy of visitors you care about! I often feel that homemaking is a true art, and I see that loud and clear in this post~ your joy in your home is a true gift, and brings hope to all those of us who see housework as dull or drudgery! Myself, I love to get out the iron, and if I put on Frank, it brings me back to remembering how my own mother would be ironing when we came in from school. Have you ever enjoyed listening to NateKing Cole and Natalie Cole’s rendition of “Unforgettable”? Perfect for housework and ironing, as it allows room for daydreaming. Enjoy your guests!

  52. Bernadette Gibson says:

    I clicked on Wonderful Prints for Nancy Luce print and nothing came up. Please help me find the site for the prints.
    Thanks! I adore your blog and your web site.

  53. Vickie T. says:

    I love the paint color in that guest bedroom! Beautiful! Shades of blue are so calming in a room.

  54. Sarah Powell says:

    OMG! You have a new refrigerator! What’s next? Sarah

  55. Francine says:

    Dear Susan, I have enjoyed your drawings, books, etc. for many many years! I also enjoy your blog and all the lovely pictures of your home. Wish I was a friend and coming to visit! I need to order the little Nancy Luce picture, but it won’t let me order it! I can relate to a lonely life. My husband had a massive stroke over 12 years ago. I am his caregiver, and our friends have all disappeared!!! He has cognitive issues, and even now that we have moved to a condo, I see our neighbors having yard parties and house parties, but we never get invited! When we first moved in here, I made and decorated sugar cookies often and handed them out for various holidays. I thought it would help me in making a friend, but it didn’t, although I have become really good at cookie decorating….lucky for my grandkids! Enjoy the rest of your summer.

    • sbranch says:

      That’s very sad Francine…I’m sorry!

      • K. F. Ross says:

        Francine, you are a dear lady! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your hubby. Philippians 4:6-7.

        • Kim says:

          Bless you for taking such good care of your husband. My sister had a massive stroke two years ago so I know a bit about how life changes for both of you.
          It makes me sad to hear about your loneliness.

    • f. says:

      My Mom and I took care of my Grandma 24/7 for over a year as she was dying from congestive heart failure so that she could be at home, surrounded by family. Although we had some private nursing help, the physical and emotional demands are really beyond understanding if you have not experienced this type of caregiving yourself. I think it is wonderful that you are caring for your husband in such a loving way, there is no greater gift. But, please ask for help from those around you. Many cities even have free services to help or even your church or a local church might have volunteers. This would allow you to meet friends and get out of the house. There are also support groups for caregivers where you could find friends going through similar circumstances. Please don’t be afraid to ask for help. Looking back, I wish we had asked for more help. You and your husband are in my thoughts and prayers. 🙂

      • sbranch says:

        So thoughtful of you.♥

        • f. says:

          Just hope she comes back to read everyone’s comments! That’s always my fear, they’ll never know someone stopped to comment because we care.

          • sbranch says:

            Hard to write back to everyone, but I definitely read every word…sometimes I’m so overwhelmed I can’t even think of what to say! I have gotten wonderful letters from people for years, I’ve always wished there was a way everyone could meet each other! Now there is!

  56. Sharon from Maine says:

    Susan I went away for a few days and checked your blog to see what I’ve missed – so much! Thanks for sharing the trick on the silverware, I need to try that. And that little magic wand – I love it! In that beautiful bedroom I know your friends will feel right at home – I hope you have a fun time with them. Thanks again for inviting us into your world!

  57. peg says:

    lovely post, Sue! you know what? i enjoy polishing silver. don’t ask why…i just do. probably because its one of the few tasks that have an end result that lasts more than 5 minutes! my sister, Ibby, enjoys ironing. go figure…!

    • sbranch says:

      I actually do too, until it gets over 20 pieces of either needs doing…then interest wanes a bit…

  58. Jennie says:

    I laughed out loud when I read the quote at the top of your post! I should have that in writing right by the door to have ready at a moments notice. Do you think it would work for friends as well as strangers?
    Have a wonderful time with your guests!

  59. Jennie says:

    Forgot to mention: I have that same ‘magic wand’- it and it’s moon-shaped partner were a gift along with gold-starred white dishes from my mother. She gave them to me as an eighteenth birthday present- probably she was hoping I’d move out soon so I could use them! It worked pretty well!

  60. Kelley Suhr says:

    There really is something about having company that gets things going in the house. My father had a first cousin that we all adored. She was f-a-b-u-l-o-u-s! When she came to visit, it was an Event. (She had matching eye glasses for every outfit!) Anyway, she swore up and down that it was bad luck to hang anything on a bedpost. She got all excited on one visit because my mother hung her robe on a bedpost. So I don’t risk it. When I saw your darling hat, I felt her prod me to warn you. Be careful!

  61. Marglow says:

    Oh how I love being inspired by you!!!! Thanks for starting a blog- although I can’t figure out how to ‘follow’ it w/ google blogger. I thought I would tell you that I have recently gotten brave enough to use some of my fabric in my quilts! My ‘Susan Branch’ stash is my most treasured. I’m almost done with my current project using some current fabrics and some from long ago, so I will share pics soon! Thanks again for the creative inspiration ;-).

  62. Jennifer says:

    Love, love, love your blogs Susan!

  63. bj says:

    I can’t tell you how refreshing your beautiful, soft, gently worn rooms are. I love them SO much better than the *catalog look*…this is just beautiful and I know your friends are going to be so comfy there. Every time you post a bedroom, I run change mine…:)))

  64. Margie @ Lavender Cottage says:

    Susan: Nearly two years ago I bought my first house (after renting for over 35 years!!). This house is literally my dream cottage..Lavender Cottage. One of the things it includes is a guest room that is just a guest room. I have had so much fun decorating it and everyone that sees it says they want to spend the night!! I have had so much overnight company. Actually I have had so much company since my little house found me that my cottage is always cleaned up. One of the items I treasure and many guests comment on is a framed picture by the door that is from your calendar about a “little house”. It actually describes my cottage perfectly. More than one person has looked at me puzzled and said….”How did she know?” So that being said, thanks so much for my picture and for all your great inspirations and creativity. You will be hearing from me often. Talk to soon!

  65. Good day Susan,
    I have been mean to come say hi and welcome you to blogging world. By now I am a little late but welcome still the same. I guess it is never too late to say welcome!! How fun to see your home and all the little touches, that speaks of you. Your day, sounds like a perfect day to me. Stay home, puttering and fluffing. I love my home and like nothing better that being able to be home and enjoy it. I am off to read more posts, I am sooo far behind xox Clarice

  66. Loved the Willard news letter.
    Will you please put a chicken on her grave
    for us?

    • sbranch says:

      I will put a chicken on her grave on behalf of all of us! In honor of her. xoxo what a nice idea. I’ll take a picture of it. Might be a few days . . . But I will do it. Have to find a chicken that can live through winter.

      • Siobhan says:

        Oh, yes, please do! What a sweet way to honor Nancy — first, your amazing Willard, and then a chicken from the girlfriends. How lovely you are to care for her memory…

  67. Tracie says:

    in general, may i just say, oh my goodness, i am giggling and crying all at once out here in the hot southern california desert (vacation! yippee!)
    i have never replied or bothered to visit a “blog” before, but i loved your willard today. okay, bottom line: susan branch, you simply rock. enough said.

  68. Megan Stiles says:

    Susan-I loved the Willard today! Just as I was feeding my chickens, and laughing at the antics of my little black shitz-poo Gibson (I know, it’s not a nice word, but it’s what he is. :/) and wondering if I was officially a ‘crazy-chicken lady’ because I love my little urban flock so much…and there comes Willard…Thank you for the story; I love ‘local lore’ like that, even if it’s not local to ME. 🙂 (My mom is Judi Powers of Nipomo, and of course she sends her love to you and Joe.)

  69. Carol says:

    Susan, I made a special trip today to pick up the latest issue of “Where Women Create” as soon as I heard that you would be featured in it. What a wonderfully inspirational article!

    Just got back from a trip with 3 girlfriends as we all celebrated our 50th birthdays together in Montreal. What I especially love about your work is that you celebrate the joy of girlfriends.


  70. Mary Anne says:

    Susan, I am new to your blog. I have been a fan of yours for some time. I receive Willard, and today I read the wonderful story about Nancy. It made me cry. There are an awful lot of lonely folks in today’s world, too. Makes me want to bake some cookies and take to a neighbor down the road. It would be great if somehow you could get Nancy’s little biography re-published and have it available in your shop. I like your writing style and love your artwork! I went to Martha’s Vineyard for vacation with my sister in 1978. Lovely place! P.S. is that some Gorham Chantilly silver in your photo? I have my Mother’s Chantilly. She used hers everyday, even put it in the dishwasher! They say the more you use your silver the better it looks. Happy end-of-July!

  71. Dear Susan,
    Every time I read a new post from you I get a smile on my face 🙂 Thank you for sharing the happenings in your life and home!

  72. Marty says:

    Dearest Susan:
    I haven’t written before because although I love your books and website and turn to them many a day just for the sheer pleasure of many of the quotes, suggestions, and recipes (Unfortunately, I am primarily an assembler!), I am also , unlike so many of your girlfriends, not at all like you. I am a mature attorney in a big City and life and many of its issues is not like the one you project. Sometimes I feel envy for the time you spend with friends and family and having the time to go back in time, and sometimes (forgive me) it all seems too perfect and too simple to be believed. Nice Marketing, the cynic says!.
    Then at some point I came upon your story of your initial stay on the Island ( I am from MA) and realized 1. your life has not been free of problems or changes and 2. My friends are not all alike, so I do not have to be a Susan Branch clone to enjoy your company.
    And then….. you wrote about Nancy Luce . We kept chickens when I was growing up for our own use (Nothing is like a warm, just laid egg) and I have kept a house full of chicken images in the house that I kept because I grew up in it. So of course it caught my interest, but the courage that came through from the story and the thoughts that you shared regarding her life have been an epiphany. Thank you for sharing not only life’s pleasures, but recognizing and saluting so many women who persevere in spite of the circumstances surrounding them. I hope that Nancy found some comfort and pleasure in her chickens and thank you for sharing her story. You prove that our connection to each other is found in the heart of us all. M.

  73. Terri says:

    I love reading about your life! Would you please share the manufacturer and color of the blue paint in your guestroom? Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, Joe just brought me the can from the basement; it’s Benjamin Moore, Woodlawn Blue HC-147 Eggshell finish (acrylic and latex). (Thank you Joe!)

  74. Bonny Woomer says:

    Thank you ! I send my love to Nancy and her chickens….wherever they may be. And my love to you for sharing Nancy and her chickens with me!

  75. Erin says:

    Your house is as beautiful, charming, and full of character as any Bed & Breakfast Inn I’ve ever stayed in… ♥

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