Brownies, Quilts, and Shutters . . .

F A L L    D E C O R A T I N G There’s a hurricane threatening the south, we might be getting rain next week, but this morning at 9am, it’s clear, no humidity and a beautiful 65 degrees!  We’ve been very productive lately, getting ready to head out to Minnesota and points west.  We’re putting the house in order before we go, so I thought I’d show what we were up to this weekend. First thing, in any case of house cleaning, of course, is to preheat the oven to 325°.  Rewards for hard work are going to be necessary.
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While Joe went out front to work on the house, I went upstairs to begin bringing down the quilts that have been folded all summer in heat and humidity to hang them outside on this beautiful breezy day (which I’m going to show you in just a moment) to give them a breath of fresh air.  (I could watch quilts flap on the line all day, I could sit, drink tea, and watch them blow, glide, dance in the wind.) Pure poetry in motion.
Such a perfect day, I also brought down the feather pillows to wash (with Woolite, on gentle cycle, in cold water 🙂 ), figuring they would like an airing on the clothesline also.  So into the washing machine went the first two.
Back to the kitchen to start preparing the reward . . . baking brownies (because I am thinking fall!).  Got out my trusty recipe book (the one that works every time 🙂 ) and buttered up my “Bake King” pan.
I melted the chocolate with the butter . . .
Then, turned off the flame and beat in the egg and the sugar.  What I love about this recipe is that it’s all made in one pan!  It comes together so fast, in case someone is outside on a windy day, climbing tall ladders and putting the newly painted shutters back on the house, he might come in to chocolate baking in the oven and feel that it is all worth it after all.
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See all those walnuts?  Just part of the reason I think this brownie recipe is the BEST.  Not that I would have distain for any brownie anybody wanted to set in front of me.  To me brownies say Back to School, but I still like them the way my mom made them, chewy, bendy, chocolaty and very walnuty!
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So then you do what comes naturally, you pour the batter into the pan, spreading it with a spatula, and pop them in the oven for a half hour.
While they’re baking, it’s back to the laundry, time for the pillows to go into the dryer with a couple of tennis balls to help get them back to “fluff stage” — they don’t look so good right now!
Then I had to go outside “to see what the quilts are doing” (we substitute procrastination for cleaning kitchen); must run back to get the camera because the quilts were doing this:

(One of my very short 20 second videos of the wind in action.) The creative mind can always figure out ways to procrastinate further.  So next, I go check on Joe and tell him how wonderful he is.

Look at that good boy!  Up and down that ladder!  He took them off last fall to paint the house; we sort of liked the house all white and plain, didn’t hurry on getting them painted and back up . . . but we began to miss them (they’ve been on the house since 1849!), so now they’re back! House is saying “thank you!”

Love coming back into the kitchen full of Brownie smells!  Five more minutes until they come out of the oven — I get the pillows out of the dryer, because they now look like this….

All plumped and fat and fresh and ready to get some good windy-day air into them . . . make them smell like the ocean . . .


Out to the line they went to finish drying — another quilt added to the line . . .

While the brownies cool, I put down my hooked rugs, pull out fall dishtowels, start cleaning out some cupboards, getting my kitchen in order so that when we get home in the middle of October, we can slide right into fall, and not miss one beat of this wonderful time of year.  The brownies get cut into squares when they are completely cooled . . .

Finally, they’re ready (because they’re much chewier when they’re cool!) to go on the cake stand . . . A doily gives the whole scene that “professional” look, and of course we do want this to look professional!

Although at this point do we really care about professional?  No, we do not, we care about yum! 

Voila!  Kitchen looks like fall, brownies are ready for my guy, I’m feeling all happy because even though it’s August (rude reminder), my kitchen is ready for Autumn leaves.  I hope I’ve made you as excited as I am about fall and the change of seasons.  It would only be fair, I’d hate to be in this alone.  But just in case you need more decorating enticement (which, knowing you, I don’t think you really do!) . . . We’re having not one, but two new drawings!  Your Willards started going out this morning; that’s where I told you all about them. You have until midnight Sept. 11 to enter by going to the top of this page and signing up where it says “subscribe, click here” (that’s where there’s a “random chooser” that makes all the decisions about who wins the prizes!) If you’ve already done that, you’re automatically entered!  Here’s what we’re giving away . . .

This print of my original watercolor (you can read more here) called Grandma’s Bowl (because it was!) — comes unframed or matted, so you can pick out something that matches your own decorating, but it’s on very thick watercolor paper, you’ll love it!  I hope you win!  The other drawing will be for this …

One of my (100% wool, hand-hooked) rugs . . . 


Just a small token of my great affection for all of you and the very kind comments you have been leaving for me. I read every single one of them!  It’s my favorite thing about having this blog!  I can’t quite express my gratitude, it’s been a bit overwhelming, but you’ve made me think that blogging is perhaps the best possible thing a person could ever do for fun and relaxation! When I started, I was afraid I would feel like I was talking to myself, but it hasn’t worked out that way at all!  Thank you!   

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289 Responses to Brownies, Quilts, and Shutters . . .

  1. Shelley says:

    “To me brownies say Back to School” … my favorite memory of my children (now grown) this time of year was on the first day of school, when my son was in 1st grade, I made brownies so they’d be hot out of the oven when he came home. He walked in the house and exclaimed, “ahhh… it SMELLS like HOME!”
    From then on, I baked brownies on the 1st day of school each year so the house would smell like “HOME” when they walked in. He married this past summer and enrolled in grad school. His new wife made him brownies for his 1st day of school to continue this tradition in their new home. Kids should never outgrown the smell of HOME!

  2. I think brownies are food hugs! They “feel” good when you eat them! And you know how you bring your shoulders up and breath in when you take a bite, that’s what we do when we get a hug too! YUMMY! Chocolate culinary hugs!
    I have been enjoying Willard for years!!!! I subscribed to your blog with Google reader. And I know this sounds so greedy, and I really am not this way, but I would LOVE to win your original art! What a treasure! So I am hoping and wishing!
    Thank you for your generous giveaway!

  3. CAROL O. says:

    HELLO SUSAN….Loved the Blog…of course…because I love quilts…and Brownies…and clotheslines…oh…so nice…that was loverly….this was fun….but…Susan…I tried entering for the contest…would so love to win either the picture or for sure the hand hooked rug…love them and love to hook them…but…I did click on subscribe…but could not go any further…thanks Susan…
    Carol O. in California….xo.

    • sbranch says:

      Did you see the little box that says sign up to receive email…that will get you entered . . . Hope this helps!

  4. Jill says:

    I never knew you could wash a feather pillow! I was about to buy a new one. I think I’ll wait until I can find a tennis ball, although I’m wondering what its role is inside the dryer? ::Jill

    PS the brownies look divine!

    • sbranch says:

      The tennis balls help fluff the pillow as it’s drying — keeps the feathers from clumping. Works great!

  5. Susan Webb says:

    Reading your blog today has cheered me up about the changing of the seasons. I live in Western PA and we get a LOT of s–w and I’m not looking forward to white stuff AT ALL! My quilts were cleaned in July sunshine and smell so fresh. Now the brownies were tempting and got me to thinking; I may order your Autumn book and read it to help me not miss summer so badly. I’m thinking of moving into the southern hemisphere just to get a second summer this year. It’s that bad. Thank you for your happy attitude.

  6. Donna says:

    I have loved your things for years! You are so inspiring to me 🙂 Love the quilts hanging on the line and smell the brownies cooking!
    Here in the South the humidity was much less today and so nice!

  7. Karen P. says:

    Susan, you took us there once again, sweetie! Thank you for filling the senses. I am in Burlington, WI today visiting family. We have a Nestle’s Chocolate factory here. The scent of rich chocolate filled the air today…you could just taste it…it was that rich. BUT, I’m thinking maybe it was the breezes blowing the scent of those scrumptious brownies our way! Yum!!! Your Autumn book is one of my favs of yours…LOVED seeing you cook from it. Cannot WAIT for fall!!!!! (Entering your contest right now…hope I win!!) XOXO…kp

  8. Donna Avila says:

    I haven’t hung out my pillows and linens in YEARS! But I am going to do it now! I had forgotten how wonderful everything smells when it has hung outside in the fresh air. Thank you for the sweet reminder Susan. Donna

  9. Stephanie says:

    Every day I say, “This is the BEST blog post ever! How will there ever be a blog post as lovely, as inspiring, as joyful as THIS one?” … and then you top yourself! I can’t tell you the joy this blog brings me. I have loved every post. The quilts on a line blowing in the breeze is one of my “go to” images when I want to feel good. The brownie pic was so clear I wanted to take a bite out of my computer screen!

    I am a fall girl myself and can hardly wait. I am in a slight state of panic that you are leaving Martha’s Vineyard until October. I hope you will continue to post. Then we have fall on Martha’s Vineyard posts to look forward to! Please tell me you’ll be there for Christmas – so we can have Christmas blog posts too!

    Your calendars arrived this week (I order one of each for every room in the house!) and I had a lovely little visit as I scrolled through them. You did a beautiful job – they are fantastic as always.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you so much, glad you like them! I think I’ll be blogging the whole time I’m away, I’m sure going to try! We’ll be here through the winter, lots of beautiful times to look forward to!

  10. Donna English says:

    I loved your post and the comments today. I love homemade brownies although I don’t have your recipe…yet! I also love to make quilts and your quilts airing in the breeze reminded me of hanging clothes on the clothesline when I was a little girl of ten or so and the fresh, clean smell they had when I took them down. No amount of fabric softener or dryer sheets can match fresh air and sunshine to make things smell fresh and wonderful! Thank you for such remembrances of the past and wonderful ideas for the future and the enjoyment of your blog for today!

  11. Donna says:

    What a WONDERFUL opportunity!!
    Thank you so much!
    (now I need to go back and read about the watercolor)

  12. Sharon says:

    YUM — love brownies, those quilts on the line and what a great honey to put all those shutters back up! It was only 100 here in Bakersfield today. You sure made me yearn for cooler weather so I too can get the oven to baking something delish! Would love to win — thanks for the chance.

  13. Mimi Sue says:

    Love that brownie recipe too. Your fall book is one of my favorites! Mimi

  14. Katharine says:

    I’m in Southern California, in the Valley, and we always have Indian Summer. We won’t get cool air till Halloween. It was 105 today! I love the fall, I love the colors, the brisk cool air and I love Halloween. Our leaves change color at Christmas time which I find very funny. By January the leaves are gone and it really looks like winter.

    I love your blog and I’ve been getting Willard for over a year. I haven’t looked at my email, to see that you sent it. I’ll have to go look. 🙂

    I have your new address book on my wish list. My old one is falling apart. I love that I don’t have to rewrite every page.

  15. Mary says:

    What a wonderful blog!! I can hardly wait for Autumn!!!!
    This, “First thing, in any case of house cleaning, of course, is to preheat the oven to 325°,” made me laugh so much!! But all your blogs make me laugh, and not just that one part!
    My mother has Bake King pans!!!
    Please don’t ever stop your awesome blogs!

  16. Carrie P. says:

    We have a taste of fall here in NC. Can’t wait.
    Nothing better than brownies with walnuts. Yum!
    Love the quilts on the line on such a beautiful day.

  17. Brenda Dunham says:

    OK not FAIR! I’m sitting at work drinking my coffee and checking my emails (yes I come in early just to do this every morning before the time card is actually punched) and come across your blog with Fresh Warm Brownies and Quilts flappy in the Breeze! My coffee taste rather bland and I’m drooling. But this started my day dreaming about fall! My daughter leaves for college on Sat. way up in the UP of MI where the tips of the leaves are starting to turn already. Yep – Fall is on it’s way! Once again Susan, Thank you for starting my morning out Great!

  18. Kathy Palmieri says:


  19. Sandra says:

    Really enjoyable blog entry and yep, we’re kindred spirits in putting off. Night time temps are dipping into the low 40’s and new rugs were put down in the kitchen yesterday, my quilts are being freshened by brisk breezes and the studio door is left open so dogs and cats may wander at will. The garden is full of pie pumpkins and I so agree with Trader Joe…
    “Oh how we love pumpkin season. You did know this gourd-ish squash has its own season, right? Winter, Spring, Summer, Pumpkin…. We anxiously anticipate it every year. ~Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer, October 2010”

  20. Kim says:

    I absolutely LOVE your blog! It cheers me up when I see you’ve written a new post! Thanks for getting me in the mood for fall, because we won’t feel the change in weather here in Houston for a while. I will also read your Autumn book to help me think it’s fall outside! I’ve got a sudden craving for brownies. . . I might need to do some baking today! Thanks for sharing your creativity with all of us!

  21. Sandra Gillanders says:

    Wonderful blog post taking the simple things of the day and making a celebration with those awesome brownies. I agree with so many of the girls, you really have the “gift” of making us feel part of your life. Thank you for sharing yourself with us. xoxoxo

  22. Cyndy says:

    Your blog is the first thing I read in the morning to get my day started. You have been an inspiration to me for many years to remember that life is much better if you “stop and smell the roses!” Like you I am a California girl but my heart has always and still does belong in New England. Perhaps someday I’ll be waking up there to smell my roses. I hope you and Joe have a wonderful trip out west and I can’t wait to read all about it!

  23. maybaby says:

    This is one of those posts that really needs to be smelled, I keep telling my teenage son he needs to be the one to invent the ability to smell things on the computer and tv. I wanted to smell those lovely quilts on the line, and the brownies baking….mmmmmm.

    Looking forward to seeing you in St. Paul! I was at one of your book signings here, years ago, and can’t wait to see your smiling face again. Safe travels!

  24. Debi Walton says:

    What a treat to share one of your days with you.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  25. Kimi says:

    Hello Susan

    I have to tell you I really like your blog very nice, and I wanted to also say that I love your cake-plate I have never seen this one before is it Old? and how long have you had it? once again I love your cute home it speaks for its self! Yes my owners love me can you tell?

    • sbranch says:

      Kimi, are you a cat?

      • Kimi says:

        LOLING… “That depends! Susan, “Yes somehow our homes know us they keep us warm in the winter and cool in the summer! build happy memories, good food too. Your home says… it is loved!!!

  26. Kristi says:

    I’ve had the privilege of visiting New England twice and your blog reminds me of the beauty of the area. I hope to be able to visit again (it’s on my bucket list)! Thank you for the wonderful giveaways! I’ve never won a blog giveaway but I hope my luck changes with yours.

  27. Shana says:

    I love your Autumn book! It’s perfect to snuggle with on a cool autumn day.

  28. Doreen Strain says:

    Hey Susan…..go grab your camera and run out to the compost pile and take a picture of the pumkins growing in there.( Well, maybe you should walk out there or have Joe go because of all the brownies you ate yesterday ! LOL !) By the time you come home in Sept. they’ll hopefully be big enough to pick and placed on your front porch! Was just daydreaming here and thought about them. Oh, don’t forget to take those quilts in off the line or when Irene comes your way they’ll act like the sail on a boat and your house will take off like Dorothy’s in “The Wizard of Oz! LOL ! FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~ {{{Hugs}}}

    • sbranch says:

      I took some photos out there a couple of days ago, verrrry interesting what came up! I’ll show you one of these days! I like the image of us flying away with a quilt for a sail! Don’t think I would mind that so much! FOSB 4-Ever!

  29. donna says:

    You’re right blogging is fun except when you don’t get many comments and feel like you are talking to yourself-doesn’t appear that will be the case for you!- Fall is my favorite, i look forward forward to opening the windows! You are inspiring me to install a clothesline!

  30. Patty Mayer says:

    I love reading what you are ‘up to’ and miss you when you take a day or two off. Just want to say that those ‘fish clothespins’ are so cute! Stay safe in all the weather things you are having there! Its HOT here in So Cal!

  31. Hello Susan.
    I could almost smell Fall in the air as I read this post…..I’m looking for the cookbook with the Brownie recipe. Is it one that is out of Print?

  32. We’re all winners! I’m looking forward to getting my first newsletter! I love your blog! Thank you SO much! What a beautiful post, too! We’re getting our condo ready to leave for awhile and I’m taking your advice and doing some of the little extras that you’ve been doing to leave it in good shape….and ready for us when we return! ♥

  33. Denise says:

    Susan, Thanks so much for posting about Autumn! It is my all time favorite season and I always need some motivation to get moving. I think you did it this time. I am feeling ready to tackle the job, a little at a time of course! Love making the home cozy and ready for long night reading by the fire and sipping hot cocoa or cider and eating, what else, brownies. My husband loves brownies. So now you have inspired me as you always do, to do what needs to be done to get things in order and enjoy the next season!
    Have a wonderful trip and now you know what you will be looking forward to coming home to. 🙂

  34. bj says:

    ummm, quilts on the line, shutters freshly painted, brownies full of walnuts..
    You sure have me in the mood to get outside, hang quilts…well, I went is still 96 degrees..just too hot for this olden woman. O, I know…It’s cool in the house so…I can bake brownies. 🙂

    I am going to hold my breath until the drawing …I would faint and fall over if I should win…but, I have a chance and I thank you for that.:)
    xo bj in West Texas

  35. Judith Hogan says:

    Love the brownies. Got my “Autumn” book out to make some. Isn’t it funny, even here on the west coast (Vancouver Island) there is a feeling of fall. A little sniff of air, and all of a sudden a memory pops up. Fall! Summer is wonderful for sure, but I love fall. The temps here top up at about 70 degrees and the rain hasn’t started yet (not until Nov.) and there are still things in the garden to harvest and preserve. Lots of quilting to get going on and lots of knitting/crocheting to start. What could be better!

  36. Laura Lee says:

    I love everything you create and that is no exaggeration. A number of years ago I came across a story on your blog that really touched me. It was about a friend of your sister’s who had visited your home as a child. Is there any way you can repost that story? More than anything else I’ve ever read, it inspired me to make my home a haven for all who enter because I never know what an impact it might have in their life. Thank you!!

  37. Paula Abay says:

    Brownies and quilts! What a perfect combo. It’s nice to enjoy your cooler temps from afar. Down here in Texas it’s 103 and climbing. I’m yearning for the 80’s! I may not have cooler temps yet but I can have those brownies!!!!! Thanks for inspiring me to be patient. It IS a virtue. One I’m sadly lacking in. Love to you and enjoy Cali. Was in SD & Santa Barb this summer and it was delightful. Maybe I’ll get to Minni. one day.

  38. Karen says:

    Oh Susan ~ You inspire me so much! I adore decorating for the seasons, fall being my favorite. Living in So Cal I’m still in summer mode – although I’m peeking around the corner trying to find some sign….any sign….that fall is on it’s merry way. I just love reading your blog and Willard. You make me remember all the things I love about making my home a HOME something to be celebrated and enjoyed. Thanks for sharing yourself with us.

  39. Gumbo Lily says:

    Your brownies look exquisite! We like “boy brownies” around here too. (with nuts) The crickets are singing at night now — fall is in the air.

  40. Karen says:

    Hi Susan! Oh, my, it looks wonderful there. And you won’t believe it! My brownies will be out of the oven in about 12 minutes…. so I can’t visit long.

    I am soooo ready for fall. Still quite warm here in the desert southwest. We were supposed to hit 102… not there yet, only 97. I love everything about fall, and the colors are spectacular. And then we are that much closer to Christmas!

    Safe travels ’til you’re home again…

  41. Karen says:

    Hello Susan……….I really enjoyed your post (as usual). After this hot and muggy summer hubby and I are more than ready for fall which is our very favorite season. In fact, we married in October, almost 49 years ago.

    Your brownies look delicious and I could practically smell them…..yummmy!

    I’m anxious to get our home looking like fall is nearly here…maybe in a couple weeks I’ll begin to pull out things…..handmade table runners, scrappy fall fabric wreath and candles. Oh, there is a lot more!

    Have a great trip. I’m sure when you arrive home you will be so pleased that you’re ready for fall!

    Hugs, Karen
    (from MI)

    • Karen P says:

      There are a lot of us Karens, aren’t there?!

      • sbranch says:

        You are everywhere 🙂 . . . one of you was my best friend in high school — the one I met the Beatles with!

        • Karen P says:

          Seriously??! Shoot! It wasn’t me, though. I would have LOVED that adventure! I’ll bet all Karens are the same age! It was the “name of the year” I think when I was born!

  42. Karen says:

    I love your quilts hanging from your clothesline. That looks like a painting too. You paint a beautiful setting in your post with your words and photographs. Have a safe trip.

    P.S. Once upon a time I was living in Hong Kong with my family. It was Christmastime and I was so homesick. A friend mailed me your Christmas cookbook as a gift. That cookbook saved my life that year, and your books, blog and newsletter continue to be comfort food. Even though I am back in New England.

  43. Nancy Paine says:

    Just received Willard today, and I am basking in our air conditioning, with it 116 degrees out the back door, about 10 feet from me! But, here in Phoenix, I already have my house completely Autumn, I always start August 1st now. We have to create that season here, or the leaves turn in December (too late!), so I figure, I’ll do it whenI feel it! Even the scarecrow is sitting on the front porch, faux pumpkin next to her! I am stitching little wool felt pumpkins, too, in all colors, even the gray-blue of Cinderella pumpkins. My daughter and I mixed up the spiced tea mix, you know, the kind with powdered tea, Tang, and lemonade mix, and spices? Already baked pumpkin bread, and it’s gone! Happy Autumn, everyone!

  44. Tricia says:

    Hi Susan,
    Your brownies turned out so well – I could smell them all the way up North of you in Arlington, MA – yes, we’re practically neighbors. I don’t know why I hadn’t signed up for your blog before – I do get your Willard – anyway, I’m glad I will now get an email when you post to your blog – what fun! Hope you enjoy your trip out West and come back to us in the most beautiful month of October!

  45. Cindy says:


    You make me feel like I can actually have the life I long for…..seasons enjoyed to the fullest, baking, a cozy home, wonderful friends and family. I love Fall with all my heart and I am determined to never again let my life get in the way of my passion and love for all things “home”. Thank you for being you…and sharing your love and joy with us.

  46. Pat K says:

    Your brownies look delish! Thanks for the recipe. Have been an admirer of your
    work for many years. Keep creating, you inspire us all!

  47. CATHERINE says:

    Dear Susan
    I love the quilts flying in the breeze. My mother loved to hang things outside on the Cape, thanks again, for the memories. Where would we be without our own private memory lane? Do you sell quilts? If not, any idea where to buy them? I must say, I can’t wait for the fall, especially October. Even though my beloved father passed on in October, I think I will make it a celebration of him, and not be so sad. Have a great trip.

    • sbranch says:

      That’s a beautiful thought . . . it must be hard. As for the quilts, it’s the hunt . . . you have to kind of keep your eyes open and visit junk shops, flea markets, and so on — we do it a lot when we travel. And don’t be discouraged by high prices, you just wait and you’ll find them at a price you can bear — I think the most I ever spent on a quilt was $250 — but that is very rare, I like them around $100 better. 🙂 The hunt is part of the fun, when you find one you love, you feel like you’ve earned it!

  48. Mary Ann says:

    Hi Susan, Such a happy busy post.! I just wandered over from FB, somehow I missed the message you had a fabulous blog too. I have piles of quilts but in SoCal I don’t have the lovely ocean breeze at this time of year to air them out. …maybe October when our sunny early fall is past. Just today I was fondling my fall towels and wondering if I could burn the pumpkin spice candle with the a/c on! And if it was too early to switch out the summer quilt over the arm chair for Fall (it has a flannel back so probably not.) But the days are getting shorter and my hydrangeas are changing from bright blue and hot pink to dusty green and a touch of luscious rust so I think Fall must be on its way to the West Coast too.

  49. tina says:

    Love the post of course but most of all I’m really excited to be able to meet you at TCC! I’ll be doing the fall dec thing soon myself, you’ve pushed up my “want to” considerably!

  50. Tammy G says:

    Hi Susan, I just wanted to write and let you know You have been my inspiration the last couple of years to “decorate my home” for each season. I was in such a blue spell for a while and really I want to Thank-You for showing me so much to make me “want” to do the same for my home. No I dont not blog But I do love to get your Willard and now read your Blog. thanks for being great. and thanks again for helping me make my house a cozy home again. 🙂

  51. Mary says:

    I wanted to tell you that I hang clothes out on the clothesline, too! My VERY favorite smell in the whole wide world is clean, wet laundry!! *ahhhh* It’s intoxicating!!!
    I just read Willard and I couldn’t believe it when you talked about “Hobson’s Choice”! I just watched it for the first time a couple of nights ago, and I loved and adored it!!! I say I couldn’t believe it because you often mention your favorite movies and they are my favs, also (Enchanted April, Falling For A Dancer, Julie and Julie, Midnight In Paris…).
    I bought the little “book” you put together of your old Willards and you talk a lot in there about your house in California. Now, in the latest Willard, you talk about hating to leave your home in Martha’s Vineyard and don’t mention your CA home. Do you still have it and love it?

    • sbranch says:

      We definitely like the same movies …. Hobson’s Choice was adorable! We still have our house in California…I do love it…that’s my problem, I’m pretty much homesick where ever I am, I love both places, and they aren’t next door to each other! But the seasons and this old house are winning . . . luckily I have lots of family in CA, so I’ll never stop going there!

      • Mary says:

        Oh, good! I’m glad to know that, and I can certainly understand being homesick for one when you are in the other!! Have you ever seen “The Enchanted Cottage” with Robert Young, Dorothy McGuire, and Mildred Natwick? That’s another one of my all-time favorites!!!

        • sbranch says:

          I actually own it! I own about 7 movies, and that’s one of them. Can’t get it on Netflix. Very sad.

          • Mary says:

            Oh, good!! I own it, too. And yes, it’s a shame it’s not on Netflix 🙁
            I bought the newest “Jane Eyre” DVD today. I love it!

          • sbranch says:

            You’ve probably seen it, but my favorite Jane Eyre is the 2006 BBC version starring Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens. So good.

          • Mary says:

            Yes, I have seen all the Jane Eyres!!! lol There are things I love about each one of them. I’m not even sure which is my favorite…. maybe the one with Timothy Dalton, because he’s awesome, and because they made it really long, with more of the book in it. I think my favorite person to play Jane would be the latest one, altho’ I love Ruth Wilson, too!!! And Toby Stevens was great! 😀

          • sbranch says:

            It followed the book so well, so dark … like Wuthering Heights in a way.

  52. Doreen Strain says:

    Wow Susan, 226 replies…hope you’re still not thinking you’ll be talking to yourself? Hahaha! Have a great day! Hunker down and get ready for the storm. You’ll be on my mind this weekend. Be safe! FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

  53. Ellen Hammond says:

    You know, fall IS coming! This will be the most wonderful fall ever, as I begin the last part of finishing my degree-student teaching! The children begin school on Monday and even though it is still August, you can just feel fall coming right around the corner. Another reason I love fall-wearing my comfy Susan Branch PJs! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your life with us!

  54. Laura Ann says:

    Susan, have you ever thought about writing a book about winter? I already have your book about Christmas and love it, but I wish you would write a book to help those of us who live in cold climates get through the really hard part of the year–January through March (or April even, here in Vermont.) Your ideas are so inspiring and I am sure you could help some of us to be more enthusiastic about those long cold months that I am already dreading.

  55. Debbie Hays says:

    Can I come????

  56. Nicole Brake says:

    I love your house Susan. You are my surrogate mother for love and inspiration. My own mom no longer speaks to me and has never met one of her grandchildren. She is sick with MS…. don’t know that that is an excuse for her behavior though. I live in Los Angeles and as you know…the leaves here don’t even change until December. No seasons whatsoever. We are trying to move to upstate New York if our house out here ever sells. I love your blog, and hope one day to live in a house that looks like yours. In the meantime…. I’ll be getting out the fall decorations for my 2 little ones. My little boy who is almost 8 notices every little thing, and when each season changes…he runs through the whole house looking to see what new things I have put out. His gratitude makes life soooo sweet!

  57. Rosemary says:

    I LOVE your blog and i’m in love with your decor! That cake stand is so beautiful! You are making me love glassware again:) Lovin the prizes for the giveaways too:)

  58. Oh Susan, I love your blog! It is like sipping lemonade on a sweet end of summer day coming here. So refreshing and makes me smile every time. (and the same feeling when using and looking at all of your beautiful cookbooks and heart art)

    Your post here has made me want to go wash and dry my pillows!!! Thank you for giving me the cleaning urge!!!

    Oh my goodness, it would be wonderful to win your beautiful original painting. I’m keeping my fingers crossed to win!

    ♥Lee Ann

  59. I am sooo excited about this giveaway Susan. I would hang that rug over my guest bed…the guests would certainly be counting sheep 🙂

    I am trying not to get excited about fall yet, but with minimal success. Off to Yankee Candles to get candles to prepare for Irene. After all, if you have to stock up on candles they may as well be in fall

  60. Carlie H says:

    I love your newsletters and blog…all your attention to details with all the cute illustrations are great. I really enjoy the pictures you share with us…your house is awesome! Love ya!!!

  61. Nubby Frauenzimmer says:

    Hi Susan,
    I am one of 8 other ladies who have been BFFs for over 20 years. We have birthed children, married them off and welcomed grandchild. We have prayed and cried over them and our own lives. We all met in a church group called “Heart & Home.” Our hearts have knitted together all these years. I must say it is quite precious.
    Well now we are ready to marry another one “our kids” off next week-end. We are doing a group effort wedding. We are all bringing our china, crystal and silver to grace the tables, which we use to do at church when we had “tea parties.”
    I am in charge of setting the Sweetheart table for the Bride & Groom. I was pulling out some Damask napkins and silver napkin ring for their table when I remembered I had my mother’s “Quaker” brand cotton lace table cloth in my truck. Into my trunk I dove and of course it was at the very bottom. I needed to wash it to freshen it up and decided I didn’t want to put it in the dryer. I carried it out to the backyard and pulled out my retractable clothes line and pinned it up. As I was doing it I thought of you & your quilts blog. It is a breezy, sunny day here in my beach town in Southern California so it was just a perfect thing to do.
    Thank you for alway reminding me that the simple things of life can feed one’s soul. Keep writing and blessing us.

  62. Trish says:

    “When I started, I was afraid I would feel like I was talking to myself….” I confess that some of my best conversations are with myself. I always have the best and wittiest retorts to myself. 😀 (BTW ~ In all seriousness, I’m thrilled you began to blog. It brings a little extra light and happiness into the day.)

  63. Joan Lesmeister says:

    MmmMmm, loved the blog & the conversation with all the bloggers….thank you!

  64. Susan,

    I see that the brownies recipe is in the Autumn book… but… I don’t have the Autumn book and can’t get it in time to satisfy the cravings of eight very, very hungry children… Is there any way you’d put it in your cooking section? I promise to still order a copy of your Autumn book anyway… Really… I will!

    Thanks for another great posting… Makes us ready to get out the fall decorations here, too… And wash some pillows (tennis balls… who knew?!)


    • sbranch says:

      It’s so easy Jake, I’ll put it right here . . . Preheat oven to 325. Butter an 8″ square baking pan.
      2 oz unsweetened chocolate
      1/3 c. butter (51/2 Tbsp.)
      3/4 c. sugar
      1 egg
      1/2 c. flour (don’t have to sift, just stir to lighten)
      3/4 c. chopped walnuts
      1 tsp. vanilla
      Melt chocolate and butter in a lg. saucepan. Turn off heat under saucepan; stir in rest of ingred. in order given. Spread in baking pan. Bake 30 min. Cool completely for chewiest results (good luck) — and I think you need to double this!

  65. Sunny says:

    Love your blog so much.

    Thanks for the reminder about the brownie recipe. I think I’ll make it minus the “peanuts” (what my 6 year old calls all nuts) for my son’s Kindergarden class. His teacher said not to send cupcakes for birthdays because the kids tend to eat just the frosting, and the rest is a crumbly mess! Brownies will be perfect!

    Look forward to experiencing fall with you…

    A Texas fan

  66. julie says:

    Hello Susan!
    Thank you for giving me a little taste of summer that hasn’t been scorched! (it’s been 116ish all week here in Phoenix-looks & feels like dragon’s breath at work.)
    One of the best pleasures in life (I think) is a clothesline–I didn’t have time to read through all of the posts, but I’m wondering where you found (made?) those adorable birdy clothespins??? I want!
    Have a safe and wonderful trip! <3

  67. Marta says:

    Hello Susan!
    It’s almost 6pm in Poland, from where I writing my comment. And I am enchanted! I just finished making gravy base for indian korma (not from the jar 😉 ) and I was thinking about something sweet.. And I came across your blog! And a post about brownies…mmmmmmmm… then I started worry, there is no recipe.. so I started read all comments to find on the end the recipe which you posted!! Thank you very much! I have all what I need to bake 🙂 just to swap USA measuring to european.
    I fall in love in your blog. It’s so nice, so sweet read all the notes from other girls, about simply things, love, frienship..
    I found your books on Amazon and now just need to break my piggy and place an order 🙂
    I am sorry for mistakes-my english it’s not perfect. Promise to comming back here. Hope that Irene won’t make lots of damage to USA, to your place.

    Marta :)*

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Marta! Happy to see you here all the way from Poland. Your English is wonderful, much better than my Polish! Have fun cooking!

      • Karen P says:

        It’s SOOOO much fun, isn’t it Susan, to know that there are FOSB (girlfriends) ALL OVER THE WORLD! Yay!

        I’m glad you found Susan’s blog, Marta! You do very well with your English!

  68. Erin says:

    This post was SO beautiful, and SO perfect on SO many levels… I absolutely loved it! There’s no wonder why you are my biggest idol! ♥

  69. Lisa Hay says:

    I sooo wish it was only 65 here in The Woodlands, TX. Once it gets below the 100’s here I will be making these brownies first thing. I am inspired! Thanks for that and thanks for reminding us of the good things in life. 🙂

  70. cathyjo says:

    Love your post and thanks for sharing. I will try making the chocolate sauce.

  71. Valerie says:

    Susan, I have loved your work FOREVER. I always have a copy of your calendar hanging on the wall in my kitchen. And my Sweet Dear Auntie made me a wonderful quilt from your fabrics … I will treasure it always. So to have this print or rug in my home would mean so much to me. Thanks for ALL the inspiration you send my way each day!

  72. Heidi Gore says:

    I just recently found your blog and have loved reading it and admiring your amazing creativity. I feel like if we met we would be fast kindred spirits. Would so love to win the painting. It would become a cherished item in my home for sure.

  73. Clairellen says:

    Sweet Sue…I am SO glad you are blogging ‘most every day…sorta like finding out I was missing something terrific and now I know what it was….YOUR BLOG! You have a way with words, so cheerful — even in the midst of a hurricane, for heaven’s sake! I have been your fan for so many years, since a friend gave me one of your books when I lived in New England 40+ years ago. What fun it would be to win something you made….last time I won something, I was in fifth grade! Thanks for being YOU! 🙂

  74. Terri Alarcon says:

    i can not get enought of your blog and newsletters, the brownies this month will be a hit for our final Labor Day/End of Summer BBQ, i recently posted on my face book that i have a taste for Autumn now… I have a taste for pumpkin nut bread and some of them lil Brach Pumpkin Candies, living in Southern California we are not lucky enougth to experience the colors of Autumn so I will be looking forward to your newsletters with pictures. .. Thank you again for your inspirations and trips down memory lane ….

  75. Sally says:


    Loved the blog on watercolor. You know what my inspiration is? I still have a personal note from you that I have kept since 2000, and the pretty note card that came with it. I use it to help keep my paintings light! And I did buy the same box that you have in your article from Micheal’s.

  76. Judy C in NC says:

    You so uplift our hearts and fill our spirits with joy – I have personally been in love with your progress and your work for years. It just keeps getting better. Thanks for all you are… to us. Judy C in NC

  77. Jayne LaFleur says:

    I am so tickled about your giveaway. I have been a fan of yours for years!! I don’t know which I love better, the watercolor or the rug. Thank you for all your inspiration! Jayne

  78. Sharon says:

    I have a fruit watercolor done by my great aunt that I would love to put your print next to.

  79. Heather says:

    I just love your blog SO much!! It has been such a wonderful place to visit as I just lost both my parents and now my husband and I are going through a divorce. It has been a peaceful part of my week and I can’t thank you enough!! I love the brownie recipe and loved seeing the quilts so much that I called for my daughter (21) to come and watch it. I think it is so special that you include these video clips on your blog ~ Thank you!!!

  80. Tracey Gaudette says:

    LOVE. You put so much of your darling self into everything you do it’s no wonder we all feel so close to you! GROUP HUG!!

    Thank you for all the joy you bring to the world … I hope that it comes right back to you tenfold!! XOXO 🙂

  81. debbie says:

    Hi Susan!

    I received Willard in my inbox and followed the link over to your blog. YAY!! Yippee!! It’s like a new mini Susan Branch book with each new post! I am so happy you are blogging.

    One of your many online BFF’s

  82. Corrine says:

    Love your blog oh so very much! I’ve been such a huge fan since I found your “Summer” book oh so many years ago….Here is the upper midwest the leaves are beginning to turn color and I look foward to reading your “Autumn” book with a cup of coffee this afternoon after getting some homekeeping done.
    Coming to visist you at your website is such a nice treat and always fills my soul.

  83. Ashley says:

    Hi Susan ,

    I have many of your books and read them over and over. Just the tiniest detail in them can occupy me for a long time and it fills me with delight.
    Thanks for sharing all your creativity with us! Beautiful bowl of your grandmother’s.

  84. Stephanie says:

    I have loved your books for years! I can’t believe it took me this long to find your blog. Thanks for the fun recipes and beautiful artwork…if only I were so talented!

  85. Kathy says:

    Years ago my FAVORITE letter stickers to use only scrapbook pages were Susan Branch! Who knew that you had all of these amazing talents as well? I am so delightEd to have found your cooking/baking/gardening/creative/artistic/loving life blog! I know your grandmother’s proudest moment was to receive that beautiful painting of yours!

  86. Deborah Celtic Heart says:

    How much do I love your posts? Living in Wales, I can vicariously enjoy all the delights of America that I remember so well from years of living there . . . Quilting and Baking are so much a fundemental part of my life in Wales, but only because I came to quilting and baking in America . . I came to the wonderful world of Susan Branch long after I left those now distant shores and now I delight in your blogs. A very dear friend of mine in WA state regularly sends me little gifts of Susan Branch goodies . . and I adore my 2011 calendar she sent for Christmas last year . . . always look forward to Willard . . . so, Susan . . here is a Huge and Heartfelt Thank You for your magic from wild, wet, and windy west Wales . . .

  87. Marianne says:

    Whew! It takes awhile to get down the the bottom of this post! Susan, so many friends! How cool is that! I have so enjoyed all that you do, this blog, your website, Willard, your artwork and time to video! I have had a great time decorating a new lake house we’ve purchased in South Haven Michigan and you have helped! Thank you! Have a few of your chair pads and now trying to decide whether I take my Starry night rug up to place in my kitchen there, or just buy another Susan Branch hooked rug….. so many decisions. Thank you, thank you for the inspirations you give us all.

  88. Carol in E TN says:

    Thanks for a great giveaway! Can smell those brownies all the way to Tennessee! And I happen to have that very same cake plate.

  89. Gamma Rori says:

    Your blog is my daily inspiration, the way to start my day in a joyful frame of mind. Thank you so much for all of the beauty you add to the world!
    Life is beautiful because Susan is in it!!
    <<<<<<<<>>>>>> Rori DeAnne

  90. Patty Page says:

    Hi Susan, I thought I had signed up for this giveaway already, but I guess I haven’t because I scrolled through all 200+ comments to check! LOL! I love your blog and getting to visit your life on Martha’s Vineyard! I love your artwork, too! I look forward to getting the Willard each month! Thanks for all the “good feelings” your blog provides! -Patty

  91. Patty says:

    Dear Susan,
    Each day I click over to your BLOG for my happy start, or sometimes middle of the day browse ! You always have something interesting to tell us. I really miss you when your life gets in the way, and you have other things to get done. Will be looking forward to your trip , and then, when you go back, to winter in MV! Love all the videos and pictures you include! I also enjoy looking through the things you have for sale! By the way, have you ever used pecans in your brownies? I Love pecans in brownies! Till next Well!

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