Lighting up the World, one unbathed creative heart at a time . . . ♥


I’m reminded this morning, by Debbie (who left us a comment here last night) about something we talked about during the Creative Connection event.  While on stage, our panel of entrepreneurial women, spoke about lots of subjects, near and dear to the creative heart; sharing our experiences with anyone out there wrestling with such things as mental blocks (as in running out of creative gas); we talked about mistakes we’ve made that turned out good after all; about how, as creative people first, we dealt with the business side of what we do.  I recited a quote at the end of the discussion that went like this…

Because we were talking about how lonely writing and painting with deadlines can be; and how each of us handles the ups and downs of it.  How thrilling it is (for me) when I’ve painted something I like, thought of a good story, or found the perfect quote to say what’s in my heart; but there’s also hunkering down, waiting for the next inspiration that seems to take years to arrive.  It can be frustrating, and no one can really help you out of it.  You know how it feels when you have what seems to be an unsolvable problem!  The only way to it is through it; it’s truly a part of the creative life (the life we’re all creating everyday). I’ve grown so accustomed to these “down” times, that I call that blank space where nothing seems to be happening “the foundation for the creation” — I think my brain is working on it, even though I can’t see anything going on.

The girls on our panel talked about being so engrossed in our work that sometimes we didn’t take showers for days.  I knew that happened to me, and I was so HAPPY to see them all nodding in agreement. Hard to believe, they all looked so clean and cute!

 The first time it happened to me, I was working on my first book, I had just sold it to Little Brown and they’d given me six months to finish the other 112 pages they requested. I lived alone, it was winter, and I’d been wearing the same “outfit” for three days, sweat pants, t-shirt, old sweater, scruffy slippers . . . because I was driven, excited about what I was painting and writing, and it was coming so quickly, I could hardly stand to go to sleep at night. I went from bed to art table.  And back.  It was really good I lived alone.

I ate, standing up, in the romantic ambience of refrigerator light, chicken leg in hand. Wipe off grease, dry hands on pants, run back to paint brush.  Very Very Bad.  Hair was unspeakable. I felt like an overcooked fava bean.

The third night, the phone rang, it was my best friend Diana, calling from California. She wanted to know how I was doing. “Oh Diane, I’m so glad you can’t see me! I can’t get away from the art table; it’s going good, but I haven’t had a shower in three days, my hair is in strings, I’m disgusting.” I went on and on, poor poor pitiful me, branching out into weight, number of cigarettes smoked (because, yes, I did) and glasses of wine imbibed.

And darling, wonderful, dearest Diane said.  “Hey!  Do you think Picasso smelled good when he worked?”

And no, I sure don’t think he did.  Wasn’t that the PERFECT thing to say?  That’s what I mean about girlfriends. How could we live without them.

After I mentioned that quote at the end of the panel discussion, someone came up to me from the audience and said, “Maybe if we all light a great bonfire and all throw ourselves in, it might light up the whole world and never be dark again.”  I fell in love with her immediately.

OK, Girlfriends, taking my book (A Redbird Christmas) off to ride the bike in the exercise room here in Madison, Wisconsin …. we get back on the train this afternoon.  Bye for now!  Say Hi to everyone for me.  WILLARD starts going out tomorrow! 

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160 Responses to Lighting up the World, one unbathed creative heart at a time . . . ♥

  1. Sandy Richmond says:

    Thanks for sharing your struggles as well as your successes. It’s good for the rest of us to understand how hard you have worked for what you have achieved. You make it look easy! I think there are a lot of creative women in the world, but they don’t all have the courage that you do, to step out and take risks. (myself included) Keep inspiring us! It’s a beautiful morning in MA today!

  2. Sheryle Towle says:

    and…Good Morning to you Susan….you are the friend that lights up “our” lives! Have a wonderful Monday everyone out there!

  3. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Good morning dear! I love your way with words, and other folks’ also – I guess that’s why I read so much? Creativity is an amazing process. I still remember being in a painting class & staring at my hand wondering why what I was picturing in my head, wasn’t coming out through my fingers…I’m so happy what you’re picturing pours out through your fingers! Lovely blog! Say hi to Kansas for me, my parents had a grocery store in Downs, years ago. Get on down that track, & enjoy the scenery. Happy Monday!

  4. JudyCnNC says:

    I love the positive energy that flows from your writings, pictures, quotes – look forward to your blog every time I see it on my blog roll and go there first for my wonderful dose of “Susan Said” – affirmations studded with inspiration, happiness and positive energy. There is so much truth to the “The Foundation for the Creation” that we all go through. Thanks to you for identifying the process. Judy C

  5. Pom Pom says:

    Oh, I loved A Redbird Christmas!
    Love your words today, Susan!
    Come over and see our The Wind in the Willows crazy scheme! My book is flying all over the world with Ratty, Mole, and Toad!

  6. Country Gal says:

    Loved your honesty in this post. We are all creative in our own ways just some of us havent ventured out with it yet. You are soo inspiring to all. I think all creative minds come to a hault at times or a writers block it seems to be part of the course I find that if you walk away from it for a bit and take a walk something will trigger the creative juices flowing again ! Have a wonderful day !

  7. Regina says:

    So moved by everything you said today. I have enjoyed all your posts while you’re traveling. Weather is going to be great in Kansas the next few days so hopefully you’ll see some wonderful fall-like scenery from the train. Enjoy!

  8. Kristen says:

    I so needed to hear this today! Thank you!

  9. Patty says:

    OH! my Goodness! I Love this post! Well, actually, I love all of your posts. This one I needed! So happy you have been having such a great time! So have we as we go with you! Thanks for taking us!

  10. Kim says:

    Thanks for this. It’s like a big pat on the back to all of us!

    • sbranch says:

      I was just in the shower (you’ll be happy to know) and thinking about all the people that put this event together, people who have “organization” as their most creative skill, the people who set the tables so beautifully, and those that skillfully moved us from place to place, getting us to where we needed to be …. the creativity was unending, and came in all sizes and shapes.

      • Clairellen says:

        And all those “people” also have uneventful uncreative times, too…in fact, I think it is a pre-requisite for being creative…up and down and up and down….nothing on a straight line.

  11. Margie from Lavender Cottage says:

    Good Morning, Girls!! Susan, I know just what you mean about being in the “zone”. I just finished a special project and had a deadline to meet with it. I went 4 days doing nothing but hanging out in my “men’s PJ’s” and a big, old t-shirt, eating toast and drinking iced coffee and knitting like a crazy woman. The shawl was finished two days before the due date and I am happy to report I am clean and shiny but am, oddly enough, not craving toast right now….hmmmmmm. Have a great Monday!!

  12. {oc cottage} says:

    Oh, thx! What a way to start my day…I’m gonna BE a bonfire! ;}

    m ^..^

  13. Christie Ray says:

    Okay…so I don’t feel so bad about my husband coming home and finding me still in my flannel gown, for I just couldn’t find a good stopping place. How thankful I am that he is the one who continues to be my biggest cheerleader, having total confidence in my work, loving my stories and illustrations …that keeps me going on those days ….you know those days…
    I like your words “foundation for creation”…fueling up, giving the mind and the spirit a chance to rest and find inspiration.
    I told my mother…”Susan Branch says it’s okay for you to be in your jammies all day if you’re being productive.” she had to agree;) and my husband hears …at least 14 times day…all the things Susan Branch says and all the things Susan Branch does…and he smiles and nods; good husband;) very good husband;)
    …Redbird Christmas! Sister put this on the top of my must read list as autumn arrives. So I’m pulling it out now..thank you for jogging my memory. Have a wonderful restful train ride.

  14. Nellie says:

    Good morning, Susan! How wonderful of you to share your struggles and successes with us! Thank you for giving all of us hope.
    I’ve been away from the computer for a few days, so I have missed the last couple of blogs. I look forward to having an opportunity to “catch up.”
    Now, it is off to collect some blue ribbons for baked goods which I entered in the Fair here last week.
    Happy travels, and I look forward to more “Twitter from the Twain.” xoxo

  15. Jackie says:

    Dear Susan,

    I want you to know that your quote today was a “sign” and one that was badly needed. Although it does not apply to “creativity”, it is helping me to cope with an elderly mother who goes for an evaluation today on her mental condition and the stress level for her and for me is on overload. I have printed out your quote to carry with me today and possibly the tough days ahead. Thank you for sharing it.

  16. laurie says:

    what a wonderful honest post,,

  17. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Good Morning Sunshine…we’ve all Had those DAYS….Yikes!….then a Bath or Shower Feels Like Magic & Revives Our Souls! (I Know Picasso had to Be Stinky! :-)) omggggggggggg! I Loved those Twins… Kris & Kim they look so Much like Marie Osmond! I Love all Your Photos Sweet Sue (You Look Beautiful!)…Pretty~Pictures!…Thanks for Each Blog & All Your Words of Wisdom…Wishing You & Joe a Safe Trip Back to Chicago….All Aboard…..Back On The Train….Choooooooooooooo~Chooooooooooooo!….& Cartwheels for “Willard” Yay! Twirling with Delight! Love & Joy xoxo Poof!♥♫ P.S. Herbster wanted to Know… did You get to see…The Wisconsin Dells?….he was there Years ago & told Me How Gorgeous it was….:-)

  18. Pat Mofjeld says:

    I loved “A Redbird Christmas”–it warms your heart, brings grateful tears at the end, and also addresses creativity…I’ve loved all of Fannie Flagg’s books but this is my favorite! I’m guessing all creative people operate in spurts of inspiration. But I also think you are right, Susan, that our brains are sometimes working when we are not aware of it, the “inner self” working in auto-pilot, which then directs the “outer self”… and I also think that courage and drive, and believing in oneself, helps creative people become successful… 🙂

  19. Joy Hall says:

    I think these periods of creative drought are just part of the process. During these times I seem to do a lot of drawing-painting-trashing, drawing-painting-trashing. After all is said and done (and usually not too far off in the distant future) I will be working on a new project and a little something that was put on paper during the drought and thrown away (not really, I never throw any drawing away) would be exactly, EXACTLY what I would need to complete the current project.

    So…. treasure and enjoy those creative block periods and embrace those tiny morsels of gifts the universe is bestowing on you.

  20. Terri says:

    Oh how I know that artistic messy hair, not showered for DAYS and find when you are done and spent, it is a week later. I wondered where the week went. Have a picture of Albert Einstein with his hair in all kinds of directions. I don’t look in the mirror, I just look at that picture and keep going! Glad to know I am not alone in this look! LOL!! Maybe we should start a new fashion trend! Smiles!!

  21. Susan! Hello!
    It was a delight to hear you speak at the Creative Connection. I’m sorry I did not get a chance to meet you personally. And you are right, it is so incredibly comforting to hear that other artists go through the same ups and downs. I’ve gotten pretty good about bribing my inner child to stay creative, it’s the serious business stuff that takes focus to stay on task.

    Wishing you a creative week! Marilyn

  22. Ann says:

    Good pep talk to start off the week. I love that you share everything with us. Safe trip home!

  23. Virginia says:

    I will reiterate what the others have said before me…Your post was exactly what I needed to from someone who has “been there and done that”. It was beautifully and lovingly said. Thank you so much.

    I would love to spend three days in my SB jammies decorating cookies on a deadline for my own business. Maybe someday. I could certainly use some of the positive encouraging vibes that must have been reverberating everywhere at TCC. If only it were a little closer to home…

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who would love to have the bonfire quote in some downloadable form to print. It’s a powerful reminder to all of us.

    Wishing you and Joe safe (and fun!) travels on the next leg of your fall adventure.


  24. Marilyn says:

    It’s posts like these that really energize me. 🙂 I really like the idea of women helping other women achieve their goals.

    Marilyn (in Dallas)

  25. Sharon from Maine says:

    Susan, I could almost feel that excitement you felt at the Creative Connection from the way you described it in the blog. It sounds like they were all a wonderful and inspiring group of people. Thanks for sharing with us your ups and downs, too, it’s nice to know that Rome wasn’t built in a day as someone once quoted to me. And thanks for telling us about your “foundation for the creation” —- I’m hoping that’s what’s going on with me right now because someday I really do want to do something creative with my life so that’s what I’m going to start telling myself –that my creativity is hidden in there just waiting! Will check in tomorrow to see what new and exciting ventures you have to tell us about and in the meantime, enjoy that well deserved relaxing train ride!

  26. Sandi S says:

    Your continuous creative encouragement is just what I needed to try watercolour painting and with my first project done and displayed on my china hutch, I want to say, my friends and family actually know what it is! My subject was my kitchen sill African Violet, all a-bloom and I framed it with my hand-printed garden quote, just like you do. I plan on hanging it in my bedroom as a keepsake of my own attempt at being creative! Thank you for the inspiration, Susan! Safe travels.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m proud of you! That’s so great! My favorite word in the world is “try,” past present and future tenses.

  27. Jacqui G says:

    Oh how I wish I could quit my job (even though it’s a creative-type job) and just do my own thing for myself! I can imagine how excited I would be and how I could easily get “lost” in it all… Thank you Susan for even getting me thinking about such a thing-

  28. Sharon from Maine says:

    It’s me again Susan – I forgot to say I can’t wait to see what those new goodies are you have to show us from the Creative Connection!

  29. Jessica says:

    It’s so comforting and helpful, and even inspiring, to hear about other’s times of frenzied creativity, and even more so, about the times when the creative spirit is taking a break without our consent. Thank you so much for sharing your reality with us…scuffy slippers, stringy hair, and all…it truly does help!
    Have a wonderful rest of your trip and thank you also, for taking us along for the ride, it’s been delightful traveling with you!!
    xo J~

  30. Tina in Ky says:

    Low and behold I ran smack dab into you this morning in Harlan Co. Ky!! I was meandering through a store this morning, turned a corner and there you were right in front of me… We embraced… and did a little dance right there in view of everyone.. and then You came home with me.. well atleast your 2012 Heart of the Home calendar did.. I was so happy to find it.. !!! It is beautiful! I hope your day ( and everyone’s) is wonderful!!!

  31. Victoria Miller says:

    Your sharing is so open hearted and inspiring, and thought provoking. It’s wonderful when the creative spark becomes a bonfire as you throw yourself into your work. Once I attempted a novel, and got so involved that I literally had difficulty communicating with other people. The world in the novel became my reality. I remember friends coming to get me once on Thanksgiving, where we wound up celebrating at a Chinese restaurant, the only place open! Thank goodness for friends, those we know personally, and those we know through their creations and the gifts of themselves. There is also a wonderful song by Judy Collins, The Fallow Way, for times when the spirit is, and can be, dormant.
    I recently got the Autumn book (which I haven’t bought before because Summer is by far my favorite season and I tend to get a bit grumpy when autumn arrives, even though eventually I love it for itself). However, I’m still clinging to The Summer Book. But it’s nice to know I have The Autumn Book on hand for when the acorn finally hits me on the head. Thanks so much for all your hard work and the delight that has added to my life, and so many others! I am in awe of how open and sharing you are!

  32. deezie says:

    Hi Susan
    I just can’t get enough of your wonderful posts. I love them all. Fun ones and struggling ones. Your creativity when you write is just so wonderful.
    Have fun riding

  33. Tina says:

    Isn’t it funny how the TCC Event lingers with us even today? I suspect that it will continue to inspire us and pop into our thoughts for a long time to come. The ‘non-bathing’ story did make me smile and the larger Groove Thang was the way that no matter what lights up our individual creative souls, there is always something that is common ground, the place where we firmly connect and find respect and support. Hugs to you, hope your travel across the country is fab!

  34. Sarah says:

    Didn’t you have quote in one of your books or calendars that said not to be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality?

    That’s the hard part for me. It sounds like you have made peace with your creative process, and have learned to “sit with it” when a space makes an appearance. 🙂 Whatever you’re doing, it works! Don’t change a thing! 🙂

  35. Rachel Lucas says:

    Overcooked fava bean…oh my goodness, how I love you!! xoxo

  36. I love your BLOG. This entry in particular brought me to tears because the creative spirit inside me has been merely smoldering, barely any heat at all, due to a wave of painful circumstances in the last few years. Today, your words felt like a breeze that has wafted my way and turned up the heat a little.
    Your art always moves me. Your words always inspire me. Even though you don’t know me from Adam, there is a kindred spirit…
    Thanks for the breeze!
    Keep writing!

  37. Linda Pintarell says:

    Thank you. I’m feeling better about the days I don’t leave the house and how my looks deteriorate…but then getting that nice, warm shower…what a blessing. Just received my “A Redbird Christmas” in the mail yesterday (due to your recommendation) and look forward to some quiet time to begin reading it. Sometimes I think “reading” is my creative art – I LOVE a good book so much – the articulate written word is my high!

  38. Denise says:

    Trying to brighten up this cool rainy day by baking some apple cranberry crisp from the Autumn book. I hope it tastes as good as it smells! : )

  39. Clairellen says:

    I love your Brownie picture on your blog; I have my 7-yr-old Brownie photo as my Facebook ID photo! Great minds…

  40. Kimi says:


    Nicely said!
    When we run out of ideas, and get stuck in a muck, we let go! and then get going it all works out in the end! “Happy travels!

  41. Peggy Cooper says:

    So, I’m not the only one who has had some Bridget Jones in her – in a past life I hope. You probably know what I mean with the calories, cigarettes, and wine counting :o) Thanks again for your wonderful blog.

  42. Sarah Maldonado says:

    Lovely, meaningful post, Susan. And thanks for letting us all connect here! So many kindred spirits, soul sisters, and separated at birth ‘sisters’. All the responses make me smile, think, and become anxious for the next connection we all make over your next post and Willard! Can’t wait. Thanks and enjoy the trip! A favorite memory of mine is taking the train by MYSELF from Tulsa to Kansas City to visit my aunt when I was about 10. I listened intently at every stop when the conductor called out the name, hoping I wouldn’t miss it.

  43. Sheryle Towle says:

    Susan, just received the 2 glass jars with red lids from your web store. I love them! Thanks for the recipe, as well.

  44. Karen P says:

    I can just picture you, Susan, sitting in your sweats and stringy hair, working feverishly away on your paintings and recipes….so excited to be sharing with the world what you love and are passionate about. It just makes me appreciate that book all the more now! Thanks for sharing that, you sweet thing! xoxox…

  45. paulette says:

    Hope you enjoyed Madison and Wisconsin the second time through! Monday turned into a beautiful day after the rainy, gray Sunday.

  46. Cathy in Golden, CO says:

    Oh Susan! I loved A Redbird Christmas and have suggested it to so many of my friends. I have read most of Fannie Flaggs novels and I enjoy them so much. It shocked me (don’t know why) when I read that you are reading it! I love your blogs and everybodys responses. They really inspire me. Thanks everyone!

    • Peggy Cooper says:

      Cathy, On Susan’s recommendation, and yours, I picked up this book at the library today. Look forward to reading it. I’m in Colorado also.

      • Cathy in Golden, CO says:

        Hope you are enjoying it! Try Standing in the Rainbow – It’s really good too. I see there are lots of CO fans of SB! Isn’t this just the BEST????? I’m totally HOOKED!!!!!

  47. Laura says:

    Hey, Sue! I laughed when I saw your “acorn on the head” comment. When I was a kid, we went to visit some relatives who lived on a farm. They had built a wonderful see-saw that also spun 360 degrees, so you could go up and down and around at the same time. As I was taking my turn, I could see an acorn dropping down from the trees and chuckled thinking my partner was going to get it right on top of the head. I wasn’t thinking about the fact that I was spinning right towards it. Guess who got boinked right on the melon? Thanks for taking us on this trip with you!

  48. Lin says:

    Oh, Susan, thanks for this post! I have been on both sides you describe, and it is so good to see that I’m in good company! Loved reading this today! We are also travelling, for about a month, by car, and though we’ve seen some beautiful places, I’m already looking forward to getting home and being creative again!

  49. Gert says:

    Oh Susan, I can certainly relate, as I would do this same thing when I was working on a mathematical problem…so not creative..but I would be so passionate about solving an issue I would do nothing..and I mean nothing just work on a solution! smile… (Oh, by the way I worked at


  50. Margie from Lavender Cottage says:

    Hey there…me again…forgot to add this thought. I own all Fannie Flagg’s books but I also own her audio books which are equally amazing. When I combine these with an intense knitting project I find that I completly mellow out and really enjoy the experience. She is amazing. I live for her next book! I truely enjoy her reading of the books. Of course being an actress makes all the difference. My favorite is “Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven”. I laugh hard even when I know what the next line is going to be. Try it some time. It will make your day bright – I promise. Good Night, Girls!!

    • Pat Mofjeld says:

      Margie, we listen to books on tape when we take a long car trip. I’ll request this one at the library for our next trip–thanks! What a good idea–I should listen to her while I’m knitting or warping my loom… 🙂

  51. Jeannie M from NC says:

    I am thinking of the picture that goes with the saying “Well behaved women seldom make history”, after reading your blog and all the wonderful comments, Love you all!

    Susan, you come up with such appropriate and amazing quotes!

    Say hello to Redbird town for me, I try to read it every Dec. along with a book I had as a child that I finally got throught a book search and alot of help from a local librarian who knew of the book, “Nancy and Plum” by Betsy MacDonald.


  52. Christine from Lafayette, CO says:

    Its no wonder that you are so talented… not only do you have a natural talent to create and engage all of us, your girlfriends, into your enchanting world, you are just beautiful! You have such a lovely smile… makes me want to hug you. Keep smiling on us Susan… we need you!

  53. Jennie says:

    I have to echo everyone else in saying ‘thank you’ for sharing with us all. Those creative slumps always remind me that I’m ‘trying too hard’- I seem to be at my best when I’m just having fun playing around! (Or, if what I’m doing needs to be done in another two hours- then all sorts of creative juices start flowing and no time! -why is that?)

  54. Bethany says:

    Hi Susan!
    Just enjoying my latest edition of Willard! (I love that sweet owl!) As I read, I was thinking of something that you might enjoy creating, and that would probably become well loved by the purchasers. I’m a preschool teacher, and have been searching for some creative alphabet lines and classroom charts, and looking at that owl made me think… oh I wish Susan made one! There are other artists who have become involved in classroom decor, and I have to tell you that they are well loved by the classroom teachers who reside in those classrooms daily. We live there more than the kids do, so having beautiful artwork around makes our lives a little happier. If you aren’t aware of the educator market, often new teachers purchase artwork for their classrooms at the start of the school year, and experienced teachers update and change things regularly! Thanks for making my days more cheery!

    • sbranch says:

      How do you go about obtaining the art? Is there a website that has it available that I could look at to see what there is? Good idea, would love to!

  55. Suzanne says:

    There is NOTHING as exhilarating
    for me as being in that writing “zone,”
    when five hours feels like 15 minutes : )
    It was such a delight to meet you at the
    Creative Connection autograph party.
    I mentioned it on my blog and so many
    left comments about how excited they
    were for ME…..which is what is so darn
    wonderful about this blogging/creative
    world: we are all happy to support one
    another as we light that fire! Thank you
    for continuing to feed the flames, Susan!
    xx Suzanne

    • sbranch says:

      That’s exactly what made TCCE so wonderful … the generosity of everyone there! Wonderful meeting you and Kathleen too!

  56. Mary Jo Vick says:

    Very well shared, Susan! I was there at TCCE getting my creative mojo flowing again. I can’t say that I’ve ever been days without a shower because I was immersed in my art… is it crazy to say that I aspire to do so?! My limitation to art immersion is easily defined in the abundance of alternative responsibilities. But as I move forward my goal is to reduce the noise and move toward my art. So, thank you, dear Lady, for your heart~giving~inspiration!

  57. What a blessing you are, Susan, and thank you for sharing all you do with us. You’ve been blessed with a wonderful talent and I, along with many others, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for sharing it with us!

    I was so blessed to have won the giveway sponsored by “The Creative Connection” website/blog back in June. Imagine my surprise when I received an email from Judy telling me I had won…I was so thrilled beyond belief that I had won your book…the pen was an added bonus. I will treasure them both!

  58. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Oh, I’m so glad I’m “normal” when I stay up all night to complete a sewing, knitting, cross-stitching, or crocheting project and then try to muddle through the day on such little sleep! And the days I ponder about new ideas, projects to begin, and never want to come down to earth as all my ideas are swirling in my mind of what I dream to create. The once-in-awhiles when my creativeness pours out and I’m creating in the middle of the day and put everything else aside to dive in and finish what I started to make now, not later. Thank you Susan for that beautiful quote. Thank you for your blog, the little part of my world where being me is normal, and where everyone else who creates understands! Have a happy day!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      So welcome, we are the normal ones!

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        That is the greatest gift you have given me, Susan, and I suspect so many of us: The feeling that we are the “normal ones”, the affirmation of creativity. The realization, seeing you and then also so many other women who write into your blog, that there are others out there with this creative gene/creative profile. Guess I knew that when I was in college years ago but for many many years felt isolated in my creativity. It really has encouraged me! 🙂

  59. Amy says:

    Hi Susan
    Last year I started making miniature pumpkin pie and turkey leg earrings for my friends. It has turned into a small business. When my daughter and husband come home in the evening from work and school, they look at me as if I’m a total lunatic with all my little unfinished turkey legs and pies spread out on the table. When I start working, I get on a roll, and I don’t stop to bathe, sometimes I forget to eat! (not very often) I’m sure I look like a maniac -in my p.j.’s, messy hair, and racoon eyes from my makeup the day before!! Glad to know I’m not alone! : (

  60. Lo' Vetta Bosworth says:

    Susan, Thank you for the current Willard. You always lift my spirit and spark my creative juices… You inspire me! Thank you for the Freebys you so generously shared.

    In the Spring you gave us some darling little TAGS that I’ve used all summer long on various gifts for friends and neighbors. I love them. Now, what have you done but make us the cute little tags for FALL. I’m excited… Creative juices flowing again. I appreciate them and “Thank You”.

    I have a suggestion. In the Spring Tags you had half of them with Too: and From: and the other half were without To: and From:. I used the plain ones to afix the tiny short recipe on when I gave a small container of Pico de Gallo to neighbors. It was so darling. Also, one of my neighbor loves, Susan Branch. I had made her an apron for her birthday and used some of your material, that I had bought in Arroyo Grande, to trim the bib and pocket. Your Spring Tags had that same drawing on them. She (my neighbor) just thought this was all so special…. You really make me look smart… I need all the help I can get anymore.

    Would it be possible for you to post some FALL TAGS that don’t have To: and From: on them? That would just be great and so helpful to some of us. Love your blog, love Willard, love your inspriation to me (I’m older and don’t get around like I use to), it’s nice that you come to me. How special! Thank you for all you do. I just love it….

    • sbranch says:

      Will try…I’m traveling now, and kind of discombooberated at this point… and I won’t be home until the 14th of October.

  61. Hi Susan,
    I have followed you for about 15 years and have so much enjoyed your books.
    They have brought me a lot of comfort over the years…in fact, I will get out my
    Heart of the Home now to enjoy this coming month. :o)
    Happy Autumn and thanks you so much !
    Fondly, Lori

  62. Kim says:

    Willard just saved my dinner plans!!! Not kidding. I was planning breakfast for dinner (bacon, eggs and pancakes) when I discovered that I am out of pancake mix. Okay, I can work around that. Toast then. The kids will just have to accept that there will be no pancakes…..and then Willard comes and I see that recipe with the Jiffy Corn Muffin mix…yep, got that. I even have fresh blueberries. Supper is saved. Thank you, Susan!!

  63. Love your blog; love WILLARD! And you will be at Remnants…fabulous. We hope to get up there next month. Would love to meet you; you are such an inspiration! Also wanted to ask what train line you travel on when going West to East, etc. We’ve thought of taking the train to the East coast next Fall when the leaves are turning. Can you recommend a train/route?

  64. Siobhan says:

    My heart bubbles over with joy. This is the first year I’ve heard of TCC, and boy, do I hope to attend. I just finished an online course taught by Kelly Rae Roberts called Flying Lessons, recommended by my bff naturally, that I met in Art class when we were 14! So, the world turns.

    Now, I see there are tons of online creativity courses, and suddenly, I feel like my train is on the tracks and I am slowly pulling out of the station. I’ve heard Mondo Beyondo is a wonderful ecourse to get the creativity jumping, and there are so many more. I highly recommend to all.

    And hugs to you darling Susan for being so much further down the track in every way shape and form, and lighting the way. <> you! Of course you belong at TCC. btw, did you meet Kelly?

    It sounds like so much fun…and another cool site I’ve just discovered is Brave Girls Club…I believe Melody was at TCC…she hosts an art camp three times a year for brave girls! So, my bff and I are on the waiting lists for 2012. I am so inspired, I could pop…er, burst into bonfirey flames!

    • sbranch says:

      Both Melody and Kelly were on the panel with me…they were so wonderful and huge reasons this was such a magical event. More bonfires!

  65. Marie says:

    A Redbird Christmas…do you not just LOVE Fannie Flagg! I’ve read almost everything she’s ever written. I think I still need to read Ruby Fruit Jungle, that’s hers right? ‘Standing in the Rainbow’ and ‘Daisy Fae and the Miracle Man’ are two of my favorite books of all time!
    Enjoy your train ride (I’m SO with you on the no-fly policy), I’m just a teensy bit jealous.

  66. Bee Stevens says:

    Thank you for the lovely bookmarks, stationary and tags….they are all so beautiful. I read your blog daily, love so many of the same things that you write about. I love your Willard’s – used to get them snail mail and now on the computer. Have a great trip – are you going through Glenwood Canyon on
    your trip (It’s in Colorado) I lived near for many years, now in WV.
    Thanks again.

  67. Carolyn Ann says:

    I just read Willard. Thank you for the adorable Owl bookmark. And I love, love, love Muriel’s Wedding. It’s one of my favorite movies. Happy that you are having such a great time!

  68. Sandra says:

    Thanks for being real, even when it’s gritty.

  69. I really love to hear about your creative process. It really helps to see that what I sometimes experience isn’t unique to me.

    Lately, I have no problem finding things to be creative about – that’s not always the case – but just now I can’t seem to stop thinking of ideas! My problem is figuring out how to translate what I write and paint and make into some sort of living. Getting that first book published… Having someone see my art and, maybe, wanting it for something. It seems like there must be some magical thing that I haven’t figured out, yet! But, that’s part of the fun, too. Who knows what can happen?!?!?

    Thanks again, I love the posts about how, when and where you create.


  70. Mischelle says:

    Just got my Willard this morning and LOVE IT! (as always) I’m also loving this blog! You have such a way ofmaking me feel like I’ve just had tea with a dear friend – you inspire me and make me smile, but even more… you make me dream!

    Thank You!

  71. Diane R. says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog! I’ve been with you from the very beginning — your very first cookbook, your first fabrics, you first Willard! I’m so excited to be able to tell you that. Thank you for the owl bookmark. My husband and I are traveling to Washington state tomorrow to stay with our 7-year-old granddaughter while my daughter and her husband take a week long anniversary trip. Her school mascot is an owl — she loves to read — and this will be the first of many little surprises I’m bringing with me. Thanks so much for sharing your creativity!

  72. KarenW says:

    FINALLY got my Willard. You are my domestic activity planner.Kinda like at the end of the day and you need a meal for the family. It is so nice to have something precooked then all you do is add the finishing touches.
    You give me fun ideas …kinda like a “jump start” and off I go spreading seasonal cheer all around my world.
    Please keep sharing all the goodness you find.

  73. Cathy in Golden, CO says:

    Just rcvd my very first Willard! I luv it! Yay!!!!!!!!

  74. Cathy in Golden, CO says:

    Come to Colorado!!!!! Sept is our sunniest month. Beautiful weather, beautiful mountains. Rocky Mtn Natl Park is gorgeous, Aspen turning gold, elk roaming – COME! You have lots of Colorado FANS!

  75. Tina in Ky says:

    Hi Susan, I just received my Willard… I loved it.. (as usual)
    I had never heard of Tea Time magazine.. Thank you so much for introducing it to me…. Can’t wait for my subscription to begin! 🙂

  76. Christine Anderson says:

    Redbird Christmas is one of my favorites. I suddenly needed redbirds everywhere! I love Fanny Flagg’s books! I love your blog, it is my afternoon treat. Thanks!

  77. LaurieS says:

    My favorite thing about fall (my favorite season in Maine!) is my early morning walk, seeing my breath in the cool, crisp, quiet morning, watching the falling leaves do a gentle dance with the breeze on their way to the ground, the rustling sound of the already fallen leaves as I walk through them, releasing their delicious fall scent at being stirred. Then after a long day at work, I get to go home, sit in front of the fire, and curl up with a quilt, a cup of hot chocolate, and a good book! Fall is the splendid blessing we receive for the hot, muggy summers!

  78. Mary Crawford says:

    I enjoy so very many aspects of autumn…the beautiful colors of the leaves, raking them when they fall, the smell of burning leaves in the air. I love hearing the high school marching band practice, and seeing the kids getting excited about their school football teams. I love to see all the lovely mums growing around the neighborhood, but mostly I love walks in the cool air with my wonderful husband and my loved ones.

  79. Kelly says:

    I love the cool crisp air of autumn. I love the leaves and pumpkins. Fall is my absolute favorite time of year! I love cooking big Sunday dinners for everyone. I love your Autumn cookbook (along with the rest) I look foward to your new books!

  80. Marsha says:

    While I do not like the days getting shorter, I don’t mind the cool, crisp, freshness of Autumn. The smells of autumn too are my favorite: Bonfires, leaves crunching underfoot, warm apple cider, pumpkin pie just to name a few. And let’s not forget the sound of the whistle and the cheers from the crowd at the local football games. All these things remind me of Autumn!

  81. florence rozler says:

    I love to think that God created all this for me to enjoy, and then to know I’m not alone it’s here for all of us to enjoy. Put all aside take it all in and say thank you .Colors, smells, tastes, make for a beautiful season. HAPPY FALL !!!

  82. Julie Mesdag says:

    I love heading to the high country in Colorado, to witness the aspen take over the mountainsides in a blaze of yellow glory! Fall is glorious in Colorado!

  83. Susan Gay says:

    The smells of autumn, the cider, the chocolate, the fires of burning leaves, anything cinnamon, the hot smells we couldn’t stand to be near in the summer, are welcoming now when the days are short and crisp, days we’ve waited for all summer. Yes indeed, as many have said, autumn is our reward for our sauna summer. I just wish it lasted as long as summer, the colors and the smells!

  84. Monika Petras says:

    Autumn….I’d have to say pumpkin spice lattes and a walk in the woods…doesn’t get any better than that!

  85. Traci Robinson says:

    My favorite thing about the fall season is the scents. I love the smell of the crisp air, i love the smell of all the amazing baked goods. I love the smell of all the soups and chowders that await you once you get home. I love the smell of a comforters after they are brought in from hanging on the line. I love the smell of the fire places and wood stoves that warm people houses…..Thank you Susan for making remember all the great things of fall… <3

  86. Maureen Benke says:

    What’s MY favorite thing about fall?

    I love fall because my birthday falls in it…….(I’ll be 50 this year)…… has started and football games are happening……..cozy sweaters………and yummy warm soups are shared with family & friends…………..the anticipation of Thanksgiving with all my family around my dining table and Christmas to follow……the cooler weather to arrive………..these are some of the reasons, I love fall!

  87. Nancy Sussan says:

    Fall has always been my favorite season although it’s never really fall in Los Angeles. I miss the fall back east. Seeing the foliage has always been a thrill for me but in truth what I love best about fall is the tick tock of it. The air is crisp and being out on the streets newly in a sweater or even a blazer feels comfy. Your step speeds up a little, there’s a briskness to your walk that matches the chill in the air. It crackles a little with the inhale and doesn’t quite billow clouds from your mouth at the exhale. It’s all possibility, the rush of your blood, the sense of being alive and moving forward in your body. Summer’s indolence is gone and winter’s shiver hasn’t arrived. You’re alive and you can power down a sidewalk and feel undefeatable. Everywhere around you are the trees, colors blazing with their last hurrah. There’s just nothing like breathing it all in.

  88. Lynn McMahon says:

    What I love about Fall is at the end of the day I get to crawl into my bed with fresh flannel sheets that have spent an Indian Summer day outside drying. They smell of the last hurrah of Summer and have the crispness of the first glorious days of Fall.
    I love the cool feel of them as I pull the sheet and comforter all the way up to my neck. I kiss my husband goodnight (the best part!) I fall asleep knowing that when I wake up those same cool sheets will be warm and toasty. How am I ever going to get out of bed?
    You know the anticipation of that first toe touching the cold bedroom floor. The only salvation is knowing that there is going to be a hot cup of tea and a warm English muffin with butter and honey on it waiting for me.
    Ah Fall!

  89. Helen Camplese says:

    Ah, there are so many things I love about my favorite, special season……many of which you have already mentioned ! There is one little thing amongst all the things I love about Fall …………going for walks and hearing the acorns dropping to the ground/road …… “ping-ping” as I’m walking along, crunching through the leaves, “inhaling Autumn”. I love “October evenings”, burning spiced pumpkin candles throughout the house and being all cozy. Humbert Wolfe’s poem: “Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves. We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!”

  90. Victoria says:

    Shuffling through the leaves with all the shades of crimson and gold against a deep gray sky. The cool crisp air on my cheeks and the scent of piles of smoky burning leaves in the street. There’s a certain quietness behind the rustle of leaves still lingering in the branches, twisting in the wind, and those that got away, dancing and frolicking, in such a hurry, end to end like little stars.

    Leaving the chill of the dark sky behind you crunch through the leaves, then up the steps to the hollow sound of the wooden porch. The golden glow of a cozy kitchen can be seen through window of the old white door. It opens with a creek and ummmm! you are encased in the warmth and smell of apples and cinnamon. You breath deeper just to make it part of you for a little longer.

  91. Sharie says:

    Love picking apples and then making a yummy apple crisp (recipe compliments of Susan Branch.) Just put a new wreath on the door and the plants are being trimmed in preparation of cooler weather and rain. I’ve got quilt blocks laying on the floor – decisions! decisions!

  92. Jackie Sampson says:

    My favorite time is Fall and favorite thing is pumpkins! I love them, the orange and white equally well. The little ones and the big ones. I fill my porch with them and they go so well with the chrysanthemums in pots around them.
    Thank you Susan Branch for being a favorite illustrator of mine from your very first pages in Good Housekeeping …..Your desk calendar is a favorite. Plenty of room to record my comings and goings. Willard is wonderful and now to have your blog coming through my computer every day is a delight! Thanks for sharing your life with me.

  93. Cindy Boelk says:

    I love Fall because-it’s Harvest Time in Wisconsin! My husband and his brothers bring in the crops- 1100 acres of corn, soybeans, lima beans and wheat. I cook, and cherish the memories of when my father in law was alive and running the combine. He loved my soups and breads! Fall is my favorite!

  94. Glenna Kidwell says:

    Autumn colors are rich and vibrant…. a time of harvesting our senses….fat squirrels, sweatshirts, apple picking, pumpkins for carving, scarecrows, savoring the last of the garden vegetables (vegetable soup and cornbread!), monarchs migrating (isn’t that an amazing thing), cider, bonfires, poison ivy becomes vibrant red and beautiful (what a gift)….I love this season!

    Susan – you have inspired me for so many years. Thank you for your art, your heartfelt words and friendship…. celebrating you. 🙂

  95. Penny Tuttle says:

    Fall is MEMORIES I hold so dear……October family drives through New England merely to see the glory of the season……..Blackwatch plaid skirts, fuzzy wool sweaters (with dickies) and brand new copper pennies for my new loafers………savoring the taste of fluffy stacks of pancakes after tapping maple syrup in Vermont with the Girl Scouts……..Thanksgiving family reunions watching football with my uncles and cousins (at least two TV’s)…… down drives in my MGB, the cool, brisk air stinging my cheeks, my scarf blowing in the wind……..the scent of wood fires gently cooking stews in cast iron pots……..wishing I had landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620.

    • sbranch says:

      Only thing about that, no heating and no little convenience stores for that “just getting off the boat” moment of special needs!!!

  96. Lori says:

    My favorite thing about fall is decorating my home. It’s a feeling I cherish each and every day. I love your blogs and “Willard”, Keep up the great work.

  97. Cheryl McNeely says:

    Fall is my absolute favorite season because…

    The garden chores are done, oh my aching back!

    We can get out the nice big soft oversized sweaters and enjoy the cool air out on the back porch and watch the sun go down earlier and earlier! I just love it when it gets dark at 6 p.m. Sooooo cozy with all that hot spicy herbal tea sipping!

    We live in the cutest little neighborhood in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Our house is situated in the middle of a circle with cute little houses all around. I walk my doggie 2-3 times a day on our little gravel road and love to see and smell the smoke curl up out of the chimneys and revel over the beautiful Carolina blue skys!

    Love your blog!

  98. Veronica says:

    Yesterday’s Harvest
    Leaves of yellow
    Red and brown
    are falling gently
    on the ground.
    Harvest in their colors low,
    a yesterday of long ago.
    Work was hard but people kind
    in deed and word and heart and mind.
    Baskets of brown
    of wire and of wood
    upon the celler floor
    they stood.
    A wide-eyed child
    I walked this celler;
    filled with pumpkins peaches
    apples yeller.
    Jars were placed upon the shelf
    with ‘harvest’ sealed in tight.
    They were in keeping
    a time to come,
    opened on a cold winters night.
    Of the days
    shorter darker long;
    Oh! the colors!
    Oh! the colors!
    these harvest leaves
    put on…..

  99. Veronica says:

    What an opportunity we have been given to share Gods graces and goodnesses and glories with each other. Thank you and God bless you for a life of contribution of beauty to a much needed world.
    Fall sure does open up the soul!
    Harvest blessing to one and all…Veronica

  100. christine messina says:

    Hi Susan love everything about fall. Its my favorite season when the leaves turn from green to those beautiful colors of yellow orange red and brown and watching them fall. Its amazing how they are all different shapes and sizes. The smell in the air is clean and crisp and I can wear my big bulky sweater that I’ve had for years and won’t throw away because its a part of me. Apple picking and baking apple pies is another favorite. Just the smell of them baking makes me happy. But my all time favorite is that my birthday is in the fall and every year my husband sends me Chrysanthumums my favorites can’t wait!!

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