Making Fairyland

The first thing you must do,” said the fairy, “is go back into the sitting room and find my magic wand.  I’m useless without it.” ♥   H. E. Todd

Of course, the first thing we need is little trees among the Beatrix Potter People.  

While we’re decorating, one of the most magical movies ever made, The Bishop’s Wife, is on TV, and THIS is just one tiny part of it . . . (If you haven’t seen it, you might want to watch this, then play it again and come back here — it’s the perfect background noise for this post as it was for tree decorating!)

One of the nicest discoveries I made when I moved to New England was the concept of the attic.  No attics in the houses I grew up in, but here, every old house has one . . . that’s where all our decorations are kept, box loads that Joe brings down the narrow attic stairs, where kitty promptly builds a home.

Lately, Jack is running around with this red pom pom in his mouth, making him my very favorite decoration!  And PS, basically, he is not attacking the tree! Every so often he will smack at a low hanging ornament, but so far, that’s really all!!!  Fingers crossed.

Out of the boxes come our stockings, hung with care . . . and every day we open another little door on the Advent Calendar sent to us by our girlfriend Siobhan in England.

This old stocking is from Joe’s childhood; it belonged to the pets in their household.  It’s hard to read, but all those crossed out places are pet names; up close you can see them:  Inky, Trisket, Puddikins, Nosey, Georgia, and Susie.  Probably our most valuable Christmas decoration; definitely the most loved, should be insured by Lloyds of London!

We have Old St. Nicolas, in his everyday hat, looking a lot like Heidi’s Grandfather.

Not only did we choose this house because it had a good place for the Christmas tree, but, you may have noticed, I secretly decorate for Christmas year round.  From the wallpaper, to wall paint, to choosing the slipcover fabric … whenever I put something in my house, I say, “Yes, but how will it look at Christmas time?”

My summer hurricane lamp is appleified and turned into Christmas candlelight.

And speaking of apples . . . my absolute favorite dessert this time of year has a festive wreath of fresh cranberries and crunchy top — the recipe’s in my Autumn Book; I know many of you have made it, but I can’t rest in life until everyone has!   So here we go, this recipe serves six (it’s easy to cut it down and make it for two or even for one, especially for one).  The smells of apples and cinnamon fill your house (an invisible but very wonderful Christmas decoration), when you open your oven to pull out this bowl of Christmas cheer, you fall in love with yourself; in love with the whole world.

Cranberry Apple Crisp

  • 4 lg. green apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/2″
  • 1 c. fresh cranberries
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. old fashioned Quaker oats
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/3 c. softened butter

Preheat the oven to 375°.  Butter a baking dish, approx 9 x 9.  Place apple slices and 3/4 of the cranberries in the dish.  Mix remaining ingredients well (use fingers to get butter into other ingredients) and sprinkle over the apples.  Use the rest of the cranberries to decorate the top.  Bake 30 minutes.  Serve hot with ice cream, or cold with whipped cream.   xoxo

While it bakes, I rearrange the shelf on my stove, which is now fully decked with this tiny creche to go with the miniature house and little tree.

And hang a Christmas hand towel in the guest bathroom.

And then it’s time to decorate the tree!

. . . Light the fire, and Joe starts bringing down decorations. We decided to use both colored lights and white twinkle lights this year. I threw blankets over the furniture to kind of protect it from the boxes of decorations, which always end up lining the back of the sofa.

The chief only thing always on Jack’s mind is PLAY. When do we play next; let’s play now; how about now; could we please play now; what do you mean you have to work; I need to play NOW.  If I tell him to go play by himself, he knocks all my papers off my desk. I’m getting nothing done.  Except bonding with this little cat. ♥  But look, wouldn’t you?  He’s so excited when he sees me coming to play, it’s all worth it!

And now, there it is, our tree, all dressed up, waiting for a snow storm, waiting for Dean to sing Marshmallow World, waiting for Santa.

It’s covered with all our favorite old ornaments; this little paper angel with her gold curls, the delicate glass icicles and gold bead garlands, the rocking horse I bought across from the old Mission in San Luis Obispo in the 1970’s, the red glass hearts tied with ribbon, the pink glitter moon, and white pine cones that fit over the twinkle lights and send off the most wonderful glow.  On top of the tree, like every year, is our golden angel.

All our memories of Christmas gone by come tumbling out of these boxes.

And then of course, as always, I go outside to see the tree through the windows, but the moon, looking down over this small island, says, LOOK AT ME, I’m the MOST beautiful …

 The little peek through the curtains makes me think, “who must be the cozy people who live inside this house?”

Back in to put another log on the fire, which is simply another opportunity to PLAY.

I think we’ll be getting used to this; the weatherman says today is our last day of 55 degrees, he said to “get ready,” because all that cold everyone is feeling in the Midwest, is coming our way!  We are ready!  We’ve brought in wood, the bird feeders are filled to the brim, we have acorn squash, potatoes, onions and good chicken stock; there are clean sheets and heavy down comforters on all the beds; we have family coming this weekend including four and seven-year-old nieces who should be cozy in the Peter Rabbit room, and their darling parents; there’s cookie dough chilling in the fridge, ready to be rolled out and cut into shapes.  I can’t wait until the girls see Jack!

♥          ♥           ♥

I already know you girls are doing pretty much the same thing, making magic in your own houses. Have a wonderful day! xoxo

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378 Responses to Making Fairyland

  1. Cindy Garner says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever watched “The Bishops Wife” I will have to check it out….. We watch “White Christmas” every year….I love Bing!!!

    Your tree reminds me of the Christmas Tree that Chip and Dale were in, in a Mickey Mouse Christmas special….they were hiding inside the tree….it was a wonderland of sparkle and colour….

    be blessed,

    p.s. I love the pic of Jack with the “Rudolph nose”♥

    • sbranch says:

      Nothing makes me happier than thinking about someone seeing this movie for the first time!! Enjoy Cindy!

      • Karen P says:

        I agree, Susan. I’m always telling people about it. And then they came out with a remake version which is okay but nothing like the Cary Grant/Loretta Young/David Niven one. Cindy, you should let us know how you like it!

  2. Susan Simon says:

    I checked earlier this morning, and no new post, but as I walked by the computer, decided to check again and Voila! Thank you for a wonderful reason to pour another cup of coffee and enjoy a morning visit to your festive, wonderful home.

    Have a lot to do today… don’t we all? But I wanted to be sure and say good morning… our weather has been unseasonably warm, too, but we have a smattering of snow/ice on the deck, so it looks a little bit Christmasy out there.
    Our Christmas tree is also a memory maker… ornaments from the last 35 years are so special… especially the ones our children made when they were small… we even have some from when I was a girl, too.

    So glad Jack is behaving himself… is Girl Kitty thawing out any more? I would guess she will take her time… but hopefully they will be great friends soon.
    Have a grand time with your family this weekend… the girls will love Jack…and he will love their attention.

    Have a wonderful day, too, Susan, and everyone else!

  3. Patricia from Philly says:

    Happy St. Nicolas’s feastday, Susan! Loved th picture, and today is my husband’s 64th birthday! We always put treats in shoes today, in honor of St. Nick! And, I sent him the Youtube video of the Beatles “When I’m 64” – I got the idea of Beatles on YouTube from you! Thank you!
    And, we added colored lights to our tree for the first time this year – they look so vibrant on our elegant tree.
    Please never stop your wonderful postings; such a terrific way to start each girlfriend’s day!
    p.s. Little Jack is cuteness personified. (Girl Kitty, too!)

  4. Lin says:

    Wonderful post AGAIN, Susan! I love seeing the pictures of your tree and house. This is the most magical time of year! Here’s a blog post from last year showing our tree.
    It isn’t real anymore (when our boys left home) my husband and I couldn’t man-handle a big live tree anymore, so this one has to do). All we need now is some snow!
    Merry Christmas, Susan!

  5. Sandy Thornton says:

    I love, “The Bishop’s Wife”!!! I have it on VHS and had already chosen to watch it today while I wrap Christmas presents!!! And oh how I love your Christmas tree!!! I love that you use colored lights, too! I was telling my younger daughter, the other day, that I miss seeing people decorate with colored lights. It seems everyone uses white lights for all their decorating inside and out. When I was a child we used to get in our car and drive all around looking at all the beautiful Christmas lights and they were so colorful and breathtaking! One house, in particular, always did their entire house and yard in blue lights!!! It was just magical looking! Their is something so old fashioned and Christmas-y about colored lights. We have always used them and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
    Thank you for sharing your cranberry/apple crisp recipe. I definitely want to make it very soon! It looks delicious!!! Happy decorating!!! (I realize I used a lot of exclamations in this paragraph but Christmas brings out the exclamat-ing in me!!! 🙂

  6. Linda H says:

    Thanks for this morning blog entry, to inspire me to finish my decorating! The photo of your decorated tree would make a beautiful Christmas card, but, of course, you and Joe and the kitties would have to be standing in front of it! Have a wonderful day!

  7. Your posts always make me smile but this one was extra special. 🙂

    The Bishop’s Wife was on TV when my future daughter-in-law stayed here over the weekend (she drove into town to attend a concert at the University with my son).

    She’s a huge fan of old movies and… would you believe it… she has never seen The Bishop’s Wife? I’m a fan of Christmas movies of all kinds (even and especially the “corny sappy films” but The Bishop’s Wife is there in the top of the list along with White Christmas. Loretta Young and Cary Grant and David Niven… can it get any better?

  8. Liz Phillips says:

    OMGosh! I grew up with the same picture of “old St. Nicholas” in my grandmother’s dining room and then my mother’s, but we also had a matching picture of Mrs. Nicholas, too, by the same artist. It was a set! My grandmother called him ‘the old fisherman’. Memories are funny things…I haven’t thought about those pictures in YEARS.

    Thanks for the memories….and now my mind has moved on to Bob Hope…miss him too! Especially at Christmas! I really miss the old Christmas variety shows…Bob Hope, Bing Cosby, and on and on…

  9. Priscilla says:

    THE best post ever, ever, ever!!! Thank you for sharing, felt like we were trimming the tree with you! Love that kitty, your ornaments and your lovely home. And then to have the skating scene from “The Bishop’s Wife” also! Such bliss … it is heaven and as the angel says “you’ve found the perfect word!”
    I watched it on TV Sunday morning and taped it to watch again late on Christmas Eve, even though I own a DVD of it. I made my 8 year old watch it with me while playing monopoly with her. Love you Susan. Have a Merry Christmas!

    P.S. Making your Steamed Christmas Pudding on Friday morn for my bookclub. I chose “A Christmas Carol” for our read.

  10. Ellen Beeton says:

    Your tree is so beautiful, as I knew it would be. Since we are not having a tree this year (because of travel) I’m getting so much enjoyment of everyone’s tree here in blog land. The Bishop’s Wife is one of my very favorite Christmas movies. I haven’t seen it yet this year, but I’m watching out for it. I think I’m in love with little Jack! Precious kitty!

  11. Nnacy Jo says:

    Hi Susan,
    Nice post as always. Jack was a very good investment. Received my SB CALENDAR AND BOOKMARKS AND KITCHEN TIMER YESTERDAY,”RED”. Already used it.
    Have fun with your family, we can hope for snow man building material. We folks here in the north are all waiting.
    Nancy Jo

  12. zinnia patch says:

    Good Morning Susan…. I had to wait until the spoiled kitty got off my lap to comment. Couldn’t touch that keyboard until she said…..ha
    But love the post and yes i love that movie…. my joe and i even had to watch it in November… i just couldn’t wait…everything looks so pretty, but it’s that peek you do in the window that’s my favorite with the beautiful moon! thank you for sharing that with us. I can’t wait to try that recipe….it sounds delicious. my mouth watered just reading it…… well, glad to hear that Jack is being a good boy with the tree. so far our tree is still standing with our two…… well, i better get busy with my day….. and you enjoy yours……

  13. I’ve seen The Bishop’s Wife but don’t own that movie on DVD but I have a few others including White Christmas and the newer version of A Christmas Carol. I can’t remember some of the other titles at the moment. Regarding mixing the color and clear lights on the tree, what a clever thought. Hadn’t considered that but maybe I will. I do have a small string of colored lights inside a wine bottle on my kitchen counter top that I plug in at night and it brightens the area so nicely. No decorations have yet made it into the house, but I have hopes! Keeping too busy at the sewing machine to decorate, but soon… And speaking (well, reading actually, in previous comments) of 64th birthdays…Ahem…I just turned 64 on the 3rd, and I was hearing that song in my head that day. I just can’t figure out where all those years have gone……………………… Wishing you a marvelous day, Susan. Thanks for sharing the wonderful pix!

  14. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Good Morning Elf~Sue!…I’m Sipping some Apple~Cider Savoring Every Wonderful Word of Your Blog! Ahhhhhh…I Had to Read it Twice so far…Oh How I Adore Your Christmas Tree Sweet Sue…Christmas Perfection! I Love Your Golden Angel & Your Pink Glitter Moon & all Your Ornaments! I Put the Skating Scene On & I read each Word…Pure Magic As Always!…Joe’s Childhood Stocking…(for His Pets) Priceless…& Jack & His Red Pom~Pom…a “Living~Decoration” PLAY! YAY! 🙂 I Love Benjamin Bunny in his Hat…& Your Stoveskape…We Have a Viranda upstairs connected to Our Bedroom…& Yesterday I Strung Multi~Colored Icicle Lights On The Lattice Work Fence & In Our Room are Two Sliding Glass Doors on either side so We slept with them open to Gaze at these very Magical Christmas Lights & We Even Watched “A Charlie Brown Christmas” all Snug & Cozy…Herbster & I actually Had The Sweetest Dreams….I Love Christmas!….& I’ve Made Your Cranberry Apple Crisp a few times it Truly is Scrumptious!…& as for Heidi…it’s Because of Her & Her Snow~Globe…I Collect them too(Snow~Globes)…Pure Christmas/Winter Magic! When That Mean Governess Breaks Heidi’s Snow~Globe & She Cries…”Grandfather Grandfather” I weep Every Time! Thank You Sweetest Elf~Sue for a Wonderful way to begin this Day! I Love how You combined The Colored Lights with White Lights Makes Your Christmas Tree Glow even More Enchanted! Have The Most Fun Filled Holiday Weekend with Your Little Darling Nieces…send Them Taylor’s & My Love! My Candy~Cane Cookies turned Out Beyond Yummy!…& Now I Must…”The first thing you must do,” said the Fairy, “is go back into the sitting room and find My Magic Wand. I’m useless without it” ♥ H.E. Todd…Thank You H.E. Todd & Thank~You Elf~Sue! Wishing You a Glorious Day….waiting for Your Snow…Dean & his Marshmallow World & of Course…Santa! Ho-Ho-Ho! xoxo~Elf~Angie(Tink!) Poof!♥♫

    • sbranch says:

      I shouldn’t be laughing, but when you say “grandfather grandfather” I know just what you mean!

    • Karen P says:

      So funny, Angie! That scene impacted me as a child, too, and I ALWAYS wanted a snowglobe just like that…with the Grandfather’s cottage and the snowy scene with the big pine trees. Finally, when I was an adult we happened upon one randomly while on vacation…it was perfect….then one year my husband accidentally dropped it and it broke. I have the scenery pieces but have never again found one like it! So sad! “Grandfather…Grandfather!!! in her sweet little pouty voice. Love it!!!!

  15. Christine from Lafayette, CO says:

    By far one of the most favorite post EVER!!! So much Christmas, colors, treasures, memories, ideas and JACK the Christmas CAT!! He tickles my funny bone! Wishing you a merry, merry visit with your precious nieces and family. xoxox And! Thanks for including the Cranberry Apple Crisp – going to give it a try this weekend!! More xoxoxo!

  16. debbie says:

    Hi Susan!
    Magic is the perfect word to describe this post!! The beautiful tree, the cute kitty, the stockings hung by the chimney with care and The Bishop’s Wife!! Have a wonderful weekend with your nieces…they will bring even more magic to the festivities!!! ♥

  17. Trish K says:

    Brrrr….its sure cold and wet here in Missouri. Your house looks cozy, and makes me feel warm and fuzzy too. The pictures of Jack brings me tears of joy! He is so lucky that you rescued him! My dog Zoe is almost 2 years old, and constantly her big brown eyes seem to be begging….can we go for a walk? Can we play? Can you chase me around the house? And, I’m thinking we just played/walked/ran around the house two minutes ago. Sometimes she will patiently lay with a toy and watch me make dinner or fold laundry, but it seems its never enough for her. Our older dog hides under a blanket because he gets worn out too! Thank you for the lovely pictures and joy in your blog, I haven’t been feeling well lately, but you always make me smile. I think you have a special appreciation for the little things in life.

  18. Hi Susan, Somehow I lost the first comment I wrote to you. Thanks for all of this inspiration…you really are creating a Fairyland! I especially like the look of the tree from outside the picture window. Thanks also for making me smile this morning…Jack is adorable! Hope your day is wonderful, I am off to try to work some magic around our house now!!

  19. EsSuzy says:

    Good morning Susan, your tree looks beautiful! I love how it is reflected in the mirror. Jack is so precious.
    I have never watched The Bishop’s Wife either, but I saw your recommendation a while back and set it in my DVR & (miracles!) when I got home Sunday night it had been recorded, so I’ll be watching it soon!!
    XO Susan L

  20. Veronica says:

    The tuxedo kitty looks so spirited, funny!

  21. dottie says:

    Wanting to use the last of our Oak Glen apple orchard apples in the best way, I pulled out your apple crisp recipes and had the apple cranberry one on the counter but changed my mind as I so very much wanted to try your cranberry sauce in the oven from the Willard with my cranberries. So cranberry sauce it was and your apple crisp from the other recipe (which truly is our favorite). Now for the confession — I simply decided to try a spoonful of that wonderfully easy and delicious cranberry sauce WITH the apple crisp. And a very yummy combo it was!

    Beautiful Christmas tree and decorating — so full of memories — that’s what it’s about, gathering good memories. The silver glitter snowman from the local five and dime (remember those days?) when I was a child, the nearly colorless once shining gold glass purse which has a sister story attached (she broke the first one of them I carried home and went and bought a replacement — we were barely teenagers at the time) My tiny pink ballet slippers from my first ever attendance at a live performance of The Nutcracker is my latest special memory which dresses the tree (though I must admit they hang on one of the pegs below the mirror in the guest room the remainder of the year because I just love looking at them).

    Jack and his pompom — and a stack of wood to explore — what fun he is!

    Merry Christmas to all!

  22. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~Good Morning~
    Don’t you just love the feeling(s) you get as you bring out all your holiday memories!
    I love Joe’s pet stocking. I can see why it is most treasured! We have ornaments for all the pets we have had over the years.’s.
    After the decorating is done, cookies are baking, candles and the tree are lit you can sit amongst all your loved ones and realize how truly blest you are this day and everyday!

  23. Karen P says:

    The Bishop’s Wife IS indeed the most magical Christmas movie! I love it…the skating scene is one of my favorites because when we were kids we had a skating pond and skated almost every day. I love the scene, too, where Dudley decorates the Christmas tree….or when he makes his visit to the Professor and somehow, magically, his drinking glass keeps filling up with warm Christmas cheer….or the scene in the church with the boys choir. Wonderful holiday tradition! Thanks for posting the movie clip link. Also, love your beautiful tree….your living room DOES indeed look cozy. Jack, with his little red pompom is precious! Ha! Love it!!!! Do you find yourself restocking the supply, though? Somehow those pompoms disappear and you’ll find them years later under a heavy cabinet or something!

    • sbranch says:

      The boys choir always makes me cry!

      He loses his toys to the point where I think he is eating them. But the pom pom is still in view. So far.

  24. Oh Susan, don’t you just love opening each and every box of ornaments and feeling the memories floating out? We have 40 years of memories and I have one from my childhood, my Husband has a slew of them encluding old old bubble lights! We don’t use those, but we have found more over the years, enough to fill 2 trees! I love the way they look on the tree, so colorful and bubbly like candles of yore! It’s such a magical and special time of year, all full of memories and hope! Oh, and smells! Mmmm! Got to go make some more cookies! Glad Jack’s having such a fun time, and growing like a weed! Enjoy!
    xoxoxo! Merry CHRISTmas! Bless you!

  25. Lori says:

    “The main trouble is there are too many people who don’t know where they’re going and they want to get there too fast!” That quote is from the Bishop’s Wife, a wonderful movie. Hope everyone takes time to watch it and stop and smell the proverbial roses or cranberry apple crisp baking. Your tree is beautiful Susan!Thank you for always making my day brighter.

  26. Carmel says:

    As always, thank you for bringing such light and warmth into my day. Believe me, you have no idea how much I needed this today. Stay well and enjoy your family visit (I’m sure they will!).

  27. Kerry S. says:

    Oh Susan – your tree looks just like the one you’ve drawn for stickers and other illustrations!! What fun!
    Love watching Jack. He looks like our Little Bit (she doesn’t have his dashing mustache)! Our female calico feels about her like Girl Kitty feels about Jack!
    Slowly decorating the tree this year meanwhile the cats love laying on the tree skirt. Must be like kitty camp out!!

    • sbranch says:

      I think you’re right! Perhaps the warm lights, or maybe they are jealous that the tree is getting too much attention! 🙂

  28. I’m fairly new to your lovely blog. I adore Jack and I adore that red and white patterned pillow! I’m a sucker for red and white. Being as I just got divorced a few months ago and moved to the state where my adult daughters live, I got to take my dogs, but had to leave my beloved cats behind. Your Jack has the most inquisitive eyes! Reminds me of my 13 year old Clyde. I miss him so!

  29. Gert says:

    Oh Susan what an amazing blog……love your little Jack! What a fun time you all have to be having with that baby! smile…. Your tree is so beautiful…I could just sit on your couch in front of the fireplace and gaze at your tree for hours…. I do have the movie The Bishops Wife and can’t wait to watch it! I just know it will be amazing too! smile…

    Thought I should share with you…we got our first *snow* Saturday! Today…it was 9 below when we woke up! Brrrrr Fireplace is blazing! And it feels oh so good!

    Bless you dear friend…am sure you can’t wait for your company!


  30. Karen P says:

    Do you collect Daher tinware, too? I noticed the lovely black serving tray on your coffee table…I’m assuming it’s Daher, made in England? Maybe not but it seems like they have a distinctive “look” to their tin. I find them quite a bit when I’m out at antique or thrift stores and I have quite a few pieces and love to use them for displays and serving! (Been meaning to try that recipe, too….have cranberries in the freezer waiting to be put to use!)

    • sbranch says:

      I’m not sure, because it has nothing written on the bottom. I just love it though — found two and put the other one up in our web store. Hand painted tole. Does Daher tinware have marks on them?

      • Karen P says:

        Oh, I’m sure the Daher trays don’t compare to your hand-painted one. I think the Daher tinware is pretty common since I’m able to find so many pieces. I just love the look it the designs…they are so pretty. There is a marking on each Daher piece (or most, anyway). It has a fancy royal crest looking logo with a D inthe middle…says Daher Decorated Ware. Made in England. Ever since my trip to England a year ago in the fall, I am attracted to anything made there! Some tin trays/canisters I’ve gotten just say “Made in England” so I’m not sure if that’s from Daher or not.

  31. Suzanne says:

    Good morning Sue….your house looks so lovely, warm and cozy all decorated in its Christmas finest! I can almost smell the cranberry apple crisp, I mean what can be better than that, except for a hot cup of tea to go along with it. Little Jack looks like he is having the time of his life, he doesn’t realize it but he is one lucky little guy to have been adopted by you and Joe. I think you should have named him Jacques with his little black french looking mustache! So cute! Have you seen the movie The Shop Around the Corner? It’s an old Christmas movie with Jimmy Stewart, I think the movie You’ve Got Mail was based on it. I just love the old movies and even the old music with the crooners, Bing, Perry and Andy. I hope you have a wonderful day!

  32. jacqui G says:

    Oh my goodness, this blog is just so WONDERFUL- I can’t stand it!!! And the cookies…ahhhhhh!!! (going back to read it again because I devoured it and want to make sure I didn’t miss any detail…)
    You are my hero Susan Branch xoxoxo Jacqui

  33. Country Gal says:

    Your tree looks lovely as does all your christmas decorations, I just love your cozy home ! Wonderful photos ! Cranberry Apple Crisp MMMM YUMMY ! Thanks for sharing! Have a wonderful day !

  34. Linda Pintarell says:

    Short comment: Everything looks absolutely beautiful and Jack looks so content in his new home!

  35. Pat Mofjeld says:

    Sunny blue cloudless skies here in Minnesota this morning but it is COLD! We’ll send it along to you to share (that is what I always tell Sandy-in-Boston). We got 3-4″ of snow Saturday night into Sunday and it is a winter wonderland here. Really does put one in a Christmas mood! (that and the carols on the record player)! 🙂 Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos and Christmas inspiration, and also the photo and recipe for the apple cranberry crisp. I needed a dessert idea for Thurs. evening when a girlfriend is coming to join us for supper and an evening of knitting so think I’ll make that!

  36. Regina Brown says:

    I LOVE your blog!!! Ive always wanted a girlfriend like you! You would understand my collections! Lol I have a question about your picture of old Saint Nick. I have that picture and the woman with it. It hangs in my bedroom all year. I got it at an auction. I fell in love with them the minute I saw them. I had to have them ( so did my brother-in-law). But he let me bid on them. Bless his heart! Do you know anything about them? I never thought they could be Old Saint Nick! Maybe thats why I love them soo much!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve seen them around, it was sort of an odd thing. They look antique, but then, I think there’ve been too many for that, yet everyone seems to have gotten them in antique stores or at auctions. Not sure the origin. I just decided this was Santa around January 15th. 🙂

  37. Sandra Gillanders says:

    How cute Jack is, the pictures are charming. I would want to play with him all the time. It’s so much fun to watch him discover things they have never seen and I’m very happy that he hasn’t decided to scale your tree and sit on top waiting to be rescued.
    Your house looks wonderful, beautiful and full of charm. Thank you for sharing the little things that make life so full. Give Girl Kitty and Jack a little pat from me, they are both precious.
    Sandy xoxo

  38. Why is it that any time I read any of your posts, I get irrepressably teary-eyed!

    Your house looks so breathtakingly gorgeous! And the fact that it’s in heavenly Martha’s Vineyard makes it even more so.

    I can relate to you so much on looking at all of your every day decor, furnishings, and wallpapers/paints, and asking myself, “Will this go with my Christmas decor?” Although, I also throw in, “Will this go well with my Halloween decor?!”
    And looking at your tree from outside to soak in the level of coziness is a tradition I do every year! In addition to that, my “OCD” usually tends to kick in where I run back and forth to my tree and my front yard a hundred times to center the tree in the middle of the window just right.

    I know I’ve told you this countless times, but boy, do I love your blog, your home, your books, YOU, and everything you do! You truly inspire me each and every day ♥

    • sbranch says:

      Love it Erin! Thank you so much! And I can just picture the back and forth between tree and window!! 🙂

  39. Glenda says:

    Well Missy, you have done it again! You have swirled the magic wand and it is
    beautiful and so cozy! Just perfect and so inviting. Your little nieces (and the grown up company too) will just love being there all comfy and having fun with Jack and Girl Kitty ( ok, and you and Joe too 🙂 ). You can just “feel” the love! Have a nice visit!

  40. jan shafer says:

    Thank you for the morning coffee post. “The Bishop’s Wife” has been a favorite of mine for years. Can’t wait to try the Cranberry Apple Crisp recipe!
    Sending “hubby” out for ingredients NOW! Have a blessed day, Susan.

  41. Debbie N. says:

    I started decorating yesterday. Since I live in a small townhouse my decorating is on a small scale, but I love doing it. We aren’t allowed to have a live or cut tree by the management, but my artificial pencil tree looks charming once decorated with all the ornaments I’ve collected over the years. The ones made by family and friends are my favorites. It brings back memories of Christmases of long ago. Have a wonderful day Susan. Enjoy your family. Jack will love the little girls.

  42. {oc cottage} says:

    your tree does look awesome ! wow! we have been
    anticipating this Christmas…since last Christmas,
    when our niece was a bit too young to grasp it all.
    but this year she is 2 and we were so excited to
    see her face when she saw the fairy arch…the
    teddy bears on the red, white & blue tree…the
    Santa that dances! and she did love them all…
    but she noticed so many things that we NEVER
    do! she almost came unglued when the lights on
    the fairy arch, which are on a timer, popped on…
    when she saw the sparkly gingerbread house on
    one pillow and the bells on another…and she just
    loved the Christmas cupcakes in the kitchen floor
    mat! there was a little confusion though as to
    whether the “baby” was baby Jesus or Riley,
    her brother! ; }talk but seeing things through new
    eyes! I can’t wait for Christmas morning!

    m ^..^

  43. Nina says:

    O Susan I just love this blog! And these last couple of posts are the very best! Your tree is beautiful and so is Jack! We decorated our tree this last weekend with Christmas songs playing in the background, I just love everything about Christmas and I have treated myself to your calender and I was very lucky to win a brand new pair of your jammies still in the box on ebay! These were blue I already have the pink ones. They are like gold dust so I consider myself a very lucky girl indeed!! Thankyou very much for making our Christmas even more Christmassy! xxxx

    • sbranch says:

      SO hard to find, I can’t believe you did! Glad it was you Nina!

      • Nina says:

        Thank you Susan they came today! They are the blue rise & shine ones I love them! I can’t wait till bed time now i am going to be sooo cosy! xxxx

  44. Thimbleanna says:

    What a lovely post Susan! Don’t you just love Christmas? Never mind that question — I can tell that you do! Jack is the perfect accessory this year. Everything looks BEAUTIFUL!!!

  45. judy says:

    Hi Sue,

    I have the same St. Nicolas picture! Kindred Spirits! I almost finished landscaping every flat surface last night. Missing you…. xoxo

  46. Kim says:

    Oh, that cute lil’ ol’ Jack! He just does a heart good, looking into his darling face! Seeing your cozy, cheery home does a heart good, too! Thank you so much for opening your doors and heart to us all. YOU are such a gift, Susan! Like you and so many of us here, I “keep Christmas in my heart all year”, making decorating decisions year ’round based on the magical season and my love of RED. Oh yes, The Bishop’s Wife is a most beloved film … My mom could’ve been a twin to Loretta Young, so I love revisiting her beautiful face and the nostalgic story, too. Now, to change topics for a moment … One of our tree light strands went ka-put (right after we’d checked them all and strung them on the tree, wouldn’t you know!), and my husband decided to try an LED replacement strand (colored, of course!). I was afraid they’d not be the same sweet twinkly lights as our old ones, and sure enough, they’re a notch or two brighter. As my daughter said, “They’d be fine on a little one’s tree,” because they’re almost cartoon-ish in their vibrancy. I sure hope those who are in the lighting world will continue to sort out the LED’s and get ’em to glowing a little more kindly! (Okay, that’s my soapbox for today …) Cheers to one and all!

    • sbranch says:

      I am so with you. I would hate to only have LED’s – that would mean that we were truly living in some futuristic twightlight zone.

  47. Susie says:

    Today this post brought tears to my eyes…such a beautiful thing you do for all us girlfriends sharing you life, home and love with us…with the picture of “old” boxes sitting on the chairs I see a lot of old memories just waitng to be opened and enjoyed…Thanks for sharing….Susie

  48. Rachel Lucas says:

    Parallel lives…body is here, but part of my heart is there still, playing with Jack & the peacock feather. All so beautiful…we always mix coloured & white lights too (I just feel that all-white is too sterile & stylish for any home of mine!) My advent calendar had a little reindeer behind the door today! And another tradition that Paul & I share is that he reads me a chapter or two of ‘A Christmas Carol’ before we go to sleep from December 1st…it ends on Christmas Eve. Scrooge throws open his window and sends the young boy to buy a huge turkey for the Cratchits…and we can begin to celebrate too! Love you darling….x

    • sbranch says:

      You should see the peacock feather! Hardly recognizable, torn to smithereens! Want Paul to read to us too! xoxo Love you Rachel.

  49. Karen W says:

    I agree Jack is your best Ornament.
    I was watching The Bishop’s Wife this weekend also and loving it all over again. If you have a chance to take a look at the Facebook page you can see my Rosie cat sitting pretty and showing off her Heart. Your tree is beautiful and your stories of past Christmases are wonderful. Thanks for sharing have a fun day.

    • sbranch says:

      I did see her Karen! You have a cat with a HEART on it…that’s so great!!! Thank you for posting it on FOSB!

      • Karen W says:

        At my House we say “That Rosie is sooooSB”. Whenever we are on the SB track…like the bathroom no one ever wants to leave cause they don’t want to miss a picture. My bathroom is called the Head lots of pictures ofpeople in our lives just pictures of their smiling faces or a tree with birds mine also has nests or the pots over the sink. Sometimes it is really spooky/scary when you blog about something I have just done or Like…like glass jars and small vases.Gives me a chill. But the best is when you share something or someone like Gladys Taber and maple cream cookies. Enjoy my kitty’s heart.

  50. June says:

    Your house looks and feels so Christmasy! Jack definitely adds to the decor and the mood and he is adorable with his little red pom-pom! I am happy to hear that he is not attacking the tree but he does seem to have a lot to keep him occupied for now. I can just hear him thinking “What is all this stuff? Look at all these new toys! All for meeee?!!”

    We spent the last weekend decorating our tree. We let our kids choose a few ornaments each Christmas and over the years, the plain ornaments were slowly replaced by chosen ones. Now our tree is a walk down memory lane. We have cabbage patch kids, batman, Y2K (remember that?), cats, Snoopy, a pine cone decorated by my son when he was in kindergarten 30 years ago, raccoons, koalas, ornaments representing schools, homemade ornaments from friends, as well as the traditional Santas, elves, bells and angels. I labeled many of them with the year, and where we were living at the time. Every Christmas when everyone comes over, we look at the ornaments and remember Christmases past. They all bring back memories, most happy, a few sad, but all bits of our lives over the past 40 years.

    Thank you Susan, for sharing your home and your life with us. Have a blessed holiday season!

  51. pat addison says:

    good morning Susan, good morning everyone..Happy St. Nicholas’ Day!!! i love the bishop’s wife, one of my favorite classic holiday movies, along with holiday inn, christmas in connecticut, white christmas, polar express and of course the Grinch who stole christmas, and the many versions of Dickens’ A christmas carol. love this time of year and love Jack and his pom pom toy, he looks so sweet and so excited in all the pictures. wonder what santa will bring him for christmas, a mousie toy maybe or a new ball of yarn?? my babies are swatting at some of the cookie cutters in the kitchen window and attacking the reindeer on the front porch, they attack the sliding glass door and try to smack the reindeer, but only when it is lit up. stilll have the glass door to decorate and paint and finish up the tree, going slow as i caught a cold so my nose is as red as Jack’s pom pom toy. its 21 degrees here and there is ice everywhere, but the sun is coming out and starting to thaw things out. off to finish my decorating, hope everyone is having a fun time decorating their homes. Happy Holidays everyone. Happy St. Nicholas’ Day everyone. hugs… 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Thanks Pat!

      • pat addison says:

        you’re very welcome Susan. do you do different types of ornaments on your tree??? or just one kind, we have toys on our tre and have been doing toys for over 10 years, its a tradition i carry over from when i was a little girl. we decorated our tree with toy ornaments and i keep on building on my collection. love your tree and all the warm and lovely decorations in your home, always wanted to live in New England, but out here in Oregon its almost the same in a sense we get tons of snow just before christmas and it gets cold, its barely above freezing now out here. well off to go decorate the tree a little, the kitties are impatient to explore those mysterious boxes they see only once a year…LOL!!! have a great day today Susan, and Happy Holidays!!! hugs….. 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          I’ve never been able to settle on one thing for the tree — and too many old friends and family ornaments to pick just one….love the idea of the toys!!

          • pat addison says:

            that has been a tradition for our trees in my family for many years now, that and hiding the pickle ornament in the tree and seeing who finds it. i love my toy tree, makes our home feel so christmassy and magical. 😉

          • sbranch says:

            Traditions are the best! I bet that tree is adorable!

  52. Joan Lesmeister says:

    It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Whilst you were creating your beautiful blog, my GF and I were walking to the store (in BRRRRR weather) so I could get apples for your famous apple crisp! I’m serving it at a meeting here at my house tonight! Waiting until the last minute to put it in the oven so they can go, “mmmMMMmm, what smells so good”, when they walk in! So fun to get my tea, and sit down to this blog! Your magic wand has worked wonders on your house and beautiful tree, I have a few more decorations to go up, maybe I could borrow yours? Love Jack the red-nosed Kitty! HAD to click on “Bishop’s Wife” & “Heidi”! Thanks for a lovely blog, happy Tuesday to all & to all a good day. xo

  53. Marilyn says:

    You have done such a beautiful job of decorating. I love following the adventures of Jack as he experiences his first Christmas. It’s like looking at Christmas through the eyes of a child…..which is always wonderful! I’m so happy that you found each other.

    I agree that the pet stocking from Joe’s childhood is extra special. So many wonderful and precious memories. We’ve always had stockings for our pets, too because, well….they’re family. 🙂

    Marilyn (in Dallas)

  54. Linda in Texas says:

    I’m sad that I don’t have time to read everyone else’s posts because I always enjoy them so much, but thank you, Susan, for the peek into your home this morning. Your tree looks “marvelous, darling.” I absolutely love old-fashioned trees with colored lights and meaningful ornaments.

    I know you were probably horrified by my shotgun shell little tree, but I got it out yesterday and added two wooden birds to it. Just the perfect touch for the kitchen counter. (I promise I would never shoot a bird or any other creature. I just think the concept is funny because of the adaptation of Jingle Bells we sang as kids “Jingle Bells, shotgun shells, rabbits all the way, Oh what fun it is to ride in a hopped up Model A.” )

    Speaking of Christmas movies, have you seen the 1980s one called “A Christmas Story”–Ralphie and his little brother Randy. Brings so many memories of childhood Christmases.

    Have a wonderful time with your family.

    • sbranch says:

      Only a teeny tiny bit horrified 🙂 LOL… Oh yes, Randy falling down in his snow suit and not being able to get up, struck me so funny, I almost had to leave the theater!!!

  55. Sue R. says:

    I just want to say that I envy you and your life so much. I live in So California, basically the desert, but for as long as I can remember wished I lived somewhere in New England. I love your blog, I love your Christmas tree. Your pictures have put me in the mood to start decorating. I agree The Bishop’s Wife is one of my favorites, I love the tree he decorates so magical.
    Thank you for posting all you wonderful pictures, although it just makes me want to move to New England even more. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

  56. Laura says:


    Firstly, I love your home…it’s beautiful, and full of Christmas magic.

    Secondly, on Saturday, we had to put our kitty cat to sleep…he was 16, and it was his time to go. This fact doesn’t stop me from being very, very sad. I miss my little Benjamin. And, I lost all Christmas spirit, and decided not to decorate for Christmas this year.
    However, after seeing how beautiful your house is and reading this latest blog, I’ve decided I may want to decorate after all. I’m sure I could find a tiny cat ornament, or something to commemorate Benjamin with…so thank you, Susan, for putting me back in the Christmas spirit. 🙂 It’s a magical thing to share.

    • sbranch says:

      Of course you are sad. That’s such a loss, someone who has stuck by us with nothing but love through thick and thin . . . our petty pets are the best. I love your spirit, you are a brave woman … make magic, light a little candle, in the name of Benjamin. xoxo

      • pat addison says:

        Laura there is a website that deals with pet loss, and every monday they hold a special ceremony for newly posted pets that have gone on to the rainbow bridge, perhaps you would like to see for yourself, go to: you could have Benjamin listed for next monday’s ceremony, i did it with Inky when we lost her and attended it online the following monday, i was in tears the whole time, but it made me feel alot better knowing she would not be forgotten nd that someday i would see her again. my deepest sympathies to you for your loss and lots of hugs.

  57. Patricia says:

    The most beautiful house Susan…my heart quite literally starts to quicken when I look at photos….everything so cozy and home-like and wonderful. Love it! And you have finally given us the solution to the yearly Heaton family Christmas lights argument: white (Russ and Mary) or colored (Alice and me)? How has it never occurred to us yet to just do BOTH?! Yay!! xx

  58. Mary says:

    Soooooo beautiful, Susan, I wish we could ALL come over to your house!! Your pictures are like a fun visit! Thank you.

  59. Margie from Lavender Cottage says:

    Well, Dear Susan, I did it. I went out this weekend and found a perfect little table top tree and brought it home and went around the house and gathered all my little bird friends and added them to the tree and it looks so wonderful!! Suddenly I am filled with Christmas happiness instead of feeling a bit sad and lonely. I do miss not having any family but I do have lots and lots of friends and I love hearing about all your fun. Thanks so much for sharing and, of course, all of our girlfriends too!!

  60. You write the most wonderful posts Susan. I get all excited by your excitement and think what a lovely home and life you have created~it all gushes out in the most natural infectious way all over my monitor and it makes me feel happy to know that one day last labor day, when I was riding home from Tashmoo while visiting the island to see my parents, I made my husband stop the car so I could snap a pic of your home. Of course I had no idea who lived inside~but like this post said, it does give us passersby the notion, that yes, someone very nice lives inside this house.

  61. Ann says:

    “The Bishop’s Wife” is one of our fav Christmas movies, too. I picked up a small but cute idea from this post. Noticed your pink depression glass sugar bowl with a votive glowing inside. I have a green depression glass bowl (Georgian Lovebirds) and never thought to do that! Add that to my to do list today–wash out the bowls and cups and sherbert dishes and little plates and get out the votives.

  62. Wendy says:

    Okay, Jack with the red pompom in his mouth – cutest picture EVERRRR! What a little peanut. My kitty used to run around with a q-tip hanging out of his mouth (until I got wise and hid the bathroom trash can in the bathroom cupboard).
    The cranberry apple crisp MUST be made soon. Looks wonderful, and easy to modify to gluten-free!
    Your tree looks beeeeeauty-full, as I knew it would! I love your happy spirit and your attention to detail!

    • sbranch says:

      My kitty is on my lap now trying to chew the button off my sweater!! I’m just laughing, because he is such a little maniac. Must go find the red pompom!!!

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Our term here is “Distraction is the name of the game…” (finding the red pompom!) All of our plastic drapery cord handle-things are chewed–lasting memories of Lucy-the-schnauzer’s puppyhood! I remember we wondered if she would ever outgrow it and then she grew up, lived her life, and now is gone…how quickly time flies by…

  63. mari says:

    Susan ~ what a gorgeous tree!!! I just looked at it, and let out a (sigh) 🙂 It’s beautiful. Can I tell you that it looks just like the one you painted in your Christmas books? I have the small red photo album tied with red and white striped ribbon with that Christmas tree painting on the cover ~ and that’s just what your tree this year is 🙂
    The Bishops’ Wife is one of the movies I borrowed from my mom on my visit in October ~ it will return to her at Christmas. Her player is broken, so we are giving her another for Christmas, so she can watch her old movies ♥
    You have a sweetie in Jack ~ and nice work and patience on your part 🙂
    Lovely post~ back to work lol 🙂

  64. Carla Paulette says:

    I love your H E Todd quote at the top of this writing. :heart:

  65. Brenda says:

    I loved seeing your house getting ready for Christmas. We have our tree up and it has made our house smell divine. No kitten here to be tempted by the tree, but our new little Humane Society dog has been very, very interested in the lower branches. No wonder I put my favorite angel and egg ornaments at the top.

  66. Mary S. says:

    *sigh* Your blogs make me so happy!! I’m almost always happy, but they make me even happier!! Especially being able to share in your Christmas decorating, and Jack!!! He is sooooo funny!!!
    “The Bishop’s Wife” is one of my very favorite movies!!! I knew it would be one of yours, also!!
    Thank you for blessing us all sooooo much!!!
    Oh! I need to add the cute hearts I saved from you! ♥♥♥

  67. Beverly says:

    Susan … truly love your blogs … this one is especially nice … well … actually, more than NICE … it’s gorgeous … the house … the decorations … if i thought i could get away with it, i’d leave the decorations up all year … and … secretly, i do listen to christmas cd’s all year … the season is way too short to enjoy all the ones i’ve collected over the years!!!!
    your tree is spectacular!!!! it’s shape is so great … and all the lights are arranged to “perfection” … thanks for letting us ‘in’ …
    and … thanks again for the new screensavers … i’m enjoying each of them !

  68. What a beautiful tree! Just our kind of tree, too. Lots of memories, lots of lovely old ornaments and BIG, old-fashioned Christmas lights! Perfect!

  69. Sue Connolly says:

    Hi Susan, What a wonderful visit to your world again. I had to laugh at all the things we kind of do alike. First is to decorate the tree with the Bishops Wife movie in the background. I couldn’t decorate without it on. Love the St. Bernard dog ever since I was small. Our tree is decorated with treasures that include stuffed animals that remind us of our pets. Some times I even have tears in my eyes as I pet them and place them on a branch. They are there in spirit all the time. I have a 10 year old fluffy 16 pound white cat named Casper, even tho it is a girl. She has her own decoration that is o.k. for her to play with. A stuffed white goose. Give Jack something like that if his pom-pom isn’t enough. I hang the goose on the low branch right in sight. Also jingle bell ornaments so if I hear them ringing it’s a warning that more then the goose is going to be cooked. Merry Christmas to you, Joe, Girl Kitty, Jack and all the Girlfriends out here.

  70. Kimi says:


    I will come to the point! “COZY-WARM & HOT TEA. Don’t ya just love it… I do!

  71. Nancy says:

    Sitting by the fire, reading your precious blog post, and listening to Rosemary
    Clooney singing “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”….doesn’t get any better than this!

  72. jeannine leonard says:

    I have a little christmas magic today also, with decorating, making room for the gingerbread houses my girls are making this weekend. Our local Wegmans store has cooking classes for kids and this Sunday is what they are making. Will have to check out the Bishop’s Wife, you have me hooked from whatching the clip, and I also have Marshmellow World in my head. Such niceness and cozyness on this dreary day in northeastern Pa. Cold weather is also approaching us, along with a little wet snow.

  73. Marianne Wire says:

    The cold is coming your way. We have had in Colorado for 2 days. Bitter, Bitter Cold yet by Friday we will back into the 40’s!!!! I love your Blog!!!!! and your Kitties and your house and your recipes (I made the Cranberry/Apple Crisp this Fall Yum!!) and well everything. It warms me up. Happy Holidays. I’m off to finish the afternoon singing Jingle Bells, Deck the Halls and Up on the House Top with my elementary students.

  74. Chris Dowd says:

    Yes, we are busy here in Northern Michigan too, but in a different way. We also have decorated the house for Christmas, but not really for us. Retired people we are, and the cold gets to be a bit much for us. We will leave Friday to have Christmas early with our children and grandchildren (can’t wait!), and then leave Monday for warm and sunny Florida. Our home in Michigan has been decorated because our family will be coming while we are gone to spend Christmas and hail in the New Year here. The decorating was done for them (and of course we did it early so that we could enjoy it a little ourselves) and the freezer is stocked with Christmas cookies. Now if Mother Nature will just cooperate and bless them with a foot or two of snow, everything will be perfect and the can snowmobile through the woods and come back to a cozy fire in the woodstove and lots of steaming hot cocoa to go with those cookies. Now if we can only accomplish the art of “skyping” we’ll be able to see those rosy little cheeks.

    Thank you for sharing your home in all it’s Christmas glory. I love the apparent joy you have in all that God blesses you with. If Jack gets to be too much for you I’m sure there are at least 10,000 people (including me) who would be delighted to take him off your hands! Hugs!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Don’t even think about it! He is, right this moment, trying to eat the button off my sweater …. his new little fun thing.

  75. sandi says:

    oh, it’s just beautiful! your home is beautifully decorated, and oh so inviting and cozy…love the look on jack’s face in the chairback photo…so cute!

  76. Sherry says:

    I had pretty much decided not to decorate for Christmas this year. Just too much work since it is pretty much left up to me. But seeing your lovely home and the way you lovingly prepare for the season, has inspired me to get up into my own attic and get the stuff down!

  77. Linda says:

    Your Christmas tree is beautiful, Susan! Love the white And colored lights. The Bishop’s Wife is my very favorite Christmas movie. I haven’t watched it yet this year, but put it on to watch while wrapping the gifts. I like to believe that the giggle we hear from Dudley is actually Cary Grant’s real laugh because he couldn’t help himself from laughing while filming the skating scene!

  78. Tricia B. says:

    Hi Susan!! Wonderful post today!! Your tree is just beautiful!! I love the coziness of your home. It is so lovely. Thank you for sharing!! Jack is absolutely precious!! I love the pictures of him. Where oh where is little miss Girl Kitty? I just want to tell you again that I adore you and your blog. I adore your way of thinking and I want to thank you for helping me appreciate all that I have!! You are an angel!! I haven’t seen “The Bishop’s Wife” but noticed last night that is will be on soon on a station on our satellite. Turner Classic Movies or Turner Movie Classics sorry my mind is a blank!!! …anyway…so little sweet darling girlfriends please check their website if you want to see it..just an FYI!! I was one who did make your Cranberry Apple Crisp and let me just say it was delicious!! Yummy yummy for my ever growing tummy!! Well my dearest Susan..have a wonderful evening!! Take care and Be cozy!! GOD Bless! Hugs and Love, Tricia B.

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Tricia … Girl Kitty is doing her regular thing of napping upstairs on the bed most of the time! She is still not totally wild about Jack, but she’s much better than she was at first!!

  79. Carol C says:

    I loved the comment about people outside wondering about the cozy people inside. I love to drive around and look at homes and always wonder and hope the people inside are happy and cozy. The best compliment I can get is that my house is warm and cozy.
    That Jack is adorable!!! What a face!! Love the pompom picture!

  80. Paula B. says:

    Beautiful tree and Jack is looking adorable with that red pompom! I’m using colored lights on the tree also – haven’t seen that since the early sixties when it was so much the style. Got the tree yesterday at a farm on my way into school, been eyeing them from afar since they started being sold, it’s a beauty! Will put on some holiday music and do some decrating tonight, I will be channeling Susan Branch. On Martha Stewart radio today, apple cranberry crisp was the featured dessert, double yum. I’ve been so motivated to get a lot of holiday chores done early and I really think it was the mild weather, not looking forward to the drop in temperature, brrr.

  81. Janice says:

    oh my goodness, I’ve fallen behind. You have your tree and house sew pretty.
    As your Jack my Missy Meow brings me sew much JOY. Last night I even gave her a hug and a kiss before my husband when I came home from work. I jus tlove all your pictures of the house. And every nowand then I get to say OH! I have one of those. Take care and give Jack a hug and a kiss from me….

  82. pat addison says:

    hello again, Susan toys on the tree has been a family tradition in my family for many years, some of the ornaments are now considered antiques. each one is unique and special and i’ve been collecting them for years, so the tradition continues on. including the one about hiding the glass pickle ornament on the tree and seeing who finds it, the one who does gets a present and some chocolates. now who put their shoes by the door last night and did you get a lump of coal or goodies like nuts, oranges and chcocolates???? i got chocolate coins and nuts in mine, i was a good girl this year……. 🙂

  83. Dawn says:

    You’ve certainly put Christmas in the air with this post, Susan!

    And I think that tree is really waiting for you to play Nat King Cole’s ‘Happiest Christmas Tree.’ 🙂

    But my favorite of all is Jack on the woodpile. He has brought fresh and playful joy into your home, for the holiday season and every season.

    Holding you in my heart always,


  84. Becky says:

    When I saw the picture of your tree inside the cozy home, I was immediately taken back to the story of The Little Match Girl that we always read at Christmas time when I was a young girl. I’m sure you must know it. It is such a touching, almost sad story, but it did serve a purpose in making my sisters and I appreciate and help the less fortunate. Your tree and home definitely looks ready for Santa. I hope you make plenty of butter cookies and enjoy your company this weekend. Thanks again for all inspiration! Give Jack a little loving scratch under his chinny, chin, chin.

  85. Such a magical tree full of wonderment and light! I love hurricane lanterns; so versatile to be effortlessly changed to match the season, but oh! how welcoming and cheering when the candle is lit and the room comes aglow from the gentle light shining through the sparkling glass.
    Often I’ve wondered about a crisp. Now I know! It is not that far removed from my very favourite crumble . . but with the added benefit of oats! Scrummyummylicious! Will be trying that out this weekend if I have enough cranberries over.
    Jack with that pom pom is just the cutest thing! Oh, I can just imagine Christmas morning with all the giftwrap and paper . . he will be beside himself!
    Thank you, again, Susan for the joy you bring to us all! Nadolig Llawen

    • sbranch says:

      You too Deborah, nice to see you here, from wild, windy, wicked, and wonderful Wales xoxo

    • What do you put into your crumble? I’d love to know!

      • Jake, Thank you for asking. I hope this helps

        I take a deep, rectangular oven proof dish (mine is very old, belonged to my Nanna) about 7″x5″x3″ and I fill it 2/3 full with washed and prepared fruit of my choice (apples, blackcurrants, plums, rhubarb, gooseberries are all good, and you can mix and match) plus 1 tablespoon water. Sweeten to taste with sugar or honey if desired; you may add a complimentary spice too at this stage.

        For the crumble topping I rub together (in a large bowl) about 4 oz of butter with 4 oz of demerara sugar and 6-7 oz plain flour (I like to use wholemeal flour) until it resembles breadcrumbs. Pile this crumb mixture on top of the prepared fruit. Pat it down, but not too hard.
        Bake at 350* for about 20-25 mins until the top is browned. I like to see the juices bubbling out around the edges to get a bit ‘chewy’ 🙂
        Serve warm or cold with cream, ice cream, or hot custard sauce. Enjoy!

  86. Jane alexander says:

    Like all of our other girlfriends….I enjoyed today’s blog immensely! I looked at my Susan Branch address book, that I’ve had 5 or 6 years, today….and realized that now Susan Branch is my friend! Very nice feeling. At Christmas time I remember 4 years ago a few days before Christmas, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Today I had a good check up with my oncologist. It feels like life again. LOVE your Christmas tree, and LOVE my Christmas tree. My daughter from Texas is coming for a Christmas visit. Yes!!
    Jane Alexander

  87. deezie says:

    Hi Susan
    What a fabulous post. I loved it all. The tree is so beautiful and all the decorations are just plain yummy. Jack is getting cuter every day I think. The little ones coming this weekend are going to eat him up
    happy day Susan

  88. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Hi Susan: Please tell Joe I love his “Pet” stocking, and it is a treasure! Yup, Lloyds of London for sure! xo Joan

  89. Laura says:

    Oh, Susan…everything looks so pretty, cozy and special. Your home sings a song of peace, contentment and love. May all the happiness you bring to others come back to you always. XoxoxoLaura

  90. Beth Keser says:

    I love the tree with both colored and white lights! So pretty! Thank you for sharing pictures of your wonderful home -it looks so warm and inviting, and COMFORTABLE. Everything a home should be! I am sure it smells as good as it looks too 🙂 You remind me daily that what is most important during this holiday season is family, home and friends to share it with.(even furry friends!) Love your blog. thank you

  91. JudyCnNC says:

    The cookie jar is so very appreciated – I look forward to it every year and just love getting the recipe’s. I just need someone to help me eat everything I am baking. We are into serious now!!! Love Christmas and all the exclamation points. Excitement everywhere!!! Just love seeing picture’s of Jack’s reaction to all the Christmas acitivity and reading about your beautiful world. Now do not go hanging Jack on the tree by mistake!!! Judy C in NC

  92. karen saunders says:

    i was just wondering where the 1948 bunny is?? I didn’t find it in the vintage section. is it somewhere else??

  93. Debbie Hallock says:

    Just got the DVD of Bishop’s Wife this weekend and watched. Can’t wait to see it again.. and again. Of course always love Jack pics…where’s girl kitty?

    • sbranch says:

      Right this moment, she’s on her pillow here next to my art table, but she spends most of her time on our bed upstairs. She is not the bouncing ball that Jack is!

  94. Brenda says:

    I will have to watch the Bishops Wife for sure. I just bought It’s a Wonderful Life for myself so I could watch it again and again and not wait until it is on the TV. I always cry when the bell rings and the angel gets his wings. Love Jack makes me want a kitten.

  95. Your Tree and Home just look absolutely beautiful….Jack loves buttons my kitties love to reach up and try and bite my gold heart charm? I didn’t notice Girl/Jack’s stockings….I do calligraphy (my own style) and over the years I have put the names of all our pets on their stockings…so hard for those that have passed on when I find them the following year. Susan, I have HoneyCrisp apples would they work in the crisp or do I need Granny Smith?? I will be making it sometime during the holidays; probably when Angela comes home for break (finals going on next 2 weeks)….also, why haven’t I ever heard of the The Bishop’s Wife?? I feel so left out and right now my hubby is looking on the satellite schedule to see if it is playing. All the missing toys are under the hutches, kitchen appliances, and anything that is hard for you to look under!!! haha No luck with finding the movie on DISH…ugh I will keep trying! Thanks for sharing you are a Dear Treasure.

  96. Terry says:

    Hi, Susan!

    First, I have to thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog, not once but twice! I was so excited that I yelled for my husband to come and see. I said, “Susan Branch visited and commented on my blog!” about a dozen times or more. Thank you!!!

    Second, about 25 years ago we had a precious cat named Summer. Summer loved fluffy yarn balls like the red one Jack has in his mouth. Summer would carry one around the house like it was his baby. Eventually, it would fall apart and I would make him a new one. Thanks for the memory.

    Happy Holidays!

  97. Jackie McMahan says:

    The name of this post is so perfect! Your home is truly a fairyland with all the decorations up and that little sprite of a kitten, Jack! I made your apple and cranberry crisp a couple of weeks ago, and it was as delicious as could be — I had to resist licking the plate clean. 🙂 Even though I am a huge fan of old movies, I have never seen The Bishop’s Wife (gasp!), so now I need to head over to Amazon and see if I can procure a copy. 🙂

  98. Lisa G. says:

    Oh, your house is just great – I love everything: the lacy curtains, the candy-stripe bound towel, the pillows on the chairs, the checked and striped stockings, the red and white quilt and linens, the clouds over your house…! All lovely!

  99. Patsy Bennitt says:

    We call ourselves “Card Ladies” but we don’t play cards – we make cards – greeting cards. I shared a blog with one of the “Ladies” and then she told me that I might like Susan Branch. The name was familiar – hmmmm? The minute I opened the page and the little bird tweeted his way across, I said, “Of course, my Autumn book author. I recognize her work”.

    Well, it has taken me over a week of late nights (and early mornings) to finally finish all the wonderfulness, because I had to go back to the beginning. But now I’m up to date, saturated with warmth and beauty and humor and ready to join the fun.

    I’ve added to my gratitude list: “Thank you, God, for letting Susan discover her talent at thirty instead of seventy like Grandma Moses, because then I’d have missed it all since I’m already 73.”

    And part of my nighttime prayer is for strength to curb my dish-buying habit, so that my kitty, Tiki, will have food on her plate. My brother and I have been hitting all the flea markets and thrift stores in the area and finding so many treasures. If I don’t go bankrupt first, I might have to build a dish room addition or rent a storage unit. The Card Ladies are urging me on, because then I have to fix lunch to show off my latest finds.

    I’m booked on a tour next April which includes Martha’s Vineyard. Do the local tours take us by your home? I’m sure you’re a celebrity there.

    Keep sending us joy. We love every minute.

  100. Martha Ellen says:

    Merry Christmas Susan and all the girlfriends! Susan your tree is beautiful!! I love the idea of clear and colored lights–All aglow in brightness! Your photography is just amazing to me–You were able to photograph a perfect sundog! Weather lore has it that it will rain or snow in the next couple days! More time for coziness–Jack has grown so much and has the most adorable face I have ever seen on a kitty. Enjoy yourself with your nieces! Sounds like fun! ♥

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