Girlfriends, Gardens, Giveaways, and Gab

Hi Everyone!  I just had to start off today with a big heartfelt Thank You — I spent all day yesterday writing a brand new Willard which will start going out to everyone next Tuesday . . . and in between, when I wanted a little entertainment, I would make myself a cup of tea and read your wonderful comments!  You are all the things I love most about my girlfriends . . .

For me, and for each other!  You make every day Valentine’s Day!


And now I guess we should get to the main reason we are gathering here today, the very big excitement we have brewing on this blog, what we’ve been waiting for with tea cups in hand, which is to find out the name of the winner for that Heart-Shaped Iron Pan and the Emma Love Tin we’re giving away to one of our lucky girlfriends.

But perhaps not!  Let’s not be too predictable; a little build up of expectation is fun, besides, until I type out the actual name of the winner, you are ALL still lucky winners, and I really like that so much better!  The hardest thing is to set the Random Number Generator into action and just choose one!  I’m like a mom who likes the presents to be opened really slowly at Christmas so I can see my kids faces.  Wade through this first and I’ll tell you at the end.  First I want to show you what I got for Valentine’s Day.  If you’re a darling, tall, smart, handsome man named Joe, what do you get the girl who has everything?

♥      ♥     ♥

You fix it so that when she wakes up, the kitchen windows are covered in heart doilies (after you put small red hearts in the center of each of them); you bring home a ruffly bouquet of pink roses; and of course: bling.  You never forget the bling, she must have blinding proof of your love, bring her a gleaming red heart ring, preferably the size of a knee.  I delivered my Valentine gifts to my girlfriends, flashing my new bubble-gum machine bling, and they knew I was loved.  And so did I.  My funny Valentine, don’t change a hair for me, not if you care for me . . . 

OK, pour your tea, we have to get going, I have business to talk to you about today:  I’m calling today TCOBD:  Taking Care of Business Day.  I will try not to bore you too much.  But I’ve gotten so many blog-oriented questions lately, I thought I would put them in a pile and do them all at once and today’s the day.

I know many of you understand how blogs work, but lots of you aren’t sure; we have new girlfriends joining us every day, and I remember how it felt to leave a comment and have it disappear.  I would work so hard on my comment, and then it would go away, leaving my connection to that blogger and her followers out in the cold, never to be seen by human eyes, making me feel like an idiot.  Everyone else could do it, what was wrong with me?  (This is rhetorical, you don’t have to answer :-)) So I thought I’d make sure that doesn’t happen to any of you and explain how this blog works.  There are no photos that “go with” this subject, so I am going to scatter pictures of my Central-Coast-of-California picket-fence garden between the paragraphs.  OK? Because I’m getting a bit of a yearn to get my hands into some garden dirt. I think it might feel inspiring to see a little garden in bloom right now . . .

Mmmm, can’t you just smell those roses and wild alyssum and those California hills?  We found that giant homemade birdhouse at a flea market.

OK, back to business, I’d like to deal with the biggest troublemaker first: the RSS Feed you see in the column on the right of the blog: see where it says, “Subscribe, Click Here?” I’m thinking about taking that down.  If you click on it, you can sign up to receive emails telling you my blog has been updated, and they send the actual blog to your email address, which sounds like a good thing.  But there are drawbacks, which is one of the main reasons I’m writing today.  Thousands of you have signed up for it, so you get this blog directly to your email account — but there are three main things going wrong with this method of reading the blog.  Number one, for better or for worse :-), you don’t get any of my homemade videos, so you don’t get to see Jack leaping in the air to go after a ball, you don’t get to see any snowstorms on Martha’s Vineyard, or walks in the woods.  All those big black squares you’ve been seeing?  In real life, those are movies.  You can probably live without them, but there’s more.  Number two, none of the little icons at the top of the blog are visible to you, so you can’t see “Martha’s Vineyard Love Letter” or “Domesticity City,” you can’t see the Peter Rabbit room, or “I Love England” —  there’s a lot more on the actual blog that’s missing in those emails!  (People are reading this via email right now…they don’t know what I’m talking about — they have no right-hand column, no art icons, all they have are these words, which is why I’m writing to them now.) Number three, and the worse part of it, is that you can’t see our comment page; you can’t leave comments to enter our drawings, you can’t see each others comments . . . and that, of all of this, is the thing I miss for you the most, because you can’t see the smart, funny, charming comments full of love we get here everyday or leave any yourself! Girlfriends are talking to each other and making friends, I think you would enjoy seeing it.  But that part’s not delivered via email!

At least you can all see these breath-of-fresh-air pictures, but what you really need to do is allow the email to just be your alert that something new has been added to the blog, and then immediately come to www. and read the real blog, with all the art, the extras, the comment line, right here at the source. Up to now, any comments you leave from your emailed blog updates are coming, one by one, to a separate-from-the-blog info@ email address . . . which is invisible to the world.  Many of you have noticed there is no “comment” word at the bottom of your emailed post and are writing to ask where to leave your comments so you can enter the drawings.  In order to answer, I would have to send an individual email to each of you — I’ve tried, but it’s just an impossible job . . .  So come on over!!!  www. — where despite that it’s only February, the sun shines warmly and the garden is happy happy happy . . .


See what you’ve been missing?  So glad you’re here!  Next subject in this Thursday’s tutorial:  When I write a blog or a Willard you will see colored letters like that, underlined.  Not everyone knows they are links . . . if you click your cursor on the word Willard, you will be taken to a place where you can sign up to receive my Willard Newsletter and read how it got its name.  When I write the word MUSICA, and it’s underlined, you can click on it and get the musical selection for the day.  The idea is that if you click on it, a new screen from youtube will come up and music will start playing; if you don’t like it, click it off.  If you do like it, just leave it, move the screen over if necessary, because under the youtube screen, this blog screen is still there — come back here . . . to read with the music playing in the background.  I do it this way because I don’t really love it when I come to a blog and there’s music playing that I don’t like!  I get frantic looking for the volume button to turn it off; I’m easily driven insane and I wouldn’t want this to happen to you.  But music can be wonderful; I love the music my mom used to sing around the house when I was growing up, music from old beloved movies; I like to match it up to my post, like the Love music I did for Valentine’s Day, sometimes I think it’s the best part of the post, like what’s playing right now!

Several people ask me how to leave comments . . . just scroll to the bottom of any post, you will see the tiny word “comments” in grey letters with numbers next to it.  The numbers tell how many comments there are (and you should know, if you can’t tell by now, I read every one of them!).  Just click on the comments word, and you can leave yours.  Sometimes it will take a while for a comment to become visible; first off, I like to read them, and secondly, I have to approve each of them individually because, for some reason I still don’t understand, this blog attracts the Los Angeles Freeway system of spam.  Crazy silly nonsensical things, from vacuum cleaner updates, to rogue biting dog information. I don’t know why or where it comes from, but for every ten of your comments, I get three spam comments. Some of them are as long as a novel, we don’t want them on our pretty blog messing things up, so I have to physically delete every one of them — which is why sometimes your comments take a while to “approve.”  Have faith, I will always get there sooner or later.  The blog also has little quirks: if it wants, it will remove words; it will remove links; sometimes I think it loses complete comments — these things don’t happen often; there’s no rhyme nor reason to it; it’s probably what the future will be like when robots take over the world.  Disclaimer: It’s really not my fault.  I am only the human around here, and not totally in charge.

I love these colors together!

You’ll notice I’ve been leaving links all over this post today . . . because lots of people don’t know that under those little bits of art at the top of this page are things like my Book List, my Sewing Room, and Girl Food; stories about interesting Martha’s Vineyard people like Nancy Luce, or heroes like Gladys Taber and my dad.  They’re there so that when I’m away for a couple of days, you still have fun things to read.  I try to add new things there as often as possible, new How-To Recipes for example, there are lots of them, like the delicious Pineapple Upside-Down Cake I made for our Valentine’s Dinner.

I used to have a store in California; I would fill it with roses from my garden every morning, which is why I have this basketful here.  Someday I’ll do a blog and show you pictures of my store. It was lots of fun, maybe the most creative thing I ever did, making it beautiful every day, but it wanted so much of my time (picking roses!, I was crazy!)  So we opened a store on line where I can only show you pictures of roses!

Most of you know we have Shopping Pages here on the blog, but did you know we have lots of Free Stuff?  Stationery you can print out, pretty wallpaper for your computer screens, score sheets for games, bookmarks, and things like that?  We change them for the season, pretty soon we’ll have all new things for SPRING!!!  You’ll see we also put a Man Cave on our main shopping page!  A comfy place for the men in our lives to feel at home and shop for the women they love so they don’t have to wander aimlessly as they are so wont to do in hugely feminine places, poor babies. 

Are you still with me?  I’m trying to answer everything at once, then I will save this in the FAQ part of this blog so these questions will be forever answered.  The only other thing I wanted to tell you is that each of us has a way of making our computer screens lighter and brighter . . . if you do that, everything you see on the internet is prettier, flowers are brighter, watercolors are clearer.  If your screen is a little dark, look for a way to make it lighter; my keyboard has a button with a little sun on it, I press it and I can make the screen lighter or darker.  OK, that’s all the business for today.  I hope it helps someone!

In case my photos aren’t doing it for you today, and so this post isn’t a complete loss inspiration-wise, last night Joe and I finished watching a long lovely movie we got from Netflix.  It’s called Our Mutual Friend; the last book written by Charles Dickens, some say his greatest; it’s a 1998 BBC Miniseries — we loved it!

And now, along with roses from our Vineyard garden, a little drum roll please . . . because we are at that place, my darling friends; there is no getting around it; where one name and one name only must be drawn.  Here goes the Random Number Generator, into action . . . (RNG is such a terrible name; wouldn’t it be better if they called it “Vanna?”)

OK, here it comes, I can see Vanna’s golden hand with her pink nail polish and her glittering diamond rings dipping into the huge bowl filled with slips of paper . . . She’s stirring, now pulling one, pulling one, here it comes, oh! She went very deep this time . . . and the winner is… well girls, we don’t have a last name . . . but we have clues: the winner has a Yahoo email address, she’s a single mom with teenagers who loves creating things . . . I wrote her an email telling her she is our lucky winner . . . I’m waiting for her reply, maybe she’ll recognize herself . . . her name is

S H A R O N   J.

Congratulations Sharon!  You’re one in over 1,700!  I know I speak for all of us when I say how happy we are for you!  Your prizes will be in the mail just as soon as I hear from you!  I have to say, I’m so happy we have Vanna.  I would hate to have to choose the winner myself! What an impossible job, all those fabulous heartfelt funny wonderful comments.  I think you’re all wonderful.  Thank you for bringing me so much

Have a wonderful day! 

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496 Responses to Girlfriends, Gardens, Giveaways, and Gab

  1. Kathy Kip says:

    Susan ~ Your blogs are so much fun with great cooking ideas, beautiful home decorating, terrific scenery (my favs are of Martha’s Vineyard), fun ways to celebrate friendship and best of all, the kitty videos – keep them coming!! What did you give your hubby, Joe, for Valentine’s Day??!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Nothing really very big; instead of his tea which I take him every morning, I took him a mocha coffee with whipped cream, and made him a good dinner and had a funny card for him. We’re having an anniversary party this weekend, the hearts are still on the house, the month of love hasn’t ended around here.

    • Pam Massey says:

      love your posts- and products- ideas – could almost smell the food- love the cups

  2. Tammy Heller says:

    Susan, I always save my favorite photos from your blog…so I can have a SB slideshow!…When I saved the pic of your Foxgloves…My computer asked if I wanted to replace the photo…Apparently I’d saved it from an earlier post!…I love your Foxgloves…Here in the Panhandle of FL…the growing season is short…because of the heat…so I’ll enjoy your Foxgloves in the middle of July!…Love, love your blog girlfriend!

    • Cathy in Golden, CO says:

      What a great idea!!!!!!! I just saved the Foxgloves and it worked!!!!!! I love love love it! Thank you for sharing a great idea. So simple but I missed it!

  3. Bonnie Crawford says:

    Good Morning Susan!~~
    How fun to see your Arroyo Grande home here today….Do you remember when you walked me around your beautiful yard, and showed me the wonderful plans for your English garden? I loved that day!~~ Wow, it is coming along, and those hedges will grow so fast! By the time you come back to California, you will probably see a big difference! Especially with this warm winter we have been having this year…
    And you know, being able to work in your store was such a special time for me. I just loved it, and still miss it….everyone in town is still sad it is gone…but we are all thankful for your website, and Willard, and especially this fun Blog to keep us in the Girlfriend Spirit!~~ So, THANK YOU for all your hard work to keep us filled up with happy things!!
    I wanted to ask you if you have a Pinterest site for Susan Branch? Wow, I am getting so hooked on it, and I have a special section on mine, just for your beautiful artwork and creativity, and everything else you do that is wonderful! =) I am seeing many other Susan Branch Girlfriends on there, and they are posting and sharing your darling things as well. It is fun that we are all sharing all of your creativity with each other. =) We are all like kindred spirits, as you well know!!
    Have a Happy Weekend, and thank you for the way you continue to inspire all of us, to make this world a happier place to be! Love you!~~ xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Bonnie . . . I’ve been watching Pinterest . . . have seen lots of places showing my art . . . not sure why they would need another one! You can tell I have a little California dreamin’ going on right now! Good to hear from you Bonnie!!

  4. jean shaffer says:

    I loved seeing your flower pictures. Can’t wait for spring/summer in Ohio when we can enjoy the beauty of nature in flowers and our vegetable garden.

  5. W Collins says:

    Dear Susan – BIG FAVOR! I really ( and I mean REALLY!) wanted your 2012 wall calendar – and now they are showing as “sold out”. Just didn’t get my order in on time. The calendar from last year is STILL hanging in my bathroom, and I just refuse to buy just anything. Is there any possibility of a few more tucked away somewhere? I teach art to elementary kids and they also enjoy seeing your creative artwork. Cannot say HOW MUCH your blog helps me through the week! Kisses to your sweet cats! Wanda

    • sbranch says:

      We have gone through every single tucked away calendar we had. . . maybe someone here will have an extra and let you know! So sorry — we’ve never run out before!

      • Kerry S. says:

        Gee – there’s a new one of the 2012 for a mere $256.46 on!! I laughed when I saw that! Also some for $29.45 – all those prices don’t even include shipping!! Same sort of prices on Barnes & Noble. has only the pocket planners. Ebay has some for more reasonable prices.
        Some of the girl friends probably have lots better ideas of where to search too.
        Susan – you could make some big $’s if you had more calendars! LOL!
        Hopes this info helps!

        • sbranch says:

          Who are the people who buy them, hold onto them, and then try to sell them for $250? That’s what’s crazy!

    • Gale Jourdet says:

      Hi to W. Collins, I have a calendar, an extra one for a summer house. I will part with it in this case. I know the heart wants what the heart wants….your search is over. Contact me at the above email address and I’ll arrange the details and you’ll be happy!

      • sbranch says:

        How wonderful!! Thank you Gale!

        • Gale Jourdet says:

          Hi Susan, Please forward my email address to W.Collins who is looking for a calendar. I have one for her. I haven’t heard from her. She may not have gotten my email address….(I don’t know how this works thru a blog). However you must be the source of it all. Or perhaps she’s found another one?. At any rate I wait to hear from her either way. Thank you Susan It’s fun to be a part of your blog family. Fondly, Gale J.

          • sbranch says:

            Hmmm, I hope she reads this, I’m not sure how to go about finding W.Collins. If she replies to us here, I will see it! Thanks Gale, you’re so nice to care!

  6. Nnacy Jo says:

    Hi Susan,
    Guess what I got on the mail today? No that is not right. What I got was my welcome letter to the FRIENDS OF GLADYS TABER, and they sent me three really nice pictures. I can hardly wait to get the newsletter. I wrote and asked them how to get some of the past newsletters, because of course I must have as many as possible.
    Looking forward to your new Willard, and if you don’t put something new on your blog every few days I get a bit nervous, but usually a cookie will calm me down.
    Nancy Jo

  7. Laura Croyle says:

    Congrats to Sharon J. for winning the drawing! And Thank-you, Sue, Sooo Much for all the wonderful photos and video of your California garden! We’re getting our typical, dreary Feb. weather here in the Pacific Northwest and I’m yearning for Spring. It was the perfect tonic for a gray day! I recently ordered your Summer Book, and am patiently waiting for it to arrive. Can hardly wait!
    ~ Hugs

  8. jane townsend says:

    I’m new to this site but would like to say that I love it! I’m from England but have visited Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod where I was bought Heart of the Home (back in the 90’s). Since then I have collected your other books on visits or through Amazon.
    Looking at the garden pictures I can’t wait for Spring to redesign parts of mine into a insect friendly environment – check out – a great British gardener.

    • sbranch says:

      The gardens we visited in England, twenty-six glorious gardens, were beautiful beyond words! Nice to see you here Jane!

    • Hello Jane . . I’m from Wales. I second that! Sarah Raven is a great British gardener. I hope her recent campaign to encourage pollinators gets the recognition and success it deserves (and needs). I am loving her new television series.

  9. Gaylene - San Jose, CA says:

    I love those Gladiolas. Amazing pink. My daffodils are all up, but seems every year I get more of the white & yellow ones and less of the solid yellow, and the yellow center fades so quickly. Do you think its the sun or the soil?

    Thanks for the tech lessons. I’m sure they were helpful!

    And as always thanks for the time you commit to staying in touch and sharing! I’m sure we would all understand if this could only be a weekly treat!

    • sbranch says:

      You are a doll to say so.

      There are so many things that can happen with plants; so much depends on where you’re located; there are a kajillion websites like this one that help you figure things out in your area. I’m really not sure, but I hope this helps — if not, Google :Growing daffodils in San Jose California — there are places you can ask questions! All my best!

      • Cathy in Golden, CO says:

        I planted blue Delphiniums and the next year they all came up white! I wondered if the plant store made them blue with dye to sell them or if our soil had something to do with it. I have never seen white ones.

        • sbranch says:

          Maybe a reversion to root stock or something, but I’ve seen white ones . . . Love the blue dye theory . . . why not?

          • Cathy in Golden, CO says:

            Well, I remembered in Science Class – dying the carnations 🙂 The root stock theory makes more sense!!! hahaha – I shouldn’t be a cynic, huh?

          • sbranch says:

            Well we do see a lot of hot pink carnations these days!

  10. Well first, congratulations to Sharon J!! Lucky girl…Giveaways are such fun!

    Second, you know I never noticed the RSS feed – I just pop in here whenever I have a few minutes, usually every couple of days to see if there’s anything new. I’m not a fan of reading blogs via email anyway, because as you point out, one misses so much. Still, an email would serve as a reminder, and I can still pop over here – just in a more timely manner than usual, haha.

    Love the Valentine’s bling, and all the California pics. Used to live in Orange County, just a mile or so from the ocean, and still miss it sometimes. 🙂

    Thanks as always for a lovely post!

    ♥ Carolee

  11. dottie says:

    The blue and Chartreuse — I recognize the blue Lily-of-the Nile but the other blue plant is what? And what is the chartreuse one? The second blue plant makes me think of lavendar but is it? Love all the pinks — the hollyhocks, the glads, the roses on the arbor. I also love the soft blue of your irises — I have deep purple ones but on occasion a pale lavendar one appears — the blue ones would be a nice addtion to my mix. I am planning to expand what I have in my garden soon and would really love to replicate your little patch of the chartreuse and blue in additon to the pinks — I am adding pink Naked Lady lilies to my pinks this year as well. My best pink is my imitaion Jadis rose.

    Congratulations to SharonJ. !!!!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s lavender and golden cypress.

      • dottie says:

        So I wasn’t so far off– thanks for filling me in! Now to decide if the golden cypress and the lavender (and maybe some pale blue irises also) will do well out front where I already have a profusion of blue Lily-of-the-Nile. There were three plants when we moved in here twenty-five years ago and now they are everywhere out there — suits me as I really love them.

  12. CONGRATS Sharon J. enjoy your lovely gifts.

  13. Susan says:

    Congradulations to Sharon J.! Giveaways are such fun to be part of. I’m going back to the NYC trip blog. I just wanna get away for a few minutes. Thanks!

    • Tammy Heller says:

      I love the trip to NYC blog too!…Our sweet Sue documented a lovely trip…I especially loved the window shopping on Madison Ave…AND the pictures of the brownstones!…Oh…and the quaint inn in Connecticut with all the antiques and historical things!…Loved the whole blog!

  14. Dawn says:

    Oh my…I just wanna “moonch” that sweetie taking a bow!!!! You always give a smile to my face and a tickle in my heart!!! And you make me want to use lots of these!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks always for just being…Y O U !!!!!!!!!

  15. Lisa R says:

    Susan~ your flower gardens are just another “Branch” 🙂 of your beauty, along with your art, your blog, and you! I was just curious, do you plant a vegetable garden? and if so, what kind of vegetables do you grow?

    • sbranch says:

      I grow a salad garden mostly . . . all stuff for salads so I have them fresh all summer. Herbs too! Lots of flowers! I can’t wait!

  16. Holly says:

    Ahhh… California, warm, sunny, ocean smell, crisp morning air…. gardening all year long, never replanting my lavender, sage, roses, geraniums as tall as my fence… mountains, bike riding…. I too grew up there (Sonoma). All your wonderful pics reminded me what I’m missing! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, all the roses! It’s sunny today here in Indiana, but still cold. I also love your virtual shop. Hopefully, one day soon, my virtual quilt/antique shop will open!

    Joe is Sooooo good! I think you found a keeper! It took me 2 tries, but found my keeper too! The difference is profound. The big red heart ring was perfect!

    Thank you for all the times you’ve made me smile. 🙂

  17. Georgie says:

    Happy Friday Girlfriends! It’s a long one 3-day one for us!!! And I am so ready to curl up with my Gladys Taber books tonight and bake tea cakes tomorrow. Yippee!

    Susan, I was on the webstore last night… had a full basket and then POOF! everything emptied out 🙁 I don’t give up easily, so I tried again and… POOF! Empty! I was thinking perhaps my Joe was secretly watching what I was buying and emptying my basket! LOL! I will try again this weekend. Also there are several links which appear to travel into hyperspace. Perhaps the item is not available? One was the Note Tin and the other was a Happily Ever After Chair Pad… Just wanted to let you know in case something is broken behind the scenes.

    Enjoy the Anniversary Party! I Love your house of hearts!

    • sbranch says:

      Sent your comment to Kellee so she can check it out when she gets in next time. Thank you for letting me know Georgie!

  18. CarolK says:

    Sending out a just an e-mail reminder that a new blog has just been added to your web site is much better than e-mailing the whole blog. I noticed awhile back that the videos, etc. couldn’t be viewed in the email and started to use it as just as a remind for me to look on your web site for the complete blog. Besides, who wants to miss that tweetie pie when your web site opens. Love, love, love your roses. Wish we could grow things like that around our house but we have so many deer passing through every day and they eat everything in sight unless it has an eight foot fence around it. This evening alone I counted 15 deer parading across the back yard. Yikes!!! Have a lovely weekend……

  19. Sonia says:

    LOve reading your blog! Great information and beautiful drawings and photos!
    Miss Bloomers

  20. Debbie Ferguson says:

    Oh I just have to comment on your Foxglove’s, they are beautiful!!! I have tried growing them but living in the heart of the San Fernando Valley,Ca makes it to hard. Thank’s for everything you do for us girlfriends!

  21. Barb says:

    My daughter told me today she was getting spring fever because it was in the upper forties and the sun was shinning. Not too bad for February in Ohio. Those lovely pictures of your California flower garden is giving me spring fever, too. Love the beautiful roses, foxglove and irises. Thanks for brightening up our day with such beauty!

  22. Diane Stowe says:

    Congrats to Susan J., just a tiny jealous. Thanks for all the info, I get your update via email, usually click over here, now I will for sure. Love all the pretty pics. Sounds like you & your DH had a nice Val. Day. Happy Anniversary! Enjoy your weekend celebrating.

  23. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Thank you sooooooooooo much for posting the gorgeous” pictures from your gardens in California!!! So beautiful! !!! I just love your roses!! I only have two hybrid roses. But, they are like my “babies”. I try to cut the blossoms and give them to my special neighbors in jelly jars with pretty ribbons tied around them. It makes me so happy to give them flowers on ordinary days…..just because!
    The more I give away, the more that grow!!! Where did you find your Julia Child yellow roses? They are so pretty!!! Looking at your flower garden makes me want Spring to arrive in Michigan soon!!! Have a wonderful weekend Susan!

  24. Mary S. says:

    Sooooo happy that you watched and loved “Our Mutual Friend”!!! I love it, too!! Another one I want to make sure you watch, if you haven’t already, is “Far From the Madding Crowd”! Not the old one with Julie Christie (that’s good, too), but the Masterpiece Theater one with Paloma Baeza, Nigel Terry, Nathaniel Parker. It’s WONDERFUL!!!

  25. Congratualtions Sharon J! Think of us when you are making your first batch in your new heart pan! Lucky lady, but we are all winners here because we have Susan in our lives (heart shape icon here, please)

    I love your garden. You have a dovecote (sighs) and your Digitalis are magnificent. I have wild ones in my garden and I allow them free reign even when they self seed themselves in somewhat inconvenient spaces, like right in the middle of my beans! Live and let live . . I don’t like my garden to be all ordered and sterile, so it is more a guided free for all . . especially for the wild flowers that find their welcome way in . . which in turn make a good home for all sorts of bugs and bees . . and I love bees!

    Looking forward to Willard next week! Thank you (in advance)

  26. Beautiful roses in the basket . Is it me or are flowers even lovelier in the winter ?

  27. Robin in New Jersey says:

    Thank you Susan for all the loveliness you bring into my life. I love the free bookmarks and stationary. I have a dear friend that I still write letters to and I use your stationary to write on! I usually include one of your bookmarks too.
    Have a wonderful Saturday!

  28. Kristen Sparks Rook says:

    My question is, how do I find my comment to see if you’ve commented on my comment? (That kinda sounds like I’m just poking fun or trying to be funny, but I’m not, I really mean it 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve heard some people say they can see a number when they comment and know what number they are. I’m not really sure how that happens, maybe someone else will be able to tell you!

      • dottie says:

        The numbers don’t always help though because it depends upon how many are in line awaiting moderation. the best way I’ve found is simply to go to the comments list and do a scroll at the fastest your eyes will allow and scan for your post. It doesn’t take long really.

  29. Enikö says:

    Hello, Sweet-pea! Great post! I often wonder about all the same things on my blog -“Does anyone know this is a link?” I think you covered everything… Thanks for the peak at your California home and thanks for the roses…I swear I could smell them! xo

  30. Phyl D says:

    Hi Susan,

    Is there any way to send out a simpler RSS feed to your email list of fans who sign up for email notification, perhaps an email that would just have a standard message announcing that there’s a new blog entry followed by the “active” main link to your blog? That way, each time we receive the email notification, we could simply click on the link bringing us directly to your blog (and your latest entry) which would allow your viewers to bypass the other problems…I hope this makes sense and I apologize if someone else has already suggested this.

    I’ve been enjoying your blog so much these last several months, since rediscovering your website, that I just automatically type your website address every 2 or 3 days, anyway…. 😉

  31. Phyl D says:

    Re: My recent previous message – Sorry, I actually meant to type: I’ve been enjoying your blog so much these last several months, since rediscovering your website, that when I am on the internet, I just automatically type in your website address every 2 or 3 days…..

  32. cindy says:

    Loved the pic of your garden. My favorite was the foxglove. How big is your flower garden? The roses are beautiful. As always I love your blog and it is the relaxing hilight of my day. It lets me know that I am not the only person in the world that loves the lovely decent dreamy things. (I get teased about being a dreamer!) Thank you for the explanations they were great!

  33. Carol in KS says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful photographs. Even though we’ve had a mild winter, we’ve been without beautiful flowers, of course! What a wonderful way to brighten our days!!

  34. Judy Leopard says:

    Hi Susan, I love seeing your beautiful home, art work and all of the great things you have collected..I am a true kitty cat lover and so enjoy seeing your two sweet kitty babies..I have two cats now also…they are a joy and love being with me in my art room.. they also rule our home…the flowers are beautiful and everything looks yummy..thank you for all your post….I truly enjoy them…I have several of your cookbooks…lots of yummys!!!

  35. Carolyn Benedetti says:

    I’m so thankful for you Susan. Life can be hard for all of us at times. When I need a “look at the glass half full” perspective…I tune into your web site. Oh by the way…I just received my “Counting Our Blessings ” tea pot rug. It’s so perfect…I’m so happy with it. It’s in the parlor where I have my tea and count my being one of them. So are all my fellow sisters that love you!
    Joyful blessings,

  36. Judy says:

    Even thou its been spring here in San Juan Capistrano for awhile,,I love your beautiful pictures of flowers and trees blooming,,right now my two peaches are putting on there lovely pink petticoats on! I also love your pink flower cups,,just perfect for afternoon tea,,,thanks for always brightening my day,,,Judy

  37. Betty Nelson says:

    I’m ready to relax now and enjoy the rest of the evening —-I’ve read Willard and your most recent blog. You are so natural in your comments and it’s as if I am chatting face to face with a good friend. Thank you sooo much. Blessings on your day. (our weather has been wonderful – we are now gearing up for our first/worst storm of the winter). Happy Spring!

    Betty Nelson (a Canadian living in Oshawa, Ontario fairly close to Toronto)

  38. nettie says:

    I love the blog but I do not love trying to figure out how and where to put my comments so that I can win one of your amazing give aways. I must be doing something wrong I think, it usually takes me several trys before I find this spot to write. All that being said……I live in upstate New York in Weedsport. Our village is on the Erie Canal and is a wonderful place to have raised our family. We moved into our very old house 44 years ago yesterday and I know exactly what you mean about cellars…..ours is not very pretty and we too have ivy growing down there. I started sharing your blog and photos with my grand daughter the other day and we are planning a brunch. We will use my mothers pretty dishes that I am lucky enough to own. enjoy every bit of spring that comes your way. My snowdrops are up and my husband saw thousands of snow geese this morning.

    • sbranch says:

      The place to leave a comment is always at the bottom of each posting — you will see a tiny word “comments” — click on that and there you go! You seem to be doing something right, because here you are!!

  39. Jodester says:

    Rose chintz china is forver linked in my heart to my Mom and all our hunting in antique shops and flea markets for bargains, what joy ! 🙂

  40. Bonnie Shuck says:

    Oh, I enjoy seeing the pictures of the kitties, the gardens in CA and MV, all of it!!!!!!!!!!! How wonderful you share your life so freely. Lived in CA for 23 years with my first love. Moved back to KS to be near my sisters when he passed in 05. Now I have my last love. Planted an iris garden with over 150 colors last year. Looks like they’ve taken hold. I hope a few bloom this year, even though it will be about 3 before they really take off. I do miss my CA tea roses, though. Not much luck here with roses yet. Have a wonderful day!!!!!!!!!!!!

  41. Linda Cummings says:

    Off topic……I read through your movie list today. I want to recommend 2 movies I believe you will love…

    Back Street with Susan Hayward, John Gavin (You’ll need tissues!)
    Shining Through with Melanie Griffith Michael Douglas WWII era

    Enjoy…have a great weekend!

  42. Christina Messina says:

    Love your art, Love your pictures, Love your thoughts and that you share all of this with all of us~! Thanks for all you do to make us all smile and enjoy life that much more~!

  43. LaDene says:

    Thank you !

  44. Nancy says:

    I love your blog…it gives me that pause that brings me back to what is really important in life: family, our dear pets and our homes. You do everything so beautifully, in such a real way. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  45. Nancy DOporto says:

    Debbie, i have loved your fabrics for quilting for so many years now. I love receiving Willard and seeing everything you do. We could be best friends if we lived closer to each other.
    I would love to win one of your contests. Soooo Pick me!!!

  46. Susan, I have loved our art for many years and now I’m enjoying your blog. I saw your were giving away two chintz teacups and thought, “how can I pass this up!”. I am a very big tea lover, tea cup lover, and chintz lover! 🙂 I always look forward to your writings.

  47. Kim says:

    It’s raining and gloomy this afternoon in Maryland, but it’s sunny and springtime in my heart – thanks to your blog! Pink has the power to perk up any winter blahs 🙂

  48. Collette Terrell says:

    Love everything about your blog. It is such a stress reliever, mini vacation. I have been a fan of all things Susan Branch for years!! So happy to find this. Keeping my fingers crossed for the sweet, pink-a-link-licious tea cups!

  49. Wendy Hill says:

    -Beautiful table setting…!!

  50. Millie Ray says:

    I think we are all getting Spring fever this Winter, with the mild weather, lack of snow, and bushes that aren’t supposed to be blooming, having masses of buds. We have had very little Winter weather here in Central Kentucky. I love the “Spring, Spring” melody of Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, that you have made available, it’s coming my way soon, I couldn’t resist the temptation to order it. I love, love, love the 40’s music, that’s my kind of rhythms. I love the pink china tea cups and saucers, I have quite a bit of Old Country Roses, but none of the one you have shown. I’m apt to start a collection of them. Thanks for the uplifting Willard, and your Blog.

  51. Heather Stromquist says:

    I am looking forward to the breakfast cookbook that will be coming out so I can try some of the recipes and I just love the kitty wrapped in the tablecloth! I have a kitty that looks exactly the same!

  52. Susie McLain says:

    I just started a pot of hot water, taking a relaxing bath, and opened your blog. Perfect reaging for the bath! Can I come to the teaparty? You just inspired me to have one of my own. 🙂

  53. Clair Lambright says:

    Say, if I ever made it up ALL the way to MV from Houston TX, would you throw me a party? You are so good at it!!! 🙂 Everything is beautiful and Happy, HAPPY Anniversary!!!

  54. Debbie says:

    Thank you, Susan, for sharing your talent with us. It feels like a gift to the soul to spend time with your books, blog, and website. I have a penpal in Birmingham, England, a 90 something year old special lady named Irene. She is moving slower these days and I’m concerned about her. She celebrated a birthday in January. I always try to send her a little something for her special day. This year I included one of your small (6″ X 6″, I guess) 2012 calendars. I know that your artwork will make her smile. Thank you for bringing loveliness into our average days.

  55. Susie Strassburger says:

    I so would love to win the two tea cups. To enjoy a cup of tea in a real china cup would be a dream come true! All I have is giant thick mugs:( Susan’s gardens are so amazing and beautiful. Would love to be living next door so I could enjoy it every day!This blog and of course Willard are like coming home. Filled with happy happy happy stuff. Thank you so much for putting a big smile on my face!

  56. Barb Flior says:

    If ever I am feeling blue…all I have to do is read Willard, one of your posts, one of your books, or the comments on FB by all of your loyal and loving fans, to know there is still beauty in the world ~

    Thank you always for sharing ♥♥♥♥

  57. Kaaren says:

    Thank you, as always, for the snippets of sunshine you send my way.

    As for the teacups, Buttons (my kitty) and I would love them.


  58. Sandi Bellmore says:

    Love your blog! Just reading it makes me feel good!

  59. Carol Buchert says:

    Spring is almost here!!!! Yeah! Carol B., Lake Charles, Louisiana

  60. Janna says:

    Love reading your blog and trying your yummy recipes! Thank you!

  61. Paula Walters says:

    I get so excited when I see that I have e-mail from you! Love everything you do and I always save EVERYTHING! Don’t care if the computer doesn’t like it,
    I do! Would love to win the tea-cups. My mom was a t-cup person. She always used them for so many different things. I only wish that I had been the lucky daughter to receive all of them. Brings back such wonderful memories of her
    when I see yours. Thanks for a wonderful page on FB.

  62. Jana says:

    I think your ivy deserves to live forever after the fight it did to be seen. It’s just like a tiny mouse that can find the tinest hold to get through. You could take a cutting and pass it along. Would be a good sign that spring wilol get here eventually.

  63. Pam on Long Island says:

    Hi Susan, I’m a fan of your art and cheery inspiration. I laugh at the cat photos-they are adorable kitties. I ‘pinned’ the recipe for Pineapple Upside Down Cake and can’t wait to try it. It brings me memories of my mother who used to bake it way back in the 60s. Thanks for brightening my day as always!

  64. WinB says:

    I have just started recording special memories in the “Days” book for each of my daughters. When all days are filled I will give them each their book. Have also been working on the Daughter Recipes book. I love the teacups! Tea, like dessert, is best shared with friends–I have a very dear friend who will be returning stateside soon, after living in Europe for several years, can’t wait to sit and share tea and catch up with her.

  65. paula davis says:


  66. Dimples Wesnofske says:

    I purchased your Home Cooking Traditions recipe keeper book and I can not find more recipe pages and covers. Can you tell me where I can locate them?

    • sbranch says:

      We have them in our web store, just click on shopping at the top of the page and go to scrapbooks.

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