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. Lynn McMahon says:

    Thank you for the informative post!
    Love the flowers ~ especially the foxgloves!
    They sure a picky here in Wisconsin~ but last year they did wonderful!
    Fingers crossed for this year too!
    Have a Happy Thursday!

    • Lynn McMahon says:

      Forgot~ congrats Sharon!

    • sbranch says:

      We have a rough time with sweet peas here on the island, but they are like weeds where my house is in California!

    • Karen P says:

      Lynn, did you know that foxgloves (at least here in WI) are bienniels (does that mean they bloom every other year?)? Sometimes mine come up very scrawny and I remember it’s the “off” year….then the following year, they’re wonderful. I’m not sure if that is consistent around the country or not. xoxo…kp

      • Lynn McMahon says:

        Thanks Karen~
        I did know that so I plant them every year in the hopes that maybe I’ll get lucky~last year I did!
        With this crazy weather who knows? Some of my ornamental cabbage is still beautiful! And I had pansies ( that were frost resistant) still going strong until right before Christmas!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Love you more today than yesterday! Thank you for being a bright shining light. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us and leaving joy and smiles with each blog.

  3. Susan Joy says:

    Congratulations Sharon! Susan, your garden is beautiful! I’m still waiting for a blizzard but after seeing those flowers, it will be nice for Spring to arrive! Thank you again for a lovely blog.

  4. Barbara Welch says:

    I love having my morning coffee and checking in to see “what Susan is up to” Thanks for the sunshine!

  5. Regina says:

    I appreciate all the info you shared today about your blog. I have signed up for the email alert, but then realized all the things you mentioned that I wasn’t seeing, so I now have your site bookmarked, so that when I see the email alert, I just go to my favorites and pull your site up and I have everything I need! I have been doing that for a long time and it works beautifully. Then again, I usually check your site every day to see if you’ve posted a new blog. I don’t want to miss a minute of anything! Thanks so much for all you do for all of us girlfriends.

  6. SharonS says:

    Thank you for photos of the beautiful flowers. Starting to get anxious for spring and the photos definitely inspired. Loved the ring!!! You are a lucky girl but Joe is just as lucky to have you. Have a wonderful day.

  7. Country Gal says:

    Congrats Sharon ! Susan what a fantastic post and photos ! I have a blog as well and I added you to my blog list and that way I always get your new posts and can read and see all your wonderful posts , photos and art work on your blog ! I am sorry that some cant get the fullness of this wonderful blog of yours they are missing out on so much ! My blog is Incase you have time and are interested or any one else may be ! I love to share as you do just wish I had your hand at art ! Have a wonderful day !

  8. Teresa G. says:

    Congratulations, Sharon! You can no longer say (if you even do) “Oh, I’m never lucky.” Out of that humungous pile of names, there you were. Nice. And thank you Susan, I’m now beyond agitated to get my garden going after seeing your FANTABULOUS pictures. It’s a make-your-own-sunshine kind of day around here so to all of you girlfriends everywhere, have a wonderful day no matter what the weather!

  9. Sheila says:

    Susan, thank you for the beautiful garden pictures. They are just what I needed today. Even though we haven’t really had winter in Minnesota this year, I am sooooo ready for spring, green, flowers and that yummy smell when you step outside. If I can just get through another 8 weeks. Late in the afternoon yesterday, it was drizzly and gray, but in the upper 30s. I just sat on my back step (staying dry) for about 15 minutes because it felt spring-y. I closed my eyes and pretended it was a soft April rain. Ahhh, soon.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m ready too, heading out on our walk now, just for that fresh air — even if everything is a little dull now.

    • judi says:

      Oh, Shelia, that is so funny…you sat OUTSIDE in 30 degree weather for 15 MINUTES:) Being a MN native I know just how you felt. In Feb. I used to go to the local nursery/florist and ask to walk in her greenhouse just to smell the DIRT. Loved it. Now a FL fulltimer I was actually cold last week when it was in the 50’s.

      Susan, thanks for remembering there are those who have to “make their way” on the net without any computer helpers around. Your flower pictures are “smileys”. Beautiful!

  10. Martha says:

    It’s always a good day when there’s a new Susan Branch post! I’ve been meaning to say thank you for the videos of Jack. My 3-year old granddaughter laughed so hard at him yesterday (I bring up old videos of him to amuse her) that she got the hiccups! He gets me giggling, too! Thank you.

  11. Francine says:

    Congrats to Sharon!!! Loved all the flower photos! We live in a condo, and have just enough dirt for me to play in. But I notice my flowers never get very big! Must need to add something to the soil!!!!!! But I can’t wait for all my tulips and daffodils ( my favorites) to start blooming!!! They at least seem to all do good, and I get so many compliments for neighbors- there’s a ton of them!! Have a great day Susan!

  12. Debbie Anderson says:

    Love, love, love the flower pictures! Can’t wait for spring and get my hands in the dirt in our gardens. By the way, here in Ft. Worth, TX, the daffodils are blooming. YEA.

  13. Jacquelyn Wirthlin says:

    Another gorgeous post! The flowers are so beautiful and your garden is making me anxious for spring and summer to get here. My garden is on Bainbridge Island, WA, and sweet peas grow like weeds there as well. Hydrangias too. Roses are subject to mildew, etc. so not so easy to grow. Strangely, roses grow well here in the desert of Las Vegas. The first spring roses are huge with beautiful colors. No mildew here … lol Your paintings of sweet peas and hydrangias are my favorites. As beautiful and delicate as the real ones.

    So enjoyed all the hints about your website, etc. I have been able to enjoy it all so hope it helps the other Girlfriends who have been having difficulty leaving comments, etc. I ordered from the web store the other day and the experience was like being a kid in a candy store! … lol.

    Congratulations Sharon! Know you will love the muffin tin. Thanks again, Sue, for all the pleasure your blog, artwork, music, recipes, etc., bring all of us. Love the heart shaped ring as well! Good job, Joe! A wonderful day to everyone.
    Jackie in Las Vegas

  14. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Congratulations SharonJ! Loved this post, & I can still smell the roses! The ring with bling – wow, whatta guy you’ve got! Happy, happy day to all & many thanks to you Susan for the lovely pics & the ‘splainin’ (as Ricky would say)! xo

  15. Love the garden pictures…. cannot wait to be in my new house making a new garden, looking at all the “surprises” that will hopefully grow that the previous owner planted. I love surprises. They make life fun.

    I will use your garden pics as inspiration. So beautiful.

    I especially loved the lavender with the green plants. I may have to steal that. I planted a lot of lavender here in Massachusetts and it did great. I hope for the same out west.

    Congrats to Sharon, lucky gal 🙂 Happy Thursday!

  16. Good Morning Lady Susan!

    I love the ending word “Sweetness” … because I stuck that sticker in my journal last night … I love your word stickers and use them throughout my journals … 🙂

    Anyway, love that you talk to your roses; I do the same with mine … telling them how beautiful, unique, and lovely smelling they are … ❤

    And, like you, I freak 🙂 when I go to a site that instantly starts up music and I’m looking for the little icon that will mute the sound … or I end up clicking away from the site … never to return … I’m not sure if you mentioned it or not, although, if folks right click on your underscored words, then have the option to open the window in another window or tab (if you are on the latest Microsoft Internet Explorer) … and I like to do that so I can lurk in a few places at one time … 😉

    This morning, I was thinking of you and wondering why does your art work strike such a chord with me (and so many of the other GIRLFRIENDS!), and I believe it is because it takes us back to our childhoods when everything was fun and colorful and imaginative … ❤

    I look forward to the new Willard … I just knew you were working on that yesterday and/or possibly your new book … both of which I know we are all excited to see.

    And here’s one of my favorite bits of musica for you:
    (Skip that darn ad if it comes up)
    This takes me back to viewing “A Room with a View” — one of my absolute favorite movies … ❤

    xoxo, Priscilla (hope to win one of your signed books one of these days … even though I have all of them … a signed one would put me on cloud 9 for sure!)

    • sbranch says:

      That’s the song I had playing on my headphones the day I came over on the boat to live here! Love it! Will have to remember the signed book idea!

      • And, darn it, I forgot to congratulate Sharon J … I really meant to … so Congratulations Sharon! 🙂

      • Karen P says:

        All the gifts you’ve given so far have been wonderful but I think the most special one so far has been when you included the handwritten/drawn recipe card with the wooden recipe box….was that for Cynthia, maybe? Can’t remember. I would TREASURE that forever! Signed books would be great, too! LOVE IT!

        • Karen P says:

          One last question then I won’t comment anymore….sorry… you sign things upon request (say, for an extra cost) when we buy a book from your website? I was just thinking maybe when Pancakes comes out, you could offer that as an option? I know many, many would take you up on that!

        • sbranch says:

          It was Patricia . . . maybe we’ll do that again someday!

  17. Patricia says:

    You answered my main question- where did you get that beautiful bird house? And you are so efficient that you answered nearly as soon as it was forming in my brain! You’re wonderful!! xx

  18. Pam says:

    Well done Sharon on winning the goodies. Your garden photos are gorgeous Susan. We saw our first crocuses this morning. Just a small clump nearly hidden by the long grass. Love your bling ring too!

  19. natasha says:

    good morning miss susan!

    thank you for all the pretty garden pictures, they give me inspiration. i hope to someday have an english type garden with all the lovely flower and herbs. now i garden in raised beds, veggies and herbs. we are having mostly spring and early summer weather with bouts of hinting rain and 30 degree nights. i have had lettuce, carrots, radishes, peas and herbs growing all “winter”. come summer it will be grey grey grey, so have to enjoy the sunshine now. does someone look after your garden in SLO while you are on the other coast?
    its getting this same “summer” now that we are hehehe.

    i have a susan branch blog link right on my yahoo page so i know when there is a new post. will that still work without the rss feed thingy?

    congrats to sharon! enjoy the yummy goodies that cutie pan will make 🙂

    thanks susan for warm smiles you bring to my mornings!

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Natasha! As long as you can come here, make comments, and see the videos, what ever you’re doing is right! Yes, we do have a friend living in the house and watering the garden! Have a great day!

  20. Dolores says:

    Wonderful info! Thanks so much! My daughter told me to use the Google Reader to keep up with your blog (she set me up, but I think it would be easy for anyone). It is great cause I just go to it each morning and check to see if you have “visited” us that day, then you can click on the heading and it takes you right to your post.
    The pictures of your gardens are such an inspiration and make my hands itch for dirt! I have been planning for months all the new things I want to add and each of your pictures helps to add to that list!
    Thank you so much always for all the inspiration you have given me for many years!

  21. Christine from Lafayette, CO says:

    I’m in the mood for SPRING after seeing your beautiful gardens! I showed Cowboy your white picket fenced garden with the bird house, bird bath, and gazillion flowers. I told him “Make me this” and he replied ( a bit too quickly) “Sure” 🙂 Come May we’ll see if he was really listening!
    Oh Sharon! You lucky girl!! We’re all so happy for you. I ordered my own heart-shaped pan (its so reasonably priced girlfriends – We should all have one!!)

    • sbranch says:

      There’s a little layout for that garden in the Summer Book, if you have it. Cowboy might like to see it! 🙂 If not, I’ll put it on the blog one of these days!

  22. Sara says:

    Well Sharon J, if I can’t win, I sure am glad that you did!!!! 🙂 Congrats!!!!!

    Susan, Thank you for all the beautiful flower pics!!! And oh the BLING!!!!! I LOVE the BLING!!!!!!!!! 🙂 Great job Joe!!! And heart doilies on the windows….. how thoughtful!

    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  23. Sharon Byars says:

    Love seeing your AG garden as I live now in Morro Bay. just planted our tiny seaside garden. Your blooms are beautiful!!!
    Thanks for the movie tip as BBC is my favorite. a tip for those that have an iPad …pull your website into the Safari app and they will not loose the movies or the header.
    plus, I had tea for my BFF yesterday and made the heart shaped chocolate orange bisquits….they are delicious!! Thanks again.
    P.S. missed your store as I lived in Austin. Would love to see one again on central coast!

  24. Cathy in Golden, CO says:

    Oh Susan – your pics of the flowers are gorgeous especially the Foxgloves!!!! My husband and I were amazed at your beautiful roses and garden. I am missing warm, gentle breezes, fresh rain and pretty flowers!!!! Winter be gone! PLEASE! Our daughter lives in CA and I know she is enjoying those pretty flowers and wonderful weather. . . Congratulations Sharon! What a nice surprise for you! I am going to order that heart pan!!!! I love it!

  25. Regina Brown says:

    Cant wait to see the pictures of your store!!! Your making me want to get back in the garden!

  26. Terri says:

    I think you are wonderful too. Filled with love, laughter, humor and sweetness in spite of all the computer glitches you have! LOL!! Thanks for being there for me when I need someone the most these days! Smiles!!

  27. Pat Mofjeld says:

    Congratulations, Sharon! And a big THANKYOU, Susan, for sharing the beautiful photos of your Calif. garden! We have blue skies and sunshine here after two days of gray fog/snow/rain with no accumulation and dreariness. So seeing the flower pictures was a real day-brightener along with the sunshine we have! I could almost smell the roses…:-)

    • sbranch says:

      Sounds beautiful there Pat!

    • Karen P says:

      Pat, are the birds going crazy by you today? They’re absolutely WILDLY flying around here….what does that mean? Warm weather on its way? Snow coming so they’re getting one last “fling” in before a storm? They’re just enjoying the sunshine after a very foggy couple of days? Curious…and curiouser!

      • sbranch says:

        We had that a couple of days ago, I think they might be feeling spring in the air!

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Oddly enough, Karen P., they WERE weird today–I noticed that when I had the dogs out but just read your comment tonight. There were a couple of crows chasing each other around erratically. The dogs think they can catch them–drives them nuts! It also sounds like the cardinals and chickadees are singing their spring songs, though…Norm thinks we will get a huge snowstorm yet but, again, I’m thinking this is the winter that wasn’t… 🙂

  28. Karen P says:

    Congrats, Sharon! Lucky you!

    Susan, that was a very informative blog today and I’m sure it will really help many of the gals maximize your wonderful website. There is just SOOOO much to read and absorb and enjoy here. I can spend all day just reading through everything….I LOVE it! I have to say that my favorite flower picture of yours that I’ve seen (and I know you’ve posted it before) is that basket of roses. I can picture you carrying it wearing a big straw hat and adorable gardening apron. Precious. I was watching Practical Magic the other night and noticed that they have a white picket fence garden that looks very much like yours!!! Cute! Have a wonderful day, dear one! xoxo….kp

  29. Jacqui G says:

    Yes Ma’am. I ALWAYS open up your blog on I need to see all the pretty pictures and things that brighten up my day 🙂 And sometimes…particularly if the day has been crazy…I wander over to the shopping page and buy myself a little something to cheer me up.
    XOXO your friend, Jacqui

  30. Debbie P says:

    Hi, Sue~
    I was just standing at my kitchen windows, looking out over my backyard…the pool’s covered in it’s winter black; the random spots of grass that are visible under the powdered sugar snow are a drab olive green and the sky is a mottled shade of gray….very gloomy day here in central NY. I know the daffodils are poking their little noses up to smell spring and I know that the sun WILL shine again but in the meantime….uugghh. I noticed in a photo of your workroom (or was it in a blog post?) that you have a light box. I’ve been looking into purchasing one and I wonder how you like yours….does it really work? With Spring just around the corner, do you think it’s worth the investment?
    If you have already addressed this (and for some reason, I think you might have…) if you’d just point me in the right direction…thanks so much.
    The pictures of your garden are beautiful! I’m a gardner, also, and love to see the plant combinations that others come up with. In one picture, there’s a drift of lavender up against a chartreuse-colored shrub….so pretty….but what’s the taller flower in the background, around the tree trunk? I don’t think I’ve ever seen that one. One of my dreams for my garden spaces is to add a plant for each of my grandchildren, as they arrive. Isabella was the first….the day before Thanksgiving….and I found a rose named Isabella on a garden website. I can’t wait to show Izzy her special flower and to share my love of gardening with her!
    Thanks, Susan, for the bright, happy garden pictures….a spot of light and hope when I most need it today!
    Oh, and congratulations, Sharon! Lucky girl!
    Until next time…

    • sbranch says:

      I found a new something that works just as well or even better than the light box! I even quit using the light box it worked so well — it’s Vitamin D. I started taking it, and all my winter blues went away! Try it. If it doesn’t work, then yes, a light box did wonders for me.

      • Sandy Richmond says:

        Vitamin D works wonders for me too! Congratulations Sharon!
        Susan, Loved seeing the CA house garden… I’ve been thumbing thru gardening books lately. There’s always something to look forward to, isn’t there?

        • sbranch says:


          • Pat Mofjeld says:

            I’ll second that–the Dr. recommended Vit. D for me as they tested my level and it came back “dangerously low”. I think it really makes a difference. We that live in the northern states don’t get enough sun exposure through the winter…and there are a lot of good health benefits from taking it besides improving one’s outlook! 🙂

    • erica says:

      I’m fairly certain that the plant you are referring to and in question, is the AFRICAN LILY or AGAPANTHUS. They make wonderful cut-flowers too! (Correct me if I’m wrong Susan.)

      • sbranch says:

        Oh I missed that question, sorry! Yes, thank you Erica, it’s Agapanthus, just a wonderful plant — but it doesn’t like to freeze! You never really have to buy them in CA, you can just divide your old ones and make new! You can read about Agapanthus here . . . apparently they are developing new cold-hardy varieties.

        • Debbie P says:

          Thanks, Sue! I live in a zone 5 area here in NY so I’m very interested in this new variety but apparently, it isn’t available through this source. I’ll keep my eyes open when the garden centers open up in my area. I love blue in the garden!

    • Debbie P says:

      I have been taking Vit. D supplements for quite awhile now….maybe I need more in the winter. I have a friend who used to have a light box…I’m going to talk to her and maybe borrow hers before I buy one. Thanks for your input, girlfriends!

      • sbranch says:

        That’s very smart. If that doesn’t work, you do know that (and I don’t mean to presume here, please forgive me) depression can start slow, but turn into something it’s hard to get rid of if you let it go? It’s like any other “sickness” — don’t wait too long without talking to a Doctor; if you get the right medicine now, it can kick start everything, and you can get off of it in a few months. I’m really over the edge talking about this, but I’m close to people who’ve had to deal with it . . . xoxo

        • Laura says:

          You’re not over the edge at all…just a caring friend who wants the best. Xoxoxoxo

        • Debbie P says:

          Thank you for your very caring heart! I made a promise to myself recently to take better care of myself as I usually put myself last on “the list”. I, too, am close to people who are dealing or have dealt with depression and so I’m acutely aware. You’re a good friend to “go there” and I appreciate your thoughtfulness so much!

  31. Janie says:

    Susan dear.. you are amazing. I love how you draw things out..gaining our attention and lingering with the most beautiful pictures, videos, artwork, music, ideas, etc. Wanted to let you know I baked the Orange Chocolate Chip Tea Biscuits and poured me a cup of tea and pretended you and I and our friends were having tea time together.
    Susan, I mentioned this once before..what is the possibility of developing a list of”Friends” from each state who may be interested in getting to know each other. I would love to meet someone near my hometown who has similar interests and with whom I could share my love with all things Susan. I find it hard to meet a soul sister. There seems to be so many out there by the comments listed on your blog.
    Thanks! Have a lovely day!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s a good idea, but I’m not sure what it might take to implement it. I could ask! Where are you? Maybe people will say hello!

      • Janie says:

        I am in Winston Salem, North Carolina. I would love to hear from others nearby in N.C.
        Thank you Susan!

        • sbranch says:

          Hope you hear from someone — I had a pen pal forever and ever, and love it so much. Now she’s my dear friend, still a pen pal, but an in-person pal too!

  32. Diana says:

    CONGRATS SHARON!! You lucky girl!!! May you have the most wonderful time playing with your new treasures!! LOVE the pictures of the garden Susan… I am NOT a green thumb, in fact more of a gray thumb, but love flowers… in pots.. in vases, etc… the weather has been so crazy that here in Southern Illinois, I had some roses trying to bloom in December!!! …but I, unlike many, am not in a hurry for Spring.. I LOVE the winter time…. for slowing down and reflection and being a February birthday girl, I always hated it when people just wanted February to be over with!! LOL.. read somewhere that we must live in and enjoy all seasons while we may… words to live by!.. Oh, and LOVE LOVE LOVE the bling!!! Whoo hoo for Joe!! He did good! LOL.. Have a wonder Thursday all!

  33. laurie says:

    wow weee, thats a post and a half!!! I have tosay I enjoy all aspects of your blog, i have been a follower of your books since they came to the shops,, I remeber waiting waiting for them to arrive, (our small town didn’ hve them in stock so I ordered them from U.S.A, every book, they became a big part of my life, I started watercolor painting from your influence, now to have you blogging is just like having a girlfriend justy a click away, so much fun., even though you don’t know me, we all feel like we know you from open sweet personality.
    I have written about you on my blog several times and this was before you started your blog, the recipes are always winners, and we have many we call our go to’s.I would like to say thankyou for that,, I will be looking forwarsd to the new willard,,and congratulations to Sharon,, the lucky winner.Sorry for the long post,,

  34. Lori says:

    So happy for Sharon – congrats! We are all winners who got to enjoy the beautiful photos of the flowers. It is a rainy, foggy day here and the remaining snow is turning into gray slush. That color was just what I needed! Thank you.

  35. Marie (Long Beach, CA) says:

    First, congratulations Sharon! You lucky girl you! Loved the blog today! Ate my toast with peanut butter and drank my cup of tea while enjoying all the pictures, video, and wonderful words. If you can believe it, I have one more question about leaving a comment… I noticed some girlfriends have a picture posted with their comment. How do you add a picture? Again Susan, thanks for your blog, it really does make me so happy. ♥ ♥ ♥

  36. Marilyn ( in Ohio ) says:

    Haven’t commented here for a while, but your California garden just has me over the moon! I have dreamed of having an English or cottage garden – unfortunately, at this point, it will just have to remain in my dreams, but I can have one vicariously through your pictures! I have a board on Pinterest of just your blog – I can live my dream anytime I need a lift. Many of these pictures are going on there as soon as I finish here! Thank you so much for what you do, Susan – you are very much appreciated.
    BTW, how do you keep two places going, while I can barely keep up with one? !!

    • sbranch says:

      Our friend takes care of the one in CA and we stay when we go out. My mom’s out there, so we go fairly often and for a long time so it makes sense.

      • Marilyn ( in Ohio ) says:

        Maybe your friend or your mom could adopt me – then I could go out there to visit!!! 🙂 🙂
        I used to live in northern CA, but my property NEVER looked like yours!

  37. Verla says:

    So glad to see you still using your Valentine cup; me too. Just not ready to pack it away. Can you tell us what kind of loose tea you use?

    • sbranch says:

      I am in love with earl grey mixed with lavender. I tasted it first at a girlfriend’s house, fell in love with it, and am in the process of seeing if I can get it in my web store.

  38. Sharon Smith says:

    RE: RSS Feed.
    I use Google Reader and can always click on a link to your blog. I never miss the photos, art work, or links to videos and music. You do such a great job!!

    I especially enjoyed all the pictures of flowers on today’s blog – made me think spring is just around the corner!!

  39. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Oh Happy Thursday Sweet Sue I was just in Twitterville & They’ve been Changing things up over There! Yikes! 🙂 I Think They Need You there too to Help Explain things…You are a Very Good Teacher Sue! & Bravo To Your Joe…He is a Brilliant Valentine! (L♥ve That Heart~Ring!) Thanks for All Your California Garden Photos…They are Dreamy! I’m Excited about Your New “Willard”…Yay! Congratz to Sharon J…another very Lucky Girl! 🙂 My Valentine’s Day was Wonderful…still Nibbling on Valentine Goodies…(Yum!) ♥ Wishing You & Everybody a Delightful Day! xoxo Poof! 🙂 ♥

  40. Chris Wells says:

    So Happy for you Sharon!! What a treasured gift!
    Susan, Thanks so much for the garden pictures. We are STILL in the middle of the world’s worst drought here in West Texas, and even though we’ve had a few rains….I don’t think there will be a garden this year either. Hard words to type for a gardener. But can’t spare the water. So I pour over gardening books and redesign the flower beds and wait for rain…..and wait….and wait. Planning a rain harvesting system also, so all our landscape watering will be done from a 3,000 storage tank. So thanks for the dreamy pictures, it’s what keeps me going. And PLEASE, PLEASE, don’t forget the store pictures. I would really love that.
    So all you northerners…..enjoy those wet snows and tons of rain you get every spring. I will NEVER, EVER complain about too much rain again. Love ya all!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s harsh when there’s no rain, we had a long drought in California and every where the plants and lawns died. Terrible. An herb window box would make you feel better, with a tiny toy cultivator to play in the dirt with.

  41. Tracy says:

    Hi Susan!
    Between the beautiful music and the unbelievably beautiful picture of the basket of roses, I had goosebumps and my eyes were welling up!! And to top it off I learned that I could make my screen brighter from pressing the key with the sun on it, which I can’t even believe I had never even noticed was there!!
    Thank you, thank you!!

    • sbranch says:

      It really is those teeny tiny things in life that make things better! I didn’t know either, found it, and felt just like you!

  42. Priscilla says:

    Oh, so that is what the sun buttons are for! So useful to know as I have been adjusting the angle of my laptop screen to lighten my pictures. Duh.
    Love this post…. your drawings are darling and your bling is so pretty! Your little redheaded friend bowing is adorable. Love looking at your CA garden and the agapanthuses. Makes me a little homesick. Thank you for suggesting “Our Mutual Friend” sounds like something I would like.

    Congratulations to Sharon J.!

  43. florence rozler says:

    What a great blog, it was so nice to read it on a glommy day in Lancaster,n.y.. Iwant spring, and flowers,and sunshine, gardening is my healthy treatment can’t wait 6-8 moe weeks. Congrads Sharon !!!.Blog was very helpfull, pictures made my day TKS.Can’t wait to vacation in the Cape,hope to get to Martha’. Have a great day.

  44. Lisa G. says:

    Oh, “Our Mutual Friend”! What a story! So complex, and containing two beautiful love stories in it. I love that. Just finished watching a very entertaining version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with Kevin Kline – highly recommended! And, the girl who played Bella in OMF plays Hermia in it. She’s excellent with Shakespeare!

  45. Mama Bear says:

    Congratulations to the winner…..
    I loved seeing the gardens…

  46. jeannine leonard says:

    Thank you for the beautiful garden pictures, those roses look so pretty that you could actually smell them. It was a real reminder what spring looks like, especially since it is snowing here in northestern PA, those wonderful large fluffy flakes, like feathers falling from heaven. A winter surprize, I think the weather people are shaking their heads. Congradulations to the winner, I hope it makes her day!

  47. Debbie N. says:

    Love the ring!

  48. Marge says:

    Congratulations to Sharon. You are one lucky lady! Enjoy your gifts to the max!

  49. Angie Sybrant says:

    Thanks so much for the garden tour. I have had a major case of spring fever this week and the pictures of the flowers helped. I love that you are a California girl, me too! I am in Northern California and the weather forcast today is 68 degrees and sunny, so I will definitely be outside “playing” in the dirt! Thanks for brightening my day Susan! 🙂

  50. Rosanne says:

    I love your basket of roses photo! It reminds me of the inside cover of your Book of Days, which has always been one of my favorite SB renderings. Your painted roses are perfection, and I swear I can smell their fragrance.;)

  51. mari says:

    LOVE your ring!!!! reminds me of a story 🙂 When my sister’s youngest boy was about 4 or 5, she took him on his night of Christmas shopping (each child got their own night and dinner every year) – they went to the local dollar store, and he found a giant heart ring about that size, but the outline of a heart in “diamonds” – he says “this is for Aunt Marilyn”. 🙂 They shop a little more, and my sister sees something that she would like, so she points it out to him – it was less “expensive” than the ring – he says “that’s too expensive – let’s look for something else” LOL When they get up to the register, the cashier asks him if that “gorgeous” ring is for his mom – he very matter-of-factly says “OH NO ~ that’s for my Aunt Marilyn” ~ not sure how long it took for her to get over that – lol – p.s. in the car going home, he leans over to her and says “you did want the pink one, didn’t you? (referring to the “too expensive” gift) – so all’s well that end’s well – and I still wear that ring every Christmas and Valentine’s Day – and he’s still a romantic at 14 ♥
    Congrats to Sharon ! You, Susan, have such a generous heart!!! ♥♥♥

  52. mari says:

    p.s. your illustration at the top of the post with the “Thank You” would make wondeful thank you cards!

  53. Doris P says:

    Congratulations Sharon! and Thank you Susan for your informative post today. I love that you do these things to help us all out. Your roses in you CA garden are to die for… I also love Just Joey, such a gorgeous color and what a perfect name for you! Your Joey has quite a talent for picking out the jewelry 🙂 I have just put Our Mutual Friend on our Netflix queue. Thanks for that recommendation! It sounds like something we would like as we loved Little Dorrit also a Charles Dickens novel made into a miniseries. Is everyone watching Downton Abbey?? OMG, so good! I’ll be going into withdrawals after the season ends on Sunday.

  54. Linda Pintarell says:

    LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the beautiful pix of your gardens in California. It’s like your own experimental farm…garden in progress. What fun! Thanks for a beautiful post this lovely morning. FINALLY got some rain in Southern CA yesterday and it cleaned the air and the sky is a lovely blue interspersed with fluffy white clouds. GORGEOUS! Went to a Jake Shimabukuro UKULELE concert last evening. Check him out on Utube or Amazon – his rendition of Bohemian Rapsody will give you chills.

  55. Pamela Jewett says:

    Hi Susan,

    What a treat from you! Information, flowers, bling, and a winner. You give all of us a full days worth of happy. Thank you.
    All the best to Sharon.
    xoxo Pam

  56. Laura says:

    Oh, I love your beautiful flower pictures…they make me feel like spring, which is something I start wanting to feel shortly after the New Year. Here in Georgia we’ve had only about ten days or so of cold winter; otherwise, it’s been in the 60’s. I miss my winter coats and sweaters, but I am also looking forward to flowers blooming and leaves budding and that nice breeze that always seems to come with April.

    Now watch, it will probably snow two feet in March, just for me saying nice things about Spring.

  57. Kathy says:

    Thank You Susan!! Wishing you a Wonderful Day also!! My .. you are quite busy sharing so much with the girls!! 🙂 Thank you SO very much!!! It has been about a month since I found you on here ( after Many years enjoying your cookbooks,books & calendars) and honestly, I check in everyday! You inspire, educate, console, entertain and share your gifts with all of us Lucky girls out here!! We are Blessed!!! I just read your Dad blog from your visit with him in Arizona- when I saw the picture of his hands, OH MY! I loved my Dad’s hands! I remember admiring my Dads hands – you are so very bright (I knew that already) because you took the picture!! I sure wish that I did- my dad passed 20 years ago, at the age of 69. Hopefully all the girlfriends out there that identified so deeply will now take a picture – that’s one to be framed Susan!! A Heartfelt thank you to you!! For ALL that you do!! You bring sunshine, warmth and friendship in all that you do!!!
    With Sincere Appreciation,

  58. Kim says:

    Hi Susan, and thanks – as always – for your thoughtfulness in posting “how to’s and whatfor’s” of your blog/website. I’ve had you bookmarked in my “favorites” since Day 1 of the blog (you’re at the tippy-top of the list, of course!), and you’re the first thing I look in on each and every day. Couldn’t be easier! Every aspect of your blog is so lovely ~ You are such a treasure to us all, and you serve to light up this ol’ world in such a sparkling manner, and with such a generous heart. You inspire us to “pay it forward” humbly and lovingly. Heaps o’ gratitude for you and to you, forevermore! xoxo

  59. Google Reader is what I use to organize all the blogs I want to read every day. That way, I don’t have to surf and find everyone, they all come to me! And your videos and photos show up just fine that way. It’s in the address bar, the little blue box. Easy peasy.

  60. Joy Pence says:

    Congratulations Sharon! Also thank you so much Susan for the beautiful garden pictures. As I was scrolling down very slowly (dreaming of this years garden thru your pictures), because you said as long as I didn’t know who won; it could have been me! I came across your recipe for the pineapple upside down cake, so I clicked on that, and then there was a place where it had a video of you sifting flour, so I had to watch that, then I didn’t realize that you had lots of U-tube videos, so I had to watch them. Wow this is so wonderful, I love being able to be part of your beautiful world. Again thank you for sharing!!! xoxo

  61. Carol Maurer says:

    Thank you so very much for the informative information about your blog. I was having problems with the first several comments when I started leaving comments. In fact, you sent me an e-mail trying to get me situated. Then…. bam! I started seeing my comments that I left. I was so excited! If, for some reason, I don’t see them sometime, I won’t panic 🙂
    I loved all the pictures of your garden in California! I’m soooo ready for the warm weather to get here. I’m in northern CA, Eureka, so our roses are starting to bloom and the azalas are getting ready. Odd weather this year.
    Congratuations to Sharon for being the grand winner!!
    I’m off to do some errands before going to the Ladies Luncheon at my church.
    Have a great day Susan,
    Carol M

  62. Nancy M. says:

    Thank you for the beautiful flower photos! I am one who gets the blog posts by e-mail and I discovered a long time ago that it was so much better to go to the website and linger. I do save the e-mailed posts though in case I want to take a second look at something! Have a wonderful Thursday afternoon. 😉

  63. Susan in SC says:

    Love, love, love the Valentine Bling Ring! What a fun guy that Joe must be!

  64. Heartsdesire says:

    Good morning, Susan. Thanks for answering all those questions. Lucky for me, your blog comes directly to my Goggle home page so I get all those wonderful videos of Jack, the wonderful music you post links to, and everything else, I think. I’ve been loving you, and your work, for years and years, but it wasn’t until I saw your post on Stash Manicure last fall that I realized you had a blog. Oh happy day for me! Love the bling BTW. Congratulations to the lucky winner, Sharon J.

  65. zinnia patch says:

    Hi Susan! wanted to say congratulations to Sharon!!!!!! and to thank you for all the beautiful pics….. I am sooooooooo ready to get out there in my garden… i’ve been planning and sketching in my journal since Jan. and i am ready to make it happen…lol It’s a rainy day so all of your flowers have brightened my day… and can’t wait for Williard!!!!!!!

  66. Christine from Lafayette, CO says:

    So 7yr old grand daughter, Lily, was reading over my shoulder and saw the “lips” on the Valentine Blog. She asks me “Do you know how Miss Susan got the lips on the page?” Well, no I don’t. “Well, I DO! She put on lipstick, kissed the computer screen and sent it to you!” Really? Is that how you did it Miss Susan?!! 😉

  67. Karen says:

    Congratulations, Sharon! Enjoy your wonderful girlfriend gifts!!

  68. Sharon Calvert says:

    Susan, altho’ I subscribed (or thought I did) for the blog updates, I’ve never received any. Which is okay, ’cause I have to check your site everyday anyway; can’t risk missing something…even if it’s just to re-read any or all of your many options! If I HAD to choose only one blog, it would be yours – hands down. XOXOXO

  69. Helen says:

    Thanks for the informative email – answers alot of questions (such as why sometimes I couldn’t see pictures or videos). LOVE the basket of roses in your California garden !!! I noticed your “hollyhocks” also ………… do you grow them easily on the Cape ? …… I am in northern CT and they don’t do well in my garden, yet I see them at old deserted farmhouses where NO ONE is even taking care of them ! 🙁 Take care, Helen

    • sbranch says:

      They do well here; the thing I love about them is that they spread … their seed blows around and the next year they will appear in other places.

  70. Rosemary says:

    Such a helpful post today. Yes, we do not want to miss a thing that you say or share. Congratulations to Sharon…oh happy day! I just placed an order yesterday for your Grandmother book to give to my BFF for her May birthday and some other things from your shopping site. I always love the way they are packed when they come..with a sweet little sticker. I am sorry that it won’t be signed but that is okay. We all love you so much.
    The ring is nothing but glam! Clever guy!
    Our grass is green and may need mowing soon! Crazy! Yet, it was 38* when we walked this a.m. The same BFF brought a little bouquet of daffodils to me Tues. I do not think the flowers or anything quite knows what they are supposed to be doing.
    Have a nice day!

  71. Georgie says:

    “…making me feel like an idiot…” LOL! You really hit the nail on the head with that comment. I am so close to laughing out loud (here at work… break). Alas! I’m not the only one 😉 and am in good company with the girlfriends. Only you can write about the web technical and make it sound fun. I Love the Garden Colors of the lavender and the bright green together, and have a jacket to prove it. People have to wear sunglasses when they see me in it! Susan, I’m all over the place with my comments, but that’s the kind of day it’s been here.

    CONGRATULATIONS to the winner of the HEARTS! What Fun! Tonight after work, I will be visiting an amazing creative Special Boutique online store and picking up some identical bakeware so I can make some orange chocolate chip heart shaped tea biscuits <3 My life changing orange zester will arrive any day now and I will be good to go! Isn’t it amazing how bright a cold, damp rainy dreary day can be when kindness touches it! Thanks Susan! P.S. LOVE the Valentine Bling!!!

  72. Pam T. says:

    Your blog is such a bright spot, Susan. I just love when I have an email in my box that you have posted your update. I have been known to forward them to my hubby with a note to “just ignore the girly stuff” so he can see your gorgeous photos of Martha’s Vineyard, your beautiful home, your darling kitties, etc. Yes…I even insisted that he sit and watch your latest “Jack” episode with me. He did it. (See why I love him? :)) I have decided that life really should be accompanied by sound track. How much more lovely things are when enjoyed with the appropriate music. Have you noticed that? Of course you have, because you provide the Musica to enjoy along with your blogs. Thank you for that! Once I discovered that there were “perks” involved in reading online, now I hop over here when I see the email in my box. So, although it my have its shortcomings, the emailed version lights up my inbox and makes me happy. It’s no trouble at all to head over here to get the extra goodies. 🙂

  73. Coni says:

    Congratulations, Sharon J ~ I hope you enjoy your new goodies!

    Susan, I really enjoyed the beautiful photos of your garden. I’m hoping for at least one good snowfall this Winter. Enough to force us all to stay home & play! Probably won’t happen, but I can dream, right?

    Tell Joe we’re all jealous of your new ring! He’s a keeper for sure!

    Happy Thursday to all the GFs reading this!

  74. Martha Ellen says:

    Congratulations to our girlfriend Sharon J! I’m sure you will enjoy that lovely heart pan and tin.
    Susan you even make instructions charming! I enjoyed your California garden photos very much. What I would give to be able to grow roses like those in VA! What is your secret?
    I’m so glad you and your man Joe had a nice Valentine’s Day. You are loved by many and definitely by me! ♥

    • sbranch says:

      You must have noticed by now, I have no secrets! 🙂

      • Martha Ellen says:

        That is one more thing I love about you! Maybe one day you can share what you do to your roses to make them so prolific. I put Epson salts on mine and fertilize them and water and compost—but they don’t look that beautiful! I’ve even heard banana peels are adored by roses–I try it all.

  75. Linda White says:

    Thank you for today’s beautiful blog. I feel like I just had a stroll through a garden. (Love the birdhouse!) My day just got brighter. Thank you!

  76. Rettabug says:

    Congratulations to Sharon! (the lucky-dog!)

    I ADORE your flowers, Susan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my…I wish I could just stand in the center of it & inhale deeply. Such a beautiful array of colors & textures. You are truly blessed to have sometimes the ocean & then such a garden in your daily lives.


  77. Lynn B says:

    And… if you don’t read the blog right off of, you don’t hear the sweet bird singing!

  78. Kristina says:

    Wow! Susan, you’re like a very patient and loving teacher! Impressive! One additional questions/suggestion – since you’re thinking of making changes anyway 🙂 – Is there any way to add a “notify me when my comment is answered” option? I really like seeing your comments to my comments, but it’s hard to scroll and scroll and scroll till I find my original in order to find out if you’ve “replied.” Thanks! Hugs! ~Kristina

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t know, I’ll have to ask, I was wondering that myself!

      • Kristina says:

        Ooh… I hope so! This time (just now) I kept the window open and when I came back to it, I refreshed the page and there was your reply! 🙂

      • Bobbie says:

        I know that some blogs let you sign up to see when others have commented- I dont know how but I am sure somebody does….

        I am in a sketchy mood and I am doodling ala Susan Branch today!

  79. Ema says:

    Oh please, don’t stop the blogs directly to my email! Some days I don’t have a moment of extra time to click over to your blog site. But I still want my quick fix of pretty! Thank you!

  80. Dinahsoar says:

    Just wanted to say I especially enjoy the music on your blog AND…love that it doesn’t come on automatically–I too like being given a choice. You and I are of the same generation and I think it’s interesting how so many of us enjoy the music that predates us. I never tire of listening to the old stuff.

    And I never tire of your posts, your Jack, your Girl Kitty, your island, your house, your art work, your videos, your photos, your recipes, your videos, your lovely words, your travels, your day-to-day, your joy……the whole blog experience….sigh…it’s all sweet.

  81. Heidi says:

    Congratulations to Sharon!

    Thank you for the pictures – so pretty! Your garden is beautiful. Pink glads remind me of my grandma, as a child spent a week or two visiting her in the summer – she bought bunches of glads from a produce stand in northern IN. We’d always bring a couple of bunches to my mom in OH. It’s an overcast, rainy day in southern OH, but always try to remember there is sun and blue sky waiting to shine through the clouds and after being reminded of the drought in TX, not complaining about the rain. Crocus and snowbells are in bloom. Thanks for sharing so many of the lovely things in your life with us.

  82. Bonnie Lippincott says:

    I love your blog. I learned a while ago that the e-mail version did not have the “bells and whistles” so I just click on your name and go to the REAL blog and see all the fun stuff! So just a notice that there is a new blog post is perfectly adequate.
    I especially love the kitty stuff and photos of your stove. I know, crazy, but I grew up with a stove like that. We alway had little things on the “shelf” above the stove too. I really miss that stove! Now I have electric . . . just not the same.
    We also always had masses of sweetpeas every year. My Mom (and sister and daughter) all have the gardening gene. Somehow it missed me. But I do get some sweetpeas myself . . . when I remember to plant the seeds, which is wayyyyy before I even remember that I need to plant them!
    Thanks for the wonderful blog and look into your world.

  83. Jeanette says:

    Wow, I had no idea you had to read so many comments, spam included! Even more admiration for you! I like getting the e-mail alerts though because I think one of these days I might be in the first 10 to post a comment, but probably only will happen if I’m sick in bed and have nothing else to do with my day but check my e-mail every 10 minutes! Anyway, a good reminder because I sometimes forward your e-mail blog to friends and I need to remind them to click on the link to the website so they can see the videos–wouldn’t want to miss of adorable Jack Kitty!
    Glad you Valentine treated you special–mine did too! Isn’t it great to have someone who knows you so well that they can always surprise you!

  84. Pam G. says:

    loved the flower pics on this drizzly cold day in western NYS and congrats to Sharon. I love your posts Susan even tho they don’t reach me til 2 p.m. which is not tea time for me…no matter.

  85. Janice R says:

    Hi Susan,

    I just adore your artwork and reading your blog! I just found your blog not very ago and it just makes my day when I get it in my email. Thanks for explaining how to use the blog…. I can see why it is so much better by coming over the actual web site. I have never posted before but didn’t want to pass by the chance to say thank you for bringing everyone so much joy and beauty into our lives! I love your pictures of your garden and I can’t wait to get out in my garden soon. I live in Northern Calif by Sacramento but I was born in raised in the gorgeous Napa Valley in St. Helena, CA. Although not far away we hope to move back there someday. Miss it terribly. Again, thank you for such a fun and lovely website/blog!
    Janice R

  86. Deborah says:

    Oh miss Susan! You’re such a doll! I do get your blog post emails, but always come on over here to your website so I can see everything in full view! ALWAYS love the music you pick out for us to listen to for that particular post! Oh! And one last thing, I’ve written out all of your favorite movies so that I too may watch them and hopefully move them over to my favorite list! 🙂

    Thanks for being…well….so you!!! I really enjoy you AND your creativity!

  87. WoW!!! That was one of the most creative and entertaining “tutorials” I’ve ever read! Super good job, Susan. A LOT of time and effort went into the explanations. You blog is one of my favorites. I enjoy it very much. Thank you for being you.

    Jude Butterfly~~~~~>:<

  88. Ann says:

    Congrats Sharon! And S
    usan, thank you for the beautiful, sunny flower garden pictures… a real “pick-me-up” on this dreary VA afternoon!
    This may have already been commented on in an earlier post, but just wanted to let you know that when I open your blog alert in my mail the title of that day’s blog is in written blue. I click on that and there’s a little computer message that says “enable link” and when I click on that it takes me right to the “fancy” page, videos and all 🙂

  89. Michelle Allen says:

    Thanks for posting all the pictures of the flowers, they are beautiful. Its been raining and kind of dreary here so they definitely brightened up the day. When I get the email alert that you have done a new post, I just click on the title of the post and it brings me to the blog and I can see all the wonderful things you listed and comment too so I never realized it was an issue. I dont know if the title is a link for everyone, but could be something to try. Have a great day everyone. Congratulations to Sharon!

  90. Paula says:

    Thank you for the blog info. I finally realized I had to go to your website when several of my posts never made it, and I couldn’t see the kitty videos. I made your orange chocolate tea biscuits for Valentines Day — in fact made them twice. My daughter ate the first batch! I even found a heart biscuit tin to bake them in. We had a Mother/Daughter Valentines Day because we lost my husband and her Daddy to Melanoma over a year ago. I put my husband’s wedding band on my necklace chain, and we proceeded to eat chocolate covered cherries, tea biscuits, a Valentines Day dinner, and ended with paraffin hand dips in my hand spa given to me by my husband several years ago. We miss my husband so, but we find ways to keep him remembered. He always got me a box of chocolate covered cherries.

  91. Margot says:

    How many quarters did Joe have to use to get the ring? LOL What he did is so sweet.
    I have gotten the pics and videos on your blog either way. I just thought you should know. And…I read all your other things too. It is so much fun!

  92. Jan says:

    Congratulations to Sharon J. !! Lucky, lucky, you!! Happy baking!! Loved all of the flower pictures. They were sooo beautiful! Has me longing for Spring. ( Made my husband a heart shaped meatloaf for Valentines Day – he loved it! )

  93. Susan says:

    Thank You for the flowers today, I definately have Spring Fever!

  94. Kimi says:

    Hi Susan
    Thank you for taking the time to bring to our attention on how your blog works! but for me I can’t complain never have any trouble yippy!!! any way want to tell you I enjoyed looking at the flowers in your garden in times past oh how lovely and I don’t mind also saying I’m a in the face down and dirty with earth worms and all yep that’s me love to garden what a wonderful way to be with nature good for the soul too Susan! you know something and I hope you don’t mind but our Lady in heaven said to be with nature is to be with God…. Oh what a wonderful way too bee!!! XO

  95. Judy says:

    thank you soooooooooooo much for your tutorial today. I have been wondering where the post comment was and not being able to enter for your wonderful “happies”….. Thank you for brightening up my day with your blogs.

  96. Donna Hrehor says:

    Fabulous information, reminders, and GREAT pictures of flowers!!! Susan, I love you! Donna (Idaho)

  97. Sue says:

    Hi Susan,
    I don’t know if anyone else mentioned this in the posts or not, but one doesn’t even have to go to http://www. to get to your blog from the e-mail. All they have to do is open your e-mail and then click on the Title (usually in blue letters) that you used for the new post and it should take them right to your blog. Easy-peasy! 🙂
    BTW, yours is my very favorite blog of all blogs!!! (and believe me—I have subscribed to many, many already!)

  98. Josie Adragna says:


    You are such a sweetie. Thanks for brightening up my day!

  99. Lucy de Leeuw ( Miss Lucie) says:

    CONGRATS to Sharon…..enjoy… I personally have collected hearts for many years. Absolutely the Valentine Bling is awesome. As always Susan you brighten up our days with your uniqueness. It is so rewarding for all of us that you share. Thank you. Spring is in the air.

    PS made the Pineapple cake two weeks ago. Everyone raved about it. Yummy

  100. Becky Pingrey says:

    Congrats to Sharon J! And thank you for the great pics of your garden~so beautiful! <3
    How do you keep deer away from either of your gardens?
    Have a fantastic day!

    • sbranch says:

      No deer in our neighborhood on Martha’s Vineyard, although we do get wild turkeys, but they eat bugs. In California, one day I went out, and all my rose buds were gone!!! So I mixed up a batch of soap suds, vegetable oil, and lots of cayenne pepper and sprayed what was left. I don’t know if it helped; I never saw deer in my garden before or after, but they never came again!

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