Home Sweet Home

Here’s how spring is progressing in our home! Musica for today: our new favorite song . . .I’ll get you hooked yet!

But first, just so you know, the drawing for the Rose Chintz teacups is still open; just leave a comment at the bottom of this post, and you’ll be entered in the drawing!  You can read more about it and see pictures if you scroll down one post.

I just couldn’t wait to show you what we found in the hall next to our dining room!

I think many would see this as a harbinger of spring, which was exactly my first thought; plants are bursting up through the floor!  How adorable!  Get the camera!

But, with a little help from Joe’s more mechanically-minded, reality-based thinking, our second thought was, What’s going on in the basement?  Is there massive plant growth down there?  Now we’re afraid to open the basement door!  Well, Joe’s probably not, but I kinda am. I’ve never really gotten used to having a basement even on a good day.

Our basement was dug in 1849; it has a dirt floor so it smells like old dirt down there; the walls are made with granite blocks.  It’s very deep, plenty high enough to walk around in, it’s very cold, and it has rooms!  They probably kept their apples and potatoes and other garden produce down there in the old days.  And who knows what else.

You get there through an outside door on the porch; the door opens with a long creak to a steep set of granite stairs going straight down into a dark, what appears to be, hole.  The stairwell is very deep and draped in cobwebs suggesting that a person should definitely duck when they go down the stairs; the corners are alive with long legged black creatures that seem to “winter” here; they like it in the summer too; I don’t know if they jump. I’ve only been down there maybe four times in the twenty-three years we’ve lived here.  Our basement goes under the entire house. I call that area of the house “Man Country.”  It’s where Joe keeps his paint cans, for one thing; and he seems to like it down there.  But of course, he was born in this part of the country (Connecticut) where every child grows up with a basement.

I grew up in California, no house I ever saw had a basement; all I ever learned about basements was through Halloween stories (“he’s on the first step; he’s on the second step . . . slooowly he turns…” . . . my dad, entertaining us around campfires with ghost stories), horror films, and movies like Arsenic and Old Lace, where the darling old ladies buried their gentlemen friends in the basement.  So basements, to me, had no lure.  I wasn’t all that wild about attics either, for the same reasons.

Having basements and attics were two of the many new things I had to get used to when I moved to this part of the country; every old house has them!

 I never went into the basement of my first house until I completely owned it; did not visit it in the course of buying the house. Even then I knew it was man country down there (this definition comes from having four brothers and learning very young what was and what was not, man country; I’m sure there are plenty of intrepid happy normal women who love basements too, don’t get me wrong; I like the basement, I just don’t like to go there!), there were no men around me at the time; I rest my case, pathetic as it is. It never occurred to me (because I was young and this was my first house) that it might be the place where the furnace was, which is something a savvy home buyer should take an interest in.

Now I understand that having a basement is a wonderful thing!  It’s extra storage space!  It’s where many people do their laundry; it’s where they keep their children when they turn into teenagers; but I’m also pretty sure it’s where Lizzie Borden kept her ax. I will love our basement if, and when, a giant hurricane comes to the island; we’ll make friends then.  Why am I talking about this?  Oh yes, Joe (Oh yes, I’m spoiled) needs to go find the beginning of this plant before it eats the house!

I really didn’t think I’d be writing about basements this morning!  I meant to write about happy harbingers of spring, and then our basement crept into the story. That’s how letters to my girlfriends have always been. We go from cheese blintzes, white tablecloths, and Rose Chintz dishes to scary old basements in the blink of an eye.  That’s another thing I like about us!  We’re diversified!

 Now, here is a true harbinger of spring.  Normally, one hundred percent zero things bloom on Martha’s Vineyard in February, no camellias ever bloom here this time of year. At least, I’ve never seen it.  But, I went to my girlfriend Annie’s house the other day for tea, and the six foot camellia bush next to her front door, outside, was blooming, all over, like this!!  I want to be afraid about what this could mean, planet-wise, but I’m too happy having them on my kitchen windowsill right now!  I will let this pass for one winter; if it’s like this next winter, I’m going to start having a fit.  Let’s all have one!

What else?  Oh!  You know what I think would be fun?  If, when you leave your comments, at the end, you always type in where you are, what city, state, or country.  I love hearing where people are so I can imagine, or try to, their surroundings.  Plus, then everyone with the same name will start to look a little different!  We have girlfriends from Alaska to Florida, Maine to Hawaii, and so far, just today, I’ve heard from Finland and France!  Love it!  Sing with me!

♫ I’d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony. . . ♪

I was going to show you more of my dinner party diary, but I think I’ll save it for later, this should be enough for today; I have stuff to do, and you probably do too!  I kept you long enough the last couple of days!  Love hearing from you!  Love how you’re connecting with each other too.  Have a great day! 

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820 Responses to Home Sweet Home

  1. Rachel says:

    I can’t wait for Spring! We have had 109 inches up here in Anchorage, AK so far this winter and it’s snowing AGAIN today! My daughter requested a butterfly tea party today which was fun. She’s 3 and LOVES tea parties with mommy, so we definitely want to enter to win those tea cups!

  2. Evelyn says:

    Greetings from Harleysville, Pennsylvania,
    I agree about the basements. I hate going down into mine…too many bugs. Enjoy the beautiful camellias. What a non-winter!

  3. donna marie (from maryland) says:

    Hi Sue <3 I am so glad you found a cute little plant growing inside your house instead of finding a snake!! I grew up in a 100 year old farm house here in Maryland and every now and then a snake would wander in. "EEEEKKK" my Moma and I woud scream!! We would quickly deposit ourselves into the nearest corner and huddle together for safetys sake! Thank goodness for my Dear Brave Dad! He would scoop up the snake up and whisk it away. And all was good with the world again!
    Thanks for all you do! xoxo donna marie

  4. Kathy says:

    Hello Susan, I enjoyed reading your blog today. We don’t have a basement in our house but I sure would like to have one with all of the tornado warnings we have been having lately.I would feel a lot safer in a basement than a bathtub.I don’t blame you for keeping the little ivy for a while longer,after all, it did try so hard to get where it was going.I live in Mississippi,On the Gulf Coast.

  5. Enikö says:

    Basements are creepy, all right, but I had no idea that California homes don’t have them…learn something new every day from you, Sue! Kudos to Annie for her blooming Camellia…though it might not have been happy waking up to that icky ice/snow/rain this morning. Do you ever feel that the evil scientist from the Superman comic books who has a secret weather-altering machine on top of his mountain compound is messing with his controls? Three cheers for Joe who solved the mystery (I read ahead) …I have an Audrey in my basement as well, though she hasn’t made it up into the house yet. xo

  6. Kathie says:

    Many years ago, we lived in a cottage on a lake near Long Beach, WA. The house was situated in a beautiful forest of alder and pine on Cranberry Lane. Yes, they grew cranberries out there….just like in parts of New England. On a clear, October day when the bogs had been whacked and flooded, the world was a world of cranberry red “fields” and stunning blue sky. Millions of cranberries floating merrily, waiting to be sucked up into big trucks and hauled away to be sauced. But, I digress. The story is about ivy. The cottage had ivy growing into the living room and several other rooms. I rather liked it, just like you.

  7. Martha B says:

    The basement where I grew up, my dad fixed up; it was a playroom, laundry, storage and workshop. Basement in our circa 1900 NH home was “scary” when we bought over 40 years ago, but over the years now has an extra room, laundry, and storage, though still have that crawl space and dirt floor in the furnace room….I had crocus blooming on Presidents Day. Noticed them when the neighborhood turned out to see an eagle in the trees across the street, a mile from the city Capitol!

  8. Pat Simon says:

    Where do I live….in northern Baltimore County. The County surrounds the city of Baltimore. Baltimore…..as a conductor on the train from New York once said, “first stop in the deep South”. Not sure about that – perhaps “very first tip” of the deep South would be a better description. But for me the best description is simply “home”.

  9. Ann Carrico says:

    Living in Huntington, WV, but fifty years ago lived in Monument Beach, Mass. Got to visit your island once in the two years I lived there always wanted to come back. Love New England!!

  10. Sandy says:

    I so enjoy your blog! Just a bright spot to my day!!

  11. Diane says:

    Oh leave the vine and have your own victorian hot house!
    But if the vine must go…paint one on the wall in memory
    of all that is serendipitous.

  12. Jane says:

    Just love your blog! And I have always enjoyed your books! I live in Phoenix, AZ so our harbingers of spring are a little different! It’s 80 degrees here today! Lots of things are blooming! I grew up in Boise, ID in a house built in 1910 that had a great basement. In my mind’s eye I can see rows of canning jars on shelves down there. Spent many a pleasant hour playing down there with my brothers and sister.

  13. Charlene H. - So.California says:

    Greetings from rainy Seattle! I am visiting our older son who attends Univ. of Wash. I have been away from your blog for a few days and wanted to make sure I made a comment to put my name in for the beautiful tea cups! The Pacific NW weather here is in sharp contrast to So. California where it was 80degrees the day we left! Love catching up with all the girlfriends and your blog…as well as Willard! Thank you, Susan, for spreading sunshine wherever we may be! Temporarily from the Capitol Hill area of Seattle, Wa. Home is North Hills, S.Fernando Valley, So. California.

  14. Carleen Trites says:

    I grew up in an old house with both a basement and an attic. Still, the thought of going down in the basement for canned goods for Mom creeps me out. The idea of extra storage, as an adult, might help me get over all that!
    From Lodi, CA

  15. Lisa K. says:

    Love reading you website…..I do lose track of time however! Love the teacups!!

  16. Marianne says:

    Here in Maryland we’re seeing snow drops and crocus and some things that just never went dormant (like lamb’s ear) because of the unusually warm winter. Spring is still a few weeks away, maybe we shouldn’t be “shoutin” yet!

  17. jill says:

    how lovely all the flowers, no sign of spring here yet, too cold, everything bleak…but love seeing your cut flowers, happy anniversary, belated, our 25th is in July!! it was a good year.
    I love that daring little sprig of spring making his way out of the crack! A real survivor!!

  18. Lori E says:

    Greetings from Winona, Minnesota! I have all of your books and have been giving them to my daughters as they leave the nest. They are a huge part of their childhood and it’s fun to see them carry on many traditions inspired by you. Tea parties were especially popular!
    I only recently found your website and blog and it has been such a treat to spend time with you here.
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  19. Bonnie L says:

    Thanks so much for the memories…I am from Iowa, my husband is from North Dakota and we met in Texas….we travel in a motor home spending our winters in Florida where the orange blossoms smell soooo wonderful this time of year! I call the storage areas under the flooring of the motor home ‘the basement’!!! Really got a kick out of the ivy story….I can’t even grow ivy in a pot in a house! This message is coming to you from Frostproof, Florida.

  20. Sheryl Pyle says:

    We had the same thing happen in our basement when the kids were little. One day I found a skinny little weed growing through the foundation into the basement. We took pics and then pulled it out!!! I love the crazy things in life that we don’t think would happen. Thanks for the fun reminder…

  21. Bobbie says:

    I linked my blog to yours – thanks for your inspiration!

  22. Janell Bontekoe says:

    Here in Tennessee many things are blooming. Love early Spring – it renews hope 🙂

  23. Edie says:

    Yes, we have learned in rainy Oregon that ivy can be a ((menace)). It is beautiful, but will quickly take over any area in which it is planted. It crawls up any building it is near. So be careful. It’s coming for you, and is more agressive than Lizzie. 🙂

  24. Mary Ann says:

    Here in Long Beach, CA, it can’t decide if winter is still here (45 degrees at night!) or Spring is on the way…its was a lovely 78 today with lots of sunshine til late afternoon. I grew up in a house in the midwest that had a basement with rooms too…a coal bin and a fruit cellar. I read a mystery book one of the Trixie Belden’s I think and there was bad guy who hid in the fruit cellar of a neighborhood house and crept out at night to rob other houses. I was always terrified to go down in our basement especially at night to get laundry or something because I was sure Vine Thompson was lurking in our cellar. I still remember how my heart would pound when you had to turn your back and race up the stairs to safety!

  25. Linda Napier says:

    Hi Susan, I enjoyed your basement story, however it brought back something that happened to me concerning ivy. Years ago when I was planting lots of flowers around my yard I came home with a English Ivy to plant. I didn’t know how invasive that plant could be. Made the mistake of putting it close to my home. Before long it was growing up the side of my house,the gutter,windows and under the deck! It was taking over! It took a lot of hard work to get rid of it. Here in the mountains of E. Ky. I have a Magnolia tree bloomed. Have a nice weekend.

  26. Silvia Niomi says:

    Hello dear Susan, (from smack dab in the middle of caleeforneea, aka CA), serendipity sure is grand:) somethings in life we just can’t orchestrate…. its nice when a little bit of happiness just happens. A tea for two would also be fun ( whole lot more fun than doing my math homework). Btw, Willard is waiting for me to open it….. I’m saving it for after my mathmatica test this next week. I’m sure I will need some cheering up after that:/

    (10%xoxo)(10%xoxo)=100%xoxo(squared of course)

  27. Kelly B. Pittsburgh, Pa says:

    Your blog is like a breath of fresh spring air. Every one is filled with the magic of Martha’s Vineyard , teacups, parties, baking, musica, nature and lots of love! I too grew up in an old house with both a scary basement and a musty attic. Didn’t spend much time in the basement except to fetch a jar of homemade jam which we stored down there (no store bought jam for us while my grandma was alive!), but loved “finding” long forgotten books and memories in the attic. I recently found my well worn copies of Harrriet the Spy and Mary Poppins! Enjoy your hardy little ivy, it has worked hard to get into your house. Let it stay for a while! PS. Its finally SNOWING here!

  28. Robin says:

    I try to keep spring alive all year around by having at least 6 orchids blooming at all times in front of my corner sink. I learned this from my Dad who has about 60 plants in all different states of growth. He just puts the ones blooming just outside his breakfast nook window. His Wisteria should be in dripping with flowers and in full bloom. (I have a funky tree that doesn’t always bloom each year, boo.)

    Loved the little plant in your house story. Glad I live in Cali with NO basements. Yikes, I am still creeped out by the dark at my age…at 50 you’d think I am over this……don’t know if I could even handle walking down those stairs. Although, I love the idea of how dated yours is and to think how useful it was in the beginning times of your house. Don’t you ever wonder who lived in/owned your house? Do you know? If you have already written about it, can you direct me to it. I love hearing about that kind of history.

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve written about it here and there, but nothing I could point to. I should write more about it, I do know a little bit. Wisteria is so funny — there used to be this poor little bush that managed to grow outside the fence at the corner of the garden of the restaurant Joe used to have. It bloomed prolifically every year, just covered in blooms. But since it was right near where the deliveries were made, it was forever getting smashed into by cars and trucks. It was twisted and not very tall, the base, however, was very wide and strong, but nothing could kill it. I would say perhaps you might think about backing your car into your dad’s Wisteria!

      • Robin says:

        Sweet Susan, what a great laugh I had at your “vehicular” solution to my Wisteria problem. I see a bit of purple starting to show and I am crossing my fingers it will be a good year. Isn’t it glorious when they bloom in waterfalls like that? It really makes up for the rest of the year that it just sits either full of green leaves or empty twiggy branches.

        I am enjoying your blog along with everyone else. *waving hello to all* Thank you for sharing your sunshine!!

  29. Gill Smith says:

    Hello Susan. this is Gill from the UK. I sent a comment on Thursday,,,just wondering if it arrived as I can’t see it xx

    • sbranch says:

      I do remember your name, I really think it should be there — everything up to about midnight last night has been approved — nothing back here waiting except for what came in over night. Once in a while, from what I can tell, which is really just what people tell me, it seems as if a comment will disappear. I do remember your unique name though! If it didn’t go through, your comment here will serve to enter you in the drawing for the cups . . . at least I can tell you that much!

  30. judy says:

    Basements have always made me nervous! My sister’s basement was creepy…always felt like someone was down there watching me.

  31. Margaret says:

    You are too much fun!!!! I am amazed at how much you get done each day, all your art, gardening, cooking, writing, entertaining. It is great!!
    Arroyo Grande CA

  32. Becky from Lockport, Illinois says:

    Wonderful idea stating our location. I have thought the very same thing when I read posts; Oooh I wonder where she is from and what is her weather doing..I am a weather geek…we are sunny and cold with a good stiff breeze but my brave little daffodils are peeking through the barren ground…wishing everyone a relaxing Saturday!

    • sbranch says:

      In my years of diaries, every entry starts with what kind of day it is weather wise! Love hearing what it’s like for everyone!

  33. Marge says:

    Hi from Marge @ Living Little in Avon Park FL.
    My garden annuals are looking quite lovely so Spring is very much in the air here. My amaryllis should be in full bloom in the next day or two.

    Love the story about the ivy in the hallway. The wonders of Mother Nature never cease to amaze me.

    Hope yours is a lovely w/e. Hugz!

  34. Ruth Hoffman says:

    Susan, I would love to hear more about your party – all the details about the menu, table setting – these are the things that inspire us!! I agree that sharing where we are from and details about our surroundings is a great idea.
    Here at home, in humble Mansfield, OH – it is Saturday morning. No pressure, almost noon (still in p.j.’s), drinking coffee; and it is snowing beautifully!! I am in my “morning room” – my favorite room in our home. When I am standing at my kitchen sink, I look into this cozy little nook, and have a perfect view of our backyard, too.
    The fireplace is used every day in the Winter… I especially love early mornings when the house is still quiet and sunny afternoons (this is where I take my naps!)
    when the sun streams through the windows of this special room 🙂 – Nothing like a lazy Saturday – hope you all have a lovely day girlfriends.

  35. Becky from Lockport, Illinois says:

    Oh yes I also am creeped out by basements much to my husband’s amazement…afterall I am 58 yrs old and should not be so easily frightened especially growing up in the Midwest where we take refuge there several times a year when the tornado sirens blow…always happy to get out of there when it’s all clear.

  36. Lynn says:

    Your blog never fails to make me smile and the ivy in the basement was no exceptionl Funny – I was thinking of heading to my basement shortly to do some organizing. Half of it is finished and the other half houses my furnace, water heater, washer and dryer so it is rather nice down there. I can’t imagine living without one – especially since I have nothing in my attic. Downside – somehow mice decided it was a lovely place to reside over the past 6 months or so. That being said, Buster and June Bug loved the ready-made toys and often brought them upstairs to play with. I am not afraid of mice, but also don’t want them running around. But I’d take them over a snake any day. I’d probably move! Imagine it is quite windy on MV today – saw the ferries were canceled. The downside of living on a beautiful island. Monroe, CT

  37. Hi Susan! Loved the story of the little ivy that wanted to come in out of the cold! When Joe removes it, you must replant it in your yard. It so much wants to be close to you and Joe! Your blog titled “Girlfriends, Gardens, Giveaways, and Gab” reminded me of the cell phone ads…you know, one MUST have a 4G phone. I would much rather have girlfriends, gardens, giveaways, and gab!! I live in an unincorporated part of Galveston County, Texas between Houston and Galveston. My P. O. box is in Kemah but I live in an area called “San Leon” where figs used to grow in huge quantities years ago. There are still some fig bushes/trees left that I can pick in the summer and make my husband some delicious fig jam. San Leon is not a pretty area although it borders Galveston Bay. We took a direct hit from Hurricane Ike in September 2008. Fortunately my house is built “up” (like a beach house) and we had 5 feet of water come across our property and under the house. There is still lots of rebuilding going on and FEMA trailers still present. In order to “pretty it up” a bit, when people ask where I live, I say “San Leon, the little French village by the sea”. And I love the teacups! I inherited my grandmother’s collection of English bone china cups and saucers. She had lovely tea parties!

  38. Patti Dawson says:

    So excited to find this blog! I have loved your books since my mother in law gave me Heart of the Home twenty years ago!

  39. Donna Wheeler says:

    your pics and stories of the Vineyard tell me about a part of our country I’ve never visited. So very different from mid-Iowa where I live. Today we have the remains of a snowfall 24 hours ago. Our sun is bright, only slowly melting the lovely soft clean snow. I do like your open kitchen cupboard where all the pretty dishes, cups and plates are waiting.

  40. Judy Ann from Georgia says:

    Hey Susan, I moved from the City to the country into my deceased father’s farm house which thank goodness has a basement to store all my antique stuff and my furniture! Kind of in limbo as to what I am going to do. Really need a bigger house, but not sure yet what I want to do. But it is sure nice not to have any house payments. But I go down to the “dungeon” and get overwhelmed just looking at all the boxes and all my things I can’t enjoy all boxed up. I know someday things will all fall into place as to where I am supposed to be. Just looking at houses to buy and maybe rent this house and my other grandfather’s house on this 35 acres of gorgeous land here in the mountains of North Georgia. Would love to win those two tea cups to go with the rest of my pink dishes of my mother’s I inherited.
    Thanks Susan, always can’t wait to get a new word from you to brighten my day!
    Judy Ann

  41. Suzanne says:

    I love that little plant….what a goal setter!!
    The winter has also been too warm in N. Kentucky. We missed our snowy days. Surely, there are unusual “bloomings” here too!

  42. Becky Pingrey says:

    If only your lovely indoor lant would bloom like a huge cabbage rose Joe would have a hard time convincing you get rid of it. 😉 loved the musica!

  43. Debbie N says:

    Snowing here in western Pennsylvania. Taking a break from rearranging bedrooms with a hot cuppa and reading your blog. Long, long ago I lived in a house that had vines growing inside. I would take the scissors and just clip it off at floor leval when it go too annoying.
    Some years ago a friend gave me your “Celebrations” book and I have been using it to keep a record of the little get togethers I have. Nothing big or fancy just special people in my life that I want to spend time with. I write down the menu and if I make a special concoction of my own invention I jot down the ingredients. It is nice to have a record of these special moments. I love the illustrations in the book. It makes my little scribbles look so pretty and such good memories to look back upon.
    Have a good weekend and enjoy your ivy.

  44. Sue says:

    hi susan….i enjoy reading your blog and love all of your books, calendars, etc…..keep ’em coming!

  45. Connie Messer Bernardston,MA says:

    It is so interesting to see the variety of stories that can come from one blog.
    It made me remember my Mother’s cellar, full of her canned fruits and veggies
    from 1940s. We had no idea as children the work it took to feed us.
    Also remembered the rubber snake my sons put in our cellar for me to find.
    So glad you mentioned wanting to know where everyone is from.
    Susan, you bring us so much happiness and joy. I hope you feel the Love and greatfulness from us. I am looking forward to the “Happy Birthday” fabric.

  46. Patsy 'Kat' Berry says:

    We have a ‘old’ cellar too…you never know what you’ll find down there….currently I have 7 grow lights over old wooden shelves ready to start all my seed….I can’t wait!! Your ivy is adorable….and so persistent….don’t you just love it!! Kat

  47. Kim S says:

    I am ready for Spring on Jan 1st!! The Camelias are beautiful and one of my mom’s favorite flower. I’m with you on the basement thought!

  48. Sharma J says:

    Hi, Susan!
    I didn’t grow up with a basement, either; but have one in my home now. There are definitely times one gets the creep-vibe, but it’s also where the family room is and we are often there.
    Have a great day – from Sharma J in Utah (where it’s very windy right now!)

  49. Carol C says:

    I grew up in a house with a basement. That’s where we made spook houses and had doll shows and could really build with nails and boards. I now live in a 1930’s house in Knoxville, Tn and we have a basement that has my wonderful laundry room, a pantry, a wine cellar and a dog shower all built by my handy husband. We still have room for the paint cans and tools that you don’t want in the house. Love the basement!!!

  50. Nancy says:

    Every time I hear ‘basement’ I think of my grandma’s in Lincoln, NE (where I was born). She found an old rug left in a house by her renters and put it down there. Surprised to find out it was full of fleas, but it was a really warm rug for the basement, she put a flea color on each ankle when she went down to do laundry. Such a resourceful lady! We can’t have basements in Simi Valley, CA where I live now but I have great memories.

  51. Jen says:

    Our house was built in 1857 by the founding father of our little town, Marshall, Michigan. We call our old basements “Michigan basements”. It is not uncommon to find dirt floors, rock walls and tree trunks as supports. Our town was one of the stops on the underground railroad. Many of our basements have secret rooms built into the walls!

  52. Margie from Lavender Cottage says:

    Susan…Lavender Cottage has a wonderful “basement”! It has been gutted and turned into a second story! That’s were the library, master bedroom, master bathroom, laundry room and massive storage room is. It’s very unique and I love it. However, the twin single I had before this had a “pit” for a basement. I’m one of those rare creatures that is not afraid of spiders or most creepy crawlies. The only thing I can’t stand is centipeds (ewwww…) and earwigs. This basement had 84,000 of each all the time. Nothing else. Ewwwwwww……my skin is crawling. Even the cats didn’t like it and that’s where their litter boxes were. They would zip down and right back up. I’d zip down to do the laundry and right back up. Gross. However, I love your little plant. How friendly.

  53. Rosemary says:

    thank goodness no basements in florida.. love your basement story as a little girl growning up in PA. we also had a dirt cellar with an area where the coal for the cook stove was kept. .. the old ringer wash machine was also down in the basement. the home is gone now but the memories will always be with me.

  54. Ann says:

    I don’t like creepy basements either, but I love you tea cups and I admire the spirit of the ivy. Sometimes I feel I have to travel a great distance in the dark to finally sprout in a little spot of light.

  55. Sharon Sammarco says:

    Greetings from S. Florida! I have never in my life seen such an ambitious ivy! It deserves to be cut and replanted due to it’s ambitious climb to the top just to say hello? I may live in sunny S Florida now but I actually grew up in a lovely place called ” Slippery Rock. Pa” (google it, you will love my home town where my family and friends still live)I know all about basements! I shutter at the thought! I could write an entire chapter on my experiences down there! No dirt floors, but plenty of creepy, crawly critters and dark corners where we know for a fact that that dark, faceless person resides!

  56. I would probably fall in love with your house, old basement and all. My MIL shared your tea cup give away on FB with me. I’m planning a tea party with the grand children and she thought it would be great to enter. She is a regular reader. I’m glad she did. I’m off to read some more…..

  57. Kate B. says:

    I love your pink dishes! I have Johnson Brothers “British Castles Pink” (there is also a blue in it). Mine are so old they were made in England, not in China. We have used them for years on and off and the finish is still like new. Thank you for all your wonderful thoughts, you always make me smile!

  58. Erin says:

    I am writing to sing the praises of my basement in Atlanta…We have to go outside our house to get there, a big pain but when we first moved in, we found all sorts of treasures down there. A cute iron garden table, an old bird feeder, old sawhorses and the best….striped luggage tags, a souvenir from an airplane ride in the early fifties with the names of our homes’ original owners….all of these ” gifts” from the owners of the house before us are treasured..we hang these luggage tags on our Christmas tree every year as a reminder of the other families who lived in our house

  59. Victoria says:

    Love your little plant’s determination to keep on going…
    There are times when we all have to move through the darkness to get to the light.

  60. MoeWest says:

    Camellias in February … how wonderful! We have about 2 ” of snow here in Calgary, Alberta and it’s too cold for flowers of any sort. But this has been a mild winter for us with no major snowstorm *crossing fingers*. A dirt floor basement with creepy crawlies is a place I would avoid too. Thankfully, my basement is finished and even the cold room has a cement floor. You have what my grandparents called a root cellar. Dad and my grandfather used to go into his root cellar to check the latest batch of wine *wink*.

  61. julie ivers says:

    We do live in “basement country,” as you now do – and I can’t imagine not having one! Yes, it’s for laundry, gardening supplies, tools – and all of my seasonal decorations I like to rotate throughout the year : ) Our boys also had a “play corner” there when they were little, much as my sister and I had had in our childhood home. So, nothing scary in our cellar, I’m happy to say.
    Thank you, too, for your dinner party diary entry. I, too, love planning the table, flowers and other elements of ambience, as well as the food, when friends gather here — and I love the teacups : )
    (Commenting from St.Louis, Missouri – where the daffodils have budded, but haven’t yet bloomed…)

  62. Judy says:

    I live on the coast in CA., not too terribly far from your house. No basement, not much attic. If we had either, maybe we could park both cars in the garage, instead of all the stuff that I would love to put in that basement or attic! Anyway, I completely understand your feelings about things that bloom too early. The past two years, my daffs bloomed before Christmas. While I love to see them, I also get upset about it. Is it just a quirk in the weather, or is it global warming? Should I be charmed or disturbed? Maybe I’ll just take a lesson from you and be charmed this year and disturbed next. One thing for sure: I’m always charmed by your blog!

  63. Veronica says:

    Happy Auction! Your Wonderful! Congratulations!

  64. Patty says:

    Basements do tend to bring up all those creepy imaginings. When I was a child we use to play in our basement and there were two very large old trunks down there too. It was fine to play during the day but at night I got it into my head that there was a nasty old man down the hiding behind the trunks. So at night if I had to go down to the cellar,I would hold my breath run as fast as I could, get was I needed,once I was at the top of the stairs, and the door was closed I would let out a big breath, knowing I had escaped that treacherous old man once again! Until one night my brother was standing in the dark and say Hello and scared the heck out of me!
    Patty from Palmer, MA

  65. Mary Beebe says:

    You’re husband grew up in this house? If so, didn’t you move in here before you were married? Correct me if I’m wrong.

  66. Susan says:

    Hi Susan.
    In the last photo of this post, there is a mug full of spoons. Someday will you tell us more about them? It looks like another interesting collection.
    Your blog brings such joy to my life here in Atlanta. My yard is full of camilla bushes that are now in full bloom. I must go take some pictures.

  67. Brenda says:

    I’m not too fond of basements either, in fact I call mine the Dungeon of Doom. I still need to go down there though because that’s where my laundry room is and I’m grateful to have it when the tornado sirens go off once in a while here in Canton, Michigan.

  68. Buzz'n Bea says:

    I’m a little behind on blog reading. Having lived in houses with and without basements, I’ll take one. There is no place to go in a storm, although here in Grand Rapids, Mi. we don’t have very many, I really missed the storage when we did not have one.

  69. Christy E says:

    Greetings and salutations from Victoria, Texas! Love, love, LOVE your blog. It never ever fails to brighten my day!

  70. Erin Middlebrooks says:

    Hi Susan
    Still working my way through your blog archive. I have told EVERYONE that they have to read it. You are so much awesomeness!
    I am from Sidney BC Canada. Sidney is located on Vancouver Island off the west coast of Canada. It is a wonderful little seaside town. I have a store in Sidney so we have a couple things in common. Island…Store.
    Erin Middlebrooks

  71. Kirsten French says:

    Hello Susan,
    I have started reading your blog from the beginning and find it inspiring, relaxing and fun.
    Thank you for sharing your world! I especially love the snow.
    Kindest regards
    Kirsten French
    Western Australia 🙂

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