More Little Things . . .

The first title I almost always think to call my posts is  “Little Things.” Apparently that’s what I like to write about and today is no different.  What other way can I say it?  Wee Bits, Small Units, Hardly-There Stuff, Trifles, Diminutive Moments?  Whatever they’re called, they go really good with MUSICA, and I have lots of them for you today!

First off, we’ve been hearing from our girlfriends who’ve been using the photo of my house in the snow as their computer wallpaper — they’d like a springtime view!  Me, too, so here we go! Pink weeping cherry trees bloom out back here in April; it doesn’t get more spring-like than this!  If you’d like to open your computer every morning to this scene, it’s really easy; take a look at our free computer wallpaper.  We have several for you to choose from; we have Jack looking at the bug on the floor too!  (Don’t be afraid of it, nothing will be permanent; you can change it anytime; push the buttons and it will just happen like magic.) Hope it’s what you had in mind!

Utterly enchanted!

The next little thing is Really Little!  You might remember that Judy and Kellee discovered this miniature book in an antique store and gave it to me for Christmas?  So darling!  Such a perfect gift!  How could I not fall in love with it!?









And the first thing I think when I fall in love with something is, “I bet the girlfriends would love this too!” So we went on a hunt to find the creative detail-oriented, artist woman who makes these books, by hand; one at a time; no two exactly alike; fat little darling books! They’re the real thing, with color pictures and everything; and not even one inch across!  Perfect if you have a doll house or a Peter Rabbit room!  Or if you just love tiny things.  So, as of yesterday, they’re in our web store (if you click on it, scroll down, it’s in the 3rd row)!   We didn’t get a million of them because you can see the work involved in making them, and not everyone wants a tiny little book!  But, for as long as they last, if this is your cup of tea, here you go girls, from me to you with love.

I sort of put my little book wherever I am; sometimes it lives on a shelf in my studio where I can see it every day (just out of the way of my CAT who would dearly love to play soccer all over the house with that little book before eating it); but here’s where it is right now — in the Peter Rabbit Room.  (Because my BFF Elizabeth Nordlinger is coming from California today; the room’s all fixed up, clean sheets are on the bed, we opened all the windows yesterday for freezing clean air; it’s perfect now, with flowers and cozy for HER.  Hi E! xoxo)

The next little thing is this:  Krista contacted me from her home in California; the Betsy-Tacy Rose Chintz teacups are in a box on their way to her.  She wanted me to tell you how touched she was by all your interest and support!  Me too!  Loved this giveaway and all the great comments it spawned! 

Here’s another little book you’ve asked about; it’s my Dinner Party Diary; only 5 ¼” x 3″ — it’s the one I told you about last week.  I’ve been writing in it for almost twenty years! I suppose if I would have thought about how long I would be keeping this book, I might have chosen a different style or size for it; but I really didn’t plan it!  I just started, and then I just kept adding to it. Over the years, despite it not being the most beautiful book in the world, I’ve grown attached to it.  The first entry is dated Sept. 23, 1993 — it was an autumn party in the garden under the rose arbor where I wrote that we had lemon chicken with mashed potatoes, and “leaves fell on the table.” (My darling wonderful knitting friend, Debbie Ware was there!  Must show you, prepare to die of charm overload when you see what she makes!).

Not sure if my paper is more “breathings of heart” or demonstration of skipping stone gathering no moss.

 I never tried to make this book perfect . . . I love stickers, so I used stickers; it turns out I always used a black pen, so there’s a cohesiveness to the look of it.  I didn’t care if my handwriting was perfect, it’s not a book for publication (who knew there’d be such things as blogs and I would end up showing people!?! Should have made it cuter!!!); it’s been just for us and for the memories.  And you know, it would be a wonderful thing for someone to find in an antique store in fifty years, is what I’ve always thought. 

I tucked in a few memories such as this leaf place card I made for my mom; there’s also a supermarket receipt for food for one of the parties (interesting to see what things cost), some tiny cards I got from people and one funny food-oriented comic I keep in there from Joe.

The little things that make life sweet are worth their weight in gold; They can’t be bought at any price and neither are they sold. 

I always tried to include the names of my guests, describe what we had to eat and drink, what flowers and table settings I used . . . any little details that I wanted to remember. Country Living Magazine still has a few photos from this shoot on their website!  If you’d like to see the food!  My scalloped potatoes with cut-out purple and gold potato leaves is there!  (If the MUSICA has stopped, click if you want it to start again!)

Sometimes, like in the photo below, I didn’t have the perfect sticker, so I would draw and paint a little something . . . the cocktail glass for instance.  Like I said, nothing fancy.  Just breathings is all . . .

I’ve felt the need to leave strict instructions in some of my other diaries!

I shouldn’t be reading about baked bananas and ice cream right now.  Or grapefruit and avocado salad!  It’s too early, and I’m holding out for a bowl of hot Cream of Rice cereal with fresh blueberries when I get done here!

I will never forget this party.  It was the middle of a dark winter and I asked everyone to wear bright colors: lime green, hot pink, orange and turquoise!  No black!  No matter how cool you were.  One of my girlfriends wore a small-brimmed straw hat; she had completely covered the round-hat part of it in fresh, real, pink rosebuds, baby’s breath, blue bachelor buttons and other tiny flowers, glued on, very tightly, in concentric circles.  It was gorgeous.  She made everyone happy with that hat!  It was such a dark, snowy afternoon, I lit every lamp, and candle I could find and filled the house with flowers; I was on a mission to give us all a time-out for the unrelenting stream of dark days! The music was perfection! We had a piano player; he played Polka Dots and Moonbeams on the piano!  I listened sitting in front of the fire.  Just me and the fire.  Ahhhhhh.  Yes, other people were there, but it was just me and the fire and the piano for a moment. 

And here is my latest entry, the one I showed you the other day.  It’s a little thing to do, this kind of diary, but as years go by, it turns into a big thing.  You can see how much fun it can be!  And it’s never too late or too early to start writing down the breathings of your heart.  If you’re one of the members of the Daring Girls Club (whom I’m apparently going to be speaking to on the phone this weekend) . . . I’m sure you’re way ahead of me on this!

♥          ♥

 OK Girls, off I go . . . I made Banana Fritters yesterday, I’ll show you how I did it if you come back tomorrow! Love and Kisses, me xoxo

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293 Responses to More Little Things . . .

  1. Dorothy Ann says:

    * Hi Susan! What a happy February 29, 2012 post… “More Little Things”. I loved it and it was filled with so many wonderful things…from the gorgeous spring photo of your house for our computer wallpaper, to a fascinating and awesome glimpse into your personal dinner journal, to your new musica and then to a delightful, as usual, connection with all the “Girlfriends”.

    Something is happening…something magical is happening…and I have been noticing it more and more each time I read and reply to your posts. I seem to be recognizing more and more of the names of the “Girlfriends” and where they are all writing from. They come from picturesque rural towns we are not familiar with and big cities we all know of, towns with names like Golden, Colorado, Swansboro, North Carolina and even Brooklyn, New York! I love how we all interact with each other. I love to read how in awe they are, as am I, of your kindness in sharing all that you do with us and your lovely art and writing talents. Most of all I love how we feel so comfortable sharing part of our lives with you, and in turn, we are sharing with each other too!

    For now and forever, that’s always and ever, little things do mean a lot!
    Thank you Susan!
    Happy First Day of March to you and all my new Girlfriends from:
    Dorothy Ann (without the “e”) on Cougar Mountain, Washington.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s happening just like I hoped it would, kindred spirits coming together! Good morning up on Cougar Mountain.

      • Lori from Maine says:

        Hi Dorothy Ann – I’ve been meaning to tell you how neat the name Cougar Mountain is…I have a picture of it in my mind – maybe I’ll look around the internet for pix of it. Isn’t it fun connecting all over the country and even all over the world? Today we’re having our FIRST heavy snow here on the Downeast coast of Maine. It’s beautiful. xo from SW Hbr.

    • Debbie P Weedsport, NY (near Syracuse) says:

      “For now and forever, that’s always and ever, little things do mean alot!” This is the perfect quote for the end of a movie! I couldn’t agree with you more, Dorothy! Happy Friday!

  2. BirdieBee says:

    Oh, I love your little book Susan. That last picture with your little cottage, made of lilacs and laughter would make a lovely screensaver!
    BirdieBee from the Sunny Virgin islands!

  3. Lynn McMahon says:

    Good Morning~
    The cherry blossoms look so pretty in your yard Susan~ only a month away! Something to look at besides all the doom & gloom we have here in SE Wisconsin right now~ the snow from last week is just muck now~ glad I got a few pictures of the snow covered trees. Maybe we will get more today~ you never know with March!
    I saw my favorite Beatrix Potter book in your Peter Rabbit room~ Cecily Parsley’s Nursery Rhymes~ I just want to squish those gardening guinea pigs~ too cute for words!
    Just started journaling a few weeks ago on a small scale. I bought a 5 year line a day one.
    I figure I can do at least 1 line a day and hey it’s a start!
    Have a Happy Thursday and great weekend Girlfriends!

  4. Joy Pence says:

    What a sweet little book. I liked how you said you move it around with you. So you have a glimpse of it anywhere. I was at our local library yesterday and my neighbor (who works there) had made a display of all things “tea”. And there on the bottom shelf was the rose chintz tea cup and saucer, so I immediately sent her a text to ask her if those were hers. Yes, they were and she was making biscotti and would I like to come over for biscotti and tea. So yesterday morning I had a wonderful tea with my friend, and I have you to thank for that Susan. I would never had started all that if it weren’t for that beautiful tea set! thank you again for the beauty you share with us.

  5. Sharan says:

    Hi Susan! You mentioned the Country Living feature in your post. Did you ever write and illustrate recipe cards for Country Living? I have a recipe card for sugar cookies that I love and keep in my recipe box. Though I haven’t been able to find your signature or initials any where on it, the writing has to be yours. Could it be?

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve done so many recipe cards, lots with recipes on them, and I do have a recipe for Sugar Cookies. So, I’m not really sure, usually I would at least put my initials on them, but then again ???

  6. Cindy says:

    Susan, you have GOT to read the Betsy-Tacy books! I re-read them every year and have since I was 12. Start with Heaven to Betsy. She meets her soulmate (although it takes years for them to get together or we wouldn’t have a good story) at Butternut Center. He’s reading a book and eating an apple and his name is Joe. Joe Williard. How can you not read them now? 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I know, we might be related!

    • Janet says:

      Me too, Cindy! I re-read mine a couple of times a year – whenever I’m dusting my bookshelves. I spend a couple of hours on the floor – in the sun if I’m lucky – and have the best time! A real trip down childhood’s memory lane…

  7. Wendy Louise says:

    Oh Susan, I love you and your wonderful Blog ! It fits perfectly into my life and makes me feel all warm and cozy inside. Oh, by the way this comes from a little part of MA. way up in the corner on the Merrimac River near NH. The eagles are nesting and hunting for fish and I walk along the river watching the birds and they are definitely saying an early spring is coming. It is snowing up here right now and it is beautiful, second snow of the season since Halloween here. Thank you for all your inspirations, I’m planning a kitchen garden right now with the white picket fence and everything. My wonderful husband is on board too. Life is so sweet when you focus on the little things! Have fun with your friend they are the spice of life and we can’t have enough spices! OOXX

    • sbranch says:

      Life is so sweet when you focus on the little things! Thank you Wendy! Our snow melted last night in the rain!

  8. Peggy Cooper says:

    I’ve been thinking about your dinner party book, and how it kind of represents the secret to your success, or at least one of them. You said if you had known, you would have put more thought into choosing the book. I think the secret is that you don’t overthink – but just do. I know a big problem of mine is that I always think I can’t start anything new until everything is perfect. So as you might guess, I have ideas, but rarely do they come to fruition. Now that I’m older and have better insight into myself, I see this for the problem it is, and will now try to stop the procrastination that perfectionism breeds, and carry on with the inspiration I receive from you and all the “sisters” every day. Thanks for doing all you do, and especially for sharing with us.

    • sbranch says:

      That was very insightful!

    • Lois Burgess from Nova Scotia, Canada says:

      Thanks Peggy,
      I can really relate 🙂 That’s one of the reasons I enjoy Susan’s Blog so much and the comments that follow. Happy small bursts of spontaniety!

  9. Christine Stadler says:

    Hi Susan,

    Thanks for sharing your ideas regarding keeping a journal. Love the ideas you posted. Guess it’s never too son to begin. Also thought it would be lovely for my daughter (now eleven) to enjoy my thoughts, art work and musings in years to come. Oh, I have a request for another time. Would you share how you began illustrating your gorgeous recipes in House Beautiful or Country Living?? I’m sorry for not remembering which magazine! I fell in love with your work way back then… Have a happy day today everyone.
    Christine in Southern Connecticut

  10. Connie B says:

    I love the idea of journaling and writing down your inner-most thoughts.My Grandmother was a wonderful talented writer and had many of her poems published.She died years before I entered this world but through her journals, letters, and poems I have felt close to her as though she has always been with me. Her gifts have been passed on to my children who also are very talented writers. I’m a strong believer in passing things on to the next generation. My current project is completing your Daughter Recipe books for my 2 daughters. After that I’ll tackle the Grandmother book. Spring is knocking on our door here in Minnesota altho we just had our first major snowstorm of the winter. I go by signs of nature and every morning the male cardinal is singing his song to me as I leave for work. I hope the awakening has started on MV.

    • sbranch says:

      The birds are singing …. We had nine robins at the bird bath the other day. There’s a patch of snow drops all in bloom in our yard. So we can feel spring coming, and feel it much earlier than usual!

  11. Christine Stadler says:

    Dear Wendy Louise,

    Do you live near Merrimac MA, or Haverhill MA?? We lived in Haverhill for a time and that is where I was lucky enough to attend the Haverhill Friends Of the Library Tea Party where Susan was the guest speaker! It was during the nineties. What a beautiful area…

    Christine in Southern CT

  12. Karrie says:

    Thank you so much for your inspiration and friendship – Karrie, Michigan

  13. Patricia from Philly says:

    Hi Susan! I still have the pages I cut out from the Country Living Magazine and had my husband frame. They were so beautiful – artwork in a magazine, and a recipe to boot! Saved your earlier calendars, and the one that says “Nothing Says Lovin’ Like Something from the Oven” is going to be the theme of my daughter’s (surprise) wedding shower in April.
    Let me ask you something: were you in love (like so many girls of our time) with Davy Jones? So young to go so soon.

    • sbranch says:

      I feel so bad for his family!

      • Lori from Maine says:

        I was going to marry either Davey Jones or Paul McCartney. Have fun while you can…we’re going to see the Beach Boys in Bangor, ME this summer. Now THAT’S going back a ways! 🙂

  14. Good morning Susan, (had to hurry with that, 11:57 and almost noon!) Oh, I love the way your home looks in the spring! Silly me, at first I thought, the trees are already in bloom in Martha’s Vineyard? Wishful thinking even though we haven’t had a bad winter at all! I so love the little book! My Granddaughter (3) has a dollhouse she keeps at our house that we got for her Christmas before last, and I found a bunch of dollhouse furniture at the flea mkt, and there is a little magazine rack. We found a little picture in a magazine, cut it out and folded it and put it in there! A little Beatrix Potter book would be awesome! I will look for it in your shop! Can’t win twice!!!
    Susan I tore out the article of your autumn dinner! I was just looking at it the other day, in my misc dinner menus album! Yes, I am a mad clipper of recipes! I have 13 albums, not to mention tons of books now encluding most of yours! Never Never in two lifetimes could I ever try them all! Got to weed out! But how! I am hopeless, and I love doing it! (Sorry, got carried away!)
    Love your party book! I have seen in some homes where people have a guest book out for people to sign. Thats a good idea as well.
    I know your friend is going to have a good time in your Peter Rabbit guest room! One coast to the next! My brother is coming from Huntington Beach to WNC this June, can’t wait!
    Those beautiful teacups and saucers will be perfect for CA! Congratulations again to the winner!

    • Christie Ray says:

      Dear Jeannie…I’m one of those folks that has a guest book for friends to sign. Back in the 80’s, our church had a fellowship dinner in a member’s home, and she had everyone sign her book. She had been keeping it ever since she and her husband had married…years and years before. She said she liked to look over the signatures of friends who had gone on, but was thankful to have the remembrance of their handwritten signature. I thought this was such a wonderful thing…thinking of grandparents and family who wouldn’t always be with us. So I began…even though I wasnt newly married…had to just jump in….now I look back, almost 30 years later!!! Little girls who were in my sunday school class, who all signed my guest book at a sleepover we had, are all grown, with babies of their own….grandparents who signed…have passed away…friends I havent seen in ages, I reflect on the visits we had. So now, I still make everyone “sign in”…my kids fuss…”you know ME” …”I am NOT signing that book AGAIN!” But I at least jot down the reason we were all together, and write their names for them….one of these days…they’ll appreciate these little things their momma does (I am hoping:) So Jump in, mid-life-stream…and have your guests write their own name…not MR and MRS soandso….:) It’s such a sweet remembrance down the road of life….Thanks for letting me jump in here with my 2 cents:)

  15. Marie (Williamsburg, Virginia) says:

    Susan~I have often wondered the same thing Sharon mentioned about the CL sugar cookie recipe. It seems SO you! Sharon, I too, have it in my recipe binder. Love when Girlfriends think alike!

    Susan, I know I’m OT (off topic), but just had to mention I just finished my 2nd Glady’s Taber book and starting my 3rd. Our local library has been wonderful locating, Stillmeadow and Sugarbridge, Still Cove Journal, and The Stillmeadow Road for me. I’m in heaven, thanks to you!

    Thanks for the sweet little post, sweet little you!

    Marie xo

  16. Happy March to Everyone!!! I heard a little bit of news yesterday on the weather station that some were going to get a blast of Winter and the rest of us would be getting bad storms with high winds and rain (IN), and that it will NOT be a pretty Spring because the flowers started blooming in Feb. (I have minature daffodils in bloom now) so how sad not to see all the pretty shades of pinks and I guess the flowers will be done by the end of March this year. I guess that is the downfall of having such a mild Winter? I must admit since Easter is early this year (April 8th) I put out my new “Bunny Tree” this morning, it is adorable….it’s body is a white minature tree with pink glittery eggs scattered about and the lights change colors….with a bunny head and long feet holding a Happy Easter sign. I know it is Lent and we are suppose to fast and reflect which I am doing; but, just couldn’t resist I’ve had it since the first of Feb. We have a sunny day here in Whiteland, IN, but expecting storms tomorrow….prayers go out to the people in Illinois and Missouri who had tornadoes on Leap Day… sad.

    • Pat Mofjeld says:

      Deborah, as well as fasting and being reflective in the time of Lent, I truly think we are also to celebrate spring–I, for one, am not going to give up flowers and Easter decorations. If one waits until after Easter to put spring and Easter decorations up, it is a short time to enjoy them. 🙂
      I was just thinking about getting out spring decorations now that it is March–though now with finally some snow, it feels like Christmas! LOL

      • Hello Pat……I agree and appreciate your affirmation of my wanting to celebrate even though it might be a little premature?? You mentioned snow so you must live in the East?? I am watching the news and I guess IN is going to get moderate storms on Friday and I don’t want to whine after seeing people cleaning up after tornadoes ripped apart their lives yesterday. I think you should go ahead and get out your Spring decorations…..once your snow leaves…..nice chatting with you have a good weekend!

  17. Paula Truitt says:

    Hello, Susan
    Although I have followed your blog for a very long time, I have never commented on anything. I live in Baytown, Texas. I am the Music Library Supervisor at the University of Houston. I have a request for the “Utterly Enchanted Bird” picture…would you consider making it a book mark? It is precious and I have returned to look at it about 5 times now!

    Thank you for reminding us of the beauty of everyday things, the “little things”.


  18. stephanie says:

    I love, love, love this idea. So fantastic. I wish I’d started it years ago – but I think I can even put a little one together retroactively for past parties and then continue doing it going forward. So much fun. I remember most of the placesettings I’ve used for parties because that is such a fun part of hosting!

    Thanks (as always) for the INSPIRATION!

    Say “hi” to the Daring Girls Club. They rock. I wish we could all send them a message of support or something – I’m so impressed with them!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ll tell them you said that and find out what they’re up to, maybe they have a web site!

  19. soy2please says:

    Congratulations Krista! I can’t think of a more deserving winner. I applaud your kind and unselfish giving of your heart to a wonderful cause. You give me hope! Thanks Susan – you make my heart smile.

  20. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh Susan…what a lovely post. First thing I saw when I opened up your page were those lovely spring blooms and all I could think of was…I bet those are froze off! (at least the weatherman said it was snowing out your way!) I love your book…I always think these special memories are irreplaceable and to be able to look back into them is like stepping back in time. I have been journaling for years, sticking little mommentos into them! What a great thing to do for oneself as well as those who will read these in the future!! ( this is why I love blogs!)


    • sbranch says:

      We’re lucky in a way, because that photo isn’t from this year! Our trees are no where near blooming yet, we’re still just in dream-mode!

  21. Jacquelyn Wirthlin .... Las Vegas, Nevada says:

    Really enjoyed this post. All the little things, of course, but especially your “Party Journal”. Besides being beautiful, it reminded me of the one I began in 1992 when we bought our home on Bainbridge Island, WA. We spent summers and school vacations Christmases and Easter then) and planned to retire there. I kept track of the important days we spent and illustrated them with your stickers! We always had a full house then … kids, grandmas, family and friends. Now it is just hubby and me and I’m still writing and using what “Susan” stickers I have left … lol What a joy to look up the “old days” and enjoy! Once again, thank you for the fun, music, and the look into your journal. A great evening to you, Sue, and all the girlfriends.
    Jackie in Las Vegas

  22. Linda P says:

    I am completely over the moon!!! I received my beautiful, beautiful Emma teapot this afternoon! It’s every bit what you said it was. Our anniversary was Valentine’s Day so it was perfect. My husband had given me a teapot before we married and it got broken (along with my heart) but 32 yrs later I have one to replace it and he loves it also.
    I had just made chocolate chip cookies so my UPS guy was most happy when I greeted him at the door with some when he delivered it. Banana Fritters sounds pretty yummy too – I’ll be back too!!
    Thank you, dear, Susan!!

    • sbranch says:

      I know just how you feel, love mine too, keep it right out where I can see it all the time. Right now, that’s on the kitchen table! UPS guy must have loved you!

      • Linda P says:

        It was late in the day, so he probably needed a boost! I’m even admiring the box the teapot came in …….. it’s lovely too! You just know something wonderful has to be inside!

      • Christie Ray says:

        Maybe if I make some chocolate chip cookies…my UPS man will hurry with MY Emma tea pot….I can hardly stand it, I’m so excited:))) ….. and…my pink tea kettle keeps singing, from happiness, and is anxious as well:)

  23. Nancy in Wyoming says:

    I miss your blog when I can’t check it daily… and wanted to see if you saw the Country Gardens magazine Early Spring 2012 issue – they have an article about Beatrix Potter – I thought of you! so charming. thanks for sharing your life with us… it is an oasis of goodness.

  24. Julie says:

    Oh, I just love those little Peter Rabbit books. So cute!

    And I love the Dinner Party diary. What a great idea!

  25. Missed stopping in for a couple days. It is busy here, I will say (belated, should have been yesterday) Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus i bob un fy Ffrindiau (Happy Saint David’s Day to all my Friends) for March 1st is the feast day of David, Patron Saint of Wales. We had a very special day, how I wish I could share, yesterday as the restored shrine to David at the cathedral was dedicated. I was deeply honoured to be able to attend.

    Sketchbooks and notebooks . . you say it isn’t perfect . . well I think it is! My books are in a universe of their own when it comes to (lack of) being perfect. Perfect doesn’t draw people in, but the quirky, unusual, and touches that say ‘loved’ do! btw, I love your handwriting. I’d always wondered if you had two . . your own private script and a public one; your public one is incredible and to discover that it is your ‘real’ handwriting and not some contrived script purely for publication purposes is really special, I think (hope I’m making sense here)

    bit of a rush on here this morning, so will bid adieu and hopefully have time to drop by later today!

    • sbranch says:

      Well, I do try to write much neater in my published books! Happy Saint David’s Day to you Deborah!

  26. Judy J. says:

    Oh, what a beautiful little book! I have a Victorian cottage dollhouse kit that I plan to build when I retire. It will be a replica of my summer cottage on the Vineyard. (If I had one, that is) I’ve been collecting furnishings for it and the Peter Rabbit book will look perfect on the coffee table. Could there be another giveaway in the future? (Oh, well, I didn’t think it could hurt to ask!).

    Your website feeds my dreams, Susan. Thanks for the inspiration.

  27. Suzanne Larsen says:

    Thank you so much for the banana fritter recipe today (March 2) and for the picture of your beautiful home a few days ago. I’ve put the home as wallpaper on my PC and it makes me think of Spring back in Iowa. I so enjoy your blog and everything you do. I first started using your stickers years ago, and then came your books, your calendars, etc. I don’t know what I’d do without you and I don’t ever want to find out! Here’s still hoping you’ll have a convention one of these days. Otherwise, you might just find me on your doorstep! LOL!

  28. Jessa says:

    TID BITS! Another great way to say small things : ) I love small things too. Your blog always gives me just a nice warm, comfy feeling….even amidst the chaos of Tornado Warnings (in Ohio). I am originally from MA, but have lived in the Midwest (MN, MO, OH) for most of my married life. My bff here is also from MA originally, and is a summer Cape dweller. She just discovered your blog and your lovely work. I felt so badly that I had known and loved your work since the late 80’s and never told her about you I guess (we are in “debate” about this fact) I promptly bought her 3 books and notecards of yours!
    ((hugs from OH)) Jessa

  29. Heidi says:

    Hi Susan,

    Thanks for posting your garden photos. How lovely. I would never leave. Would like to ask you, if it is possible to have the painting of your house covered with lilacs and “ever after” quote as a desktop wallpaper. I change out my wallpaper at work with your images and this one so speaks to me. I grew up in a house with lilacs growing all around it and being one of five children, well I can tell you there was lots for laughter. :o)

    • sbranch says:

      The original art for that was so small, I’m not sure how it will look when it’s enlarged to be a screen saver, but I sent it to Kellee this morning to see what she can do about it. Maybe we just enlarge it a little bit and put a frame around it. Check for it later in the free stuff section of my web store. If she can do it, it will be there.

  30. Andrea says:

    Love going down Memory Lane with the beautiful pages you did for Country Living Magazine. Loved seeing them again!

  31. christy palmer says:

    I whole-heartedly agree with your “cursive” comments. I too always got an A in handwriting and am now a calligrapher, so it definitely translated to art for me. And my granddaughter, who is 7, and a born artist if I do say so myself, recently announced they will not be learning cursive next year. Horrified, I offered to teach her, and we spent the afternoon sharing cursive lessons. I will not let this art form die if I can help it!

  32. linda hensiek says:

    I have admired your work for a long time . my collection includes cards, calendars, fabric and your keepsake book ‘LOVE’ which I bought years ago for our valentine anniversary. Your artwork always makes me smile! And now I don’t have to wait till I happen upon one of your items in a store or shop, I can enjoy it everyday on your blog!!!! Your collection of written keepsakes is inspiring to the rest of us who also treasure the same things … we cannot let cursive fade away! Linda H.,Dellwood,Mo.

  33. Lorraine Nylund says:

    Hello Susan, I am new to your website and wanted to tell you what a joy it is to read your writings and the blogs. I was delighted to find the quote about buying hyacinths on your page. I didn’t know who wrote this and now I do! My mother had this quote written on a piece of paper in her wallet when she passed away suddenly at 44 years old. She was born in Leeds,England and emigrated after WWII. You remind me so much of her. It is like reconnecting with a kindred spirit. She too loved her England! P.S. I too am outraged that could even consider not teaching cursive!!!

  34. Lorraine Nylund says:

    Whoops–I left out the word “they” in last sentence.

  35. Betsy Brunette (and guess what....I am blonde!) says:

    Hi Susan….since you shared with us the day you made the carrot cake cupcakes, I have been intending to write to you. The very day before you were baking those, I baked 4 small loaf pans of carrot cake to share with a few others who were least suspecting the treat. My loaves were not iced with cream cheese icing though.
    Anyway, I was a daily diary-writer all through high school and most of college. My dad was a Navy man and he started doing a full page a day while in the service. I always found that intriguing and wanted to document the highs and lows of my life like he had done. I am totally with you, though, with the idea that someday, these should probably be burned! Years ago, I told my sister that she is the only one in the whole world who could ever have them to read. Ha!
    The cursive question looms here in Indianapolis schools too. Seems like we would be crippling our future generations if they are not taught to write correctly. I have known only two people in my life who really wrote the way that they were taught to write….and it is beautiful handwriting!! Technology is great, but we all love handwritten notes and I hope that they don’t become obsolete in the next generation.
    Our bluebirds are back! Spring can’t be far away!!

  36. Mary Peterson says:

    Hi Susan: I loved your blog about your diaries. I had kept my childhood diaries for many, many years. After I had children of my own (and my attic became more crowded), I finally did away with them. To hear that you have had the courage and the wherewithall (?) to save your own is very cool.

    I enjoy your blogs and, of course, your artwork. What a mood lifter you are!

  37. Belen says:

    I loved this post!! LOved the actual letters you put in it too! I’m a third grade teacher and I teach handwriting! It’s not demanded, required or encouraged BUT I do it anyway. It’s a dying skill and they love it soo much! They are sooo quiet when we have handwriting. When they come to me in September they are soooo eager to write their name in handwriting.
    Love your posts, love your BLOG. I get inspired weekly. Such a happy spot in my day. Thank-you! from sunny, beautiful Ventura, CA….Belen

    • sbranch says:

      I think they think it’s art! My nephews can sit on their haunches at the kitchen table and draw and paint sharks and dinosaurs for hours, signing everything!

  38. Nettie says:

    Dear Susan, I love your new post about penmanship. I too love to write and won first prize for penmanship in third grade. I remember my teacher very well and credit her for my handwriting skill. I like to journal and always write by hand so that I can keep my penmanship up. I unfortunately did not develop the amazing artistic writing that you did. I think your written words are what first drew me to your work. You are a very special lady, my dear Susan. With grace and gratitude, Jeanette

  39. Ruth E. Rupp says:

    Dear Susan, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, EVERYTHING YOU DO!!! 🙂 You are so inspiring! Stop teaching cursive writing????. 🙁 We absolutely cannot let technology take over the finer things in life. I absolutely adored learning cursive at the first curled stroke of a letter and pride myself on my writing. Having been a decorative artist for the past 40 years (my favorite hobby), I will make sure my grandchildren learn the beautiful art of cursive writing. Thank you so much for your wonderful column on this very important subject. Hugs to you and your darling kitties! Ruthie

  40. Marsha says:

    What would you say if I told you I prefer to print?

    • sbranch says:

      I would say I didn’t mean to leave out printing, anything that comes from human hand, hieroglyphics too, is good! 🙂

  41. Jayne Mcleod says:

    ………. I just LOVE snail mail………..

  42. Pam Blass says:

    We need cursive. So much personality comes out in it. My friends and I still write letters and I don’t want to get a typed or printed one.

  43. Hubba Corpening says:

    I too can’t imagine the world without cursive writing. You always make me slow down and think and stop to smell the roses……..what an inspiration you are in so many ways. Thanks for the beautiful blog. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to it. I have saved every one! Have an incredible day – and kissy kiss the kitties!

  44. Sonya Hewes says:

    I ♥ letter writing. Before I became a freshman in college, I had 82 pen pals from all over the world and United States and I would sit down and hand write my letters and no letter was ever the same. My studies took priority so I had to discontinue, but I still communicate with two of my pen pals, one in Pittsburgh and one in California.
    And also after meeting a couple in Australia years ago when they came to tour Alaska (and I’ve been to Australia once to see them), Jill and I still continue to write handwritten letters to each other and we’re a match because we both could easily write at least 10 pages to each other each time!
    I love reading your blogs – they make my day special! Thank you! ♥

  45. Karen Picoult says:

    Hello, Susan!
    I love your post about cursive writing. I know a young lady, 19 years of age I believe, who is in a very good university. She cannot read cursive!! I have a friend, a social studies teacher, who says she always writes her assignments and other information in cursive on the blackboard in her classroom. Kudos to her, say I! It truly is becoming a lost art – like tatting. Hopefully cursive will come back, but with the keyboard technologies available for our youth today, I fear not. Even the proper grammar and correct spelling has gone by the wayside. ‘Tis a shame. Anyway, thanks for your tribute to Cursive Writing! I truly enjoyed reading it.

  46. Leah Sandidge says:

    I enjoy your blog so much that I just feel a heavenly bond when I read it. When you write down your thoughts it is like you are reading my mind of all the things I wish I could say but don’t. Thank you for being such an inspiration to me.

  47. Gladys Gelderbloem says:

    Dear Susan

    Greeting from sunny South Africa

    I have been a fan your blog for a year now, religiously reading them every moring before work so that I would have a “pretty, happy” day. That’s how I see your posts. Pretty and Happy

    Today I plucked up the courage to comment as it was on handwriting and hand written letters. I love peoples hand writing and regret that so many peple only use their computers so I no longer receive handwritten letters. My family have beautiful handwritings and at ninety my aunt Gladys ( whom I am named after ) still had her copy bookhandwring and I have kept some letters to show my children. Both my own and the ones I taught, for at a stage in my life I was a teacher. Incidently and with no pride attached I always received the best mark for my blackboard work and handwriting.

    I have insisted that my children write neatly as it takes the same time as writing untidily and who know’s who may need to read what you’ve written.

    Thank you for your really inspiring blogs making our days happy and pretty. Love your beautiful art work and the fact that your books are hand written.
    Best wishes to you and Joe

  48. MaryAnn Jones says:

    Hello Susan,
    Ican remember when I was in grade school, we had to practive cursive writing. I loved it. I won many awards for my writing. My children can barely write in cursive. They mainly print. It is such a shame.
    I applaude your cursive day……

  49. Judith N. Mellenthien says:

    Susan, I love your blog and look forward to reading it as often as it is sent. I also love cursive writing and have used it all my life. I love corresponding with family and friends in this way but admit I am becoming slack. Thank you for reminding me how important personal letters and notes written in cursive are. Love to you. Judy

  50. katy says:

    I love your stuff!!!! I want it all!!!!

  51. Anne Nicholson says:

    Hi Susan,
    I have never commented before, but read your blog all the time. When I saw that you were giving away a “Grandma” book I had to try to win it! I became a grandma or Mim as I want to be called in October of 2011. I would love to have had one of these books for my mom to have filled out for my kids!

  52. Peggy Klasen says:

    Please enter me in your latest drawing!

    Thank you,

  53. Jo-Anne Daily says:

    Susan…I absolutely adore you…I first loved your cards…then your cookbooks…and always your calanders…I’ve been following you for years…I too, aplaud you for “cursive” day…I miss letters from friends…all are now emails…cards, letters all of it…please keep cursive alive…and do enter me in your contest…my grandma has past but, my granddaughter would love this…

  54. Julie Burns says:

    I had the most wonderful pleasure of meeting you and Joe about six years ago at Barnes & Noble in Wellington, Florida! My son worked there, and knowing how much I love your books, calendars, and art work, he called me to say that you were making a stop in the book store. It’s hard to believe cursive would no longer be taught. The nuns in my school believed that penmanship was very important, and we practiced and practiced. I anxiously wait each year for your calendar with its charming art and your lovely handwriting!

    Julie Burns

  55. Nancy Firment says:

    I love having a cup of my favorite coffee or tea and reading your blog. It is quiet time to reflect on all the little wonders in our life that we sometimes overlook.

  56. Leslie Gammelgaard says:

    From love letters to recipes…cursive is Queen! Your letter to your grandmother is precious. It made me miss my dear Grandma all over again. By the way, I love your sweet little birds on the cherry blossom branch. Our alder forest was filled with them this weekend. I could hear them twittering way up there so I got my binoculars out to spy on them. They were having a dinner party before the storm blew in!

  57. Patricia Swarm says:

    Hello Susan,
    Long live “cursive” and Susan Branch! Have a glorious day!

  58. Jan from Northern CA says:

    I so agree with you regarding cursive. It’s so beautiful and so original to each person. I sat with my Godson (first grade) a few weeks ago working on his spelling and writing homework with him. I’m wondering if they teach it in his school? He was starting at the bottom with his letters……and other habits. I was trying to get him to understand that making his letters in the right direction was getting him ready for cursive. He just looked at me……ahh well.
    He did try really hard to please me by carefully forming his letters in the correct direction after that……wonderful little guy.
    Well, I so enjoy your handwriting. Good for you!
    Jan from Northern CA

  59. Lisa says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE your books! I love they are handwritten and everything about them is beautiful.. Would be so honored to have these three in my collection

  60. Star Johnson says:

    I entered to win several times before you told us to come to this site.
    I am as upset as you about the cursive writing. Are they serious???????
    What will happen when we run out of batteries, electicity, or have a power shortage due to a serious weather situation. No one will be able to communicate because they don’t know how to write with charcoal and whatever.
    I know this is extreme, but……………..what if????
    I would so love to win the grandma book and the notes. I thought I had made an order before valentines day but it apparentlly did not go through. The notes were part of my order. So I could send these notes instead.
    I am a longgggggggg time fan. I still get excited when you blog. I especially like Jack. I have a tuxedo cat too. His name is Spot, he has three black spots on his left side and a thong under his tail. I just celebrated my 70 birthday up in Cambria over the last weekend. My two best friends live there.
    I use to shop at your store in Arroyo Grande.
    Keep writing and drawing. *

  61. Kathy says:

    You make my day smile. Thank you Susan!

  62. Terry Sampson says:

    You….Susan Branch… are a breath of fresh air. Your blog makes me smile and all is right with the world.

    Your remarks on “handwriting” are so true. I have letters my Grandma wrote to my Grandpa in the early 1940’s and these letters give me a glimpse into their lives. I give journals to the “younger” girls in my family hoping they will use them. I have kept a journal for over 30 years and love reading back over them.

    Thank your for making this world a better place.

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