Traveling Armchairs

While armchair travelers dream of going places, traveling armchairs dream of staying put.      ♥ Anne Tyler

 OMG Girlfriends, 2,300 comments, this definitely wins the award for most exciting Giveaway so far!  Aren’t you amazed?  Who knew!?   Most of the time we hum along so quietly, like a big happy quilting bee or something, and then suddenly, this! I like it!!  I just wish I had 2,300 of these special little books — you all deserve one!  I don’t even want to set Vanna* in motion — ‘no winner’ means everyone is still a winner!

I have exciting news: our girlfriend Georgie contacted the Gift Shop at Hill Top Farm to see if she could order a copy of the special edition book to be sent to her, and GUESS WHAT?  She Twittered to tell me — they’re all sold out!  I was really surprised, they had lots of  them only a month ago when we were there and now they’re all gone!

WHEW, we came so close to missing it!  Not really, I don’t think missing it was ever part of the plan!  What it means is that our little book here is the very last of them, ever in the world, that still has no real home.

So I think it’s only fair, because so many people are on vacation at this time of year; I’m going to let the contest go on a bit longer; I don’t want anyone to miss their chance!  There’s only this one last book; it’s not going to happen again.  And this way everyone stays book-winners for a little bit longer . . . I told Vanna*, take off the sparkly white dress, get back into your jeans, go to the beach or something, it’ll be a couple more days. 

This is how I feel when I read your comments (both to me and to each other), that you want me to “stay” — what a nice compliment that is, thank you all so much! I hope you feel the same way when you read my blog!

As for the “mystery rose” on Beatrix Potter’s house, you guys came up with some great ideas as to what it could be — I’ve been checking them out on Google.  The old rose called Zephirine Drohin seems to match all the characteristics I could see in the roses on Beatrix Potter’s house.  It’s a tall climber, will do well in partial shade, smells wonderful, do you think it’s too pink to be it?  There were a couple of others you suggested that I thought looked great too.  Albertine is gorgeous, I’m not sure if it will do OK in the shade, but it’s beautiful , and Caroline Testout was another.  I wasn’t sure the cabbage rose Centifolia would grow tall enough.  I also found this chart of David Austin roses that bloom well in partial shade . . . See what you think. I think I can’t go wrong with any of them! Loved your input.  I know exactly where to come from now on when I have a question about something!

  I also love the Fairy roses we have bordering our garden, they grow so well, are now climbing up the rhododendron planted next to them making a very interesting wild-looking thing in our garden.  But I think the flower is a bit too small for the spot I have in mind.

Here are some special roses I’ve had good luck with; a glorious peach one called “Just Joey” and the prolific yellow one called “Julia Child.”  These are the ones that send me to the moon . . .  both of them bloom and bloom, and are deeply scented.  Put your nose in there and stay awhile!  The gorgeous white one is “Iceberg.”  But none of these is a climber.

Here’s the arbor Joe’s been working on since we got home, with sweet “New Dawn” climbing roses on it.  This photo was taken a while back; both the arbor and the rose need help right now!   The trees in our garden have gotten bigger, and although we’ve thinned them, this rose hasn’t been getting the full sun it prefers  . . . so once Joe finishes and repaints the arbor, I’m thinking the Beatrix Potter rose, if I can find it, not requiring so much sun, may look wonderful here.  And keep us immersed in the memories!  (BTW, a movie I just thought of, if you haven’t seen Mrs. Miniver, you would love it, especially the parts about the “Mrs. Miniver Rose,” and when she buys the hat–I don’t own a lot of movies, but I do own this one!).

And here’s what we plan to do with the arbor as soon as its finished!  Ahhh, yes, this “traveling armchair” is very happy to be home!  I am back working at my watercolor/book-writing schedule: up early, before the birds, while it’s still quiet, painting for the Diary, feeling like we (me and kitties) have the whole island/world to ourselves; then Joe and I include beach-glass-hunting on our walk out to the water; there’s sun tea and checking out girlfriends gardens in the afternoon; walking downtown at night with Joe, for ice cream or a movie (we saw the oddly interesting and very original Moonrise Kingdom last night — fun link!  Maybe better than the movie!); I can’t tell you how much I love being in my own home sweet home where I can play house to my heart’s content! (And don’t think this is some sort of unnatural perfect world here, there’s plenty of laundry, dentist appointments, and weeds in the garden to balance everything out!  Life is normal around here!)

  But I don’t mind, it all fits into the general scheme of “playing house.”

And the Book! I’m having a wonderful creative time putting it together. I think you are going to love it.  Even better than the blog!  At least, that’s my plan. 

OK Girlfriends, if you haven’t left a comment yet for the Last-One-in-the-Whole-World darling Beatrix Potter Book (scroll to the post just below this one if you have no idea what I’m talking about!), here’s your chance; just a couple more days and we’ll announce the lucky winner.  And don’t worry, you can leave as many comments as you want, either in the first post, or this one — Vanna* (so talented) knows to only count one comment per person — and I always love to hear from you!   Soon I’ll show you how England was decorated while we were there.  So festive!  Happy day girls and boys! Stay! XOXO

PS. fyi . . .* Vanna White is what we named the Random Number Generator for the blog.  But we just call her Vanna.  And here’s my theme for the day . . .

This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

739 Responses to Traveling Armchairs

  1. Carla says:

    Dear Susan,
    My husband and I (yes, my husband, too!) thoroughly enjoyed our stowaway status on your trip to England. We loved it all, the Queen Mary, the special places, the lambs, the homes, the FUN! It was a wonderful trip for all of us!
    I think the pottery was the one that touched me the most, however. Not because of what they make, which is quite delightful, but because of the story of the “lost” potteries and the one which has brought the craft back to that part of England. It is so similar to my hometown in Ohio, East Liverpool, which was settled and built by English potters. We were the “Pottery Capital of the World” for many years, but sadly, there are only 3 left. One, Homer Laughlin, makes the currently popular Fiestaware and the others do mostly hotel and restaurant ware. We were just there visiting family and, of course, went to the Fiesta factory outlet. My grandmother worked most of her life as a finisher in many of the local potteries, so pottery is a big part of my life. We are official members of the “plate turners union.” Everywhere we go, we turn over the plates to see where they are from!
    Thank you so much for taking us along!

    • sbranch says:

      Homer Laughlin used to make some really wonderful patterns besides Fiestaware; I’m happy they are still in business! But you see the prices Emma has to charge in order to pay her bills and her people, that’s why it all went to China, people didn’t want to pay that price anymore. Very sad. I hope Emma makes it forever, there was such pride of place at that factory! Thanks Carla!

    • Barb from Ohio says:

      Dear Carla,
      I live in northeast Ohio and have visited Homer Laughlin many times over the years; I love the Fiestaware and all the vibrant colors. I have to admit I like their seconds room best, and you can find some pieces that are almost perfect, and at a much cheaper cost. I use it for everyday dining. The tour they have there is nice to take too, and informative on how they make and paint the china. They still have holiday and some other patterns besides Fiesta, I think. How wonderful that your grandmother was a part of creating some of this pottery!

  2. NANCY JO says:

    HI Susan,
    So glad you are home, we go away for the weekend and I’m gald to be home, so seven weeks, well thats an event! I just ordered a book about Beatrix Potter’s life.
    Send me some rain if you have any extra, I’m wearing out my hose.
    Nancy Jo

    • sbranch says:

      We got a few drops yesterday, but we could use some too, I know what you mean about the hose!

      • Nina says:

        Nancy you can have ours all the way from England! I cannot remember ever having this much rain through the summer in my life! We had a months rainfall in 24 hrs the first week in July. I am trying to see the blessings in it but a little sunshine wouldn’t go a miss! lol xxxx

        • sbranch says:

          I know, it’s been ridiculous. It makes the country beautiful, but you deserve the sun to shine on you!!! But choice of cool rain and steaming hot humidity like we have now? All we’re getting is extremes, we need a middle ground!

      • judi says:

        Oh, I wish I could share. Had 3″ in my rain gauge from the last day and a half….and then it rained during the night. Another 1/2″ in the gauge and thunderclouds and a rainbow in the west this morning.

  3. Stacey says:

    Good Morning Susan,
    How sweet of you to draw out the drawing for all of us to have a chance at The One and Only Beatrix Potter-Susan Branch collaboration. Thank you for building up my character in developing patience. NOT! 🙂 I continue to live in hope.

    Thank you, truly, for sharing all the delightful garden pictures and plans. I live in Florida in a ghost village (a development that has gone nowhere thanks to the Crash/Recession/Depression). We rent one of the model homes and the place is landscaped and cared for through a yard service we are required to have. No lovely, self-designed garden, just a crepe myrtle, low lying bushes, a young palm tree and tons of grass. And Florida is way too hot for any kind of English Garden, anyway. So, I must console myself with potted geraniums by the front door and dream of one day being back in a more northerly clime with my own yard to potter about in. Till then, the wraith you might spot lingering in your garden is just my spirit gone walk about. Have a blessed day! Love, Stacey

    • sbranch says:

      Will love to see you here Stacey!

      • Doreen Strain (from Florida) says:

        Stacey, what part of FL do you live in? I too live in FL and feel the very same way about the gardening. I came from Upstate NY were the gardening was great. Down here things just get way to hot to grow anything that can’t take too much heat or the sun full time. Nice to see someone else from FL visiting here. Why don’t you come join us on F.O.S.B on Facebook if you haven’t already. It’s stands for Friends of Susan Branch. Peg (one of Susan’s friends) runs the site for her and she is a hoot. I’m sure you’d like it. Ta Ta for now. FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

        • Stacey says:

          Hi Doreen,
          I am living near Crystal River on the Nature Coast…one of the places the manatees like to visit. Where are you? I moved here from Kansas, which also gets too hot much of the summer. The poor folks there have pretty much lost the corn crop as the temps have been 105-108 for weeks! But before that we lived in Wisconsin and loved it. Of all the places we’ve lived that’s the one that feels like ‘home’. So, we’ll be the odd ones retiring North one day. 🙂 I have not joined Facebook but will look into it soon. TTFN Stacey

  4. Susan Stollard says:

    The roses are beautiful…..have you called your local University Extension office and asked a Master Gardener? They should know or have the resources to find out what they may be. I took pictures of flowers in the UK and Ireland and had them identify the flowers–they were able to tell me all about them and even found resources that I could purchase many of them from! Good luck in your hunt. I’ve loved your blog from Day 1, and always look for the quotes (and music)!

  5. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    hi Susan, You had me at the “twinkly lights!” The arbor, the roses, and the
    twinkly lights…….once again, I think of a Nora Ephron movie moment! And,
    speaking of movies, I too, took in some movies this past week……perhaps to
    escape the heat and humidity?! Sunday was a matinee, the new 3-D Spiderman movie with the kids…FUN! Earlier in the week I saw the Met Opera’s Live
    Summer Series: Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffman. Hoffman, a poet, is wasting his talent, carousing at the bars, trying to find love and escape the
    memories of three lost loves. It made me think of Jane Austen and our dear
    Beatrix Potter…..for after his muse takes him back-in-time to once again visit
    these women, he discovers that….Love makes us great; but, it is in Tears that
    we become greater! I love thinking about that! And, speaking about,
    thinking…..I cannot get Friday nights movie out of my head! Or should I say,
    I cannot stop thinking about a little girl named Hushpuppy !!! In the movie,
    Beast of the Southern Wild, Hushpuppy shares her world with the imagination, courage, and eyes of a six year old …. a world she calls…the Bathtub….. Home!
    This movie is thought provoking on so many different levels!
    For one, I think about how complex “Home” really is! Our homes may be
    different from each other, some may be considered better than others,
    but our own “home” is a part of our soul…and creates us and our world.
    Our Homes……different, but the same…..close together, but far-away…..
    we may Think we live in different homes….but really, are we not all living
    together in One Home?! And now my thoughts wander back to…one home…..
    the home of the one-and-only suitcase!!! 😉
    Well, after this weekend, I can now officially say, …. I am, “Greater!”
    And, I think it’s safe to say …… “We are all Greater!!!”
    But, this week…..gonna be all about Laughter….’cuz, if tears do makes us great,
    then Laughing has gotta must make us even better!!!Right??? dear Susan, “thank you” for always opening up Your heart and Your Home….. heart & soul…… Beautiful inside and out……. my heart will always hope that YoU Forever “Stay!” XoXDawn

  6. Karen L. says:

    Please put my name in again for Vanna to chose from. This is all so much fun. I think the fun of going away is coming home all full of projects. Your Arbor project looks so Tuscan and will be so much fun for any meal and tea time.

  7. audrey Bell from LaBarque Creek, Missouri says:

    I almost missed it!
    I have been away and missed much of your trip to England. You see, I was off on my own adventure getting my frist stamp in my very own, bright new shiney passport! I was lucky enough to go along with 10 high school students to Germany. My first trip out of the country was followed swiftly by a trip to Savanna, Georgia with a group of Girl Scouting friends to celebrate our 100 year anniversary.
    PHEW! My travel bags are getting a workout this summer. I have had canoe trips and lake trips with girlfriends and church youth groups. The idea “having the time of my life” comes to readily to mind.
    I will enjoy reading about “the girlfriends” trip to “Merry Old” and cathing up on your adventures while I perhaps plan the next stamp for my passport.
    Thank you for sharing – add me to the mix before Vanna sets the tumbler into action… one more summer trip memory!

  8. Lucille says:

    What a wonderful post …….. Beatles music, David Austin roses and that wonderful arbor Joe is working on. Where can I find plans for that arbor? I’d love to have it in my yard. And of course, I’d love it it Vanna picks me for the Beatrix Potter limited edition!

    • sbranch says:

      It was built by the people who owned our house from 1949 to 1982, so there really aren’t any plans! Sorry!

  9. Sylvia Johnson says:

    I know I am going to love your new book, which I will order as soon as you say go!!

  10. How blessed we all are to have you share with us all the beauty of your England “holiday” and also your beautiful garden of roses. When we were on the island (MV) back in early June, the roses were mostly still all buds – just waiting for you to come back and say, “It’s time to show off your gorgeous color and fragrance, little darlings!”. And so, they did! Can’t wait to see who is the lucky one for receiving the special, one-of-a-kind book with your little lamb inside! ! ! You are SO thoughtful and generous to offer such a treasure. Thanks, and God bless, for brightening our days with your blog. We love you, Susan : )

  11. Elda Sullivan says:

    Susan, I love your blog! Thank you for taking me to England with you and Joe. I would love to win the special edition book for my best girlfriend who is a huge Beatrix Potter fan. Thank you for the opportunity to be considered.

  12. Mary Ellen Krivanek says:

    How can it be I am not sure if I sent you my comment or just did so in my head?
    I’m back at work after a week in England myself visiting family- oh, to have a month! Sorry we didn’t bump into each other at afternoon tea -or at Liberty of London on Oxford Steet fabric shopping-I was looking for you! Blessings for you on your beautiful blog-I can visit England now whenever I want! Thank you!

  13. Lucy de Leeuw ( Miss Lucie) says:

    Thank you so much for extending the deadline for us to enter. I hope that I am the lucky winner. I also thought of contacting the shop to purchase a book as well. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the blogs and twitter of your two month vacation to “jolly old England”. There were many times I felt I was there especially the Queen’s Jubilee, Emma Bridgewater tour, the countryside, oh so many interesting places, I get lost in time going back to read them all over again. That was very gracious of you to share it with all of us. Lots of work on your and Joe’s part but great for all of us.
    I’m so looking forward to the new book… can’t wait.

    Just love the arbor project…. I think one would look good at my place!
    The roses speak to us loud and clear!

    Thanks for sharing Susan.

  14. Jamie from Virginia says:

    I tried to leave a comment yesterday but it seems to have disappeared or I never pushed “send”! 🙂

    Beatrix’s rose looks like “Constance Spry”. She is a David Austin rose introduced in the early 1960’s (about ’62). It is a very beautiful, pink, fragrant rose which seems to be very common in English gardens. “Zephrine Drouhin”, that you mention, is usually much darker pink, but very fragrant. The tell-tale sign of a “Zephrine” is that is will be nearly, or completely, thornless! How perfect is THAT for a rose? If the Hill Top Farm gardener thought the rose was pre-1960’s, then maybe it is an antique rose whose name has been lost to history, leaving us to come up with a new romantic name for it.

    Also, I shall THANK YOU for “taking us along” on your trip to England. It was very gracious of you to open your personal life to share glimpses of such beautiful places with us, your gentle readers. I look forward to your English Diary, I’m certain it will be as lovely and charming as all your other books.


    • sbranch says:

      I feel certain (I don’t know why) that it’s pre 1960 because I like to think that it was something that Beatrix planted, or at least a near relative! I’m beginning to think it’s not a Zephrine Drouhin as it seems a bit darker than the roses I saw. I put Constance Spry on my list! Thanks Jamie!

      • Minette says:

        In Linda Lear’s biography of Beatrix, she references a letter that Beatrix wrote to Millie Warne describing the farmhouse in which she writes that she had discovered a ‘rather good pink rose on the farmhouse, very scraggy and neglected but making new shoots.’ This was in 1905, so hopefully the climbing rose bush that is still there is at least a descendant of what Beatrix first saw on the house itself. I think it would have to be what is usually categorized as “old Climbers” unless it has been totally replaced by a newer Austen rose. The Zepherine is one of these as is the Blairii 2, but from what I understand, the Blairii 1 and 2 roses have a milder scent. Climbing Constance Spry is an Austen rose and has a stronger scent than Blairii 2 and looks like it may almost be the same shade of pink, but think it would have had to been planted in the last 30 years. Whatever one it is, it would find a welcoming home in your garden with all of the other beautiful roses that you have!

        • sbranch says:

          That’s what I was hoping too …. which is why I really would like to find the right one — but there are so many look-alikes! I think I will just have to go with one and tell myself it is definitely the Beatrix Potter rose!

          • Minette says:

            I know–it would really be great if you could find the exact one! The parentage of the Austin Constance Spry is Gallica rose Belle Isis x Dainty Maid (A Floribunda rose), so perhaps that may even be a clue as to the Hilltop Farm “cabbage rose.” It has been a lot of fun going back through my old gardening and Potter books trying to identify that rose! I even enjoyed reading The Tale of Tom Kitten again as supposedly the illustrations in the book were done as Beatrix ideally visioned the Hilltop garden to be. I wish that Tasha Tudor was still with us as I am sure she would know what that rose was! Her garden in Vermont appears to be just as lovingly created as Hilltop! I am certain that you will find the perfect Potter rose!

          • sbranch says:

            Doesn’t it seem like there should be a rose called the Beatrix Potter rose, wouldn’t that solve the whole problem!?

          • Minette says:

            Actually, there is a recently introduced rose in the UK called the Beatrix Potter rose:

            Not sure if it exactly matches the rose from your pictures, but worth looking at as it does tolerate partial shade.

          • sbranch says:

            You just reminded me, I was “followed” on Twitter by the Beatrix Potter Society the other day … I just Twittered them the link to this and asked if they knew the name of the Rose on the front of BP’s house. This is a pretty pink rose, but not a climber. I wonder how they chose her name for it? Thank you Minette!

          • Minette says:

            Apparently, the rose was developed from a picutre that Beatrix Potter painted. Here is the announcement of its introduction at Chelsea:


            I am sure the Beatrix Potter Society can help you! Please let us know if you find out what it is!

          • sbranch says:

            I will!

  15. Brenda says:

    Dear Susan,
    Every time I see Peter Rabbit or anything Beatrix Potter, I am transported back to the subdued sounds of a hushed library, the wonderful scent of old books, the echoes of footsteps on marble floors, and the wonderment of a six year old girl standing looking up into the infinite ceiling of the beautiful Pack Memorial Library in Asheville NC. Daddy had taken us to the library, and I had never seen so many books in all my life! I had found my element. I was shown to the Children’s room and I just couldn’t believe all those beautiful & colorful books…and that I could look and touch to my content. It was then that I met Peter Rabbit. Imagine my amazement when I found out that I could check out my very OWN book, but when I realized I could check out a whole armful of the little enchanting Beatrix Potter books… well, I was in Heaven! I have always been a fan of anything in miniature, and so my joy was complete. I have been a fan of everything Beatrix Potter since. I am an artist, and I see her lovely watercolors as little jewels, especially in her Jemima Puddleduck book …the lovely foxgloves, don’t you know?

    I never write comments, BUT when so many of my special favorite things come together at the same time, ie. : Susan Branch, my favorite present-day watercolor illustrator, takes me, an Anglophile, to England, then writes about Peter Rabbit and Friends and Beatrix Potter, my favorite children’s book author, and offers a chance for such a special limited edition of Peter Rabbit, & then shares her lovely roses …well, there was no choice, I just HAD to write to say thank you, thank you, thank you. And even if I don’t win …thank you, dear Susan Branch, for sharing your bright spirit.


    • sbranch says:

      Oh Brenda, thank you so much! The lovely foxgloves, yes I do know! xo

    • Diane Harris says:

      Brenda, I can hear your ♥ in your words! I couldn’t agree more and foxgloves do put me over the moon as well! Only I’m no artist, just a scrapbooker. Thanks for posting what I am feeling! I don’t think Susan understands how she’s saved many of us from the hum-drumness of our everyday lives and put romance into our day.

      • sbranch says:

        And scrapbookers are definitely artists too …. !

        • Diane Harris says:

          You’re so sweet to say so, but nothing like you! I’ve heard it called “Life Artist”. I like that. Sounds more than cutting and pasting. But you can’t take the first grader out of me, I love cutting and pasting. 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            Don’t forget arranging and choosing the colors…that’s where the art is! My little saying is “if you do it with heart, that’s art!”

        • Victoria says:

          Dear Susan and Girlfriends,
          Speaking of artists….I have always believed that “Friends of a feather flock together” … I was thinking…There must be some very talented Girlfriends that would love to sell their creations, and others of us that are always looking for extraordinary, unusual things…
          Susan, is it possible artist Girlfriends could advertise on your website in such a way that it would not distract from any of the charm that you have created? … Maybe it could be engineered in such as way that advertising could only be viewed by clicking on your special seperate section called “Advertising”. In this way, viewing advertising would be elective and wouldn’t clutter up your beautiful site or be confused with your website store.
          I remember reading “Home Companion” magazine, the only magazine that I ever read cover to cover including the advertising. Now, your blog and website takes it’s place.
          Much of the advertising was from artists working from home making their own unique items that could not be found anywhere else. It was great for them as well since their art appealed to those particular readers.
          I’m thinking of Girlfriends that make sea glass jewelry or pottery, etc. but it would have to meet your approval, because anything you like we would like. Just an idea, but wondering what you and other girlfriends would think about getting it going in time for the holidays?

          • sbranch says:

            We do take ads, or we were going to, I think we’re still getting organized in that direction . . . see the little “advertising” button at the top of the blog? Kellee is taking info on that . . . I would think we could put a link on my “favorites” page that says “advertisers” and put etsy-type, artist-girlfriends ads all together there . . . the way they do in the magazines, but with links on each ad! Interesting idea! Thanks Victoria!

      • Brenda says:

        Diane, Thank you for your sweet reply to my comment. You’re welcome for the post, which you said expressed what you were feeling, too. Yes, I think Susan is a treasure and I hope she realizes more and more how valuable all her effort and generosity are to all of us who enjoy her work and lovely photographs. They worked so hard for us on their holiday!

        By the way, I loved your wording about your fondness of foxgloves, too ..that they put you “over the moon”! I love all references to the moon. Reminds me of a picket fence I once planted with ‘heavenly blue’ morning glories and white moon flowers.. (morning and evening covered! )

        I admire so many of the creative scrapbooking pages I have seen, and I’m sure yours are no exception. My medium is watercolor, but scrapbooking can be very artistic, too. What nice memories you are making for your family! By the way, Susan is doing her generous giveaway drawing today, and although I would treasure having it the little Peter Rabbit book, I want to wish you good luck, too!
        Have a lovely day,

  16. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Lovely blog & pictures, thank you! BTW, your Beatles escapade has been popping into my head, makes me smile each time! What a wonderful time, today that wouldn’t be possible! Love the rose search, I even looked for the name of some roses & pictures a friend had given me, but, none that looked like Hilltop Farm’s, sorry! Cool here today, weed pulling weather…ugh….but love the results. Your arbor is fabulous, love the fairy lights! Great day GFFs!

  17. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Almost Noon….Lunch~Time! Hello Sweet Sue! I Need The “Fairy Roses”! omgggggggggg! ,-) Well My Wings are STILL…Crossed….2,300 Comments! More By Now! Very Very Exciting…I Know Beatrix Potter is Smiling… 🙂 I Love the whole “Vanna” Thing…You told Her “To take off Her Sparkly White Dress & go to The Beach”! 🙂 LOL… You are Funny! I Love it!…Happy You are Happy to Be Home…”Playing~House”…Summertime is such a Fun Time…I Know You are Busy Creating …Painting for The Diary…I Love The Painting of The Kitty on The Books…it’s Jack…The Mustache! so Cute! 🙂 Meow! Joe is Busy on The Arbor…Very Magical Indeed Sweet Sue…We Have Been working on our Boat…a 17 foot AquaSport…We Cleaned it up All Day Sunday… it’s all Bright & Shiny…We have Company Coming this weekend from Ohio…so We are Planning a Fishing Trip on Our Lakes…& a Picnic! Yay!….so I Better go Back Outside & Help The Herbster! 😉 & YES Sweet Sue….Always…STAY! Love & Summer Pixie~Dust! xoxo Poof!✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨

    • sbranch says:

      Have fun Angie, hello to the Herbster!

      • Angie(Tink!) says:

        Good Morning Sweet Sweet Sue! I just Stopped to take a Break! Herbster Says…”Hello Sue”…The Boat is Ready…We are gonna Take it Out on a “Test~Run” Then The Next two Days…I Must Whistle while I work & Make The House Clean & Shiny!….Whew!….see Ya Soon! xoxo Poof! 🙂 Let The Fun Begin! Yay! 🙂 ✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫

  18. Dara Lane says:

    Loved, loved, loved going to England with you. Would love, love, love to have the book!

  19. cj says:

    Woo, woo, would love that book. I’m awfully close to dedicating my room called the “study” to decorate in BP. I just have to say the last time I was on your enchanting island was 1967 and my soon to be husband and I rented bikes and toured the island, I’ll never forget it! You are a lucky girl.

  20. Jan from Northern CA says:

    Good Morning Susan,
    I have a climbing white rose over the arch at our front gate…..I’m not sure of the name and can’t look as I’m traveling from our home in Northern CA to Colorado in our motorhome at the moment….ugg, wind. But, this lovely rose was given by a friend and I cherish it. I have a red one on the other side climbing to meet it. The idea came from the childhood fairy tale “Snow White and Rose Red”. It was an old book I still have….it had a photo of them with their prince charmings at the end in front of an arch with a red rose rising up to meet a white rose…..and so my childhood dream was to someday have that. I miss my roses when we travel. I had to spend a couple days triming and feeding them before we left…..I miss my kitties as well……sigh, I’m sure your two are so happy you are home. Well, enjoy that wonderful garden of yours….it gives me so many ideas.
    Jan from Northern CA

  21. Susan Lankford Mann says:

    Have enjoyed being a mental traveler all over England and can’t wait for your next trip! I keep re-reading your travel notes and looking at the pictures you and Joe took. So lovely . . .

  22. JULIANA says:

    Hi Susan!

    I am brasilian, I live in Brazil, but I love England.
    So romantic.
    I am delighted with your blog.Is wonderful and inspires me a lot.
    It makes my day happier.
    Sorry Google’s english.

  23. Robin Heim says:

    So glad that you decided to extend the drawing a few more days. Busy weekend with the grandkids –> our Heimster Beach Day Friday last Friday, where we had the awesome opportunity of sharing the Pacific with a pod of dolphins swimming up the coast, a seal, a conga line of pelicans, sand crabs, seagulls, and a lone pigeon {determined not to let the seagulls abscond with all the beach booty}. Saturday was spent at Home Depot choosing paints and tiles and drawer pulls, oh my! As we attempt to redo our home into a beachy palace out here in the IE. And yesterday, well, I stopped at Barnes & Noble and came across some great LONDON themed stationery that made me think of the upcoming Olympics and YOU! So glad that you are home safe and so glad that you shared your trip with all of us. Good times! 🙂

  24. Linda Joan says:

    Hello Dear Susan,

    I so enjoy your blog! Thank you for sharing your sweetness with us. Your trip to England was truly amazing and I could hardly wait for your next post to be up. Recently I have latched onto the motto “live beautifully”. I think you show us how to do that everyday.

  25. Edda says:

    I would love to have this book. One of my co workers is going to England in the fall and after sharing the blog with her, she is so excited she can barely stay in her chair. Thanks for sharing

  26. Kate G. says:

    “Just Joey” is my favorite rose. We passed them on the way walking to school in fourth grade. I just loved it and you’ve brought back a wonderful memory!

    thanks so much,

  27. Susan says:

    Yes! Put my name in for the Last-One-in-the-Whole-World darling Beatrix Potter Book! Your arbor with twinkling lights is dreamy~~~and I can just smell those wonderful roses! So beautiful.

  28. melissa says:

    Susan, you are adorable ♥ Stay!! ♥

  29. melissa says:

    We want to go to England next summer. Can ♥ not ♥ wait ♥ till your book is available!!! 🙂

  30. Joanie says:

    Dear Susan,

    I can’t even begin to tell you how much I have enjoyed your blog, sharing every detail of your charming life. I anxiously await each new post! I have been a fan of Beartrix Potter for a long time but just recently started collecting her little books. What a thrill it would be to add the limited edition, signed by you, to my collection! The little lamb is adorable. Happy Painting!

  31. Priscilla Palmer from Naples, Florida says:

    Dear Susan,

    The build-up to the prize giveaway is the exciting part! 😀
    You’ve struck the fancy of all your readers with this giveaway.

    Oh, did you take a photo of books, and then paint Jack on top? I could tell it was Jack just from the eyes! He has the most expressive eyes. Although, why I ask the question, is that is a cool way to do art, and one I’ve been experiementing with.

    XOXO, Priscilla

    • sbranch says:

      No, he climbed up there and modeled for me! Ha ha, just kidding, yes, I painted him on top of the photo!!

      • Diane Harris says:

        Thanks for the explanation. The third time back to read comments I finally noticed him! And wondered if you painted the books so painstakingly. I could tell Jack was painted. I love that is paws end at ‘Tom Kitten’. You should do a sequel, “Jack the Cat”!

  32. Zona Wilson says:

    Love Miss Potter and all that she represents, all the good that her life has meant to the world. So glad you seized the opportunity to go and soak her in for a time – twice! I would have done so also.

  33. Jill S says:

    Just love your blog. Always brings a smile to my face. I enjoy reading it with a nice cuppa!

  34. MOLLY TAKITCH says:


  35. Catherine says:

    I have the Zephrine climber and your photo does look like mine. Its also thornless which makes it nice too.

  36. Carolyn (SoCA) says:

    Yay! I am glad you chose to let the drawing “stay”. My silly email postman/woman didn’t deliver, so I had to go looking for for this post. Truly, Susan, you bloom wherever you are planted or traveling!

  37. Diane says:

    Hello Susan,

    How uncanny that your post today has a quote from Louisa Mae Alcott. Just this past weekend I read Little Women for the umpteenth time and I thought to myself, “I bet Susan would enjoy re-reading it too.” Honest to goodness, I had planned to tell you that I read it again and wanted to recommend it to you to do the same…that is if you can find the time. I truly don’t know how you do all that you do, but I’m glad you do. When I was growing up, all LM Alcott’s books were so thrilling. Jo was my favorite character.

    Diane in North Carolina

    PS – Love, love, love the roses.

  38. Paulie says:

    Hi –
    I would love to thank the person who recommended the book by Vivien Swift but don’t have the time to look and read through 3000 comments a second time.. Hopefully she is reading this latest post so that she will know. The book is a delight to any traveller and to the eye. Thanks so much girlfriend wherever you are. It is something to peruse while I anxiously await Susans new books……..ta ra!

  39. mary spring says:

    OMG !!..dear Susan, see how you are ?!? you’ve got two running posts going…hence,two running groups of comments to read !! I’m literally bouncing back and forth reading all of them…lol…what fun !!…with love..

  40. mary spring says:

    P.S….please don’t wait for Christmas tho…..

  41. Christine Anderson says:

    LOve the pictures of the roses! Any pink rose is good withe me, especially if it smells wonderful!!!

    We saw Moonrise kingdom with two of or 20 something grands! We all had a fun time with this very quirky movie! I think you need to be in a quirky mood!

    Continued thanks for your wonderful blog, I look forward to each one! 🙂

  42. Joan B says:

    Hi Susan,
    Your roses are gorgeous and I swear I could smell them through your blog!!
    Thank you for the beautiful photos and the slice of life on M.V. that you describe. Awesome, as always!
    Joan B.

  43. erica says:


    I’m certainly lovin’ the search for that “mystery” rose!! I love research! Here is one, which is just as lovely as ALBERTINE, but it does well in the shade. Being a rambler it will do well on a trellis. And…..guess what? It is often confused with the above mentioned ALBERTINE. It’s called FRANCOIS – JURANVILLE.

    Here is the link:

    Oh, you are so kind to allow more time for all the girlfriends to have a chance to be gifted with the wee Beatrix book. I just know it will fall into the hands, home and heart of whom it already belongs to. It’s all so charming, isn’t it?

    Susan, I read all the comments (fun) ….allow me to say that you ARE the change for so many, me included. For me, the positive dreams are good enough. Ghandi would be proud. *smile*


  44. Susan ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

    If there’s anything I love more than reading your blogs, it’s reading the comments! Who knew there were so many kindred spirits out there ! Yours is my absolute favorite blog to visit, and, thanks to your pen pal idea, I now have some new friends. I wish we could have a girlfriend thread for those who’d love to connect as FB friends, but not with the intention of connecting with more pen pals. I saw so many whom I’d love to befriend here because of shared interests, but FB doesn’t let you send any comment along with a friend request like it used
    to, so there’s no way to explain what you’d like to a prospective friend.

    • sbranch says:

      One of these days we should all get together and say hello in person!

      • Hello Susan, I’m in for that gabfest!!! wouldn’t it be so much fun to see a face to match the names!!! Jim and I are riding bikes twice a day 3 miles each ride for 3 weeks now and we are enjoying looking at everyone’s flowers and I just love the dinner plate hibiscus they are gorgeous do you have any?? I have the pink and a white/burgundy eye in center and have my eye on a neighbor’s burgundy one and on a bike trip plan on stopping and “asking” for a seed pod?? I will offer some of each of mine…hope they don’t think I’m a weirdo!!! Just wanted to say hello we are still busy in that garage so I’m not getting on here as much but think of you and the “girls” often. Blessings

        • sbranch says:

          We got a big peach hibiscus for the front porch . . . great how they bloom and bloom and in the shade too!

      • Susan ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

        Wouldn’t it be fun to be able to do it? Oh, and I’ve been noticing how many Susans are here !

  45. chris says:

    Oh, I wasn’t going to enter…what are my chances, I rationalized. But here you are, extending the contest…perhaps fate is calling my name. Beatrix Potter was a huge part of my daughter’s literary upbringing and we still, many years later, reference our favorite, Mrs. Tiggywinkle. My daughter’s daughter now uses the Peter Rabbit cup and listens to the Peter Rabbit music box and is growing to love the tiny books her mom used to read. Winning your give-away would mean much to two of us, and eventually, I’m sure, to the little one. Such a wonderful prize for some lucky reader(s)!

    Reading about your trip was amazing and made me want to go back to England. I was thrilled when you went back to Hill Top a second time…the mark of a dedicated fan! Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

    ps: I adore that arbor with the white lights!!! If I had one like that, there’d be a party every night of the summer!!

  46. Annie says:

    All talk of roses is heaven to me!!

    I am so excited to hear you are doing a new book! I am in the process of collecting them all, finding them here and there and enjoying the hunt. But I loved following you and Joe to England so much on your blog-and learning so many new things about it-that a book will just be splendid! Yay!

  47. Dorothy says:

    Hi Susan, I know I don’t stand a chance but what the hey I am entering the contest anyway. I love Beatrix Potter, I had a sweet soft boiled egg cup of a Beatrix Potter bunny when I was a child which I loved!!! Welcome home. I can’t wait to see your new book once it’s finished.
    Oh…and I have a white New Dawn climber over my arbor – I can usually get it to bloom again if I deadhead the spent blooms.
    Love, Dorothy

  48. Tonya Vaughan says:

    Hello Susan!
    Your roses are so beautiful! The roses in Florida are just not as big and beautiful. The soil and climate is not the best for them. I enjoy touring California in the summer just to see their gorgeous and gigantic roses! I love your outdoor entertaining area. Sitting under twinkle lights with people we love and a good glass of wine turns a simple summer meal into an enchanting, fun one. My honey and I do most of our summer entertaining outdoors, in the evening of course (we don’t want our guests melting away from the heat of the day!)

    My Mom, Sister, and I are planning a “Girls Only” trip to Martha’s Vineyard! So excited! We can’t wait to see the gingerbread houses, the beautiful coastal towns, the West Tisbury Farmer’s Market, and soak in the delights! Of course, us girls must do some shopping too! Is April/May a good time to go? Do you have a gift shop on the island that we can visit? My Mom is a scrapbooking fanatic and loves using your stickers and papers. If you painted some of England, she would just die! Oh and one more thing…we love ice cream! Is there an ice cream shop you love? Maybe us “girlfriends” can have some ice cream with you? 🙂

    Thank you Susan for being our “Miss Sunshine Susan”. (that’s what we have named you, hope you like it!) When we need some sunshine and cheer in our lives, you are always there to brighten a dreary day. So yes…please stay forever!
    Happy summer!
    Love, Tonya xxoo

    • sbranch says:

      April is still a little cool on Martha’s Vineyard, although this year, it was oddly beautiful, very early spring, but not normally. Later in May is when it starts to warm up, and flowers begin to bloom! You’ll love it, New England is very charming!

      • Tonya Vaughan says:

        Thank you Susan! May will be a good time to go with Mother’s Day and my Mom’s birthday. We have lots to celebrate! 🙂

  49. HM from Pennsylvania says:

    Oh Susan, I have so loved reading all of your wonderful adventures, from departing via the QE2, and throughout all your siteseeing in England. Each day I was able to read a new blog entry made my day a little more special. Thanks for taking us with you!!!!

  50. Doreen Strain (from Florida) says:

    Hey Sue!
    Just thought I would let you know that Jackson & Perkins carries the Zephirine Drohin rose bushes for $18.95. Just google them and you will see them on their site. My father used to raise gardens full of roses and used to order from them. Nice of you to extend the ever so special “giveaway” I’m sure those of the “girlfriends” that weren’t able to get in on it earlier are just loving it that you extended the time. Very nice of you! Hope you are enjoying the Lemonade thirst quenching summer we are having so far. Looking forward to hearing you ordered your roses. FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

    • sbranch says:

      I’m going to try and see what we have at our nursery — maybe I will get to see them in bloom!

      • Doreen Strain - Florida says:

        Sounds like a plan. I also like keeping business around home. I’m almost positive you have the right variety of rose. If I remember correctly they are quick growers. My father used to dig down around the roots and plant fish heads. When we were naughty when we were little we used to get punished and one of the jobs we had to do for punishment was to go around the garden and pick the beatles off the rose bushes. Believe me we had tons of them since we had tons of rose bushes. I hated that job,…. so I tried to only be naughty during the winter months…hahahahaha! FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

        • sbranch says:

          I still do it, with a nasty little jar of bleach water — good bye beetles!

          • Jack says:

            I can remember when I had to get you down out of the tree to even look at one!

          • sbranch says:

            LOL, the things we do for love of garden!!! But believe me, my eyelashes are knitted together while I’m doing it!

          • Pat Mofjeld says:

            I LOVE your “nasty little jar of bleach water”! We’ve been squashing them or dishsoap water in a jar–I think using bleach water would make me feel a little better considering the damage they are doing on our geraniums! And now I’ve found them on the tomato vines!!! Ugh–extreme heat and beetles–I told Norm the next thing will be grasshoppers!!! 🙂 And I REALLY hate them–the jump around and can land up anywhere! at least the beetles don’t jump on you!!! Eeeekkk!!! 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            We don’t seem to have grasshoppers here…I had one in California, they are too big for me to kill!

          • Dawn from Minnesota says:

            Uhmmm…Pat, ya might just wanna close your
            eyes….or wear a hat!!! Well, ya see……I’ve
            got grasshoppppers!!! I will try to keep them
            SOUTH of the river!!!! I keep forgetting to
            mentally prepare when I take that first step
            out the back door……but; then, I do remember
            as I’m juMPI ng through the air being startled
            once again!!! Have never ever seen so many
            grasshoppers in the backyard before!!! It feels like a surprise party!!! Well, gonna go back out and water my “corn (glads) and hay (grass).” And Susan….guess what jumped of the glads yesterday??? A little bunny!!! And yes, he made me jump too! I keep trying to imagine you with knitted eyelashes……I bet it’s dahling!!! Well, Bambi, “BLinK,BLink,BLink”….have a great grasshopperless Day!!!! And you too Pat!!!! 😉

        • Diane Harris says:

          My dad founded a Rose Society in Parma, Ohio and we had over 300 rose bushes in our backyard. As a little girl (under age 8) my job was to pick up the thorny prunings and carry the coffee can of GASOLINE while my dad picked the Japanese Beetles and drowned them in the gas! Can you believe that? AND I loved it because I loved gardening as a wee one and loved my daddy! He got me started with my own garden of about six miniature rose bushes when I was nine. I miss him.

          • sbranch says:

            It’s hard to kill those beetles, look what we have to resort to!

          • Pat Mofjeld says:

            Dawn, please DO keep the grasshoppers south of the river! Ish, I hate them! I’m sure, though, it is just a matter of time before we get them here…Guess we shouldn’t complain, though. Just think of the stories of the Dust Bowl days and the grasshoppers, heat, and no rain. Our weather, etc., is just a small taste of it. And to think they had no air conditioning then!!! Yikes!

          • OK GIRLS and all your Ick/Eeek, not that I’m trying to TOP all of you?? haha but, as a young girl growing up on a farm where Dad raised tobacco (you know where I’m headed with this)….these LARGE SCARY TOBACCO WORMS had to be removed before they chewed their way through the entire crop…well, one day Dad on his way to work said “Deborah, would you please go out with your brother and “PICK” worms off of the tobacco”……and being the wonderful daughter that I was and didn’t want to disappoint him replied “oh yes Daddy”…hmmm I was terrified of these science fiction looking creatures so, I had this stick and was literally scraping them into this bucket tearing tender leaves as I went….upon Dad’s return home and I was so proud to show him the full bucket (he had 4 acres) he never once asked what the heck happened to the crop which looked like hail had went through it (my stick)….but, he never ever asked me to pick tobacco worms off again!!!!! Pat, your ick of grasshoppers is because of their sticky legs when they land on you and I am totally with you/Dawn on that ICK which causes us to scream like little girls my biggest fear is SPIDERS…..SCREAM AND RUN!!!!

  51. Heritage Stitchery says:

    Susan dear – In the event that someone may not have mentioned it,
    there is the interative book, “Beatrix Potter ~ A Journal” that contains
    a separate facsimile of her original Peter Rabbit saga…. This Journal is
    enchanting and it would be a bonus to take that little replica and bind it
    in boarded calico to assuage one’s disappointment in finding the Trust’s
    cupboard now empty of that gem…. You’ve returned, Susan, but never
    really left us…with you all the way…welcome home to loving hugs.

  52. Regina says:

    Thank you for offering another fabulously thoughtful gift. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Vanna chooses my number, whatever that may be. Can’t wait for the travel journal to be published! 🙂

  53. Karen P. - Green Bay, WI says:

    Just stopping by to say hello! Holding out hope for the special book! 🙂

  54. Gail Buss says:

    Dear Susan………Oh my gosh! I love that trellis arbor with twinkling lights! So very romantic! And of course there is that little plate hanging up which I have too hanging on my wall (When two fond hearts). And, I noticed your pretty Diamond Jubilee mug right there next to it. I know you had a most wonderful trip, but it’s always great to get back to home sweet home and your own bed and have your own “things” around you. I’ll have to check out the movie Mrs. Minerva. Looks so neat. Enjoy every minute with your Joe and I’ll do the same with my Joe. Hugs, Gail Buss, Bev. Hills, Fl XX

  55. Denise Leavens says:

    The peach and yellow roses make me so very happy and peaceful just looking at them, and when I get to actually smell them – I breathe deeply and smile from the inside out. Please put my name in the hat for the Beatrix Potter book. It will be enchanting for whomever wins it!

  56. Deb from Dixie says:

    Quick Question?
    Is Jack ( Blog Daddy) missing???? Because I am having a little bit of Jack withdrawl, have not seen one of his witty comments in a bit.

    After all the discussion surrounding the roses, I was sure we would be hearing some sage advice from him like “ Girls, take time to smell the roses” or something about being a rose amongst the thorns……..LOL!!!

  57. Jamie on Doty Island, WI says:

    OMG, love, love the arbor!!! You lucky, lucky lady!!!!
    I am a devotee of books that send me to other countries, and I wish that I had the name of two that I could share but had to donate many books when I moved to California. I especially love armchair travel books that are written about France and Italy besides England. I admire anyone that can pull up stakes and start a new adventeous life overseas.
    I am really loving your Beatrice Potter blogs, as Ive been a fan since I was very small. My mother started me off on Peter Rabbit and we went from there. Those tiny books were always my favorites. One day I spied a Beatrice Potter figurine in Canada and bought it on site which was the start of a very extensive collection. I can remember how thrilled I was to be taking home Peter Rabbit in statue form. Just found a Beatrice Potter fabric yesterday that will be perfect as the back of a childs quilt and so Im in the process of passing down the love of her art in a quilt that I will be making for my next grandchild. You can never get enough of Beatrice Potters works, she is wonderfully timeless!
    Thank you for the latest blog always a joy to read!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Jamie . . . I’m sure, but I have to ask, have you read A Year In Provence? One of the very best that I’ve read!

      • Diane Harris says:

        I’ve read the entire Peter Mayle series and re-read them in the cold of winter when I need sun and warmth, if only in my mind!

      • Jamie on Doty Island, WI says:

        Thank you Susan for mentioning “A Year In Provence” which is one of my very favorite books too. I could just re-read “A Year in Provence” since it has been a long while, and would be like reading a new book. The armchair travelers book that I wanted to pass on to you and the girlfriends is “On Rue Tatin” by Susan Herrmann Loomis. She also wrote the “French Farm House Cookbook.” It is a very fun read about how she went from the Cordon Bleu, cooking for a chic couple, to purchasing an old house renovation project in Brittany and starting her now famous cooking school.
        I just enjoy reading about peoples pluck and vision to do things like that.
        Ive also been looking at rose books and wonder if it is a parent of Constance Spry? I have one running up a trellis here at my house and it looks very familiar. My rose also takes some shade if I give it enough compost in the spring and food and water through out the summer. Hope that helps? I think since I got mine from David Austen your rose is a bit older than mine, but it might be a good sub.

    • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

      I always loved Doty Island. Sometimes I am so sad that I had to leave WI, but I have had many adventures in 11 years. I make lemonade out of lemons.

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        I’ve never heard of Doty Island–where is it located in Wisconsin–north, south, etc.? 🙂 I’m only familiar with Washington Island…

      • Jamie on Doty Island, WI says:

        Hi Margot-
        Glad to hear that there are other people out there that know of Doty Island. It is a very unique place isnt it? I do not know of many places in this state that can say they have a long avenue of historic Victorian houses in a woodland setting with a river on one side and a very large lake on the other. I live just across Doty Park, looking at water and Gov. Doty’s Lodge. Where did you live here on the Island?

  58. JoAnn says:

    I’ve absolutely loved travelling with you to England – thank you so much for including me in your ‘stowaway luggage’. Beatrix Potter’s and Jane Austen’s homes were the highlights; places I thought I would never get to see! My children’s nursery was decorated in Beatrix Potter/Peter Rabbit. Thirty years ago there wasn’t as much to decorate with as there is now, but I found fabric to make a canopy and dust ruffle for the crib and curtains for the windows. I also cut up a calendar to frame pictures from her different stories and put together a puzzle to glue and frame for the walls. My first child (33 now) was 2.5 months premature and a musical Peter Rabbit was in her hospital incubator for the 2 weeks she was there until I could bring her home. Peter Rabbit has always had a special spot in my heart – thank you again for showing us his creator’s home!

  59. Susan Quimby says:

    Love your blog, I have a small collection of Bea stuff, including a cookbook. I would like to do a tea using everything. Thanks for your wonderful writing!

  60. Peggy says:

    P lease pick me
    Wonderfull to have you home Great playing house have been at it for 50 years with my love

  61. Brenda G says:

    Just found your blog a few days ago! I have been a “fan” of your art and your books (yes, I have them all!) for years. Please include me in the drawing for the Beatrix Potter book!

  62. Susan says:

    My DH almost wanted to go to England. He loved the beer there. I, of course, have been chomping at the bit to go SOMEwhere. And we stay at home, making the soical rounds ofour tiny small town so I dearly loved reading your England trip blog. I did emailed the sotre at Miss Potter’s shop; I too learned they are all sold out BUT.. (ta da!) there is another book coming out soon by Emma and it may be just as well received. Check it out. Back to my applique for now. Thanks for the fun trip, from a wanna be traveler,

  63. Bridget from Alexandria, VA says:

    Thanks for letting us ride along with you throughout England! So beautiful and just my kind of place. I love that you went to see Beatrix Potter’s home. When I was about six, my father’s cousin (a kindergarten teacher in San Francisco), made each of us a bathrobe for Christmas (I think there were 4 of us at that time) and with each robe was a book by Beatrix Potter. Since I was the oldest, I received the Peter Rabbit book. I have always thought it was the best of all she wrote. I started collecting all of them and took them with me when I went off to college. I now usually include a copy of Peter’s adventures in any baby gifts I give. I always tell the new moms that Peter Rabbit is classic and every child should know about him. Is it coincidence that I married a Peter and have a son who’s a junior??? Hmm…maybe…

  64. barbara miller says:

    the sweet little roses that climb up the houses and dangle around the windows are the best. they dance in the light winds of summer. they call to the bees with their breaths of fragrance. those sweet little roses that dassle my senses. their feet planted firmly. their greenary thicken…ah, the sweet little roses are the best.

  65. Shauna says:

    Oooh, ooh, ooh! Pick me! Pick me! (Channeling Arnold Horschak…) I’ve loved following your trip — I felt like I was at the Jubilee! Thank you and Joe for bringing us with you; let’s do it again, sometime, huh?!

  66. Sandy from New Vineyard says:

    Reading about how much you love being home reminded me of a quote from the “Little House on the Prairie” series when Laura said, “Home is the nicest word I know.” Thanks for thinking of us, for being so giving, and for giving inspiration.

  67. Theresa says:

    This will be my third try to send my first comment! I love your bog, I went with you to England ,loved it! Beatrix Potter has been a fav for me as well as my kiddos! Thankyou for sharing so much with so many! Sending blessings from Texas!

    • sbranch says:

      So sorry, this blog does things I have no power over, or should I say “doesn’t do things” — anyway, hope this goes through!

  68. Susan A. Leon says:

    Love your blog! Love all your books and really enjoyed going to England with you and Joe.

  69. Heather Leon says:

    I Love Beatrix Potter!!
    Thanks, Heather

  70. Valerie says:

    WOW—–What a spectacular trip. Jane Austen and Beatrix Potter. Only in my dreams. That book is probably the closest I will ever get. Thanks for sharing. I want to see even more.

  71. Mer Oesting says:

    What a wonderful give-away. I hope I win it for my Michele!

  72. Carol (gramz) says:

    This is for everyone who reads these posts.
    I just finished the series “Larkrise to Candleford”. It was such a wonderful story. Netflix has all the dvd’s…at least 10. It can also be watched on Youtube. Brendan Coyle who plays Mr. Bates in Downton Abbey is Robert Timmins. I think everyone will love it.
    Susan…If you haven’t seen this movie…you will love it…I guarantee.

  73. Karen Saunders says:

    Two questions I forgot to ask you….(always the curious one!) #1..I forgot to ask, were you able to meet Emma? and #2…I’m confused, the finished arbor, is that picture with all the people eating, your arbor? Or is Joe building a rose arbor…..?

    • sbranch says:

      What’s happening is the arbor (already built, the one with the people eating under the twinkle lights) is trying to fall down . . . so Joe is fixing it, rebuilding parts of it, and painting it. And no, Emma was at her castle and not at the factory when we were there, neither was her husband Matthew — they just bought the castle and apparently, and for good reason, they hardly come to work these days!

      • judi says:

        Oh, how delicious – it’s YOURS! (the arbor, not the castle:)

      • Diane Harris says:

        LOL, yes, I can hear Emma now, “I couldn’t meet with the famous Susan Branch because I was at my CASTLE!!” LOL! We use that excuse all the time in Butler, PA. (I live on New Castle Road oddly enough).

  74. Carol Linhart says:

    I would love to win the book…thank you so much for extending the contest!!!
    I love your stories and drawings and books!!!
    thank you again Carol

  75. Rhonda D. says:

    I absolutely love your roses. They’re so beautiful and healthy. They look so fresh that I’m sure I could smell them and feel their velvety soft petals even on the blog. I’ve gotten away from roses lately, but I think I’m falling in love again. I also love your arbor. I think it is a homey class act (if that makes any sense).

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, I think it does … can’t take too much credit for it, it was here when we bought the house, but part of what I love about old New England places … they were good at building the homey things like picket fences and barns.

      • Rhonda D. says:

        Yes, they certainly are good at building the homey things. I love the New England “style” of just about everything. (I think it is the perfect match for your heart, btw). Living in the Maritimes we get a lot of that influence; so I guess it’s the next best thing to being there.

        • sbranch says:

          Thank you for that sweet compliment! I do feel like I fit here, despite very deep roots in California! I bet it’s beautiful up there, will have to go someday!

          • Rhonda D. says:

            Home will always be home for all of us, but we’re all so glad that God led you to New England. You and New England go together like peas and carrots (as Forrest puts it). There’s a “charm” here in the maritimes that I can’t quite explain. There are some very beautiful places to see and the people are very friendly, you’d feel right at home. I find one of the best secrets here (where I’m from anyway) is when you know someone in the area, then they’ll just plan a gathering for you, have lots of great food, lots of great people, sometimes even great local musical talent. First thing you know, you know everyone in the area or you’ve met amazing people from other parts of the world, you walk away not even knowing what hit you – you’ve got a whole new circle of friends that love you and can’t wait for you to come back and visit. I’ve had people come from Ontario to rent my summer home here, and were in tears when it came time to go home. Come and visit us sometime – you have the perfect heart for the maritimes! Even if the weather wasn’t great, the people, the food, etc. more than make up for it. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

          • sbranch says:

            That sounds heavenly Rhonda! What a nice place to live! Thank you!

      • Karen Saunders says:

        You’re lucky Joe is such a handy guy, so talented at building things. My husband is painting our 1898 house…..and the bushes, the dog, the driveway….(he’s not too careful with the overspray, bless his heart.) It looks like it snowed…..

  76. Janie O says:

    Darling Susan,
    You just make my heart sing!! The way you tell us about your, I mean our travels, and the pure joy you find in such sweet every day things. I feel truly blessed to have followed you and Joe to an enchanted land during the Jubilee. My Dad was in the Navy and we lived in Dunoon, Scotland, when I was a little girl. The green grass, rolling hills, the roses and flowers everywhere along with the adorable sheep bring back so many happy memories. Thank you. You have a special… Happy Place… in my Heart. Please include me in the Wonderful drawing. I always look forward to what you Blog next! 🙂 ~Janie

  77. Leah Sandidge says:

    Susan, I so enjoyed my trip to England with you and Joe, but actually I am ready to be back reading all about your days in Martha’s Vineyard. Would love to win that special Beatrix Potter book. Let it flow. Leah

  78. Carolyn Messner says:

    Oh Susan reading your blog is a magical experience! Your fun-loving perspective puts the sunshine in any day and your happy gene brightens every word and brush stroke. 🙂 My family is on vacation at Lake Powell and I tucked my copy of your Original Snail Mail Willards, DAYS book, and my watercolor pencils in my traveling backpack. . . just a little something to enjoy early in the morning while my little ones are still asleep (and before any Peter Rabbit sort of mischief happens! 🙂 How I loved traveling through England with you and especially enjoyed seeing Beatrix Potter’s home! My six year old son was a busy little toddler who would hardly sit still for a story. So, it surprised me when my busy boy would bring a tiny copy of The Tale of Peter Rabbit to me, snuggle up and actually quiet his little self to hear this story over and over again. Maybe somehow he knew what was to come a few years later when we planted our first little garden together last summer. Almost every morning when I walked outside to water, a little rabbit would scurry off and under the playhouse. When our garden patch turned out to be too shady for the butternut squash and a few other things we planted, we kept the tomatoes and left the rest to our very own Peter Rabbit! I fear I may be a hopeless gardner but I so loved seeing him sneak a little taste that I just didn’t have the heart to put an end to his fun. I hear that lettuce does well in shadier patches so we plan to try again. Maybe I could fence in all but one little lettuce row (and leave a watering can to hide in?) so that our Peter can also enjoy a fresh salad!

  79. Margaret from Honolulu, Hawaii says:

    Dear Susan….every shared entry from your voyage and from England was such a delight! My husband and I visited England some years ago and it is truly so very special. You might enjoy the book “Notes from a Small Island” by author Bill Bryson. He was born in Iowa, visited England, loved it and decided to stay. It’s humorous and filled with many “only in England” moments! To win the Beatrix Potter book would be lovely! Good luck to all of us! And God Bless your tender heart!

  80. Teri Pierce says:

    The visit you took has been on my bucket list. I won’t be able to do it in person, but your wonderful photos brought it to life for me. I visit your blog often, but now I think I’ll have to start every morning with a peek at Potter country and the roses. Thank you for the beauty and inspiration. Teri in Texas

  81. judi says:

    Have you been watching the Michael Woods shows on Story of England on PBS? Quite good. It is on tonight, Tues., July 17 at 8:00 p.m. eastern.

    • sbranch says:

      I only was able to catch one of them so far, which I loved, may end up having to get it on NetFlix. Nothing going on tonight, I will try again!

  82. madelyn says:

    second time’s a charm…? have a great toot, toot, tootsie roll tuesday!!

  83. Lynn L., LaFargeville, NY says:

    Wasn’t Moonrise Kingdom strangely fascinating?! Saw it with my daughter on her 19th birthday in Lake Placid. It wasn’t going to be coming to our town and she really wanted to see it. I hated giving up a day outside in the mountains, (only one showing at 1:00 p.m.) but was glad we did. It was just such a different movie.

    I am exciting to continue hearing about the roses. I have a huge yard out in the country that is pretty much unlandscaped (is that a word?) as it is just so overwhelming to me. We have mature trees and some plantings around the house, but the yard is a blank canvas. Love your arbour!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, very definitely strangely fascinating … one of our girlfriends told me yesterday that it was written by a twelve year old and directed with that view in mind; that it’s how a twelve year old sees the world. That made a lot of difference in my understanding of the movie!!! Very sweet and crazy. Suitcases full of books, boyscouts, and being in love, all at the same time!

      • Karen Saunders says:

        the only thing i did not like about the movie and i thought they could have left out was the dog getting killed. didn’t like that, especially since i have a fox terrior. other than that i liked the movie a lot. (12 yrs old huh, no wonder i liked it. they could use some fresh ideas in hollywood.)

        • sbranch says:

          That didn’t seem necessary to me, but maybe somehow a 12 year old thinks about things like that? I didn’t, but who knows!

    • Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

      Hi, Lynn! Just wanted to let you know you are not alone. I moved back to Hidden Meadows from Denver 2 years ago and had to have the entire neglected front yard ripped out — I needed a blank canvas. At first I, too, felt entirely overwhelmed. But thanks to inspiration from our lovely Susan, I’m now having a wonderful time dreaming up a new landscape and have actually gotten started with some lantana in the sunny spots and impatiens in the shade. I have many ideas in mind and plan on an excursion to local nurseries tomorrow to find the perfect ground covers. I’m even going to join the local Garden Club and grow not just flowers, but my wonderful Girlfriend base, too! So exciting! Girlfriend Susan has no idea what a real and happy impact she has on so many of us! Have fun dreaming up your new garden Lynn — I’m sure it will be beautiful!


      P.S. I’ve been to Lake Placid twice and LOVE it — lucky you to live nearby! Saw “Last of the Mohicans” there when the movie first came out. It was fun being in the actual area where the story takes place, and Daniel Day Lewis was a dreamboat in it!

  84. Karen says:

    The roses are AMAZING! I would love an arbor like the one pictured…. dreaming now! I have so enjoyed your pictures and commentary on your trip…. beautiful!

    I remember having a mini set of Beatrix Potter books. I am going to have to go up into the attic and dig through my childhood boxes to find them now!

    Stay cool in this hot New England weather 🙂

  85. Jeannie S says:

    I love all your photos – they are so beautiful. I have to tell you that I rescued a cat that might be Jacks’ brother. He is black and white also and very mischievious. His nose is half black and half pink, I named him Ralphie.
    Have a blessed day!

  86. theresa says:

    Would you enter me in to win the book , Please. 🙂

    Thank You !

  87. Maureen says:

    Thank you for taking the time to share your wonderful vacation with us. The book is the perfect ending.

  88. Debbie R says:

    So glad you are safe at home, what a wonderful time we all had! When the thermometer hit over 100 degrees and the sun beat down day after day, we were with you, exploring and sipping tea and enjoying the sights. Thank you for sharing your trip with us. Thanks you for giving us the chance to enjoy the little book; and you were right about the cover, as a quilter I would love to have a couple of yard of that calico!

  89. Karen D says:

    Your arbor is so dreamy! This house, that I moved to last fall, is the first house I have lived in that has roses! I have no idea what kind they are – but it is so nice. I wish they were climbing roses with a beautiful fragrance, but I will just need to plant those. I had no idea roses could live so long and still produce so many blossoms. Learning so much from your blog!

  90. R.J.K says:

    Greetings Susan,

    I really enjoy your blog! You’re a great photographer and I really like seeing all the different places you go to and all the neat things you do. I would like to enter your contest to win the book.

    Thanks so much

  91. Mary Bowes-Andrews says:

    I am glad you postponed the give-a-way, It makes it more fun to share the chance with everyone. Also wanted to say I LOVE LOVE the arbor. I shall call it the people arbor-meant to be decorated by roses.
    Mary Bowes-Andrews

  92. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~Good Morning~
    I may have solved the rose mystery!!
    I was looking through some of my magazine articles I saved and I found one on Beatrix Potter called ” A Gardner at Heart” from Country Gardens magazine.
    It lists some of the flowers in her garden and one rose mentioned by name was an old fashioned rambling rose called ‘Albertine’. It is very fragrant and thornless. The picture is a close-up of one bloom and hard to tell if it is the same one.
    If you Google it you can get a better view~ it shows the whole plant climbing up a wall or trellis , not just one flower. Looks like it could be the right one~ or at least you know that she has this one on her property!
    I also want to mention that she heeded the advice of one gardener who advocated ” stealing”, noting that ” stolen plants always grow, I stole some ‘ honesty’ yesterday, it was put to be burnt in a heap of garden refuse! ( Beatrix Potter’s Letters). So see you would have been fine with your ” stealing” or “sharing ” with us girlfriends!
    Have a great day!

    • Lynn McMahon says:

      ~Gardener ~

    • sbranch says:

      GREAT CLUE. We’ve had many girlfriends suggesting Albertine; I’d moved it to the top of my list . . . I think we may have it!! It climbs to 18 feet, has a deep scent, looks like it may work in light shade too. Stealing Honesty, that’s a good one!

  93. Cam O'Brien says:

    I’m still loving your blog and all the photos of England – the Cotwolds, the gardens, the Emma Bridgewater pottery visit, and all the charming village and pasture scenes. I’ve been to the Lake District twice but never visited Beatrix Potter’s home-wish I had! Looking forward to your next blog entry.

  94. Lorraine says:

    The roses are beautiful and make me think of my dad. He pampered the roses around my childhood home – several kinds and colors – and all with lovely fragrances. When I got all grown up, he would bring me roses when he came to our house for dinner – it was such a sweet gesture. I miss him very much. I do remember he had some in a shady area, but I have no idea what kind. I also have the Mrs. Miniver DVD – a wonderful movie, for sure.

    I think all your posts are worthy of 2,300 comments. They make me smile. Thank you.

  95. Mary Pacey says:

    Susan, I so enjoyed reading all your posts about England. Memories to last a lifetime for sure!

    Yes, I’d love a chance to win the book-I must confess to being a book collector as well as fabric collector.

    Thanks for making our summer so much more delightful!

  96. Mary Pacey says:


    I so enjoyed reading about your adventures in England and look forward to a special book.

    Thank you for sharing your summer with us- made me feel like I was right there in your pocket.

    I would like a chance to win the book–I must confess to being a book collector along with being a fabric collector.

  97. Jack says:

    Hi Deb and Judi — I’m right here — watching and enjoying everything going on! Many great comments about Sue’s latest surprise and I’m reminded of a saying — “The fragrance always stays in the hand of one that gives the Rose.” Another way to say what everyone else is saying! I’m just waiting for something to pounce on, Blogwise, so will someone please screw something up so I can nail it!

    • sbranch says:

      Let me see what I can do! I’m sure I will think of something! 🙂

    • Deb from Dixie says:

      Glad you are back, Jack!….and your quote ……”The fragrance always stays in the hand of one that gives the Rose” is so true for Susan. ♥ ♥ ♥


      A question just for you, have you ever seen the very rare……..
      Pork Chop Rose ??? A stunning variety of roses that are fragrant, have no thorns and beautiful blooms that have slightly pink centers, white flowers with tan edges? A delightful rose that grows best in partial sun, unfortunately not easy to find.

      Chefs use this rose to make a famous dish… I am sending the recipe on to you. From “Just Pork Chop Recipes” ….the tried and true…..

      Pork Chop Rose
      4 Pork blade, rib or loin chops
      1 Small onion, thinly sliced
      Grated peel of large orange
      2 tb Brown sugar
      1 Small orange, thinly sliced
      1 ts Salt
      1/2 c Rose wine (made from the famous Pork Chop Rose)
      Juice of large orange
      1/4 ts Ground allspice

      Brown chops in 10-inch skillet over medium heat; drain off fat. Sprinkle chops with salt; arrange onion slices on chops. Mix wine, orange peel, orange juice, brown sugar and allspice; pour into skillet. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Arrange orange slices on chops. Cover and simmer until chops are tender, about 15 minutes. Serve with pan liquid if desired.

      Enjoy…..hope you will be lucky and someday see a beautiful Pork Chop Rose. ;0)

      • Jack says:

        Yummy ! That looks so good …. anything with brown sugar and orange juice always gets my attention — and yes, I will have some of that”pan liquid” on my sweet potato, thank you!

    • Pat Mofjeld says:

      One question, Jack: If someone “screws something up so you can nail it”, will you have a screwdriver or a hammer in your hand, really?… 🙂

    • judi says:

      just finished dinner a couple of hours ago, we eat early, we are retired:) We had PORK CHOPS, mashed potatoes & gravy, and green beans. wish you coulda been here Jack:))) I did screw up on a pie crust a couple days ago….but the blueberry pie turned out yummy!

      • sbranch says:

        I think you might be doing my dad in with this menu, he would love to be there!! (LOL on the “screw up” on the pie crust!)

        • Pat Mofjeld says:

          Judi, if you “screw up” on a pie crust nowadays, you just lay it out, pile the fruit filling in the center, pleat/fold the edges in about an inch, brush with milk, sprinkle with sugar, bake, and call it a “Galette”! (if I have spelled that right…?) LOL! 🙂

      • Jack says:

        Don’t you just love Pork Chop Gravy on buttered soft white bread — makes you wish you were a cow with several stomachs

  98. Becky says:

    In your wildest dreams, did you ever think you would bring so many ladies (sorry gents) together to share their love of traveling and the home arts? Thank you for the opportunity to share, gab, support, and learn from each other through your blog. It has allowed us to be back -door friends, side -porch sisters, having e-tea while sharing joys, sorrows, tips, and insight into this journey. You help us tap into our inner artist, through playful creativity expressed by your hands and heart. What a great place to be! Let’s always stay connected!!!

  99. Meg says:

    Susan, your blog is so well done. I’ve really enjoyed my armchair trip to England and am looking forward to your English Diary.

  100. Eileen says:

    Hi Susan – I am enjoying your blog from my vantage point in B.C., Canada. Your trip to England looks fabulous! I also enjoy watercolour classes and garden tours. Hilltop was the name of an estate in S. India where we used to go for picnics in my high school years- it had a beautiful garden as well. I love Beatrix Potter and have seen the movie “Miss Potter” about her as well.

Comments are closed.