We had such fun birthday party yesterday!  Here’s a little song to set the stage!

It was Joe’s 60th and we invited all our oldest and dearest island friends and family — the kind where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came . . .

And while Joe was out back getting the garden ready, I was inside baking cakes!  If you look close in this picture, you will see that I had help.  I can’t take all the credit.  (Hint: my help is fuzzy and there isn’t much of it showing here. He kept skirting away from the camera!)

I started by making Joe’s favorite Cheesecake, a recipe from my first book, Heart of the Home.  He loves it because it’s plain and simple and melts creamily in his mouth. (I know because I watched him eat the last bit of it this morning for breakfast!)

I pressed a mixture of graham cracker crumbs and melted butter into this 9″ pie plate.

. . . Then I beat a package of softened cream cheese until it was light and fluffy.

To that I added a half cup of sugar . . . this recipe is SO easy . . . it’s the perfect cooking project, it makes you feel like you can really COOK!

. . . then a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice . . .

. . . and a half-teaspoonful of vanilla . . .

. . . then I added two large eggs, one at a time, beating after each  . . .

And that’s IT!  Voila!  Poured it into the unbaked crust . . .

And into the oven it went for about a half hour.  While that was baking, I went outside to see what Joe was up to . . .

. . . and how things are progressing; he’s planned a big surprise for his friends.  Since the 1970’s, Joe has been taking photos at every party, event, or hang out; in the car, on boats, at weddings, at halloween parties, graduations, clam bakes, tag sales, dinner parties, christenings, you name it, he took a photo of it.  He promised (some see it more as a threat) to do a slide show for YEARS, but it’s just never come together.  He and his BFF Bob, who also has box loads of slides in his possession (some that one suspects could be quite incriminating) decided that the occasion of Joe’s 60th Birthday seemed like the perfect time to finally do it . . . so they worked on their slides; Joe MADE this “screen”  out of boards and canvas which he then hoisted into the big maple tree out back.  (That’s what’s going on in the picture above.)

These three, Joe, Bob, and John have been cooking Christmas Dinner at our house for the last twenty years!  While Bob was gathering together his slideshow, John came early to help Joe get set up  . . . these three are the true representation of what BFF looks like inside the man cave. 

They made a little theater, with an aisle and everything.

They hung the lights on the arbor that Joe had JUST finished rebuilding on Friday; paint dry?  Yup!  Up go the lights . . .

I could see they didn’t need me . . .  I went back in to make the topping for the cheesecake.

When it came out of the oven I spread this mixture of sour cream, sugar, and vanilla over the top.

Then, I put it back in the oven for another ten minutes . . . and here it is, out of the oven to cool a bit, then into the refrigerator to chill.

While that was happening, I made a three layer Carrot Cake (also from Heart of the Home in case you’re looking for it!).

Here it is cooling . . . three layers of cinnamon and nutmeg spiced crushed pineapple, coconut, walnuts, shredded carrots, and golden raisins.  AND, btw, this recipe makes fabulous carrot cupcakes!

And here’s the cake, all frosted and decorated . . .

New Music . . . for this part . . .  (today’s generation has the electronics, but we had the music!)  This was last night.  I forgot to take photos of the food!  I’m so sorry, because it was potluck and everyone brought just gorgeous things, fresh garden vegetables and salads, lobster sliders, potato salad, and Lowely made a huge moussaka; Joe and John barbecued swordfish and steak . . . then, after dinner, the theater filled up and the show began . . . a trip back to the 1970’s and 80’s!  There were cat calls and teasing, oohing and aaahing, saying, “OMG, Remember that???”  Or, “there’s so and so, whatever happened to him . . . ”  And, “Who’s THAT?”  Laughing, joking, crying, sighing, reliving; this group of people have known each other through thick and thin, they’ve traveled together, in more ways than one . . . they know each other’s moms and dads, sisters, brothers, and children . . .

So it wasn’t just friends, it was families too, which are also friends! All gathered for the memories, and the good times we’ve had, coming together on this little island, most of us from somewhere else, pulled here by the same sort of heart magnet that brought me . . . a long road that lead right here, to our house, last night.

What we lack in wisdom, we make up for in good will. 

Even when we get busy and see less of each other, that just makes times like these more wonderful, to sit in the candlelight and cricket noises and catch up on each others lives.

And here is the happy much-loved Birthday Boy . . . can you see the little string of  hearts hanging in mid air just in front of Joe?  I swear, they follow him wherever he goes!  ♥♥♥♥♥ (Most of the time you can’t see them, but every once in a while, the camera catches them in just the right light . . . which is why I love this camera . . . night time shots may not be clear, but they are real.)

Blow honey!

May all his dreams come true!

And here we are, Martha, me, and Kappy cutting the cakes . . . I’m thinking, as I’m writing, this is what it’s all about . . . friends, family, food and fun —  and all the good things we’ve shared.

I have to show you a card from last night —  for Joe from Iris, the dog we love, that lives across the street with Martha and Gerry and comes over to visit almost every time she gets loose (might be because of the dog bones we keep in the pantry)!  Here’s the front of the card:

Hope you had fun at the party!  We won’t mention that picture of you skinny dipping in Tashmoo Pond!

OK, and here’s another promise I made a while back — remember when we went to the Emma Bridgewater Factory in England?

Where they had that design room where they gave you everything so you can paint your own Emma cups?  Here are the ones we did, the way we turned them in, before they were fired . . . those pencil marks, we were told, would burn off.

 And they did . . .  here they are, after firing; they sent them home to us; they were here when we got back; we drink our tea in them every single morning now, he drinks out of his, I drink out of mine!  I put the word “England” on mine so I would just look at it and remember.

With the date . . .

And here’s the cup Joe did; he wanted the ship.  We love them even more now, and as time passes I’m sure they will become more and more valuable to us.

Maybe someday you will go to Emma Bridgewater and paint your own cup, but until then . . .

Maybe you would like to have an Emma Bridgewater Royal Jubilee cup just like this one, directly from England, for your very own? If you already have one, wouldn’t it make a nice gift for someone you love?  If you agree, just leave me a comment and we’ll have Vanna (our random number generator) stay home from the tanning salon one day next week so she can draw a name and tell us who this cup belongs to!  OK girls, believe it or not, the parties aren’t over yet.  More cooking this week!  Happy Monday everyone! XOXO  P.S.  Just in case, here’s the recipe for the Cheesecake!


  • 2 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
  • 3/4 c. melted butter

Combine and press into a buttered 9 in. pie plate, building up the sides. Set aside and make filling.


  • 1 – 8oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs

Beat softened cream cheese until fluffy.  Gradually blend in sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.  Pour filling into crust.  Bake at 325° for 25-30 min; til set.  Make the topping.


  • 1 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla

Combine all ingredients; when cheesecake comes out of the oven, spoon topping over  top of  hot cheesecake, spreading evenly; return to oven and bake 10 min. longer.  Cool; then chill several hours. Serves 8.

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1,033 Responses to FUN BIRTHDAY PARTY

  1. Kelley S. says:

    What a wonderful celebration! Very happy birthday wishes to Joe and thanks, too, for sharing his party with us. He was such a good sport about all of us tagging along in England. Must admit, he looks pretty g-r-e-a-t for 60! You two are just the most darling couple. The party looked like so much fun, especially the slide show. Wish ya’ll would plan my birthday for next year (April 8th – hint, hint!). One of the things I love most about you blog is that you remind us to stop and celebrate the good stuff. Thank you for that! Tell Jack that his cheesecake looked wonderful.

  2. Ruth Thomas says:

    Happy Birthday, Joe – a fellow Leo! I turned 62 on August 6th and it is amazing how wise we get as we age. I don’t get impatient any more, I spend more time enjoying my family and friends and the conversations we have with perfect strangers at the pharmacy or in line at the bank. Most of all, I love my precious grandsons – Tre’ who just had his 16th birthday on Sunday, (another fellow Leo), Micah who is 10 and Tyler who is 7 going on 70! What a joy they are – even when they are misbehaving.

    I share so much with them – things they don’t seem to be interested in until I grab them and make them sit down and watch the specials on Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee and then all the events that effected her life – the War – the abdication of her uncle – they get a history lesson even if they don’t know it!! Thank you, dear Susan, for sharing so much love and beauty with us! “Hearing that whistle blow was incredible!”

  3. Jean says:

    You are so blessed to have such good friends!! Thank you for sharing them with us.

  4. Marisa Leigh says:

    Ahh – I got all teary eyed reading this. You see growing up my cousin and I spent hours flipping through my granparents’ slide projector reels. It is still one of my happiest memories. We also watched them with larger family groups as well – but the sound of the projector as it clicks through its reel is something that stirs my deepest memories. Just thinking about it puts me back in their house and I can smell their home and hear their German clock chiming in the hall. Thank you for jogging this precious memory for me – I haven’t thought of it in ages. And now I want my OWN homemade projector screen hanging from the tallest tree out back – how perfectly charming!

    And my goodness – I think Emma Bridgewater needs to hire you on – you AND Joe – your mugs are absolutely delightful! But a Diamond Jubilee mug would do quite nicely as well 😉

  5. Kathryn says:

    HBD Joe!! I also had this kind of scary birthday this June. Looks like you celebrated in style!

    Emma makes the BEST mugs. I’d love to enter.

    Susan, you are such a joy. Thanks so much for your lovely life!


  6. Lorraine says:

    Happy birthday, Joe! It looks like a good time was had by all – especially the birthday boy… Love the hearts that showed up in the photo – very cool…

    You inspired me to make the cheesecake – I have “Heart of the Home” but forgot about the cheesecake recipe. Boy was my husband surprised when he came home today – one of his favorites too. Thanks for the reminder. It turned out perfect – and as you say, its so easy…

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Melissa H. Kuhnell says:

    I am a loyal and avid book collector of yours, and I so enjoy your illustrations and cheer. Godbless!

  8. Linda says:

    What a splendid birthday celebration? Even more special is that you have ALL those good friends to help you celebrate–lucky twosome!! Happy Birthday to Joe! Your desserts look wonderful and am sure there were no leftovers! THe mugs turned out really well. Sure going to cross my fingers and toes that I win! Thank you for sharing your party. You are very generous.

  9. Laura Lindsay says:

    Do you realize it’s Joe’s “diamond jubilee ” birthday. Please wish him happy birthday. and many many more!!

  10. Tamara Scire says:

    What a wonderful post, I always feel like I could be one of your special friends, sitting on one of those chairs, laughing, eating, enjoying the friendship! Thanks for sharing Susan and the mugs you created are wonderful!

  11. Trish L. says:

    Happy Birthday Joe – looks like a wonderful way to celebrate that milestone!!
    I followed your trip and think that’s the only way I will get to see England. Now someday, I would love to go over myself and see those beautiful paths you followed and wonderful places you visited. Thank you for such an inspirational voyage. Both on land and sea.
    Hugs, Trish L.

  12. Jan from Michigan says:

    Thank you for the “peek” into your wonderful party. What fun!

  13. Chris says:

    I have just added a trip to England to my bucket list, also. I love Emma Bridgewater and I have purchased many items for my daughter. She or I would also love to have a mug. Thank you, Susan

  14. Peggy Davis says:

    What a lovely party, the cheesecake will be made this weekend. Thanks so much for sharing. The cups are wonderful ~ love Emma Bridgewater and I know my morning tea would taste lovely in a Diamond Jubilee mug!!

  15. Gail B says:

    Belated Happy Birthday to Joe…what a wonderful way to celebrate one’s special day….. gives me an idea for my hubby’s b-day!!! Many more birthdays for you both!! I agree that Emma Bridgewater needs to hire you as a special PR liaison….thank you for entering all of us in the contest and congrats to whoever wins!! Susan,you are the best of girlfriends!!!

  16. Angie V says:

    Hi Susan

    Party looked like so much fun! Slide show was such great idea! Happy Birthday Joe! Wishing you a happy and healthy year to come. Susan, I so enjoy your blog!

    Angie V

  17. kit says:

    Oh what a great birthday for your love! Loved seeing your party! And yes I would love to win such a wonderful mug. You are very generous. 🙂 Kit

  18. Debbie in PA says:

    Please let Vanna know that I’d like to be included in the drawing for that wonderful mug. Beautiful. Thanks for bringing a souvenir home for one of us.

  19. Sue says:

    Wonderful post as usual!
    I’ve been unusually busy so only now have been able to read to the end of your post, but Happy Belated Birthday to Joe!
    The mug looks great! Thanks for the chance to win it.

  20. Karen K. says:

    Happy Birthday, Joe! What a wonderful birthday party. You gave me a few ideas for my hubby’s birthday this weekend. And an Emma B. mug would be a sweet treat 🙂

  21. Linda L says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO JOE!!! I have enjoyed all your photos and videos of your trip! Thanks for taking us with you!!! Love the mug!!! I am planning to make that cheesecake and the carrot cake!!! Yummie!!!!

  22. sharon says:

    Happy Birthday, Joe—-even if it’s a little late! Looks like a good time was had by all & now we can even enjoy it. Susan, your cakes look scrumptious, & I am going to write down the cheesecake recipe & make it this weekend. Thanks for all you do for us girlfriends!

  23. Martha N. says:

    Susan, do you and Joe have a name for your house on the island? With all the wonderful coziness and idyllic domestic bliss you and Joe create there… it must have a name! Like “Hilltop” that you love so much, yours is just as special!

    • sbranch says:

      We call our house “Spring Street” generally, but I always call it The House of Creativity in my own mind . . .

  24. Belinda Chesser says:

    THANK YOU for sharing such a wonderful life. Happy Birthday Joe. YOU ARE BLESSED! Susan thank you soooo much for the recipe…Looks DELISH!! AND a BIG thank you for being so gracious to bring back a give away item. Sooooo sweet of you!!

  25. Faye Scharber says:

    I enjoy your blog so much! We were in London for four wonderful days in June. Happened upon an Emma Bridgewater shop, while on a quest for a Cath Kidston shop. Loved both shops, but EB was sold out of the Celebration mug. I would love to enter.
    Happy Birthday, Joe, and many MORE!

  26. Jo says:

    What a marvelous birthday. Is it a “guy” thing? My husband planned and put on a fantastic musical 70th last December that involved family and friends and songs that he loves, that will be remembered by all attending. I, however, did not bake a thing, not being you, Susan.
    However, like you, England is the land of my dreams and that of a dear friend,as well, who would love to share the mug of memories, yours and ours. Jo

  27. Laurel Young says:

    Happy Birthday Joe. What a lovely celebration with such dear friends and family.
    Oh, to have such a mug. Truly a treat in life. Following you along on your trip was such a joy, thank you.

  28. Judy from Maine says:

    Happy Birthday to Joe…60 is a good age. I’m a year older so I should know! You are lucky to be married to a Leo (I am too, so I know what special men they are)
    Thanks also for the cheesecake recipe, my quilting lady friends are coming over to our camp by the lake this weekend and this might be just the ticket for a little snack.
    Have a wonderful week!

  29. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    I think that is the same recipe that my grandmother taught me when I was in high school, except we put cherries on top. Delicious!!

  30. Maryann Mullen says:

    Happy Birthday Joe ….. I have a Joe and he’s much loved as you are. Hope you have many more birthdays… You live a charmed life with your darling Sue… She brings so much joy to us “Girlfiends” and we learn so much from her, especially her zest for life! Don’t have to tell you to Enjoy Everyday!

  31. rosemary says:

    Oh how I love that cup! I looked online several times and it was out of stock. To see that again being offered is grand! Loved the flotilla so love the cup! I do not know if there is any chance of getting it but here is an attempt!
    Happy Birthday, Joe! Looks like a fun party! We just got back from a month-long trip to NY Finger Lakes to see everlasting friends and it was like your party for Joe. There is nothing like family and friends and the older we get, the dearer they become, one and all.

  32. Cheryl Walsh says:

    Love the party! Happy birthday Joe! My beloved, Jim, is 65 years young today! (8/21)
    I can’t believe I’m married to an old man! I met him when I was 19 and he was just 22. So young! So many great memories and years!

    The cup would have a wonderful home- I promise!

  33. Beverly Silvestre says:

    Aren’t friends wonderful? “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold!” Happy Birthday Joe!

    Can you say that phrase without singing it?

  34. Gail Marie says:

    I love this post! You captured it all. What a wonderful occasion. happy birthday to the happy bday boy. Thank you for sharing!

  35. erica says:

    Greetings Susan!

    I LICK you too! Gosh, so sweet of IRiS! Love it. woof.

    Loved this news on Joe’s PAR-Tay! Talk about kicking it up a notch! The slide show, the lights in the new arbor…. gee, so magical. That’s it Susan, you’re magical. Just what are those hearts around Joe and the cake?

    So much to go on and on about….thanks again Susan. So perfect.

    Erica XO

  36. Carol C says:

    Love the Emma mug. And that cheesecake looks so scrumptious! Almost identical to the one my mother-in-love always made. Made me think of her. She was a wonderful cook.

  37. cstone says:

    Birthday’s are so special. Thanks for sharing this one with us.

  38. Rebecca says:

    Susan, what a fun birthday party for you hubby. The cheesecake looks so simple to make, will have to try it. Its really true, the way to a mans heart is through all that good food we make for them.
    The cute mug is so darling, everything in England is so darling……! Happy “tea time” waiting for someone.
    Thanks for taking the time to write and share with us
    another girlfriend

  39. Brenda Scinto says:

    Happy, happy birthday to Joe! What a wonderful way to celebrate 🙂 Love your Emma mugs – they turned out great. May have to try and plan a visit there myself: we just set our itinerary for late October-beginning of November. England (and a few days in Germany) here we come!!

  40. Stephanie says:

    What a wonderful blessing friends and family are! Thank you, Susan, for sharing yours with us. It looked truly magical! I would love to drink my PG Tips tea from this lovely mug. You are so generous!!

  41. Lorrie Rockwell from Arizona says:

    Hello My East Coast Friends!!!
    Joe: Happiest of Birthdays to YOU!!! wishing you a Grand year ahead with great friends, great health, and nothing but happiness always!!!
    Let me jog your memories so you can put a name and face together:
    Arizona to San Luis Obispo, CA—in the Mini Cooper 🙂
    October, 2011, book signing at Remnants of the Past Antique Show
    Meeting Joe, having a great conversation and him signing my ‘Autumn from the heart of the home’ book and FINALLY meeting you!!
    3 generations-photo you took of my mother, daughter and me-and blogging about us (how fun was that for me to see?!?!)
    Best. Day. Ever.
    I have the photo of Joe, you and I hanging up—it’s the good stuff in life that matters most!!! You bring SUCH warmth to my heart, and put a huge grin on my face, always!! Thank YOU, my friend!!
    I just wanted to stop by and say ‘hi’ to you, Joe, Girl Kitty and Jack!
    I hope our paths cross again… Soon!!!
    Take care my friends!!!

    aka: ‘The Mini-girl’

    • sbranch says:

      Oh, I so remember you ♥ . . . that was such a darling thing you did: the car, the girls, plus the event, and the location! I’m so happy you stopped by the blog Lorrie, please tell your mom and daughter I said a big HELLO!

  42. Barbara Ciperano says:

    Oh, Susan! You brought back one of my very favorite childhood memories; the family slide show! 3 or 4 times a year the projector and screen would come out, family and friends would be invited, popcorn popped and drinks poured! My Dad was in control of the evening. He selected which trips or holidays we were able to relive and provided all the narrative. He loved his MC role and certainly kept the audience entertained! Thanks as always for making me smile! That gorgeous Diamond Jubilee mug would also make me very happy.

  43. Diane S. says:

    Oh what a fun party you had. Will have to try your cheesecake it looks Yum.
    I would love to win the Emma Bridgewater, mug to drink my morning tea in. It would be so special, as I was so blessed to get to take a trip to England in 2006. Love your blog.

  44. Ann in Pasadena says:

    Once again, you’ve shared such real joy and creativity. Your cheesecake looks dreamy delicious. Happy birthday, Joe. I love your homemade screen! And, what a great way to enter a new decade!

    Oh, the gifts of family, friends and precious memories! Thank you both!!

  45. Diane Bennett says:

    I found an Emma Bridgewater mug display at a Prince Edward Island gift store. I asked about the Jubilee mug, but they didn’t have them, however I bought a fun chicken mug to add to the two I bought from your store….love them.

    • Holly says:

      Hi Diane! I LOVE PEI! Haven’t been there in years but can’t wait to get back again someday. I would love to live there but I think the long winters would get to me.

  46. Tina in Kentucky says:

    It is always lovely to find a new post on your blog… Love the mugs… and the Union Jack tea towel I saw hanging on your oven door! Have a wonderful day!

  47. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    Happy Birthday Joe!! My husband Jeff just celebrated his 50th Birthday on August 18th. Leo men are so smart, handsome and warm hearted which is why we love them so much. What a great party you had, loved the outdoor slide show. Thank you for sharing the happy times you have with us.

  48. Kathie says:

    I’m comment number 910? Wow. I love cheesecake and have been experimenting with a sugar-free one that I can eat. Lucky Joe! It was a great party! Thanks for letting us visit.

  49. Kirsten Wichert from So. California says:

    Happy Birthday Joe!!! The party looked fabulous! Sounds like everyone had a great time. Now I’m craving cheesecake! LOL. The Emma mugs came out GREAT. Of course, they did… guys painted them! I can’t believe you’re giving one away. My fingers are crossed. Thanks, as always, for sharing with us. <3

    • sbranch says:

      Cheesecake craving at 2 am is the MOST dangerous of all cravings! If I didn’t have any cheesecake, I know I would resort to a BLT! Sweet dreams Kirsten!

  50. Bridget from Alexandria, VA says:

    HBD Joe! what a great celebration! I noticed that the cheesecake was baked in a Polish Pottery dish. I have quite a collection of Polish Pottery myself. I am now a big fan of Emma’s pottery since learning about her from you! I check every other day to see if you have something new posted. Love hearing from you.

  51. Holly says:

    Thanks for the chance to win the mug. I may give it to my sister…..she is nuts about all things English! I need to direct her to your blog!

  52. Susu S. says:

    I love this post! You hit the nail on the head in terms of the best things in life. Happy Birthday, Joe.What a fun celebration! I don’t need any more Emma Bridgewater mug as we have a lot of lovely ones – nevertheless, I just wanted to say thank you for such a wonderful post.

  53. Carol from Connecticut says:

    Dear Susan,
    Would you ever consider a ‘Susan Branch Girlfriend Lending Library’ ? The first thing I would check out is that sweet toy stove on your table. I want to play with it! I’m so happy to discover that there are other adults in the world who love to play with toys and small things. Peter Pan and I refuse to grow up. A standing ovation for this post. Things that tickle all five senses just jump off the screen. The sixth sense is the warmth among friends that is so apparent. The seventh sense is contentment. The eighth sense is your talent for variety, pacing, and the gracious love of sharing. Your readers can feel your excitement in every word. Joe had a beautiful evening. Love was in the air. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ The floating, ghostly hearts are certainly the evidence. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Affection and a tra la la, Carol P.S. William Morris ? William Morris umbrella? …from the pest!

    • sbranch says:

      Coming soon! Ummm, yes, there is another one of those stoves in my vintage store . . . fyi, I think there are two! Thank you Carol for those nice comments. All I know is I love it, and feel very connected to everyone; girls just wanna have fun, right?

  54. Sylvia Cowen says:

    Thank you for sharing Joe’s Birthday celebration. It looked like a wonderful evening of good food and reminiscing over photos from times passed. Your trip to England has definitely inspired me to add their country sides to my vacation bucket list. I had always heard that the English people loved to garden but I had no idea just how beautiful and green a place could be. As always, thank you for sharing fun stories from your life. Sylvia :}

  55. Kathy H. says:

    Thank you for the cheesecake recipe. I like that it is not an enormous cake but is the right size for a small gathering of friends.

  56. Joyce Price says:

    Hope to win the cup. Its beautiful. Have so enjoyed your vacation and letting us come along on the trip. Have a great day. Joyce

  57. Francine says:

    Happy belated birthday Joe!!! What a fun party. You are truly blessed to have such a large amount of friends!!! I’d love to win the mug! What a pleasant memory of “our” trip!

  58. Cheryl says:

    I would love one Vanna! Pick me! Of course, what would be really special is a Susan Branch mug made by Emma 😉

  59. Becky says:

    Happy Birthday, Joe!!! 60 is a wonderful age to be. I myself plan to be a super centenarian(sp?) ……someone who lives to 110 years. I just turned 61, so my life is about half over. What a great thought to know I’ve got tons of years left to do all the learning and growing I’m planning to do. Party on, dude and dudette!

  60. suzk says:

    What a great birthday party! Who says they are just for kids! You guys looked like you had a blast. I’m going to order that cookbook because my son’s favorite cake is carrot cake and I always buy it from Hannaford, but I’d love to make him one! The cheesecake looks yummy too – might be just the thing for my quilt bee! I love how your mugs came out. I did get a commemorative EB mug (not that design) but I know just the person to give that one to!

  61. Barb says:

    Hi Sue…. I did leave a comment on Monday but when I tried to post it, came up error…..and guess my message is out in blogland somewhere! I really enjoyed the musica…..starting with the Cheers theme, then by the time I got to Heard it through the Grapevine was snapping my fingers and wanted to Dance. Your music choices are always so spot on! The tiny stove on the table brings back so many happy memories for me…..had one plus a refrigerator to. Your step by step cake demos with pictures……are so great……thank you and cannot wait to try both recipes! 🙂 Really enjoyed the pictures including the one of your Arbor Joe built for you, was so nice to see it in the daytime with all the hard work that went into building that along with the rock wall… any chance are those beach rocks? Plus your pretty hydrangeas. The homemade movie screen and all those wonderful pictures of all your treasured friends…….what a great time had by all.
    Thanks for sharing all this with us girlfriends. Plus your mugs came out great and would be honored to win the giveaway mug…..thanks muchly. May you both have a blessed day. Hugs&Smiles :):) Barb…Ludlow MA :):)

  62. Well, talk about great timing! After enjoying your lawn party for Joe….HB, Joe!…..I felt great inspiration to make a cheesecake today to help celebrate the 22nd of the month, a ritual we have tried to practice every month for the past 34 years. (we were married on the 22nd of July) We sure don’t need to be eating cheesecake but it beckons me to invite someone/a couple to have dinner with us tonight. We just returned from British Columbia where we fished for salmon and halibut and we have a LOT of fish now to share. I’ll have to check your books for ideas you have for preparing the fish. Hope Vanna will find my name in the drum that she will be spinning! Thanks for the delightful story of the party.

  63. Tracy P says:

    The cakes look awesome. I love carrot cake! The cups are beautiful. I’ve been hoping to order some from your website soon. Thanks for sharing your fun.

  64. Christine Anderson says:

    Happy Birthday to Joe. What a fun party! Big parties are such fun! I have a big family and all of our parties are Big!!!

    I just love you!

  65. Anne Hegg says:

    I so enjoyed following your English travels and look forward to your book about it. It would be a wonderful treat if I was chosen to win the mug. Thanks for all your day brighteners!

  66. Kathleen in Holland, Michigan says:

    What a blessing to have such wonderful family and friends over for a birthday party. Happy Birthday to Joe!
    Thank you for sharing your party with us.

  67. Celtic Heart says:

    Happiest of Birthday Days!

    missed so much due to ‘technical difficulties’ i.e. hard drive failure. so much to catch up on, back as far as, well my computer has been broke for so long I’ve actually lost track. been back online for a little while but takes a while to restore and sort things out . .

  68. Kari Watson says:

    Your blog makes my eyes dance and my tastebuds get all crave-y! Now I’m longing for cheesecake made in an adorable ceramic pie plate and maybe a cup of tea in an Emma Bridgewater mug. Thanks for improving my mood with beauty this morning!

  69. Rosemary says:

    What a fun party! Happy birthday joe! Loved loved loved the mugs you painted! Mine would never look that good! LOL! Please enter me for the giveaway 🙂

  70. Christine Morgan says:

    Great party! Great friends! Thank you for sharing. Have enjoyed your recent blogs so much. Love the mugs you both made. Would love to start a EB mug collection with this wonderful giveaway. Fingers crossed!

  71. Susan says:

    Happy Belated Birthday Joe! and many more… Sure looked like fun! Wish I was there. Hahaha
    Glad you celebrated well. I want to try the cheesecake. It looks so easy-peasy that I must try.

  72. Dee says:

    Have to make the cheesecake!! Happy Birthday to Joe ;o) The cup is beautiful!!!!!

  73. Nena Wilt says:

    LOVE the slideshow idea! I’ll be celebrating 40 fabulous years in March and would love to something similar. 🙂

  74. Joanie Myers says:

    Hi Susan: I would luv to win the cup from England. Thank you so much for your
    interesting and beautiful drawings. You indeed have a God given talent. When
    is your next book coming out. I have a few of your books and the desk calendar..

  75. Laurie-MA says:

    Company coming to the Cape this weekend and the cheesecake and carrot cakes look perfect (since we’re having steak and swordfish, too!)

    I’ve got hundreds, if not thousands (incl. my father’s and grandmother’s) family slides in our attic and I keep swearing I will DO something with them. Would love to make a DVD so everyone can enjoy them but so darn expensive! I think an outdoor slideshow is brilliant!

    Loved following your trip and have a dear friend who visited at the same time and went just about everywhere you did. I’d love to give the mug to her. Thanks for sharing!

  76. Elizabeth from Odessa, Tx says:

    Happy birthday, Joe! Looked like a fun time. Enjoyed the blog and would love the mug. The cheesecake looks delicious. I will be making it for my family.

  77. debby from the coast of Maine says:

    It sure looks like you know how to have a party! It all looks wonderful. I also turned 60 this summer…a new beginning!

  78. Buzz'n Bea says:

    Just enjoying catching up on the last 3 posts. What a wonderful way to reminisce over your trip. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to win one of the
    treasures you collected.

  79. Mrs. Wendy S. says:

    Happy Birthday Joe! I would adore the Emma mug! Yours is gorgeous! What a wonderful thing to have as a reminder of your trip. Just beautiful!

    Almost fall, Susan. Our favorite..YAY!

  80. Judy Bartholow says:

    Happy birthday Joe. Love living a trip to England through your eyes.

  81. Becky L. says:

    oooh! I would love to have that mug! Happy 60th Birthday Joe! Your party looked fantastic!

  82. Carol Vidovich says:

    Thank you for sharing–the birthday party looked like so much fun–and delicious!!!

  83. Silvia Niomi says:

    Happy Belated Birthday Joe!!!! The celebration looked grand. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of it. Susan, I love your Heart of Home cookbook.

    I would love to drink tea out of an Emma Bridgewater Royal Jubilee Cup 🙂 Oh the memories of England from my armchair travel.

  84. Edie Olson says:

    I followed along every day of your adventure. Thank you for sharing your life with us. It is a true breath of fresh air. Happy BDay Joe. What a wonderful birthday party you two planned.

  85. Mary A. Brown says:

    Happy birthday, Joe! I would love a chance to win a piece of Emma’s pottery! I loved going along with you on your trip to England. You’re right, no one does cute better than the Brits! Really enjoyed visiting Peter Rabbit’s home… Mary A

  86. Wendy says:

    Oh I’ve so been wanting one of those Emma mugs! I found out that my
    ancestors were potters in Stoke-on-Trent.

    Happy Bday Joe!

  87. Annette Drewniak says:

    I loved traveling with you so much I have begun my own travel wish book!
    Thanks for taking me to England with you.

  88. Sara S. says:

    Susan, your trip to England sounded wonderful! I love reading your blog just as much as I read through your cookbooks constantly to make sure I have tried all of your recipes. Those mugs are adorable! I was in England at the end of June this year after the Jubilee, and London was still beaming with pride from the festivities! Thank you for the opportunity to win the mug! You keep on writing, I will keep on reading! 🙂

  89. Jacqueline Meindersee says:

    Hello Susan! What a lovely post, thank you for sharing with all of us! You both are so very fortunate to have friendships that last through the years! I love the mugs you & Joe painted and certainly would love to be the recipient of one of those ‘fancy’ english mugs! Thank you for including me in the drawing!
    Blessings to you!


  90. Judi D. says:

    What a lovely party!!! Happy, happy birthday Joe! And your cheesecake recipe is exactly the way my husband likes it too! He loves the little layer of sour cream on the top! Blessings to you both.

  91. Robin in Yorba Linda says:

    What a great entry about Joe’s celebration of his 60th trip around the sun!!!

    Can’t wait for your Travel Journal when it is published.

  92. Janet G says:

    What a birthday party! Best wishes to Joe! Love the card from your doggie neighbor. Can’t wait to try the cheesecake. Is your book still available? I need to go to your store and see…

  93. Terrie from Atlanta, GA says:

    ” . . . and many moorree!!” Happy birthdays for Joe (and Sue) that is, because hopefully someone in that big, beautiful crowd remembered to barrel out one last line to the Birthday Song! What a beautiful party … wonderful friends … magical summer … the world will remember this as the Year of England. And you, Sue, will help one lucky girlfriend celebrate by winning an Emma B mug ~ pop my name into the basket, please! xoxo

  94. Robbie R in Texas says:

    I’m a little late to the party…. fashionably late, maybe?!! Happy 60th to your really, very handsome hubby, Joe! Sorry I couldn’t be there! ; )
    Love the cups you two did at the Emma Bridgewater factory!

    My sister and I are taking our Mom to Martha’s Vineyard next month. A trip she’s wanted to take for a very long time. We’re so excited; can’t wait to experience the beauty of of the island together. (Have made notes from your Visiting MV link!)

  95. Suzanne says:

    The perfect birthday!!
    I have made your cheesecake recipe more times than I can count over the years. It has been my two daughters favorite dessert since they were small girls. My son loves it too, but he’s a chocolate chip man so we change things up a bit for him. So glad you keep sharing pieces of your fabulous trip. LOVE the mug! Oooo I hope Vanna stays away from the UV rays and picks ME!

  96. Rachel says:

    Those look like some delicious eats 😉 And what a fabulous setting for a party! I am sure you all had a wonderful time.

    I know I read this post when it was posted… but somehow I missed the mug thing and never commented. I wonder what happened? I bet I was distracted somehow LOL

  97. Karen says:

    As always…you are a breath of fresh air! Your party looked fabulous and the slide idea…the best. Many Happy Returns,Joe!

  98. Donna Ray says:

    Aw shucks, I’m so late to the party that there are only graham cracker crumbs left…..and the glow. Don’t you love the day after a party when you tidy up with a big ole smile on your face as you remember all the fun you helped create. That’s the glow and hopefully a new gathering is being planned just about the time the glow begins to fade. Happy Birthday, Joe. The sixties are really wonderful. I’ve been here five years and they’ve been exciting ones with some interesting challenges but mostly lots of reaping of good times. Slides……a blast from the past……..hope at least one was put in the carosel upside down! Thanks for the fun! As always, DonnaRay

  99. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Happy, Happy Birthday to your Joe!!!!! Sixty years young is a wonderful accomplishment!!! Your two cakes look devine! You did a superb job baking them Susan!!! It was soooooooooooo nice to read your blog tonight, it made me smile! (Our daughter left for college last weekend and the quietness of our home has left me alittle sad. So, I had to check up on your blog, because it’s my “happy place” to be!) Thank you Susan for the happiness you give through sharing of your creativity and lifestyle. You truly are an angel on earth (Martha’s Vineyard)!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      My best friend, who lives across the street, drove to Ohio yesterday, to take her only child, her daughter, someone I’ve known since she was two, to college. Everyone is in tears! It’s OK, just right, the perfect thing, we all know, but still . . . our baby’s gone! We know how you feel! They will come home, we know. Right? Yes . . . they will.

  100. A beautiful birthday post! Birthdays are so special. I love celebrating with people who have share our journeys during the past year (or years). What a gift our friends and family are. All the best to Joe.

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