There’s a Cat in the Kitchen!!

Hi Everyone!  I thought I’d show you what we’ve been up to!  Kitchen Makeover is getting there and Jack the cat has been a huge help, doing what he does best, making us laugh!  Because this is definitely a time for humor!  Musica?

He is really the only good decoration in my kitchen, and a true partner! Joe is now using my nails for paint brush displays.

It’s all coming along, the floor turned out beautiful; we’ve been washing walls; I cleaned the stove; Joe’s already painted the ceiling, and we finally settled on a wall color.  It’s going to be Benjamin Moore, Woodlawn Blue (the top one on the strip above).

I know the one on the left looks prettiest, but it’s actually going to be the one on the right!  The one on the left is Summer Shower (Benj. Moore), the original color of the kitchen, but we decided it’s just a bit too “baby” blue . . . we want to tone it down a bit . . . this is our chance, and we’re going to take it!  I think we’re going to love it!

And of course, Jack agrees.

There is a bare bulb hanging up there; he’s got his eye on it; he’s thinking, hmmm, could I swing on that?

But really, no, not now, I’m a cat, and I need a nap right this minute.

This is the most comfortable top of a ladder I ever had.

I’m dreaming of flying!

Wait a minute, what’s THAT?

FLY!!!  Gotta have it, gotta have it, gotta have it, go— ta — GOT it.  Yum.

You need help up there?

‘Cause I can come up if you need me!

I know my stuff.  I had a birthday, I turned one!


Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes, I LOVE these gloves.  lovelovelove, bitebitebite, love love love . . . I want them forever.

Don’t look at me, it was YOUR idea to get him.

And this is the general condition of the dining room; every surface is covered, wall-to-wall, with kitchen things.  Early every morning I fill the dishwasher with a load of dishes and bowls.  Slowly but surely, everything is getting cleaned.  When the shelves are done being painted I can put it all back!  It’s going to be gorgeous!

Because this is the real me . . . and that is what I wish I was doing . . .

 It feels like I haven’t been able to really cook anything forever!

And all my old cookbooks are dislocated, homeless, with no place to BE.

I’ve been chopping veggies and making some delicious cold salads, Broccoli salad and Coleslaw, to keep us healthy during this period of discombooberation (pizza to-go);  but what I really want to do is bake a pan of corn bread and make some apple crisp!  Here’s my corn bread recipe, from this month’s calendar page . . . until I get my kitchen back, I thought maybe I can live vicariously through YOU! XOXO

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573 Responses to There’s a Cat in the Kitchen!!

  1. Jack looks like he is having the time of his life 🙂 Love the blue! I cannot wait to see everything put back together!!
    Corn bread sounds delicious, but no cooking here today…it is pea soup muggy! The forecast for Thursday is 74!!!! Can you say chili and cornbread???? YUM!! xoxo Debbie

  2. Nellie says:

    We have been in the midst of a couple of projects here. We painted the living room and relocated a bookcase! That meant everything had to come from the bookcase! Stacks and stacks all over! We also put some shelves on a bare wall in the kitchen and relocated the pie safe that had been in that space. That was more unpacking, moving, and returning things to their homes. We were on a bit of a push because one of our daughters, her husband, and the two grandchildren came for the week-end! Then, yesterday was the day for me to prepare lunch for our adult day care at church! Still working on getting things back in place, plus sorting through all sorts of clippings from magazines and newspapers. Recipes! Just how many more do I need in my lifetime?:-)

    Your kitchen will be just what you want it to be! You have a great helper there!

    xo Nellie

  3. Francine says:

    That Jack is something else!!! What a guy! Too funny!! I can’t wait to see your kitchen all done and together! And just in time for the holidays! It will be so nice to have it all finished, and clean! My eyes about popped looking at your display of all your old dishes – love em! As far as cooking and baking – in Wisconsin….it’s HOT!!! But I guess one more day, and it will cool down! Yippee!!!! ENOUGH with the heat!!

  4. Lorrie says:

    I love the greyed down blue you chose. Still light and pretty, but with a bit more depth. That cat in the kitchen – so much fun!

    Soon the work will be done and you’ll be baking up a storm.

    I’m working up the energy to paint a bathroom or two – I want white, but can’t decide just which one.

    • sbranch says:

      My decorator friend suggested Swiss Coffee white for us … Benj. Moore — but we’re only putting it on the trim.

      • Judy Young says:

        I noticed in one of your photographs that you had cans of Ceiling White vinyl latex paint. Never heard of that before, is that good to roll on a ceiling? We have popcorn ceilings here in Texas and that might be good to use on them, what do you think?

        • sbranch says:

          You should probably check with the paint store; our ceiling is flat, I don’t know if that matters; Joe is our “paint expert” but I think he takes the advice of the person at the store!

  5. Barb says:

    Hello Sue,

    Oh the joys of remodeling, takes time but the end result is always the best moment.

    Oh that Jack..he is everywhere, so curious and just loved the picture of him sleeping on top of the ladder. Plus LOL at Jacks frame by frame description of the situation in the kitchen. I vote for a book by Jack and Girl Kitty too. Really great to see a picture of Girl Kitty. Thanks for the great recipe and loved the picture you drew of that pretty blue chair with the cushion……I want one. Happy Remodeling! :):) Hugs&Smiles Barb…Ludlow, MA

  6. Oh! I am loving the photos of Jack asleep on the ladder. How precious!
    My Luna kitty just turned 1 year old last week!

    I do like that blue. It just looks like it feels calm, but bright and happy.

  7. Susan,
    Your kitchen wall color will be a reflection of your island feels on an early morning when the sea air is thick. A lovely choice.
    It’s clear Jack is your Court Jester and Girl is the Queen. I have two Siamese — Puter who is clearly just tolerating us until her space ship returns her to a planet of superior beings and Mishka who will forever be a kitten. They have Scout, our Rat Terrier, convinced that will be tossed out on his ear if he doesn’t submit to their every whim. I’m convinced cats have two speeds — on and off. Obviously their curiosity over what you’re doing to ‘their kitchen’ is
    making them lose sleep. Poor things probably only got a good 22 hours of shut eye. 😀
    Your Friend,

    • Chris Wells says:

      Isn’t that the absolute truth.

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Our two schnauzers use Mondays for “catch up time”–they are zonked out on Mondays after watching both of us on the weekends! They don’t get their normal morning nap and afternoon nap on the weekends as their daily routines are changed! 🙂

  8. Lisa from CT says:

    Hi Susan, thanks for the update on your kitchen! I know that soft grayish blue will be beautiful. My daughter’s kitchen is a soft gray and I just love it. I can’t wait to see what inspirations in decorating the new color give you!!!!

  9. Merry Groszmann says:

    What a laugh a second kitty!

  10. judi says:

    A you’re adorable (Jack), B you’re so beautiful (Girl kitty). What fun. HOW??? did he get up on top of that ladder?….and he actually fell asleep up there. He is amazing.

    Your upsetiveness will be over soon and the wonderful smells from your kitchen will once again waft throughout your neighborhood:) Thanks for checking in with us when you are so busy. xxxooo j

    • sbranch says:

      Happy to hear from you Judi! And Jack, took one look at that ladder, and climbed right up it, just the same way Joe does!

      • Victoria Miller says:

        I sang that song to my grandchildren and they loved it. Both Jack and Girl Kitty sure are both C….cuties full of charm!

  11. Ginger says:

    It almost makes me want to get a cat…almost.

  12. Susan,
    I got a kick out of Jack and his antics. My cat passed on a couple of years ago, but I’d find Sam on top of the kitchen cabinets, near the window, or hanging about on top of the old desktop computer. They are fun creatures.

  13. Cathy McC. says:

    Oh you know we would all bring meals in to you if we could. Of course, in return we would probably want some time with Sir Jack and Girl Kitty!!!!! Anyway, things are going to be gorgeous — the colors are so soft and your charming dishes will look beautiful in their new resting places. And soon you’ll be cooking up a storm. I got my “Autumn” and “Vineyard” books out today — didn’t get much else done because I started rereading and picking favorite recipes to make on our upcoming football weekends. Summer cookbook is in the cupboard, but that’s okay because I have the Skip N Go Naked recipe memorized!!!! Hang in their with your tasks, but don’t forget to take time to smell the remaining roses. 🙂 Ethel

  14. Deb from Dixie says:

    That Jack is Hilarious…..what a treat to see the kitchen in progress! Love the paint color…..and LOVE seeing that oh so cute Jack on the ladder…….he is just so adorable……..and then…..Girl kitty…that was a funny comment from her!!!!
    Thanks for letting us share in the FUN!

    I baked ham and scalloped potatoes for dinner tonight for Mom and me >>>>and I am sharing them in spirit with you and Joe!

    Just think of the “happy dances” you will be doing the first time you get to bake in the “new” kitchen!
    Smiles and hugs coming your way!

    • Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

      Deb, How fun to picture you and your mom having dinner together!
      Glad to know you get to be with her for awhile. My heart goes out to your cousin. I’ve put her on my prayer list. I’m doing well. It’s cooler here, but still so humid with thundershowers. I told Baby Button about The Bean! He says “meow!”

      • Deb from Dixie says:

        Hi Linda!
        Just wanted to pop on and say Hi! I have been reading all your comments….and so much fun! Exciting about the upcoming wedding….a joyous time!
        And the cute as a button, “Baby Button” ….has a new friend in B.K. The Bean!…Yay!
        Have a great weekend!

  15. Joanie B from San Diego says:

    Just tuned in, can’t believe I am in the under 10 responses. What is it about cats and ladders? And cats and gloves? It is downright embarrassing to watch…such intimacy! Our tuxedo cat has a love affair with any garden or work gloves that we bring into the house. For goodness sake, but it makes us laugh, so go ahead cats. I love the shade of blue and the name of it, Woodlawn Blue sounds like something out of Jane Austen. I was just thinking about cornbread today myself, but it is 84 in the house so I will have to wait for cooler temperatures and be satisfied with salads. Your kitchen will be gorgeous when you are all done, what happiness. You can plan the inaugural meal now and imagine all the others. 🙂

  16. Laura Croyle says:

    Love, Love, Love the photos and “conversations” with Jack!! (And Girl Kitty at the end!) So Cute!! Love that you chose a pretty blue again! Your dishes will look wonderful with it! I love Benjamin Moore paints! Hang in there! It’s looking Good!

  17. Ruth Thomas says:

    I know that when everything is painted and washed and put away, it will be wonderful. Sometimes it is the work that scares me!!!! When I was younger, I wouldn’t think a thing about tearing apart a room, painting, redecorating, etc., but now, it’s like, OMG – I need to paint my bedroom and you are actually inspiring me – if you can do it with your busy schedule, why can’t I!!

    As for Jack, he is a doll, and I love Girl. I laughed at her picture because I can just imagine what she is thinking. My tuxedo kitty has big green evil eyes but so beautiful! Doesn’t look like she is 12 years old this month.

    Hang in there, Susan, it will be soooooooooooo beautiful when it is done.


  18. Carol Maurer says:

    Oh, Susan ~~~~ Jack does look as though he is having a ball! He just wants to be a part of EVERYTHING doesn’t he? LOL And, then there’s Girl Kitty. Looks as though she is serveying the area and what’s going on. I bet she really thinks that Jack is a stinker. I like the new color that you and Joe have chosen for the walls. The other color didn’t look too blue, but then again, we don’t get the true likeness on the computer.

    Keep up the good work you three!

    Carol M

  19. mary spring says:

    …dear Susan , I love how you always ” take joy “…..

  20. Maryellen says:

    Everytime I see Jack’s moustache – I just have to smile! Thanks for brightening my day.

  21. Paulie says:

    Now c’mon ladies, ya know darned well one can NEVER have too many recipes or recipe books! Cheesums……..even if we don’t use em all, they are just so much fun to brouse…….almost better than the old Sears Catalog Days when we would sit and read those cover to cover………lol….your kitchen is going to be gorgeous Sue……can I come over and enjoy it too? Oh that stove full of wonderful food sure looks good.
    Still have not found my chef yet though……….well the cat is something else. What a little clown you have there. Fun to watch and photos are so cute. Have fun……..and if you can clone your painter, please do……….many of us could sure use his talents….

  22. Susan Martin says:

    Your kitchen will be beautiful! I can’t wait to see the finished product. It just amazes me that through the power of the internet, I have “met” my favorite cookbook author/artist; have “been” to her house and have “met” her hubby and her kitties! Is this not an amazing world we live in?

    all my best,


  23. Linda in Texas says:

    That Jack! What a comedienne he is! Love that napping-on-top-of-the-ladder photo.

    I have that Hershey’s cookbook; it belonged to my mother-in-law. And I have to agree with Nellie–all those recipe clippings! I am inheriting my mother’s as well. She never saw a recipe she didn’t want to save. I’ve had to discipline myself and toss the ones she cut off the back of the Bisquick boxes. But so far I’ve kept all three of the buttermilk pie ones–and two are the exact same recipe.

    I love how in the midst of all the turmoil, you still have your cute cuptowels on the oven doors and a little bouquet behind the sink. Are those zinnia from your garden? Love that color. It goes so well with Woodlawn Blue.

    Joe looks like a man with a purpose. Your kitchen should be back in commission in no time. I can’t wait to see it, too.

    • Linda in Texas says:

      I forgot to say thank you for the Iowa cornbread recipe. I really must try that…soon.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, zinnias from the garden; I have to say, the moment I was able to walk on the floor again, out came the dish towels and the flowers, but that’s about as far as I could go!

  24. Country Gal says:

    Oh what a great post I had a good giggle at the kitty’s ! Fantastic photos ! Pets are amazing aren’t they ? Our Harley kitty and Miggy pooch are quite the characters as well and make for good fun ! Thanks for sharing . I cant wait to see your kitchen when it is all done ! Have a good evening !

  25. Ruthie P says:

    Ohhh….. this is FUN!!!!! Love the paint color and love watching the process(of coarse I’m not the one doing all the work) That Jack is such a joy “this is the most comfortable top of a ladder I ever had” still laughing at that one.Let me not forget precious Girl Kitty,a little beauty.Susan,you ALWAYS bring a smile to my face! HAPPY BIRTHDAY Jack,can not believe you’re a year old already.xoxo Ruthie

  26. Debby Holman says:

    I just love, love, love the pictures of Jack and your commentary was spot on- especially the picture of Girl Kitty. Hope the kitchen turns out just the way you want it.

    • Janet says:

      Agree! The always-serene Girl Kitty sitting there all elegant and dignified, cracking wise about her “little brother.” Laughed out loud! PS – wow – Jack is not a baby anymore – at least not in appearance. He’s all grown up – sleek and long-limbed. Reminded me of a teenage boy who just had a growth spurt – all arms and legs. And those great round eyes that give him a surprised look all the time.

      Like your kitchen color very much. Very neutral blue – slatey – almost gray. Very classy. So many colors will look well with it too – should be easy to change out with the seasons and holidays.

  27. Kati says:

    Jack is so cute! He is such a typical cat to be right where the action is and on top of the highest surface in the room. 🙂

  28. Elaine Serblowski says:

    Dear Susan,

    I hope Jack is getting danger pay because that is a really high ladder…but what’s a boss to do (and we all know who is boss!). And who wouldn’t mind taking orders from such a cutie. I made your Cranberry Apple Crisp and shared it with our neighbours – and yes, it was as good as you said it would be. Beautiful Girl Kitty – so regal, and oh so patient. Hugs to you all.

  29. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Jackrobatics! What a character, such a fun kinda guy! So excited for you and your “new” kitchen, love it that you & Joe are making such fast progress! Thanks for the update, gotta run to the store! Bye for now! xoxxo

  30. Kate says:

    That cat is such a charature! Mine are old men and not nearly so fun. Enjoy the baby years! Kitchen will be beautiful…

  31. Georgie says:


    I am laughing… smiling… and laughing again. How on earth can Jack balance on the top of a step ladder and be conked out asleep, without falling off! LOL! He is such s delight. Girl Kitty provides the balance. You are really moving right along. I love the blue. How exciting to do things literally from the ground (floor) up! So glad you took pictures of where everything goes once you are ready to reassemble!

    Tell Joe we have a couple of projects waiting in the wings for a seasoned painter 🙂 He can visit in NJ while you work on our journal. Then you can come down too!

    Happy Fall! Happy new floors! Happy blue kitchen! Happy Home! Happy Susan + Joe!
    Yardville, NJ

  32. Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

    Oh, my! What I love is when Jack falls asleep on top of the ladder. Kitties are just adorable. Today Baby Button fell asleep in the middle of licking his fur! Our pets are so-so dear, aren’t they?

    And your paint color!!! I have the same paint strip hanging in my soon-to-be sitting room (formerly my oldest son’s bedroom). I want something blue–not too blue, just a vague wispy blue; not baby blue, definitely a more grown up blue! Ut! Oh! I’m sounding like Myrna Loy! AND if I can convince Kevin, I’m thinking of painting the ceiling the same color so my darling sitting room/library will be a little jewel box of a room. I’ll be interested to see how your color looks. I haven’t chosen a color yet, but have 6 (yes, 6) samples. I’m very indecisive when it comes to paint color.

    Very soon delicious smells will be coming out of your kitchen again! Yay!

  33. Judy from Oregon says:

    I am thinking about doing some painting around my house maybe I could get Jack to come and help me. Probably not he looks very comfortable right where he is at and I love the pictures of him on the ladder. I think the new blue will be very pretty in your kitchen and look great with your white cabinets.

  34. Rhonda D. says:

    I haven’t the time to sit and read everything in this post right now, but I did scroll through all the pictures…and I laughed and I laughed. Susan, you have got the funniest cat on the planet. I love reading and seeing all the things that happen at your house, but I would just love to live at your house, watching all the goings on (like the fly on the wall thing). I just needed a laugh and an uplift right now, and I certainly got it!! You always seem to come through at just the right moment you know. Thank you. I hope you know that you (and everyone living in your house) are priceless!!! xo
    PS Good luck with all the work going on in your kitchen. I’ll pray for patience for you and Joe. Can’t wait to see it finished.

  35. Susan in SC says:

    I realize that Jack is the “main man” bouncing around and entertaining, but “Girl Kitty” is a seriously beautiful feline. I can almost feel how soft her fur is by looking at the picture, and her facial expression is so . . . regal and intelligent. ( I think she may know things you aren’t aware she knows!)

  36. Lorice Amlin says:

    I love the blue! Jack sure is having fun! Has he gotten any paint on himself yet?

    • sbranch says:

      Just on one paw, I hope Joe doesn’t go wild with the white paint!

    • Kathy from Heafed to the Fell, Brevard, NC says:

      Hi Lorice and Susan! I really like the new blue shade too! Your question, Lorice, reminds me of a little story about one of my first kitties. . .

      In the 70s, when I was young, married to my first husband, and living in our first home, we had a cedar chest that had been my father’s. In my teens I had “antiqued” it with a deep turquoise base and a brown stain over the top. One day my husband and I were painting something a shade of white. At the end of the day we noticed two perfect paw prints made by Scooter on the top of the cedar chest. Just perfect! I still have that cedar chest, much marred by now, from all the times it has been opened and closed. It has held many treasured collections over the years. Right now it holds my off-season quilts. But the paw prints are still there and they always remind me of my sweet little kitty, Scooter, and a happy day from my first marriage.

      • Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

        Kathy, I want to tell you how much the poem you wrote meant to me (“Not so, not so–no load of woe). I copied it into my Susan Branch “Days Journal”–where else??
        Thank you!

        • Kathy from Heafed to the Fell, Brevard, NC says:

          I am glad that to hear that, Linda! I took it from a little gem of a book called, “Daily Strength for Daily Needs.” Arranged by days throughout the years, Mary W. Tileston selected a verse or two of Holy Scripture, a relevant poem and prayer or prayers, first published in 1884—yes, 1884. I also have her “Prayers Ancient & Modern,” a daily selection of prayers, first published in 1897. I see that you can still get the books on Amazon. I believe there is at least one other book and I have accessed at one time one of her books online.

          • Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

            Kathy, I love those old books. One of my favorite writers is Andrew Murray. He lived in the late 1800’s also. Most of his books have 31 chapters–one chapter for each day of the month so the reader has a devotional for each day!

          • Kathy from Heafed to the Fell, Brevard, NC says:

            Hi Linda, Thank you for telling me about Andrew Murray—my but he has a lot of offer! I am busy reading the reviews of his books and anthologies. Well, where to start, where to start?—that is the question!

  37. Holly says:

    HAHA!! “It was YOUR idea to get him”, I love it, and laughed right out loud! Jack of course is adorable! Our Moochie eats flys too, gross I know, but he gets them all eventually, Yuck. He also LOVES crickets, and eats all but the legs. I find cricket legs in the oddest places!

    I do love the toned down blue, it will look great with your treasures! Thanks for the peek at your kitchen redo. You & Joe need lots of tunes to work by!

    • Janet says:

      Well – there’s a sentence I never expected to see anywhere: “…I find cricket legs in the oddest places…” Very cute, Holly! Thanks – adding it to my collection. :>)

      • Holly says:

        Janet, I’m now LOL! It’s true…. Moochie said they taste nasty. He’s been known to fib at times, he’s also sneaky!
        Recently we’ve heard little pitter-patters up in our ceiling, between the first & 2nd floors of our remodeled warehouse/loft style home. He gets in, and we hear pitter patter on the ceiling…. drives me nuts! Then, only when hunger calls, does he come down. We can’t figure out how he’s doing it!

  38. Kristin Esskew says:

    LOVE that cat!

  39. Kathy B says:

    I know how you love old movies – – – Mr. Blanding builds his Dreamhouse is on tonight – – – right now in fact, love thier trials and tribulations – – – it sort of compares to remodeling – – – an who does not love Cary Grant and Myrna Loy!!
    They pick paint too!

    The color you picked will be lovely – – – best wishes for a smooth renovation!

  40. Juliana - Jackson, NJ says:

    Love the color, love the ever adorable help, and as always, love the song! You will be together again soon and think of all the inspiration you’ll have in that pretty, newly decorated kitchen! Wow! So since you’re not cooking, it’s clearly spilling over this way, as I made your Orange Cake (Sweets for the Sweet) for our anniversary this weekend. The flavor of the cake is heavenly! Everyone raved about it, and that’s saying something from a family where every cake usually has some sort of chocolate in it! I also made your Baked Tomato Salad (Summer Book) with some buttermilk fried chicken yesterday. Another huge hit! My youngest son, who hates tomatoes, loved it! So thrilled I found a way he’ll eat them! Also since it only baked for 20 minutes, I didn’t have to have the oven on too long in this heat and humidity. I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever tried one of your recipes I didn’t love! Looking forward to some cooler weather when we can finally make that cornbread!! Thanks for all the delicious ideas!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Juliana! Made my day to hear about your son! Tell him I said hello!

      • Janet says:

        Me too, Juliana! I have never made anything from Sue’s books that wasn’t a winner. There’s a “standing order” at my school that I have to bring either [A] brownies or [B] lemon rice salad – the vinaigrette one with flower petals – to all social events! My family lets me bring whatever I want to make – and they just ask, “Janet, which of Susan’s recipes are you going to bring THIS time?” :>)

        • sbranch says:

          XOXO thank you Janet! I have to say, I really always try hard to have GOOD recipes that WORK.

          • Janet says:

            That, my friend, is very clear. My goal is to try them all, like “Julie and Julia.” I think I actually have made at least half of all desserts, salads and potato dishes – and nearly all of the drinks and beverages – just cuz they’re usually fast and easy. And Joe is in the act now too! Made Flattened Lemon-Garlic Chicken this Summer and everyone loved it. My nephew quipped, “You’ve heard of Pheasant Under Glass? This is Chicken Under Brick!” There wasn’t an ounce left to make Lemon-Garlic Chicken Salad the next day. Now I know you’re completely bored and desperately looking for a new project… How about a “He and She – Sue and Joe” cookbook?

            Don’t you just love it when other people make suggestions of work for YOU should do? :>)

          • sbranch says:

            Yes, it’s always fun to hear what people would like, I just wish I had more arms!

      • Juliana - Jackson, NJ says:

        I will! He is also one of Jack’s biggest fans!

  41. Denise says:

    I LOVE your cats and wish Jack could be cloned 🙂

  42. Roxana A. says:

    Thanks, Susan, for the photos of Jack and his sassy comments during your kitchen renovation. They made me laugh and smile and be glad that I have my very own cat to brighten up my days.

  43. Chris Wells from West Texas says:

    I checked for a new blog all day long. I am now making dinner and thought I would just check one more time…(okay, I’m a Susan Branch junkie) and there it was. And it’s JACK THE CAT! I lost it with the gloves. What a precious, special cat he is. And the look on Girl Kitty’s face just says it all. But you know, she really does love him, she’s just having trouble showing it!
    Looked up Woodlawn Blue on my Pottery Barn samples. There it was! It has more green in it than the other blue. Anyway that’s how it looks under my lighting. Can’t wait to see the finished kitchen. (I know you can’t wait either!)
    It was 102! here today girls. I am sick of it and I am DUN.. D. U. N. done!
    Friday is to be 104…… Pa leas! Remember those poor women on the prairies during the dustbowl years. Some of them went crazy! While I don’t have the wind, thank God, I’ve got the dust and 102 temperatures! I am beginning to understand why they went crazy!
    Thanks for the escape.

    • sbranch says:

      Poor Baby! xoxo

    • stephanie says:

      Wow. That is awful. I just read an article about how rough it’s been in Texas this summer. When does it get cooler down there?

      Speaking of the dustbowl – Ken Burns – the brilliant documentarian is bringing his latest documentary to PBS this fall all about the Dustbowl. His work is always so interesting – I’m sure your part of the world will be in there!

      • sbranch says:

        Love Ken Burns!

      • Chris Wells says:

        September USED to be the beginning of decent weather. But this year and last have been highly unusual. I have only lived here for 19 years, originally from Ohio, so this really wears on me. I am an outdoors kind of person and over 100 is not fit for man nor beast! I will be watching Ken Burns special, he is so good. But our lack of rain is the really scary part.

        • sbranch says:

          I think it’s different too; September first used to be like flipping a switch into cooler breezy weather, but it’s hot and humid outside today . . .

          • Pat Mofjeld says:

            Chris, I understand you completely! Last winter was too mild here and we had hardly any snow–really weird for Minnesota! Then the hot weather started in May! The summer has been miserably hot and humid–not normal, either. Well, maybe August is usually bad but not the whole spring and summer! Last night a cold front came through and we are having dry cooler temps in the 70’s. I have all of the windows open and it is SO WONDERFUL to not hear the hum of the airconditioner and the dehumidifier and feel the cool breeze! I am usually outside a lot, too, and this summer I’ve lived inside. I’m so hoping this is Fall finally!!! 🙂

        • stephanie says:

          Ken Burns is amazing. I’ve watched all his documentaries and they are beautifully done – stunning actually. I also love HIM -every time I see him on Charlie Rose I’m transfixed – he’s a compelling person to listen to! There is a preview of the Dustbowl series on the PBS website and it looks unbelievable. I think it will be a good lesson for us as a country (now)to see that we can get through tough times…

    • Victoria Miller says:

      Recently it hit 100 here, and a library friend told me she keeps a half dozen or so of those frozen ‘peas’ made to put on a sprain in the freezer and she took those out and wrapped them in small towels and placed them all over herself and curled up and read. I’ve been drinking iced tea with mint and lemon by the gallon! Hope it cools off there soon!

  44. Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

    Susan — I love the toned-down blue! I think it will make your colorful dishes really pop. Jack and Girl Kitty made me laugh and happy that I’ve decided to adopt a pet – hoping to get a Bassett Hound unless something else at the dog shelter adopts me first. Have fun putting everything back in place and celebrating with a Fall-themed home-cooked meal — YUM!!! Frosty mornings and crisp evenings — BRING IT ON!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m with you! And your lucky little pup!

    • Karen from CT says:

      Oh, GOOD FOR YOU!!
      I just adopted a sweet puppy boy 2 weeks ago! We think he is a black lab hound mix. He is 5 mos. but quite big and loves to cuddle. I hope you get your sweet doggie soon!

      • Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

        Thanks, Karen! I’m still looking for that perfect companion and am going to the German Shepherd adoption this Saturday. Your new boy sounds cute and affectionate. So glad you found eachother!

  45. Cindy Garner says:

    OMGoodness!!!…. Jack is just the cutest ever….I love the pics of him cat-napping on the ladder….what a boy.


  46. natasha says:

    you and jack just make me LOL. i so love to read your jack stories! he really does have such an expressive face. cant wait for the after pics, your kitchen is my someday dream kitchen.
    thanks for the joy and kitty escapades!

    ps. has jack tried to help “paint” yet, hehehe
    i once had a cat who decided to help when we were painting. kitty prints!!!!

  47. kit says:

    Oh I love those kitty pics! They make smile every time. 🙂 Kit

  48. Jacquie says:

    Love the color. It does have a tad more “gravitas” than the previous “baby” shade of blue. I guess rooms have to “Grow up” at some point too. I’ve always liked a historical pallet.

  49. JudyCnNC says:

    A wonderful color of blue – my question are you paintint the ceiling white or blue?
    We are downsizing and building a cottage – all the walls will be painted Sherwin Wiliiams White Truffle with a Creamery woodwork. The ceiling will be painted with what they call a 25% draw down (or reduction) by taking 25% of the wall color and mixing it with 75% of the ceiling paint, which I believe is white, which will make it blend with the walls. I have never heard of this before, but from what we have seen in the other cottages it looks really nice.

    Can’t wait to see your new digs and love that you are sharing the process. The crn bread recipe is just calling for a pot of pinto beans. Love that Jack – what a little ham and trickster. Judy C

  50. Peggy H. says:

    You just cannot beat a good cat helper! Committed and ready to help at a moments notice. It brought back happy “cat memories” in our house. Newly married (many years ago), we got two brother kittens. Used to spend hours just enjoying watching them explore/enjoy their world. They never fail to entertain, do they? The floor looks beautiful. Can’t wait to see all your treasures back in place! Thanks for sharing Jack and his antics. Peggy

  51. Wendy Louise says:

    I had a big ole zucchini from the garden and I stuffed it tonight, yummy! I also made your Tomatoe casserole that was fantastic! They were wonderful together. You’ll be cooking up a storm before you know it. Jack is so wonderful, and girl kitty too! They certainly make a house a home. I miss my kitty and every time I go down the basement stairs her reminder is there. You see I painted my stairs white one year and she came trotting down to see me and walked all over the floor and made great kitty tracks, so I left them. We will never forget Sophie. Have fun painting, wish I could help, I love painting!!!!! 🙂 😉

  52. Nancy says:

    Jack is so flippin’ cute! I love that his nose is as black as his “mustache!” My Lucy loves,loves,loves the ladder to come in from the garage….favorite toy but she hasn’t gone to sleep up there yet. 😉 Girl Kitty looks so regal and her quote is sooo right on!

  53. If you are lucky enough to have “multiples” in kitties like “we” do…there is always a character in the pair and you have Jack and I have Mystee…their energy and intelligence (not that Girl and Smokee aren’t intelligent but they sit back and watch the active two)…..we just marvel at what our Mystee can get into and like the gloves and I’m sure Jack did the holding and “killing” with his back paws?? haha you can see the wheels turning and the actual thinking process I have always said if Mystee was in school she would be a straight A kitty!! Jack’s love of adventure is so evident and he is loving all of the “mess” which he thinks is totally all for him…well it is isn’t it?? The paint is perfect; but, the decision to bring Jack home was the best thing you ever did!!! Girl just had to come down to see what all the fuss was about didn’t she; she is a lovely kitty and is the calm to Jack’s storm!

    • sbranch says:

      I agree, bringing Jack home was the best, I say it to Joe all the time, and he looks at me with that “is our life revolving around the cat” look. But, yes, yes it is! 🙂

      • Kathy from Heafed to the Fell, Brevard, NC says:

        Our husbands may give us “that look” but secretly they are thinking that we are “beyond adorable”!!!!

        • Pat Mofjeld says:

          Oh, gosh–that is a LOL comment! (re “is our life revolving around the cat” look) Ours totally revolves around the schnauzers, so I know the story! But I can’t imagine life without them! Are we pathetic or what??? 🙂 LOL!

          • sbranch says:

            Pathetic, but in a good way!

          • Kathy from Heafed to the Fell, Brevard, NC says:

            This is a true story. Last week I took Tut to a vet clinic in SC on Tues., to get a radiation injection to “take care of” a benign thyroid tumor. It has thrown our whole household upside down. The injection was Tues. and he had to stay in a lead-lined room until Fri. because he would still be emitting too-high radiation levels to be allowed out. I was staying in SC at a friend’s but of course I couldn’t visit him. I’m sure the technicians, “his buddies” who were checking his levels and giving him surrogate love, were doing all they could to make him feel at home, but of course it wasn’t home. And I suspect they were all suited up like astronauts. The buddies called me every day to give me a report and they said they always have one kitty in every group who doesn’t adjust very well and this week it was Tut. I inquired whether I could talk to Tut on the phone to settle him down but there was no phone in the lead-lined room!—what’s a mama to do? When I picked him up on Friday he was plastered against the back wall of his carrier and making this awful whiney cry that I had never heard before; it sounded an awful lot like a baby. I could tell he had been letting everyone know, probably for the whole week, that he did not like space camp!!! Well, my heart was breaking for my little guy!

            Meanwhile on the home front. . . Cleo noticed on Tues. that Tut and Mama were both MISSING. She decided that this was NOT GOING TO HAPPEN TO HER. When papa got home from work, he could not find her anywhere. He looked everywhere upstairs and then went to the basement to look. He finally found her hiding in a discarded empty box. After he took her in hand, she spent the rest of the week, when he was home, curled up in his lap.

            Now Tut is home but he is still radioactive; he is emitting as much radiation as taking a transatlantic airplane trip every day. Who knew about that?

            For two weeks since last Fri. when we brought him home. . .We can only pet him a few minutes a day and we have to wash our hands any time we touch him. He and Cleo can eat and drink out of the same bowls and use the same litter box but shouldn’t snuggle together. And this is creating much stress all around as these are very snuggly kitties!!! And Tut doesn’t understand. And now when we think he’s napping under the flannel quilt, we hear him talking in his sleep—he’s never done that before; he’s probably having nightmares about space aliens! Is post-traumatic stress syndrome on the horizon, I ask myself. . .

          • sbranch says:

            Oh dear, I don’t like the sound of this!

          • Chris Wells from West Texas says:

            Our door mat says, “The DOG and it’s household staff reside here.” Our Golden, Jenny, is forever on the wrong side of the door and the routine she goes through with Jim is a comedy in it’s self. He is puddy in her paws!…and she knows it.

          • sbranch says:

            As it should be!

  54. Lisa Nelson-Jones (East Tennessee) says:

    Now listen, Jack: You must get back to the computer and give us more kitchen updates…talk your mom and dad into leaving for the afternoon…just a well-deserved sit-down restaurant meal…they will fall for it…er, I mean, they much deserve the night off! Then, you can get on your mom’s blog and post the low-down for us!
    P.S. Tell your mom that I LOVE her blue-grey and we are all looking forward to seeing the beautiful outcome! SOOO exciting! A new floor to kitty-skate on!

  55. Carlie (Mission Viejo, CA) says:

    Oh, that Jack! What a treat to hear how he’s helping – priceless!

  56. Martha Ellen says:

    Oh Susan, Jack looks like he is having a ball with all the painting and goings on in the kitchen. It’s so nice to have comic relief in the middle of such a big job! We have just spent the last week painting our kitchen. It is now about finished! Hip, hip, hooray! We had to remove wallpaper first and a border that I adored 15 years ago. I thought it was beautiful at the time, but have to say couldn’t wait to get it off the walls. It was a killer removing it. My dining room looked like yours all piled with kitchen things. Good luck to Joe and his helper Jack! I know your color will be gorgeous! Our kitchen is white and so clean now! xoxo ♥

  57. laurie says:

    Oh my gosh, Jack has the best markings of a black and white I have ever saw.I have had the honor of sharing my life with two black and white felines but neither had the jaunty mustache that Jack has, he his so handsome.Your kitchen will be beautiful that’s for certain, I can’t wait to see it.I have made your corn bread recipe many times, its yummy, but the Indian pudding is one of our favorite fall recipes, that and your onion soup, I think it must be challenging to go through this reno but what a reward, I love a fresh kitchen.

  58. {oc cottage} says:

    oh how i wish it was “corn bread” weather!
    alas, as it is, i am sitting in front of a fan…
    drying out my eyeballs and laughing my behind
    off{oh how i wish that expression could be a
    reality!;} over your hilarious boy kitten!
    could he be a bigger hoot???!!! i am also
    getting the persnickety eye from my 2
    children with tails, who do not appreciate
    mom’s attention being diverted away from
    them when it’s dinner time and they want
    mom to add the warm water and smoosh their
    canned food into a fine palatable gruel…but it’s
    not like they OWN me or anything! ;}
    JACK NEED HIS OWN BOOK! ^..^ Team Jack!

    m ^..^

  59. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh my gosh Susan, Jack is adorable!! It looks like he is such a big help…smile… I like your color choice for your kitchen! I’m sure you can’t wait to have this all done, and your home gets back to normal! Not sure Jack cares…lol But Kitty will be happy!

    I saw the Iowa cornbread and thought “yes”…back to your roots! smile… (is this recipe your Mom’s?)


  60. Pom Pom says:

    Yay! The September corn bread page from the calendar!
    Jack is a little love bug. Miss Kitty is very tolerant. She’s so nice and chubby.

  61. Joan in TX says:

    Jack is so cute all drapey legged on the ladder like a jungle cat on a tree limb. How did he get up there? And the last photo of Girl Kitty’s aborable “regal composure tinged with slight disgust” look on her face over the whole situation. I about died laughing of your right on commentary. Can’t wait to see the finished kitchen and try the cornbread recipe!

  62. Marilyn says:

    Love that Jack, can’t help it. He is a curious, sweetie.
    Oh it will feel good when everything is once again in it’s place and you can cook.

  63. Dinahsoar says:

    Awwwww…Jack is so so cute!!……and Girl Kitty is precious…I love her look of disdain. They are more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Love your chosen color. It’s going to look awesome….from the hills of TN.

  64. Elizabeth Q says:

    Hi Susan,
    Oh I so understand. I hurt my arm and haven’t been up to cooking much. I do miss it. That tea towel looks familiar. 🙂
    Looking forward to see your new kitchen.
    Elizabeth Quigley

  65. M J Smith says:

    Oh my word … you are so funny when you talk about your kitties!!! I love it! And Jack is just too adorable! So is Girl Kitty! 🙂

  66. Suzanne says:

    You and Joe have to hold on just a little while longer…just like Jack on the ladder.
    You all are making great strides. Enjoy!

  67. Susan M says:

    Hi Susan
    Wow, that Jack is so cute and lovable. You know him so well. And Girl Kitty looks so regal. I loved this post-smiled all the way through. Thanks.
    Susan M

  68. Anna Limont, Camano Island, Wa says:

    Jack is so photogenic, as well as Girl Kitty! Don’t pets just make a house a home–I love driving up to see my cats jump on the back of the chairs in the living room so they can see me out the window, it is such a nice welcome– granted, mine are pretty mellow compared to your Jack, he reminds me more of my grandchildren–lots of mischief and energy! –Your paint color will look lovely, but what I like best about your kitchen are all your pretty dishes and knick knacks, plus its old-fashioned charm. Happy September.

    • sbranch says:

      It really is “fun” to empty a room completely and start over . . . fun to me anyway!

      • Barbara (WA) says:

        I am thinking that’s the only way to really refresh a room, empty it first. Although I wish it could happen like it does on TV with a time lapse camera! Love those scenes – zip, it’s empty and zip, it’s totally redone! What fun you are going to have decorating for Fall and the holidays in your ‘new’ kitchen!

  69. Pat Mofjeld says:

    Jack is the cutest kitty I’ve ever seen–don’t laugh but I can about imagine petting him! Do you remember how I am afraid of cats? There is something about their eyes…but his eyes are somewhat different, they are more green than yellow and he has a round pupil instead of that kind of vertical slit eye that I usually see in cat’s eyes…I think I saw our neighbor’s cat turn and bite them on their hands too many times when they attempted to pet it. It was a Siamese cat and her husband rough-housed with it. It probably did it in self-defense and uncertainty, however, those teeth looked as sharp as needles…and then there was the time I got talked into going over and feeding my brother and SIL’s cats while they were away. I leaned over to put food in their bowls and one of them that was sitting on top of the refrigerator decided to jump down on my bent-over back–you can imagine how that affected me!!! I was afraid BEFORE that happened!!! 🙂 LOL! But Jack’s little sleeping face was really cute!!! I have one of those “Girl Kitty-look-alike” stuffed kitty pillows like you sell on your online store. It sits up on the back of our piano and is our “resident cat”… 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Sometimes I feel compelled to try and talk you out of this fear, but I know how fears are, not easy to be rid of. But a kitten, a little bitty baby, fuzzy soft sweet…. ah well, you have your stuffed kitty pillow, and they are much easier to feed and not climbing ladders or jumping on your back (that would have surprised me too!).

      • Save it Susan….I’ve tried by sending my big lug of a boy Smokee’s pic to Pat telling her what a lover he is and how he hugs us with his head all turned up etc…..all she responded with was “his eyes”?? Bless her heart and her experience with the cat jumping on her back!!! YIKES WE LOST HER!!!! She loves her dogs and that is fine with me!!!

        • Pat Mofjeld says:

          Oh, I’m laughing!!! If you could have seen the photo Deborah sent me: This gorgeous long-haired smokey gray cat looking straight at the camera, filling the photo, with these gold/yellow with black slitted fierce-looking eyes staring straight at me–like I was a bird, mouse, or some other form of prey!!! And she said, “Isn’t he a cute boy?” and I’m thinking, “Yikes! What a scary face!!!” (Okay–if Norm wanted a cat for a pet, I’d probably have to see a psychiatrist–I’ll be the first to admit!!! LOL! 🙂

          • Pat Mofjeld says:

            I have to tell you, Susan, that Deborah just emailed me another photo of Smokee and his eyes don’t look scary in that picture. He has pure gray, long hair, a mild amiable expression on his face, and he is sitting with his one paw on the computer keyboard. But wait a minute! Was it Deborah that sent the photo or was it Smokee–now that I know that kitties can figure out how to operate computers? Well, he looks like a nice kitty…LOL!!! 🙂

    • Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

      Hey, Pat, any word about our dear “sister/girlfriend” Sandy? I’ve been praying for her! I just want her to know she hasn’t been forgotten by her girlfriends, as I’m sure others will agree !

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        The word last night from her husband was that she was awake, alert, and not in pain…I’ll be talking with her husband tonight again. Thanks, Linda, for asking…and I’ll pass along your comment… 🙂

  70. Jen from Sebastopol says:

    Love the new color!!!

  71. Karen Scott says:

    Jack is hilarious and so very cute! Love to see those posts and pictures. And I’m really not even a cat person! Girl Kitty looks just far too mature and probably rolling her eyes at his childish nonsense! So funny!
    I can just imagine all the wonderful smells that will be coming from your wonderful new kitchen!

  72. Susan Ericksen of Bainbridge Island, Washington says:

    Well Susan, That Jack of yours is once again a “hit” with my Dinah! This posting kept her big green eyeballs glued to the computer screen, watching all the pictures of Jack! She hears the “tweet, tweet, tweet” of the bird chirping on your website and she is in my face and her big bottom is plunked on my keyboard, watching the screen!!!! Silly Dinah!
    I absolutely LOVE the color of blue you chose for your kitchen walls. That is a fabulous color and one you can live with for a long time….And soon, all the work will be done in there and you will be whipping around in that kitchen like never before!!!! Happy Dancin”……..!!!!! and Happy Cookin’!!!! So fun….And again, thanks for keeping us all updated about the work at your home! Love it!

  73. Karen Saunders says:

    So so funny, I get such a kick outa’ that cat. He’s so adorable….his eye’s just mesmerize. How in the world did he get up that ladder?? I love the color you picked and I’m so excited for you how clean and new your kitchen will smell. (Watch out…that bug is contagious!) You’ll be looking at other rooms….

    • sbranch says:

      You’re right, we’ll probably make the kitchen into so much of a jewel the rest of the house will look drab and we’ll have opened a can of worms!!

  74. Bonnie Crawford says:

    Your kitchen is going to be amazing Sue! I love the new color, and I’m glad Jack is such a big help. He is so, so cute!! It’s hard to believe he is ONE already!! Girl Kitty is so patient with him like Big Sisters should be…. 🙂
    We just got home after being gone for 2 weeks. We have a new Grandson named Bryce, and he weighed 10 lbs.! WOW~! Playing with both our Grand kids in Oregon, was almost as much fun as you had playing with Jack as a new kitten!! They don’t bring back balls like he does though….
    Have fun redecorating! No one better to do a perfect job on it than YOU!~~ xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Ten Pounds Bonnie! Wow is right. Congratulations! My mom had a few 10 pounders herself (I was the tiny one at about 9 and a half!) and what she loved about it, is that they started sleeping through the night almost right from the beginning. Welcome home!

      • Bonnie Crawford says:

        Wow!! You’re kidding!! And your Mom went on to have 8 kids too!! She is an amazing woman, isn’t she?? Bryce isn’t sleeping through the night just yet, but is doing 6 hour stretches which is pretty darn close….
        I’m making your Coconut Layer Cake today for a belated Birthday cake for Tom….his favorite! 🙂
        We Miss you and Joe…….

  75. Laurie says:

    Thanks for the smiles. I can’t get enough of Jack and the Lady. How in the world did he get up there?!

    • sbranch says:

      Just like Joe does. He took one look at it, climbed right up. The photos were of the first time he got up there!

  76. Paulij says:

    Susan, you are so talented! You could be a pro-photographer; those Jack pictures are amazing, captions are great and the girl kitty picture-perfect,as well! Love observing the kitchen remodel. Thank you so much for sharing!

  77. stephanie says:

    Hilarious! I so enjoyed that (but I always do…)!!

    Girl looks so “over” this whole upheaval. Girl strikes me as Jane Austen reader – she’s so prim – I love the way she stands.

    The blue color you chose is beautiful. I’m so enjoying sharing this make-over with you. It’s fun when you are not the person doing all the work! 🙂 I love your kitchen in any form – it’s a gem.

    I haven’t made corn bread, but I did can Dilly Beans last weekend and plan to can Pickled Watermelon Rind this weekend – so that will be fun. Once my canning is done I’m going to make that cornbread! Have you made jam lately? We’ll need a blog on that after you blog about your pantry (I’m so bossy…). 🙂

  78. Pam says:

    It will be super when it’s all finished. I’m going through the same thing here, transferring everything from this kitchen to our new kitchen ready for when we move at the end of the month. I loaded up the dishwasher yesterday with all the mugs, honestly, how many mugs does one household need?? I think I’m going to have to do a mega car boot at some stage 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Where are you moving Pam?

      • Pam says:

        Next door 🙂 (We were renting this house while we looked around for somewhere to buy! Next door came up for sale so we went for it. An elderly lady had lived there so an awful lot of work needed doing. We have done the bathroom, kitchen/diner, lounge and two bedrooms, the other bedroom, hall/stairs and cloakroom will have to be done when we have moved in. Two weeks today!! So much to do 😉

  79. Betty Marie,Pennsylvania says:

    ALERT! The ladder on the canvas is a slip and fall waiting to happen. Your ladder should be touching the wood floor. You can take the canvas and put it around the ladder to help protect from paint drips, but wipping up a paint drip is better then spending time in the hospital or worse.

  80. Laura Ann in Vermont says:

    Oh, my goodness, Jack is so cute! I showed these pictures to my three daughters and they all squealed “CURL!” (Curl is a word in their secret language which means incredibly cute. As in, “he’s so cute he makes my toes curl!”)

    • sbranch says:

      Love it, I’m a big word maker-upper too! Tell them I said Jack is my little Kinita Poonita. Curl!

      • Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

        Laura, I love that new word–“curl”! so cute! How old are your daughters? They sound adorable! I have three sons–all grown now. But they all have wives/fiancee and I’m loving it!!

        • Laura Ann in Vermont says:

          They are 15, (almost) 13, and 11. They are best friends and it brings me joy to watch them spending time together. They remind me of the girls in Little Women. For instance, in the past few weeks, they created their own Monopoly game (Beatleopoly. They are huge Beatles fans.), wrote a song together, and made half a dozen sock monkeys. (You have to keep an eye on your socks in our house!) Yesterday, one sister helped another with her math homework, and another helped teach one some soccer moves. And they do all of this on their own! (It’s like some strange sort of magic has settled on our house.) I also have two boys, 19 and 17, and for a few years, I thought I wouldn’t have any daughters. (Everything in our house was dump trucks and back hoes!) But I wouldn’t trade those boy years for anything. I feel very lucky and blessed to have the family I do.

          • sbranch says:

            How wonderful, the relationship between the sisters! Tell your girls I met the Beatles (going through backyards when I was 17); here’s a podcast where they can hear me tell the story if they’d like to hear it. . . When you get to the podcast, move the little button up almost to the middle, so the numbers on the left say 22.20 — that way you don’t have to listen to the whole thing!

          • Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

            Laura Ann, How very special! By October (when the wedding comes), two of my sons will be married to two sisters. They are part of a family of 5 older sisters (2 brothers and another younger sister). The 5 girls are so much fun–very creative and have worked together to make each one of their sisters’ weddings and showers so special. I’m loving it!
            You sound very blessed!

      • Laura Ann in Vermont says:

        I will tell them as soon as they get home from school. They will absolutely love it!

        • Laura Ann in Vermont says:

          Susan, thank you so much for the link to the podcast! My daughters were already familiar with the story from Girlfriends Forever, but hearing the story in your own voice (with extra details) was a special treat! (They still can’t get over you meeting the Beatles like that. They are completely amazed by your story.)

          Linda, enjoy your new daughters-in-law. It sounds like your sons are marrying into a very special family.

  81. Chrissy Thrower says:

    Oy! I must be color blind. Those colors look like GRAYS to me! Lovely!

  82. Marie (Long Beach, CA) says:

    OMG!!! Your narrative of Jack on the ladder made me laugh out loud!!! And Girl Kitty taking it all in and saying “Don’t look at me, it was YOUR idea to get him.” perfect!!! I have always loved your wonderful sense of humor, and it’s great how you have kept it during your kitchen makeover. I think the color you two finally decided on, is going to be beautiful! Can’t wait to see the final outcome, and I know you and Joe feel the same! 😉 ♥

  83. Pamela C Betz says:

    Susan–I’m just loving what you are doing, from England to the kitchen. Can’t wait to see the finished kitchen.

  84. Sandra R says:

    I am on TEAM JACK! I read that in the comments and loved it. No offense to Kitty Girl, of course. My thought, as I saw Jack on the ladder looking down at the rest of the world (a natural for a cat), was “that mustache would make an interesting stencil”. When you write the Jack book, you can make borders of his mustache. I cannot draw a bit, but I know you can!!!
    I do not envy the mess or not cooking. But I do envy you standing in the midst of your freshly painted, all clean, newly arranged space, ready to savor fall and winter, ready to glow for the holidays.

  85. Mary Smith says:

    Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blogs. I made your Iowa cornbread on Sunday and served it with beans and sausage. Best cornbread we ever had. Your kitchen makeover is really coming along and will look beautiful when it is done. I know how you feel about having the kitchen torn up. We put a new ceramic floor down in our kitchen and utility room several years ago and it was torture not to be able to get in there and do anything, because I love to cook. Hang in there, it will be done before you know it.
    Mary Smith

  86. Kristy Brandon, MS says:

    Susan, Jack is so handsome! I love how he is into EVERYTHING and how Girl Kitty has the look of not amused. She looks like she is saying “He is soooo juvenile”. Love the new color, too. Even thought it is just a little bit different it will give the room a whole new look!

  87. jane zamudio says:

    Susan. your kitties are so sweet!! I just love Jack taking a nap! And I love your new paint color!! We did this whole “event” five yrs ago, and it was worth every microwaved dinner we ate! Happy painting!!!

  88. Lynn McMahon says:

    Good Morning~
    I really like the new paint color~ reminds me of weathered barn board ~ I too love old cook books~ I also have “The Settlement Cookbook~ The Way To a Man’s Heart”~ Isn’t that title too much!! ~Probably “politically incorrect” for our modern age?….. ~ I also have the more
    modern (updated ) version. ~Love them both~ Some day I would like to have a cookbook swap party with my family & friends~ wouldn’t that be fun? I’d then ask everyone if they could bring their favorite dish from their new cookbook to our next swap party~ maybe on a piece of glassware or china they’d like to swap??? Could I bear to part with any of it???……
    Have a great day~

  89. Kerry S. from San Pedro, CA says:

    Oh Susan – so happy to hear that someone else is tired of eating “to go” food! I finally broke down and fixed out favorite cabbage w bulgar salad and marinated chicken thighs on Monday! We’re eating healthy but still…never thought I’d be tired of grilling burgers (beef or turkey) and salads! Ugh!
    On the other hand – our cats, like Jack, are having a ball! They love walking in the empty cupboards & sitting atop the boxes that fill our living and dining room!
    Love Swiss Coffee white – all the trim in our house is that color! Can’t decide what to paint our kitchen – finally settled on a faux finish for the cupboards! I think all this will be worth while when I have the huge new electric oven, gas stovetop, modern dishwasher & gorgeous new sink with sink accessories! Who knew that now Kohler makes great new colanders, sink racks and other goodies that fit each sink model?? Maybe by October all will be done!
    We watched first half of Mr. Blandings last night – recorded it to watch while I iron today!
    Until then, I’ll enjoy your kitchen re-do! Have a wonderful day!

  90. Candice says:

    Jack is quite the helper, isn’t he? The pictures of him asleep on the ladder are just too cute for words.

  91. Laurie Walt says:

    Love the kitties! I’ll bake in your honor! That means I get all those nasty calories too-but for you Susan I’ll do anything! I ordered and recieved your used copy of Heart of the Home book, LOOOOOOOOOOVE!

  92. Jenny says:

    Susan, I absolutely love your blog! Reading it always brings a smile to my face, and warmth to my heart. Your kitchen project is coming along beautifullly. I can feel fall knocking on my door, perhaps I will corn bread and apple crisp! Thank you for sharing with all of us (and being a huge inspiration!).

  93. Debbie P Weedsport, NY (near Syracuse) says:

    Hi, Susan~
    I laughed and smiled through this whole post….so adorable! And as much a comedienne as you are ~ the girlfriends are quite hilarious, too! …cricket legs and literally laughing our behinds off, just to mention a few..hahaha.
    I absolutely love your blog…you are such a brightness and a happiness in this world! Thank you for sharing so much with us!
    If the heat and humidity ever simmer down here in central NY, I plan to make that cornbread to go with a pot of chili…but I’m not rushing things…summers are mostly beautiful here (unlike in Texas…poor Chris!).
    Looking forward to more pictures of the kitchen and the kitties…
    Happy Wednesday!

  94. Maria says:

    That cat is dynamite!

  95. Rae Ann from northern Michigan... says:

    Nobody here ‘cept me…still cleaning the 106 year old garage…Friday a truck is coming to take the sunfish and other boats + everything my hubby doesn’t want me to save, but since he isn’t here I CAN save and I am!!!…supposedly demolition and building our retirement honeymoon addition to our cottage begins next week when the permits will be ready…had a week away…last week my 89 year old Mom fell and broke her hip and had a total hip replacement…she is in rehab now so I am back to cleaning the garage, but she is on my mind 24/7…supposedly this is the last hot day here…cooler weather is on the way…thank goodness…want me to send it your way???…xoxo…

    • sbranch says:

      Yes please, and send your mom a hug from me!

      • Rae Ann from northern Michigan... says:

        The cool weather will magically appear at your house soon…as soon as it gets here I will send it off to you…I will send my Mom a hug from you too, Susan…thanks…xoxo…

        • Chris Wells from West Texas says:

          Rae Ann,
          Don’t forget the cool weather my way….I’ll take some. Our moms are the same age. Give your mom a hug for me. Tell her to do her exercises and she will be like new again. Her hips will be much newer than ours:) My mom is still cooking and gardening and canning like mad. I never could out work my mother….but then she said that about her mother!
          Seriously, tell your mother we are all rooting for her!
          Lots of love, Chris

  96. Kathryn says:

    Love, love, love the paint color!!! Great choice! It will be perfect!

  97. Susan,
    I share your blog with my mother who moved in with us after being diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer’s. She adores all cats but lights up when she sees you’ve posted about Jack! She wants you to know she is available for cat sitting the next time you take a train ride or jump (onto a) ship. 🙂
    Thank you for the smiles you give us. I just wanted you to know that while you go through your day fulfilling your purpose and living your passion, your happiness spreads.
    Your Friend,

  98. Laurie--MA says:

    How fun to see the picture of the old cookbooks! I recognized the Ruth Wakefield one because, last week, I was helping my mother go through her shelves of cookbooks (in an effort to de-clutter as she gets older) and she had a copy, as well. It was not a first edition (more like 1940/41? 11th printing?) so didn’t think it was worth anything and it didn’t have sentimental value to either of us so we put it in the pile for the book swap at her town dump. But now I think I’ll have her put it aside for me! I was more interested in the plastic binding comb church cookbooks she had accumulated–so much fun to see what real people cooked in the day and what we enjoyed as kids (LOTS of jello and cream of mushroom soup!) Love hearing/seeing the paint colors you have chosen and those from the commenters as well. I am so overwhelmed when it comes to picking out a paint color so it is a daunting task. Glorious Labor Day weekend on the Cape, but glad for the rain today–we NEED it!

  99. Linda Pintarell says:

    It was so good to see Girl Kitty – she is a beauty and so regal…just overseeing the antics of her brother…loved her comment. The kitchen will be done soon…I know it seems long but it will be well worth it. You handle it so well!
    P.S. I just finished Forgotten Garden – thanks for recommendation – loved it!

  100. Winnie Nielsen says:

    How I love your ” project manager”!!!! Jack is just the perfect support to have on the job! Always shows up early and stays till the lights get turned off. You can’t get better help anywhere! Your kitchen is turning out beautiful and I can’t wait to see it when all is completed. Oh, and this weekend I made some baked apples in my new pottery apple bakers and they were just as fabulous as cobbler. Apple bakers are very fun to use and the possibilities of what to stuff in the center are endless!! Your recipe for cornbread reminds me that I should make it soon. I goes so perfectly with a pot of homemade vegetable soup from the canned summer harvest. I think I just figured out what next weekend’s menu will include. Along with some more of those baked apples!!

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