✮✮✮ English Life with WILLIAM MORRIS ✮✮✮

Hi Girls!  How is everyone today?  Thought that I would open up the suitcases and let you all out to run wild on another day in our English Life . . . and take you to meet …

I don’t know about you, but before we went to England, what I knew about William Morris wouldn’t fill a thimble.  I could sum it up with one word:  Wallpaper.  If I really reached, maybe I would say “fabric.”  I’d heard his name forever, but I really knew nothing about him.

Of course, he wrote one of my favorite quotes which I included in my second book; I’d always been curious about who he really was.  His quote perfectly summed up my own philosophy of decorating too.  (I would add a couple more words after the word “beautiful;”  they would be “. . . or better yet, both” since I discovered it’s as easy to buy a cute can-opener as an ugly one.)  So, I knew William Morris was involved in the Home Arts.

When we were in Bibury, one of our English friends said, “Oh you have to go to William Morris’s house!  It’s open to the public!”  OK!  Why not!  That’s why we’re here, to be spontaneous and to learn something!  So, once again, over the bridge we went, looking for his house called Kelmscott Manor.  We knew it wasn’t a long drive as the crow flies, but it was apparently so far out in the middle of nowhere, it was the only place we looked for in England that didn’t show up on our GPS!

Past the pretty stone cottages and wonderful gardens we went,

Past the little lambs, into the countryside, not really knowing what we will find when we get there; will the house be big or small; will it feel lived in; will it have a tea room; will there be a garden; will it have a gift shop; will the original furniture be inside; can we take pictures?  And P.S. Who was William Morris anyway???  Out to “the middle of nowhere” we went.


“What I love,” (the unfinished thought in this video) is that this is a two-lane road with a periodic large tree in it; traffic is allowed in both directions, trucks too, bicyclists, and walkers, anything is allowed out here, you can even park by the side of the road!  It curves and you can’t see what’s coming, isn’t that just wild?  Don’t you just love it???  We need Music!

This “Old House by the Thames” is Kelmscott Manor; William Morris used this drawing by C.M. Gere for the frontispiece of his book, aptly and wonderfully named “News from Nowhere.”   The gift shop (they have a good one!) had dishtowels made with this art!  (You may have noticed mine, now hanging from my stove . . .)

And here’s the real thing, Kelmscott Manor as it was the day we were there.  This fabled old house has often been the subject of artists, but in real life, it’s not just a flat picture with no life, nooooo; we arrived on a cool, bright, sunny day; it was very quiet (due to it being in the middle of nowhere), the only noise was from nature, bees and insects buzzing, birds singing; there was a slight breeze moving the flowers in the garden, the scents of lavender and roses…

When William Morris first saw this “farmhouse” he fell passionately in love.  He’d once seen it in a dream, so it was literally his dream-house and a place of deep inspiration for him.  He bought the house from a family that had owned it for 300 years; so it came to him already filled with love.

We got there a little early so there was plenty of time to walk through the garden.

There’s Joe on the path in the wild garden . . . we went into the house, but, I’m sorry to report, they did not allow us to take photos.  But we sure learned a lot . . .  here’s the meat of it, in a nutshell; I will try to be short and sweet. I don’t want you to be bored, but I hope if it interests me, it might interest you too, and I promise I’ll be quick as I can.

William Morris (brilliant poet, designer, artist, and needleworker)  was the father of the Arts and Crafts Movement that started in England in 1860 and continued through the 1930’s.  (All these colored letters are links; if you’d like to know more, you can go back later and click on them.)

Before going to Kelmscott Manor, I was completely uneducated about the Arts and Crafts Movement.  I connected it almost exclusively to Frank Lloyd Wright, whose much-lauded design style, although interesting, was never my cup of tea the way it is for other people; I like it, but I couldn’t live in it . . . too modern, too dark for me; so because I thought his style was the Movement, I lost interest in the Arts and Crafts Movement!  See where a little ignorance can take you!?  I thought Art’s and Crafts was only a look, a style, which I understood also encompassed Art Nouveau, but it never inspired me to run out and redecorate my house. However, on this trip, I learned that Arts and Crafts was much more than a style or a look, something I began to understand while visiting Charleston, and even more, when I got to Kelmscott Manor.

This very specific style of nature-inspired design, which I’m sure you recognize here in these examples of William Morris embroidery, wallpaper and rugs, was called Arts and Crafts, but there was a philosophy behind the Movement, which enlarged my understanding, and was more interesting to me than the style itself.

Inspired by the changes stemming from the Industrial Revolution, William Morris wanted to preserve and reawaken interest in traditional craftsmanship he perceived was being lost. The Industrial Revolution had begun somewhere around 1750; by 1860; people were leaving the farms in droves, weavers were walking away from their home businesses and weaving looms, no longer selling their homemade cloth at fairs; blacksmiths were closing their shops and going to the factories; the need for design and production of mechanical parts for early machines was drawing craftsmen from other trades; newer, easier, faster, ways of making things were being developed.  William Morris felt that the pendulum had swung too far away, particularly in his world of textiles, from quality and craftsmanship. He felt something important was being lost in all this mass production, that craftsmen and women themselves were being undervalued, and tried to shine a light on it with the Arts and Crafts Movement he inspired.

He, along with his like-minded artist friends, founded a factory dedicated to the design and manufacture of everything homemade (rugs, wallhangings, fabric, embroideries, etc); which, by then (1861), instead of being an everyday thing that people did as a matter of course (and survival), had become “art.” With his help, suddenly, the handmade look had a value it never had before.  He had his own style, made wallpaper and so forth, and that style got the name Arts and Crafts, but really, the way I see it, ANYTHING handmade is arts and crafts.  What the Movement was about was people and their handmade things, things with heart. Nothing has ever quelled the urge in people to create unique, one of a kind, homemade things — even the Days of the Week dishtowels my great grandma embroidered, in my mind, were arts and crafts!  It’s still the way we personalize our homes — making them our own by decorating with things we’ve made ourselves or our kids have made; and we add to them by finding unique one-of-a-kind items in antique stores or flea markets.  We can our homegrown vegetables, make our own jam; yes we could buy these things, but that’s no fun . . . we weave, sew, quilt, build furniture, create gardens, arrange displays of things in our homes, make gifts, handwrite letters, make aprons and potholders, knit sweaters, design scrapbooks; the list goes on forever, because these are the things that make us happiest in our hearts.  And that’s why we are all artists in our own way.  I think William Morris would like this . . .

William Morris was much more than a designer, he was a person who loved people; if you’re interested, I’ve put lots of links in this post that give you more information.  He also founded the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings in 1877 and we are so glad he did.  Homemade England is an amazing place.

This is a portrait of William Morris.

This is a drawing he did for his first wallpaper called “Trellis.”  Kelmscott Manor was filled with personal belongings, embroideries and tapestries done by him and his family, his daughter May in particular, his design studio, the story of his life.

I loved everything about this place, the garden, the house, and especially the history!   And there was a tea room, and a tea lawn, which is where I am in this photo, having tea in my brand new William Morris scarf I had just purchased in the gift shop!  See?  It’s my colors!  (If I hadn’t had my colors done, I probably never would have picked this scarf; there were so many pretty ones to choose from!)

I also bought this umbrella in the gift shop, in my colors too 🙂 ; it folds down to the tiniest umbrella I’ve ever seen, weighing absolutely nothing, it was perfect for travel.

But no umbrellas were needed this day!  When we realized, over our tea, that when we read the words “House on the Thames,” it was because the house was on the River Thames!  Duh!  So, we walked around to the back of it to look for the river . . .

 And followed the signs out to . . .

. . . this amazing river walk we accidentally found. . .

… through wildflowers and tall grass, next to wild swans belonging to Her Majesty, the Queen. (I want that little house over there . . .)

Narrow river boats were parked near the banks; if you knew these people you could get in one and go all the way to London!  Wouldn’t that be fun?

Some of them were all dressed up for the Jubilee …. just like every square inch of the rest of the country!

Beautiful day, we took a long walk, and then back into town we went . . .

 Along the country pathways . . .

. . .to St. George’s Church that William Morris help to restore, with “minimal intervention” (his preservation passion); it’s where he and his family are buried.

The ancient country church . . . with Norman arcades, and 13th century wall paintings…

And this organ that made me wish so much it was Sunday

Can you imagine what people in here must have looked like in 1390?  Probably just like us, but everything on them was handmade.

This window has looked out upon the changing seasons for over 600 years.

Many of the gravestone carvings had been blown away by the wind . . . this was the oldest I could find.

We paid our respects at the grave of William Morris and his wife Jane.  But the one I loved was this . . .

. . . little sweet stone for their daughter Jane Alice (Jenny) Morris that was buried in the lawn near her parents under a weeping yew tree.  With moss growing in the initials.

Then it was time to go, we walked back toward the house, where we parked the car, through the little village . . .

With one last peek at the Kelmscott Manor . . .

 A well-remembered house, very loved in the past, and you can feel that it still is.  On our way “home” we stopped in the little town of Lechlade to go antiquing . . .

What we really wished we could tuck into our bags was this little building!  Look at the beautiful stone-shingled roof!  So cute!

OK girls, this was our history lesson for today.  I do hope you liked it and it wasn’t too dry!  And now, the thing I have a love-hate relationship with, announcing the winner of the giveaway!  I love it, because it’s fun to give something away; I hate it because I wish there was one for everyone!!  YOUR COMMENTS!!!  Please, don’t you just love you??  I do!!!  I loved hearing where everyone was from too, helps to make us more real to each other, don’t you think?  When I can picture you in a desert, on the California Central Coast, or on top of a mountain; in Texas, Washington, Florida, or Iowa, or, in my imagination, heading into springtime in Australia and Brazil, or you girlfriends in England and Germany; or my neighbors here in New England . . . it just makes it all more fun. Connectomundo.  New word. 🙂

OK, with no further adeiu, Vanna?  Step up here please, dear . . . . (oh you should see her girls, dressed like a prom queen today, sheer, pale-pink, dotted-Swiss) … Her hand is down, her arm buried in paper slips up to her shoulder — now, withdrawing — she has one!  Pulling it out now, aaaannnd …. yes?  Oui!  The name is

OH, it’s a NEW ZEALANDER!!  How fun, this is our first person from another country!  Her name is LEANNE!!  And she doesn’t have Autumn yet!  Are you out there Leanne?  If so, look in your email box, you have a message from me!!!


Thank you all for entering, and for being so great!  We’ll just have to keep doing this until everyone wins something!  Might take a while, but it’s only a matter of time, and we’ve got lots of that. Happy Day Girlfriends! xoxo Susan

Oops, I forgot, P.S.  Kitchen’s still not done, can’t really put things back yet, but more than half of it is painted, and there’s a little bit of the new color!  Thought you’d like to see it . . . I’ll do a “before and after” as soon as there actually is an “after!” Jack is going to miss that ladder!  He’s up there all the time now!  Happy Weekend Girls!  And Boys!

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525 Responses to ✮✮✮ English Life with WILLIAM MORRIS ✮✮✮

  1. Priscilla from So. CA in SD says:

    Wow, what great information Susan. I too, was never interested or inspired by the Arts and Craft style, but now thanks to you I have a better understanding of it and can appreciate it.

  2. Patricia from Philly says:

    Ooooohhhhh. Susan! What a gorgeous post!
    To die for…. Kelmscott Manor was so breathtakingly beautiful!
    But seeing your oven, unadorned, threw me for a loop!
    Can’t wait to see the before and after photos!
    As always, Thanks so much!

  3. Christie Ray says:

    Thank you for taking us back to England, Sweet Sue! The cottages and flowers and little lambs…I can never ever get enough of! And to see your paints!! I just can’t tell you what they do for me…but you already know, for they do it for you;))
    Thank you for the lesson on William Morris…fascinating!
    I love the color…it is perfect! Poor kitty boy Jack…he’ll move on to the next new thing, once the ladder is out of sight. That’s what little boys do;)
    Happy day, dear friend,

  4. Nancy says:

    Good September morning!
    I love, love, love this post. All of the beautiful cottage gardens photos. But you have saved the best for last…your newly painted kitchen! I happen to live in a very old house which cries out for “new clothing” from time to time. People sometimes say, “Oh, you’re so lucky to live in a place with character,” not noticing that there are no electrical outlets on one entire wall of the kitchen. Or that the old cabinets are not standard depth, eliminating the possibility of installing a dishwasher. But I still would not trade it for a modern day house with boxed rooms. Thank you Susan, for the inspiration to give the old beloved a dressing up with a simple paint brush 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Right, “not noticing there are no electrical outlets!” LOL And closets, and that the sinks in the bathroom have two faucets, one hot and one cold, and never the twain shall meet! But, I’m with you, it’s worth it somehow, when the snow begins to fall, and you light the fire and all the ghosts of winters past gather around and help to keep you warm.

  5. Christie Ray says:

    Please tell me…what brand are the circle paints in the white trays?

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Christie, those are the least expensive of all my paints, not that I go by price, I buy any I see, and these are paintboxes I found at Michael’s Crafts.

      • christie ray says:

        Same philosophy here..I have expensive tubes along with a little hobby lobby set..I loved the shades in yours, and I’m running low on my inexpensive ones. Thank you for the info. I know where I’m headed in the morning:)

  6. Jeanette says:

    Susan! What an interesting post, indeed!!! I learned so much, it was fascinating. We’ll all curtsey (for those of us who remember how) to William. A huge thanks to him and all he has done. That wee headstone “JAM” is absolutely precious.
    Congrats to the winner, lucky girl.
    Your kitchen is shaping up quite beautifully, from the sneak peek. Can’t wait for the big reveal!!
    Happy Friday to you. I wish I could put into words how grateful I am for these vicarious adventures across the pond. You make my heart go pitter, patter and sing happy songs! I’m going to use your English Journal to help plan my Bouquet List trip, when I’m able to take it. It’s at the top of my list and so are you!!!!

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

    Congratulations to Leanne!!
    I have loved Williams Morris and the Arts & Crafts movement that he founded since learning about him in art appreciation in college! Knowing his philosophy helped me appreciate my talented grandmother who sewed, made braided rugs from old clothes, refinished furniture and painted a little bit herself! I just found some note cards made from wallpaper of the ivy pattern that she had in her stairwell! So this is a serendipitous posting this morning, Susan!
    Love the color of the kitchen! You must be anxious to get it done. We’re making progress on our project this week!
    Have a wonderful weekend! 😉

    • sbranch says:

      I hope everything I wrote matched up with what you learned in school! 🙂 You too Kerry, Happy weekend!

      • Kerry S. from San Pedro, CA says:

        Absolutely it matched up plus I had read a lot about him! Love his designs although a little bit goes a long way! Your scarf and umbrella are just the right amount I think! 😉

        • Kerry S. from San Pedro, CA says:

          My grand mother created a lot of crewel work – her brother was a fantastic needlepoint artist!

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, very good thought, a little goes a long way. But in the right spot . . .you can imagine lots of it. Like a dark bar on a winter day, where you just go, but don’t live.

  8. Laurie Walt-Illinois says:

    Thank you for that great lesson on William Morris-who would of thunk that he was so domestic? What a beautiful piece of land he had! Can’t wait to see the finished kitchen, and have a cup of tea with you.:)

  9. carrie says:

    Yet again you have opened a new door for this Anglophile..William Morris. The pictures are heavenly!

  10. Ok …. so William doesn’t look at ALL like what I was expecting. Something about the hair.

    England on the other hand … all the loveliness I knew was there. Thanks for the peek ~ Mary

  11. I had to comment before I even read through your whole post! I’ve just rushed through it to see what’s waiting for me because I’m in the middle of cleaning house in preparation for decorating for Autumn. Congratulations to Leanne in New Zealand! (You know I’m waiting for my “magic” cup so I don’t mind not winning this one…) I LOVE the blue you chose. It matches your calendar on the wall and in fact reminds me of the lovely blue in the background on your Blog. 🙂

    • Leanne NZ says:

      Cathy Thank you I am tickled pink to win the book – Have wanted it for ages and ages. Kicked myself for not buying it when it was in my amazon wish list and was soo upset to see it had gone out of print.
      Love Leanne Nz

      • sbranch says:

        OH here’s Leanne! Yay! Congratulations Leanne, happy for you!

        • Diana - Highland, IL says:

          CONGRATS LEANNE!!! How excited you must be!!! You will enjoy it sooooo very much! I love my copy dearly and have just brought it out to start “living” in it again as fall is descending!! YAY~!! Nice coolish day here in the midwest of the USA!!! Happy Friday all!

      • Karen from CT says:

        Congratulations Leanne! You are going to LOVE it!

        • Janet [in Rochester] says:

          Congratulations Leanne! You’re going to love “Autumn.” I have & love all of Sue’s books but that one is my particular favorite. And you’ll have a signed copy, you lucky thing!

        • Rhonda D. says:

          Leanne, I’m so happy that you won this most beautiful book. I was secretly hoping that someone who already didn’t have it would win, then it’s even more special. It was on my online wish list too and I’m sooo glad I instinctively pushed it to the top of that list. It took me many months to actually have the book in my hands to enjoy (that book was well traveled – saw a lot of countryside before I ever got it), but the wait was well worth it…now one of my prized possessions. You’ll love it! Congratulations! (Pssst…keep your eye on the book – they’re so very hard to come by).

  12. Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

    Susan!! You can never be dry so you can put that idea entirely out of your mind! I love learning new things, especially about design and decorating. Later, I will click on many of the links and learn some more. I knew about William Morris, but, like you, not much more than I knew he had designed many beautiful wallpaper designs.

    So glad to see his home….and take a drive down a *eek* very narrow road. I was peeking between you and Joe…hopefully you could not feel my nails digging in your shoulder…but, goodness, it seemed as if we were driving a little fast!!

    You know, just looking at his home and then the cute “gents hairdressing” building makes me want to sketch and paint them right from your picture!

    I love to preserve old things (which is why I love to buy second hand thing so much! The ultimate recycling!) and I respect people who do that with buildings. The church–with the organ!!–and those timbers in the roof!!–and then to be sitting in the church, listening to the organ music swelling around you AND gazing up at those timbers–could one get any closer to heaven?

    Well, maybe so, I decide, as we walk around the garden and along the Thames. Absolutely beautiful!! Somewhere along the line, I picked up an old book called “The Cruise of the Maiden Castle” by David Severn (copyright 1948) about four children spend one week taking a “narrow boat” on a canal trip. Fun to see one of those boats.

    Of course, back to your kitchen–and if I may say so–it’s looking pretty darn cute even without it being totally completed. It’s fun to see your own calendar hanging in your kitchen. Mine is up too! Enjoyed traveling back to England to take a peek! You can do that anytime!

    Thank you, Susan,

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you back Linda, wonderful comment! I didn’t notice your nails because I was using the camera as diversion from fear! I was numb!

  13. Sharon Calvert says:

    OH, SUSAN ! I simply MUST get back to the business of unpacking and organizing our new house here in Alabama … so I am going to postpone savoring this luscious post until I accomplish SOMETHING. This shall be my ‘reward’ for being a little bit disciplined; meet you back here in ten minutes? ! 🙂

  14. Ann says:

    “We can our homegrown vegetables, make our own jam; yes we could buy these things, but that’s no fun . . . we weave, sew, quilt, build furniture, create gardens, arrange displays of things in our homes, make gifts, handwrite letters, make aprons and potholders, knit sweaters, design scrapbooks; the list goes on forever, because these are the things that make us happiest in our hearts. And that’s why we are all artists in our own way. ” – This should be the Girlfriend’s Motto!

    Thank you for this wonderful class on William Morris. This is a post that I will reread many times. Congrats to Leanne – I’m not so jealous because I already own “Autumn”.

    • sbranch says:

      That’s good Ann, and thank you for the new idea for a Motto!

      • Rhonda D. says:

        Ann, I love your Girlfriend’s Motto. I have a girlfriend who said to me once that she knew she wouldn’t feel like somebody until she made her own homemade jam. We are all artists in our own way, and I think that motto runs deeper into our hearts and veins than we actually realize.

        • sbranch says:

          It took me a long time to realize I’m artistic, that’s true, so I know it has to be the same for others. We are all creating our lives, and even lives around us, every day!

  15. lori says:

    Oh how good to be back in England again! And didn’t know about William Morris.
    And a lovely river walk. Glad to hear your kitchens almost done. and congats to Leanne!

  16. Kathryn says:

    Thank you for that lesson on William Morris!! I have always LOVED his artwork, and had no idea he had anything to do with the Arts and Crafts Movement (I, too, associated Arts and Crafts with Frank Lloyd Wright). Who knew?? So fun to see Morris’ home and garden. Totally my cup of tea, and there is no doubt I have to go to England now and see it in person. 🙂

  17. Linda Wattier says:

    Thanks for the info. Must hve been beautiful to experience it. Love your little oven! What does it say on it by the cherries? Have a wonderful day! Oh ya, have to mention I received in the mail yesterday your little sewing kit. It is so precious. Purchased it all the way from Australia. Bye!

  18. Wow! Thanks so much for sharing this! I too only knew William Morris from the “Beautiful and Useful” quote. I love your take on the Arts and Crafts Movement. I feel like am a part of the modern version 🙂
    I hope you still have more of England to share….I cannot wait for Our English Diary!!! Happy Weekend! xoxo Debbie

  19. Elaine says:

    Thank you for such an interesting post and all the links!
    I have a small collection of reproduction Wm Morris fabrics. You make me want to stop my work and go make that quilt I’ve had in mind!
    Today I am kin of Joe, busy wall painting…well, I can think quilt while I paint, that should help the time pass more quickly!
    I so love your photographs, Susan, I feel like I could just step in to the scene 🙂

  20. Margaret from Arroyo Grande says:

    Great history lesson. I have always heard of William Morris too (and not the cigarette one) and am interested in learning more. How has this trip changed your art? Enjoy your day!!

  21. Patricia says:

    What a wonderful, interesting post! Especially the parts about William Morris, but also the pictures and descriptions of your meanderings in the countryside and at the ancient church. Thank you for sharing!

  22. pat addison says:

    good morning susan, everyone. thank you for the trip back to England and that fabulous home, but i loved the garden and the river walk best, wish we had such a beautiful river walk where we live. there is one in town doiwn in Grants Pass, along the parks and a really nice one way over in Downtown Medford along the Rogue River. up here in Cave Junction we don’t have a river walk, should though since the Illinois river is so beautiful to look at and you can sometimes see the deer along the riverbanks. well i must have been inspired to to do something crafty as i have been busy making seasonal toys for the cats out of felt. i have seasonal cookie cutters ( maple leaves, oak leaves, acorns, squirrels and pumpkins of assorted sizes) so i took the cookie cutters traced out the design on the felt, cut 2 pieces (front and back for the toy) and embroidered little details on them, stitched them up but left an a small opening to put the spout in to fill the toys with dried catnip, and stitched them up. now i have a small basket of seasonal toys for the cats to chase and swat around the room, and i have Halloween cookie cutters for Halloween toys. another good use for cookie cutters, making toys for cats. for Halloween i have a ghost, bat, owl, black cats, a witch and a jack o’lantern to make for them. a fun way to keep the cats happy and it didn’t cost all that much, so after looking at the cat toys i decided mine were better and less expensive. the cats are very happy swatting leaves, acorns, pumpkins and especially squirrels around the house. a fun project for you to make for your cats. have a fun and wonderful weekend everyone, off to go feed the birds. hugs….. 🙂

  23. Mary says:

    Oh, thank you for this great post. I too, thought William Morris was just wallpaper. Loved your pics! Our May, London trip seems “years ago” now, and we are already making noises about going back. This time, to get out of the city, but also to go to Liberty, which was the one thing on my list that we didn’t manage to squeeze in. Can’t wait to see your kitchen “after” picture!

  24. It’s a rainy day in Austin–surprise–so I really enjoyed reading about William Morris and his beautiful Kelmscott Manor–House on the Thames, what a lovely spot. Will add this side trip to my future England adventures. I have also never been a fan of the Arts & Crafts style; but I just learned that I always was without even knowing it! Thanks for educating me. Guess it is why I love Charleston so much too! I had no idea either that it didn’t all start with Frank Lloyd Wright. Learned something new today–thank you.

    Cute scarf and umbrella.

    Off to listen to news about the UT campus shut down–apparently al Qaeda planted bombs throughout campus and called in a warning–seriously? Some student didn’t do his homework or thought this would be funny? Campus evacuated–lots of news coverage. All over now.

    • Oh and JAM brought a tear to my eye–sweet and beautiful. I watched the video of the tiny road–image if we all had to share a road not matter what direction we were going?

    • sbranch says:

      Good grief, the nuts are learning from the nuts! Pretty soon we will have to drop educational leaflets on our own country!

      • pat addison says:

        you got that right, the nuts loose!!!! think i prefer the type of nuts you eat like walnuts, peanuts and hazelnuts!!!

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        I’m sitting here laughing at your comment!!! But how true…I wish they wouldn’t give this stuff so much publicity because it just encourages more of the nuttiness… 🙂

        • Dawn from Minnesota says:

          i DO believe the nuts learn from the nuts….and perhaps they DO NOT deserve all the media attention!
          I just returned home from work and had the most wonderful SURPRISE! my Tommy came home from college…..because of a bomb threat at NDSU! I thought I would check the news online real quick before my shower and then thought nope….I’ll grab a quick peek of sunshine at Susan’s and spoil my Tommy silly….and may I say that he looks really handsome in his sweater and tie….and his blonde hair that has gotten so long he wears it in a little headband…..but, he can pull it off….so far! I just hope our world can find peace within itself so we can all grow old happily!
          Too many coincidences with violence….I must figure out what I can do……..Peace to all…….

        • Dawn from Minnesota says:

          Aww….it was a “Welcome Home!” And now he is off with a fond farewell….a car full of clean clothes, bags full of groceries and mom’s last words, “I love you Tommy….and be good!”

  25. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Congratulations Leanne!! Today’s history lesson was so interesting to me. Thanks to people like William Morris, beautiful hand crafted items were saved from the rush of industrialism. To place value on things made lovingly by hand took insight on his part, and we are all better for his work to save what could have been lost or forgotten. Not to mention that his farm house was truly a place of inspiration and beauty!! I love how these historic homes all have tea gardens for a bit of respite during the day. Lovely!! I cannot wait until our next English lesson or tour or whatever you have planned for us. Thanks for so many opportunities to see into your fabulous trip this past spring!!

  26. Peggy Cooper says:

    Thank you Susan for once again writing such an inspiring post. Like you, I thought William Morris was just about wallpaper. And I also thought Arts & Crafts was about Frank Lloyd Wright whose designs I have never cared for. Now I know the real story, and it was presented in such an entertaining way. Though I am not an artist in the way you are, I do believe in the domestic arts of making a home beautiful and comfortable, even without a lot of money. There is so much satisfaction in doing things and making things for yourself. I’m sure Joe is at the point of thinking it would be nice if someone would wave a magic wand and finish the painting for him since I’ve been there many times, but I know in the end he’ll be so happy and proud of his hard work. I’m getting so anxious to see your kitchen again, but know anticipation will make it that much sweeter when it’s finally revealed.

    • sbranch says:

      I go into the kitchen every couple of hours to ooooh and aaaaah at the good job he is doing, that makes the going easier! He really is doing a wonderful job. It’s so clean!!

  27. Carin B says:

    What a lovely way to start the day, Susan – in England thanks to your sharing of your beautiful pictures and narrative. Loved learning about William Morris and love, love, love, his designs. Love the kitchen color (have I said the word “love” enough in this post?) and big, happy, congratulations to Leanne in New Zealand.

  28. Paulie says:

    Hi Susan:
    I have been away for a little while and am back again! Loved this post and the education! What a wonderful learning experience! You make a great teacher Susan for sure! Love the blue paint color. It is so soft and comfy looking! The English countryside is beyound words. So lovely. Loved the tour however on that road, that little narrow road, was Joe driving that fast or did you speed up the movie clip? Wow, I would have been saying my prayers. Outside of that, loved the tour and the post. Congrats to Leanne by the way! She will treasure that book! Meantime, we are all anxiously awaiting this next one. Take care, enjoy this beautiful autumn here in the North east we are all having.
    I suspect trees will be changing earlier this year but not sure. Paulie from Vermont

  29. NANCY JO says:

    Hi Susan,
    That was fun. Wish we could have seen the inside of the house. Were all the rooms furnished? Loved the old Church, a look into the past on a Sunday would really be something to see. So Thankyou for a most interesting History lesson and tour.
    Nancy Jo

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, they were all furnished, and with his own things. His bed was my favorite, it had absolutely amazing embroidery on it.

  30. Sandra Gillanders says:

    Nice to learn about William Morris. No wonder he feel in love with the house, it is lovely and in a beautiful setting. Love all the flowers and green grass. Can’t imagine families owning a house and land for three hundred years. Guess there are a few families in this country but think it is more common in U.K. and Europe.
    Have a great weekend!

    • sbranch says:

      I think you’re right Sandra…and the same family, can you imagine? Must have been like living with your GGG Grandfather, whose stuff was probably still in the house, and even his clothes! I would love that.

  31. Yvonne Shafer says:

    Hi Susan! Thanks for the additional tour. I think I liked this one the best! History, art, crafts, winding roads — just can’t get any better unless you’re there. But imagination is a great thing to have. Thanks again for inspiration!

  32. How delightful to start my day with a visit to the home of William Morris. It is now on my “next time I visit England” list.

  33. natasha from the central coast says:

    ok, thats it, i just HAVE to go to england! i really want to experience what you show with thepictures, for real. they are so beautiful and peaceful. loved the history lessen too 🙂 i was familiar with william morrison needlework arts as the gals at country bumpkin in australia often have needlecraft books or kits with his designs. they are beautiful designs. i did not know the extent of his art though, would love the wallpaper in my someday dream house. im thinking that dream cottage just might have to be in the english countryside!
    have a wonderful weekend susan, the kitchen is coming along marvelously, cant wait for the final “after” pics.

  34. Ginger says:

    I’m too in awe of the beauty of England to comment. I soooo want to live there, except I’ve lived in Seattle since 1986 and know damp, cloudy weather all too well.

    Sad about the book…guess I’ll have to buy one for my daughter’s birthday.

    About the ladder and Jack, why; don’t you get an antique ladder to add to your kitchen decor. A man simply needs an office. The ladder is Jack’s…just a thought.

  35. Susan I adored this post! Seeing the manor; this is where he tried so to grow strawberries, and the thrushes would come and take all the fruit for themselves, but he wouldn’t hear of trapping them or harming them in any way, so he designed the pattern “Strawberry Thief” one of his most enduring designs. You can still get it from Liberty of London, who liscense it to this day.
    I love your scarf and umbrella.

  36. Rosemary says:

    I so enjoyed the post today. The William Morris chair…is what I knew about him..and had to google that to be sure I did not make that up about the chair. So, that information about him is fascinating. Love the fabric/wallpaper patterns and your scarf! Divine! Meanderment does not look that safe to do. Totally worth the trip, though. The book…am so excited to get THE BOOK. No pressure, of course, on you to get it finished. Take your time.
    Very happy to see the kitchen color on the wall. It is perfect and is making me a little antsy to make some changes in my new (15 yrs. old) house made to look like a farmhouse. Those sea glass colors are so appealing to me and I was never a blue person…always red which I still love and have in every possible shade and description throughout. Your kitchen looks so clean and neat and bright and happy. Ready for the final view and I am sure you are, too. But it will be wonderful!

  37. Kate G. says:

    Hooray for Leanne! She will love the book. My friend who is a consistent commenter of your blog, gave me one when I was sick with Cancer…..What a joy it has been to me.
    Thank you, Susan!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I hope you are all over that Kate!

      • Kate G. says:

        Oh, yes! Thanks for asking!
        All better and our son was diagnosed two months before me at age 30 and not yet married a year! We have bonded in a new way as we both went through chemo, radiation and surgery. God has been so good to us! He and his wife are now expecting their first child! To God be the Glory!
        I’m still loving all your posts and pics. Thank you very much!

  38. Evelyn says:

    Susan, what a lovely post! I’m looking at a William Morris needlepoint book as I write this, and I loved your tour! And, you could never be boring!!! The video was so great; I felt like I was along for the trip. 😉 Love your new kitchen color and am looking forward to the next “reveal.”

    Thank you so much for the pleasure you bring to so many!

  39. jennifer says:

    Loved the history! 🙂 And loved all those cottages.
    AND I adore that little vase on your kitchen window sill. The yellow one.
    You painted that one didn’t you?
    Can’t wait to see the kitchen all done up in it’s new glory! 🙂

  40. Kate G. says:

    P.S…. I loved the whole blog today. So refreshing to read about and actually see the ancient lands of England.

    p.s.s….. Does New Zealand HAVE an Autumn? My friends from Australia say they have only winter (rain) and summer… hummmmm

    • Leanne NZ says:

      Yes we have an autumn in New Zealand – the South Island more of a climate change than far north. We live about 1 hours drive from Wellington (NZ capital city) and have a mild climate – but we still see very distinct season changes here – it even snowed at our place last year (very rare)
      Love Leanne

  41. Sandy Richmond says:

    Hi Susan, Congrats to Leanne! I love my Autumn book.. Thanks for another wonderful post. I just love the depth of Morris’ designs and colors. Your scarf is beautiful. I have a group of friends that meet every week from September or October thru mid December to “craft”. The number of people has fluctuated over the years. We take turns hosting the night, and the hostess makes a dessert. Well, our crafts are very homemade. Some we are proud of, and some we have laughed until we cried when we finished.. Last year we did alot of knitting, so this year we are going back to trying a variety of things. It is a fun tradition, with truly handmade crafts.
    I met with my doctors in Boston yesterday. I will not need chemo or radiation. They did find an additional stage 1 lump in my right breast, and small cancer cells in my left breast. My surgeon said I was right to follow my instinct and have both removed! So I am resting and healing and all is well…. Sandy in Attleboro

    • sbranch says:

      Best news Sandy, now all you need to do is get strong again, and start planning the fun you’re going to have! xoxo

      • Diana - Highland, IL says:

        YAY!!! SANDY!!!! Relax and enjoy the fall!!! Love to you and all those fighting the good fight!….Take care!

    • Martha Ellen of VA says:

      Sandy that is wonderful news! Take care of yourself and get stronger every day! xoxo ♥

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

      Such good news, Sandy! I’m glad to hear things are going well…you have my continued prayers for healing.

    • Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

      Dear Sandy,
      That’s just the kind of good news we want to hear! Yay! Thanks for letting us know.

      What a relief! With that positive news, you can really relax and heal.

      Yes, All is Well.
      Loving thoughts from your Girlfriend,

    • So happy to hear your good news Sandy!!! Blessings

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        Hello Sandy! No chemo or radiation! That’s about the best news you could get, isn’t it? SO GLAD for you! Take care and have fun crafting!

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        Thinking of you Sandy! xo

      • Sandy Richmond says:

        Thanks again to all of you! Such wonderful support!. Yes, as Diana said, Love to all of those fighting the good fight!

      • Tawni urrutia says:

        Can you see all of us…we’re in the “Go Sandy!” stands doing the wave smiling and shouting “HOORAY SANDY!”. Here’s to your happy and healthy Autumn!

        • Rhonda D. says:

          Sandy, that is great news. Fall through New Year’s is such a delicious time of year…perfect time for you to rest, heal, dream, and enjoy. Keeping you and everyone “fighting the fight” in my thoughts and prayers.

    • Carol C says:

      God bless you, Sandy! So so happy that you don’t have to do the chemo!! This time last year I had just started chemo for the second time in 4 yrs. Wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Radiation wasn’t bad but I am glad you don’t have that either!!! Live strong!!!! Did your doctors tell you not to drink alcohol of any kind or eat sugar (all desserts!!!). Mine did. I’m doing it but it is not easy. We went hiking in France this summer and I couldn’t have wine or dessert in France!!! That was rough!

    • Debbie Gage says:

      Dear Sandy,
      Sooo happy to hear this good report! Congratulations, prayers and love are still coming your way to keep those good reports coming! Continue the resting, crafting, desserting 🙂 and healing.
      ♥Deb♥ in Buckley, WA

    • Kerry S. from San Pedro, CA says:

      Wonderful news on a day in a week when we can use some cheery news!
      Thank you for updating us Sandy! Hope that your recovery is uneventful and rapid! Best wishes!

    • Charlene H. from So. Calif. (S.F.Valley) says:

      Sandy…sooooo glad to hear your good news! Prayer still coming your way! Love hearing about your crafting group. What a great idea…like a book club. You must have very creative friends! Take care! ❤

    • Deb from Dixie says:

      Just read your comment and I am so glad you got good news from the doctors. Sending you continued prayers for healing.
      Enjoy your “craft” times with your girlfriends….there is healing energy being together…..and laughing too…….I think I heard that somewhere………LOL……..it is the best medicine….laughter!
      Blessings ♥

    • Dawn from Minnesota says:

      So happy Sandy!!! Enjoy this wonderful news and fill your heart and soul with happiness every day ……for a long, long, long, long, time!!!! 🙂

  42. Lorrie says:

    What a wonderful post! I loved every word. Now to go back and explore the links. We owe a lot to William Morris, don’t we? And in this day of ever faster, ever ubiquitous technology, it’s so important that we continue to “make our own jam, etc.”

    I have friends who cannot understand my need to create and to make. I see it as an antidote against technology. Not that I’m against it – no sirree – I’m on the computer, pinning, blogging, connecting with people as much as anyone. Why I’m even learning to Text (to the amusement of my children). But making with my own hands will be something that I never tire of – it fills a need deep within me. If I were left on a desert island you can be sure that I’d be raking the sand with my fingers into patterns, and cutting bouquets of tropical flowers to place in a seashell vase.

    But I’m getting carried away. Lovely, lovely post. I so much want to visit these places! Meanwhile, I visit vicariously through your words and photos. Thanks.

  43. Rachel says:

    That dark blue is absolutely stunning!
    I knew a little about William Morris- because I lived in a tower named after him, I am always a little fascinated by him 🙂 And because of the whole ‘preservation of historical crafts’ thing is right up my alley 🙂
    And I really enjoyed the background music to the video 😉 Very scene setting!

  44. Karen Saunders says:

    Just ordered my ‘Christmas Book’ in mint condition from Amazon. (where there’s a will there’s a way) You just have to pay a little more. I am waiting to hear back from L,B&co concerning more re-prints of your book. (I’m like a pit bull and don’t give up easily…) They’ll start printing just to get rid of me!!! ha! My motto is you can never have too many cookbooks, especially illustrated with your wonderful illustrations. One of a kind.

  45. kim says:

    I love the color on your kitchen walls. Just wanted to let you know.


  46. Gail Buss says:

    Hi Susan…………….Congrats to Leeanne………….may she enjoy all the Autumn recipes in the cookbook she won! Loved the history lesson about William Morris and seeing all the pics of England. I did see the “weak” bridge…………..glad you made it over it and didn’t fall in the water! His home was amazing and loved the Thames River too! Must say your kitchen is coming along nicely. Looks finished to me but I only saw one part of it today. Hope you are enjoying the Fall weather. Actually I can feel a change in the air here. Only a small breeze but enough to tell the difference. Enjoy the weekend! Lots of Luv to you both. Gail Buss, Beverly Hills, Fl XXOO

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

    Hi, Sue~
    What a beautiful post! You are an excellent teacher! I like your style. You make it such fun to learn!
    I especially love the video of your ride through the countryside…Wow! It really gives us a taste for the “old country”…and makes me realize what a “baby” our United States is. How smart you and Joe were to be spontaneous and to visit these places off the beaten path. (and how lucky WE are that you did!)
    Another favorite of mine is the photo of the blue delphiniums against the stone wall of the house…aaahhhh….I could just take a blanket and a book out there and while away the hours.
    The sneak peek of your kitchen….love the blue and all that white! Our kitchen is wallpapered in a deeper shade of blue with a tiny white print and we have all white woodwork, too. Looking at your shiny, new windowsill makes me think I should get the paint out for a touch-up. Can’t wait to see the “after” pics.
    Have a wonderful weekend on the island!
    ps: Congratulations, Leanne! I own a signed copy of Autumn and it’s such an honor!

  48. Jan says:

    How could I be disappointed that I didn’t win after the treat you shared with us today? Such fun to learn more about William Morris, see his home and the countryside around it. Best of all, was that peek into your kitchen, Susan! It made me gasp a little in how much it reminded me of my mother-in-law’s. She, too, had blue walls and white cabinets with black hardware and red accents everywhere. She also had a darling stove–only hers was a speckled blue and white affair–almost too cute to use!

  49. Vickie in Olympia says:

    Congratulations to the winner! I feel like a winner, too, because I got to go on a trip to England this morning. YEA! It was lovely to read about your discovery of Wm Morris. Thank you so much for sharing your excitement. Have a great time “on the road” this weekend. Can’t wait to hear what you found to put in the van and bring home.

  50. Victoria Miller says:

    Another blog of pure bliss! Your site is one of my very favorite things (like whiskers on kittens — I like to keep adding verses to that song) …fall fires and wood logs and love Susan Branch Blogs…something like that. I have a William Morris calender hanging just above me on the wall here. Also Charles Rennie MacIntosh watercolor flowers. To see his beautiful home and the gardens and river was indeed heartwarming! This is a lovely post, from your wonderful stove with the ‘car’ and the stove — and happy to see the kitchen is coming together — and the photos from England. The graveyard with ‘I Am’ carved into the rock and the moss, how heart touching that was! Thank you for all your thoughtfulness. You looked lovely in the photos, with your Morris scarf. Oh, the Morris Chair — I actually just made the connection. That car did seem to be along on that narrow little road — I was holding my breath and I was just watching it! And I don’t think your posts are too long. I revisit them in the ‘in betweens’ when you getting on with your life. A very refreshing treat for today. As always, many thanks for you!

  51. stephanie says:

    Amazing! I can’t wrap my mind around the year 1390 – incredible.

    Loved the blog – learned so much!

    Kitchen looks great – color is beautiful – amazing what a difference it makes even though it’s just a few tones away from the old color – lovely!

  52. Tamara Davis says:

    Thanks Susan, this is just what I needed! I’m moving tomorrow and your lovely blog is welcome respite from my world in upheaval! Many of us read all the time but don’t post, but know that you really bring good cheer and encouragement to be creative and appreciate “the heart of the home”. Thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      Wish you good luck Tamara, don’t forget, the first thing to do is make the bed!! Then when you need to drop, you’re ready!

  53. Robin - New Mexico says:

    I loved the post…. it was delightful as always. After reading that, I was hoping there might be something of William Morris in your English Diary that you are creating. That would be fun.

    I also ordered the Angel cards the other day…. thank you so much for making me aware of them. You are truly a bright light in my day and I am ever so grateful with all you share!

  54. Pat Santner says:

    I’ve re-read your Autumn book – love it! Can’t wait to try some of those recipies. I’m having family coming next weekend and your section on having guests triggered some inspiration. AND, I see one of your and Joe’s favorite places to leaf peep is Middlebury VT – that’s where I live! Come on up!

  55. Martha Ellen of VA says:

    “This window has looked out upon the changing seasons for over 600 years.”—I absolutely love this Susan! Thanks for sharing England with us all. I’m itching to go there—Love the color of your kitchen—it’s Susan Branchy for sure! xoxo ♥

  56. Barbara Thomas says:

    Hey Sue,
    It’s Barbara from Lodi, CA. I so enjoyed your blog today. I am so glad you went to William Morris’s home. I did a little research on him not long ago as I was fascinated by references to his pattern, the Strawberry Thief in so many publications. I hope (hint hint) that you will do your own take on those greedy little birds snapping up the strawberries! What could be better than birds & berries, right?! I can’t wait for your book to come out!

    Fondly, Barbara 😉

    • Tawni urrutia says:

      Hi Barbara…I live in Lodi too! We should meet for coffee at The Dancing Fox and talk about how we love Susan Branch!!! Haha!
      Have you made it to the Grape Festival this week-end?
      Have a wonderful day!

  57. Trish K from Missouri says:

    Yay for Leanne! So happy for you, its my favorite! Enjoy!

    Dear Susan, You could never be boring, even if you tried. Before today, I avoided the Arts and Crafts Movement…it always seemed so difficult to understand. However, after reading your brief post, I understand William Morris now, and I understand his role in one of my favorite things, the home-y crafty arts! I want to learn more, and you have provided the means to do so….look at all the work you put into this. Wow. You haven’t posted anything on this blog yet that I didn’t find very interesting or educational. Who says you are boring? Sounds like they need a stern talking to! I love going once more to England, and since I read once about manor houses on the Thames and riverboats….now through your pictures, I can really visualize it. I know this is too long and not articulate, but you are appreciated!

  58. Christine Anderson says:

    Great leson on Arts and Crafts!!! Thanks again for a great post!!!

  59. Joan says:

    Congrats to the winner of the Autumn book!

    On your “meanderment” ride was your “driver” (aka Joe) going as fast as it seemed in the video? Whoopee – I was hanging on for dear life! ha ha When you passed the bridge and you asked him to back up so you could see it – I FULLY expected him to do it!

    • sbranch says:

      He really wasn’t going that fast, he’s pretty good, of course with claws in your thigh you’d be good too!

      • CarolK (central NJ) says:

        I have to laugh at the end of that video. I’m always says ‘stop’ or ‘go back’ to my hubby when we’re out for a drive and usually five miles down the road he’ll say “did you want to stop back there”. Dah! LOL LOL

  60. Mary Kuhn says:

    Something about England, everything so care-worn, well-loved. Your post brought back my own lovely memories of the Cotswolds. Wish we cared as much for our old buildings and landscapes. I enjoyed this so much.

    Thank you.

  61. Sara Finally in Georgia!!! says:

    **Sigh** England 🙂 I was just revisiting old post of England last night… I just love all of its charm. Thank you for sharing more of it with us!

    And 🙂 I do love the new color in the kitchen 🙂

  62. pat addison says:

    susan i have a question about the church, was that gentleman in the picture the vicar at that church??? he must have had alot to tell about his church. somehow i can imagine the people back in 1390 and the clothes they were wearing, awesome sight to see i am sure. congrats to leanne on winning the Autumn book, i hope she enjoys it, i think they are just entering into spring there now. he a wonderful weekend everyone. hugs….. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      He wasn’t the vicar, he was a caretaker. Very sweet man actually.

      • pat addison says:

        from the looks of that beautiful old church he does his job very well. loved that beautiful old window and the arches…sigh they don’t make them like that anymore!!!

  63. Deborah says:

    Thank you for the lesson on William Morris. His famous quote is my designing philosophy. I’ve never been one for trends and much prefer surrounding myself with things that have a story and are pleasing to the eye. Kelmscott Manor looks like a magical place. The wallpaper is gorgeous. I wonder how many cats the Morris family had. 🙂
    Congrats to the winner!
    Your Friend,

    • Lynn McMahon says:

      ~Wonder if they had one named ” Morris?!” LOL~

      • Deborah says:

        Now that’s funny! I just looked on utube at the old commercials and this one popped up first: If you don’t give Morris the Finicky Cat what he wants, he’s going to reserve the dungeon for yourself! But he can’t resist that 9 Lives Savory Stew! It’s fit for a king! From 1978.
        How appropos! 😀

      • Victoria Miller says:

        LOL too — great comment! In fact, it ought to be some sort of childrens verse — “William Morris had a cat named Morris who got lost in yonder forest, where upon he met a horse (pronounced ‘horace’ — poetic license), so did William’s cat named Morris.” Something along those lines.

  64. CAROLINE DELAO says:

    Congratulations to Leanne, from New Zeland!!!!

    Next oh how England and looking at it all calms my heart, I do know my mother has been there she loves traveling. all these photo’s are so beautiful. I eagerly look forward to your blog to help me escape along with ideas of course.

    hope to see your kitchen after photo’s and eargerly await your next blog.

  65. Paula A. says:

    Thank you for the info on William Morris. I’m familiar with the quilting fabric named after him and needlework designs too. But now I know the REST of the story! I’m sitting here in London wishing I could take some of those back road side trips too. But alas, I must be content with the sites of London. Just means I need to come back!!!
    Love your scarf- perfect color on you. You go girl!!!!

  66. Pat Mofjeld says:

    Thanks for the review on William Morris–we studied him in a design class in college. I recognized and remembered his style! I love your umbrella and scarf! Also think the kitchen paint looks really nice. Have a good weekend, Susan and all the other girlfriends! 🙂 [Okay, Dawn and Deborah–enough running around dipping your toes in the Thames!!! LOL! ]

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, see if you can get them back in the car! 🙂

      • Dawn from Minnesota says:

        🙂 Wish we would have taken our shoes and socks off before we decided to dip our toes!!!

      • Only if I can sit in the front seat?? Pat, you can’t set us free and then expect “us” to come back looking fresh as a daisy….wet shoes are not comfortable!!!! eeewww

        • pat addison says:

          hey you dunked me in the river on the trip. besides you got loose and decided to go wading, i just stole your shoes…LOL!!! :)~

          • Now Pat (Addison) you seem like a very lovely lady and I don’t think I would ever have dunked you in England (maybe fell over top of you would be more like it) and I’m so sorry if you would forgive my blunder I would greatly appreciate it!!! Would you please scrape the mud off of my shoes….you are going to give them back aren’t you? Well of course you are I do have very tender feet and would hate to get them all scuffed up!!! Be happy…..

        • Pat Mofjeld says:

          If all of the roads are so narrow, maybe the back seat is the better place to be…LOL! :’)

          • Pat, it is because of the narrow roads that I want to see what is coming, and I think I’m getting a little car sick (still want me sitting beside you??) HA ~:@) do you like my “piggy” smiley face Angela asked how I learned to do it and I said I just made it up looking for symbols!!! Ah to be so creative….I told her that the “~” is his curly tail….do you think Pat A. will return my shoes?? I do think since they are wet they are ruined and maybe I need to go SHOE SHOPPING!!! Want to go? YAY

  67. Holly says:

    Thank you for such a wonderful post! I have long been a fan of William Morris, can never get enough of this designs, and think he was quite handsome! Kelmscott Manor was beautiful, such a simple elegance. I wonder if there is a book showing the inside furnishings? I would love to see a wide spread resurgence of appreciation for homemade & artist made textiles, crafts, art… in this country today.

    All the photos are amazingly beautiful. How did you ever leave all that beauty?
    I suppose “home” had much influence there. Your stove/wall area are great! The color is perfect.

    Congratulations to Leanne! I’m happy for you!!

  68. Bernie says:

    Ummm. I believe a lot of the photos in your “Miami” link are of the Art Deco style (1920’s and 30’s) not Art Nouveau which was earlier. Love you whole post though.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh! You are so right . . . I wasn’t thinking! Art Nouveau was turn of the century wasn’t it? Klimt and Tiffany … I should fix that! Hate it when I show my ignorance. 🙂 But it’s not a new occurence!

      PS I fixed it! Thank you for that!

  69. Leanne NZ says:

    I tell you getting an email from Susan Branch is a wonderful way to start your day!

    Thank you soo much for picking my name, I have been really wanting the Autumn book and kicked myself for not buying it when it sat in my Amazon wishlist.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    And I loved your blog post today of William Morris – I’m soo looking forward to buying the English Diary when it is finished. I feel like I’ve been travelling with you both (and Pete) around England.

    With much love and gratitude.

    from New Zealand XXXXXX

    • sbranch says:

      CONGRATULATIONS Leanne!✮✮✮

    • Charlene H. from So. Calif. (S.F.Valley) says:

      Congratulations, Leanne!! I know that you will enjoy the Autumn book as the rest of us girlfriends do! Just think of the wonderful memories that will appear each time you open your own, personal, autographed copy! Have a wonderful season with it!!!

    • Victoria Miller says:

      Congratulations, Leanne! Definitely a prize, but you may still want to get a copy from Amazon for use and keep the autographed copy as a keepsake. I have some signed books I’ve had for years, and they become great treasures! Just a suggestion, of course, the main thing is congrats and enjoy!

    • Deb from Dixie says:

      Hi Leanne,
      So happy for you…….the Autumn book is just filled with so many great recipes, quotes, and inspiring art. Even though I have read/used it every year since it was published, I still see/discover new things in it every time I look at it.
      Yesterday…..I started re-reading it, and finished it today……it was my Sunday afternoon treat. A cup of Hazelnut coffee, a kitty on my lap and Susans Autumn book…….gives you a warm and cozy start to Fall.
      I’m making (pg.74) Chicken and Cream Sauce over Happy Rice tonight for dinner…..have not tried that recipe yet……but “Happy Rice” was calling to me! LOL.

  70. CarolK (central NJ) says:

    Loved, loved, loved the history lesson. You are such a great teacher. It’s a pleasure learning new things from you and I sincerely meant that. There are some very good books full of Wm Morris designs that can be had from Dover Publications. I like looking at his designs but couldn’t decorate with them. They’re too busy for my style. But then you can take bits and pieces from his designs and make them your own. Thank you for the additional pictures of England. What a romantic country. BTW, I’m liking your kitchen wall color more and more. Can’t wait to see the finale. Next time my little 2X4 kitchen needs painting I’m going to give color a try. I’ve lived too long with white walls.
    Hugs all around from NJ….

  71. viv says:

    I’ll simply say thank you for the pleasure of reading your blog today. I’ve used up all my words on other days, and can’t find any new ones. What a lovely visit. Congratulations Leanne.

  72. Sylvia Faye says:

    Loved every minute of this post…I am a homegrown historian…if I had chosen the teaching profession…my major would have been history. Most of my reading always includes something historical. I knew little about William Morris; however my daughter had paraphrased the saying you quoted over 30 years ago and I emailed her to let her know the exact quote.
    I lap up each of your posts regarding your trip to England. I only wish you could make such a trip each year and then we girlfriends would be so much better traveled and learned about history in other places.
    Thank you for taking the time and never for a second was I bored. I would have loved to have been the winner of your book Autumn but I am sure it goes to someone else who will equally love it.
    Your pictures are always a treasure as well as your down-to-earth commentary.
    ~Sylvia Faye

  73. Ann Y. (Adamstown, PA) says:

    Whate great post…always loved that quote and now I know so much more about the man. Thank you ! And “JAM”…how sweet. We love going to old graveyards, too….and wow, in England – they go way back. Doesn’t it kind of ground you….to know they all saw the beautiful scenery you did ? I don’t know – I always kind of make a wish and prayer that the people in there know we thought of them….
    Anyway….LOVE the kitchen color ! Can’t wiat to see the finished product.
    Congratulations to Leanne….”Autumn” is making it’s way around the world.
    OK – HAPPY FRIDAY ! Home from school and headed out to the screen porch for some tea, a good book, and probably a nap ! Have a great weekend !

  74. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    Congratulations Leaanne!
    You look just beautiful, Susan, in your new scarf, on the tea lawn. You looked so content and happy. Thank you for letting us go back to England. The trellis wallpaper; that was my favorite. Have a great weekend!

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

    I so enjoyed our walk in Englad today…LOVE their homes and gardens, it is all almost too beautiful for words. One of my requirement for our “dream home” is to have a thatched or cedar-shingled roof…I want an English cottage! By the looks of things though, I may end up having to build our cottage b/c there aren’t many in the U.S.! I also wanted to tell you that before I even read that your scarf was in “your colors” I was going to tell you that it was YOUR COLOR!! You absolutely glow in that scarf, so radiant. I inquired with the company a couple of weeks ago to maybe start doing the business here in Tn. but I am not too sure if there is much of a market here b/c of our economy. I so want to have my own colors done, though! Thanks for another lovely post, it made my day, as usual.

    • sbranch says:

      If people only knew how much money it saves you!!! And time. You go in, you look at your colors, instead of looking at everything!

  76. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~Good Afternoon ~
    William Morris looks a lot like The Captain in “The Ghost & Mrs. Muir” don’t you think? As always, loved this post ( and all the posts you do ) because they are as educational, funny, heartfelt and sweet as they are beautiful!
    Did you ever want to be a teacher growing up? Well, I guess in a way you are!
    Congrats to Leanne and everyone have a wonderful weekend!

    • sbranch says:

      Oldest of eight children, makes you highly instructional! 🙂

    • Dawn from Minnesota says:

      oH I just watched “The Ghost & Mrs. Muir” for the very first time the other evening. And funny, when I saw the Sheep grazing on the hillside by the sea…..instantly thought “Susan!” Was that movie ever a t.v. show?

      • Lynn McMahon says:

        The movie was a T.V. show too.
        It starred Hope Lange and Edward Mulhare.

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        Yep – late 1960s I think – I loved it. And the movie was great too – so romantic!

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        I sort of recall that it was, Dawn. But it wasn’t as good as the original movie… 🙂

        • It was girls I believe the actress was Hope Lange or Lane?? I cannot remember the Actor’s name though and the show was a little “hokey” if I remember right…but, don’t take my word for it I’m suffering from traumatic shock from sitting in the front seat with Susan I have no idea how she did that for 2 whole months?? I think the suitcase seems like a better place to be and Susan is very nice to let us all out when there is something special to look at!!!

      • Charlene H. from So. Calif. (S.F.Valley) says:

        Hi Dawn! Yes, “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” was a TV series with Hope Lange and Edward Mulhare. Still I love the original movie version with the dashing Rex Harrison and the lovely (where did she get those cheekbones?!) Gene Tierney. Side note: a very young Natalie Wood played her daughter. Hope you enjoyed it!

        • Dawn from Minnesota says:

          Yay! I am a good rememberer…even if I can’t remember exactly what I am remembering! I did enjoy the movie! The cliffs by Gull house reminded me of another old movie, “Suspicion” with Cary Grant.
          I just love getting lost in the old black and whites…sigh.
          “thank you friends 🙂 “

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

    Sorry, my spelling ability has taken a nap, I see….I meant “…our walk in England” 🙂

  78. Cathy McC. says:

    You know how Shopgirl Meg Ryan gets so excited to open her email and find a message from NY 152 Tom Hanks? Well, I’m the same way when I click on your blog site and see a new posting!!! Today’s was so informative and as soul-stirring as ever. (And also a tummy-stirring as we took the curves and bridge en route to the Manor!) Loved the pix of the old church — the type of place I’d love to attend — and my breathing slowed as I read about JAM. And you — how lovely you looked on the tea lawn in your pretty new scarf — so positively a William Morris design. Don’t you think the colors were created just for you!
    And I will think of you always when we light our winter fires — and know we have those ghosts of winters past keeping us warm. Goodness, you have such a way with words — a true gift to us all.
    Hooray — the kitchen is coming along. Slow and steady wins the race … and all that. Love your stove. Is it “an oldie but goodie” or a replica? And do you love your cutting board? Brings memories of my childhood kitchen and wish I still had a pull-out cutting board.
    Thanks for the joy you sent my way — Ethel

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Ethel. Love the cutting board, couldn’t live without it around here. Stove is old, and the same as the one I grew up with, my mom had one just like it, she was my inspiration! xo

  79. Jan says:

    Amazing!! Thats what I have to say about Kelmscott Manor. Don’t you just love old homes, old buildings for that matter, and their beautiful gardens and paths. Love your scarf – very becoming to you! Thanks for the history lesson and tour. Have really enjoyed seeing every little added tidbit from the trip.
    And before I forget – Congratulations to Leanne!! Enjoy your weekend everyone!

  80. Linda Kramer says:

    That was so interesting about William Morris; thank you for taking the time to share your trip with us. You have to have the best blog out there; whimsy, information, trips, links (because of you I got to see the Decorah eagles grow) and love Jack to pieces. Thank you again for sharing your life!

  81. Beverly Brewer says:

    How wonderful to “escape” via your blog to the beauty and serenity of the gardens and pretty cottages and lakes, rivers, and pathways of the English countryside, especially after the news lately. Thank you for such a sweet, much needed diversion.

  82. nancy babb says:

    Hi Susan,
    I just wanted to let you know that I FINALLY got to see “Miss Potter”! THANK YOU SO MUCH for the recommendation! I LOVED IT! It took a while because I really didn’t want to pay to see it and I couldn’t find it available on Netflix or Hulu or Amazon so I basically just forgot about it…. Until yesterday! Yesterday my car decided to turn into my local library !!!! It has been AT LEAST 25 years since I went! Many things have changed at the library in those 25 years! Loaning movies was one of those changes and I about yelped out loud when I saw “Miss Potter”! HA! I got to watch it free after all. My God is a good God!

    Again, thanks for the heads up, I now love Peter MUCH more 🙂


    • sbranch says:

      Where there’s a will there’s a way! Glad you liked it…I actually bought myself a copy, so I never have to go without it again!

  83. Debbie R says:

    Thanks Susan, I loved your post and I so want to take a trip back to England. Your pictures were just wo derful and you are the greatest to share them with us. Happy Fall to you and your family.


  84. Enjoy your new book Leanne….CONGRATS!!!

  85. Jo says:

    The day became more lovely than it was due to the trip to Kelmscott.
    Thanks a bunch,

  86. I have just found your web site because Leanne mentioned it. Your site is delightful. I am so glad a “Kiwi” won!
    I was looking back on your site and played the video of driving down the country lane in England. That was so typical of what we found last year when we visited . So narrow and winding. I imagine it must look very different in Winter.
    I will go now and add your blog to my list so I can visit again.
    Best Wishes from New Zealand.

  87. Bonnie L says:

    What a wonderful story today! I only had time to skim thru it so will have to come back to it later……..or tomorrow. However, I am very Happy for the lucky winner of the Autumn book……Congratulations Leanne!!! I know that someday I will find a copy…..somewhere! How’s that for a positive outlook? Happy Happy Weekend to all! Tomorrow we will be in Vermont!

  88. Gumbo Lily says:

    What an interesting post! I loved seeing the textiles and especially liked the last one with the blue background. Isn’t it the same look as your scarf? Pretty.

    Your kitchen color is really terrific! It’s actually perfect, I think!

  89. Pam T. says:

    What a lovely journey today! I must admit, I delayed doing my homework just a little longer so I could read your blog. But then, I take college courses to expand my mind and that is precisely what your blog did today. The computer class can wait!
    I have always loved that quote, but never did know who the “Wm. Morris” was who penned it. Thank you for not only the wonderful tour, but the introduction and back-story as well. I know what he felt for that house and for preserving the treasures that are our heritage. In this country, it is all too common to tear down what is considered “old and outdated” to replace it with the latest and greatest. But sadly, that leaves nothing for future generations to be able to appreciate the journey we have all made together. I love old buildings. If only they could talk. Thank you Susan for yet another wonderful trip back in time…and back to England. And CONGRATULATIONS to Leanne! 🙂

  90. Mary S. says:

    Thank you a million times for taking us back to England!!! I almost swoon, looking at these pictures!!! *sigh* That old church is incredible!!! And the cute sign on the old building – “Gents Hairdressing” – how cute is that?!?!
    Your kitchen is looking gorgeous!!!

    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA (where it’s 104 today) Blah!

  91. Rebecca L. says:

    Oh my goodness, beauteousness abounds! I love the Arts and Crafts Movement.

    England just keeps on giving. Thank you for another wonderful post.

    Rebecca (Riverside, CA)

  92. Mary says:

    It’s always a joy to see Susan Branch in my email list. You could write about your trip to England forever and I would love it! We are fortunate to have an Arts and Crafts style home and when adding an octagonal shaped library a few years back, we had fireplace tiles reproduced in England from the Arts and Crafts period – the Industrial Series by J. Moye Smity. Our library contains books on
    William Morris – what a genius he was!
    Your artwork, garden, style, recipes and good humor inspire me every day! xxox

  93. Ruth Thomas says:

    Oh dear Susan – how lucky are we to have such a friend as you!!! I’m ready to swim to England. The car ride – what a rush. I will go back and click on every link to find out more about Mr. Morris – I want that beautiful wallpaper in my bedroom. I am in awe of artists – I wish I had some creative ability, but alas I don’t. So I am lucky to have people like you who do it for me – and inspire me to look for those beautiful things to make my home truly mine and reflective of my style so to speak. Thank you for sharing with us – you enrich our lives.

  94. Gail from Hingham, Mass. says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you for another beautiful post full of charming ideas. I learned so much from reading it.
    If you’d like to read a wonderful book about what it was like to live in a manor house in Victorian England when William Morris was designing his beautiful furnishings I have just the perfect one to recommend. It is called The Three Houses by Angela Thirkell and is a memoir of her Victorian childhood. Her grandfather was a famous artist, Edward Burne- Jones, and great friend of William Morris, whom she mentions a number of times in her book. Angela grew up to become a famous British novelist and wrote about aristocratic country life back in the early l900’s. Her books remind me a little of Downton Abbey, the PBS series.
    Your kitchen is going to be lovely. Enjoy the weekend and the coming of fall.xoxo

  95. Country Gal says:

    Fantastic post and photos ! I have always loved the English country side ! My mum , dad and I went back to England many years ago where they were born and raised it is all so pretty ! I love the villages and small towns . CONGRATS !!! to Leanne ! .

  96. Janet [in Rochester] says:

    Three cheers for William Morris! Like Rosemary, until today I knew very little about him [except for the chair] and now he’s my hero! And the next entry on the “Most Admired” page in my Book of Lists. This cookie-cutter, assembly-line, mass-produced world of ours needs a lot more of the handmade and the homemade. And thank you, Professor Branch, for another always-excellent post slash bonus history lesson. I always learn something here & I love that. It never fails to be true – this place is PBS for Girlfriends.

    Woodlawn Blue. Very pretty and much blu-uer [?] than I expected. PS – how cool is it when the calendar hanging in your kitchen is YOUR OWN calendar? Pretty darn cool is what it is.

    • sbranch says:

      I have to say … I have loved painting for my own kitchen (the calendar) … and I used to have a card in a recipe box with a list of all my favorite things to eat during the holidays, now I have them all in my books, has made things so much easier! 🙂

  97. Debbie S., Illinois says:

    Thank you for the fun history lesson today, Susan! I’m actually reading this post from an airplane, going home after a little get-away with my husband. What a nice way to pass the time at 35,000 feet! Love your new word, “connectomundo” – sums up how I feel every time I read your blog!

  98. Joanie B from San Diego says:

    Hurrah! A new post, just as wonderful as all the others and brightens my outlook and day. I am so grateful that there are lovers of the handmade in every generation so that the beauty is passed on. My mom and three sisters get together every so often for a craft weekend, it is so wonderful, we all talk out loud to no one in particular as we create, stitch or whatever. We made Wee Folk last year, I forget the name of the artist but search the web and ooh and aah over the cuteness. I am attempting to finish up my Thumbelina diorama, started a year ago, but progressing nicely. Congratulations to our girlfriend who won the Autumn book!!!

    Absolutely love the new blue color with the white in your kitchen, Susan, excellent choice and excellent paint job, Joe! Don’t you think Joe looks a little bit like William Morris??? Around the eyes!?! Have a fabulous weekend girlfriends, do something that you love, and enjoy life!

  99. Linda says:

    It seems to me that “arts and crafts” movements kind of skip a generation as in my Mom’s generation they aren’t very keen on antiques (she dislikes my old things) whereas I love them. As in definition of antiques “Grandma bought it, Mom threw it out and I bought it back”!! So it goes with a reverence for “handmade” Arts and Crafts! My generation thought it a waste of time but the new generation is reviving crochet, needlework, scrapbooking etc. Kind of all skips the generations. Love the post as I thought only of decorating style as William Morris style……..very educational…thank you. LOVED the photo of you—what a kind sweet face–your inner beauty just shines out of your face! The blue kitchen is very classy—good job! It is hot here again in Idaho–going back into the 90’s this weekend…….oh well, gardening will get put on the back burner again!! Thank you again for the wonderful post!

  100. Thank you for the lovely history lesson; loved every word! Your stove is marvelous; mine is a 1914 Acorn…seven burners, three ovens and a warming oven. Aren’t old stoves wonderful!? Like you, I’m taken with hand made; it just makes life cozy warm.

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