Hi Girlfriends!  I’ve been getting ready this last week, practicing “Ordinary Arts” at home.  Two of my girlfriends arrived here on the island (from California) last night (lobster dinner required and requirement was met!) — there are two more coming on Saturday! We’re heading out for a walk in a few minutes … but they’re telling me to say hello to you!  So, Hello!

Before they got here, I cleaned.  Nothing like company to get a person in gear!  All the dishes have been washed and put back into the freshly painted cupboard.  Clean and nice.  These are shelves that had cupboard doors on them when we moved in to this house, but my dad, who’d come to help us move, took them off, and I’ve loved them ever since.  But what I want to show you today is my napkin layer cake; that’s it on the lower left side, bottom shelf . . . in front of the pink-rimmed plate.

This: the layer cake of napkin holders.  You know how I try to follow the William Morris rule of nothing in the house that isn’t either pretty or useful?  I think this has it all covered.  Here it is, layer by layer:

The base layer of this cake is a sturdy dessert plate which I put in front of my large Birthday Cake Plate.

Layer number two, out of sight, but I know they’re there, are ticket stubs from events to remember, and cards I’ve received over the years whenever someone sends me flowers.  I just lift up the pile and slip them in here, and now I have them forever.

 On top of the cards is part of my collection of crocheted potholders, ones too beautiful to pass by at a yard sale . . .  they make up the pretty layer.

Then comes the white paper luncheon napkins we use for everyday.

And then, a heavy, marble watermelon slice I use to hold napkins down when we eat outside in the wind.  And that’s it.  Perfect, useful in many ways, adorable in all ways.  Not important, but I really love this little layer cake.  It’s playing house in the best possible way.  I don’t even know if Joe knows I do this.

My soul is happy.  And, of course, I’ve had help as I’ve been cleaning, taking the screens off the windows, making beds, Jack is my constant companion . . .

Home is Paradise!

Have a wonderful day girls! xoxo

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357 Responses to ORDINARY ARTS

  1. Dorothy Ann says:

    * Good Morning Sunshine Sue *

    Well, you did it…you did it again…you amazed me…with your new
    “Ordinary Arts” pages, highlighting your adorable napkin layer cake!

    Some tme ago, in a reply comment to you or to one of our Girlfriends, I wrote that you are our CEO (Creative Executive Officer) of SPGF (Susan’s Posting Girlfriends Forever). Am I right…or am I right?

    Look at that Creative endeavor of yours…I love it. I have to do one tomorrow. I would start it now, but as you see, once again, I am writing to you in the wee-small hours of the morning. It’s now about 1:54 AM Pacific time.

    As per your instructions, I have the base layer plate, I have little ticket stubs and teeny-tiny-lovely Susan Branch designed note cards (a watering can and bouquet of flowers), I don’t have any vintage potholders, but I do have mini woven colorful straw coasters (the size of the dessert plate), and then, of course, I have white and yellow paper luncheon napkins. Oh…I don’t have a watermelon slice (that is so cute)…but how about placing a small ceramic red apple on the top? I am happy;my soul is happy!

    …and just like Joe, I bet Ron won’t even know I did that!

    I notice…as you add new kitchen photo views to your blogs…that the kitchen is
    soooooo lovely. The last picture, with sweet “Jack in the Basket”, shows your kitchen walls, painted in the most dreamy blue shade you chose…looking gorgeous midst the white trim and doors. It is truly a “House Beautiful” room.

    Oh! I thought only one of your girlfriends was visiting with you…how wonderful you have two and two more to arrive. Doesn’t get any better than that, does it? Well, you girls have fun…”Girls just gotta have fun”!

    Hugs from my little corner of the world…
    PS…Susan, you did a lovely job arranging your new cupboard.
    * Dorothy Ann on Cougar Mountain, Washington *

    • Lori from Maine says:

      Dorothy Ann…go to bed!!!!! 🙂

      • Lori from Maine says:

        Oops, look at me giving you a hard time. I just looked at the time and it’s 2:15…guess I need to take my own advice!
        Love to ya!! Lori

        • Dorothy Ann says:

          * Hi there Lori…in fabulous…coastal Maine *

          Yes…I sure was jotting a note to Susan @ about 2 o’clock in the morning on October 19th…just like you were doing @ 2:15 AM on the 20th.

          See…something else we have in common!

          Well, Lori, I printed your two recent e-mails…re-read them tonight…and tomorrow I will set forth at my laptop and reply. Lots of news to catch up on…yours from your e-mails and mine…on their way. You write such wonderful letters, Lori, almost like we were “chatting” or visiting one another. I know I’ve told you that before, but it’s true!

          You also know I like to take my time replying to you…so in the meantime…have a nice Tuesday…and I’ll catch up with you later on. Luv from,
          * Dorothy Ann on Cougar Mountain, Washington *

  2. Georgie says:

    I am loving EVERYTHING… your pictures, your ideas, and your darling kitties! Jack is making himself at home absolutely ANYWHERE you are 🙂 while Girl Kitty continues to reign as Queen!

    Enjoy your time with the precious Girlfriends. We send a cheerful “Hi” back to them.

    It’s a busy day here in Yardville… off to Philadelphia for mom’s preadmin testing. Surgery next week. She is a real trooper. 84 and still pressing forward to make the most of LIFE.

    Happy weekend Dear Susan. Sending JOY your way!

    XOXO Georgie

    • sbranch says:

      Love to you Georgie, and to your MOM!

    • Isn’t it good to see a cat on the kitchen counter? Just makes a kitchen cozier.

      We had a wonderful cat once, Horace Rumpole. Every night, like clockwork, he would come to my second floor window, stand on his back legs and run his paws down the window as fast as he could. This was his sign that it was time to come in and sleep on my bed. It was rather a problem in the winter as his rainy, muddy paws left quite a mess on my window! But, he was a great cat and I still miss him!

      • sbranch says:

        Love his name!

        • JuLee Reeves says:

          Jake: Please consider adopting another kitty! Many are out there and in need of homes. They are all wonderful – please look for strays in need of a home. Please. xxx

      • Anna from Herefordshire, England says:

        Oh, I like that, the cat is the cozy factor! Our cat Poppy, the former “village cat,” decided she wanted to live with us when we moved into our house two years ago. So, now she is our cat and well loved. She sits on the window sill too, looking cute, imploring us to open the door when she is ready to come in.

  3. Barbara T, Wolverine Lake MI says:

    I love all the details – all of them, I notice everything. 🙂 so then my question is – the little doilies/potholders on the tops of the chairs? you have just washed them and they are mostly dry, but not quite, so they need to air-dry a bit before you put them away?? 🙂

  4. Barb says:

    Hello Sue,

    The dishes that adorn your cabinet
    Along with mixing bowls
    The glasses all lined up
    Are Beautiful to behold!

    How you share and teach us girlfriends something new each day.
    This Art Therapy with a Napkin Layer Cake is so Exciting I must say!

    Your newly painted kitchen is there for all are eyes to see, with that Jack Kitty
    hiding in the corner with all the Fresh Laundry!

    Now your time is here with the California Crew.
    The walking, talking and eatting you will all do.

    Thank you for taking time out for each and every one of us today just to say hello.
    Please have a fantastic time with all your California Girlfriends…this is a must you know!

    Happy Friday Sue and to all the GF’s to! Hugs&Smiles 🙂 Barb…Ludlow, MA

  5. Pom Pom says:

    You have that happy domestic way about you and that’s why we all feel so blessed when you share with us!
    Jack is a crack up! He’s naughty! Is Miss Kitty trying to teach him how to behave?
    My daughter has a new kitty pet and she is VERY naughty, but CUTE as a bug’s ear! Have fun with your friends, Susan! The dishes looks so happy and neat! Good work, good YOU!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m not so sure Girl can teach Jack anything; he’s just not interested in learning from her! He’s one, so he is all about playing!

  6. Carrie says:

    Dear Susan,

    There seems to be something amiss. I fear the Potter People have been relegated to the kitchen counter from their lovely little window sill perch. Is that to allow Jack the freedom to move about as the spirit so leads?

    Being a tree hugger, I loved the poem. I used to attend water aerobics in an outdoor pool in a lush setting with large oak, sycamore and liquid amber trees surrounding the pool. I’d look at those trees and think of all the storms they’d weathered and how they still stood so tall, strong and truly majestic.

    On another note when I was a young girl, my neighborhood girlfriends and I used to ride our bikes all over kingdom come so we dubbed ourselves “The Orange Street Drag Club” because we used to race up and down Orange Street – or O.S.D.C. for those of us in the know, wink:) We had lemonade stands and we’d take our wee profits and go to the town’s drug store and buy treats. One year we bought neon yellow smiley face pins! We also had parades with our pets featured, pedal cars (remember those?) and decorated with paper napkin flowers. Childhood was very comparable to the tv show “The Wonder Years” thanks to my loving, creative and encouraging parents.

    Here’s to you and your company having more fun than human beings should be allowed to have – as if there really is such a thing!

    • sbranch says:

      No, no, I moved them to take off the screens and Jack promptly jumped into their spot! He seems to honor them when they are there and hasn’t tried to relocate the yet!

      Lovely childhood memories!

  7. Pam says:

    Your kitchen looks lovely, and the napkin layer cake is really sweet. Jack sitting on the basket in the corner makes me think he is keeping a watchful eye on everything just to make sure all is in order! Hope you have a great time with your girlfriends, I can imagine lots of catching up on news and lots of laughter 🙂 (How will Joe cope with all the girlies?)

  8. Kirsten Wichert of Southern California says:

    I so love how fresh and bright your newly painted Kitchen looks!! Boy, all that hard work is so worth the results you’ve achieved. (easy for me to say, lol.)

    I too, love your dish cupboard without the doors. All the better to see all the pretty things. Thanks for the inspiration!

  9. Cathy McC. says:

    Hi Susan — you must be having such fun with your girlfriends — what a gorgeous time of the year to have company! (And ideal that your kitchen is spotless and super-inviting, complete with kitty in the basket!) Thank you for sharing the recipe for your layer cake — the hotpads bring back lots of childhood memories. Just got back from a wonderful visit with baby grandson in KC, and on Saturday, Lucy and I are road-tripping to visit my toddler granddaughter in Indy. Lots of wind and rain have brought down quite a few of the leaves, but we still anticipate tons of fun and laughter. BTW, when you were feasting on cider donuts out East, my hubby and I were doing the same at a cider mill in Louisburg, KS. When I saw your pic of the donuts I thought maybe you had followed us! And I also met the nicest craftslady who has sheep, spins her yarn, crochets beautifully, and out of the blue invited us to her farm on our next road trip so we could meet all her animals and enjoy the sights. We were overcome by the generous hospitality shown us at the Shawnee Mission Fall Festival in Mission. Aren’t those road-trip adventures just the greatest in the good ol US of A? Enjoy those girlfriend moments, now. Hugs, Ethel

  10. Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

    Dear Susan,
    What fun that Elizabeth–your decorator friend–is moving into a nearby home! She’ll love decorating it for sure! I can just imagine the laughter, good food aromas, tea cups, talking, activity that is occurring in your part of the world. Fun times!

    For me, I was sitting on the front porch for awhile, holding Baby Button, watching the activity in our pear tree. It has ornamental berries that are quite a hit with our winged friends. I’ve seen a flock of migrating robins here for several days; a cardinal today. And the red, green and orange leaves are rustling, wings are flapping. Movement from branch to branch; some birds swooping in and some flying out. There are a few spats between birds over a tasty morsel. I’ve got my own “Bird Cafe” and I’m lovin it!

    The leaves in the ridge that encircles half of our neighborhood (I am on the bend so I see a lot of it) are now in their glory–red, orange, yellow. And today, with the rain, there is a mist and haze that gives it a very moody look.

    But my mood is upbeat and happy b/c I am going to take out my darling pot holders, like yours, and find a fun place for them. They have been languishing in my cupboard for way too long and need to come out for some fun!

    Thanks for being “you”, dear Susan. I wish you lots of good memories over these next few days–for you and your girlfriends!

    • sbranch says:

      Thanks Linda!

    • Debbie in So,Ca. says:

      What a beautiful post Linda, I felt like I was sitting on the porch with you and you birds, I can picture it all!

      • Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

        Thanks, Debbie! I’m glad someone could join me on my front porch.

        • Dorothy Ann says:

          * Hi Linda from Lancaster *

          May I join you and Debbie (from Southern California) on your porch? The view from there sounds so delightful…with those little robins flitting from branch to branch on your pear tree.

          Hmmmm…I’m thinking it won’t be long ’til Christmas and instead of robins, perhaps you’ll have your own “partridge in a pear tree” to watch!

          Have a wonderful weekend!
          From my little corner of the world…
          * Dorothy Ann on Cougar Mountain, Washington *

          • Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

            Dear Dorothy Ann,
            Of course you are always welcome!! I’ll get the tea or coffee and some cinnamon toast! There are three chairs so we all have a place to sit. Maybe Baby Button will come around and he can take turns sitting on each of our laps!

  11. sondra fox says:

    Mornin’ Sue! Your little doggie doorstop looks exactly like our Jack, who is a Wire Haired Terrior. He’s the delight of our lives. He keeps us laughing just like your Jack does for you. I notice that each time you take a picture of your Jack, he looks at you with these inquiring eyes. He definitely is a wonderful cat. Love seeing what he’s up to. Our black & white cat, Bootsie, follows me everywhere as well. Such a joy having buddies that are so loyal, playful, & loving.
    I like the way some of our girlfriends have their names with their locations added. Since I write to you often, from now on, I’m going to sign off with “Sandy who loves candy.”

  12. sondra fox says:

    Forgive me. This is my second blog to you today. In my last blog, I decided to give my name & location in my closing salutations. I’d decided upon “Sandy loves candy,” then as an after thought, I think I’ll try “Sandy of Chihuahua Flats.” We live on a dead end street with nine houses on it. At one of our yearly neighborhood pot lucks, all the neighbors began chuckling about what we should name our street. One neighbors has two Chihuahuas, therefore, we named our street Chihuahua Flats. So, from now on I’m going to call myself, “Sandy from Chihuahua Flats.” Thanks for your patience as I “try” to get creative.

  13. Home is paradise…love the quote and so true, especially when you give it such thoughtful adornments. Opened the backdoor this morning to cold air, so crisp it almost took my breath away! Roses in full bloom and so happy. Instead of Indian Summer in Austin we have Autumn/Spring–the roses get so confused. Tell the girlfriends hello from Texas. Love having my friends visit–don’t we all just need time time together chitchatting and laughing til it hurts just once in a while?

    Debbie from Austin 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      We do Debbie, and I will say hello for you!

    • Chris Wells from West Texas says:

      Debbie, Wasn’t yesterday morning’s weather wonderful? It was 40 degrees here. Our Old Blush roses are blooming like crazy, they love those cooler temperatures, plus we had the added bonus of rain! Not so cool this morning and the wind is blowing like crazy. But when isn’t the wind blowing in West Texas! Just wanted to say Hi from my end of the state, have a great weekend. Chris

    • dottie (in the OC in SoCal) says:

      Hey, Debbie, just made two passes through Austin — well, Lakeway — one on the way to Ohio and one on the way back from Ohio. Loved our little pass-throughs. Texas has stolen a corneer of my heart for all-time even though our time there was brief and the idea of retiring there has fallen by the wayside — sigh. I know we will spend time there now and again just to enjoy things we’ve become fond of doing — like the bats and the Armadillo Market and margaritas on a deck out at The Oasis. Dottie

  14. Anne says:

    Susan, Seeing your mixing bowls on the top shelf reminds me to thank you for sharing your collection and what a treasure they are. My family is clearing out a house that had been lived in for 75 years by my grandparents and then an aunt who recently passed and because of you I had the presence of mind to rummage in the kitchen for the mixing bowls. I had never even seen them before and was pleasantly surprised to find that they were indeed pottery with blue and white stripes. They would have gone to an antique dealer if I hadn’t spoken for them and now they grace the top shelf of my kitchen cupboard and remind me of my grandmother and also that you helped me to save them. I never would have thought to look for mixing bowls in a house layered with so many years of treasures.

    • sbranch says:

      And I’m sure your grandparents would LOVE to know you wanted them and saved them! When my Grandma passed away, I went immediately for the wooden spoon she made her cookies with.

  15. jack says:

    Sink counter tops and stove looking extraordinarily charming — not too cluttered —

  16. Mary-Agnes (Long Island) says:

    Hi Susan,

    LOVE that cupboard. Perfection!

    Regarding your quote “Home is Paradise,” I’d like to share one one of my favorite home-related quotes:

    The good house is one that protects the dreamer.
    —Bachelard in “The Poetics of Space.”

  17. pat addison cave junction,OR says:

    good morning everyone, i have some good news for you all, i was reading the posts about Trader Joe’s and the items sounded so yummy, well a town near us is getting a Trader Joe’s and its opening today…wheeeeee!!!! so i am going to go over to Medford and try some of those yummy goodies, any ideas which is the best goody there????? have a wonderful day everyone, Happy Fall. hugs…. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      The nuts are amazing, try the Marcona almonds, just heavenly. Frozen organic blueberries, the tiny ones. I almost always buy whatever they’re sampling for a tasting that day, and I’ve never been disappointed. They have organic chicken thighs too.

      • pat addison cave junction, OR. says:

        thanks susan, yummm sounds good, anything there that tastes like Fall?????

        • sbranch says:

          Right now, pretty much everything tastes like fall to me! It’s a store full of ingredients, so fall is up to you! I made apple crisp tonight, that tasted a LOT like fall!

          • Tawni urrutia says:

            YAY for youPat!!! TJ’s is so wonderful! They have a terrific pumpkin cream cheese right now. And Halloween Jojo’s…oreo’s with orange icing and jack-o-lantern faces. But just wait for the Christmas food…out of this world!!!
            They also have darling autumn wreaths and dazzeling pumpkins in every shape and color!
            Have a wonderful time!
            Tawni in Lodi Ca

        • Debbie in So,Ca. says:

          Hi Pat, TJ’s has a frozen pizza that is just amazing. No tomatoe sauce but topped with carmelized onions and Grueyer cheese! Funny you should ask because just this morning I told my husband that I wanted to stock up on those for the winter, now that I can turn the oven on again!
          P.S. I always enjoy your post’s.

    • Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

      Hi Pat — The Spiced Cider is DE-LICIOUS!!! and only available this time of year ’til they run out. One of the other Girlfriends had mentioned that the Pumpkin Bread mix or Pumpkin Spice Cake mix is really good, too. I think you’ll find that TJ’s is worth the drive…I’d be interested in what you find to buy and how it turned out. Have fun shopping!!

  18. Sheryl from Chico says:

    Good Morning, Susan,
    Although I am a day later than some and I’m #242 I feel compelled to write to you anyway because I love this post. It speaks to all of us interested in creating something different in our homes with the things that we have collected. There’s no need to run out to the Home Goods Store or Department Store; just gaze into your own collections and wash, rearrange and voila…it can be a work of your own art.
    Best regards from Sheryl in Chico CA

    • sbranch says:

      So true Sheryl!

    • dottie (in the OC in SoCal) says:

      Which is why I got up in the middle of reading the comments and took out the lovely glass planter which I purchased on my visit home to OH and put it on the table in the nook — and then gathered the matching pair of cornupcopias which have been in my collection for years to set at each end of it. It pays to wander every aisle when a great antiques place is closing down! My table is very happy wearing its lovely new blue ornaments!

  19. Carin from Central California says:

    Love your layer cake of potholders and I can’t wait to make a layer cake with mine. Right now, they are in a flopsy, mopsy stack on my counter because I love to see them and I’m trying to gather enough to hang as a valance over my kitchen window. Thanks for sharing another creative idea, Susan.
    So, do the Cali girlfriends do “rock, paper, scissor” for the Peter Rabbit room when they visit? 🙂

  20. pat addison cave junction, OR. says:

    good morning again, hello all…went and wandered out to the barn, checking on that “broody” hen, (still no chicks so the eggs have to go) and guess what i discovered we have living in our barn???? come on now guess..its really wonderful. can you guess??? well okay…..we have an owl living in our barn, thought i was seeing one last night taking off from the roff of the barn, now i know he lives in the barn, and i couldn’t be more delighted. always wanted an owl around. now i have to find a good name for him. any suggestions??? i was thinking Merlin after the wizard from king Authur, but any suggestions are welcome. Happy Fall and Autumn blessings everyone. hugs……. 🙂

    • JEn ack says:

      We don’t have a barn anymore but we do have a big grey owl that roosts up on top of the streetlight nearby and hoots his head off –he has a certain cadence to his sound that goes “hoot, hoo, hoo,” repeatedly, and he is loud … when he’s on guard we know all’s right in Smallville.

    • Carin from Central California says:

      How about Hedwig after Harry Potter’s owl.

    • dottie (in the OC in SoCal) says:

      I vote for Merlin — but I’m a bit of an Arthurian junkie and may be a bit biased — just a bit.

      • pat addison cave junction,OR says:

        thank you all for the names, but i definitely think Merlin, he looks very wise and scholarly. we love having our owl around, and we love the hooting he makes each night, and every evening we watch him take off on his nightly hunts from his roost in the barn. hubby even put a roosting pole up there for the owl to perch on when he comes home. safe to say i think that owl has found himself a home, and is quite content to stay. been noticing the field mouse population is more under control, now if he could get the mouse in my bathroom out i would be very happy, that mouse just ate through my make up bag and nibbled on my toilet paper… yuk!!! well off to go clean out thoroughly the henhouse and the barn, and put down fresh straw for neating boxes and the floor, keeps the smells down, and keeps the hens warm. Happy Fall everyone. hugs…. 🙂

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

    Hi, Susan ~
    I just got the little ones all settled for their afternoon nap and made a cup of tea to sit with and catch my breath. My days are so busy with my daycare family and then with my own family that sometimes I forget to “breathe”, you know? I have to thank you and this blog for being one of my “go to” places for peace and contentment and inspiration. Because I work in my home, I’m surrounded by my home all day. Some days, by the time the children all go home, the paradise that I work so hard to achieve isn’t visible beneath the clutter. But it only takes a spark of inspiration for me to get in gear, as you say, and turn things around. TGIF and I have the weekend now to give some TLC to my beautiful home. A little painting and reorganizing is in my future!
    At the risk of becoming a very long comment, I’d like to tell you that I’ve been wanting Heart of the Home for a very long time. I have most all of your books but not that one. I found it on ebay just about the time you rescued the copy for Diana. And so, it arrived today….Yay! I tore open the packaging and couldn’t wait to leaf through it until I had more time to sit with it and savor each page. Much to my surprise, inside the front cover is a most lovely inscription, dated Christmas 1996 “To my dearest friend ~ Saw the apples ~ it reminded me of our first jaunt together up here ~ and the forerunner of many more new adventures in the coming years. I know you’ll enjoy this cookbook. I’ll probably copy some recipes! Enjoy…. Thank you so much for being my friend and especially for all the support you’ve given me in my move up to the mountains. Love, Jen” (or Jeri…not sure)
    The handwriting is beautiful and I feel so lucky to have this…makes me wonder about the two friends..who they are….where they are…how did the book end up in a used book sale? I think I’ll sit and write a little note and stick it in the pages for the next person to be lucky enough to get this book to find someday.
    Hope you’re having a ball with the girls…please say hello.

    • sbranch says:

      What a great idea for you to write a note to put in it! I hope the two friends are both happy and healthy! I worry when I see something like that!

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

        That was my first reaction, too, Sue….worry and wonder what happened that the book left its home. That was 16 years ago…so much can happen in that amount of time. But I have to be happy that I have your lovely book and so I will focus on the wonderful note to a friend.

    • Donna Ray from Hamlin, NY says:

      Debbie, my cousin, Patti and I once stood in an antique store in Weedsport reading the WWII correspondence of a boyfriend, then husband to a woman in Weedsport. There was a whole suitcase of his letters, we put them in chronological order and could imagine what she must have written to him by his comments. It broke our hearts that no family member had the letters. We asked the clerk who told us the woman “lived in a big house up on the hill and never had children”….. we felt so sad, wanted to buy at least a few, but they were being sold all together (which probably is best) including the old suitcase…..more $ than we had. I stopped there again a year later and they were gone. We live in Hamlin and have friends in Skaneateles so we go through your town often. It’s charming. What happened to the man who used to farm with horses south of town on the west side? We always watched for him. I’m glad your little ones have you to take care of them….you sound so sweet. As always, DonnaRay

  22. Kay says:

    Have fun with your friends.

    BTW – Love how fresh the new paint job looks! So crisp.

  23. Cyndi in NC says:

    What a great help Jack is, and a cute window orament! Love your kitchen, it’s everything a kichen should be. Warm and homey.

  24. Celtic Heart says:

    hmmmm . . this is the second blog I’ve read in as many days where a previously doored cupboard has had the doors removed and has remained doorless. I have doorless cupboards in my kitchen too! I’ve started calling them shelves now, as the hopes of them ever having doors is fading rapidly.

    I understand, it is a well known fact, that we get more cleaning done in the 10 minutes before company calls than at any other time! Guess you had slightly more warning then. I do especially love those bowls on the topmost shelf.

  25. Pat Johnson of Paso Robles says:

    Susan, you inspire the imagination. I have been somewhat short on imagination lately and todays blog gave me hope. I love your cupboard. I have one too but it doesn’t quite look like yours – I guess we each have to put our individual touches to our projects. I took my pantry, that had accordian doors, removed the doors and took all of the food out – who wants to look at food???? Moved my wonderful dishes into the pantry and my food into the cupboards. Love it! Have a grand time with the California girls – is one of your visitors Janey Haley? Laugh – Love – Be happy!!!!……XXXXOOOO Pat

  26. Sherry Palla says:

    Your girlfriends are great. I admire the pink plate behind the “napkin cake”. Was it your grandmother’s? I have a plate from each of my grandmothers, and have them hanging on both sides of the kitchen upper walls, facing each other. I wonder if they knew each other…or had just met at my parent’s wedding. There are questions I should have asked my grandmother that I never thought of. She lived to be 96 and passed away only a few years ago! I was really blessed to have her so long. My other grandmother only lived until I was 2 days old, and don’t think she ever got to see me. My poor mother couldn’t even go to her own mother’s funeral, because she was still in the hospital after having me. And now my mother is gone, and I don’t even have one of her plates! Shoot! Wasn’t thinking then…that was already 11 yrs. ago. But my dad found another sweet lady, and has been married 10 yrs. now!! So happy for him!! [Perhaps he has a plate I can ask for!!] Happy hugs with your girlfriends!!

  27. Kim from Canada says:

    Dear Susan: I hope you know how much joy and happiness you bring to my day! Love the way your kitchen is looking. I am looking forward to seeing more of it. Have a wonderful time with your girlfriends. Take care, Kim

  28. Shannon Stark says:

    OH SUSAN! What I wouldn’t give to have a moment to enjoy the ordinary arts of playing house! I love to live vicariously through you! Basically, with 3 little kids, I feel like a hampster on a wheel. But when I stop to read your blog, I get so blessed. You make doing dishes fun and artisic! You make organizing fun and creative! I am so thankful for you and your snapshots of life inside the home!! I am also thankful for your parents who taught you so, so, so much!

    Sending you much love from Sunny Southern California


    • sbranch says:

      Three little ones! It won’t always be like this (good news and bad news), enjoy it while you can Shannon!

  29. JuLee Reeves says:

    You have probably said this before but please – what is the pattern of the plate with the pink rim and primrose flowers in the center? I also collect Johnson Brothers and would love to find even one plate like the primrose plate to use with them. Hi to kitties!

  30. Kari says:

    Hi Susan,
    Your posts are so much fun! I have a layer cake of napkins and potholders too! Mine starts with a flat round basket on the bottom, next the pretty crocheted potholders, then cloth napkins and finally…garlic! The partially used head of garlic usually ends up on top. I have found myself now looking to put it there, so evidently it is handy. I do like your watermelon piece so much, though!
    Happy Weekending with your Dear Friends!
    ~ Kari

  31. Donna Ray from Hamlin, NY says:

    Hello Susan,
    Sometimes my friends tease me that “it’s all about pie”……..seems like, for you, it’s all about cake! Your layer cake of potholders and napkins gave me such a chuckle.
    Don’t you love waking up hearing the shuffling noises, water running, or sleepy breathing of your home full of old friends knowing that today is going to be another terrific time for having fun and deepening the joys of truly knowing each other.
    The Lake Ontario is deep blue this morning, a lovely background for all the yellow leaves brilliant in the sunshine. Today is St.John’s Fall Festival. A big old white church, it’s basement filled with handy work and baked goods, the kitchen offering roast pork with sides and veggie soup, the tent outside filled with baskets of carrots, cabbages, winter squashes of all variety, apples, stalks of brussel sprouts, a huge crock of sauerkraut grabbed out by gloved hands and shoved into the baggie size of your choice, pumpkins, potatoes…..all donated by farmers in the congregation. This wonderful Festival with years of history is going to be it’s last……no younger folks picking up the work of the tradition. Another little piece of Americana slipping away.
    As always, DonnaRay

  32. Becky from Lockport, Illinois says:

    Lovely! The bowl on the top shelf far left is the bowl my dad used to mix the custard for his homemade ice cream which he made every 4th of July. I borrowed it from him once to make a huge batch of zucchini bread. It looked so pretty on my hutch I never gave it back. It was a running joke between us …I would tell him was keeping it safe for him until he made ice cream again..it now sits atop my hoosier cabinet.

  33. Marie (Williamsburg, Virginia) says:

    Susan~love your layer cake idea! I don’t have any crochet potholders, but I do collect cloth napkins…so a cloth layer cake it will be.

    Make memories with your Girlfriends; we all know they will last a lifetime.

    Happy weekend Girlfriends!

    Marie xo

  34. Kate says:

    Sometimes we do things that no one understands, but it makes us feel so happy. Folding my fabric into neat little piles and putting it where I can look at it anytime I want makes me happy. I seem to play house wherever I am. Right now we are building a chicken condo in preparation for getting chickens next spring and I am having so much fun decorating it inside and out. People say to me “They are just chickens and they won’t care,” but I know how it will look and I find joy and happiness finding the perfect window, door and decorations for the coop. The chickens and I will understand.

  35. whit says:

    hello, ladies. I peek in all the time. It just makes me smile! beautiful!



  36. Beverly Brewer says:

    When I was a little girl, my Aunt Claire would send me a pretty handkerchief tucked inside a birthday card every year and they were like tiny works of art with all the designs. When I was married, she switched to crocheted potholders to add to my kitchen supplies, but they were in the shape of little girl dresses which I loved. I still have all the “dresses” in my kitchen today and they are displayed on tiny hangers. I never get tired of looking at them and they are a sweet reminder of a beloved aunt.

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve seen those little dresses and they are adorable . . . I think I even have one or two around here! I know some people are making valances out of old potholders that are shaped like clothes, like little pairs of pants, or overalls, and dresses . . . so they look like they are hanging on a line! Very cute if you have the right place for it!

  37. jennifer says:

    I love the photo of your sink/kitchen window and Jack. 🙂
    Your hanging pots are in the corner of the picture and makes me excited about
    my future! My husband is going to put up a rod for me so I can hang my pots. And it will have to be over my sink because there just isn’t another spot that’s perfect.
    All I will be missing is the cat. 😉 I know…..I will find a cute little ceramic one.

    I wanted to ask you……do you cook with any copper pots? I’m interested in doing so. Do you have any suggestions?

    • sbranch says:

      I do cook with them, they are wonderful. But a big decision has to be made. If you want to keep them shiny, they are a huge responsibility, and in my opinion (just mine), not worth the time it takes to keep after them. I know someone who polishes hers every time she uses them, and they look beautiful in her house — but that’s too much for me; my pots and pans are lucky to get washed! So I made a deal with myself to let them go au natural. If that won’t work for you, just know that polishing them is a lot of work . . .

  38. Marie (Long Beach, CA) says:

    Home is Paradise! Love how beautiful your bowls, dishes and glassware look in your open cupboard! I really enjoyed reading about the layers in you napkin layer cake too! What a great idea! And Jack looks so precious sitting on the window sill. Have fun with your girlfriends this weekend! I just know you will all have a fantastic time together! ♥

  39. So true … home is indeed paradise!

    Hugs from Idaho,
    Susan and Bentley

  40. Betty Marie, Pennsylvania says:

    Good Gravy! Susan….. I had no idea, not one clue you write cook books. I just was on Amazon where I found this out. Here is the funny part, I am an “avid” cook book collector. Yep, I have a ton of books and one of these fine days I will be adding you to my collection. Like I said, I am a new comer to your blog,via Gladys Taber. 🙂

  41. Judy Young says:

    Had some catching up to do, two new posts to read and both were wonderful as always. Those turkeys were so adorable, I was surprised at how they “ran” right up to you, chattering amongst themselves. Too precious. I also loved the napkin layer cake and may have to try that myself as I have some darling crocheted potholders that my husband’s grandmother made, each one so different and colorful. Wish I had a way to upload the photos of the ones she made, they are fabulous and are just being hidden away in a drawer! I have been keeping paper napkins on the dining table under a napkin press. The press is a dark “country red” color iron star with a crystal doorknob on the top. I found it at a local garage sale and I love it! My son was looking at it on a recent visit and he scoured local antique malls and has made several different ones, experimenting with different colors and doorknobs as “handles”. Very unique and fun. I could always put the iron star on top in the place of the marble watermelon, right? I LOVE the rose chintz dishes and I have a set of 4 of everything (found at the store Tuesday Morning), but I rarely use them, don’t want them to get broken. Yikes! Oh, and Trader Joe’s just opened up a store in my town…Plano, TX. I haven’t paid them a visit yet, but it’s on my to-do list for sure. It sounds like it will be heaven and I’ve heard their prices are great. Hope everyone is enjoying Fall. Hugs to everyone!

    • Chris Wells from West Texas says:

      Judy, You will LOVE Trader Joe’s. You need to go. I go to the one in Ft Worth on Hulen and I’m thrilled to get one only 3 1/2 hours away!


  42. Georgie says:

    It’s a beautiful Sunday morning here. “October Gave a Party” is definitely in full swing here in NJ! Leaves by the hundreds are swirling in the breeze creating swirls of yellow and red in the sky.

    I’m hoping you and your girlfriends are enjoying a walk through the woods to the water’s edge… and right out to the sea, gathering leaves and shells, sharing laughter and stories… then home to Joe, who is cooking up a scrumptious breakfast!!!

    Your new kitchen is a feast for the eyes! Think of all of the girlfriends who have already visited!!! Jack looks like he is thinking… What’s all of this stuff? I miss my ladder!

    Happy Weekend! xoxo
    Yardville, NJ

  43. melinda w says:

    Happy Fall morning, Susan!
    Congratulations on the completion of your (& kind Joe’s) kitchen project! It was delightful to follow as i love home projects. This photo journal was especially helpful because i was simultaneously tackling one with a bathroom. In the midst, i had a hard, spontaneous cry because each step was more difficult than planned, including selecting the paint color! With paint swatches all about the floor, i wiped the tears, started the tea kettle and went to my place of peace- With a thrilled inhale i started to cry again-that was the day you posted about paint colors!! Off to buy Lyndhurst Gallery Beige and the next day it was time to “play” (when paint tape is removed, tools put away, room cleaned & ready to decorate).
    You are good! Most helpful of girlfriends and didn’t even know it! Thank you.

    Your kitchen looks wonderful: the usual warmth & charm with an umph!
    i called to my three beauties to come here so i could “show them a photo”. uh, ok was the only response. “It’s of a kitty we know & love…” this response-“GIRL!” and three pairs of feet come running downstairs to this posting’s photo of your kitcen sink, to which they respond “Oh, Jack!” and giggle!

    Have a lovely, lovely girlfriend weekend! melinda

  44. Gumbo Lily says:

    Scrumptious layer cake! You live at home the right way.

  45. What this country needs is a healthy-eating potato chip — providing all the beneficial food groups, supplemented with a bowl of delicatessen cold slaw — then life would be much easier in the kitchen … and everyone would be happy, well-nourished and have more time to rake leaves …..

  46. Rebecca Walsh says:

    Just looking at your stacked napkins arrangement when I realized you have the same dessert plate at the bottom. My Mom bought me the set years ago and although I have lost one or two, still love using them for everything. How amazing to see ‘my’ plates on your blog.

  47. Ginny Sargent - New England says:

    Jack has turned out to be an adorable boy….can I say adorable for a boy?? Anyway he just brings out something in me. Sometimes as my cat watches me, I go over and say “mummy muggins” and cuddle them. I have to say I LOVE my mummy muggins; especially after a vacation. The first muggins goes to the little boy of the house here..an adorable little muffin called Woody (he is a rescue and he came with the name). He is so happy in his forever home! I am glad he is happy….oh dear I feel another muggins coming on…..

  48. Sue– I have a watermelon slice made out of alabaster and I use it as a paper weight in my kitchen! I also collect paper odds and ends such as your tickets and flower cards.

    I am struggling because I am moving cross country to Colorado in a few months and I have to pare down all my belongings. It is such a hard decision when so many of my posessions have happy memories attached to them. Any suggestions?


    • sbranch says:

      It’s a dreaded thought to both Joe and I … choose something? Everything matters! The only thing you could do is choose the creme de la creme … and think how gorgeous your new house will look with only your very most beautiful, useful, things in it. Terrible decision to have to make. To add to your work load, you could send some favorite things to favorite people, or have a big “Take It” party! Just focus on how much you will love Colorado, that’s the only way to get through it!

  49. Cadie says:

    I just love seeing a kitty in a basket. That brings me so much joy! I especially love it when I open one of my dresser drawers and a kitty finds it a cozy place to sleep! 🙂

  50. Janie Phillips says:

    You have to know I love this post! The Thomas Moore quote says it all. xoxo

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