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. Rita Baker says:

    Susan, I love your blog and photos because they’re so warm and comforting. Have a great visit with you girlfriends!

  2. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Hi Susan, your kitchen looks beautiful and it was fun to see your napkin layer cake with its secret stash of wishing-you-well cards. Jack in the basket and on the kitchen windowsill are about as cute as it gets! Have loads of fun with your girl friends – nobody knows you as well as they do. Hugs to everyone. PS I can’t resist a crocheted pot holder, either especially the red and white ones which I put out at Christmas.

  3. Joan Lesmeister says:

    I love your “Ordinary Arts”! Hello back SB GFs – have a lovely walk & a lovely day! Your layer cake is so sweet……from the plate layer to the watermelon! Thomas Moore’s (my maiden name Moore, not Thomas, wonder if he’s a relative?) quote is great. And, have to say, your cupboard makes me happy, so pretty! Thank you! xoxo

  4. Gail from Hingham, Mass. says:

    I have never seen anything so adorable as your napkin layer cake! What a great idea to make paper napkins look decorative. Also, love the quotes you have included. They are so true. There is nothing like a weekend with girlfriends – have a ball!! xoxo

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

    Must be the time of the year! Kitchen is at last completed! The wife of one of the construction guys is coming to help me clean out dust and debris from cupboards and drawers and put down Susan Branch shelf paper (old and new versions)!!! Then I can start unpacking all the kitchen goodies! Will take time to rearrange the previous arrangement! Plus I have all those rolls outs & pullouts to help me organize!
    The weather is cooling here so feel more like its fall and time to get house ready!
    Have a wonderful visit with your girlfriends Susan! I know ever minute will be lovely! 😉

    • Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

      Oh, Kerry, I bet you are so excited!! The end is in sight! I bet by the time you read this, you will be in the midst of moving in your brand-new kitchen. Have fun with the best part–decorating!

      • Kerry S. from San Pedro, CA says:

        Thanks Linda! Moving slowly!! First thing that went into the new pantry – the canned cat food! LOL! 😉

  6. Kathryn says:

    Your kitchen looks great. Everything is sparkling! Thanks for telling us about your napkin layer cake! 🙂

  7. Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

    It’s the little things that make life so sweet! Thank you, Susan, for reminding us to find joy in all of the ‘ordinary’ little everyday things that make life extraordinary!
    Make wonderful new memories with your dear friends!!

  8. Becky says:

    I love, love, love the new blue! I was leary at first because I loved the old blue but it turned out beautifully! Have a grand time with the Girls! <3

  9. Gloria Ray says:

    As a retired Family and Consumer Science teacher ….what we all knew as Home Economics…..I truely believe that ordinary arts are so very important to family life and contribute to a family’s happiness and well being…many schools feel it is not important will but miss the point about preparing young people for life and even career success!!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Ooooh, homemaking classes were by far my favorite . . . I would take extra classes in summer school I loved them so much!

    • Gloria,
      I, too, was a “home-ec” teacher but spent 33 of my 35 teaching years teaching “early childhood ed” in a post-secondary community college setting. I can’t recall when/why we changed…can you help with this? …miss those days and many from the generation that was in it when I started out. Sadly, the current generation doesn’t know what it missed but is SO drawn to Susan when they discover her!! (A modern day home-ec teacher)

      • sbranch says:

        Now that’s a wonderful compliment, thank you Judy!

      • Gloria Ray says:

        Judy….I started teaching in 1972,taught for 8 years… took time off for having a baby and got back into teaching in about 4 years and taught until 2007 when I retired. In Georgia we have held on to home economics in many systems but the focus has turned to careers in the schools that managed to keep the programs. Our shift in focus started in the 90’s and became what they are in about 2004. I taught hec in grades 5-12 in the course of my career. I do hope I contributed to education and success in life. In response to Judy Anderson’s comment……Thanks Gloria

        • sbranch says:

          Thank you Gloria, teachers mean so much to the world . . . like mom’s xoxo

          • Sharon Calvert says:

            Couldn’t resist commenting on Home Ec … I took 3 years of it in high school back in the 60s; my son, who is 40 today (!) had a brief exposure to some of it in middle school, and I credit it with developing his cooking skills in particular. He and his wife have even taken gourmet cooking lessons together, and produce delightful meals for friends and family.

            Sharon in Alabama

          • sbranch says:

            How nice Sharon! I know so many men who love to cook!

  10. Nellie says:

    Good morning, Susan! I love your layer cake! It is a very clever way to keep those things which are special to you.

    Jack is such a good helper. He knows how to find all the right spots to be!

    Lobster – yum! I know your friends are having a wonderful time visiting you! Enjoy this day!

    xo Nellie

  11. Linda... Gardnerville, Nevada says:

    Looks like a wonderful start to a new day! …and with good girlfriends too. ~Enjoy your day!

  12. Jackie says:

    Gorgeous home and kitty!!!!! Love them!!!! Thank you so much for sharing with us! You always make me smile!!! God bless you! Have a wonderful long weekend!!!

  13. jack says:

    Saw our old station wagon on the previous blog — didn`t look quite right because the back window wasn`t open and ….you know (…….).

  14. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~Good Morning~
    I thought I was the only one who layered things~ I am the only one who knows what is under the layers and I know everything that’s there!
    Everything is better layered too~ clothes, cakes, books, dishes……everything!
    Enjoy your girlfriends~ I hope to be out with mine tonight!!!
    ~Happy Ordinary Day!~

    • Lynn McMahon says:

      I forgot to ask~ How is it Jack doesn’t knock anyhthing over?
      He could be a tight rope walker in the circus!

      • sbranch says:

        So far I think it’s just been luck. He isn’t exactly careful!

        • Kerry S. from San Pedro, CA says:

          I think cats have some sort of special built-in radar!! Balance and object avoidance sensors!? Or maybe just very busy guardian angels!?? 😉

  15. Pat T. says:

    A clever and cute idea – going to hunt up my collection of red and white crocheted potholders and see what happens. It is often just the fun little things that perk up the day – and we are dark, rainy and gloomy here right now.
    Have a great weekend – I am off to visit a special friend too who shares my love of quilting…

  16. Cindy says:

    Your hutch display is lovely! I especially like your collection of mixing bowls on the top shelf. As for cleaning, I fairly sure that my house would never get a good thorough cleaning if I didn’t have company coming occasionally

  17. Patty from Michigan says:

    Susan, I am so wanting to take off maybe a door or two of my cupboards. Maybe someday I will get daring and try and see what it looks like. Love that beautiful display in your kitchen…..especially those MIXING BOWLS! Mixing bowls are one of my favorite things. My eyes went right to them 🙂 Through you and your books and your blog I have come to realize that my home is my paradise and it is my favorite place to be! Really! Today it is rainy in Michigan and I have candles glowing…..ahhhhh! Have fun with your friends!

  18. Marysol says:

    I’ve been a fan forever, maybe even longer; it’s easy to fall in love with your writing, your creations, and needless to say, Jack, your Salvador Dali-ish kitty.

  19. Shellie Laird says:

    Love it! It’s the little things I tell ya!

  20. Peggy Cooper says:

    Hi to all the girlfriends! Those visiting you in person, and those visiting via this blog. As the song says, be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home :o)

  21. jane townsend says:

    Have a great week with your girlfriends in your spick and span house! You may enjoy (or not?!) this little bit of information:- I teach Year 4 children in England (8 and 9 year olds). At the moment we are learning how to write a diary and looking at different examples in literature. I suddenly had inspiration and told them that blogs are also a form of diary and flicked yours onto the Smart board! They loved it because it happened to be the last one about your visit to the turkey farm. Hope you don’t mind.

    • sbranch says:

      No, it makes my day!!! Tell them I said Hello!

      • jane townsend says:

        Yes I will!! Tomorrow is the day they write their own diary extract – as an assessment, and as a child in Tudor times during the The Great Plague. Not an easy task.

        • sbranch says:

          No! Remember to tell them that by writing a diary, they will live forever! When I was little, I loved that thought, and the idea that in the future people might read what I wrote as a little girl.

  22. Miss Pat in Indiana says:

    Love the napkin layer-cake. Question, I noticed the crocheted pot holders on the top rung of the chairs. How do you keep them in place? Once more you have inspired me to look around and see what can be made prettier but still usefull. Have a wonderful weekend with your friends.

    • sbranch says:

      I had just brought them in from where they were drying on the line outdoors — they were still slightly damp, so I just laid them there to finish drying! 🙂

  23. Chris Wells from West Texas says:

    Oh Susan, your house just shines! And the picture with Jack in the basket, it’s the first really good look at the color of the room. I love it. My mother is coming this weekend. She will be 90 in April. She said I better have some chores lined up for her. She HATES to sit around. So I think we are going to wash all the knick knacks in the kitchen (lots of copper that needs shining) and wash the windows inside and out. By the time Mom and I get done, maybe my house will shine too! Thanks once again for all your inspiration. Give Jack and Girl a kiss from me:)

    • sbranch says:

      How lucky you are to do that with your mom! Fantastic. I’ll hug Jack for you, and you give your mom a hug from me!

      • Chris Wells from West Texas says:

        I will!

        • Janet [in Rochester] says:

          Happy Thursday, everyone! Sue, I think Chris is exactly right – that photo with Jack in the basket is a good BIG stand-back view of the blue and white in your kitchen and the colors look great. So FRESH! All clean and freshened up! Your designer friend who recommended that white [Swiss something?] knows her stuff. And I bet you’ve said more than once, “So worth all that effort!”

          Is the basket that Jack’s curled up in his regular spot in the kitchen? Or did he just jump into a fresh bunch of towels or something? So cute that he follows you all over. Like any toddler, “Mom” is his whole world. Although I predict he will “mooch” belly rubs from your company as well.

          Have a great Autumn MV weekend with Joe and the Girlfriends. After recommending the bean soup from HOTH to giveaway winner Diana, I decided, “Why not make this year’s first batch myself this weekend?” I love it because it has only about 6 or 8 ingredients – so easy & so good. Hopefully it’ll be just a little chilly here in the Finger Lakes, because Fall and Chilly and Simmering-on-the-Stove-Soup go together so well, dontcha know? :>)

          Stay off the computer this weekend [it’s OK] & just have a lot of good old 20th century fun with your pals! :>)

          • sbranch says:

            Jack in the basket is exactly what I mean when I say a black and white kitty can be so decorative in a house…fits with all styles and colors. Yes, I’d just brought in the laundry, so of course, Jack sees something new, must go sleep on it.

            My designer friend who gave me that color (Elizabeth) … she’s the one who bought the house up the street, and she, along with her best friend/cousin, are the two girls who are here visiting.

            Mmmmm, bean soup…isn’t that delicious, with the ham hocks, I may have to go get the ingredients!

    • Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

      What a sweet thing–you and your mom doing domestic chores together! I love that she’s 90 and she still finds joy in doing those things. She’s a role model for sure! I will be thinking of you and your mom this weekend. Have fun making memories!

      • Chris Wells from West Texas says:

        Thanks Linda! I can tell you, that woman can work! We will have fun! You have a great weekend too:)

  24. Candice from Ohio says:

    Hello Susan,
    Thank you for sharing, so uplifting, Love your dishes! I may have to steal your napkin (and secret because of the hidden cards) layer cake, makes me smile a lot!! Jack is so cute! Typical kitty in baskets of clean clothes and near a window!
    Have a great day with your GF’s!

  25. Lori Edmonds says:

    I love seeing pictures of your dishes, freshly painted shelves…all parts of your newly spiffed-up kitchen! I use plain white napkins at times and I especially enjoy the decorative paper napkins. They go out for a fancy dinner; either for myself or when I have company…when they aren’t on the table to be used, I display some in a schnazzy flatware caddy with clear, square, glass vases that hold flatware as well as pretty napkins : ) Hope you have a lovely time with your friends!

  26. Annelies says:

    Oh how your home makes my heart happy…..you are a darling to share with us. Brings a smile for both Oma and for me too!!!! HUGS and more HUGS. XXX

  27. Darlene Hebdon (way out west) says:

    ….Jack watches those birds from the kitchen window doesn’t he! Kitty T.V. He needs his own blog spot or facebook page I’m thinkin.

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, Kitty TV!

      • Beth from Virginia says:

        Whenever there are kitties on the Animal Planet channel my kitties (all three!) leap off my lap and sit in a row in front of the tv and watch entranced! It’s the funniest thing! Now that is REAL “Kitty TV”!

  28. Stacey says:

    Your final quote reminds me of one from Mark Twain in his book Eve’s Diary, which Adam speaks over her grave….”Wheresoever she was, there was Eden.” My father put that on my mother’s grave and I have promised to put ‘gone to Eden’ on his. Making one’s home a haven of love is the best , whether we surround ourselves with objects or people that gladden our soul. And you, Susan, gladden my soul. Thank you for all you do that brightens this world. Have a blessed time with your girlfriends. Love, Stacey

    • sbranch says:

      What a gorgeous thing to put on your mother’s grave, all so beautiful Stacey!

    • Lynn B says:

      That quote and your promise to your father is so sweet, you have made my day Stacey.

    • Christy from Orange County, CA says:

      Stacey, thank you for sharing the story about Eden. It is beautiful.

      • Rhonda D. says:

        Stacey, I loved your comment. It inspires me to want to do and be better so (special) people will feel they are in “Eden” in my presence. A beautiful statement to try to live up to, and what a beautiful world it would be if everyone aimed for that goal.

    • Dawn from Minnesota says:

      Stacey… oH my, how very Romantic! Your beautiful comment gladdened my heart and soul! Blessings to you and your father!

    • Beth from Virginia says:

      Stacey, this is just beautiful. Oh how your parents must have loved each other! Thank you for sharing with the girlfriends!

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

      Stacey ~ how beautiful….the quote for your mother and your whole comment..home, a haven of love…just beautiful!

  29. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Lunch~Time! I Am Happy That Your Soul is Happy Sweet Sue…Hello To Your California Girlies! I Know Your Week into The Weekend Shall Be Filled with so Much Love & Joy & Lots of Autumn Magic! 😉 I Adore All Your Photos & OMG Jack is Beyond Cute! (Meow!) I Love All Your Treasures on Those Beautiful “Opened” Shelves….Everything All Clean & Shiny! They Sparkle! Hey Have Ya Checked Your Mail Recently? 😉 Wishing You & Joe & Your Company a Fabulous Visit! Hugzzz & Love & always a Bit of Pixie~Dust! xoxo Poof!✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫ 🙂

  30. Mary says:

    What a pretty idea that layer cake is. I have stacks around my house too, but they surely aren’t as charming as that. Stacks of laundry, stacks of paperwork, stacks of fabric….you’ve inspired me to tidy up. Have a wonderful time with your girlies!

  31. Darlene says:

    Hi Susan, your kitchen looks beautiful!! Everything came together perfectly including Jack in the basket!! Hello back to your girlfriends and have fun!!!

  32. Barbara S says:

    Hello from Cumming, GA!
    Susan, I love your yellow ware bowls, especially the big one on the right! I also liked the title of this post– Ordinary Arts. Home Ec in school was my favorite class by the way! Have a great day!
    Hugs from Barbara S.

  33. Linda says:

    Susan, I would love to know what cookbooks I see in your kitchen (besides yours of course) I recognize Julia I think but can’t make out the others, maybe a title or two please please… Have some wonderful GIRLFRIEND time with your guest…

    • sbranch says:

      I think if you scroll back a few posts you’ll find a stack of them, I took pictures when I was putting things back — but, knowing me, I’ll probably do it again!

  34. zinnia patch says:

    Hi Susan! well, you never cease to amaze me!!!!! where in the world do you get all of that creativity???? You just brighten my day over and over again!!!!
    Thank you for sharing and you and your friends have a great day!!!

  35. Francine says:

    LOVE your kitchen Susan! Hello to the girlfriends! Lucky girls…lobster, and Susan!!! I just found one of those old hot pads (brand new) hidden away at my mom’s house! So, I brought it home. Along with a old, very differently shaped wooden bench. I used to let my imagination go wild with that bench when I was little! I used it for so many different things! Imagine my delight when a couple days ago, when I was watching my 3 year old granddaughter we went into the garage to look for boxes to make into dollbeds – and her eyes spotted that bench, and she said, “oh Nana, can we bring that into the house? We could do so many things with it!” My heart melted!!! A girl with my vision!!!!! Have a wonderful visit with your Girlfriends!!!

  36. Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

    Have a wonderful day also, Susan~~~~ I know that you will have a great time with your girlfriends from California!! Enjoy enjoy!! I hope the weather is nice so that you can get outdoors some.

    I like the way you layered your napkins. So fun!

    The sun is shining for, possibily the last day. Rain is to come in for next week. We really need it, but I’m not ready to “walk the mall” just yet 🙂

    Carol M

  37. pat addison cave junction, OR says:

    hello susan, good morning all. its a chilly morning here so i have a warm fire going in my woodstove, it was cold last night so just trying to keep the house warm and cozy. i love the crocheted pot holders, i keep mine in a pretty basket, also have all my nice Fall napkins in a nice basket on the table. i love the picture of Jack in your laundry basket, my cats love the laundry basket, especially if something in there is really dirty or smelly, they love it. right now Midnight is tormenting Tabitha again, pouncing on her and making her bristle up, i turn around and “poof” she is all bristled, i swear they are getting ready for Halloween. the turkeys are out back and enjoying a snack of “broken” squashes. a neighbor gave them to us for the birds, they were split and cracked so we split them all the way and put them out for the turkeys and chickens to enjoy. they love that treat. it is definitely feeling like Fall here, and we are getting color now, YAY!!!!! well off to go take care of the birds, feeding, changing water and refilling the ducky pool and cleaning out the henhouse, we have one hen who thought she was broody, and she is well past the date of when the chicks would be hatching, no baby chicks so time to clean out the henhouse, put new straw in and make it all nice and fresh, and dispose of those rotten eggs..PHEWY!!! have a wonderful day with your girlfriends, and i hope everyone has a great day today. Happy Fall everyone. hugs….. 🙂

    • Deb from Dixie says:

      Hi Pat,
      Don’t know if you saw my question on the previous post so I am going to ask again, because I am still curious about that Bear…..have you cooked any of it yet? How do you cook Bear meat?……….abd what does it taste like? ( Please don’t say ….”tastes like chicken”…..LOL!)
      It is a first for me hearing about eating a Bear……so I am intrigued.

      • pat addison cave junction, OR says:

        Hello Deb, sorry i guess i missed that question, to be honest i have no idea on how to cook a bear and the only bear i ever ate was cooked in a stroganoff by a neighbor. it tasted very gamey and i didn’t like it at all. my husband says this was an older bear so he is having it processed by the local butcher shop here in town into pepper sticks and summer sausage. but he says if he gets another bear, a younger one, he is having the backstrap removed and made into steaks and roasts. he does know how to cook a bear, and he says if its a steak BBQ it like a steak, but first marinade it overnight to get the gamey flavor out, he uses a red wine for that and season well with lots of pepper, garlic and onions. if its a roast cook with wine, red, and do it like you would a pot roast. lots of onions, garlic, aromatic herbs and seasonings like salt and pepper. hope this helps. hugs… 🙂

        • Deb from Dixie says:

          Thanks Pat…….that is really interesting and I now have some new recipe ideas….just in case I ever run across some Bear meat!

      • Dawn from Minnesota says:

        Deb, I am wondering too! 300lbs. of Bear meat! Now that would make a lot of taco’s!!! I can’t quite get over the Bear Head in the freezer! Kinda gives Kemp’s Bear Tracks Ice Cream a whole new meaning! What do You think the Bear meat would taste like?…..I’m thinking maybe like a really beefy beef flavor…..let’s just hope it doesn’t taste like it smells!!!

    • Chris Wells from West Texas says:

      I just want to know if you got the smell out of your Jeep?!

      • pat addison cave junction,OR says:

        well its almost out, a couple of days of good weather where i could leave the windows down, and the charcoal bags in, one in front and one in the rear and that smell is just about history…maybe a shot of febreze will finish it???? thanks for asking, oh yeah he took the bear head to a lab to have it tested, they take a tooth and sample of the brains for testing for diseases and the tooth to determine how old the bear was. but the bear head is now gone, and he still has to clean out my freezer this weekend, he is not getting out of that job. hugs…:)

      • pat addison cave junction, OR. says:

        yes chris, its about gone. 2 days of good weather and open windows and bags of charcoal, front seat and back seat have worked their magic and the smell is about gone.

    • Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

      Pat, I love the part–“one hen who thought she was broody”–haha! Yes, it’s time she gets over it and moves on!! Thanks for your cheery messages!

  38. Heartsdesire says:

    The kitchen looks lovely, so fresh and clean with its new paint job. The blue was a brilliant choice. Your napkin layer cake is truly you. Very creative. Have a fun weekend with your girlfriends. I’m sure they will be talking about their adventures on Martha’s Vineyard for weeks to come.

  39. Mardell Lamb says:

    Hi Susan!
    Hi GF’s from CA! I bet you’ll be spoiled like crazy! What fun. Have a great weekend, girls.

    Just love the open cupboard (is it cupboard or cabinet? Supper or dinner?) Your vintage dishes are darling. The same things I eyeball at yard sales. Jack is caaauuute as evah! I suppose he was helping you with the dishes @ the sink?

    Enjoy the sisterhood bonding time.

  40. Betty Marie, Pennsylvania says:

    Hi Susan, I am taking a break from dusting and doing laundary, thought I would come on and see you have a new blog and I wasn’t disappointed.
    Oh, your kitchen is soooo nice and what a cleaver idea with your layer cake.
    There can never be to many photos of the kitty’s. Jack just makes my day.He is just a sweet heart…… Have heaps of fun with your friends. 🙂

  41. Karen Saunders says:

    I wish you would ask your kind dad to put his name back in blue…..I would skim and if I saw the blue ‘Jack’ I immediately would pick it out to read. And by the way….not being a blue person, I do love the blue. Can’t explain why I like it better than your last blue but it’s such a pretty color of blue. And it looks SO great with the crisp white. Maybe it’s a soft white but it comes off crisp on your blog and I could sit all day and look at it. Not to mention the little burst of black in the corner sleeping…….

  42. Deborah says:

    Dear Susan,
    I just finished washing my floors while listening to a CD I found for a mere fifty cents (thrifting) called October. I wish I could press a button and share it with you and all our girlfriends. Your kitchen is almost as shiny as you are! Indeed, you put the extra in ordinary, sweet friend.

    • sbranch says:

      So nice of you to say that Deborah! xoxo

      • Doreen Strain (from Florida) says:

        Deborah, who is the CD made by? Is is all music for the season? I’d be interested in knowing. I just love listening to music that sets the mood. Thanks! ~ Doreen ~

  43. nancy jo says:

    OOOOH, that was a nice post. I will make one of those cakes and use an old cast iron, iron, I don’t have any watermellon. Have fun with your friends, wish I was there.
    Nancy Jo

    • sbranch says:

      heart shaped rocks work well too … 🙂

      • Sylvia Watkins says:

        Heart shaped rocks! Perfect. I’ll find one at the beach nearby and build my own Napkin layer cake. Perfect place to keep those indispencible pieces of paper that clutter up surfaces. Thanks for the brilliant and cozy idea. Love your newly refurbished kitchen.

        I envy your girlfriends. Have fun kids.

  44. Barbara (WA) says:

    Here I go again, asking about the manufacturer of a piece of china, can’t help myself! When you have a moment, could you share the details about the cake plate behind the fun layer cake, please? Have a wonderful weekend with your dear friends!

    • sbranch says:

      On the back of the plate it says Ulster Ceramics PLC, made in Ireland. Hope that helps!

      • Barbara (WA) says:

        Thank you so much! Looking online now. . .

        • Barbara (WA) says:

          Interesting ~ Replacements is calling this pattern #877 from Ridgway. It is the exact pattern (and also comes in other colors) so I am thinking your plate is very old and maybe Ulster Ceramics merged with Ridgway or something. Very common in the world of dishes! Replacements doesn’t have stock but they have photos of the cream and sugar – adorable!

          • sbranch says:

            I’m not sure, but I think this plate came in a set of four dessert plates in a little wooden box. Sorry I can’t tell you more!

          • Barbara (WA) says:

            So, I was just browsing this posting again and realized that the apple plate under the layer cake may be the one you thought I was asking about. It looks like what comes up when searching for Ulster Ceramics. It was the pink plate behind the layer cake I wondered about and that seemed to be a Ridgway piece according to Replacements. What does that one say on the back? Thank you!

  45. Wendy Louise says:

    Hello Susan, 🙂
    I just love you and what you do everyday, you help my soul leap for joy ! You are ever so clever in every way. I love having company too, lobsters are definitely a must with company! They do help the motivation ! I am happily busy winterizing my little fish pond and putting the porch furniture away for the wonderful winter. Sheets are drying on the line and don’t you just love the smell! I am singing while I work and so happy because I have to tell you and all the girlfriends something that I am bursting with. Well, my wonderful son and lovely daughter in-law came over last night and told us we are going to be grandparents ! All we can say is WOW ! A BABY ! I better get my Peter Rabbit room ready ! I have the Shirley Temple song “Come And Get Your Happiness” playing over and over in my mind ! Thanks for letting me share ! OOXX P.S. Have a grand time with your girlfriends, the weather is perfect !!!!

    • sbranch says:

      A BABY!! How wonderful for you Wendy, I can hear your happiness in every single word!!! Congratulations!

      • Doreen Strain (from Florida) says:

        Congratulations Wendy!!!! Your going to LOVE being a Grammy! There is nothing like it…I once read a sign in a crafts fair that said… ” If I knew grandchildren were going to be so great…I would have had them first!” LOL! I’m so happy for you! Now you have to wait to see if it’s a boy or girl!!! Let us know! ~ Doreen ~

        • Janet [in Rochester] says:

          Let me add my congrats too, Wendy! And how much fun are you going to be having? Creating a “Nana’s nursery” at home! Too much fun, that’s how much! Hooray! :>)

    • Sandy Richmond says:

      Congratulations Wendy Louise! I am happy for you.

    • Christy from Orange County, CA says:

      Congratulations Wendy Louise…a baby! I can’t think of any more exciting news than that!!

      • Rhonda D. says:

        Congratulations Wendy Louise!! You are going to have so much fun in a few months. Very exciting news for you. My daughter just had her baby on October 10th, a baby girl…Ella Grace. I was so excited when I found out she was pregnant, but wait until your new grandchild arrives. I’m on an amazing high that I can’t even explain. I love your idea about the Peter Rabbit room. I was just today thinking “now I can re-do my spare bedroom.” Now I’m really thinking Peter Rabbit room. Oh, how much fun. My mind is now on Susan Branch overload with ideas. I started a diary as soon as I found out my daughter was expecting. (All decorated with Susan Branch stickers). So all the goings-on during the pregnancy have been recorded. Someday baby will get to read what life was like before she arrived. Already it’s interesting to look back there, and Ella’s only been here 1 week. I’m so excited for you, for both of us now! Have fun! xo

      • Wendy Louise says:

        Thank-you, you are all so sweet and I will keep you all up-dated whether it’s a boy or a girl. Wow I really have lots of friends here, Susan you are a spectacular person and this is an amazing place to be!!!!!!!

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

      Hi, Wendy ~

      Your comment is overflowing with happiness! There is nothing quite like becoming a grandma for the first time. It’s only been 11 mos. for me…since our sweet Isabella Grace was born…but no one could have told me the depth of the JOY that would fill my heart! You are in for a treat!

      …the anticipation is so much fun, too!

  46. barbara miller says:

    dear Susan, i hope you really enjoy your friends! your napkin layer cake gave me an idea. i have some cloth napkins that we use. i think a layer cake of some would look lovely. and if i had a cake dome i would put them inside. thanks for the inspiration! it is so like you to give us a glimpse inside your life. thanks.

  47. Terri says:

    Yes, yes, cleaning for company. I always wondered, why do spring cleaning when you would be spending most of the time outside… not to mention dragging a bunch of that indoors. Better, in my mind, fall cleaning. Get it cleaned up for the long time spent indoors. (Of course, cleaning for guests, too.)

  48. Pam T. says:

    Just love the photo of Girl curled-up-cozy on top of the basket. Nothing seems more comfortable and cozy to me than a curled up kitty. Mine like to curl up on top of our bed when the weather is cool…I just love when they do that. 🙂 Your napkin layer cake is just charming. I have mine tucked into a basket, which I also love, but would never have thought to take something so simple and make it so special. I do occasionally like to do the “napkin-twisty-twirl-stack” thing (don’t know if there is a real name for it and can’t think of a better one!) when I want to be ‘fancy’. Funny how doing that makes ordinary napkins (even the really cheap-y ones!) look fancy. It’s also one of those things learned from a dear girlfriend and I always think of her…we have since lost touch…when I do that. A little serendipity. Have a lovely day in New England Susan! We are still eagerly awaiting Fall here in Southern Cal.

  49. Elaine says:

    I am in love with your kitchen , your entire house actually ! Hello !! Susan’s friends !
    Oh everything always looks so lovely there ! Hope you Gals have a wonderful visit !

  50. anne weadon says:

    Dear Susan, I love a person who not only lets the kitty lounge in the laundry basket, but takes his picture! I got a whole different picture of a new friend the day I dropped by and noted that her Siamese cat was luxuriating in a basket of just-dried laundry. “Oh yes,” she told me, “Angel loves warm clothes.” Later, she shook them out and folded them.

    • sbranch says:

      Most people who have a kitty become one with him. xo

      • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

        Yes they do. Kitties are like family. Kitties are smart, who doesn’t like the feel of warm fresh laundry, especially in the colder months!

  51. Laura Ann in Vermont says:

    When I was a little girl, my mom had a box of old crocheted and embroidered potholders and I loved to play with them. Wish I had them now!

  52. Gert~Iowa says:

    Susan, what a fun post! Love your layered cake! This is such a neat idea! Everything in one place, but hidden! smile… Have fun with your friends…I’m sure Jack will! ha..ha Bye!

    • Gert~Iowa says:

      I must be doing something very wrong …maybe I’ll make a post on my computer instead of through my iPad,as my comments aren’t either posting or partial posting..darn!

  53. Deb from Dixie says:

    Home is paradise…..especially when you have been gone for long periods of time. I’m home and happy to just be still and listen to the clocks ticking, hear the sounds of the house, the rustling in the trees and watch the leaves blow by. Doing the simple things….like snuggling with my kitty, having a cup of tea…decorating for Fall, listening to music, talking to friends……a bit of a respite. I feel content.

    I have been away from home much of this year care giving, and soon will be gone again. So I am cherishing every moment. But I have to admit that I am a bit afraid that over the past 4 weeks …..I was on a journey to becoming a recluse !! LOL. I have not wanted to leave the house much since I got home. Just given in to the craving to be home, doing the ordinary things that feed the soul and give comfort.
    So, this post talked right to my heart…..loved the quotes.

    Hi to the SB girlfriends from CA….I know you all will laugh a lot and make some happy new memories together.

    • Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

      Dear Deb, I think our “soul” knows when we need to be refilled/replenished. For you, it meant staying at home, getting filled up again, finding peace as you slowed down to think and recharge. Very much needed in this busy society of ours. Good for you, for knowing you needed all of that! And I’m glad you feel contented again. Say “hi” to The Bean for me! Have a happy day!

      • Deb from Dixie says:

        Hi Linda….
        Thanks for putting it in those words….that is exactly what is happening. I think this small break is refilling my resources, so I can give well, care well, love well.
        I am cherishing every moment of being home, before I leave again next week……and won’t be home again until January.

        Hope you are doing well……and I bet by now you have some great photos of your son’s wedding …..to look at and remember the happy event!
        Please give Baby Button a hug from me!
        Happy weekend.

  54. Mary Baynes in Indy says:

    Love all those gorgeous dishes! Your kitchen turned out so nice!
    And your Lucky CA friends get to hang with you and have Tea, too!

  55. Ann says:

    You are so practical! Love your layer cake. You can make clutter look decorative. Isn’t it wonderful to have friends visit from afar? Just had a visit from one of my best friends. I treasured every minute. Go enjoy your friends!

  56. Linda in Texas says:

    I’m not sure there’s a word sweeter than “home,” but I’m liking ordinary and simplicity pretty much these days, too. I like living a simple life and enjoying the ordinary days and the pleasures found there. There is a street out in the country near here called Pleasant Home. I think that sounds so delightful. That what I want our house to be–a pleasant home.

    I always love when you invite us into your kitchen. It looks so beautiful and homey. I know your girlfriends are going to feel like princesses while they are visiting you. Tell them hello from me, too. Who got the Peter Rabbit Room?

    Someone above said “Enjoy this day.” I really like that–putting the emphasis on now, which we know is the best time of the year. (I heard it from you. 🙂 )

    • sbranch says:

      Diana is in the Peter Rabbit Room which is right over the kitchen, so she wakes up to the smell of raisin toast ♥. It’s Diana’s first time; Elizabeth has slept there before. Today, the best time of the year . . . we are so lucky to have it.

  57. Melissa says:

    Just love seeing your wonderful kitchen! I collect pot holders like those…and loved seeing a secret under the stack! So smart and touching to see them piled…your loved Susan Branch~
    Also…I have two little doggies…but Jack has me smitten…just adorable and you have given him such a sweet home…aww….

  58. pat addison cave junction, OR says:

    to Deb from Dixie i’m sorry i guessed i missed that question. i have no idea on how to cook bear, and i can only remember eating bear once before when a long time back when a neighbor cooked one into a stroganoff. it tasted very gamey and i wasn’t too fond of it. but my husband says you can cook it like a roast, the bear he shot this time was an older bear so it’s meat is tough and gamey. he is having it made into pepper sticks and summer sausage ( guess what some folks are getting for christmas this year…LOL). but if he can get another bear, a younger bear, he is having the butcher remove the backstrap and having it made into roasts and steaks. he says if its a steak, marinate it over night with a good marinade or red wine to remove the gamey flavor, and season well with salt and pepper. also have a good sauce or gravy to go with it. now a roast he says to cook it like a pot roast, and with red wine again, lots of garlic, onions, potatoes and carrots, and aromatic herbs like sage or rosemary. hope this helps you out. hugs…. 🙂

    • Deb from Dixie says:

      Thanks Pat…….for sharing all that information. Sounds like with some of those cooking ingredients that Bear may become Bear gourmet….red wine, gravy, herbs, spices and veges……wow….that is really interesting and I now have some new recipe ideas….just in case I ever run across some Bear meat!

  59. Lynn B says:

    Best wishes for loads of fun with your ‘live’ girlfriends … from a ‘virtual’ girlfriend!

  60. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    Here, here Thomas Moore!!! I think for the men woodworking is included. Have fun with friends!

    • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

      I just want to say Thank You to all my new girlfriends who left condolences. Mr. Socks looked like Jack, w/o the mustache. He was my furry son. Probably put here to ease my empty nest days. My sons had left home and my husband is out to sea a lot.
      Lynn M. I loved the holding hands idea that you gave the young mother! I never took sides, but in certain situations I divided and conquered!! The boys are now living as “The Odd Couple”…LOL

      • Lynn McMahon says:

        Hi Margot~
        The Odd Couple~ that’s funny! My boys live in the same house too. Youngest son now lives upstairs from oldest son and daughter ~in~law.
        My mother~in~law was the best! She never gave out advice unless I asked~ She was so much like my mom!

  61. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Susan, your kitchen looks so perfect filled with lovely dishes and accessories. It just feels like home! And that layer cake has got to be the best stroke of genius this week! What a cool idea. Immediately, I started thinking about what my layer cake could look like. I love this idea. Have a wonderful weekend with your company. I bet the gorgoeus New England fall scape will be enjoyed by your friends too. Looking forward to hearing about all of the fun and since they said hello, tell them hello from Florida.

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

    Love your layer cake! Perfect! You find the cutest, most unusual, useful things, too…such as that marble watermelon weight! Where on earth do you come across such a thing! Brilliant! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Look around, you can find them every so often. I have a marble apple too … they come in other shapes.

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        I have 6 dove gray marble eggs [very heavy] I put in a basket at Easter with dark green Easter “grass” and pink, white, lavender & baby blue faux flowers. Well, they might be marble. I’m choosing to believe they ARE marble… :>)

        • sbranch says:

          Then, there you go, they ARE marble! 🙂

          • dottie (in the OC in SoCal) says:

            Janet, I, too, have a set of lovely marble eggs which serve at Easter — I now skip coloring eggs and go straight from the boiling to the preparation of my Easter breakfast of Creamed Eggs on Toast — and the marble eggs can stay in their lovely basket or bowl undisturbed. Dottie

  63. Debbie says:

    I love your blog! Puts a smile on my face when my day is rough. Thank you for all the loveliness you show. Have a great visit with your friends and making new memories to hold onto.

  64. PauliJ says:

    And how one misses the “ordinary arts” when one is bedridden from a leg injury for three weeks! Early on, after my injury, I was too tired/busy healing to check your blog, and I discovered I had missed a delightful give-away! I am happy for Diane. 🙂
    It has been lovely catching up on the entries I missed: your New England trip, doll houses, real houses, items purchased, turkeys, autumn decoratuion & such. And now, today, the dishes, napkin layer cake , and the beginning of a long, heartwarming weekend with your friends. Hello to both you and those fortunate to enjoy you hospitality! In a big way we all get to enjoy your hospitality, Susan; Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      Keep getting better Pauli!

      • PauliJ says:

        Thank you, Susan! I went to my wound specialist (didn’t know there was such a specialty before this) today and he told me that I am healing, but it might take until Christmas until my leg is completely healed. As long as it heals, I will be thankful. in the meantime, I have time to check your blog more regularly! I am thankful for a loving husband and helpful children! I hope you are having a delightful time with your girlfriends. 🙂

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

    Hi to you and your girlfriends…YUM…lobster dinner…double YUM…I can just see you and your girlfriends in your jammies talking, giggling, laughing well into the night…maybe with wine glasses in hand…isn’t it true how company makes you get your house all spiffed up???…glad I’m not the only one who does that ;-)…it has been raining here in Minnesota the last couple of days…I’m trying NOT to send that rain east to Michigan or Martha’s Vineyard…have tons of fun while your girlfriends are there…xoxo…

    • Too late Rae Ann, rain has been visiting us for the past week! I do love a good gray rainy day now and again, but it is beginning to be a pain! The brightest leaves are gone now, but the gold and bronze are still a beautiful sight, especially when the sun breaks through. Hope the rain stays away from MV while your friends are there, though I know you all will have a wonderful time no matter the weather. Hugs to all!

  66. Ann Y. says:

    Hi Susan…oh, how lucky your guests are ! Your home is cozy and ready for a great time. Nothing like company to get a home spruced up. We have had guests ( for dinner, for brunch, for a Sunday lunch, for the weekend) almost every weekend since Labor Day. Last weekend – nothing and nobody – just us – but I cleaned to make it cozy for us. LOVE company, love cooking, love entertaining….but need a break. This weekend is an “off” weekend, too…Local AppleUmpkin Festival in the part ( apple dumplings and pumpkin fun, too) – perfect for fall. Enjoy your friends, and thanks for your posts. My computer was down for a week and I really missed checking in – 🙂

  67. Doreen Strain (from Florida) says:

    Hi Sue,
    First of all, please say “HI” back to your girlfriends for me. Second, I just loved your post today. Great thinking on your dad’s part for taking off the doors on your shelves…I love the look!!! Enjoy the time you have with your girlfriends and have lots of fun making memories that all of your will remember as you grow older together. Laugh like school girls and just plain old enjoy each other. Friends are one of the nicest gifts God provides us, making the journey through live that much more enjoyable. Yes, life is good! FOSB4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

    P.S. Rub your cheek on the little Jack’s wiskers for me. He’s just a little cutie! And make sure you give Girl a hug too!! (Boy, I really gotta give Girl credit for putting up with all of Jack’s antics!) LOL!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ll do it Doreen!

      • Doreen Strain (From Florida) says:

        Thank you! Boy, I’d better start reading my posts a little bit better before I hit the post comment button! LOL! I said your instead of you and live instead of lifeThank goodness you were able to understand what I meant!! LOL! Do I dare hit the “post comment” button now!!! LOL! ~ Doreen ~ xoxo

  68. Laura Croyle says:

    Your kitchen and dish cupboard, look beautiful! I Love the wall color! Clever layering idea! What a fun way to keep cards and ticket stubs! I keep mine in a special “treasure box” with other keepsakes. Jack is such a good helper! Is he still an inside, only, kitty?
    Have a Fun girlfriend time! But don’t do anything too crazy! Oh, never mind, go ahead! The crazier, the more Fun you have! LOL!

  69. Marianne from Peoria IL says:

    I too love your open shelves! And so beautifully organized! Makes me want to clean my cupboards…. I love open shelving and quite tempted to take a few cabinet doors off forever, but I tend to “hide” things in my cabinet. Yikes! Everything is exposed!! Probably good for all of us, right?! Thanks Susan!

  70. Ginger says:

    That boy cat is a real ham, but his looks demand it.

    I save all my flower cards in a tiny drawer in my dressing table. I thought I was the only one.

  71. Mary S. says:

    I LOVE your layer cake, and your kitchen looks sparkling and beautiful!! And Jack!!! He is just tooooo adorable!!!!

    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA where it is supposed to be 95 today!!

  72. Kathy says:

    I love to cross stitch …Adam & Eve samplers are my favorite…but I’ve never seen your verse..I feel a design coming on!!!

  73. Oh Susan, home is paradise isn’t it! Especially if you fill it with memories and loved items! I bet the lobster was delish! Hi to your Ca friends from a former So. Ca (Laguna Beach) gal! Enjoy your visit!
    Hugs to all,
    Chirp Chirp!!! 🙂

  74. Love that you have a very charming kitchen. It is very nice to hear someone that does not have to have silly granite or stainless steel to be very happy in the kitchen!!! Love windows over the sink too!!!! (Kitty’s near windows are always comforting)
    Always enjoy your Blog!!! And cleaning before company is always the way we do it- gives one the push to keep going and get’er done!!! ; )

  75. Cheryl in Kentucky says:

    Hi Susan, your kitchen looks fabulous! So fresh and clean. I love the crisp white paint against the blue. So pretty. I hope you have a wonderful time with your friends, and make some more great memories. Have fun!

  76. julie brusca says:

    Wow…I,too, have hidden stashes of memories but sometimes I think they are just clutter! And I have a black kitty who makes himself comfortable wherever. I have been trying to clean up and toss out but after viewing your wonderful blog I’m having second thoughts! Maybe I’ll just decide to rejoice in my silly savings and live in the museum that is my home!
    Have a wonderful visit with your peeps, love girl time…Julie

  77. Linda Petersen says:

    Hello Everyone! Love the napkin idea:0). Gonna have to “borrow” that one! Have a happy day Susan with the girlfriends~~~. Kiss Jack’s nose for me.
    XO, Linda
    PS~~~To Barbara S. My sweet Stepdaughter & her family live in Cumming, GA!
    My husband & I visit every year~~~we love that area :0)!

  78. Joyce Dupont says:

    Love your napkin layer cake. I am always picking up napkins. There so many clever/pretty ones out there and they make a useful gift, because afterall, we all use them.
    The crocheted potholders remind me of my mom and those I have of hers. In the process myself, getting new windows, so therefore incentive to do some deep cleaning. Maybe it will be shining here soon as well.
    Always enjoy the pics of Jack.
    Enjoy your girlfriends visit.

  79. Susan, your “ordinary” posts are my favorites; in their ordinariness they are cozy, warm and loving. Home is paradise says it all.

  80. Terry says:

    Hi, Susan!

    Your kitchen is gorgeous! Jack is adorable!
    I was wondering about taking the screens out of the windows. My husband and I talked about doing that, but he was concerned that the winter snow, that can often accumulate by the window, could damage the frame. Have you had any problems?

    • sbranch says:

      On those particular windows, the screens are on the inside. So it’s easy. That’s not true on any of my other windows. No problems on the outside of these kitchen windows, but again, they are under a very large trellis, so perhaps that protects them a bit. I don’t think I’m being very helpful here!

    • sbranch says:

      On those particular windows, the screens are on the inside. So it’s easy. That’s not true on any of my other windows. No problems on the outside of these kitchen windows, but again, they are under a very large trellis, so perhaps that protects them a bit. I don’t think I’m being very helpful here!

  81. Gail Buss says:

    Hi Susan, I wasn’t expecting a new blog until after the weekend so I was pleasantly surprised. I see our little plate (since I have the same one about the cottage of content) is hanging back where it was in its little home. So sweet. Did I tell you I got the Toll House Cookbook recently? I’m contemplating getting The Settlement Cookbook too. I absolutely love that cabinet and especially without the doors so I can see all the teasures. Hope you have a great time with your friends from CA………I always remember “Makes new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold”! Love all my new friends here in Florida but miss all of my “gold” friends from every place we have ever lived all over the east coast. Enjoy every minute with all of them. XX Gail Buss, Bev. Hills, Fl

  82. Cynthia says:

    Ordinary arts make ordinary days seem wonderful! Thank you for the reminder!


    • sbranch says:

      One of my favorite Mark Twain quotes: “We had mighty good weather as a general thing, and nothing ever happened to us at all.”

    • sbranch says:

      One of my favorite Mark Twain quotes: “We had mighty good weather as a general thing, and nothing ever happened to us at all.”

  83. Gert~Iowa says:

    Test, this is only a test! smile…. I left a comment earlier from my iPad and it didn’t post, so thought I’d do it from my laptop!

    Hope you’re enjoying your friends (as I know you are!) and am sure Jack is too..


  84. Marilyn says:

    Your neat and tidy shelves put me to shame. I really must clean mine.
    The layer cake is such a lovely idea. I especially love seeing what was hidden down below, memories!

  85. Rhonda D. says:

    Susan, your sparkly, clean kitchen makes me feel so good. I guess it inspires me to get going on things. I love your mixing bowls. I just bought six at a church yard sale that are very similar to the smaller gold one you have on the top of your cupboard. Now I’ll enjoy mine even more. The price was right…only about 50 cents each, that’s why I bought so many…I could give some as gifts. I love your comment about tricking yourself into cleaning by inviting company. I think I’m about to be inviting a lot more company in. Ingenious! I always wish I had taken Home Economics when I was in university. Hindsight is a wonderful thing sometimes. So for all the girlfriends that feel that way, we are totally enjoying SB101,201,301…thank you for filling (cleaning, polishing, decorating…) that cup! God works in mysterious ways. My “Home Ec” cup is overflowing. I never would have dreamed I’d have this opportunity. Such a blessing everyday! xo

    • sbranch says:

      Instilling love of home in our kids means they’ll have a much better chance for contentment in life, because no matter what size it is, even one room, you can truly make it your kingdom.

      • Rhonda D. says:

        I am about to become queen of a few kingdoms around here!

        • Dawn from Minnesota says:

          I just read a quote yesterday by Simone de Beauvoir, “The ideal of Happiness has always taken material form in the House, whether cottage or castle.”
          Rhonda, You really are Queen…..and it sounds like you will be living Happily-ever-after in your kingdom! 🙂

          • Rhonda D. says:

            Dawn, I hope you are right. I just became a grandmother last week, and life takes on a different perspective now. One is how I feel about my home. I’m excited and motivated, if nothing else. I loved your quote, btw. Life at its best!

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

            Congratulations, Rhonda!

  86. judi says:

    Loved your last video of the turkeys….laughed soooo hard. I would have had the same reaction…for that second that you THINK they are coming after you, then realizing they obviously can’t get over that fence:) and then….how SWEET they are waddle, waddle, gobble, gobble.

    HI, CA girlfriend…you’d best rest up before the others arrive:) LOBSTER – oh, you make me drool. Everything looks wonderful. I had a bowl just like your top left one in the 60’s. Unfortunately it developed a crack so was not safe. Busy, busy time of year for me. Have a super duper time with your BFF’s.

  87. Jan says:

    Hello back to you and your girlfriends!! Enjoy your time together. Your kitchen looks so clean and spiffy! How true – Home IS Paradise! Yours looks so homey! I so enjoy being home and the little comforts of it. Your comments are always an inspiration and encouragment to me! Have to tell you too – I always enjoy reading what your father has to say. He has quite the sense of humor and wit! Love it!

  88. Stacey says:

    Susan, everything looks so pretty. There’s nothing prettier than dishes in the kitchen. We have a napkin stack on plates too. You’ll have so much fun with your girlfriends. I love my husband more than life itself but I love my girlfriend time too. 🙂

  89. Jackie P says:

    Love the new paint color in the kitchen. After so much deliberation, it was a good choice. Everything looks so fresh and clean and cozy!

  90. Angela Estupinian says:

    I loved today’s post, probably more than all of the other ones put together (and I LOVE all of your posts, lol) but this one is especially nice because turning our thoughts inward towards the simple things such as our homes, provides a solid base for us to live our days and it can be so uplifting. I am so thankful that I have piles of dishes that never seem to end because it means we have plenty to eat, and having loads of laundry shows the blessing of having a busy happy family. Also making our home prettier with simple things makes it that much more welcoming and warm for my family. It’s so satisfying 🙂

  91. Joanie B from San Diego says:

    Another happy post and I had an absolutely fabulous dinner. I made your Stuffed Pork Chops, 3x WOW, so delicious, my husband and I enjoyed every bite and will probably make this recipe a holiday meal. So the perfect end to a wonderful day, because I spend my morning with a kindred spirit friend, made a teerific meal and there was a new post. Have fun with your girlfriends, I had fun with mine. thanks Susan for your ideas. 😀

    • sbranch says:

      When I make this around the holidays, I toss in a couple of handfuls of whole raw cranberries before I put it in the oven! Try that Joanie!

  92. Elizabeth Quigley says:

    Hi Susan,
    Your home is always so peaceful and pretty. Has an Oct. Willard been sent out yet?

  93. Elizabeth Quigley says:

    Hi Susan,
    Your home is always so peaceful and pretty. Has an Oct. Willard been sent out yet?

  94. Nettie says:

    Oh how I love my girlfriends and fussing for them when they come to our home……but they don’t get lobster dinners!!!! They just get me and we have lovely times together as you and yours will. Your home is an inspiration….very very fun to use a few of your ideas right here in our house. Have a blast girlfriend.

    • sbranch says:

      Lobster here is so fresh and inexpensive, it’s the “local food.” It “fits” with New England! Thank you Nettie, we sure are!

      • Rhonda D. says:

        We had a relative from Australia come to the maritimes to visit us recently. When he arrived back home, the only thing he kept telling everyone when asked about his trip was “the poor folk eat lobster there.” I think he was absolutely shocked. I’d say that by his repetitive comment, that our lobster must be very expensive in Australia. One of the “wise old owls” in my life (she’s 87) always told me that they could always spot the less fortunate children in school because they always had lobster sandwiches for lunch. But that’s life here on the east coast…one of our perks.

  95. Claudia says:

    Love your fresh kitchen! What color is the blue you painted this time? Have a great time with the girls!

  96. Cindy Tuning says:

    I have always tried to follow the rule of only having things in my house that are either useful or beautiful and if you buy the things you love for your home, everything will blend. That has worked great for me but I think I may have reached a saturation point. However, I did go to an estate sale today and bought a Tasha Tudor book,”A Time To Keep”. A beautiful book about holidays and let me tell you…there was so much of you in it. The illustrations and sentiment were just so you! I bought it to give to my granddaughter Maddie. But she’s not quite 3yrs old so I think I’ll hold off a while. The next rule I need to learn is …if one comes in..one has to go out!

  97. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    “If I Knew You Were Coming I’d have Baked a Bundt, Baked a Bundt, Baked a Bundt!” Company coming! and your sweet memory filled low-cal Napkin Layer Cake reminded me of an old commercial for Bundt cake mixes…. being the land of Nordic Ware we are very proud of our Bundt pans…don’tcha know! “Thank You” for the Napkin Layer Cake recipe Susan….I’m gonna try it!
    I have had fun thinking of you running from the friendly turkeys! Bret has had that same experience with cows! What did the two of you say?!! The wedding sounds like it was everything a wedding should be! And how lucky to have the special commentary on the video…..it all just makes you laugh and keep happy!
    Keep laughing, keep happy, and keep giving us your recipes!!! 🙂
    I hope you have a wonderful time with your company 🙂 …..if ya need a Bundt recipe or two ….just let me know okay?

    P.S. Your kitchen looks all shiny and new! Would love to send you a kitchen-housewarming-gift…….a new dishtowel and a little bottle of Dawn dishsoap 😉

  98. stephanie says:

    Hi to the “real” girlfriends from a virtual girlfriend! Have a great time.

    I’m thinking a guest blog from the girlfriends might be fun?? 🙂

    Your kitchen looks amazing. Not only the perfect paint and glowing floors but you can tell everything is polished and shiny and even cuter than usual! Love it!

    Have fun!!

  99. Miriam says:


  100. Hi Susan!

    This post reminded me of a song my wife and daughter just discovered that I am sure you’d love… It’s on YouTube and it’s called “Homework” by the Andrews Sisters. It’s great! Here’s the link…




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