MINUTIA (of the best kind)

Hi Girlfriends!  I probably have six things of equal importance, that is to say, minutia, that I could write about today.  What to do? What to do? Which one first?  My main problem these days, is whether or not I can get on the blog! I couldn’t yesterday, and it has not been easy today.  Something isn’t going well with my server and I don’t know what it is . . . bear with me, those of you who manage to get through!  I’m helping us cope with these dulcet tones . . . (another word for Musica.)

Every once in a while I need to wash and iron the dresser scarves and table toppers.  Which I did before my girlfriends came from California to visit last week; part of the continuing quest for a fall cleanup … but, as you know, there’s  nothing like company to get a person going!

I can’t say that ironing is my favorite thing in life to do, but in this case, with these vintage linens, I do love it; the smell of it too, hot steamy iron, lightly fragranced washed things . . . I turn on the radio, and listen to Car Talk (90.1 WCAI radio),  and laugh myself silly, and iron, and it’s a nice day.

Vintage linens are the hardest thing for me to find . . . I have to force myself to dig through piles (and refold them!), where 99% of the things in it, I don’t want — in order to find the little wonderful thing at the bottom.  Maybe once a year I will go to antique stores or flea markets and focus just on linens, to keep my collection replenished.

As usual, I am not willing to pay a huge amount of money for these things when I know for a fact that if I am patient I will find them at a price that seems SO good, I am proud all day because I waited.

Look at the little rick rack on the edge of the red-trimmed cloth.  Embroidery, lace, applique, all so original and special and hardly being made anymore.

Some of the embroidery is just too wonderful for words.

I love the cat, I love the apples, but most of all, I love the . . .

gnome in the window. And the moon.  And I love the person who made this, whoever she was.  And now, the bathroom bears . . .

These linens are hanging on a quilt rack — so handy for everything, from quilts, to drying towels in guest rooms, so if you see one, you might want to get it … I found a green one on our New England trip for $35.  Oh yes!

This quilt rack sits in our dining room and holds tablecloths and runners.  Hi Girl Kitty!

I love linens so much I even paint them!  I like my rick-rack headed chicken pocket.

They make everything prettier, softer, including Joe’s breakfast.

They add a certain romantic charm.

When I find the round, linen coasters, I buy them, then use them as jar toppers for my canned things, jams and applesauce.

Of course you all know what a nut I am for dishtowels.  But if you don’t, just click on DISHTOWELS, and I will be happy to tell you!

This is my dishtowel display unit . . . did I buy this stove just for the handles?  Maybe.

I wrote and watercolored this card to keep in front of me when I write books, to remind me every day what it is I am trying to do.  But it works just as well for decorating the house.  I don’t think I finally figured out the actual meaning of the word “charm” until I was in my early 40’s!  Now I might like to write a book about it!

So, then, after doing the ironing, I wanted to bleach my vintage potholders because they were starting to look like something the cat dragged in.  I put them in a bowl with warm water, a little laundry soap, and about a quarter cup of liquid bleach and let them sit and soak.

And I washed the towels for the guest bathrooms . . . and took everything outside . . .

Something you know I love to do . . .

Towels dried in the open air get scratchy; I never used to dry them on the line, because I didn’t think I’d like scratchy towels — but one of the houses we stayed in when we were in England had line-dried towels, and I loved it!  My new discovery!  Scratchy towels are wonderful, invigorating, they scratch your back, and they seem more absorbent.

It took about two seconds after I brought the basket in before my shadow was in it!

Such a decorative kitty!

So then I made Cranberry Apple Crisp!  Made Corn Pudding too!

The girls who came to visit, but not ever for long enough! I asked if I could show this photo, and got a yes, so here we go, from left to right, that’s Diana (Elizabeth’s cousin), then Daisy (the daughter of)  Mimi, then Elizabeth (the kitchen-paint-chooser and sweetheart who just bought the house down the street from me), then Cathy.  Elizabeth and Cathy saw Beatrix Potter’s House together. Daisy goes to Harvard, she is beauty plus brains; the other adorable girls live in Palo Alto California and are pretty smart too.  Creative, funny, hardworking, generous girlfriends, all of them.  Joe was in heaven.  Jack got so many kisses he was sick of it and started running away from us!  (Joe stuck around and took it like a man. 🙂 )

While they were here, Mr. Wonderful kept up with his newest project.  This porch was so old, it was disintegrating; he’s been rebuilding it — what do you think Dad?  He finished yesterday . . . Here’s the final product:

♫ Oh my man I love him so ♪ . . .  I sort of want to move this to the front of the house, where all the world can see it, it looks so nice!

We are having a Halloween Party next week, I’ve started getting ready … we do it every year, friends just pop in, we have Chili and Corn bread and all the fixins!  Our neighborhood is wild at Halloween, we get hundreds of kids!  It’s very exciting!

And I also have a little present for you . . .

I asked Kellee to put this Pumpkin bookmark up on our FOSB site (Facebook) today; if you go there and click on it, you can get it as a pdf file, print it out on heavy paper (even laminate it if you want), and put it in your Halloween stockings!  Some good pumpkin facial expression examples for carving!

OK, Girls, back to work I go.  I have a job for you:  please let me know when you are so sick of this post you can’t bear to look at it anymore — when you have clicked on all the links, and have taken your first trip to an antique store to look for linens to decorate for the holidays.  And then, I will stop everything and change it ASAP!

Until then, I’ll be working on our book, which, I have to say, is SO wonderful, I can’t stop thinking about it . . . I don’t mean it’s the most wonderful thing that ever lived, I mean I LOVE it and love doing it, and only want to do it!  I worked on it the whole time the girls were here, while they were still asleep; I’m up to Page 84 right now!

It’s one thing to know what something is going to look like (in your mind), and another thing to see it being born in real life! 

OK, off I go!  I hope you’re all enjoying your WILLARDS . . . the last batch goes out this afternoon!  Have a wonderful day everyone!

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713 Responses to MINUTIA (of the best kind)

  1. Betty Marie,pennsylvania says:

    P.S. I just found “Willard” has arrived safe & sound in my E-mail..YEA!! I can’t wait to make the Ginger bread cake with the Lemon sauce. It is one of my all time favorites this time of the year. Thank you for your recipe.* 🙂

  2. Pat Johnson of Paso Robles says:

    I know it may seem as though I am very selfish BUT…..there are very many days filled with stress or just needing a friendly message that is able to inspire me when I get bogged down. I turn to your blog and I can smile again, become inspired, laugh, and say “Oh, look there is Joe building the porch!” What a guy!! The clothes etc. on the line gives me a sense of peace and I love it. My mother collected old linens, along with antiques of various types. I had forgotten that until I visited your blog. It is always nice to be taken to another part of the country (or in the case of the trip to England – another part of the world – never have I taken a trip aboard a beautiful ship until that trip) and sigh and bask in the loveliness and then return to reality of my own home. I copied down the Cranberry Apple Crisp and will take it with me to my daughter’s house so we can make it together. I use to love to iron my pillow cases and sheets because the scent of “clean & crisp” gave me satisfaction. I stopped doing that and definitely need to get back to it. My world is certainly not so busy that I can’t take time to satisfy myself! Thank you for being you. I treasure your ability to weave stories of your life for all of us. Keep up the good work. Look forward to the journey to England book!!! XXXXOOOO Pat

    • sbranch says:

      Sweet comment Pat, thank you so much! Have a wonderful day!

    • Anna from Herefordshire, England says:

      Well said Pat, this blog is my escape from stress too. I’m living vicariously through Susan’s lovely laundry since it’s been raining so many days here I can’t hang my own out to be tickled dry by the breeze.

    • Ruth Holmes says:

      Dear Susan, Don’t change a thing about your Blog I just LOVE LOVE LOVE It!!!! and I LOVED the new Willard I forwarded it to more friends. And your recipes well I just love them too. I love HONEY CRISP apples too we them on our island too. This is getting too long but one more comment I’ll bet the wonderful calendar deal doesn’t apply to Canada????
      Time to say goodnight Susan, you are such a blessing I thank God for you and keep on working on our England book, it will be our guidebook in May 2014 all being well. Love and Blessings Ruth

      • sbranch says:

        I think the calendar deal does apply to Canada, because one more calendar probably wouldn’t do too much to change the cost of the shipping … try it! And THANK YOU xoxo

  3. Mary S. says:

    Oh, Susan! It makes me so happy to know that you now love line-dried towels!! I love them, too, for the same reasons you do – they smell great, and the scratchiness feel so good on my skin (especially back, of course)!! Joe looked so cute, back there working on your porch! It turned out beautifully!!!
    I was just thinking when I saw Girl Kitty sitting in the window – she and Jack think that they just lead normal lives with just their people. They have no idea that people all over the world love them and adore seeing them in your pictures!
    Well, I’m off now to read Willard!! Thank you for everything!!

    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA (where we are finally having our Autumn!!)

  4. Mary S. says:

    I just finished reading the wonderful Willard!
    I really need to get a copy of THE DISTANT HOURS!!
    The photos in Willard are sooooo beautiful!! Thank you! And the song you linked us to again, Ashokan Farewell, is so lovely and heart-wrenching for me. I can listen to it over and over again, and it almost makes me cry!

    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

  5. Pam Fortune says:

    Hi Susan
    I received my first Willard and loved it, thank you very much! I have been distributing all my vintage tea towels and table cloths to my youngest daughter who enjoys all the old things. I often embroider new tea towels with vintage designs as presents. My eldest son-in-law wants me to make a canvas cover for his hammock to keep it clean through the winter months and I am going to embroider a red Swedish moose to remind him of when he and my daughter had a summer house in Sweden. Ah well! Happy memories but must bring myself back to my laundry. Have a good day!

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Pam, glad to know you got Willard! I love the canvas cover idea, sounds too good for the winter months! xo

  6. Ruth Thomas says:

    Dear Susan, how could any of us get tired of your wonderful blogs, Willards and books and beautiful things – you inspire us all to enjoy the little things in life. I remember ironing sheets – I enjoy laundry as there is immediate rewards and satisfaction to see the clean pile of sheets and towels. The leaves are falling all around us – my grandchildren say “Grammie, it looks like Halloween”!! I have been spending my weekends doing “Fall” cleaning – something I didn’t do before but you have shown me the wonderful rewards of looking at a clean down to the woodwork room. Thank you and I can hardly wait for that book to be finished!!! Have a wonderful day.

  7. I love scratchy towels, love the feeling, love the smell… It’s nice to know I’m not the only one!
    Your house looks lovely with all those linens.

  8. Becky says:

    I just woke up and read your post. What a happy way to start the day. Still in bed with a cuppa and a visit with you. I discovered line dried towels as a young bride when we didn’t have a dryer. They smell so good. Wish I could buy that scent now that I don’t have a clothes line.

  9. Barbara T, Wolverine Lake MI says:

    thanks for all the calming thoughts……thanks for the bookmark 🙂 and all the recipes, photos, lovely artwork, etc etc etc. you are indeed a gentle influence on a crazy world. we have had a sniper sitting around shooting at cars. I think I heard 20 cars have been hit. what is the world coming to???? then I turn to your blog and all is right with the world again. it’s all about the scent of ironing linens, clothes and dishtowels on the clothesline, Joe hammering and pounding, and girlfriends in robes at the kitchen table. just what I need to remember, peace and gentleness and calm!!!! thank you!!!

    • sbranch says:

      They will get him because our culture takes a stand for peace. Only takes one drop of arsenic in glass of a million drops of clear water, to ruin things. xoxo Happy you are here Barbara!

    • melinda w says:

      good will prevail, Barbara, hold tight to that. Prayers of safety, quick end, and peace for you & your community.

  10. Lori B says:

    We don’t own a dryer, and have also fallen in love with scratchy towels! One thing we’ve discovered is that if towels have never been in the dryer they aren’t as scratchy as ones that have been- apparently the fiber damage from the dryer is the cause?!

    • sbranch says:

      Hmmm. Interesting, but I don’t know. You don’t own a dryer? Where are you Lori? No ice? I have a little folding drying rack in my pantry I use for the smaller things in the winter.

      • Lori B says:

        I’m in Ontario, so yes, lots of ice 🙂 If I can’t hang the laundry outside (which I try to do every sunny day, no matter the temperature!), I put up my small drying rack in our second floor library, and the larger one in the finished basement/ playroom. I also have a small accordian-style rack in the laundry area for kitchen linens that I leave up all of the time because I just love the look of it! All of the beautiful fabrics and colours, so crisp and clean!

  11. Celtic Heart says:

    I think this is my most favourite entry of yours to date, for much is included that I love most. ♥

    I love doing laundry (am I an odd bodd for this, apparently, according to some I am) and as a seamstress nothing brings greater pleasure than the smell of pressing a new bolt of calico (I think it is muslin in America) with gallons and gallons of steam and a furnace of heat . .

    I also love washing my vintage linens, but find great therapy too in laundering my (massive) collection of gloves, mittens, woolly hats, and scarves (around 200 items for crying out loud . . I will never be cold!)

    A line full of clean, freshly washed anything, fluttering, sometimes even wildly whipping, in the breeze, ,and dancing gaily in the sunlight, brings joy to my heart in a way that is hard to explain.

    Your Cranberry Apple Crisp is one of my favourite recipes . . just waiting to see the cranberries arrive in store any day now. Corn Pudding is another favourite. I know it might be considered an unusual dish in the United Kingdom, but if there are any other British folks reading this, I cannot urge you strongly enough to try it.

    Thank you for my Willard, which arrived this morning, so this afternoon I shall make time from gardening . . it is such a perfect day to start the post Summer tidy up with no wind!!!!! and although chilly I don’t mind for I will generate my own heat! . . and settle down with a big mug of Twinings Tea (from my new tea chest filled with 12 varieties . . which will I choose?) to have a lovely, long read . .

    Happy Day to see this page back up and running . . C♥

    • Celtic Heart says:

      p.s. I’ve just realized, I have that pattern on your egg coddler and plate in a lovely set of individual ramekins . . but having a senior moment in that I cannot recal the name. I want to say Royal Worcester ‘Fruit’ but would not be certain at all . .

      • sbranch says:

        Yes, mine are Royal Worcester … but they don’t have any other name on them, except the pattern IS fruit!

        • Janet [in Rochester] says:

          This pattern looks VERY much like my “good” china – Royal Worcester “Evesham Vale.” Mine has a green edge so it can go in the microwave, which is why it’s called “Vale” but I believe the original pattern was called just “Evesham” and has gold trim. I just love it – every piece [dinner plate, salad plate, sugar/creamer etc] is DIFFERENT fruits and vegetables so it’s been extra fun to collect and use – and makes the prettiest table ever with white cutwork placemats. The little marmalade jars have peach, plum and pear handles on the lids – the butter dish has a teeny ear of corn! I love to just look at it all in my china cabinet – the beautiful clear white china with all those colorful fruits and veggies – made as only English china manufacturers can do it.

  12. Barb from Norristown says:

    Susan, you are so inspiring to me! Please don’t ever stop writing your blog – it’s the first thing I look for every morning. And I just read my Willard last night, which I loved. Joe did an awesome job on the porch! I think I’m going to try line-drying my towels – I usually hang kitchen towels and tablecloths, but I’ve never done bath towels. Can’t wait for the book to be finished!

  13. Nadine says:

    Susan, when I learned that you collect old linens, I KNEW we were kindred spirits; I’ve been doing that for years! I’ll be in some antique shop and the old things will just call to me “Take me home and care for me!” I think of all the work that went into them and cannot bear the thought of them lying, so forlorn and unloved and anonymous. I have several darling gingham aprons with “chicken-scratch” work, old tablecloths, and pillowcases.
    I also love line-dried towels and sheets, and cannot understand why so many of my friends here in the country don’t have clotheslines!
    Today is the last day of our Indian Summer weather, say the forecasters. We have had a brilliant Fall, and tomorrow will come our “line storm” as Gladys Taber called it, transitioning us to colder weather and leaf-less trees. The weatherman also says that you guys are bracing for a nor’easter, so be safe, and let all of us girlfriends know how you come through!

    • sbranch says:

      I love big storms, and even having the lights go out for a couple of days is OK — but no longer than that! If you don’t hear from me, you’ll know why!

  14. Kathleen says:

    Dear Susan,
    Just want to let you know how I could NEVER get tired of reading your blog…Your one today on linens brought back such memories…. When I was growing up the week was divided into “chores”..Monday was washing day, Tuesday was ironing day…etc…But my all time favorite was IRONING DAY…(probably not my Mom’s) ..Just the thought it even brings back that wonderful smell…Clean crisp shirts, dresses and linens…Everything was starched ( and I don’t mean spray starch….Good old Linit Starch….the blue stuff ! Did your Mom have that large “soda” bottle with the sprinkler top??? She had it for years !! Thanks for all you do to offer all of us a wonderful trip down Memory Lane !!! Love K

    • sbranch says:

      I still have one! Nehi Orange Soda!

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        Flashback! My grandma had a Pepsi bottle with a cork sprinkler & used to let me “help” by sprinkling the water drops when I was staying over [which was often, my mom was always having another baby]. I felt so important – & I loved the warm, cottony smell of it too! :>)

        • Pat Johnson of Paso Robles says:

          Janet – my mother had a Pepsi bottle with a cork sprinkler as well. AND she kept her sprinkled things to be ironed in the refrigerator! Now why don’t we do that????? Thanks for jarring my memory 🙂

          • Jackie P says:

            My mother also dampened her clothes with a sprinkler, rolled them up like a rolling pin, and put them in the refrigerator in a plastic bag until she was ready to iron. The fresh smell of warm cotton being ironed was so comforting.

          • Barbara T, Wolverine Lake MI says:

            Pat, exactly!!! I loved sprinkling the clothes with the cork sprinkler, and yes, we kept them rolled up in the fridge!!! my job was ironing the pillowcases, the hankies for my dad, and his t-shirts. He loved his t-shirts ironed. I can still hear the sound of the sprinkler splattering the drops onto the cotton 🙂

          • Janet [in Rochester] says:

            Yepper, Pat – my G’ma did the same. Cold wet clothes & linens in a plastic bag in the fridge. My theory is that they were just so darn busy with other things and couldn’t do ALL the ironing at one time! :>)

        • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

          i have my grandma’s old sprinkling bottle, she used to scent hers with lavendar when she was ironing her linens.

          • Janet [in Rochester] says:

            Oh, Pat – do you know how she scented the water? I’d love to do that too – crazy about lavender – but have been told NOT to try lavender essential oil in the bottle. Doesn’t usually blend well with the water & you end up with lavender oil stains on whatever you’ve sprinkled & pressed. Bummer.

    • Mary S. says:

      Does anyone know if those cork sprinkler tops can still be purchased anywhere? I would adore having one – my mother doesn’t have hers anymore 🙁

      • sbranch says:

        Here’s one that I found… they used to be aluminum, but this one is plastic, has a red top, and costs 2.95 —

        • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

          Janet i have no idea how she did it, would love to know myself. i will always remeber the scent of lavendar on freshly ironed pillow cases and sheets. i would imagine one could distill the the scent from lavendar, but i have o idea on how to do that.

          • sbranch says:

            I keep lavender in my linen closet and a little bit of fragrance clings to things, but I really do it because moths don’t like it!

        • Cathy McC. says:

          Just look at all the comments made about the sprinkling bottles our moms used “back in the day”. That, Susan, is proof of the importance of your blog — you jar our memories and bring a certain calming spirit to us. I, too, can picture that sprinkler and the rolled shirts in a plastic bag in the frig , can hear the shaking of the bottle, smell the fresh-air scent of the fabric from hanging outdoors, hear the creak of the old wooden ironing board. Must be why I don’t mind ironing, huh? THANK YOU, EVERYONE! Ethel 🙂

  15. Lynn Cooper says:

    I don’t hang my bath towels on the line, and use the dryer since it is easy and weather is not a factor, but do not use any fabric softener so that the towels are more absorbent. I can’t stand towels with softener – they don’t absorb well at all.
    Joe did a beautiful job on the steps! You were so lucky to have your girlfriends come and visit – aren’t reunions grand?

  16. "Auntie" says:

    Both your books and your blog, embody your idea of Charming. That’s for sure!

    And my husband loved it, that you listen to “Car Talk” while ironing. They are so funnnnnnny!!!!!!!!! -giggggles-


  17. Lisa Muncy says:

    Well, I’ve definately made a decision that once spring hits, I’m getting a clothes line!!! The idea has always intriqued me, but we just never got around to it. But I remember the fresh air smell of my grandmother’s linens, and my aunt used to have a clothes line, I remember her sheets smelling so good. I’ve been inspired. . .a clothes line is top of my list of spring projects! I also have some lovely vintage dishtowels and napkins I found at a thrift shop, I bought them because of the lovely embroidery on them. They look lovely around the kitchen. Old and vintage items seem to be the best, don’t you think?

  18. judi says:

    The Willard was delightful – THANK YOU! This sweet page is like the rest say, so calming, makes one smile the whole time reading it. You lucky duck, what a delicious collection of embroidery and linens.

    Made your hot milk cake last week – oh my, yummy. Also made crockpot apple butter a few days ago. Even tho now in FL, my MN roots will apparently always be there. Generally don’t cook much but, lately that is all I think about 🙂 one recipe after another, it’s that fall thing:)). Oh yes, when I was young (MN) we didn’t have a dryer. Half of our full sized basement was unfinished. That part had clotheslines running the length. That’s where Mom dried the clothes:)

    You will be in our thoughts and prayers for hurricane “Sandy” to STAY AWAY FROM YOU!!! Keep those book pages safe. Hugs, judi

    • sbranch says:

      We didn’t have one either, but we lived in Southern California, so it was pretty easy to get clothes dry!

  19. peggy says:

    Fall has always been my most favorite season. Thank you for your awesome Willard and lovely blog… both so welcome especially on this dreary gray morning!! I wish I could step into your photos… they are just beautiful.

  20. Nancy S says:

    Hi Susan!
    No matter when I read the Willards, or the BLOG, it always puts a smile on my face…you are like the next door neighbor I wish I had! We live on a 130 acre Farm in Georgia; no neighbors to smile at! Just wanted to say you truly have inspired me for years and years and even tho’ we are all saying the same thing to you (in different ways), we all appreciate your wit, your love of life and the oh-so-wonderful “ordinary” ways you express it!

    Have a great Thursday!

  21. Marie (Long Beach, CA) says:

    This was such a perfect, perfect, perfect post and Willard too! I had so much fun reading both and am enjoying rereading, everything, so I don’t miss anything! Thank you for all the time and love you put into all you do Susan! ♥

  22. zinnia patch says:

    Good Morning Susan!!!!! I got my Willard yesterday and tried to comment – so hopefully this one will go through….but oh my goodness – did i ever enjoy it…i was filled to the brim with Happy! the way you described the wind…was just beautiful….i kept reading it over and over….you are so so creative….The post today was such a nice surprise and I want to thank you so much for all that you do…. your blog means alot to me and reading all the comments is so much fun….
    Sending you a big hug!!!!!!!

  23. Mary says:

    I love you Susan Branch. I wish you were my next door neighbor!! Really enjoyed seeing all your lovely vintage linens, and yes, I do agree, there is nothing like company for motivation to get things done around the house : )
    How nice for you to have so many girlfriends that enjoy the same things you do! (Can I come next time, haha?)
    Joe did a beautiful job on the new stairsteps, he is quite the carpenter—there is nothing like doing your own work, that way you get exactly what you want!! You have maintained that gorgeous old home so respectfully and it’s wonderful.
    Thank you for the new bookmark!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Brenda from Saskatchewan, Canada says:

    Loved your post today and got a chuckle when I realized it probably takes longer for you to paint rickrack on a painted apron than it takes me to sew rickrack on a sewn apron! LOL I love old linens too and I love the eye the embroiderer had on your “lady with apples” one. How clever to embroider in one color except for the apples

  25. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~Good Morning~
    The gremlins are working overtime~ They took my post and my Willard!
    That’s okay~ I will just try again.
    First, thank you for the linen & laundry post~ you make doing laundry fun~ at least the linen part of it. I’m always in the hunt for all things that make a house a home. And for you to go to a flea market or antique store ~and focus on one thing~I give you a lot of credit! ~Oh to be so disciplined! ~ Anything shiny, vintage or pretty catches my eye so I’m always in trouble!
    ~Have a Great Day~ it’s almost the weekend!

    • Lynn McMahon says:

      ~ Hi again~
      I found my Willard~ in the spam!
      I can’t believe they let some of the real spam get in with the mail and the good stuff ~like Willard~ gets put in spam. That never happened before~ go figure! Guess I’m smarter than the gremlins!!

    • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

      I agree with Lynn, you have made laundry fun again!! And Mrs. Meyer’s Soap too!

  26. Marie M. says:

    I will never tire of reading your posts! They are so inspiring and uplifting.

    Have a blessed day!


  27. melinda w says:

    Sweet, kind, witty, attentive even during girlfriendgathering AND brilliant with home projects?! Be still my heart! So wonderful you have the great husband you truly deserve. The porch is beautiful and always love the clothes line (also because it is so refreshing to see the lack of need for a depressing 6-foot fence!)
    Plan to print 3 charming bookmarks for my beauties (even though my youngest is mastering lowercase letters-ah! SO cute!). They will love them, especially as they will identify the artist straight away (hey, i’m raising them right!)
    have a lovely Autumn day!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s my girl! 🙂

      • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

        My sons know ME and one of them bought me a small calendar of hers. I said, You have me confused with your Aunt Elizabeth!!! To make matters worse, I just got a call from Ann Romney and she called me Elizabeth!!

  28. queenmum says:

    Dear Susan,
    I just have a minute…love, love, love the post AND the latest Willard…but what in the world is wrong with an oatmeal raisin cookie early in the morning? It sounded like a breakfast cookie to me, so enjoy! I, too, collect – and use- old linens. I especially love the embroidered ones, as I learned to stitch when I was a 7 year old laid up with chicken pox at Christmas time. How I wish I had the tea towels I made for my Nonnie – one had a rooster crowing at dawn! Now I do counted cross stitch on 40 count linen with over-dyed floss, but would solove to see that early work.
    Keep the posts coming, please…they make my days so much lighter!

  29. High diddle diddle, the Cat and the fiddle
    the cow jumped over the moon,
    The little dog laughed to see such craft,
    As the dish ran away with the spoon.

  30. Michelle barrington ri says:

    I love all minutia. It inspires me and makes me feel happy and grateful for all the things i am able to do. Your philosophy and attitude bring joy and make me look at the world around with a new appreciation. Please never stop this blog and all your musings.

  31. Deborah Norling says:

    Thank you so very much for sharing with us and allowing us to escape into the gentle and peaceful World of “YOU”….and is there any way your dear Joe could be cloned !! ?

    • sbranch says:

      If I could I would, and pass him out like playing cards, because all girls need one of these! I know lots of you out there, have your own Joe — it sure does make life easier!

  32. Peggy Cooper says:

    That Joe – such a genius. That porch is gorgeous!

    I gave up having a dryer when I moved here to Pueblo, CO and started living a greener and more self sustaining lifestyle. I have to agree, I was nervous about scratchy towels, but now I love them.

    Your mentioning “Car Talk” reminded me of the first time I went on an out of town trip with my grown daughter. I turned on that show on the hotel radio and she asked if I was really going to listen to a show about car repair. It didn’t take more than a few minutes for her to become a fan. Too bad they’re retiring, but maybe NPR will play reruns. Such a funny show.

    • sbranch says:

      Quite the wonderful pair of brothers giving us all years of Saturday afternoons!

    • Lynn McMahon says:

      Just wondering if any of the girlfriends listen to ” A Prarie Home Companion” with Garrison Keillor. ~He has such a great radio show on NPR ~
      I think he is the ultimate American story teller! If I miss a show I will catch it on the podcast. He was going to teach a class at the University of Minnesota (when my son was there) that he was hoping to get into but Mr. Keillor had a health issue and had to step down. We were lucky enough to see him several times and how wonderful it was to see a real old time radio show!
      Tune in if you get the chance~ it’s great!
      ~Happy Friday~

  33. Diane from Poulsbo, WA says:

    Thank you so much for my Willard!!! I felt a lot of warm fuzzies while I was reading…and re-reading…and if I hadnt felt in the mood for Autumn before, (which I did! ), I certainly do more than ever now! And then to have a new blog from you right afterward has been simply heavenly! I always love to hear about when you have company and what you plan on doing together and to see pictures of how you are preparing for the visit….it makes me feel like I am somehow a part of it and right there with you…..like I have a special seat in the house. I am happy for you that you had such a nice time….the girls all looked so sweet and happy, and I loved that they were in their robes , gathered around the table. I live for such moments with friends myself, so I can imagine your happiness! Oh…and back to Willard….your Martha’s Vineyard Island has to be one of the most perfect spots left on this planet of ours! It is so beautiful…and it looks like the residents have worked hard to preserve it and keep it that way. I dont know that I will ever personally be able to vacation there, but I so appreciate being able to “see” it through your eyes and camera. I would never want to leave if I moved there, that is for certain! Thank you for sharing it all with us! It does make me so happy! 🙂 I love Jack in the basket of laundry in the kitchen, and GK at the window….they are too cute! Have a wonderful week/weekend….and thank you!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      People do work hard here to protect it, and that takes some doing! No chains here! Only small businesses, so very creative!

  34. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    Good morning Susan. Best minutia I have seen in a good while! I love clothes lines. Hang our towels on them every chance I get. Sometimes the towels are “too” scratchy, then I toss them in the dryer for a few minutes and it softens them a little. This was a great day, got Williard AND this great post with lots of links. YAY!!! Cold weather coming in over the weekend, but I am determined to have my sweetheart build a fire in the backyard with chili and corn bread, already brought mums in for the dining room table. Thanks for the list of other wonderful things to do! I sure appreciate you!!!

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

    Thank you again, Susan for everything you do for us…to get us motivated~to delight in “homekeeping”, to try new things and to use the things we have to enrich our lives and the lives of those we love…to bring everything to a higher level…to be happy for the small things in our lives…xoxo…

    • Rae Ann from northern Michigan... says:

      oops…I have several “egg coddlers”…didn’t know that is what they were called…how in the world do you use them???…my Mom and Dad brought them back from a trip to England years and years ago…I just have them sitting around looking pretty…thanks in advance…

      • sbranch says:

        You drop an egg into them, with maybe cream and herbs, put them in a water bath, bring to boil until egg is done to your liking.

        • Rae Ann from northern Michigan... says:

          Thanks so much for the speedy reply…do you put them in the water bath on top of the stove or in the oven???…it’s a chilly day here in western Minnesota…not getting much warmer than 38*…thinking of everyone on the east coast with Sandy on her way…

          • sbranch says:

            On top of the stove, but I suppose you could go either way. Sandy! bah humbug. I do love storms, but a hurricane is a bit much!

          • Pat Mofjeld says:

            You can add bits of crumbled cooked bacon or a little cheese, too! We use ours on Saturdays sometimes–feels kind of “special”… 🙂

  36. Donna Ackermann says:

    Susan, I love this blog! I have fond memories of the sheets on our beds being line dried. The wonderful aroma has never been duplicated. We built a new home 4 years ago. No clothes lines allowed, but I do have a screened in porch which I use for drying some things and making quilts and pillows smell fresh. Don’t have any old dishtowels but do have many dresser scarves and old pillowcases from my Grandmother which I treasure. Thanks for sharing!

  37. Melissa Olson says:

    OMG, Susan ~ I LOVE the latest Willard, especially all the “Things to Do” list that captures all the best parts of fall! I was so inspired, I put all your ideas into my dayplanner so I have something exciting and cozy to look forward to for all the weekends leading up to Thanksgiving. My husband is gluten intolerant, so I’m going to try your gingerbread cake recipe w/ a gluten free flour mix and see how it tastes….anything is good w/ lemon sauce & whip cream I think 🙂

  38. Lori from Florida says:

    I love your new post! It inspired me to hang our sheets on the line. As soon as I got them up it started raining and we might have a hurricane. Oh well it gave them an extra rinse. It might get cool enough to have a fire tonight! The first one of the season! If so, mom will come over! I have been reading your Autumn book and decorating. I love this time of year!

    • sbranch says:

      We might have that hurricane here too, but today is exquisite, as only a fall day can be! Put out a bucket for the rain water, rinse your hair in it!

      • Angie(Tink!) says:

        Blow away That Crazy Hurricane….Out To Sea…Don’t Mess with all The Gorgeous Autumn Trees! 😉 Hello Sweet Sue…When We have Rainy Days Here Like Now I always Go Out in it (When I’m Not Dancing in it)& Collect Lots of Rain Water (I Actually Harvest The Rain) for All of Herbster Plants on The Back Porch & My Hair Becomes so soft From all That Rain Water! Amazing! xoxo 🙂 Poof!✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`

        • sbranch says:

          Oh if anyone can make it happen, it would be you Angie, sprinkle some magic dust on it as it slips by you please!

          • Angie(Tink!) says:

            You Got it Sweet Sue… 😉 The Storm Is Weakening! Now Leave Everybody Alone You Crazy Frightful Storm! Poof Be Gone Lose Your Power Bye Bye! xoxo ✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶

          • sbranch says:

            THANK YOU! You are brilliant!

  39. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Good Late Morning Sweet Sue I Love When I find You in Twitterville! I Adore All Your Tweets! 🙂 First Thank~Booooooo for This Magical Pumpkin Bookmark! Oh My Word! Beyond Cute…Pumpkin~Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrfect! Second I Adore All Things “Vintage”…That Dish~Towel with The Gnome & The Moon & The Cat…Divine….I Iron a Lot… Herbster & I don’t Like to Be Wrinklely (How do ya Spell this word?) 😉 & Jack (Your Shadow) in The Laundry Basket…Priceless Photo! Meow Jack a Little Tickle under Your Chinny Chin Chin! 🙂 & The Photo of Girl~Kitty in Your Gorgeous Dining~Room….Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh…..& Your Mr. Wonderful & The New Porch….Amazing! & The Photo of Your California Girlies…All Gorgeous Gals! Sweet Sue This Blog is “Charming” You are & We are All “Charmed” Tis Halloween! & I Love Love Love Your Mantle All Decked Out for Halloween! & I Shall Be at Your Enchanting Halloween Party in “Spirit” (Of Course) 😉 Thank~Boooooooooo Sweet Sue! xoxo Poof!✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨* Happy~Halloween! We Fly~~~~~~~~~~~~~ <);-)

  40. Kathryn says:

    Several things: 1) If you write a “charm” book, just put your photo in it and call it a day 🙂 2) hey, there are those CUTE towels with the red and white candycane edging I waited too long to buy when they were in your store — lesson learned :), and 3) can’t wait til November 4, ’cause that’s when I’m meeting my girlfriend at the Alameda Antique Fair to search for vintage linens! Yay! It is such a fun antique fair… for you California girls, it is the 1st Sunday of each month, and well worth checking out!

  41. Janie Phillips says:

    Hi Sue! Your post is well timed for me, because I was just digging through stacks of vintage linens on the weekend. I found two darling vintage tablecloths and two also darling vintage dresser scarves, all beautifully preserved and inexpensive. Somehow though, you’ve managed to inspire me to want to go right back out and look for more!

    Love the picture of your girlfriends. I’ve plunked myself down (in spirit) at the table with them, bathrobe and all 🙂

    Thank you, Sue, for being a bright spot in the day, a calm in the center of the storm, and, always, an inspiration to find joy in the little dear things. Love to you … xoxo

  42. Victoria Miller says:

    What a joy this morning, Susan, what a joy! And just after that wonderful Willard! Today’s song is actually my theme song. I used to sing it on stage, and, yes, I sure do lead with my chin! But despite a few lumps, there’ve been more than a few kisses! And Frank! One day a woman came in the library book sale room where I volunteer and we were talking about the best singer ever, and we both just stood there for a few moments, alternately saying “Frank” with a sigh. Of course, there are soooooooo many wonderful singers. But he does get that heart going all pitter patter. And I love your linens. I have one sheet that I iron. My friends find this hilarious — moi, ironing a sheet? Seriously? However, it is a Tommy Hilfiger India Cotten sheet, just white with a crocheted lace edge and the tiniest blue ribbon run through it. I got it in one of those leftover bins for some absurdly low price many, many years ago. I like to iron the crochet part, and one day I was really into the zen of ironing and I ironed the entire sheet and OMG IT IS THE SOFTEST THING IN THE ENTIRE WORLD! Would that I had the linens we had at home when I was growing up with all the embroidery and crocheted edges. But love looking at your oh so beautiful collection (all the better because I don’t have to iron them!) Everything you do is so beautifully done. And you are such an inspiration, I’ve been working more on my own writing and music, following your excellent example, and encouraged by all the delightful posts from the girlfriends. A FABULOUS BLOG! Also, love the porch Joe did. You wouldn’t consider renting him out? Well, no, couldn’t afford the airfare anyhow. Jack is a delight, as usual. Always fun to see him. Your girlfriends were all amazing good sports to allow themselves to be photographed in robes. But they all look wonderful. It just gets better and better!

  43. Joey says:

    What a curiosity to see ‘stories’ in the embroidery. I have never noticed that before! That is extrordinary!! Well, once again you have inspired me toward domesticity…we have that nasty cold front coming thru tonite, but TODAY is 75 and very windy….methinks I will line dry some sheets and towels…thanks for sharing!!

  44. Kathryn says:

    Several things: 1) If you write a “charm” book, just put your photo in it and call it a day :), 2) THANK YOU for brightening my day with your blog, and 3) can’t wait ’til November 4, ’cause that’s when I’m meeting my girlfriend at the Alameda Antique Fair to search for vintage linens! Yay! It is such a fun antique fair… for you California girls, it is the 1st Sunday of each month, and well worth checking out!

  45. Nanc Nielsen says:

    I love the linens, collect some myself and spotted the Emma Bridgewater mugs on the table with girlfriends. I love them and have some, too. My favorite is the sweet pea which is a discontinued pattern, glad I knew of her before it came out :-)! Never tire of your work. Your England trip will be a book we can purchase I hope :-)!!! Hope there is a map of just where you went! Nanc

  46. Miss Pat in Indiana says:

    Susan, Thanks for the new bookmark. My books are full of the earlier ones. If you ever stop writing, I may as well shut down my computer as you are the bright spot that I look forward to whenever there is a new visit. I love it all, and have been a fan for years.
    Martha Pullen told me how to refresh old linens and cottons. Fill a large container, big enough to hold whatever cloth needs attention, with water and a cup of color-safe bleach. Biz, Clorox 2, are a couple that I use. The piece can stay in the water for up to four days and the soaking should remove rust spots, old soiled spots, and generally brighten up the fabric. This process will not dull or hurt colors on the pieces.
    Have a happy weekend, keep writing, and just tell Jack I said, “Hello”. No kisses since he has been overdone with the kisses. Opps, forgot, tell Joe that the porch looks great.

  47. Mary in Phoenix says:

    Wow … you were able to work on your book while the girls were there? You’re definitely the hostess with the mostess … and then some! I admire your organization … which probably came from your beloved mother who must have been the queen of organization with such a large brood. Thanks for another wonderful post. Love it all … esp. the dishtowels. My mom had the same kind of collection and had me embroider a set of 8 Victory Garden tea towels to give to my grandma when I was young. When she died mom got them back … never used! Well … I make sure to use them and enjoy them … they make dish drying so much more fun … and are best at keeping the scones warm for tea 🙂 So, when I clicked on “dishtowels” I got to re-read your blog from Sep. 2011. Only 47 replies? … and sometimes days & months apart? … oh my! You’ve come a long way baby! Still don’t know how you do it all … but we all love it all. “Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.” ~ Emily Dickinson

    • sbranch says:

      I embroidered dish towels as a child too Mary . . . loved doing it! Haunted the dime store for those little transfer books with the flowers in them.

      • Mary in Phoenix says:

        Me too! Loved those little transfer books! I even still have some 🙂 Bet you got the “embroidery” badge in Girl Scouts like I did (along with the cooking badge and many more!). Such nice memories we have … “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother” ~Abraham Lincoln

  48. sue ziff says:

    I love this post Susan and I can’t wait to see your new book when it comes out !

  49. Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

    Good morning to you, Susan~~~

    Car talk….. I love that show!! They are so funny, but very helpful as well. I heard rumors that they were going off the air, but so far so good. Don’t want them to leave. I listen to them on NPR.

    I have a quilt rack in our spare bedroom. It’s not old, but works very well. Dumb me…. I never thought of using one to hang tablecloths and other linens. We’ve gotten rid of our large sideboard and only have a small one now. I’m running out of room for my linens. Great idea, Susan…. I’m going to be on the lookout for another one to use in our dining room.

    I love all your towels. They are great. I find it harder all the time to find the old kitchen towels. I’ve been given quite of few over the years, but I need more, haha. I mean, like you, I can’t have enough linens at all.

    Getting ready for a bithday party this afternoon at my house. Gotta finish dusting. Want to go to the store to buy some flowers to put in my small flower vases for the table.


  50. pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

    hello, good morning susan, everyone!!! its cloudy, and cold here about 39-40 degrees so far. the hens and turkeys were in no hurry to get out this morning, or the past few mornings, they preferred to stay in their nice warm nests instead, while the ducks on the other hand zoomed out the door and straight to the ducky pool, quacking all the way for their morning swim. have a nice warm fire going in the wood stove, the cats are contentedly curled up around on the sofa and the floor enjoying the warmth and napping. i do love the new porch Joe did, can I borrow him for here??? my kitchen porch is getting a bit sad and the front porch could use some work as well, i’ll feed him good and keep him warm here…promise!!! stay safe and i hope hurricane sandy just blows on by and misses you. have a great day today, Happy Fall everyone..wish you all could see the beautiful colors here now that we have had a good cold snap to bring them out. Happy Harvest. hugs……. 🙂

  51. sondra fox says:

    -Sandy from Chihuahua Flats-
    What a WONDERFUL DAY to awaken to! The first thing I did was water a newly transplanted Rose of Sharon bush, which my love of a Grandson (and he truly is a “grand” son) replanted for me. Cody (Grandson) is a senior in high school. He always tells me to call him “anytime” I want something done. He’s true to his word. Anyway, back to the day (I could talk, talk, talk about how wonderful our grand boys are) which is simply magnificent. The mountains have a blue, early morning veil on them. Even though we’re in the flats, we’re right next to the mountains. Throughout the day, the mountains change clothes. Along towards evening, the mountains will dress in deep gray shadows. I must remember to sit & look at the mountains today, as this is a spectacular day, when Julie Andrews is up on the mountain somewhere, singing “the hills are alive.” It’s a day with a bit of wind. Good for hanging my quilts out to air, letting them enjoy the sunshine & movement. It’s a day when a package was delivered yesterday, to be opened this morning. The package contained three of your calendars & a blotter calendar. While I sat reading through the calendar & all of the lovely sayings you print out on the calendars, it brought to mind how I enjoy the philosophy that these lovely sayings bring to my heart. I have books upon books of sayings, written by women & men who have thought a lot about life, it’s happy as well as sad days. These type of sayings have always been an integral part of my life. I taught college for almost twenty years. At one point in my teaching, I began to notice that about five minutes to the end of the class, students would start picking up their things, ready to run out of the class. I didn’t like this, as I wanted students to be enthralled with each & every minute of my class. After all, I’d worked on preparing what I thought to be an interesting class from the beginning to the very end. Then, I had a brainstorm……what if I gave them a surprise at the end of each class? I began what I called “a thought for the day,” in which I’d quote a thought that would perhaps lead my students on to higher thinking, or simply end our class on a light note. The experiment worked! Instead of closing up their things five minutes early, my students began anticipating the “thought for the day.” They’d intently wait & listen to the “thought,” and afterwards would get their things together. Words have always been valuable to me. Words that wise people throughout the ages have left for us to ponder, discover, value, live by, & enjoy. It always amazes me that authors from years & years gone by, have similar thoughts, dreams, goals, that people of today do. Words have always guided me throughout my life. Words are like a map to me. And so, I’ve enjoyed all the little sayings you’ve put on your calendars Susan. I know words are important to you as well. Enjoy this beauty of a day.

    • sbranch says:

      Brilliant Sondra!

    • Deborah Norling says:

      Sondra…I love your “thought for the day” ..I will be passing that idea on to my son who is a new teacher here in California, and be sure to give you credit for the wonderful idea !

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        Sondra, that is truly a terrific idea! We teachers are always trying to come up with ways to keep the rapt attention of our students, aren’t we? And college-age – that’s the toughest assignment of all. I’m luckier – when I really want to be sure my Fives are paying attention, I mouth the words only. The kids stare intently at me as they try to lip read what I’m saying – they shout out what they think it is and laugh when I point at someone who got it right and shake my head Yes. A great trick I learned from a very old and wise master teacher when I first started out. Thank you, Mrs Leckinger! :>)

        • Elizabeth in Montana says:

          Janet…what was Mrs. Leckinger’s first name? Was it Lillie? Please tell me soon if this person you mentioned was my “Aunt Lillie!” Elizabeth who is in Montana but is from Rochester

          • Janet [in Rochester] says:

            Hi, Elizabeth – and sorry but I think her first name was June. She was my master teacher when I did my student teaching at School 39 in Rochester. She was fairly near retirement at the time if I remember correctly – and she was a terrific teacher!

  52. Pat Williams says:

    OK…going to try again….seems i must be doing something wrong….’cause i don’t ever see my comments on your blog…:( but i do SO enjoy your site! it makes us all truly stop and smell the roses (or breezes, fire-smoke, etc.) all the time! you inspire me to do more to “cozy up” my house! in Florida, it’s so much warmer of course, but i can still get that Fall feeling! thanks Susan for everything!

    • sbranch says:

      Hopefully you will see this one! I’m hitting the “Approve” button right NOW!

      • Pat Williams says:

        yay! this made my day! ya know…it’s the little things, right? have a wonderful day! i’m going to a new little antique store here this weekend! can’t wait!

  53. Gail from Manchester, N.H. says:

    Just finished reading Willard. Love, love, loved it. Fun reading your blog. I could almost smell the fresh clean towels on the line. There is nothing like sleeping in sheets that have dried outside on a cool windy day. Thanks Sue!

  54. sondra fox says:

    -Sandy from Chihuahua Flats-
    When my grandchildren were babes, when they stayed overnight, I’d tuck them in at night. I’d draw the sheets up & tell them they were sleeping under “Sunshine Sheets.” Our boys are now seventeen & twenty years of age, but to this day, they will ask for “Sunshine Sheets.”

  55. Karen Saunders says:

    All of this talk about linens reminds me of my great-grandmother. Her husband died and she was left with 8 children to raise on her own. She did that by taking in borders and getting up at 4 in the morning and doing laundry. She boiled them in a big cauldron, ironed them and her son delivered them in a little red wagon. I’ve heard they were crisp and white. I have heard of a solution, 1 cup elec. dishwashing det. quarter or half cup bleach. soak for an hour, run through regular wash cycle but put in quarter cup vinegar (white) in rinse cycle to neutralize the reaction. It works really great on poly. etc. Nurses used it to whiten their uniforms but I think it works on cotten as well. Don’t forget about Fels Naptha (sp). I asked my mom how she kept my dad’s old t-shirts and whites looking new. She said she used Fels Naptha on tough stains. Soaked everything in Biz ran them through the washer once and then washed them again. Everything was soooo white always. I know if it’s white you should use very hot water. And NEVER wash whites with other colors. Oh my….I sound like ‘Washing 101’.

  56. Michelene Thomas says:

    I love all your linens. I have a closet full of old linens that are as soft as velevet. Half of them are from my (ex) husband’s grandmother. Some are simple embroidery, some with colorful lace or crocheted trim, most of them she stitched herself. I also have a box of my Mother’s well used hankies. I want to make something with them, but I’m not sure what. I now live in an apartment and alas have no clothsline to dry them on. But through your pictures, I can almost feel the breeze and smell the freshnest.

  57. Pam says:

    Wow, thanks for the Willard and the bookmark, you’re spoiling us. Those linens are gorgeous and your idea for jar toppers if brilliant! Love Joe’s porch – in fact I just love Joe!! 🙂

  58. Ann says:

    There is something so calming about ironing. Next time I see a pile of old linens in an antique mall, I promise to look for something that calls to me. Enjoyed meeting your friends.

  59. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh, how I love old dresser scarves etc.,I have several that were my mom’s & grandmothers. I use several of them all the time. They are so beautiful! …..And to have yout girlfriends there…what a fun time I’m sure you all had! smile… Oh..my..goodness…tell Joe he is did a fantastic job on that porch! Wow! I love it! Tell him he can come to Iowa and make one for us! (We’d buy him some “better butter burgers” for his time!…lol)

    Love to hear Frank!


  60. MaryAnn says:

    What a fun blog this was! Thank you for the bookmark, it will be be fun to print out. I had thyroid surgery last week, and am home healing and resting this week. How relaxing and restful to read the new Willard, and to think of the diary–my gosh, 84 pages and counting! Can hardly wait! The thought of you writing a book about charm is inspiring. Please consider doing it. My compliments to Joe on the new porch. You can see how sturdy and well-built it is. Looks great! Enjoy this Autumn day.

  61. Nancy Jane says:

    I got to read this just after my husband brought me some bittersweet to decorate the dining room I wish I had my own vine. I love bittersweet. Isn’t’ modern technology wonderful. I got to see you linens drying in your backyard and hear the wind in the trees. I used to have a cat that loved clean laundry too. Thank you for sharing yourself with us. My day is brighter when I read a Willard or your blog. Keep up the good work.

    • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

      my lovebugs are the same way, the minute they hear the dryer go off, they are right there waiting for me to pull the laundry out and get it into the basket and then they are in it. i love that commercial that has a kitty just reveling in the warm dry laundry when his owner opens up a bag of kitty treats. mine would stay in the warm laundry…LOL!!!!

  62. Nancy Jane says:

    Oh and speaking of charm, we recently spent time in the Ohio Amish country. I got to go through the quilt and fabric store and my husband went through the large lumber company there. All in Charm, Ohio.

    • Chris Wells from West Texas says:

      Did you eat at the restaraunt in Charm (Grandma’s Kitchen)? Jim thinks they have the best Coconut Cream Pie, his personal favorite! That’s my old stomping ground!

      • dottie (in the OC in SoCal) says:

        Does this coconut cream pie have whipped cream topping or is it meringue? If it’s whipped cream — then I have to keep looking — sigh. In my memory cocunut cream pie ALWAYS had meringue and that’s how I want it and can rarely EVER find it and when I do — the meringue is just not quite right somehow. Am I being too picky? Searching for a memory requires pickiness, don’t you think?
        We go to OH each fall — and have visited the quilt store and the lumber company store — oh my goodness I fell in love with so many of those gorgeous woods from all over the world.

  63. Georgie says:

    Susan, once again I could take a journey up to your beloved island and immerse myself in the sights sounds and tastes of your world… A welcomed change today after a three hour wait for mom to go into surgery. Now it’s on to Willard!!! So glad the girlfriends had such fun… How could they not!

    Love all of those linens. you must have been dancing through the store when you found them!

    Halloween sounds like such fun… It sounds like a lovely tradition.. Ghosts goblins and chili!
    Boooooo! Do you remember the poem Li’l Orphan Annie? I used to get so scared when my Grandmother would read it to me just about this time of the year!

    Yardville NJ

  64. Barbara Thomas says:

    I swear I just saw your bluework towel with the red apples on Etsy not long ago! I love old linens and redwork, too. I like to iron them all and put them out so nice and fresh. I haven’t tried ganging towels out but I do know they are more absorbent if you never use fabric softener or dryer sheets!

  65. Debi says:

    I love all the little seasonal touches you put out and read these again and again. They are so inspiring. I love old linens too and have a small pile of ones made by my great-grandmother. Many though have small yellow spots on or even some brown. Any hints on how to get these bright white again without destroying them? I’m afraid to use bleach on this linen and hand sewn tatting and embroidery. What do you all think?

    • sbranch says:

      Read back through some of the comments, we’ve had some very good suggestions here!

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        my grandma would wash them in ivory dish soap, then dry them out on a sunny patch of grass on her lawn, she swore it whitened the linens and laces. and it did. they were whiter after they were brought back in and ironed. so i try to do that on some of the old laces i have, but keeping them from the turkeys is a full time job, that and finding a clean patch of sunny grass…. 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          I do that, dry my white cotton bedspreads on the lawn — never sure if it works, but I do like the idea of it. 🙂 Turkeys would be a drawback for sure!

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            well i try to do that out on the front lawn away from the turkeys, but they are nosy and try to sneak out front to see what is going on, and lets face it, where they tread no lawn is clean!!! LOL!!!!

  66. Kathy Phenix says:

    What a great post! I don’t think any of the girlfriends could ever tire of your blog, Susan. All of the antique linens reminded me to get out the pieces left to me by my grandmother. Several of them have her “tatting” around the edges. Priceless!
    Joe did a beautiful job on the porch. Isn’t it great to have a man who can do projects like that?
    Jack does a wonderful job also. First surveying your ironing and then warming up your windswept towels for you. What a love!!
    Keep working hard on your book because I have a gift certificate just burning my fingers, waiting to be spent. Can’t wait. Kathy in Melbourne, FL

  67. Francine says:

    Oh boy! I enjoyed today’s post!!!! I LOVE old linens too!!!! Now you made me want to go hunt some new/old ones down!!! Loved the first one especially! I did stop at a little resale store on the way home from visiting my mom today and found a silverplated sugar and creamer set for $4.00 – I have a little collection of them going!!! They polished up real nice!!! So – that made me happy for today! Whatever happened with your new cookbook Susan….you haven’t mentioned that lately!?! I was so happy to see a picture of the girls – I was wondering what they looked like!! I’m so glad you showed us a picture. Lovely! Have a great weekend! I hope you take pictures of your Halloween party!

  68. Laurie says:

    Hi Susan,
    I too want to go and get some pretty antique linens now. A couple of weeks ago I was on ebay looking for vintage charms, thanks for the inspiration.
    I noticed that even your clothes pins are adorable!

  69. Debbie says:

    thank you for all your writings. I want to forward your site to many friends who are ocular melanoma warriors because when I read this, it takes me to a happy place. It’s wonderful, thank you.

  70. Barbara B says:

    I am absolutely in love with your dining room wallpaper!!! I can’t stop looking at it. I have always loved roses and dreamed of one day finding the perfect rose wallpaper and there it was in your dining room! Is it possible that it is still available? I so enjoyed your blog. It made me want to run out and hang my towels and bedding on the line. Unfortunately they don’t allow clothes lines in my subdivision so I have to live vicariously through you.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh dear, I really don’t know where I got the wallpaper! I guess I knew it wouldn’t be available by the time I wanted to re-wallpaper and didn’t set my mind to remember it! Sorry!

  71. Betsy in Pennsylvania says:

    O.K. Susan…..we have another job for you! Please, please, please never stop your blog. I have all my dear friends hooked on it. My days are pretty busy, I take care of my one year old Granddaughter five days a week. I rush home to make a nice meal for my dear husband and I, we talk about the day, and then we clean up and I head to the computer. I so wait to see what you are up too. Your like a good neighbor that’s right over the fence. I shouldn’t speak for anyone but myself but I will anyway. Keep it going. I loved your comments about the towels on the line. My Mom always dried them that way so I have continued on the same. I have a nice clean basement with whitewashed walls and I hang them there in the winter. With the heater in that room it is really toasty and they dry in an hour. I am so excited about your new book and I hope it comes out soon!

  72. Dear Susan, This isn’t a response to “minutia”, but to a comment you made on the most recent “willard”. I am descended from Mary Towne Estey, who was hung wrongly for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts. She and her 2 sisters, Rebecca Nurse, and Sarah Cloyse, were all accused, and, Mary and Rebecca were hung. Sarah was not hung, but was incarcerated in such a way that her health was permanently damaged. Eventually, she received wrongful death remuneration for that damage, and, for the loss of her sisters. Arthur Miller mentions Rebecca in “The Crucible”, and, a movie called “Three Sovereigns for Sarah” was made about Sarah. I don’t know if we share a common ancestor, but, I hope so! I love your work, am a great fan, give your calendars out as gifts every year, attended an event when you recently spoke in Southern California, AND I am the one that lamented, in the year you didn’t publish a calendar, that I would have to hang the calendar of a stranger on my wall :(! Thank you for the Willard, Beth Ballantyne

    • sbranch says:

      SO interesting Beth. Our relatives knew each other for sure . . . mine was Elizabeth Howe, and she was hung also. Just writing those words gives me chills. I’m not used to knowing this yet. Thank you so much! I remember your lament, still makes me laugh! I don’t want any strangers on my wall either! 🙂

  73. Ann Y. - Adamstown, PA says:

    Oh, Susan…we can never get enough of your blog ! Keep it up ! And I just have to say LOVE SCRATCHY TOWELS. They remind me of my childhood when we did not have a dryer…and love the way they feel. How nice to see your laundry on the line…so many things in your post brought back memories of loved ones. My mother and our next door neighbor Helen ( who we loved like an aunt!) were sticklers about hanging wash the “right way”. All the big towels, then all the small, then all the socks together, etc. The nicest compliment they could pay someone when there were out for a walk was “She hangs a nice wash !”…and so, I pass that compliment on to you. And my mother and aunt were so good with embroidery, and table runners, and things like that. I loved my mother’s embroidered (spelling ??) pillow cases, and I have a table cloth and napkins she did for me in the Blue Willow pattern. She is passed now, but digging through her things I found a table cloth she started and did not finish…in that varigated pastel thread you can’t find easily anymore. My goal to to use the thread she left carefully and finish it for my niece who did not get the chance to get a table cloth from her. She does not know….If I get time I hope to get it done by Christmas…or for her birthday in January. It will be like my Mom is there with me, like she was when she taught me to make french knots as I worked toward my Girl Scount Embroidery badge….that I think you have, too ! Last thing…have cotton, crocheted dish cloths from my dear aunt….love how they absorb, work, and love to think of her when I wipe down the counters. SO…my thought is , THAT is a part of what charm is….appreciating the love in old things ( whether you know who made them or not) and realizing you are using something that someone made…and their story goes on. Thanks again Susan, for all your posts…love the porch, and can’t wait to get my Willard !!! Stay safe in the storm they say is coming….

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, “she hangs a nice wash!” Oh we are so cute, us women! What a lovely gift for your niece ! Amazing Ann!

  74. Deborah says:

    I finally snuck past that gnome and made it into your website!
    This post just made me feel all kinds of nostalgia. My Grammy taught me how to embroider when I was a young girl. I have many of the pieces she made and display them all around the Fairfield House. Grammy’s all time favorite chore was ironing. She even ironed my Pop’s boxers, t-shirts and handkerchiefs! 🙂
    I adore all your embroidered treasures.
    Stew is on the stove, biscuits in the oven.
    Your Friend,

  75. Melissa says:

    Hi Susan,
    Posting on an un-related matter. I hope you and yours will be able to either “hunker down” or move to higher ground before this “super storm” hits this weekend.
    Keep safe and hope to see you blogging again soon!
    Take Care,

    • sbranch says:

      We really are on the higher ground here, just up the hill from the harbor. I think flooding won’t be the immediate problem, what happens here, tree limbs! Plus the wind will blow the leaves off our trees and I am not quite ready for that! I haven’t checked the weather yet this morning, hopefully it will be the news that it has petered out! But we have a plan: even if there’s no electricity, we have candles, and we have a gas stove, so we are making the Halloween Chili! Won’t be all bad!

  76. Georgie says:

    Oh my! The wind goblins are out and blew away my last two posts. One for gingerbread. Yum! And one here 🙁

    Once again you’ve transported me to the sights sounds and activities on your wonderful island. Instead of spending my time waiting in a hospital family wait room I’ve been ironing hanging clothes and skipping along a winding path dusted with colorful leaves!

    My journey was interrupted by the surgeon with good news! Yea!

    I love your blog Susan and the joy you share with us. Your dear little ghost reminded me of a poem my grandmother used to read to me just about thus time of year. Li’l Orphan Annie! Have you heard of it… And the gobblins will get you (only the nicest kinds) if you don’t watch out!

    Yardville NJ

    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t heard the Li’l Orphan Annie poem — my mom, however, spoke, and still speaks, and so do I, Arf and Arfy, which was Little Orphan Annie’s secret language! Tell us the poem!

      • Chris Wells from West Texas says:

        It’s by James Whitcomb Riley. One of my favorites from childhood. I know it by heart! I bet you can find it on the internet.

  77. Marilyn D. says:

    Oh, my gosh..you cannot imagine how much I enjoyed that visit! Thank you so much for making a better world for us.

  78. Kathy from Heafed to the Fell, Brevard, NC says:

    Hi Susan and Everyone!

    I have missed you all—I have been very busy lately and have only been able to read the blogs for the last week or so, but now, since you, Susan, will be working steadily on “our book” for a while I will go back and read all the Comments. Have to keep up with all the Girls and Guys—I wouldn’t want to miss anything!

    Thank you for this wonderful post! The porch looks great—wonderful job Joe! I’m certain that Larry could do something like that. . . once I drew up the plans. . . then discussed the lumber at the lumber yard . . . and supervised the sawing . . .and the nailing . . . then told him that it didn’t matter at all that the corners weren’t square. . . well, you get the picture. Question: Does he feign not being able to do these things so as to get himself out of doing them or does he just not get it? Insights anyone? But I love him bunches just the same!

    From the photo of your guests that you have posted, I’m guessing that you provide terrycloth robes with each guest room, Susan. Did you also have a spa day?

    What fun you must be having in your newly refurbished kitchen with everything all clean and sparkling. I cannot resist sitting on the floor of the consignment and thrift stores that I encounter and sifting through the vintage linens. I brought home from Savannah two excellent pillow cases that have a lot of wonderful embroidery and a wide crocheted edge, to be used on my twin guest beds. I also have two crocheted potholders that my grandmother made. They are pristine because I am afraid to use them. Do you use Clorox bleach? Doesn’t that take the color out?



    • sbranch says:

      It doesn’t take the color out if you go very light on it. I use my potholders so they have grease and dried food on them…that’s why I use bleach and wash by hand … but if your’s are in pristine condition, you don’t need bleach. Just some soap suds and warm water.

      Yes, we do have a collection of white terrycloth bathrobes for the guest rooms . . . I should have asked Daisy and her mom Mimi to go put them on for the photo, but it did seem a bit much! 🙂

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

        How did you decide who got the Peter Rabbit Room? Did you make the decision yourself and did everyone graciously accept it or did you have to draw straws? Or was there a general consensus that it would be best if everyone had a turn of their own? Or did Girl Kitty insist on keeping some private space for herself?

  79. Barb K. says:

    Oh Susan, you are so very blessed. I love your little porch (it looks great Joe) and you have inspired me once and for all to make myself learn to do something with thread. I know how to sew but never picked up embroidery or crochet and now I want to, just so I can design some fabulous new (vintage looking) linens. Of course they look incredible in my mind:) If I ever actually make it happen, I’ll be sending you one.
    Thanks for always sharing your lovely days. It is so appreciated.

  80. Kim says:

    Hi!!! Susan please never ever stop your blog!!! I soooo look forward every day to see what you have written! If nothing is new, I re-read the previous posts, I ADORE it and could never get tired of it! It makes my heart smile! It puts us all in a happy, gracious, mood! You remind us all of what is really important! BTW I made your corn chowder a few weeks ago! YUM! YUM!!! My family (Ashley, Lauren, and Mike) LOVED it!! Tomorrow, I will make it again. Just in time for our upcoming stormy weather (Sandy) 🙁 Stay safe on the Vineyard! I pray Sandy goes out to sea this time! My new house isn’t done yet! 🙁 Big HUGS to you Susan! From Kim and Ashley and Lauren too!

  81. Barb says:

    Hello Susan,

    Thank you for such a wonderful post on Linens……..a trip down memory lane and also loved Willard. I am making this post rather short because I am exhausted.
    We are moving and its a lot of work and now with this possible Perfect Storm coming up the coast as they are saying, are moving has been moved up even more.
    I will post once we are settled and please always keep this wonderful blog going and don’t change a thing on the site……..you are one Amazing Woman. Stay safe in this upcoming storm……to you and all the GF’s. Hugs&Smiles Barb..Ludlow, MA

  82. Glenda says:


    Love your blog. Your linens are so neat. I so enjoyed that you shared them with us. The lifestyle you have is the one I just “moved” from. I loved my clothesline and hanging my sheets and linens on it and of course, clothes. 🙂 I enjoyed ironing all of the linens I had and the memories for each one. Joe reminds me of my husband always working on a project. Your weekends with your girlfriends sounded like so much fun. Even though I live in a different place and my lifestyle has changed it is such a joy to read your blog and I feel like I am still there, and also sharing your lifestyle with you. Thank so much.

  83. Mary Ann W says:

    I have just spent 5 1/2 hours (true!) absorbing Willard and your blog. I have had so much fun. I even did some shopping at your online store. 🙂 Now, of course, I want nothing more than to go antiquing and start redecorating. I live in a house that is 162 years old, and my decorating style is very similar to yours. I have loved your work since I bought your Heart of the Home cookbook many years ago. I have every cookbook you’ve written and crave even more, and I get your calendar every year. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing so much of yourself with your fans. You truly inspire me!

    • sbranch says:

      With such an old house, which I am sure is filled with nooks and crannies, you probably have a LOT of fun decorating! So happy to have you here Mary Ann!

  84. Theresa says:

    Susan, I love your sight, your adorable paintings, your amazing home and of course the kitties, PLEASE don’t change a thing…we have covered you in prayer as this storm could pose some nasty weather for yal…. Blessings from the Texas pastures!

    • sbranch says:

      I do appreciate that. We are a little blip in the Atlantic . . . but we have been through it before, this is when the island truly comes together, often these kinds of emergencies turn into blessings in that way.

  85. patti says:

    Dear Susan, I have some of these little linens and I am going to start looking at them in a whole new way. As I am w/so many other things like napkins & plates. I just happened onto a store that is ripe for exploring to find all kind of treasures. Thank you for your inspiration. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Have fun!

      • patti says:

        Be careful and batten down the hatches…Get ready for Sandy!!! My son is out in Virginia. He dances w/Virginia Ballet. I am kind of jealous because I love the ocean and I love to watch the storms. I hope it just stays out in the ocean where it won’t do any harm…Get the water, fill up your gas tank, make sure you have matches and candles, batteries for the flashlight and fill up your bathtub with water. You can use that for all the other things you use water for besides drinking. Make sure you get any prescriptions filled and have cash on hand. I think I covered everything. <3

  86. Cynthia Pfledderer says:

    What a beautiful porch. Great job, Joe! I love your blog and I will be sharing it in our Libray’s newsletter this month, so don’t stop writing anytime soon. 🙂

  87. dottie (in the OC in SoCal) says:

    Sheets, pillowcases, towels, clothing — all line-dried in my childhood. Nothing smells like line dried linens or clothes. Sprinkling soda bottles Argo or Niagra starch and blueing for whites. The old wringer washer and the laundry tubs on a Monday. I still use the old nursery song The Mulberry Bush as a rough basis for household organizing. Kitty cats in the laundry basket — yes, that, too. Inherited family linens — and my own precious quilt made by my Great Aunt or maybe by her mother my Gt Grandmother — I really don’t recall — but I slept under it through my childhood and well into my college days — I want to get it out and keep it for nap times. Lovely post and I’m saving Willard for Saturday which is my day home alone with my furry pal — will sip some special tea in a special cup and immerse myself in more loveliness from your creative and inspirational hands. Stay safe should Sandy actually blow up that “Frankenstorm” which is one option predicted.

    • sbranch says:

      You made me remember the wall of diapers fluttering always on my mom’s clothesline . . .

      • dottie (in the OC in SoCal) says:

        Oh yes — made me smile — I was one of the few who used cloth diapers when I had my family in the 1970’s but they are making a bit of a comeback with the more “green” minded younger gals now having children. Thought you might want to check out the photo of my cup on the FOSB Facebook group page — and yes, I LOVED the Willard — thank you, for a lovely interlude.

  88. Elizabeth in Montana says:

    Enjoyed this post. One of my favorite childhood memories is of my mom ironing my dad’s dress shirts in the living room of the Craftsman bungalow where I grew up. Still love the smell of starch.

  89. Cindy Tuning says:

    It’s almost 2am and I can’t sleep. Teds snoring away down the hall and I just finished the last episode of “Island At War” on Netflix. thought I would settle down with warmth and good vibes from Willard …but…no Willard. I can’t find it in my mail. The cat Lucy and the dog Blake are both sleeping on my side of the bed leaving not so much room for me. Guess I’ll go try the couch but chances are they’ll both follow me. Ted will still be snoring and sleeping like a baby, so that’s a good thing. Maybe warm milk? No, I’d have to put chocolate in it and that would be counterproductive. John Tesh said today that we are more creative when we are tired in the wee hours. maybe I’ll give that a try….on to the next putter project!! Wish me luck!

    • sbranch says:

      Smart to get up! Note the quiet! I also do think milk works great … but without the chocolate. Have a butter cookie instead! Good luck Cindy!

    • I used to add Ovaltine to my warm milk when I couldn’t sleep, but because I eat organic now I use organic Barley Malt syrup which has the same flavor. Works every time.

  90. Linda says:

    I always use to try and beat my Mom to the wet clothes so that I could do the hanging. After I left home, when I finally moved back I would go over to her house and tug the wicker clothes basket from her arms and hang them all up with lovely wooden pins. I have a board on Pinterest titled Clothesline= happy me! I also love love love to iron. It is my thinking time and has always relaxed me for some reason……always did my Mom’s too! Now, I treat myself to ironing while watching golf on Sundays…..crazy huh? I am blessed to still have all my Grandmother’s embroidered pillowcases, dresser scarfs etc, and they smell so good when freshly ironed. What a wonderful post……thank you. It has finally turned cold here in Idaho….we seem to be skipping two seasons here –Spring and Fall……..hot hot summer, cold winters–go figure.

  91. Paulij says:

    Oh, Susan, this (and all of your) posts, Willard, your artistic talent overflowing in words and pictures and drawings makes one want to go on and on with praise! I, also, loved the way you personalized and described the wind in Willard. I love your chicken apron drawing and all of your linens and the photos taken inside and out of your lovely house. Joe made that porch look charming and sturdy. It was very satisfying to see a photo of your girlfriends; they looked like a beautiful and fun bunch! Thanks again, Susan, for including us in your life in such a heart warming way. I believe we will all be happy for you to take time to work on your (our) book. 😉 How fun it is to anticipate it. Blessings…

  92. Philippa says:

    Many thanks for the lovely new Willard which arrived yesterday.
    I certainly wouldnt want you to change your posts or your blog, or anything.I re -read a lot and have also sent the link to some nice friends so they can enjoy too.

  93. Paulie says:

    Aw……once again, reading this blog was like smelling the wonderful aroma of a home made apple pie coming from mom’s kitchen…….it is that same warm comfy feeling you evoke with each post you make ….. just wonderful……….thank you so much Susan. We all love the love this blog……..and for now it is a wonderful diversion from the oncoming storm of Sandy here in our New England area. Stay safe……….everbody.

    • sbranch says:

      Just listened to the news, very sorry for states south of us, but even there, the good news is the storm is weakening, and right now, Martha’s Vineyard is not in the path! Of course that can change, but it’s a great relief this morning!

  94. Sandy Richmond says:

    Good morning Susan and girlfriends, We picked up the new kittens last night, Boo and Bowie! Have had so many laughs already! Have a great weekend everyone!

  95. judi says:

    Living in SW Florida dealing with possible hurricanes is a given. What I learned from 2004 when hurricane Charlie hit just 20 miles north of here. Charge all phones, cameras, etc. ahead of time. Put your phone charger, camera charger, etc. in a ziplock to take with if you have to leave. Start freezing water in empty milk jugs, cranberry jugs, etc. ahead of time. (Large chunks of ice melt slower than ice cubes, ha) Fill your car up with gas …. ahead of time 🙂 If you have to evacuate, you know you can’t take all your “treasures” with you:( So, I put my tea service and some treasured items like, recipes, pictures etc – IN MY DISHWASHER. I figured hey, it’s waterproof in there. Write down your homeowners insurance info and have it with you. Also a list of contracters, handymen in your area (everyone will be trying to call them if there is any damage). Check all the batteries in your flashlights and portable radio. Bottled water, bottled water, bottled water.

    We evacuated to the middle of the state for Charlie and then…it hit there. No electricty. Very errie? gas pumps don’t work. A Lowe’s in the area opened with one register set up outside and would allow a certain # of people to go in at one time. Very strange times, but a real learning experience. No coffee, yikes. After that i bought a perculating coffee pot and a single burner propane stove thing – it comes/stays near me:) Luckily we only had minor damage. We ended up with 3 more hurricanes near us that year. I like to be prepared and then I too enjoy a good storm.

    Sooo stock up and we will all be thinking of you. If possible ….PLEASE let us know you are okay if only in this comment section when the storm nears. XXXOOO

    • Chris Wells from West Texas says:

      Those are the best instructions for preparedness I have ever read! Good for you. I hope the girls are taking note! “The Dishwasher?” I would have never thought of that!

      • sbranch says:

        I hope we don’t have to evacuate, because that’s just not going to work for us! Gas? We have no place to go! Love your advice about the ice — that’s brilliant, in case the electricity goes out for a few days — I’ll do that!

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        Amen to that, Chris! Those are all terrific ideas. From the “Live and Learn” school, I guess… Perfection through practice. After Sandy, I marvel all the more at all the Southern states who deal with these kind of storms – albeit at varying levels of awful – multiple times every single year.

  96. Susan, I woke up this morning from a dream about washing all linens/fabrics in my bedroom and dusting everything….I’ve already done a day’s work before I got out of bed. Whew!

    I’m trying to keep a smile on my face today as “Frankenstorm” brews off the East Coast threatening MY pumpkin carving contest for my family on Sunday afternoon. I was going to make your Pumpkin Cheesecake tomorrow. Do I dare it? If I have to cancel Sunday’s party because I don’t want my family having to drive the hour to get here in torrential rain and wind, I’ll have a WHOLE cheesecake staring me in the face with just 2 people to eat it……maybe it will be a good opportunity to invite my neighbors over whom I rarely see (because we are set back off the street on 2-1/2 acres). When we moved here 31 years ago a neighbor always held yearly Apple Butter Boils for the whole neighborhood. It was great! But they stopped when their basement started filling up with jars of uneaten apple butter. After a few years I tried starting a yearly picnic but no one got the hint and offered to host something at their house. Then people started moving away and eventually we all just kept to ourselves. Our neighborhood is just two streets on a dead end so you’d think we’d feel a little more camaraderie. I’ve hosted a few more things (baby showers, Christmas Open House) and finally just gave up. Who knows maybe this storm will prove to be for a good cause….

  97. Jan says:

    So enjoyed the Willard, including the many wonderful recipes! Want to try the marshmallow recipe with my grandchildren. I’m sure they would love it! Must say I enjoyed peeking at all of your old linens. I have some of my Mom’s and grandmothers. Wonderful! Don’t change your blog – I, too, look forward to reading it and seeing all of your photos, artwork, and recipes. It’s an inspiration!! We need more people like you who inspire and give a sense of whats both important and heartwarming! Keep up the good work! Have to say Joe did a great job on your porch. Lucky you – some people have to hire somebody to do a project like that. Thanks for the pic of your girlfriends – charming! Have to tell you I’ve had a prblem getting on your website the last couple of days. It’s like the site wants to come up but takes forever. Don’t know if it’s related to your problems but seems to be working fine this morning. Am really looking forward to the England diary! Can’t wait! My job this morning is to get my grandchildren’s Fall treat box packed and sent. Have a great day and keep inspiring!! You do such a great job!!

  98. Carrie says:

    Thank you so much for the beautiful blog and “the Willard” – what an exceptional treat!!! My mother ironed like nobody’s business. Never understood how she could iron the trickies item so perfectly except I think she had one BIG trick – she used the iron she received as a wedding gift on 7.30.49 until the day she died. I’m going to give it a whirl and see if I can make the same thing happen with that iron. We also have the same toaster she received for her wedding and would never part with. You drop the slices of bread in and the toaster automatically would “gently lower” the pieces into the toaster. In later years I used to get antsy because the toaster became a wee bit fussy and you had to drop the piece of bread a few times for it to hit just right. What fun memories! BTW, my Potter village population has grown leaps and bounds thanks to your online store! Hip hip-it is finally fall here 30 miles south of Sacramento are leaves are changing. Went up to Murphy’s last weekend and I would have thought I was in the New England states it was so gorgeous with fall foilage!

  99. Rosemary says:

    You certainly touched the hearts of many, many people with WILLARD and your last post! So many things…have to look at the pictures over and over to see everything. Your kitchen is so wonderful…love the blue. It must feel so good to have it all done… with winter coming and all coziness in the kitchen! I have the egg coddler, also. I gave my Aunt Bernice a set of them on her 75th Birthday….about 40 years ago. She was the perfect Aunt…and breakfast was always quite a deal. The table was always set perfectly with linens and most always she served a plate of cookies at the end!
    And linens!..I always hang my sheets out on Mondays but never the towels. I may have to give that a try. Love to iron!
    Just got back from an absolutely perfect trip to Connecticut in the fall. I did not get to as many fun places as you did. We made some excellent discoveries on our way to and from Boston airport.
    I am thinking about the storm headed your way and hope that it will amount to nothing all along the east coast.
    Wonderful post with so many things to talk about and look at! Great!

  100. Janet OC says:

    Susan, I know Willard was delivered this week, but, mine never arrived 🙁 . Should I sign up again? Is there a chance that it has been delayed? I’ll keep checking my email and spam file.
    Janet xoxo

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