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. Deborah Norling says:

    Hello Susan and Ladies, I certainly hope Cindy, who was having a hard time getting to sleep has managed to rest by now. Cindy, mentioned she was watching, “Island at War”, which reminded me…have any of you read the book, “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” ? It’s a fictional story but based on the German Occupation of the Channel Islands. The book was a work of love by the author Mary Ann Shaffer, it’s written almost completely in letter fashion,meaning the exchange of letters between the characters. The story is an eye opener for those that weren’t familiar with the Occupation, as well as.. a love story. I fell in love with the character’s so much that I finished the book and re-read it immediately, I just didn’t want to let go of them ! The author wasn’t able to enjoy seeing her work published, as she became very ill and passed away. Before she died, her niece with whom she was very close and also an author, (Annie Barrows) helped finish the book. I hope this encourages someone to read this lovely little novel, and I hope you too will love it !

    • judi says:

      I just read this a month ago. Excellent book and very interesting.

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

      A couple of years ago, a friend gave me a wonderful gift for the summer: 2 books; The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and The Forgotten Garden. Two very different styles of writing but I loved them both! I completely understand falling so deeply into a book that you don’t want to let the characters go.

  2. nanette from Alabama says:

    I didn’t know there was a whole bunch of us that love to “line dry!” My dryer went bonkers again a few months back and since I’d decided to buy a smallish, stackable washer/dryer unit, I opted to not have this one fixed. (AGAIN.) Just waiting on til the old washer gives out. Meanwhile, I am LOVING bringing sunshine indoors in my sheets and towels! I smell the goodness and freshness in my sheets and breathe deeply………it’s soothing to smell it and guess what? (Bonus is that breathing deeply is so good for my health!) I bought a portable “umbrella style” clothes line at Lowe’s and put it up on the end of my porch or in my work room if the weather isn’t good to hang the colored clothing on so that it doesn’t fade. It’s lovely. (Sometimes I have to put the fan on to hurry it along a little bit!) I am just loving going back to the simple things I did by necessity when I married forty years ago. Life feels more serene and you get a little vitamin d while hanging out the clothes, anyway! I know what Pat Jolson meant when she talked about all this taking away the stress of our modern world………the home arts are calming and soothing to the soul!

    Thank you dear Susan, for blessing all of us. AND now we know there is a whole “club” of us who line dry for FUN and who iron for nourishment of the soul! (By the way, my power bill is under a $100 a month now since I stopped using the dryer! Just another nice surprise for me!)

    • We concur! Our washer was on the blink for two weeks and we took the laundry to the laundromat and line dried it at home… Our electric bill is usually $400 at this time of year and it was down to $200! Of course, with eight kids, that’s about three or four loads a day!

      Now, it’s too wet to line dry, so back to using the washer and dryer! Convenience can be fun, too… If a little expensive!

    • Cathy Pernsteiner says:

      Hi Susan,
      I too go into the antique stores and look for the baskets of linens. I sort through and refold them imagining the woman who did the needlework and wondering what her life was like and thinking it would be nice to share a cup of tea while we sewed.

      I’ve enjoyed your blogs so much. I think mostly because you celebrate everyday things. We forget how important they really are.

      I pray you and Joe and the kitties will be safe through the storm!

  3. Joy Lowe says:

    Good morning Susan! I’ve been a loooooong-time fan of yours and have every book! They hold a special place of honor in an antique kitchen pie cabinet in my kitchen. Every holiday or change of season, I gleefully take one of your books out to place on display for the entire month-(ie: Autumn is out now in all it’s glory and Christmas/Heart of the Home is joyfully anticipating it’s debut)-makes me so happy. My Mom-who is also a Susan Branch collector-was just visiting and snuggled every morning with your Autumn book and her first cup of coffee. We LOVE your books! Question: Many of them are now out of print and hard to find…will you be publishing any new books? Are you working on anything? We’re going through withdrawals. We adore your calendars, cards etc., but it’s time for a new Susan Branch book with all those adorable illustrations. I’m the oldest of 5 girls-born in the 1950’s and can relate to all of your family stories/pictures so much. Adore everything that you do 🙂 More…PLEASE!!! XO Joy Lowe

    • sbranch says:

      I’m working on a new book — Joe and I went to England in the spring — I kept a diary, and I’m in the process of putting it in my “good” handwriting and adding watercolors to the pages. It will be done next year, and I promise to let all the blog girlfriends have first crack at it!

  4. diana says:

    reading your blog takes me to the best place!
    looking forward to more…

  5. Barb from Ohio says:

    Hi Susan,
    I printed out your cute pumpkins bookmark on card stock , made two and glued them back to back for a nice heavier one. Thanks so much for sharing your artwork with us and offering these free-bees, I love them. I will be thinking of you this week as the bad clash of storms could be heading your way. Don’t know what we’ll get here in Ohio from this but depends on how far inland it moves. Haven’t heard the last word on it yet today, but I’m sure the predictions will change as time goes by. God bless you and all the girlfriends where ever they may be and keep us all safe, warm and dry!

  6. Joan Lesmeister says:

    OK girlfriend (& girlfriends, love the comments) I suppose I really do need to get busy but, I could spend all day in here in this wonderful Susan Branch world. Great blog with linens, visit with girlfriends, minutia, Joe – man ofmany talents, yummy food, furry friends, clothesline & music. Thank you! Love, Joanie

  7. Debbie says:

    I just loved reading this post…I’ve had a lot on my mind lately and you have lifted my spirits. I love Fall, old linens, clotheslines, and dish towels. I do have a problem with displaying my dishtowels. I have a two year old dog who has it in her mind that my dish towels are for her to steal and play with…so I have to hang them high enough so they are out of her reach!

  8. Laura Croyle says:

    Such a fun and cozy post! Loved seeing the girlfriends sitting around the breakfast table in their bathrobes! Looks like Fun times! Lots of memories were made, I’m sure! Thanks for introducing them to the rest of us! I’m just beginning my collection of old linens, starting with my Mom’s linen tablecloth and napkin set. Embroidered dishtowels and dresser scarves are my favorites. I’m going to a bazaar next week-end, with my daughter, at a senior center where, last year, they gave away free doilies with every purchase! How charming is that?? Hope they still have some left for this year! LOL!
    Will you still have your Halloween party if you loose power in the up-coming storm? (Guess you could, if you made your pot of chili ahead of time, made a warm, cozy fire, and used lots of candles, right?)
    Stay safe and enjoy cozying up with your kitties! (and Joe, too!) 🙂

  9. Barbara (WA) says:

    Loved Willard, thank you! Just popping in to ask you to be safe and let us know how things fare with Hurricane Sandy.

  10. Betty Marie, Pennsylvania says:

    Hi Girlfriends! Don’t miss Susan’s “Ginger bread Cake” I have just pulled it out of the oven and let it rest 10 min, as I like my pie & cake hot..The cake is so LIGHT & Fluffly. I have never had such a great Gingerbread cake !
    YUM<YUM<YUM!!! did I say YUM…..LOL

  11. Anne says:

    Susan, Once again, wow, wow, wow! And you give all this beauty for free on your blog, so thank you so much! I saw your post about dish towels a while ago and that led me to discovering iron-on patterns that I could embroider for fun. There are many iron-on designs available online from Colonial Patterns. I bought 6 or 7 packages of designs there and am making new dish towels as gifts this year. They are so easy to embroider and in just a couple of days they are all done and no framing is required. The one of yours with the dancing teapot looks like the Kooky Kitchen collection that is my favorite. I have been doing aprons for a family and every girl in the family will get a different design of dancing tableware from that collection on their apron . The best place to get the old fashioned striped towels to iron-on a pattern is Joann Fabrics, but their four-color striped towel is better quality than the one-color striped towel. I usually do cross-stitch but rediscovering embroidery again is wonderful since my time is more limited now and the iron-on designs give me a sence of accomplishment while also making gifts. Thanks for that inspiration and I hope more girlfriends will give iron-on patterns a try.

    • Chris Wells from West Texas says:

      What a great idea. I do cross stitch also and never thought about iron-on embroidery. I will have to wait until I make a Fort Worth trip. We don’t have a Joann’s. Thanks for the advice on the towels. I am going to give it a try. My 15 year old granddaughter loves to sew and knit, I may take her with me and see if it’s something she would like to do.
      Thanks again……Chris

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

    To all of you in the path of Sandy: You are in my prayers for the duration! xoxo, Kathy

  13. Frances Fowler says:

    Wha???? Sick of this post? NEVER! I tried my hand at embroidering a dishtowel with a vintage-y pattern this summer. It was one to experiment with, as I’ve never done anything other than cross-stitch. I love the red work (reminds me of Scandinavia :-D), and the blue work. I’ll throw this question out to anyone — what’s your favorite stitch and favorite thread to do the dishtoweling? I experimented with the thicker thread that comes in loops, as well as using 2-3 strands of embroidery floss. Dishtowels, aprons, potholders….I love ’em all. So, apparently, does Jack, if they are fluffed up and all clean in a basket. Talk about a kitty magnet!

  14. What a great bookmark, I love it! I’m going to print it out for my 10 year old daughter, she’ll love it too. And I have to admit I wish we had a place for stairs like Joe built. What a nice job, it’s beautiful!

  15. Cathe says:

    I just love your blog and look forward to your emails so much. I too collect old linens and have for years. They are so much cheaper here in the small Central Oregon town I live in. Yippee for me.
    It is finally getting cold and rainy here too. I sincerely hope the big storm does not affect you. It sounds like it is going to be a bad one.
    I love getting Willard. I printed off the bookmark for all my girlfriends, We are having a party tonight and they will appreciate it. So Thank You.
    Best Wishes.

  16. Cathe says:

    I have a very personal reason for not wanting to go on Facebook. I do not want an ex to find me. Is there any way to get the bookmark without going on Facebook. We used to just be able to print it off. Thanks! Cathe

    • sbranch says:

      It’s the way Kellee put it up this time . . . she didn’t give the PDF to me, I only had the art . . . she put it on Facebook. Maybe you have a girlfriend? Sorry!

    • Pat Mofjeld says:

      Cathe–just look at Willard online, then put the cursor on the bookmark, right click, and choose “print photo” and it works just fine… 🙂

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Okay, so I need to get to bed–it is too late and my brain has stopped functioning correctly. Forget the “look at Willard online” from what I wrote above–just right click on the bookmark in the post and hit “print photo”…goodnight! 🙂

  17. I’m still signed up to receive Martha’s Vineyard Online on Facebook and they feature Margo Datz’s cake she made for a friend. Might that be Jaime? It looks delicious besides beautiful. She even gives out the recipe on her Facebook page:

  18. Karen Saunders says:

    Susan…..praying you will be safe in the storm that is coming. Will it hit you? If it does don’t forget to have plenty of extra water for drinking and cooking and don’t forget…..TEA!!!!! Stay warm and cozy in front of the fire!

    • sbranch says:

      We aren’t sure yet exactly what it’s going to do .. people are saying just wind and rain, and not even a lot of that, but seems it’s kind of a funny storm…we’re ready though, don’t worry, and staying warm! Thanks Karen!

  19. judy young says:

    Susan and Joe, and everyone who lives on or near the East Coast (including my son and his wife and two precious grandchildren) please be safe from the storm. If all the girlfriends pray, I have heard that collective prayer really works, then you will all be safe and that pesky storm will head out to sea instead!

  20. Carla TePaske says:

    I love the bookmark. Thank you!! As always, I love your blog.
    Have a safe weekend!! Keep us posted on how you manage the storm.
    Our Prayers – Carla

  21. Pat Mofjeld says:

    Just got back from a week in Door County, WI.–visited orchards (cherry and apple) with signs for Honey Crisp apples everywhere! Had a fish boil dinner one night (whitefish boiled in a huge kettle outdoors with red potatoes & onions, served with limpa bread, coleslaw, and cherry pie!) , checked out some antique shops, drove the back roads, and went to Penninsula State Park, etc. Just catching up reading your blog, Susan. I not only love “scratchy” towels, but also love scratchy sheets! It is so hard to find 100% cotton sheets with lower thread counts nowadays! Saw an ad from Vermont Country Store for “scratchy sheets like Grandma’s” with lower thread count–has anyone out there tried them? I’m on a search for new sheets and everywhere I’ve looked they have 300, 400, or higher thread count which makes them too soft and it seems hard to find 100% cotton white sheets! If anyone has suggestions, please let me know…Thanks! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I think the Vermont Country Store is a great place to look, and if you get them, let me know if you’re happy. Do they have fitted corners on the bottom sheets? Or do we have to resort to our nurses’ corners both top and bottom?

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        I am going to order some. I sure hope the bottom sheet is fitted. I do the nurse’s corner with the top sheet and quilt but can’t imagine the bottom sheet would work well. 🙂 (Ha–I should confess that I take the sheets off to wash them and Norm makes the bed with the clean sheets as our mattress is so thick and heavy that I have a hard time even getting our fitted sheets on securely! I kind of miss the thinner mattresses of the past…but I taught him how to make the nurse’s corners–and have to tell you that he was very amused at first when I showed him how to make those corners but since then has come to appreciate the technique! 🙂 ) I plan to order a set of the sheets so will report later on how they work out…

        • sbranch says:

          Back in the day we had to do the corners on both sheets, until the miracle of fitted sheets was invented. 🙂 Please do let me know, I hope they are the perfect kind!

          • Pat Mofjeld says:

            Me, too. Thinking about you, Joe, and kitties out on the Vineyard in this storm. BFF Sandy is keeping me uptodate on storm scene in southern Boston area. I kind of envy the “cozy” feeling of being in with a storm raging but know how serious the situation is with this storm–both safety-wise and just the problems it will create with flooding, etc. Several have suggested to my BFF Sandy that this storm is her rage against breast cancer coming out! 🙂 Will follow the storm from here…thinking about you all on the East coast and sending prayers your way…

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

          Everyone once in a while I ask Larry to help me put the sheets on the bed. I always end up laughing hysterically and have to hold my side when he tries the hospital corners (that’s what my Mom used to call them). He sort of remembers how from one time to another—he knows you pull some of the fabric up on top of the bed. Sometimes I tell him that if I die first, no other woman is going to want to marry him unless he learns some of these things! Buyer beware is all I can say! We do have a lot of fun though! 😉

    • Becky from Lockport, Illinois says:

      Pat, did you stay at White Gull Inn? My husband Joe and I stayed there a few years ago. It was a weddin gift from my sisters…it was delightful! We loved the Fish boil and all the little shops.

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Hi Becky–No, we rented a cottage–one of the Scandia Cottages in the town of Sister Bay. Our two schnauzers travel with us and the cottages are “pet-friendly”, which the White Gull Inn is not. But we went to the White Gull Inn for our annual breakfast of cherry stuffed french toast. I’m telling you, they are worth every calorie!!! 🙂 I’m guessing you could google to get their recipe as I think they have won several awards for their recipe. For girlfriends who aren’t familiar with the White Gull Inn, it is located in the town of Fish Creek in Door County and is pure “New England”–white frame construction, black shutters, and if you google it you will see that their dining room makes you feel you have been transported to New England! 🙂

        • Lynn McMahon says:

          Welcome back Pat~ hope you had as much fun as we did!

        • Linda Sautter says:

          Hi Pat…how do you find it traveling with the dogs. My husband and I are just retiring and want to travel and can’t bare the thought of leaving our babies here at home. Any suggestions????

    • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

      Pat~Are you trying to make me homesick!?!

      • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

        That goes for you too Lynn!!! The east coast has Lobster boils in ME, clam bakes in NH and MA, and Shrimp boils in SC. I always share our WI fish boil secrets. I seak out seafood. LOL

  22. Oh, my, it’s 2 o’clock in the morning, and I must to bed. I just discovered you blog this evening. You are truly a “kindred spirit” for me. I only skimmed back to December 2012 in your posts, so I have many more delicious moments in store for me. I have a few of your books tucked on shelves around my house and will pull them out to revisit tomorrow – well, actually today. So many of your posts fill me with excitement. Your love of dishes, teapots, flowers, birds, squirrels, full moons, Anne of Green Gables, Audrey Hepburn, and I could go on and on, are my loves, too! And, guess what, you and I were born in the same year! My birthday is in March.
    I am so happy to have found your blog. I also follow thetoymaker.com and a blog called frogsongpond – belonging to a Maine artist. I’m looking forward to finding time to go back and read some of your posts more thoroughly. What a wonderful woman you are.

  23. Betty Nelson says:

    After 77 years of near perfect health, in May I had a heart attack – never been in hospital (only to have my two kids) never been sick – so for me this was MAJOR! I had angioplasty etc., but ever since I have not had my usual energy and I don’t sleep well. All this to say that it is now 2 a.m. and I have just read your blog and Willard and it has given me such a good feeling. You are an amazing lady and though I do not comment often, I want you to know that your uplifting words are great strength boosters and I wouldn’t miss them for the world. Ever since I retired (14 years now!) I have had an “Anticipating Christmas” sale (this year Nov. 10) with my quilting, sewing and homebaking. I am working on it now and it is a struggle, but I am determined. Thank you for all your encouraging words. Many blessings, Betty

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Betty, I’m so happy you are getting better and determined to get your life back, what a shock that must have been, in more ways than one. Lovely to hear that you are still so inspired to do all the things you love. I’m proud of your determination! Thank you for saying hello!! xoxo

    • Tawni urrutia says:

      Good morning Betty! You sound like a remarkable woman. I so admire the way your kindness and love of Christmas is so strong, not even a major surgery can divert your true heart!!!❤❤❤ Best wishes for your sale, and your continued recovery!
      Tawni Urrutia in Lodi Ca

  24. Clairellen says:

    Please be safe in the coming storm. I’m praying for you all there in MV.

  25. Sherry Palla says:

    Your back steps look grand! And I’d like to read your next book about “Charm!” How delightful Sue are you!! Happy Saturday girl friends!

  26. Judy Tracy says:

    Stay safe with Hurricane Sandy coming. We’ll be thinking of you and praying for your safety and well-being. Love your Willard and your blogs. You have a special gift:>) Judy Tracy, Newport Beach CA

  27. First – the new (to me) yellow bowl you sent..I had hot oatmeal in it this AM! Wonderful on a crisp fall morning, and as an aside I must say, as you know, that fixing oatmeal correctly is, in itself, an art. Starting with just the right amount of salt in the boiling water, and then, just the right amount of dried oats – timed to perfection so that each oat is cooked, but does not end up in a gluttonous glob – each retaining its individuality when the milk and sugar is added — yum! And in that yellow bowl? Double yum!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so glad you like your yellow bowl! You made me hungry for oatmeal!

      • judi says:

        You are quite the cooking connoisseur:) Only brown sugar goes on mine and then…a dab of butter in the middle to melt in – yummo.

        • sbranch says:

          And I like steel-cut oats with chopped apples or red pears, cinnamon, and walnuts! There must be a thousand ways to do this! I’m on my way to get some right NOW!

          • Pat Mofjeld says:

            We slice apples in thin slices in our oatmeal, then add a sprinkle of craisins and walnuts…yummm! Oatmeal for breakfast tomorrow! 🙂

    • Jake at Dapper and Dreamy says:

      Just what is the right amount of salt? I always seem to add too much or two little…

      • sbranch says:

        Men talking to men about oatmeal … love it. This is a first on our site. Jake, father of eight, meet my Dad, father of eight.

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        jack try just little pinch of salt, 1/4 teaspoon.

      • Like I said,”It’s an art,” ya got it or Ya don’t ……..:~)

      • jack says:

        The way I do it is to put the salt in the pan first –for my taste it`s like two shakes and a drizzle as you take away the
        salt shaker — you can then see how much ya got in the pan–
        and judge on how much oatmeal you are going to make — my deal is to then boil a cup of water and add a full 3/4 cup of meal — boil till all is a nice consistancy — check it out to see that it looks right –add a spoon of sugar — too dry add a little water …as you butter your English Muffin — into the bowl that Sue sent
        and add milk to taste — mix in and mange , that sweet/salt
        taste with the oatmeal is unique so I don`t add anything ehse to change it

  28. Joanie says:

    Hi Susan, I love old linens as well, all old things actually, but I do have a question? Most of mine have been stored in a storage unit for a long time and have that old musty smell, that isn’t so charming! I would like to know if you or any of the girlfriends have a remedy to make them nice and fresh again? I don’t have a clothesline or much sunshine this time of year but there must be something? I also have an old dresser with that same tell tale smell. Any suggestions? Yours look so fresh and clean and I can smell them thousands of miles away! Thanks for sharing all of your wonderful things with us. : )

    • sbranch says:

      Just wash them gently in warm soapy water, and hang them around to dry, like on the back of chairs, or on a wooden rack if you have one. That should do it!

    • dottie (in the OC in SoCal) says:

      Try some baking soda sprinkled in the drawers/interior of the furniture piece and then vaccuum it out — it might absorb any mositure as well as the odor.

      • Lisa F says:

        For musty smells in furniture try white vinegar in small bowls and cover with plastic wrap, then make small cuts in the plastic. The vinegar absorbs the musty smell in furniture. Leave in a drawer for a week or so. It worked on an old dresser and buffet I have.
        It also worked on new craft drawer set I purchased at Michaels craft store. 🙂 hope it works for you. Vinegar or ammonia in washing machine also works for dish towels, blankets.

        • Pat Mofjeld says:

          Lisa, I tried that in an old antique dresser I refinished that smelled musty and it worked great! 🙂

  29. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! What a professional work of art, those stairs!!! Your husband is so talented, he’s a keeper!!!! Your collection of vintage linens are beautiful and they inspire me to dig out my grandma’s and not to be afraid to display them even with being old……what good are they just stored in my old hopechest, without anyone enjoying them!!!! We are having a chilly, but dry Autumn Saturday here in Dearborn, Michigan. Keep safe with Hurricane Sandy fast approaching the Eastern Coast. I will say a little prayer that Martha’s Vineyard doesn’t get too much rain or stormy weather from this recent storm from Mother Nature.

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

    Hello Susan…I am back in the San Fernando Valley after two glorious weeks in New England and Maryland. After my cousins dropped me off at the Baltimore airport, they went to Costco to load up on batteries, water, etc. I hope you, Joe, the kitties, and all residents on Martha’s Vineyard are prepared for Hurricane Sandy. I am watching the news about this storm and praying for the East Coast! Please be safe!

    • sbranch says:

      We are prepared! We went to the market! First thing’s first! We have batteries, water, we have a gas stove, so we can cook, we should be fine! Jack’s first hurricane!

  31. Pam K says:

    Hi Miss Susan! I so enjoyed your blog today. It inspires me to start a collection of embroidered linens. I could kick myself though because on a trip to TN, I found a very cut white dishtowel with three mice embroidered on it. I really loved it but couldn’t find a price – I know it wasn’t antique or old as it was sold in a store called “Three Blind Mice” and it was in much too good of condition. I left since I didn’t really understand why I wanted it because I didn’t think I would use it. Now I know you can use them, just as you do!
    Also, LOVE the blog. Never will get tired of it. Period. And your mantel is adorable. Love the witch (is that a witch) and owls. Thanks once again for sharing your home and heart with us. Stay safe with the hurricane moving in at some time! Pam K. from Dallas, TX

    • sbranch says:

      It’s a storybook girl with a hat and a dress, I don’t know what it is, I’m going to put a close-up of it on the blog so someone can tell me what it is! 🙂

      • judi says:

        A storybook girl???? doll?? I used to have 4 or 5 of them. Think my youngest daughter has the 2 that survived:( 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          Mine isn’t a doll . . . I will have to show you — to describe it, since I don’t know what it is, won’t make sense!

  32. Drucye from Georgia says:

    Thank you for the bookmark and for always lifting my spirit. It really needed lifting this week. You and Joe and the kitties stay safe and out of the way of
    that storm.

  33. Judy Young says:

    After reading this glorious post about old linens, dishtowels, etc, you will NOT BELIEVE the day I have had today! First of all it’s Saturday, bright blue sky, sun and a high of 50 degrees, so the weather was perfect. I had my list ready and I went to some garage and estate sales locally. Most of the time, it’s hit or miss, today was a Hit!! I actually found linens at an estate sale, a pale green with silvery flowers oblong tablecloth and 4 napkins, brand new (but old) $2.50. A cutwork dresser scarf in perfect condition $1.50. Two perfect guest towels in cutwork embroidery, $1 for both! Also found a big square tablecloth with a pink center, white border and pale pink and pale blue carnations with soft green leaves as the design in between, also brand new…$2.50! Three crocheted doilies to use as jar toppers…75 cents. A beautiful lacy dresser scarf with pretty edging, two dishtowels (old but unused) with a green stripe going down the side and two more with a red stripe down the side, $2 for all four. Can you believe this? I thought I had died and gone to heaven! They threw in a pale green hanky with green and pink lacy stuff on one side and around the edge. Too pretty. Okay, that was just for starters! Some pretty china had caught my eye as I entered the house and I wandered around looking at everything, but kept coming back to that china. It was Homer Laughlin (I’m from England and usually buy just English china when I find it, but this china was so beautiful and so delicate I could not resist). The pattern says Eggshell GEORGIAN on the mark on the back, and it has a border the same color as your kitchen Susan, this palest palest blue…so gorgeous. There are flowers on it and white, with tiny gold touches. I got 4 dinner plates, 2 bread and butter plates, 2 cereal/soup bowls, a gravy boat and saucer and an oval covered (handled) vegetable bowl. All for $8. (Everything was half price since it was after noon!). Believe me, I was doing the happy dance. I could not believe my luck, first the linens and then this exquisite china. On to the next sale where I scored a small Spode oval scalloped dish bordered in a black and white flowered pattern and the words “A True Friend is the Greatest of all Blessings.” Later on at a church sale I found a flowered English china teacup and saucer in perfect condition for $2. I am pinching myself!! To round out my “shopping” also got a bag full of wonderful Christmas ornaments, all different, some blown glass, several books, a brand new wooden puzzle for my granddaughter and a shot glass that said “Two shots..or not two shots…What was the question?!! Now that was some day, I am so lucky!!!! If I had not read your post Sue, I probably would not have even looked so carefully through the linens, so thank you from the bottom of my heart. Now when are we going to see a post on your glorious pantry?? Can’t wait. XOXO

    • Judy Young says:

      Forgot to say that I also found a quilt rack! It was a creamy white shabby chic color, the lady said she had had it in an antique booth. I have an unfinished one in the garage left from my mother-in-law’s estate last year and I was going to paint it, but buying this one saved me the trouble. Best of all I got it for $8. Talk about a GOOD day! Whew!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh my goodness! Bonanza! I love Homer Laughlin, they have some wonderful patterns. What a red-letter day — the whole thing must have come to less than $25! And all things you can use! Just wonderful!

      I am waiting for the sun to shine, the light in the pantry isn’t the best . . . but I will do it soon.

    • Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

      Wow, Judy, you DID hit the jackpot! Such treasures at such a great price! Unfortunately, a lot of people today just don’t want to be bothered with the fuss of taking care of linens. That’s okay with me–I will give them a good home and use them and enjoy them! Now for the fun–going over your “loot” and finding just the right spot for everything. Enjoy!

      • Judy Young says:

        Thanks Linda! I really did have a great day last week, I still have the china and linens on my dining room table and I go in there a lot just to admire them! I will definitely use the china at Thanksgiving. It is soooo pretty! Never seen this pattern before, but I must say it’s prettier than a lot of my English china. My son and his girlfriend Kristina came over to see the “loot” and Kristina wants me to include her next time I go treasure-hunting. Even more fun!

  34. Cindy says:

    Hi Susan!
    Love, love, love the blog! I love old linens, too. I am so lucky to have a dresser scarf that was embroidered by my Great Grand Mother! Thank you for the book marker. Stay warm and safe.

    • sbranch says:

      You ARE lucky! I have a needlepoint that my Grandma did, of a New England house, that looks a lot like the one we live in — she gave it to me years before Martha’s Vineyard was even a twinkle in my eye!

  35. Jo says:

    Hope you and yours are comforted to know that many of us have you in our thoughts, hoping to hold you safe there.

  36. Marsha MacLean says:

    Dear Susan,
    Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers as you get ready to ride out this intense storm! So glad you and Joe are all prepared. Lots of us out here think of you as one of our sweetest girlfriends and we wish you well. Thanks for sharing your remarkable talent with us so continually… You truly are a blessing,

  37. Linda C. says:

    Hi Susan,
    So sorry if this ends up being a repeat from about a week ago, but I think my comment may not have gone thru . . I wrote to you just to say we hoped you found the postcard my girlfriend Cindi and I left for you !?! While her mom went and read the paper on a bench down the street because she was embarrased to been seen with us. ; ) Like we said we have had the priviledge of meeting you a number of times in California : ) We had a blast on Martha’s Vineyard last weekend ! Then I actually got to go from Boston to DC to catch up with my hubbie on a business trip, then business took us to Vermont and the last 2 days we got to take a beautiful drive back to Boston. We flew home this afternoon/evening, glad to have missed the big storm but I just wanted to say you are all in our Prayers that get to live there ! Hopefully “Sandy” will calm down ! Thank you for all your great work . . . ttfn . . . Linda C : )

    • sbranch says:

      Oh, the gremlins have been busy again, I DID get your postcard, and I saw and commented to your comment — but I guess it all disappeared! The blog has been experiencing some interesting growing pains lately! Yes, Thank you, such a nice surprise to find your note! LOL, your mom!! Please tell her I said HELLO! Sounds like you had a wonderful trip! We are ready for the storm, our yard “projectiles” have all been put away (birdhouses, yard furniture, ect.) — and all the other safety precautions have been taken, oil lamps are full, so’s the fridge! We are hunkering down. Prayers for all in its path!! xoxo

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        Prayers from me too! About all you can do whilst waiting is play “Stormy Weather”, & work on your beautiful new book. I was up in the wee hours & reread “Autumn” (with a cup of warm milk) very charming & delightful! Hugs!

  38. Pamela Jo says:

    Good Morning!

    Reading your blog and enjoying all of your lovely linens has put a smile on my face! Your photos have been a very welcome distraction today. We’ve been busy preparing for Sandy here in Southeastern PA, so have had a rather hectic weekend so far. It’s looking like the Jersey shore will take a direct hit, and so many other areas will see severe impacts. We’re supposed to have winds up to 80 mph in suburban Philadelphia. Last year at this time we had a serious winter storm, and this year we have another “disaster emergency” declaration due to this massive storm….Halloween has become quite frightening, indeed! Keeping you and everyone else in my thoughts and prayers as we move through the next couple of days. Stay safe!

    Pamela Jo

    • sbranch says:

      You too Pamela Jo! It’s just started raining a bit up here . . . stay safe!

    • Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

      Pamela Jo, Stay safe! You seem to be in more of the “red zone” than Lancaster! Don’t forget the candles and water! And chocolate!!!

      • Pamela Jo says:

        Thank you so much! I am laughing now b/c when I went out yesterday to get my water, batteries, and ice, I DID get plenty of chocolate candy! My pumpkin candy dish is packed with Hershey Kisses, Lindt Truffles, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Treasures! I will be glad for all of the emergency items, but I will NEED that chocolate! LOL!!! Thanks, again to you and to Susan for your safe wishes!
        Pamela Jo

        • sbranch says:

          Dangerous to be having a storm in a house filled to the brim with Halloween Candy! 🙂

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            now thats my idea of riding out a storm, a house full of Halloween candy..yuummm!!! stay safe Linda, you to susan!!!

      • Chris Wells from West Texas says:

        Linda, Looks like you will still get rain and wind. They are saying 65 mile wind gusts even in Ohio!! You stay safe too.

  39. patti says:

    Prayers to you and Joe out there in the eye of the storm. Have been watching and it looks like it is going to be a bad one <3

  40. Barbara T, Wolverine Lake MI says:

    I just made your hot milk cake and it’s in the oven for another 31 minutes. probably shouldn’t admit this, but, if there is any of the sauce left it’s awfully good in coffee!!! LOL I tried to hang out clothes on the line the other day when it was close to 80 degrees (Indian Summer!!) but when I got out to the clothes line, discovered my husband had put it away for winter! 🙁 we have one of those metal tree-like things that you put into the ground and pull up like an umbrella. so big sigh, guess summer was over (and today proves it – 45 degrees)

  41. zinnia patch says:

    Hi Susan, just wanted to drop in to say ” good morning” and let you know that you are in my thoughts and am sending xoxo

  42. Kim DeMichele says:

    Susan, Your Blog is a part of my day, please keep on writing, always!!! Thankyou for sharing so much of your time and talent. Good luck with “Sandy”, I hope she spares beautiful New England!!! Fondly, Kim D. from Dublin, OH

  43. mary spring says:

    …thoughts and prayers to all in Sandy’s path …. dear Susan, thank you for all you’ve given us .. especially, ‘loved Willard and your recipes you’ve been posting and your “twitter” photos… you always leave me reminded of my wonderful childhood memories !!… thank you and stay safe ..and , everyone, please don’t forget the power of prayer !!..with love and take care…..

  44. Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

    Well, Susan, between the server going down and other distractions, it’s been awhile since I’ve sent in a comment!

    But I have noticed that all of us Girlfriends are busying ourselves pretty well while you are hunkered down at your drawing board filling “charming, fascinating, irresistible, alluring….” pages of England just for us! We will continue to be good so you can get lots done.

    Yesterday I was out cleaning my gardens–took two van loads over to our recycling center. Today Kevin and I have been securing lawn furniture; taking in small objects, etc. in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy, which seems destined to hit us hard. I also brought in some of the “last roses of summer” to enjoy during these rather dismal days.

    Here’s a tip I heard–fill zip lock bags with water and put them in your freezer. It will keep your frig cool if the power goes out and you also have water! We have a gas stove like you and lanterns at the ready.

    I loved your post–tea towels–I collect the linen calendar towels. I have the dates for all important events, like my three sons’ birthdays! I love the red gnome! And the sugar bowl with arms and legs–so cute!! I’ve been collecting aprons for a long time and wear them, too. As you can imagine, I now buy all these things for my daughters in law–the girls I never had! It’s so much fun!

    If I can, I’ll post again to let everyone know how things are going with the storm. Right now, we seem to be in a lull. I can just picture all the “storm ridden” GFs cozy in their homes “with the wind crying because it can’t get inside”. (a quote from “Little House in the Big Woods”.)
    Love ya,

  45. Deborah Norling says:

    Definately keeping all on the East Coast in my prayers. Hoping Sandy settles down and behaves like a well mannered Lady.

  46. Set the scene for Halloween: Pound a short stick into the ground (about a four-footer) at your trick-or-treat walkway; tie a white balloon to the top; drape a white sheet over the balloon and tie it loosely at the neck; paste or draw on eyes and mouth to make a face — the bottom of sheet will move in the breeze, and will seem that the ghost is moving. Scary in a half light, shadowy location!

  47. Christine Anderson says:

    Thinking of you and Joe and the Kitties!! Stay safe and dry!!! God Bless!

  48. Martha says:

    Keep us posted on how you and Martha’s Vineyard survive Hurricane Sandy – we are all prepared and waiting – on Sunday afternoon in Connecticut.
    Martha from CT

  49. judi says:

    Well girls, and guys too, if you can check the New York harbor webcam website – nyharborwebcam.com. They have pointed their webcam at the shore in front of the bed & breakfast that has the webcam on it. You can sure see the waves and the flags sticking straight out. Wonder how long they will be able to keep it on??? By the by, the Queen Mary 2 is in the NY harbor and due to pull out at 5:00 p.m. eastern time, tonight, Sat. to head over across the “pond”. Am sure they can’t wait to scadaddle:)

    Susan and Joe, I’m sure you are well prepared. The silver lining WILL come out again. XXXOOO’s Judi

  50. I too love clothesline towels! My clothes dryer, nearly20 years old, finally gave up the ghost a few months ago, so everything gets dried on the line. I just have to be selective on the days I do the laundry and have an indoor drying rack for “just in case.” Out here on the farm they don’t have “the yard police”. I have a big clothesline right in the side yard. I may never replace that dryer. There’s a kind of laundry zen that takes over when I hang the clothes. Bonus – Our energy bills have been much lower since I switched to the old-fashioned way.

  51. Terri J says:

    Keeping you and yours’ safe and snug in my thoughts and prayers. Snuggle in with your kitties and some knitting, and stay safe!

  52. Betty Maie,Pennsylvania says:

    Hi Susan, I had a real nice day in South Jersey. The fried oysters were wonderful. I got to be with my mom for the day and she loaded me up with everything but the kitchen sink. I came on here to red some of the older post & there was your Dad’s about starting the day with eating a bullfrog…Got to love it!! I am still laughing.. He is so funny.. You & your siblings must have had a really good time growing up with him in the house…. I am going to remember that when things seem a bit difficult. “Eat A Bullfrog” LOL….:)

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

    Oh my goodness! I DO so love this blog! Worth the wait to get home from our little trip to view it properly instead of on my tiny, little phone! I LOVE your linens! Every last one! The embroidered towels with the scenes are just to die for! So precious! I would LOVE to find those patterns! I found a few cute ones at the most darling Ben Franklin store in Macon, Missouri this week! Bought 3 packets! Can’t wait to do some embroidery. That is ALSO where I found 2 patterns of your fabrics….the Friends ones! BOUGHT that, too! I don’t quilt so I’ve got to think of something very cute and adorable worthy of using your fabric! And how clever is Joe to rebuild your porch steps! ? Did he design them or was that the original design because I adore the two different sets of steps down and the railing in the middle where you can put some very cute wreath or or pumpkin garland or something! LOVE IT ALL! Cute group of friends there, too! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Karen! Sounds like you’ve been having fun! Joe just put the same thing back we had before, only better (of course 🙂 ) — I am going to try to reproduce those embroideries and make them available on the website, so stay tuned! xoxo

      • Karen P. -Wisconsin says:

        Oh perfect!! I WILL stay tuned. You could probably make even cuter original SB designs, I think!!

  54. Deb from Dixie says:

    Sending prayers Susan and Joe and for all the girlfriends in the path of this storm, that you are safe. Just hard to believe what the news is saying about this ……almost unbelieveable that three storms are colliding.
    I’ll be thinking of you all…….and hoping everyone stays warm, has supplies in place and the worst pases quickly.
    Prayers and Hugs,

  55. Kelley S. says:

    Susan, I hope you, Joe, and the darling kitties are safe as Sandy comes your way. We just got wind, a little rain and heavy surf in The LowCountry. It made the surfers really happy. You can never post enough, as far as I’m concerned. I’m having withdrawals as we speak! Just spent the day in Domesticity City making your delicous Corn Chowder, cornmeal rolls, doing laundry and the like. Wish you were here!

  56. Linda says:


    I thought you would love this poem The Way to England.
    I am blessed by so much that you share and write….and had to pass on
    something that might bless you. I am SO looking forward to your book
    about your trip to England, knowing that it will be filled with “Gloriosity”
    and a feast for the eyes !
    Numbers 6:24-26 Blessings,
    Take Care.

  57. Brenda McBride says:

    Just finished reading your post and now feel inspired to tidy up my kitchen! I am watching the news and hoping that your and Joe and your kitties and house manage to weather the storm with no trouble. Take care. Brenda

  58. Diane from WA state says:

    Just wanted to send safe wishes your way because of this horrid storm! You and your friends, family, (including furry family!), neighbors and beautiful island will be in my prayers! The comforting thought is that if anyone is prepared to weather this, YOU are! I know you have candles, great food, lots of cozy things to wear and you have JOE….who can fix, build, repair, and place nails wherever the wind blows!!! Love and hugs to you Susan! Diane

    • sbranch says:

      We are so ready, I just think about the people down south who are expecting a number of feet of snow!!!

  59. Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

    I’ve been reading about the impending storm and I pray that it will veer off to the east and miss you entirely. There’s a big ocean out there – Sandy doesn’t need to visit Martha’s Vineyard.

    We need and love you. Stay safe.

  60. Pam Bengier says:

    Thinking about you all, as the storm approaches. We went through four hurricanes in six weeks during 2004, in Florida and it wasn’t fun. Hope your power stays on, your homes are not damaged and no trees are downed. Be safe,

  61. Susan Ericksen of Bainbridge Island, Washington says:

    Hi Susan!
    It is truly time to batten down the hatches and stay safe. This sounds like the storm of the century, coming your way….Even if it goes inland in NY, you will get a beating out on the Island. Prepare with all your emergency things, candles, water, dry matches, food, boots, parkas, water, pet food, and all. Being on the west coast and watching this on the telly, I can only imagine how frightening this storm can be. I will be thinking of you, Joe, the kitties and all your MV friends and praying that you all will be safe and this will be over soon.
    Blessings to you all……Sue

    • Susan Ericksen of Bainbridge Island, Washington says:

      Oops…..Don’t forget a couple of hot water bottles!!!! One for you and one for Joe….the kitties will snuggle too!!!! hee hee ♥

    • sbranch says:

      I think we’re in a fairly good spot here, so far. And I promise we are so ready! The only thing I really do worry about is beach erosion, that’s not a good thing for an island! Thanks Susan!

      • Rhonda D. says:

        Have been thinking about you, Joe and the kitties all morning. You wrote above to another Susan that you think you’re in a fairly good spot there so far. Glad to hear that, because Sandy seems to making landfall around your area. I know you well enough to know you will be as ready as you can be, which is a good thing…we won’t worry as much. Praying for you, your island and those who could be affected by this storm. Take care.

  62. SuzK says:

    Sending warm thoughts to you and Joe that you will be safe and sound through this coming storm. I’m going to attempt to take my computer bus from NH to Boston on Monday – hopefully I won’t be blown away. My office is across the street from the Boston Harbor Hotel, so we’re pretty much on the water. I suspect my home in NH will be fine – I’m on the 93 corridor and up on a high hill – we always joke that if water levels get high enough to reach our house, we should be building an ark. Take care the next few days.

    • sbranch says:

      Yikes. You should stay home! LOL, great advice! It’s really not that windy this morning, so far, and it probably won’t be too bad, but be safe.xox

      • Cathy McC. says:

        Hoping you are safe and sound — I’ve been watching the coverage non-stop and I can’t imagine the battering all your homes are going to take. We even have terrific winds here in South Bend, and they are not at their fiercest yet. Wishing you warmth and comfort — Ethel

  63. Dorothy Ann says:

    * Hi Susan *

    Now, you and Joe and Girl Kitty and Jack be safe and cozy…I am thinking about you, as I track the “superstorm” on my computer @ 2:00 AM…

    I have alot more to talk (comment) to you about. Your “Minutia” Post and wonderful Willard are gems…but let’s get together about those…in my next reply to you.

    Oh! I prepared one of your favorite desserts…Cranberry Apple Crisp. Guess what? Now…it’s one of my favorites! Ron’s too. Thank you for the recipe.

    Take care and luv from me to you…to all our girlfriends too.
    * Dorothy Ann on Cougar Mountain, Washington *

  64. Evelyn says:

    Susan, have you ever thought about designing iron-on transfer patterns for embroidery? I love all your art.

    • sbranch says:

      Funny you should mention that! We are in the midst of doing it right now . . . started with the embroidery patterns from the two Norwegian pieces I showed in this post! Stay tuned!

  65. Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

    Dear Susan and Girlfriends,
    I wrote a comment yesterday that is “awaiting moderation”, but wanted everyone to know that I am snug inside and as prepared as I can be for Hurricane Sandy. It looks like Lancaster is in the “red zone”, which is so unusual for this area. Don’t know what to expect except it looks like we could lose power so I wanted to dash off this note!

    Thanks for your kind words Chris and Deb–I went to sleep last night safe in the prayers of so many of you. What a comforting thought! Kevin and I spent some of yesterday securing lawn furniture and putting away loose items. It’s been raining off and on, but from what I hear that’s just the very edge of Sandy. All school have off Monday and Tuesday. My phone and Kindle are being recharged and candles are at the ready! I have my chocolate! And, for now, I have Susan’s blog. Yay!!
    Love to all,

    • Chris Wells from West Texas says:

      We will be waiting to hear from you after the storm subsides. We are having such beautiful waether here it is hard to believe all of this havoc is happening in the rest of the country. I have a girlfriend in New Jersey, also. So praying for all of you! Stay safe and comment as soon as you can to let us know you are safe.

  66. Jan from Northern CA says:

    Susan, Joe, Jack and Girl Kittie,
    Checking in this morning to see if you were safe and sound. Batten down the hatches and stay safe out there. Let us know how you are doing if possible.
    Take Care.
    Jan from Northern CA

  67. Lynn Cooper says:

    Hi Susan,
    Don’t know if we will hear from you today, which is Oct. 29th in the morning, but I am worried about you, Joe, and the kitties since you will be in the thick of this hurricane making its way up the coast. Stay safe, and make sure that your work for your new book is in a safe and dry place. Keep us posted if you can.

  68. Chris Wells from West Texas says:

    For all of you who couldn’t see the Harvest Moon this morning, I want to report it was one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. It sat just above the horizon as I left for work. A hugh orange glow! As it began it’s descent it appeared to be getting bigger and bigger. Just stunning.

    Please stay safe all of you in Sandy’s path.

    • Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

      Thanks, Chris, for enjoying and describing the moon to many of us who haven’t seen it for awhile. I hate to miss a full moon, but am glad for the picture you painted.

      The wind is blowing and it’s still raining, but I am thankful that so far we still have our power. Kevin delayed going to work for awhile b/c the highway he uses (222) was closed until about 8:30am.

      It’s another inside day for me. I will get some work done, but somehow days like this just cause me to snuggle under a warm blanket with a book.

      Praying for those who live along the coast and for those who have lost power!

  69. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Good Morning Susan! Praying for your safety this morning!!! Cuddle alerts for you, Joe, Girl Kitty, and adorable Jack!!!!!! (Here in Dearborn, Michigan just very windy with high wind alerts this afternoon. I guess the wave heights will be high for the Great Lakes, though.) Thank you so much for the cute Halloween Bookmark!!!! I printed out (seven) this morning. One for each of my fellow knitters I will see today at my every-Monday-afternoon-knitting-group. I know they will cherish using them in their knitting books! God Bless Susan for all that you do!!!!!

  70. Lisa V. from Flower Mound, TX says:

    I spent about an hour this morning going back through all your posts looking for the one about time capsule boxes. I had a lovely time glancing at previous posts but wonder if it might be possible to put links to previous posts on the side? You could just link to posts by month so we could easily find posts from last October or March or whenever. Just a thought…Don’t mean to add more to your already full plate.

    • sbranch says:

      I just asked my computer wizard to do this for me, he said it would be easy, but he is also a busy man. At least it’s on the front burner! Did you find the post you were looking for …. if not, I think this is it. xo

      • Lisa V. from Flower Mound, TX says:

        Thank you! I found the post I wanted. It just took awhile. 🙂 Hope you all are snug and warm!

      • Judy Young says:

        I think this is a fabulous idea! Your blog keeps getting better and better! By the way, which book has the recipe for “hot milk cake” in it??

        • sbranch says:

          I’m putting it in the English Diary, it’s not in any book yet, but we took the recipe and made it when we were traveling, so in it goes!

  71. Aggie says:

    Susan, Joe and Kitties – hope you are all snug and safe during the storm.

  72. Lori says:

    Hello Susan! Hope you and all the girlfriends are safe as this “Frankenstorm” moves in!

  73. Kathie says:

    Hoping you have stored some water and food and also have a bug-out kit in case you need to bug out……but, will the ferry run? Are people leaving the island? Can Girl Kitty and Jack go too? We have all of this and I’m getting some hand carts for our kitties. We can strap their crates to the carts and wheel them wherever, with a third crate of kitty litter, and harnesses and leashes (no, they don’t like them, yet, but we are practicing and loving them so maybe they’ll find a way to enjoy them enough to be safe). We have 72-hour kits, too, for that first three days of no power and no-nothing (our bug-out kits are larger, in totes, and include tents and such…..the 72-hour kits are in back-packs). It doesn’t hurt to be prepared. We love you very much. You’re a bright spot in a rather troubled world. Out here in the “Desert of Wheat” (a great book by Zane Grey about Odessa and it’s environs), living on Crab Creek, we have flash floods to worry about from time-to-time; but wind is probably our most constant friends….wind and dust. Several times a year, we have 50+ mph winds. BUT, mostly, it’s sunny and warm….very good weather, over-all…..great for those who need lots of light. Please stay safe, Sis, and let us know how you are as often as possible. Prayers are flowing your way…..

  74. Becky says:

    I hope you, Joe and the kitties are doing okay throu the storm. Can’t turn away from the weather channel, it looks bad! Stay safe!
    <3 Becky

  75. Susan says:

    Stay safe! I’m going out to get batteries, some T.P., and plan to make soup! Just finished getting 30 gals. of gasoline, 3 gals. of kerosene and stored in the garage. The Jeep is filled so we’re good to go. I’m going to use your soup recipe for chicken stock and work with it this week. Any good cream of broccoli soup recipes?
    Hope the island doesn’t suffer too much damage from Hurricane Sandy! Just remember to check on neighbors if/when the power goes out. Best of luck!

    • Janet [in Rochester] says:

      Susan – the best Cream of Broccoli soup I ever had was from Julia Child’s
      little “Kitchen Wisdom” book. Highly recommend that soup – and the book! All sorts of Julia tips and tricks – and great little dishes.

  76. Linda Sautter says:

    I just LOVE you, Susan. I look forward to checking on your blog, reading Willard and all the wonderful recipes, pictures, posts, etc. You are such a blessing and take us back in time to the wonderful, carefree days of yesterday. Thank you for taking the time to share your life with us and please continue to bless us with your everyday happenings…Linda

  77. pat addison cave junction,OR) says:

    just popping in to wish all in Sandy’s path a wish for good luck and stay safe please. if told to get out of there, do it, your lives are far more valuable than your possessions, those can be replaced, not you. also if you have elderly or disabled neighbors, please check on them and be sure they are okay during this storm, its time for neighbor to help neighbor. keep your pets inside where its safe, and hug them tight as they will be needing it…alot!!! stay safe everyone, my thoughts and good wishes are with all of you. keeping fingers crossed for all of you. stay safe and let us all know how you are when you can. hugs…… 🙂

  78. Dinahsoar says:

    As always a lovely post! You make life charming!

    And that little Poirot Jack–decorating the basket of freshly laundered towels– reminded me: Have you watchedthe Hercule Poirot Halloween ? movie? Hint: I think you might find it on youtube.

    It begins with a Halloween party. Someone is murdered–of course. And then Hercule solves the mystery bit by bit. Is as usual excellent and quite a mystery–I did not guess ‘who did it’. I had to wait until the reveal.

    P.S. I’d love to be the person buying the house down the street from you! She is one lucky lady.

  79. Merry Groszmann says:

    It’s close to 2pm Monday the 29th and here at the Jersey shore we’re being pounded and its only going to get worse. I hope you are safe and sound in MV and pray you escape unscathed. And to all along the path of Sandy.

  80. Sue Rideout says:

    Wind is picking up in Southern Maine. Getting ready for the storm up here. Stay safe Susan!

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

    All good thoughts being sent your way! Can’t wait to hear about the aftermath of the storm! Stay snug and warm! I know that Joe probably has you all battened down! Hoping that it won’t be as bad as predicted. . . 😉

  82. judi says:

    Checking your twitter and happy to see pictures and sounds like you’re doing okay. Hang on. Sending love and prayers.

  83. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    Sending thoughts and prayers for a safe ride through Frankenstorm!
    I have never been in a Hurricane ….they sound frightful…..the Ocean has such power! I am thinking of you all….and have spent the last week trying to put some hearts back together…..a beautiful young woman (just turned 22yrs. this October) died tragically and suddenly…..her life touched so many of us in the community. And her family….are like angel-people…I pray they feel peace!
    And I will pray for peaceful weather….I think I will concentrate more on the tree part……they worry me, as we have many old ones lilting to the left in my backyard…. I know them a little bit better than the Ocean! Be Safe everyone!
    Wondering what the traditional Hurricane snacks might be?
    Our Blizzard snacks are wine, cheese, and kippersnacks…..weird, huh?

  84. Jan from Michigan says:

    Dear Susan & Joe and kitties of course,

    Praying for all of you and all our East Coast Girlfriends. Sounds like a bad one! Michigan is getting heavy winds and very cold but nothing like what is going on out East. Stay safe!

  85. Gail Buss says:

    Hi Susan, Hope you, Joe, Jack and Kitty are safe during this terrible storm! I haven’t been able to reply to your last two blogs so here it goes. I just bought some Honey Crisp apples today for the first time. Can’t wait to try them since you raved about them. The recipe for Gingerbread Cake with Lemon Sauce is one I will have to try soon too. All those embroidered linens are so dear and so many hours of work went in to them. I was working on a Christmas stocking for my grandson and finally finished it……..now I can’t wait to fill it with matchbox cars, candies, etc. He will love it I’m sure, since my Joe loves it. It’s got Santa and Rudolph and a Christmas tree and a candycane…so cute. Hours and hours of work. Your steps Joe made are so sturdy looking and clean cut (perfect job, Joe). My Joe said it looked like it was redwood. And, there’s that clothesline that I love again! If we ever move again, I will never move into a neighborhood that doesn’t allow clotheslines. I really miss mine much more than I thought I would. Just love to see everything blowing in the breeze and the smell of the clothes………there’s nothing like it. And of course, very economical too. Well, I’m praying for everyone during this storm. May God watch over all of you. Hugs, Gail Buss Bev. Hills, Fl XX

  86. Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

    I made a Willard list of the 15 things to do this fall and I forwarded Willard on to my friends and told them to get cracking.

    Number 7 – My Harvest Moon was obscured by clouds. Boo Hoo! I was hungry, so instead of pumpkin latte, I had pumpkin pancakes, sausage, applesauce and maple syrup (the real stuff from your neck of the woods) for dinner.

    Number 15 – I made a side dish of butternut squash, apples, dried cranberries, onions and cinnamon in my crockpot. It made the house smell nice but pretty boring, even though the recipe got good reviews. But – I added some Splenda and some vinegar and some peach tea (to make it juicier) and came up with a passable chutney.

    My mind is on Sandy and it has removed me from Divine Order. Will pick up the list when the danger for our east coast people has passed. Things will work out perfectly then.

    Praying for all.

  87. Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

    Oops! Hunter Moon, not Harvest Moom. See what I mean? Go away, Sandy!

  88. Debra V. ~ Southern California says:

    I’ve been watching the weather channel on TV. Looks like you’re in for one heck of a storm. Or did you already get it? At any rate, I’m going to be praying for your safety and those on the Island. Please take good care of your selves. Hope you’ve battened down the hatches and are ready with well stocked pantry shelves. I hope you have a generator to keep the electricity going at your place to keep the frigerator and freezer running. I’ll be thinking of you and hope you are happy and safe.

  89. Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

    Good news! Katie Sue just called and she’d been out buying Honey Crisp apples and when she came home she noticed that we have the Hunter Moon tonight. So now I’ve seen it, but I used all my pumpkin, so I guess I’ll just have a cup of tea made with a fancy little mesh pyramid bag with a tiny leaf hanging from the string. Katie Sue brought them from Florida and they’re tres’ chic, if you can use that term to apply to tea bags. Will that work?

    • sbranch says:

      I love those little teabags, had one just decorating the top of my stove for a long time — that little leaf!

  90. Linda in Texas says:

    Hi Susan (and Girlfriends), I’ve just been lurking and enjoying this post and all the comments. It’s like a big tea party with little conversations going on in different parts of the room. (I enjoyed reading about all the wonderful things Judy Young found at the estate sales. Lucky girl!)

    Hope you’re safe and dry tonight. The weather map looks like the worst of the storm hit below you. (I loved reading all the prayers for everyone’s safety in the storm. It’s a comforting feeling knowing you’re being prayed for.)

    I so enjoyed seeing your linens. Love your ironing board cover. And thank you for introducing us to your girlfriends around the kitchen table. What a special time you all must have had.

    As always, thank you for a lovely blog.

    • Judy Young says:

      Hi Linda, you should have been with me that day! I will probably never have another day being that lucky……..but I have learned to look more closely at things at estate sales and antique shops, it’s so much fun when you find something pretty and useful. I put the quilt rack in my dining room (using Susan’s idea!) and hung some of the linens on it…..just beautiful. It’s a shame I didn’t have daughters to pass all these things on to, but my boys will probably fight over some of it!

  91. Deanna says:

    Praying all is well with you and your beautiful home. The hurricane is right on top of you right now. So scary!

  92. Anna Limont, camano island,wa says:

    Keeping everyone in storms way in my thoughts and prayers, I hope you are all staying safe and cozy with warm fires, candles, cozy throws, pets near by, board games and snacks, or good books. I hope they are wrong about the severity of this storm. Take care all.

  93. Michele Toone says:

    Just saw the news and am hoping and praying you are safe and dry.

  94. Victoria Miller says:

    Thoughts and hopes are with you as the storm makes its way down the East Coast! To all on the East Coast, you are very much in the thoughts and prayers of many here clear across the country! Be prepared, be strong, and be safe!
    Look for you back here again soon Susan, best wishes!

  95. Merci says:

    My prayers being sent your way!

  96. Melina Bush says:

    Definitely praying for your safety during this monster storm. Hang on!

  97. judi says:

    Good morning Sunshine! I see you replied at 2:33 a.m. so am assuming you still have power. Wow, what a scary storm. Had the tv to the weather channel all day yesterday. Am sure you are awaiting daylight to take a look around. Keep in touch. xxxooo

    • sbranch says:

      I will…all is well, as far as I can see out the windows! I’m a little shellshocked at how much damage the storm did in New Jersey and NY and still is doing in so many places!

      • Linda in Texas says:

        I agree with you about the shell-shocked at the damage in NJ and NY. It is worse than I was expecting. Praying for continued safety for everyone there and for a speedy recovery.

        They’re showing pictures now on TV of all the snow in W Va.

        Glad to read that you and Joe and kitties are OK. Hope the damage on MV is minimal.

      • Dawn from Minnesota says:

        “shellshocked” ……our thoughts exactly, at work today. Our hearts go out to all those suffering. Susan, the time and thought you put into your blog here is quite special…. and for those, who choose, to visit you …. they will always feel warm sunshine, even on the most cloudy of days. Take Care for always and bye-bye for now.

  98. Stacey says:

    I’ve been out of town and just had to come running for my dose of Susan’s blog. Thanks for always being so wonderful.

    I’ve been wondering how you are doing with Hurricane Sandy. Update us when you can.

  99. Good morning Susan….I’m wondering if you’ve lost your power there on MV? I saw the photos you posted yesterday on Twitter and checked the MV Times website for news and see there are trees burning from hitting power lines there. I’ve been looking at the weather.com site to try to get the latest updates since we have no TV service. We DO have Internet, though, and amazingly have not lost our power here in northern Maryland–we lost it for an hour yesterday mid-day when a smallish tree fell on the power line to our house. They came out right away and removed the tree and our power was back on in an hour. I’ve heard from one of my sons this morning in Baltimore and he is without power there. Western Maryland has 12 inches of snow! It looks like NYC was badly hit as other cities along the coast from the Mid-Atlantic on northward.

    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t gone out, and I don’t think I will, so I only know what’s happening outside my studio window…it’s grey, overcast, and raining, but no branches are down that I can see, and from here, I don’t see any fires. Crazy storm!!! We have power, at least in my neighborhood! Very lucky! Thank you Cathy, so good to hear from you!

  100. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    Just wanted to let you know that you and Joe and Girl Kitty and Jack are in my thoughts and prayers. I picture you all sitting on the love seat in front of a crackling fire sipping tea and eating roasted chicken! Looking forward to hearing from you! xoxo Joy

    • sbranch says:

      We are good! I just finished two new pages for the book and am thinking it just might be time to update the blog . . . for all my patient girlfriends!!

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        Whew! So happy you are good! So sorry about all the damage the storm has done & will continue to do for a few days to others. Going in now to check the news on tv for the weather situation for you all. Congrats on a few more pages on the new book! You’re amazing! Praying that all that water gets back into the ocean where it belongs! xoxo

      • Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

        Please know that we are thinking of everyone on the East Coast. We’ve been following all of the news reports very closely. Warm hugs and prayers for everyone’s safety now and in Sandy’s aftermath. When you can, please let us know that you are safe! ♡♡

      • Joy Pence from Ohio says:

        So glad to hear that you all are good; enjoying your time working on your book. Us girlfriends think a lot of you! We are here and we are patient. sort of…:-)

        • sbranch says:

          Thank you Joy . . . and during the storm, I hunkered down, and did six more pages! So we are all in this together!

      • Rhonda D. says:

        Glad to hear you say that Susan. This has been a very bad storm around your area and yes, we have all been worried about you. It was really good to see you responding to some of the comments today…then we know you at least have power and all is some form of well. And, yes, we all will have more peace once you update the blog. Take care. Praying that all is well with you and your island.

      • Deborah Norling says:

        I was thinking about all of you on the East Coast last night and of course my thoughts turned to Susan and Joe and Girl Kitty and Jack and thought it must be so amazing to know that there are thousands and thousands of people thinking of you and wishing you the very best through this storm and always !

      • zinnia patch says:

        oh Susan – so glad to see you have been leaving comments.
        I let out a big sigh…wheee!!!! you are fine.. we had high winds and rain through the night, then turned to ice and snow this morning here in central ohio….. Lights have been flickering but so far still have power…. Stay safe…. and know you are in my thoughts and prayers…..

      • Deb Surman from Illinois says:

        Thanks Susan, I’m starting to go thru withdrawals! Hope you and Joe weathered the storm well. We’re getting very high winds here in the Chicago area, but after seeing what those poor people on the east coast are going thru, I’m not complaining!

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