Hi Everyone! Here is your morning MUSICA!  Thinking about Blessings, this cold frosty day on Martha’s Vineyard!

I was at the supermarket at 7 am Monday morning, buying my bread for the turkey stuffing, because the first “dry day” was Monday (in order to get my three solid days of bread drying in before Thanksgiving), and I also needed to be on the 10 am boat that day . . . before I went, I laid it all out on the ironing board…

And off I went … to meet Joe on the other side, better known as “The Mainland.”  He went to see a Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler concert in Boston with his friend on Sunday night, and then he met me (who stayed home and painted like a happy bunny) so we could go shopping on the Cape. It was so fun!  Besides having lunch out, and meandering . . .

We stocked up at Trader Joe’s and visited a huge festive garden center (Mahoney’s) to see what Christmasy things they had.  But mainly, I was looking for inspiration, something that would make me say, “Oh Wow, I have to git me some of that!” That’s what I had on my list, “Inspiration, please.”  Looking for some ideas to decorate for a cute Christmas.

We did the only Black Friday we’re ever going to do, and stopped at JoAnn’s, The Christmas Tree Shop, and Michael’s Crafts on Meandering Monday — LOOK at all these wonderful little goodies we found!  Do I know what I will do with them?  No, I do not!! HOORAY!!! 

Well, I do have a vague idea of what I’m going to make, I won’t know for sure until I get at it, but I definitely feel inspired!  (Jack is going to LOVE this stuff!)

And then, as I’m unpacking and putting everything away, in comes Girl, just as the sun was coming up, elegant, calm, looking beautiful in the light, not interested in any colorful pom poms. Just a little light snack and some staring.

I think she’s secretly a saint!  So much goodness and trust in her little face.♥

So nice of her to stick around and let me take pictures… she’s a very shy girl. But very cozy, lovely to sleep with.

Outside, Joe was hanging up bird feeder number FOUR, outside the kitchen windows.

This is our own kind of fish tank, prettiest view I can think of, right in front of my kitchen sink.  Makes winter a joy.

Since Jack was having his morning nap, I thought NOW would be a good time to lay it all out on the dining table/craft table. When I got done playing with it and mulling it all over, I covered it with my coat, so maybe he won’t see it for another day.

I got lots of birds. I have no idea what I will do with them yet, but I’m a bird woman and I’m sure I will have fun with them!  The cupcake bird was a gift from a girlfriend . . . she made it! Somehow I have to figure a way for it to take center stage.

Oh yes, I am going to have fun.  I started cutting up the straws to string them for garland — I have this compulsion toward garlands, lots of garlands, and swags, and bunting, festooning, flounces and flourishes with fruity spangles, trims, and pom poms. That’s the direction I’m going!

While I was playing with scissors, ribbon and glue, this was my background music: Christmas in Connecticut.  If this doesn’t put a person in a good mood, nothing can! I promise, as I get some of my decorations done, you will get the pictures first!

So then the phone rang, it was Kellee, calling from my studio in California.  Guess what? We got the bird cups back in . . . which reminded me, I need tea!

She wanted me to tell everyone they’re BACK!

Here’s our yard today, Turkey’s tempting fate.  These guys have it made, they are free wanderers and safe on Martha’s Vineyard, going from yard to yard, keeping things rather insect free. So nice of them to decorate the garden for the season.  Thank you Turkeys, in more ways than one.

Early this morning we went on our walk . . . which I thought I’d show you.  So, in the spirit of the busy-ness of the season, before you click on the arrow here, take just a moment, turn down any noise around you, take a deep breath of what you imagine to be cold, clean ocean air; pull your sweater around you, sink deep into your chair, breathe deeply and relax . . . OK, go.

This is my living prayer.  Everyday, when we’re out there on our walk, I look up and say, Thank you God.  It’s the best part of my day.  We have walked here almost every day since 1991 and I could not love it more.

This is where we do our dreaming as we hunt for beach glass and listen to the seagulls . . . we’re often rewarded . . .

With a little bit of nature, made by nature, one of a kind…

We get to the water by walking down a mile and a half dirt-road through the woods . . . the quiet color-splashed woods filled with cardinals, deer, squirrels, drifting leaves, and wafting woodsmoke, which reminds me of this, from my Autumn book, I thought you might like to read …

And that’s how I feel, we are not alone.   We have the most wonderful and simplest things to be grateful for . . . just being alive to enjoy walks, pompoms, the smell of turkey on Thanksgiving, and this . . .

At this very moment, I am sitting very far forward in my chair, because Jack has inserted himself between me and the back of the chair, warm against me, for a nap. Am I lucky?  Yes, I am.

I can’t wait until Saturday!  It’s “Small Business Saturday,” and we’ll shop around the island and do our part to keep our Main Streets alive and thriving and happy. It not us doing them a favor, it is them, doing it for us.♥

Our shop owners (read: friends and neighbors) do such an amazing job decorating their windows — look how cute this snow globe is! I owned a shop for a while, and now I know, and will never underestimate, how many hopes and dreams are tied up in a little store.  What a charm and quality of life they give to our community, and how I never EVER want them to go away. 

My dad gave me a “Be an Elf” pin years ago, I love to wear it during the holidays, put on a holiday scarf, and go shopping. But elfing can also be a life plan.  The world could truly use a few more elves. ♥ Opportunities abound.

OK, so here comes the first wonderful holiday weekend with our friends and families! There are so many new movies coming; I’m very excited to see Lincoln, and Anna Karenina — which I would go to for the costumes alone!  I think Les Miserables (OMG the music!) is coming at Christmas — and there’s a new romantic comedy I’m hearing is good …. Silver Lining Playbook.  Do you have any others we should know about? While you’re cooking or wrapping gifts, nothing is more wonderful as background “music” than an old movie . . . treat yourself to an early gift, add to your video library — there are so many to choose from, perfect for holiday viewing, and worth owning . . . two of my favorites . . . Midnight in Paris (with the delicious music) or the wonderful Falling for a Dancer. They also make lovely gifts, turn someone on to two hours of magical story-telling.

 And from me to you, here’s a little holiday bookmark for you to print out …

Bless you all Dear Hearts, have a wonderful Thanksgiving; go for a walk if you can, and drink in some of God’s gifts. Be an Elf. ♥ XOXO

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492 Responses to BLESSINGS

  1. Dena says:

    Susan just wanted to let you i made i made your chocolate truffles receipe, for thanksgiving , and it was so easy and sooooo good, i used the mint julep instead of the vanilla, it gave them a hint of mint. I gave some to my friend , and her word for it was phenomenal , and wants me to bring that to her bake party she’s having in a couple of weeks, Hope you had a great thanksgiving. Will have to try some more of your recipes.

  2. Philippa says:

    A little heads up…

    You seem to have a ” comment eater ” somewhere !
    Last few times I left a comment it was not moderated and then completely disappeared from the comments list.

    • sbranch says:

      We know. We don’t know why, but we do have a comment eater. And since we don’t see the comment, we don’t know when it’s happening! We think it only takes maybe two a week, but we don’t even know that for sure! So sorry!

      • Hi Susan,

        When I saw this comment about the Comment Eater I thought I’d try to repost my comment that never showed up from November 23. It was to Pat Mofjeld’s comment about Tasha Tudor’s book Take Joy:

        November 23, 2012 at 9:06 am
        Have you seen her videos Take Joy and Take Peace? I have just about everything she published or has been published about her! If anyone wants to come visit me, I’d love to share it all with them. We could have a Tasha Tudor Retreat. I have all of Susan’s books, too, except for the smaller ones that are super-hard (or expensive) to find….I didn’t know about them when they first came out or else I would have those, too. We could have a Susan Retreat, too.

        • sbranch says:

          OK I see this one Cathy, and maybe I know why it was stopped before, although here it is again, I don’t know, but there’s something on my blog that stops advertising by other blogs, otherwise my blog would just become an advertisement. If a commenter has a blog, there is automatically a link to it; girlfriends get to know each other here and can go to each other’s sites if they want, but the designers who created my blog put in code to stop advertising in the comment section and usually treats it as spam. I hardly ever see self-promotion on here, but every once in a while something gets through. It also doesn’t allow links to websites directly from here either. FYI … now we know why. Which is nice, it also happens sometimes for no apparent reason!

          • So do you think my comment fell into the “for no apparent reason” or the advertising category? I’ve had other comments not get moderated “for no apparent reason” and then show up 2 days later. Hmmm….there really must be a Blog gremlin! Or else I have a “editor in the ethernet” editing my comments!

          • sbranch says:

            I think they are one and the same!

  3. mary spring says:

    …woo- hoo !!…the whole house smells incredible…making orange marmalade for your Christmas Jam…hope it turns out as good as it smells !!!…thank you, Susan…hoping you’re having a nice Sunday afternoon also…..

    • sbranch says:

      Mmmm, sounds good Mary! We walked out to the water, was freezing today, not really, it was 40 — but it was beautiful and people were out there playing with a kite. We came home, Joe brought down the Christmas decorations from the attic, and I painted lambs all afternoon. Throwing the ball, all the while.

  4. A.M. says:

    Hi Susan, it’s time for me to come in from the shadows and publicly thank you for sharing your family recipe for stuffing. I followed your instructions down to the “t” and never had so many compliments on the delicious toothsome stuffing. All credits to you and your wonderful blog. Always lovely to see a picture of the camera shy Girl Kitty, and Jack has grown so much from when he first came home with you. The kitchen looks lovely after the remodeling, and your beautiful decorations highlighted it beautifully. Lovely to see some of the old decorations back and the new ones too. Always with warm regards.


  5. Joan S. says:

    Made your Cranberry Sauce, easy and yummy indeed. This morning I mixed it with Orange Marmalade a you suggested, it was wonderful on a homemade cranberry orange scone. Thank you for another wonderful post.

  6. Sara Finally in Georgia!!! says:

    How was your Thanksgiving? Ours was wonderful! 🙂 We had friends in town and family over to share it all with. Yesterday we went and cut our own tree for Christmas and started our decorating!!! Back to school for the kiddos today and the countdown begins 🙂 I have really loved the Small Business Saturday! We need those businesses!!!! I absolutely adore that snow globe window display! I have not forgotten it since you posted it last year! It is magical!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve been loving every moment. Such a lovely time of year … fireplace and all! GREAT movies on TCM this weekend, nice background for everything going on! Happy Monday Sara!

  7. judi says:

    Hope you get all your outside deco up . . . looks like you are going to have a winter wonderland by midweek:)) Hugs

  8. Bertie says:

    Blessings to you too Susan. I got so carried away reading your post that I almost forgot about my biscuits in the oven. rescued just in time!

    Happy crafting

    Bertie x

  9. Angie(Tink!) says:

    ♥♫♥♫ Good Morning Sweetest Elf~Sue… 🙂 I Just got Back from “Our” Walk…(OMG Love This Video) & I Too Thank God…Every Day! 🙂 Yay! I Know Your Thanksgiving~Day Had to Be Scrumptious! Ours was so Yummy That Herbster Said…”Angie This is The Best Thanksgiving Ever”! (He Says this Every Year ;-)) it Was so Yummy! Every Dish Turned out so Good Your Corn~Pudding Was Perfection! & The Turkey so Juicy! etc..etc..etc..I am STILL Full! ok The Day After Thanksgiving I woke Early & There were Christmas~Carols on The Radio…so Of Course The Christmas Spirit Came Over Me & I Said I am going to Begin to Deck The Halls! & I Did! Hours & Hours… First I had to Take down All of Fall…Then Clean… Then I Began to Deck The Halls! ♥♫ Up & Down The Attic Ladder I went Box After Box…Hello Old Friends! By Sunset Most Everything was Up…I Love to Transform Our Home into a Magical Enchanted Christmas Cottage! 😉 Ho~Ho~Ho! Then I took a Break…We Went Out & About On Saturday & Sunday…Ate Leftovers The Last Few Days 🙂 (Burp! Excuse Me 😉 ) & Now This Morning at 47 Degrees (Yay! Feels Like Christmas Here!) I am sipping on a Cup of Hot Chocolate with Whip Cream & Crushed Candy~Cane on Top… Reading Your Wonderful Blog Sweet Sue…The Photos of Girl~Kitty Divine She Is a Princess & Jack…Oh Meow! I want A “Be an Elf Pin”! How Adorable of Your Dad! 🙂 So Now I Shall Get Offline & I Need to Finish…I have The Banister to String Red Twinkling Lights & Silver & Red Garland…This Weekend We Get Our Christmas Tree! Yay! 🙂 & Sweet Sue ok cause we Have like 8 Days of November…Which I Love cause it gives Us All Extra Time to Deck The Halls Etc…While I was Putting up The Outside Christmas Decorations & Holiday Lights…My Neighbors were taking a Peek some saying…”wow isn’t it Early Angie”?… 😉 I Just Smiled My Elf~Smile 🙂 & get this On Sunday at Least 7 Neighbors Began to Deck Their Halls…I actually Inspired Them! 😉 The Holidays are Here & I am doing The Jiggity~Jig Elf~Dance… cause Sweet Sue…I Am An Elf! (With Wings!) Merry Christmas To All! Love & Christmas Pixie~Dust….P.S. On Sunday I Savored The Last Pages of Your Autumn Book Sweet Sue….Then I Put it Back on The Shelf…& This Morning I Took Down Your Christmas Joy Book… I Shall Begin Re~Reading it This Afternoon When I Put The Last Empty Box up in The Attic…I will Get Cozy & Warm & sip on a Cup of Peppermint Tea Christmas Carols playing…Candles Lit Christmas Lights Twinkling… So This is Christmas… ♥♫ xoxo Poof! 🙂 ♥♫ L♥ve & J♥y To You Sweetest Sue & Joe & Girl~Kitty & Jack & All Of Us….. 🙂 ♥♫ P.P.S. I Loved All Your Photos of Your Enchanted Island all Those Cute Decorated Shops…It Looks Like One of Those Christmas Villages! & All Your Magical Christmas Treasures You Bought…I Know You Will Be Turning Your Beautiful Home into a Magical Wintery Wonderland! Yay! Have Fun! Hugzzz & “Fairylicious~Kisses” xoxo Elf_Angie(Tink!) 😉 ♥♫

    • Angie(Tink!) says:

      P.P.P.S I Think Snow is Heading Your Way Sweet Sue….Yay! Stay Warm & Cozy! It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas… ♥♫♥♫♥♫ xoxo 🙂

      • sbranch says:

        I was just checking out the weather … so far it looks like it might be mixed with rain tomorrow, and after that, not so sure. Our island keeps things a tad warmer than it is inland. Crossing my fingers for some before Christmas! Need a little bit of your magic dust Angie!

    • sbranch says:

      I am sure you are the Joy of your neighborhood Angie! It all sounds just wonderful! Merry Merry to you!

      • Angie(Tink!) says:

        Merry Merry & Joy~Joy Sweetest Sue…& Thank~You Elf~Sue! xoxo Elf~Angie(Tink!) 😉 Poof! ♥*¨`*¨*.¸¸.♥*¨`*¨♥*¨`¨*.¸¸.♥*

    • Joan Lesmeister says:

      Angie, may I pop in for a cup of tea & get some fairy dust sprinkled on me! Love your words! xo

  10. Gail from Hingham says:

    Good Morning Susan,
    I can’t wait to see your Christmas decorations. They will be an inspiration, no doubt about that. I was just wondering if I could make a request for one of your screen savers from a few years ago. It was a little house covered in snow with smoke coming out of the chimney spelling PEACE. I would love to have it as a screensaver again if it is still possible. If not, I am sure whatever you choose will be beautiful. Thanks so much. Please have a wonderful day.xoGail

  11. Kim says:

    Hi!! OMGosh!! You were on the Cape and went to the same stores that I did only the day before! Oh…if only I had run into you! 🙂 Next time you gotta go to Harvest of Barnstable in YarmouthPort/Hyannis line, Barn & Co. in Dennis on RT 6a, Snows in Orleans…… I could go on n on. I LOVE THE CAPE! Too bad I am only there on weekends til my house is built. My girls and I LOVE your heart shape rock that you posted! My Lauren just found a HUGE one on the edge of the woods of our new house! Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving! I made your Sweet Potato Pie recipe! LOVE LOVE LOVE it! I have been making it for a while! Really good! So thanks for all the great recipes!! I have all your cookbooks and ADORE them! Hugs from Kim, Mike, Ashley and Lauren

  12. Carla says:

    I supported “Small Business Saturday” in Concord, MA! I fell in love with that town and am so glad we discovered it while visiting my daughter who lives in the Boston area. If you have never been I HIGHLY recommend it! Happy decorating!

  13. Lori from Maine says:

    Never again…no way, no how! We went to a restaurant buffet for Thanksgiving this year. NO leftovers! No matter how many times I open the fridge, there’s no turkey staring creepily at me, no smooshed pies, no stacks of Tupperware and old Cool Whip containers containing bits of this and that. Next year I vow to cook the whole shooting match, even down to stuffing the pimentoes into the olives if I have to! (can you tell I’m having leftovers/turkey sandwich withdrawals 🙁 ) But…it was a fun family day anyway. Lesson learned…don’t change tradition. Hmmmm, didn’t you do a blog on traditions just a short time ago?
    Glad Joe and friend got to see Dylan/Knopfler in Boston. Hubby and I saw Dylan in Bangor a year ago. Still good! We were sooooo fortunate to be at the Boston Garden on Nov. 16 (2 nights before Joe) to see the Who (whoooooo are you…..) What a blast! Thought hubby was going to leave me and sit by himself (not really) – but I’d never seen them before and I guess I was more excited about it than I expected I’d be. I sang myself hoarse, fist pumped my shoulder sore and almost fell out of my wheelchair two or three times. My kids would have been so embarrassed (yay!). It was like being at a 12,000 person AARP meeting – I love that our generation still knows good music when they hear it!
    Got to go…Stash Tea has free shipping for 2 more hours and I have a bit of a list…some of it for people other than myself!
    Love to all from SW HBR xoxoxo

  14. Jacquie says:

    Love the bookmark! I’ve always wondered your thoughts on Tasha Tudor’s work…she’s always been a favorite of mine.

  15. Diane Martin says:

    A film we enjoyed that is now available for rental is “Moonrise Kingdom” with Bill Murray. It takes place in 1965 on an island off New England and involves quite a few quirky characters. We found it charming. Perhaps someone else has already mentioned it. I am anxiously awaiting one of your out of print books found on Amazon. I am scolding myself for not buying it when you could have reaped the benefits from the additional sale.

  16. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    Good morning Susan! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I see you have bought your ribbon candy! YAY!! Me too. I put mine in a wonderful old jar with a red lid and thought of you. I made the cranberry sauce, it was amazing. I am going to have to make more to mix with marmalade as my husband gobbled up the first batch with his turkey. Thank you for the ocean view…ahhhhh. Yes that is truly a blessing. And God told it that it could only come up so far….that is what is so cool! Have fun decorating. I love the drinking straw garland….aren’t you clever 🙂

  17. Joan Lesmeister says:

    We were on the beach at Mendocino when you sent this blog, & my daughter picked up a heart rock! We had our Thanksgiving feast in the campground with all the trimmins, & our family was very thankful, but missed those who couldn’t be with us! Great video Sue! Don & I were watching the giant waves (from the warm, cozy truck), one day while it STORMED, & I told him I was mesmerized & could watch them all day – he said maybe not ALL day! Garlands galore, I can hardly wait to see the end result with all your goodies! xoxo

  18. Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

    Re your heart-shaped rock: One year while walking the beaches in Door County, I found a rock with a face on it! (“The Great Stone Face”!!!) I brought it home for a paperweight. Had it sitting on the top of the piano and took a picture of it and when it was developed, sitting under the rock on the music stand–I SWEAR NOT PLANNED–the hymnal was open to the hymn “Rock of Ages”. It was so funny, almost weird!!! The other funny thing is that some people see the face instantly and comment on it and other people ask me why I have a rock on the piano… 🙂

  19. Lynn Slosson says:

    Made your homemade stuffing for Thanksgiving, much to the skepticism of my family! It was delicious, and they did NOT have to run me out of town! I dried way too much bread (3 loaves) so I processed the leftovers for bread crumbs and they now reside in my freezer. Your recipe did not say HOW MUCH stuffing it made. But it was wonderful!

  20. Donna Kohler says:

    Susan, I’m so thrilled to finally look you up on line! I’ve had several of your books and have loved them since the early 1990s. Life gets so busy with the financial struggle, my wonderful Dutch hubby is an architectural illustrator who’s business has gone down 80% over the last few years and I turned to real estate in 2005 to help out, the people I meet are wonderful but it’s not the creative life I want. The creative life is on the side with my Treadle Lady site and Etsy shop and working hard to make it all my life.

    I’ve been reading your blog, going backwards and over and over see so many like interests, little houses, Downton Abbey and you’ve mentioned Midnight in Paris. We saw Midnight when it first came out and I told Jan (pronounced yahn) that is a movie I want. Since we purchased it we have probably watched it 50 times and researched and read many of the people and places in it. Did you know the taxidermy shop was real and still in existence? The movie even helped inspire me to start a new Etsy shop to include my hubby’s work and it’s named after a most incredible cabinet I have, Paris Cabinet, still trying to get that off the ground.

    The 3rd season, first show of Downton Abbey, inspired me to make white buntings like the town was decorated. I love sewing on wonderful treadles from my collection and they have to be made on my 1920 English Jones machine, ahhhh, life is sweet.

    Just had to write to thank you for your site and blog that is an absolute delight that hubby and I are enjoying.
    Donna Kohler

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