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. Susan (in VA) says:

    Girl Kitty exudes such an air of serenity and Jack. . . doesn’t. So funny that they’re unlikely housemates.

    I hope everyone in the Susan Branch household, as well as all the other Americans “tuning in” here, have a wonderful and safe holiday. Special thoughts going out to the Sandy victims still struggling as they put their homes and lives back together. Even there, there are things to be thankful for. Blessings to all.

  2. Victoria Miller says:

    Thanks again for another lovely post. I just love Girl Kitty. She is so serene, so austere, such a great lady! She has the most beautiful green eyes! It’s good to see her. Braving the downstairs with Mad Jack, it would seem. What a great time of the year to play: elf, indeed! Loved the Musica today, never heard that version before. I have a CD with a great version by John Lithgow and Bebe Neuwirth. It’s on Utube, and it’s quite delightful. Glad Joe made it to see Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler, both favorites of mine. But I have so many favorites. Truly, I do think to myself “What a Wonderful World.” A very joyous and memorable Thanksgiving to all!

    • sbranch says:

      “What a wonderful world!” xoxo

      • Jan aka Mollyskeeper98 on Twitter says:

        Happy Thanksgiving Susan and Joe!!! We are all turkeyed out here in GA and I had just logged on to your store to make my annual purchase of calendars and my SB ornament….and you don’t have the ornaments listed. Are you sold out already? I am crossing my fingers you will get some more because I missed getting mine last year too. I’m so sad! My girls know how much I am inspired by you, and the ornaments will go to them one day. Christmas truly is magical!! What would it be without out my special Susan ornament??! Not the same that’s for sure!!!
        Just thought I would ask

        • sbranch says:

          We are sold out of the ornaments Jan. I’m so sorry. We made twice as many than last year, but we only get to do it once, sorry. I hope you got calendars, I know we’re down to just a few left … we got them in this year in May because last year we ran out! I hope everyone got one!!! Watch Willard’s, because that’s where I announce when the ornaments come in, usually around July or August. I feel bad when everyone doesn’t get one!

  3. Lezlee says:

    I wish your postings were like PAGES long! (like you don’t do enough already:) Just balm for the soul . . .

    And I know this is going to sound odd – but you weren’t a extra in the movie, “Sabrina” were you? I swear you were crossing the street while Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond were riding bikes in town!

    • sbranch says:

      Hahahahaha, well we were crossing the street, but I think we got yelled at … me and three of my girlfriends were walking into town for lunch and sort of got in the way!

  4. Treese says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Susan to you and your family.

    I just returned from Newcastle England and working on my grand old Victorian house. She is a little beauty. I need to finish up in early March and she will be 100%. It was sad to say goodbye to my friends in Newcastle. But, I love the start of our special time here with Thanksgiving.

    I arrived home yesterday and even though I was brain damaged I dashed off to see Lincoln. I am a big Civil War buff and have loved Abraham since I was a child. A real hero and Spielberg did him justice. I HIGHLY recommend it.

    I still can’t cook, but in the morning I deliver Thanksgiving baskets to those that are in need and then I will go to the Quaker family down the road for an obscene Thanksgiving dinner. Now those folks know how to put on the nosebag! LOL. Then I will take my sweet boy (horse) for a ride.

    My cowboy will arrive here Friday for a few days. He runs a big ranch in another state. Neither of us have any family so it’s nice to see each other.
    Again have a Happy Thanksgiving and can’t wait to see all our projects finished,
    Treese Colorado Cowgirl.

  5. Vickie (Little Rock, AR) says:

    Simply beautiful post! A few years back, after many years of dreaming about and talking about wanting to visit your shop, I accompanied my husband on a business conference trip to LA and I decided this it! This is my sign-I will at least be in the state of California!! We will rent a car, we will drive the coastline and we will go to Susan’s shop — and then the e-mail that it was closing. I kind of felt responsible – like if I had never planned to go you would have kept your shop! Was so very sad, but sometimes you have to make decisions like that, as hard as they are. And thank goodness now for your beautiful blogs that just make my day. Still, a Susan Shop would be a little slice of heaven that I could probably lose myself in for at least a day 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

    • sbranch says:

      It was really sweet, but I spent so much time there I had no time for book writing. I did cut roses for it all the time, and found fun antiques to mix in with the new things. I loved it. Had it for three years. Same to you Vickie, Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Debbie says:

    Wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving! Thank you for sharing via your blog….your posts really brighten my world and provide me with inspiration. In a few minutes I will take my dog for a walk on a lovely mid-west walking trail. Enjoy!

  7. Laura Croyle says:

    A-n-t-i-c-i-p-a-t-i-o-n!! Wonderful pictures of all the goodies you bought to decorate with! Can’t wait to see what you do with it all! Love the garland idea you already started on! Fun, Fun, Fun!! Thank-you for sharing the video of the waves rolling in….what a soothing sound! And you found a heart-shaped rock!! I love to look for those too, as well as sea glass! (We have lots of rocky beaches here in western Wash.) Loved seeing sweet Girl Kitty as well as Jack! I’m sure he will Love all the fun decorations going up and be sure to get int he middle of it all! LOL! I’m making your super easy cranberry sauce a I write. (it’s cooking in the oven) Still need to make a pumpkin pie and jello salad, yet, filling the house with Yummy smells! I haven’t done Thanksgiving at our house in years! so, I’m enjoying this. Thinking about using my Momma’s dishes for tomorrow’s dinner. Even though she’s been gone for 4 years, now, I’m missing her today, cooking and getting things ready….She always helped me make the turkey gravy! Guess it’s past time I do it all on my own!!
    Thank-you for your inspirations! Have a truly Blessed Thanksgiving!

  8. Lynn says:

    I made your cranberry sauce yesterday–delicious, thank you! I was also perusing your Autumn book. I love your blog, I mean REALLY love it, but I had forgotten how each page in your books is a work of art and a vacation! Thank you! Thank you!

  9. Jane says:

    I was hoping you would squeeze a post in before the holiday! Thanks for all the good Thanksgiving wishes and the same to you, Joe, the kittens and your family. I would love to be doing a little shopping on Martha’s Vineyard right around now! My husband and I are going to Cedarburg, Wisconsin for a 3 day anniversary weekend (26 years!!) the day after Thanksgiving. It’s a very quaint little town with shops and restaurants, there will be a festival of lights and there are sleigh and carriage rides…ooh la la! I am SO excited! Isn’t this a great way to kick off the holiday season?!

    Have fun with your decorations! There are so many ideas out in Blogland…it is almost overwhelming. I’ve been wanting to make a garland, too. The straws sound interesting! Keep us posted on all the creative ideas flowing from your head! And Happy Thanksgiving again!

    Jane From Chicago

    • sbranch says:

      I always like Christmas to be a little simple, so I hope I don’t allow myself to go scarily overboard! Happy Anniversary … Joe and I have our 26th in Feb!

    • Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

      Hi Jane,
      Happy Anniversary! I went to Cedarburg with friends last weekend. We had so much fun! Every year my girlfriends spend a day there to start the Christmas season in a very special, old-fashioned way. It will be the perfect place to celebrate your anniversary! Have fun!

    • Janet Hundleu says:

      Sorry we were out of town while you were on your getaway…we live in Grafton, just next door to Cedarburg. Hope you enjoyed a wonderful anniversary.

  10. Laurie Walt in Illinois says:

    Hi and happy Thanksgiving everyone! I am grateful for this blog, and the chance to visit with all of you. My son is moving home this weekend, he is 27 and in heart failure. I am so grateful for the 27 years and pray for many more. But mostly I am grateful that I will have the chance to nurture him in the months to come. I will be looking to all of out for a smile, a distraction, and inspiration! Happy thanksgiving, laurie

    • sbranch says:

      Twenty seven is much too young; I will say a prayer for you. He will have wonderful care at home, Blessings on you all Laurie, my heart is with you. xo

      • Jacquelyn Wirthlin - Las Vegas, NV says:

        I have a 27 year old son, Laurie, and my heart goes out to you. Prayers and good wishes for your son and family. A blessed Thanksgiving to you all.

      • Rhonda D. says:

        Laurie, Susan is right…27 is much too young. I’ll keep you and your son in my prayers. Take care.

        • Pat Johnson of Paso Robles says:

          Laurie – I send you strength so that you will be able to enjoy every minute with your son – your love for each other will make the time together special. I carry you in my heart and send you tons of hugs. XXOO Pat

    • Tawni urrutia says:

      Laurie, I pray you feel God’s arms around you giving you peace and strength, as you nurture your son back to health in a way only a mother could. Please remember you have a BIG cheerleading section here Susan’s blog! ❤❤❤
      Tawni Urrutia

  11. Pat Emsley says:

    I can’t login to your website to check out my cart!! Is there a problem?

  12. judy g says:

    I don’t ever leave comments, but I just wanted to say thank you for your blog. I have been very down lately, suffering through back pain that has completely debilitated me. Your email came through and I was able to feel a crisp walk in autumn paths, creativity pumping through my veins of what I could make crafting and strolling down main street window shopping. Although I cried a bit, your blog still made me feel better, if not only for a few minutes…so…thank you, Susan. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Judy, I’m so sorry. I’m so happy you can come along, imaginations need vacations too. Happy Thanksgiving to you, sending a little prayer of blessing to you. xoxo

    • Lynn McMahon says:

      Hi Judy~
      I feel for you!
      I am going through a bout of sciatica right now~ very debilitating!
      7 weeks into it and feeling a little better day by day. Thank God I am to the point now where I can drive and sit for short periods again. Back pain is worse than natural childbirth! Praying for your recovery.

  13. Sharon from AB, Canada says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Susan, Joe, Girl Kitty and Jack. Thank you for being such a blessing to all of us.

  14. CarolK (Flemington, NJ) says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Susan, Joe, Kitty Girl, Jack and Everyone!…..Susan, thank you for the seashore video, that was my beach fix for the day. Thank you for all the movie suggestions too. You’ve put me on to really good books and movies in the past and I thank you for that. I put the two huge evergreens that were downed in “The Storm” to good use. (How I dislike losing trees!) I made swags for outside the house and several grave blankets too and told my sister to come get some greens before the tree man carts the rest away. Those trees gave us so much pleasure and now they are giving us their last Hurrah. We’re going to spend Black Friday visiting the studios of the Stonebridge Artisans. They’re a group of NJ artisans who open their studios every year at this time and sell the most wonderful things they’ve handcrafted. I just LOVE this time of year. Always looking forward to your next blog….Hugs from NJ

  15. So many blessings, both our nation and ourselves; we could never say “thank you” for each one independently.
    God bless you, Susan, and Joe, and the work of your hands and heart.

  16. Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

    Another lovely post, Susan! May I add another suggestion for Holiday movie viewing? My all-time favorite is “Bell, Book and Candle” starring Jimmy Stewart, Kim Novak (love her, so elegant!!!), Jack Lemmon, Ernie Kovacs, Hermione Gingold and Elsa Lanchester — how could a movie go wrong with a cast like that? For those who may not have seen it, it’s a wonderful romantic comedy circa 1958 that encompasses the holidays from Halloween through Christmas although I watch it every year the night before Thanksgiving. I hope the Girlfriends seek it out and enjoy it as much as I do! HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!!!

  17. Sandra R says:

    Your blog is a tonic, a blessing, a deep breath on a busy day! You and yours have a lovely holiday.
    And I can’t wait to see what you do with the carrots. Fake carrots? Intriguing.

  18. Cyndi in NC says:

    I love the snow globe window. I think it would be so much fun to shop on your island. I love the shops and the lights so close to the beach. I always feel at home at the beach. To all of the girlfriends and the kitties I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving. We will go to our daughters home and spend the day. It’s been nice to have her call me and asked questions about how I make my dressing or if I can bring something else for dinner. She lives two hours away which is not that far but far enough. So be thankful for all your blessings and the things that make your life so special. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  19. Claudia says:

    Susan, you’re a friend to my HEART!

  20. Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

    Finally, Girl Kitty gave us a chance to admire her.

    Girl Kitty, I love your beautiful green eyes, and I couldn’t help but notice that you outline your eyes with black. I suspect that you are descended from a royal Egyptian cat line and imitate Cleopatra with her kohl makeup. Am I correct?

    I hope we’ll see more of you. Jack is very cute but you, my dear, are positively regal.

  21. laurie says:

    what beautiful photos ! We shopped our late night shops here last Thursday, the little shops stay open for Moon light maddness they call it, just before the Santa Parade, its a small city/ town and your photos remind me of here, you have some wonderful goodies for inspiration! I;m painting for my blog posts with my non dominate hand (broken collar bone) but I must say all the excitement from posts such as yours is what gives me the joy to create! Thank you for the inspiration, its contagious!I think girl cat is regal and elegant, and Jack makes me think of Jack sparrow from the pirate movie, Happy thanksgiving!

  22. Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

    Wonderful post, Susan, and this web address came to me just today. The snowglobe store window reminded me. You type in your address, city, state, and zip code and shake to see what your house looks like in a snowglobe.

    Thought The Girlfriends might like to try it.

  23. Miriam says:

    A very Happy Thanksgiving to you and Joe & kitties, as well! So thankful for you, Susan, and all that you “give” to your “girlfriends”….your posts, books, calendars, ideas, recipes and inspirations that make life, LIFE!!! You are truly a blessing that I am thankful for. We are now in Austin, Tx for the winter and Spring and so thankful to be out of the snow and near our son and family! No place better than near grandchildren for the holidays! Some of our recipes tomorrow are from your books!!! It’s nice having a daughter-in-law in charge, after years of “doing it all”! She and I are your biggest fans!!!! 😉 Thanks for keeping the loved traditions going!!! YOU are loved!!! BTW so excited about the Yankee spread……I surely hope they are adding alot more to their “inventory”…it will be a “sell out”!!!!! Can hardly wait! Can hardly wait to see all that you are going to do with all your shopping “finds”! I know it is going to be absolutely WONDEFUL!!!!!! xoxoxo Miriam

  24. Karen Z Victoria, Australia says:

    Oh Susan you are an ELF! Needed your blog today! A calming read on a busy day. My son is marrying his sweetheart on Saturday and lots to do! Although we don’t have Thanksgiving as you do, we can still be thankful for what we have in our lives. Soooo Happy Thanksgiving to you, Sue, Joe ,kitty cats and all “the Girlfriends” OXO Karen

  25. Silvia Niomi says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
    Your blog is always a pleasure to read 🙂

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

    hello again everyone just had to post this little holiday verse my family used to say on Thanksgiving: Let us be thankful as the pilgrims at their feast, embrace our families and our friends, be kind to man and veast. and as we go our way, be thankfully rejoicing on this, Thanksgiving day. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. hugs…… 🙂

  27. Ginger says:

    When you began talking about bread and leaving, I just knew you were going to say Jack ate the bread. I once had a cat, who would eat any flour product right through the packaging if it was left out on the counter.

    The ocean vid was lovely and made me homesick for Hawaii…..until I saw your begloved hand.

    Reading your posts is so homey and comfortable. Thank you for posting and brightening my day.

  28. Carolyne says:

    Thank you so much for the Bookmark~! Tasha Tudor, one of my very favorites. Someday I’ll have a corgi of my own too.

  29. jean says:

    I am so grateful that you take the time to share your words, paints, pictures and heart with all of us. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family from frosty Maine.

  30. Fabienne says:

    Thank you Susan for your amazing fall photos and beach video. Reminded me of our walks on California beaches nearby, always looking for that special stone or twig to bring home. We camp in our teardrop trailer near Pt. Mugu/Malibu state park, watch the dolphins, whales swim by. It rejuvenates us! I love your blog, your cozy home and your talent for bringing the perfect words to a specific moment or time. We’re are same “age” which is only in the head – right? So many similar likes in books/music/movies. Enjoy the holiday weekend, wish I could shop in those darling Vineyard hideaways, love supporting small businesses. Our only wine club is local – that’s why we joined.
    And it’s terrific! Happy Holidays, Susan. Enjoying your blog in California!

  31. Rita from MN says:

    Everything about that post made me smile. Happy Thanksgiving, Susan!

  32. Barbara says:

    Happy Thanksgiving from NC! Thank you for the wonderful post today! I’m
    loving my brown bird mug so much. I have found that birdbaths attract the
    birds as much as the feeders (& no squirrels!). I love how they wait to take turns having a “bath”. Your video of the ocean made me wonder if you and Joe still own the small beach house you bought several years ago?
    I miss trips down on the Cape – fun!

    Have a wonderful holiday……….. and happy shopping on Saturday.

    • sbranch says:

      We don’t own it anymore, but we pass by it every day. Owning with no responsibility! I will do a post about that house one day!

  33. Laura Croyle says:

    Sue, check out the Dec. issue of Better Homes and gardens. Just looked at it today. There’s a pretty idea in there for what to do with your birds with a hurricane lamp! Just thought I’d share!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you! I’ll do it!

      • Judy Young says:

        Just in case any of you have that issue of Better Homes and Gardens there is a fabulous cake recipe in there too, Banana Nut Cake. It won reader favorite of the year. Made it Tuesday and it is to die for! You might want to try it too.

        Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Made two of your recipes for our Thanksgiving meal Susan, the Corn Pudding and the cranberry sauce. Both were terrific, everyone loved them. Thank you!!

  34. jen says:

    Another thing to be thankful for: nobody got into the drying bread. In my house the curious and perpetually “hungry” felines would have been all over it.
    Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

  35. shelley from Home says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Susan I am so Thankful for your Blog and you! I CHECK YOUR SITE EVERYDAY and totally enjoy it. Thank you so much.

  36. Pam Bengier says:

    The soundtrack to the movie, “The Hedgehog”, is one of my favorites.

  37. Kathy Miller says:

    Dear Susan,

    I’m so excited! My bread is drying as well, i’m trying your Grandma’s stuffing this year! Gosh, read you post and just wanted to mention what a blessing Christmas Tree Shops are, went in several of them on our visit to the Cape several years ago. You East Coast girls are sooooooo lucky to have that cool chain store.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

    Kathy 🙂

  38. Brenda Caldwell says:

    Loved the walk you took us on today, I enjoyed it so much! I can’t wait to see all the pretty decorations you make with your newly acquired “play pretties!’ And thank you,Patsy in Nixa, MO, for the snowgobe link, that was interesting…

  39. Suzanne says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and Joe and the kitties. I love this time of year when I believe is the time to reflect on all we have to be thankful for during the year. One of them is that I’m thankful for you! You bring such warmth and inspiration to all of us as it is such a joy to read your adventures everyday. How wonderful for you to be able to walk to the beach everyday with the changing seasons…so lovely. The path through the woods reminds me of Robert Frost and I started reciting “Who’s woods these are I think I know, his house is in the village though”….. I always loved that. I’m anxious to see all the decorations you make with your crafts to, fun, fun , fun! So glad and thankful we have you Susan….Have a wonderful day tomorrow.
    E. Longmeadow, Ma

    • sbranch says:

      I saw Robert Frost’s house once, a clean white little New England village house in the middle of nowhere, or so it seemed to me.

  40. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh Susan..what an amazing, beautiful…moving post! Oh, yes we all have so much to be thankful for..just take a moment and look around…God’s gifts are everywhere! smile… Love all your great finds…I do the same thing…just have ideas and later when I get them all put together I’m so happy with my finds! Sure hope you have a blessed Thankgiving tomorrow!


    • sbranch says:

      Same to you Gert! xoxo

    • Gert~Iowa says:

      Forgot to tell you how much I love the music, movie trailer (that movie is one of my favorites!) and “oh, the ocean!” I feel so blessed to sit in my chair and yet be at the oceans edge! (Thank you again!!) By the way….we just mixed up your cranberries and orange marmalade this morning, will soon have some on an English Muffin!! (Thank you again!) when I see Kitty’s picture I could just ((hug)) her… (Do it for me!)

  41. Verla says:

    Girl is gorgeous!! Love seeing your sweet kitties.

  42. Janet [in Rochester] says:

    It’s really beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Look at all those craft goodies! Isn’t it fun to scatter “raw” supplies all over & then just sit looking at it for a while? Until your brain begins to percolate with ideas? Can’t wait to see what you do with it all. Give Jack a few new fuzzy poms to bat around/placate that kitty curiosity. Maybe it’ll give his Mom a respite from ball-throwing for a bit, and a chance to create.

    =^..^= What a treat to see so much of Girl Kitty! She really is one of the most serene, elegant cats. It’s that queenly posture of hers and those two front paws in her long white evening gloves, poised perfectly together. Something tells me Jack will just never be that Dignified. He’ll just have to be content with industrial-strength Adorable. Hope you get some delicious warm giblet bits in your dinner tomorrow, Lil Miss. Num-num-num. You too Jack… =^..^=

    So right when you say how many hopes and dreams are tied up in all the independent small businesses in the country. The shops may be small – the dreams are Anything But. I’m continually amazed at the creativity, versatility and just plain warm friendly customer service available at many of the truly great little shops in my town. Not to mention all the warm fuzzies you get by doing your part to help a family business. Let’s remember it was many many small family businesses that built the American economy into the envy of the world. PS – this radical troublemaker is proud to be able to say she has not set foot in a WalMart or Kmart [or likewise big box store] for over 10 years!

    Making your cranberry sauce for tomorrow. The one that basically just goes in the oven for half an hour. Yum. Love it leftover in stuffed French toast or plain sweet muffins.

    Now, time for a little mush if you’ll forgive me. I’ll be giving thanks tomorrow for many blessings – and one of the most special being this Community of Kindred Spirits and you. Thank you Sue, for creating and giving SO much of yourself all the time to this incredible happy place in the virtual clouds. You will never – ever – know how much enjoyment it gives or how much it means to me and I suspect an awful lot of others as well. Here’s wishing a warm, wonderful, delicious, cozy, comforting, loving, blessed Thanksgiving Day to all! XO Girlfriends! :>)

    PS – do you really have turkeys that freely roam the Island? That is a classic hoot! Do they know about the skunks and maniacs? Do they know about Iris? :>)

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you my friend, I loved your whole comment!

    • GardenGirl (SE Massachusetts) says:

      Well said Janet. Susan’s thoughtful commentary is one of the highlights of my week. Obvious from the amount of posts here in a day that she means so much to all of us. Happy Thanksgiving everyone and Blessings to you Sue for your generous spirit! -Kathy

      • Rhonda D. says:

        Janet, I loved your post too. This beautiful blog, full of beautiful kindred spirits is a lot to be thankful for. Thank you Susan for all your hard work, and the many blessings we receive here each day. xo

    • Janet Hundley says:


  43. jane zamudio says:

    Many blessings to you and yours Susan!! You are my inspiration for the way i live my life! Your blogs are amazing, and everyone i know comments at how my home always feels so cozy! Its because of you and the inspiration i get from your blogs! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!! Oh..are you really having Salmon for Thansgiving? The turkey wants to know!! haha!!!

    • sbranch says:

      We are now going to friend’s house — bringing lots of turkey gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and Pumpkin Cheesecake, but no salmon … We usually do that when we have dinner here, because lots of friends are vegetarians.

  44. Diane from WA state says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you Susan! ….and Joe…and GK….and Jack….and to all of the Girlfriends who live in the US…and for each Girlfriend on their own county’s day of thanksgiving! :). I loved the walk by the water. I also loved how my honorary “girlfriend”, Joe, was seen over to the side. He IS dashing in his hat! It is so great that you had your house all to yourself for an overnight! I always love it when my husband is gone from time to time with his buddies and I can have some all-alone time, knowing that he is having a wonderful time and so am I. I have some friends that don’t like that time apart and get too lonely, but I have always enjoyed it!
    The pictures of sweet Girl K. Should be framed because they are so beautiful!
    Well, I have to run or I would write more, but there is so many fun things to do tonight in prep. for tomorrow! Oh…..the turkey picture made me crack up! I think it is amazing ….and wonderful….that they roam the island so freely. They certainly didn’t look worried in your yard at all…in fact, I think they wanted you to feed them! Lol. Have a wonderful time tomorrow and thank you for taking the time to give us such a wonderful blog for the holidays! These mean so much to me and I send you a hug and thanks!!!

    • sbranch says:

      It was fun when Joe went, because we sillily missed each other! We were surprised and it was so nice to see him, and he was the same way! Funny! Lucky! xo

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Yes, you (or we) are! I often think that if Norm has to be away overnight, which thankfully isn’t often. We do miss each other and usually call each other each night and are genuinely happy to see each other when he comes home–which I know is not the case with all of my girlfriends and their husbands…after 28 years he is still my best friend as well as husband! 🙂

  45. Jennie says:

    As always, another lovely post! That is a pile of heaven on your kitchen table- there is just nothing so heart-beating exciting as a pile of craft supplies for WHIM! 🙂 And darling fur-balls to ‘share’ it with, too!
    Speaking of ‘whim’, I’m just taking a break in between sewing up new kitchen curtains and then enjoying them while I put the turkey in his white wine ‘bath’ and begin the dressing. My Abuela was born and raised in Havana and Thanksgiving would just be WRONG without Cuban dressing with the turkey! I can hardly wait to smell the cumin and other spices making the house smell ‘right’. In the morning, the smell will still be lingering and George Winston’s ‘December’ cd will be playing while I pad around in my bathrobe getting the turkey ‘dressed’ and into the oven. And along with our Cuban turkey this year, we also have our Belgian friend staying to join us for his first American Thanksgiving. As you say, so many blessings . . .

  46. Rosinda says:

    What a beautiful post! You are right, we have so much to be grateful for!
    I love the bird feeders hanging outside your window. Birds make me so happy. I am thankful for them and YOU – a constant source of inspiration. Happy and blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours! xoxo

  47. Marian from Orange, CA says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and Joe. And thank you for the wonderful post today! Also a belated congratulations for being chosen by Yankee Magazine for a Christmas photo shoot. My only problem is that I’ll have a hard time waiting one whole year to see it.
    Such a lucky thing happened to me last Saturday. I was at a Christmas craft boutique in Brea, CA, just about to leave one vendor’s area, when I spotted your “Christmas Joy” Keepsake book! So of course I bought it, read it, and came away with ideas and recipes. And to think I almost didn’t see it.
    Thank you for bringing joy to my life.

  48. Elizabeth in Montana says:

    Wonderful post, brought back memories…in the 1990s, my mom and I visited her brother and his wife at their home in Centerville, MA. We went three times, and each time, a visit to The Christmas Tree Shop had to be part of the plans! My aunt and uncle have both passed away now, but we have so many happy remembrances of the times we spent with them. I still have a stuffed lobster I bought there, and it makes me smile every time I look at it. Thanks for the memory jog!

  49. Nancy B says:

    Susan, I just have to share with you something that happened to me yesterday. I made a visit to my favorite quilt shop and was greeted by the owner who had recently returned from a trip to England. She said, “Oh, I have a gift for you! You and I have a mutual friend.” She meant you, of course. As she went to get it, I wondered what could it be? Imagine my surprise when I unwrapped it and saw an Emma Bridgewater mug! The Royal Jubilee one!! Oh, my. She is just the sweetest person and so thoughtful and generous. I just wanted you to know about this little surprise that brightened my day…….Thank you for this lovely post today. It looks like you are going to have some creative fun. The photo of your walking path is beautiful.

    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Nancy (from Bakersfield)

    • sbranch says:

      I love people like that, they are what makes the world go round! She must love you very much! xoxo Please tell her I said hello!

    • Suzanne says:

      Susan’s right. I do love you and cherish your support, friendship and I certainly share your love of Susan and her blog. I’m so glad you love your mug.

  50. Joann says:

    It’s very, very late, or VERY VERY early depending on how you look at it…. our Thanksgiving dinner is going to be at 5:30 PM, very late for us~!!! but this year we have one part of the family flying in from California on Thanksgiving Day, so we made the dinner late enough in the day in case he gets caught in all the traffic or his plane is delayed. My youngest daughter and son-in-law will not be with us for Thanksgiving…the first time EVER in 30 years that I have not had Thanksgiving with her….but I’m sharing her with her in-laws, so it’s still a blessing. We will have 12 for dinner….

    And I have 3 pies in the fridge, sweet potatoes all boiled and cut into chunks for the casserole, stuffing made, cranberries made and the table set….

    I’m off for a much deserved hot bath, a little sleep and a big day ahead of me….but your lovely blog post calmed me, inspired me, and reminded me of just how wonderful life is (I knew, but extra reminding is always wonderful). Blessings dear Susan to you and Joe and all of your friends and family who may be gracing your lovely table this year…..


    Joann in CO

  51. judi says:

    Good Morning all:) Just planning my attack on the turkey:) Should have the dressing made and the stuffed turkey in the oven by 7:45 a.m. Made your delish cranberries and thankful for a little “chill” in the air, yippee, as this place is going to “heat” up”.
    All the family asleep including a 16 yr old grandson on a blow up mattress in the living room who will be hearing a bit of clanging from the kitchen but I think he will be able to nod off again.

    Blessings and gratitude for dear Susan and all of the “girlfriends”! Happy Thanksgving

  52. Pat Johnson of Paso Robles says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to my favorite Martha’s Vineyard people! I am thankful of so many things this year. My family, of course, is number 1 – I found out I will be a Great-grandmother – what a blessing. I am thankful for the blog that you write, giving me such joy – sometimes filled with treasures of adventures and this year the trip to England. Sharing your house and the kitties is very special. You fill my life with wonder and joy. I will sit in my patio with my cup of coffee, watching the birds and enjoying the sunshine. This will help me start my day. Spending time with family in the afternoon. I plan to go for that walk over the weekend – Cambria is my destination. Thank you again and my best to you and Joe. XXXXOOOO Pat

    • sbranch says:

      Have you ever walked up through the campground near the golf course in Morro Bay? Above it is a path; just walk through the long row of eucalyptus trees next to the campground and go up — it’s all hummingbirds up there! And another wonderful walk I just remembered, not too far past Cambria … instead of turning right into Hearst Castle, go left, to the beach. Walk north on the sand and when the hill at the back of the sand begins to rise, go on it, and go up, through the forest, waaayyy out onto that point… it’s almost prehistoric in there, wild, old trees all hung with moss. I haven’t been out there in a while, I hope it is still the same and you don’t find a Motel on it! Happy happy great-grandmotherhood!!

      • Pat Johnson of Paso Robles says:

        I am so excited for the information!!! You know, when you live in one place for so long you forget all the wonders that surround you. My BFF and I are going to take those walks and see what we can see. Thank you Thank you XXXXOOOO

  53. Barb, EW ...CT says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Susan & Joe, and to all the Girlfriends!

    Hugs & Smiles

  54. Kim says:

    Thank you for such a wonderful Thanksgiving post, Susan. Thanksgiving is my favorite Holiday of the year, and this year is extra special with my Mom being diagnosed with cancer back in the Spring. She’s doing very well, and that is something to be truly thankful for!

    All the best to you and yours!

  55. Janet G says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Thanks for starting my day out with a smile.
    The Tasha Tudor bookmark is adorable. I can’t wait to print it out and then wear it out 🙂

  56. Nadine says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thanks so much for another beautiful post. It is always such a lift to the day. I could look at the photo of your woodland path all day, and then the beach: such a beautiful place!
    Really enjoy your photos & stories of the kitties, but I’m envious. Cats are my only allergy, and I can’t have them! And they’re my favorite four-legged critters! But I can enjoy yours, so thanks for featuring them.
    I also enjoy reading the comments that the Girlfriends post, knowing that we all want the same things in life: home, family, peace on earth and a little beauty along the way. (A warm hug from me to Laurie and her son, along with prayers for healing and comfort.)
    So HAPPY THANKSGIVING to everyone, wherever you are. Susan, I’m so happy for your upcoming feature in Yankee, and hope you and Joe and the kitties have a blessed day.
    So now I must get at it; my entire family is coming here today, about 20 of us, including the newest additions: our twin grandsons born in July! So much to be thankful for!
    Love to all, Nadine in KY

  57. Katy Noelle says:

    I just wanted to say, ‘good morning’ and ‘Happy Thanksgiving!’ but, as usual, so many things flood my mind as I read your posts…

    well, the ‘so many things’ can rest…. just a few snippets…

    We’ve had a rafter of turkeys in our back yard, for a couple of months, now… spoiled turkeys, they are – safe and sound. We’re starting to recognize a few of them…. not quite pink flamingos, are they?! (teehee!)

    I just remembered!!! One year, when I had first moved back East, a bunch of Tom’s high school friends stayed in a friends summer home in the week after Christmas. We took absolutely frigid walks on the beach, hung out and played board games and…. I remember the charming group of stores downtown. We went window shopping, one evening, after dinner and there was one store still open and I bought a little glass slipper ornament for my tree. When I was little – I was fixated on Cinderella! =] Twenty years later, I still love it when I take it out to put it on the tree (of course!)

    Happy Thanksgiving, ‘oh, Susaaaannaaaa’! 😉 (still am not sure what I should call you…. =/)

    Thank you for focusing us on the joys of the heart of the home! Thank you so much!!!


    Katy xxoo

  58. viv says:

    Oh, how I love to read your posts. I also love birds and collect them in many media. We also enjoy watching them at our feeders. Wishing you and yours a lovely Thanksgiving.

  59. Jackie P says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Day to Susan, Joe and the kitties, and all the girlfriends. With all the happiness we share here — we have a lot to be thankful for!

  60. Linda Petersen says:

    Good Morning from Chino Valley, Arizona! Lovely post ~~~ has me very inspired :0). Thank you Susan for your big heart & all the love you spread around to all of us. Happy Thanksgiving to you & Joe & Girl & Jack~~~~& Happy Thanksgiving to all of the girlfriends & their loved ones! We all have so much to be grateful for~~~blessings given to us by God whether they are big or small. Have a wonderful day XOXO!

  61. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Day Susan! Just alittle Thank You for the very pretty bookmark !!! Today I am thankful for my family, friends, and Susan Branch who brightens my day….every day!!!! God Bless You for the joy you give!

  62. Maureen MacKenzie says:

    Hi Susan,

    Love the picture with the birds…I did a double take when I spotted the bird on the right flying off stopped in mid flight by your camera. 🙂

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  63. Anne says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Susan! Thank you for the comforting and joyous words all year long 🙂

  64. Wendy Louise says:

    Happy Blessed Thanksgiving to you Beautiful Susan Branch and all your loved ones including all the Girl Friends ! You are truly a blessing to us all !!! You help make the WORLD such a beautiful place everyday ! Love to All, Wendy 🙂

  65. Jack says:

    Why are you drying bread?

  66. Kathie Ferko says:

    Hello and Happy Thanksgiving,

    I have not blogged for a while…so it is time I came back! Hope all of my friends everywhere have a wonderful holiday. Last week I rented Christmas in Connectticut on demand. It was such a classic movie, I can’t believe I never saw it before. Funny how these old movies just put you in the holiday spirit. Thanks, Susan, for suggesting it to us. Just ordered from the website…finally got a chance at the brown bird cup…it was always gone til I saw it was back in stock. Also ordered the kitchen set and the Hydrangea card selection. It is always nice to have cards on hand…that’s if I can part with the beautiful watercolors! I have a question, though…what is that green scanner running across the pictures on the items to be purchased? Hope it is not just a glitch on my website.

    Have a great holiday season. put some red bows on those kittys!

    Kathie from Limerick, Pa

  67. Andi M says:

    Happy Thanksgiving!
    I love the bookmark. I have always wanted a Corgie and now I will have one. For now it is better for my life than the real thing. After you posted about Christmas in Connecticut, I purchased it and can’t wait to watch it with my sister (we love the oldies, she is a Barbara Stanwyck fan). I have wanted to see Midnight in Paris but haven’t yet. Have a great holiday.

  68. Cindy says:

    Thank you for your presence in this world, your gentle, calm, lovely presence. Such a blessing YOU are to all your followers. Have a lovely, lovely day with your family and friends. And again, thank you with all my heart for the beauty you bring to this earth. Cindy

  69. It is Thanksgiving Day, and I just had to share a Bible verse from Hebrews 10:

    “and let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds….”

    It is such a different use of the verb “provoke,” which usually has such negative connotations, and I’d not before heard it in this context. Susan and all the kindred spirits who follow her certainly do their best to “provoke one another to love and good deeds.” Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I’m adding Susan Branch and all of you to my list of things I am thankful for. 🙂

  70. Mary Weir says:

    Dear Susan,
    Our family is facing the terror of my sister-in-law’s advanced colon cancer (she is 44, mother of twin 9-year-olds, beloved and the strongest person I have ever seen as she handles her treatment). She is facing a setback this week, and so I come to your blog, as I always do, for peace, inspiration and joy, and once again I feel better after reading your (and others’) thoughtful words, seeing your beautiful pictures of your wooded path and the shore and smiling at the photos of Girl Kitty, Jack, and, especially, the turkeys wandering around your picket fence. Thank you for offering us all glimpses into your wonderful world. I am very thankful for them and for all you do. God bless you and Joe on Thanksgiving and always.

    • sbranch says:

      So very sorry Mary, I’m saying a prayer for her right now. Miracles happen all the time, here’s to a special one for you. Hugs . . . xoxo

      • Rhonda D. says:

        Mary, praying for strength, peace, wisdom for the doctors, and healing for your sister-in-law. May God be with all of your family as you walk through this difficult time.

        • Mary Weir says:

          How kind of you to write, Rhonda, and offer your prayers for my brave sister-in-law. She and my brother says they feel so supported by all the prayers surrounding them and it is so generous of you to pray for a stranger. God bless you.

      • Mary Weir says:

        So many thanks, Susan, for your prayers and thoughtfulness. They really help me to focus on faith instead of fear. You are such a gift in my life, as are your other kind readers.

    • Chris Wells from West Texas says:

      I’m praying, too, Mary. “Prayer works”

      • Mary Weir says:

        Thanks to you, Chris, for praying for my sister-in-law. I agree that prayer works and I see it in the determined and positive attitudes of both my brother and his wife. You are so thoughtful to devote time and prayer to fight her illness. God bless you.

        • Martha Ellen of VA says:

          Mary I am praying for your sister in law–prayers for the whole family too. Hugs to you! Miracles happen every day. ♥

          • Pat Johnson of Paso Robles says:

            Mary – I hold you in my prayers and carry you and your sister in my heart. Keep the faith and look to the stars. Your family is so special. Sending love……Pat

          • Mary Weir says:

            Dear Martha Ellen,
            I am humbled that you would take the time to write and to pray for the health of my beautiful sister-in-law who so wants to live and be there for my brother and their children. Thank you and God bless you.

  71. anne weadon says:

    Well, Susan, I made your grandmother’s (and your mom’s, and yours) stuffing for Thanksgiving dinner and a preview taste tells me it’s going to be a hit! Had the bread slices drying on cookie sheets since Monday. Thank you for sharing, and Happy Thanksgiving! If you get a chance, read the “good to be alive” piece on the opinion page of the NY Times this morning; it’s lovely.

  72. Kathie Ferko says:


    Left a comment earlier…said it was in review….so maybe it is still pending…but again a Happy Thanksgiving to all.. anxiously awaiting my 3 purchases from your website

    Kathie from Limerick, Pa

  73. mary spring says:

    …..”let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” ..Marcel Proust

  74. Oh Susan, you are such a blessing to us all! Girl kitty is so sweet, and Jack so full of wonder! I love your wonderful daily walk to the beach, listening to the waves, smelling the salt air, finding heart shaped rocks. Can’t wait to see what you create with all the goodies you got on the mainland! Oh, so many movies, so little time!
    Hugs to you, Joe and Kitties, and to the rest of your family!
    Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving,


  75. Jessica says:

    A very Happy Thanksgiving to you, Joe, and your sweet kitties!!!!

    Thank you for always sharing your truly wonderful blessings with us…you and they are such a gift. ♥
    xo J~

  76. Marcia in Brazil says:

    Happy Thanksgiving! Can’t wait for Christmas to roll around. Finished my shopping today. Love,

  77. Just home from a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with our son and his family, as well as his wife’s parents–as always, an enjoyable time–grandchildren growing so fast! I want to thank you, Susan, for sharing your enthusiasm for life with us all, and all the girlfriends who join in with comments. I’m so glad I found your blog when I did–have been visiting here almost from the beginning. On a sad note, our daughter in Tx. just found that she is going to need more treatment for her breast cancer–such awful news to hear.

  78. Judy says:

    Best love story EVER… Waterloo Bridge. 1940. Starring Vivian Leigh and the very handsome Robert Taylor. I watched it for the first time when I was 13 and am now
    63. It is still my very favorite.
    Your blog and your art just bless me so much!! I am thankful for you allowing us into your home, on the walks and trips you take. In other words thank you for inviting us into your world. I just love it!
    God bless you through the Holidays and on and on and on!!

  79. Karen Williams says:

    Hi Susan et al, Joe, Kitties and free-ranging Turkeylurkeys!
    Like everyone else, I just want to say Happy Thanksgiving to you all (but a belated one!). Although we are ahead of you, in time, over here, I am late!! Hope you had a wonderful time and will continue to do so over the coming days’ holiday.
    Not sure about all these black Fridays and meandering Mondays and even the xoxoxo’s….but am sure they mean good things!!

    I was thrilled to watch the video of the sea…I am in land-locked Cambridgeshire, England, and miss my island of Anglesey in North Wales very much.

    Also, wanted to tell you that I have been an Elf this week!!
    Each year, I ask my friend Sally, who is a teacher, to get the children to write to Santa. I receive copies of the letter with a sentence from Sally about each child: sibling names, pets and maybe what they are good at – at home or school. I then sit down with Christmas musica in the background and write a letter to each child including any snippets of information Sally has given me….I then post them to the school in a home made red bag, and Sally judges when it is a good day for the letters to ‘arrive’ from Lapland! I sometimes get sent pics of them rushing about in the classroom, showing their letters off to each other – but this year, I have been asked to pop in and hand-deliver them! This is great – it means I can watch and listen as they read their individual letters!! I can’t wait! I am such a Christmas peeps!! The letters are all written (28 of them!). I even have a fab one to write to an American girl who is at the school, but has moved on in age – but still believes!! She now draws wonderful pics on her letter – she gets an extra special one back from ‘Santa’ as I know a bit more about her…hers goes to two pages long!!
    I don’t go delivering til the 17th December but am as excited as an excited thing on an excited day!!!

    On a more serious note: I have prayed and thought about all the lovely people who have been mentioned in previous responses to your wonderful blog – especially those who are desperately ill or sad. Good thoughts are being sent over the pond to you and your families, dear ladies.

    Loving the corgi bookmark; the snowglobe shop window; all the mentions of different films…will be a ve ve busy girl sending for all these films and have an idea of making a ‘snowglobe cushion’!! LOL!
    Blessings and love to you all,
    Chwi yw’r halen y ddaear, Swsan! (Welsh) =^.^=
    You are the salt of the earth, Susan!
    x x x

    • sbranch says:

      Black Friday is supposedly the first day of the year that stores go from “the red” to “the black” and start making a profit. Traditionally (for maybe the last 10 years or so if you want to call that a tradition), they have it the day after Thanksgiving; big box stores open early, stay open late, and have lots of sales, people camp out for hours to get the special deals, and it can be, in a word, a zoo. One year, a person was trampled at the door of one of those stores. I think that says it all. Meandering Monday, on the other hand, was what I called the day last week when we went shopping, before the crowds came on Black Friday. And xx’s and oo’s are xxxkisses and ooohugs.

      You are a REAL elf!! What a thrill you are giving those children! Happy wonderful Day to you Karen. Thank you! xoxo

  80. Pam Fortune says:

    Hi Susan
    I would love to see what you do with all those decorations. I gave all my decorations away to my three daughters years ago to remind them of their childhood, they each got a new decoration for the tree every year until they left home. So I let my girls do Christmas and I shall be travelling down to Cambridge this year to be with Fleur and her husband and Humphrey their ginger cat who is very talkative, his loud meow sounds just like hello! Enjoy your festivities and happy decorating.

  81. Deborah says:

    Our lives are parallel in so many ways, I smile to myself when reading your words. I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving celebration and know that you are a blessing to so many. 🙂
    Your Friend,

  82. Betty Marie,Pennsylvania says:

    Good Morning, Susan
    Loved both of your blogs, and the snow globe window is just so cute. Miss Girl kitty is just darling. I have heard of the beaches in the northern states and how they were rocky,WOW! I have never seen a beach like this. I am use to sandy beaches and shells to collect not rocks galore that will turn your ankle. Give me the beaches in Bermuda that are a soft shell pink in color and the feel of the sand is like a silk powder. Then there is Sanibel Island, Flordia the best beach for collecting shells. Basking in the sun’s rays and walking the shore line in the early morning or as the sun sets with the waves lapping your feet if you chose to go barefoot, is divine. I am so glad you showed this beach, now I know for sure what I was told is correct. Rocky Beaches 🙁

    • sbranch says:

      We just had that awful Hurricane Sandy, she stole a lot of the sand from this beach! But not from all the beaches here, and it’ll come back! There are rocky shores here too, especially off the coast of Maine.

  83. Cindy Tuning says:

    I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends at your home. One thing I can be sure of is that the food was awesome and everyone felt at home and cared for. Every year I experiment with different stuffings. Usually corn bread, wild rice, nuts, cranberries or sausage. Everyone usually likes it. This year I made your Grandmas stuffing and I don’t think I’ll be allowed to experiment any longer. Your dressing was a big hit. Everyone loved it and now there’s no turning back for my parents and kids! I have a favor to ask. I know you have mentioned before what kind of camera you have and I know it’s a Canon EOS but that’s all I know and I would like to upgrade and know that yours takes awesome pictures, so could you just one more time say what kind it is? Thank you so much. There’s a Black Friday deal that I think may be the same one. Hope you have inspiration in making your home extra beautiful for your photo shoot. I know it’ll be amazing.

    • sbranch says:

      How wonderful … my camera, is away for repair this moment, but let me go look — it’s a Rebel T21! I hope I’m not too late, I got very behind in “approving” comments! Sorry!

  84. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    I wasn’t sure about the pom-pons, but with the straws it makes a super garland. Who ever knew that they still made paper straws, and in holiday colors too!!! I hope to find that movie when I get home. In Greece they decorate with stars for Christmas, some pomegranates, and some traditional ornaments.
    I will be happy to be home and in my woods for my walks. (I go to our state park.)

    • sbranch says:

      I love pomegranates, the color is so wonderful, not to mention the taste!

      • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

        They have ceramic pomegranates in white, red, gold, silver, and clear red or clear amber glass. Some you can put a candle in. The gal at the shop said they weren’t just for Christmas, but they were out with the Christmas decor.

  85. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    PS I love your drawing of the fruity swag, because it reminds me of Colonial replica ones I have seen.

  86. Deb from Dixie says:

    I am just feeling so inspired by everything in this post, and excited to see how the holiday “creative” magic will turn the craft store finds into festive garlands of Christmas fun!
    Loved seeing Girl, ah…..she seems so wise and knowing, a calmness in those beautiful green eyes. And Jack……who will most likely be the “wild and woolly”, inquisitive Christmas bandit! ( beware of stolen pom-poms!)

    Just read through all the comments too, and I think the girlfriends really have expressed all the emotions I also feel about being so grateful for you Susan….you are a light that shines on us and shares the joy of life’s so meaningful simple pleasures….you give us so much to think about, hope and heartfelt inspiration.

    And so… the holidays begin, our opportunities for “Being an Elf” are boundless, I would like to share a favorite poem, that speaks to me… really is about kindness, the holidays, and …….being that oh so important Elf. Hope you girlfriends like it too.

    A Holiday Wish……
    My holiday wish is that we may
    See good in those who pass our way;
    Find in each a worthy trait
    That we shall gladly cultivate;

    See in each one passing by
    The better things that beautify —
    A softly spoken word of cheer,
    A kindly face, a smile sincere;

    I hope each day that we may view
    The things that warm one’s heart anew;
    The kindly deed that can’t be bought
    That only from good are wrought,

    A burden lightened here and there,
    A brother lifted from despair,
    The aged ones freed from distress;
    The lame, the sick, brought happiness.

    Grant that before each sun has set
    We’ll witness deeds we can’t forget;
    A soothing hand to one in pain,
    A sacrifice for love — not gain;

    A word to ease the troubled mind
    Of one whom fate has dealt unkind.
    So, friend, my wish is that we may
    See good in all who pass our way.
    A Holiday Wish……..
    ~By Phil Perkins

  87. Georgie says:

    Susan! Go window shopping on the island for me on Saturday! 🙂 Oh to wander those streets. ENJOY! Isn’t it pure FUN to go into a crafty Christmassy store… load up your cart with amazing items, and then watch the MAGIC happen! I love the idea of cutting up straws for a garland!!! I’ve never done that before. WONDERFUL.

    Thanksgiving was pure heaven! Pure high energy! Pure Family!

    Tonight… 40th High School Reunion! It’s amazing to see myself type that number!

    Thanks for keeping all of us young! Happy day after Thanksgiving. As you set your sights towards Christmas, I pray for even more Joy to invade your heart. You share it so well with all of us!

    XOXO Georgie
    Yardville, NJ

  88. Christine Brubaker says:

    Had to go back to work and checked out the blog today during the slow time. Cooked on Thanksgiving but I took a few hours off in the afternoon. My daughter was visiting from OSU (go Bucks! – undefeated). The weather was wonderful for Thanksgiving day in northern Ohio – 60 degrees and sunny. We took our Shi – Poo, Coco, down to the lake and hiked around on the breakwall and through the little park path. We met a few other doggies of various breeds, and thier people. The lake was calm – a glistening blue diamond under pale yellow sun. I was so thankful for that little piece of afternoon! Thanks for such an uplifting, great blog!

  89. Mary S. says:

    Wonderful blog!!
    Girl Kitty is so elegant and lovely!! Thanks for the pics of her!
    I just put “Christmas In Connecticut” on my Netflix list – I have never seen it!!
    So happy your bird cups are in!! I’ve been waiting! 😀
    I love the turkeys in your yard and the great poem by Florence Bone!
    I am extremely excited about all the awesome movies that are coming out – you named the exact ones I am looking for to! Another I want to add to your list – probably the one I am most excited about is The Hobbit!!!
    Don’t forget to read FALLING FOR A DANCER! 🙂
    Thank you for the darling bookmark!

    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

  90. Debbie in So,Ca. says:

    Hello Susan, I have so enjoyed your last posting so much! I showed my husband the pictures of the wild Turky’s visiting you and he said he didn’t believe they just wondered over…pshhh pshh…..he still doesnt know that Santa is REAL either!!!!
    Thanksgiving here was a blessed event with lots of delicous food & family. To make it a little extra special I printed your Christkmas bookmarks and had them laminated to give to my loved ones, there were lot’s of Ooohs and Ahhhs and everyone was both appreciative to me and you! They all wanted me to tell you how lovely they were, so from….. Grandy, Glenn, Laurie, Tara, Daniel, Greg, Justin, Grace, Angela, Heather and Jeff…THANK YOU!

  91. Janice says:

    Wow. I didn’t know you had a blog. I love and own your cookbooks. I enjoyed your post very much and will be back. Betsy Brock sent me; I’ve been following her for quite a while. By the way, Jack is a cutie-pie!

  92. Dorothy Ann says:

    * Hi Susan * On the day after the day after Thanksgiving Day!

    I so enjoyed your very sweet…very colorful…pre-Thanksgiving Day Blog.
    “Blessings”. I just love it when your new posts have a little of this, alot of that, walks on the beach, Joe doing what he does, working on your “to do” list, and pictures of little Girl and Jack just being adorable.

    Oh! Turkeys in your yard?
    Looks like those turkeys heard it through the grape vine, that MV is truly a safe “Vineyard Haven” for them. Or maybe a little bird told them!

    I love all the Christmas “goodies” you bought and displayed on your table.
    There’s candy and carrots and pom-poms and straws and ribbons and beads and you know? You have actually given us a visual shopping list! Tomorrow, I’m off to Michaels to buy some of those delights for my holiday decorating. I’m not sure what I would do with the carrots though!

    Have a wonderful weekend.
    * Dorothy Ann on Cougar Mountain, Washington *

    • sbranch says:

      I thought maybe if I showed everything it might help someone with a shopping list before they even left the house! 🙂

  93. Joan says:

    Thank you for the smile this morning. I love your selection of “inspiration”! If all that color doesn’t help, I don’t know what will! If only I could catch it!

  94. Pamela Jo says:

    Good Morning!
    As always, you have a way of inspiring all of us, Susan! Beautiful photos…and so much to see! You know we all love your kitties, and are always glad to know what they are up to! I have unexpected kitty news…

    When I lost my kitty, Molly, the thought of getting a new cat was VERY far from my mind. Molly just left me, so I am still grieving. On Monday, my Vet called to say that he knew of a cat who was badly in need of a loving home. She was born with Ectrodactyly of her front left paw (it looks like a huge lobster claw instead of a paw with toes). She was in a shelter, but whenever someone looked at her while considering adoption they quickly turned away b/c she was not “perfect” or normal. She was at the shelter for months, well treated, but without much activity or deep affection. Well, I agreed to have a look and went to meet her yesterday. She and I connected right away and I now have a precious new kitty in my life. We spent a wonderful first day and night together and she seems very well pleased with her new home!

    The shelter employees were so happy that she finally got a home! She is the prettiest silver-gray color and has a loving personality just like my precious Molly did. She reminds me much of Molly. The poor baby did not have a name, except that the staff called her “Clubbie” b/c of her deformed paw. She does walk with a severe limp, but there are no other complications and I think she is beautiful in every way. Her condition is cosmetic only. Anyway, since it is Christmastime and I love “The Nutcracker” I have decided to name her “Clara”….she did not respond to “Clubbie” at all (and I did not want to focus on her deformity), so I knew I could rename her. Since “Clara” was a ballerina, I thought it would be sweet to honor my new baby with a name associated with grace and perfect dancing feet…and since “Clubbie” begins with CL, CLara seemed a good choice.

    I still miss my precious Molly, and still shed tears every day, but I feel that fate brought Clara into my life. She is a comfort to me and such a blessing. It just seems that when we least expect “blessings” in our lives, they have a way of finding us and lifting our spirits once again. Here’s wishing that everyone finds a special blessing in their lives during this Holiday season….and always!

    Pamela Jo

    • sbranch says:

      You’re making me cry, by the time I got to “Clara,” I was a gonner. I’m so happy for you all. No one who loves them should have to live even a day without a kitty to love. What a positive life changing step for you both! xoxo

      • Rhonda D. says:

        Pamela Jo, I’m in tears reading your post. It’s so nice that you adopted this new kitty and gave her such a beautiful new name. Everything God has created has value and it does my heart good when people see past the imperfections to the beauty underneath.

        • Janet [in Rochester] says:

          Getting caught up on Blog comments – and just saw this, Pam. Please know this reply is being written through a blur of tears [by a blubbering tub of goo]. God bless you for bringing “Clara” out of the shelter and into your life. You couldn’t make a more fitting, loving or meaningful memorial to Molly than this act of love and kindness. You’re right – Fate brought you and Clara together. And who knows? Maybe Molly had a little hand [well, paw] in it as well… =^..^=

  95. Barb from Gloucester, MA says:

    Dear Susan: I’m always blessed to read your posts and brought back from the busyness of life to think about the simple joys of living and the rest that lies in those. Thank you……and bless you!

  96. Gumbo Lily says:

    I’m with you….a lovely daily walk, a living prayer, “thank you God,” is good — so good. I can’t wait to see what Christmas Creations you make. Your downtown is enchanting and since I have a small town to shop in, I feel like you do about those shops. They are a Gift to me.

    Now it’s time to be an Elf and tidy up so I can stitch another Christmas gift.


  97. Sandy Richmond in Attleboro, MA says:

    Hi Susan, In a past blog, you talked about your diary of dinners you have hosted. I loved that idea, and decided to start one. I had two dinners recorded, with the second dinner the week I found my lump. Near the end of my leave of absence/recovery, a group of girlfriends from my church called me and said they were coming to my house for dinner, but they were bringing everything cooked! That dinner is in my diary. (I also logged every dinner my church members cooked and brought to me during my recovery. Even though these were not dinners hosted by me, they were some of the most special meals I have ever had.) Now this weekend I was able to write about two more dinners, Thanksgiving day with my son and daughter in law (and hubby), and last night we had some friends over. Thanks for a wonderful idea that has brought much joy (and reflection) in such a few short months!

  98. I love that… “Be an Elf”. Just a few words that speak volumes.

    I love the Chief Seattle quote, too. A few years ago I read it in Autumn and copied it in my scrapbook journal.

  99. Judy Tracy says:

    Love the new bookmark. Have a neighbor that I don’t know well but she has corgis so I think she might be delighted with a surprize gift. Thanks so much.
    Yes! So many of us have so much to be grateful for every day.
    Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas!
    Judy Tracy

  100. Belinda Chesser says:

    Thank you for your post. They are such a delight to read. I am still amazed to see turkeys just walking around in your yard…WOW…unbelievable. I LOVE your quilted iron cover….so pretty and such a great idea. Did you make it? Thank you also for your movie recommendations. I have not seen the two holiday ones you posted BUT I am going to see the new ones…..having been waiting on their arrival. Look forward to seeing all of the things you were inspired by for Christmas goodies. This is my first Christmas on your blog so I am soooooo excited to see the SNOW and holiday decorations…one thing I dearly miss out on living down here in Florida.

    • sbranch says:

      If you ever feel a yearning to see snow, click up at the top of the blog where it says “Visiting Martha’s Vineyard,” then click on “Island Snowstorm” — that was a beauty! It was 32 degrees when I got up this morning, with a brisk wind …. but clear sky, no snow yet, although I will be happy when it happens! I didn’t make the ironing board cover; I found it in an antique mall. But it looks really easy to do if you have a quilt you wouldn’t mind cutting up. Nice to see you here Belinda, thank you!

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