Morning Musica  . . .  I’ve been busy … making things!

Hello my dear patient friends! I thought I’d show you what I’ve been doing this morning!  I’ve been playing! Remember I mentioned I wanted to have lots of banners, swags, festooning and bunting to decorate my house this year?

Well, as you know, I went hunting for them and found lots of fun ideas, but couldn’t find the word banner I wanted for the kitchen . . . I’m sure they must be out there somewhere, but I decided I should just make one. How hard can it be, was my question.

Not hard at all as it turns out; really easy! And not even messy! So I thought I would show you what I did, in case you want to drape a mirror, a window, the footboard of your bed, the fireplace mantle, anywhere really.

I am sure there’s more than one way to do this!  But here’s what I did.  You need some card stock … a pair of scissors that makes curvy patterns when you cut with them, (pinking shears would work), and a hole punch that makes tiny holes. Also some narrow ribbon, yarn, or festive string. Baker’s string would look cute too. You can get all this in any craft store.  Or, knowing you, you probably have most of it in your closet already!

You need to decide what you want it to say, so you can know how many little cards to cut out, one for each letter — I just wanted a simple “Merry Christmas,” but other ideas would be “Home for Christmas,” “Let it Snow,” “BELIEVE,” “Joy to the World,” “Peace and Good Cheer,” “Blessings” — I bet you can think of lots more; “The Grinch Lives Here,” might even work, for certain occasions!  Or, “Welcome Home!” Or your child’s name! 

I didn’t measure anything, because it doesn’t need to be perfect … I just cut out little squares to the size I thought they should be, and punched holes in the top corners of each. (Cut one square until you get it the size you like, then just eyeball that as you cut the others. Trust me, you can do this!)

If you wanted, you could put a little glue on the edges and dip each edge into glitter.  I thought of this, but since I didn’t get glitter, and since it was 5 am at the time, I thought, OK, maybe next time!  I threaded narrow grosgrain ribbon through the holes, keeping the ribbon flat so that, in the end, when you hang them, the cards will all lay correctly — and I spaced them a bit apart.

They had tons of letter stickers at Michael’s … I bought these puffy letters, and considered using them, but changed my mind, wished I’d bought simpler ones … I was afraid these would make it too fancy for what I wanted.  I thought it would look more homemade if . . .

I just printed letters on the cards with a fat black marking pen.

So that’s what I did, and then, with watercolors, I put a little gray shadow behind each letter to make them “pop” a bit.

And so there it is!  Not Picasso.  But that’s OK, it does exactly what I hoped … a little something homemade in my kitchen. And you could go wild with this, you could mark the letters in glue and make them totally glitter!  I’ve already hung a few little colored pom poms on this banner … if you need a little gift of the heart, this would be perfect, tucked inside a stocking, or in a holiday card.

And then, the sun came up!  I love my banner/swag department!  It has a bit of magic in it, don’t you think?

I also thought you might like a photo of sundown last night, on the street where I live ….

The Frost Moon was so beautiful!

Back to my decorating now!  I finished my new WILLARD yesterday! (Click there, just in case you don’t know why we call my Newsletter “Willard.”)  It will start going out next Tuesday — it takes a couple of days … will be all sent late Wednesday.  If you want to sign up your mom, sister, aunt, grandma, sugar daddy, daughter, or best friend, you can do it anytime over the weekend and still be in time for Christmas Willard to arrive in their boxes sometime Tuesday or Wednesday.♥ Very inexpensive little gift.  Cookie Jar is included!  Also, I have a little surprise giveaway in honor of the giving season, from me to you with LOVE; check the blog next Tuesday for the surprise!

Peep Peep girlfriends, Have a wonderful day!! xoxo You are adorable♥  Thank you for everything!

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809 Responses to MAKING THINGS

  1. Sue Urness says:

    Susan, please help….I need to find your writings about beaujalais wine. I am taking it to my daughter’s Ladies Nite on Friday and I wanted to remember what you said about it. Back tracked through all the blogs and don’t see it anywhere. Can you help?

    • sbranch says:

      I’m thinking it might not be me. Beaujolais .. not so sure I wrote about it. I write about Twine (that’s tea, then wine), and probably other wine things, but I don’t remember mentioning Beaujolais …

  2. Diane says:

    Your site is magical. Thank you for all the inspiration and calmness you send to us. We have lots of snow and I love the twinkling frosty nights and the gorgeous hoar frost on the trees. Xo

  3. Jan says:

    Your pictures remind me of my childhood at home, when we made paper chains and my mom strung bead garlands on mirrors…talk about nostalgia! When I use my own bead garlands to decorate, it takes me back to those days – and the magic of the season envelops me once again! You’re right, it IS the little things for which we give thanks – we are so blessed!

  4. Lin Hagen says:

    Hi Susan, I love your Willard so very much! It is the one thing on the computer that I take the time to read every word and the pictures are enchanting! Jack and Girl Kitty are our favorites! It has been so much fun to watch Jack grow up! We have 3 rescue kitties and a rescue dog, so we know the pleasure in their kindness and true appreciation! Joe’s wreath is absolutely beautiful! Such fun you two have together. And I send holiday greetings and thank you for sharing your lovely home, your nostalgia, and such fun ideas! I look so forward to your Willards! Lin

  5. Irene Blackburn says:

    I wonder where you get the energy! Your decorations are just fantastic. I have just finished putting up my christmas decorations up and after seeing yours I am tempted to start again. Thanks for the inspirations.

  6. Judith Mellenthien says:

    Would love to have the gifts, especially the wreath. You and Joe are so wonderful. Your blogs and Willard really make me happy so I look forward to them all. Love and Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!

  7. Denise O'Neil says:

    I love all your festive photos. It brings joy to my day to look at all the beautiful pictures. Joe did a great job on the wreaths and garland.

    Wishing you and Joe a Very Merry Christmas.


  8. Julie says:

    Sitting here with a nice fire, a great book called The Newlyweds, and listening to the rain. Thought I would check your blog when I got up to make a up of hot tea. Your home is darling, and I am so in love with your cat. Thank you for hours of enjoyment, can’t thank you enough for the warmth you provide each and every time I wander into your website.

    Merry Christmas Susan!

    Julie from Walnut Creek, CA

  9. Kathleen Karge says:

    So blessed to have found you oh so many years ago! Keep creating and inspiring. Jack and Girl Kitty steal your show most times, sorry, they are just so cute. Holiday Happiness to you and yours.

  10. Eileen says:

    What a wonderful blog—i love everything about it—-a reminder that the simple pleasures of life are the best! Merry Christmas to all!

  11. Pat says:

    Love your email letters & blog….just makes me feel so good. You are so talented and so creative. Love the Christmas bulb with all the recipes; cannot wait to try some. Merry Christmas to you & Joe & of course, Willard

  12. Karen Pierce says:

    I LOVE your website, blog and all of your products! I buy your calendars every year for gifts and one for me. Merry Christmas to you and yours!!

  13. Barbara Hunt says:

    Home truly is where the heart is! Thanks for sharing your heart and your home, Susan Branch. It truly is a pleasure.

  14. Robin Shipman says:

    I would love to own the home-made wreath! We have painstakingly moved an 1850’s authentic carriage house to our funky farmhouse on Grand Island, New York to be used as a guest house and art studio. The wreath would look perfect on our front door. Thanks so much!

  15. Subee Ellis says:

    When I want a dose of happy, I check out your website, your blog, or Willard! Such fun, and if it’s not fun, I don’t wanna do it! I so wanted to get a Beatrix Potter figurine back in the 70’s, but my ex-husband said “no” & he didn’t understand either. Instead I got stuffed Beatrix Potter animals for my children that were adorable: Pigling Bland, Jemimah Puddleduck, and (Miss) Pig-Wig! I loved them as much as my kids! Also had some lovely B.P. Prints that were on nursery wall. Your Kitchen Christmas Decorations are charming and Joe’s homemade greenery beautiful! Soon I start cut-out cookies–my Great Aunt Anne’s recipe that she made for my Dad as a child. However, they were hung on the tree by Santa and found there on Christmas morn with toys and stockings. That would have been in the 1920’s. Santa hung them on our tree when we were kids in the 50’s. They were beautiful & also delicious. It wouldn’t be Christmas without them. But my neice calls me the cookie nazi cause I get kind of obsessed, it’s such a huge production making and decorating them. Of course, it’s simply another artform and medium!Blessings!

    • sbranch says:

      As a general rule, never ask a man about Beatrix Potter. It’s best not. Just put them in your purse and move on. xoxo

  16. shielaf says:

    I am happy to have found The Willard again . I started following Susan Branch many years ago when my grown children were little. Thank you, Susan for keeping the creative in create. You are the best at taking simple things and making them just delightful.

  17. Margy Bostwick says:

    And I thought I had the worlds smartest cats! Bentley, Elsa and I wish you, Joe, Girl Kitty and Jacks a very Merry Christmas. We all look forward to, and enjoy your blogs and wonderful photos and art. Have a grand New Year 2013!

  18. Mary Helen says:

    I love your newsletter! The pictures are beautiful and make me wish my house looked liked that! I made a garland with stamped letters for my house and it came out very nice!

  19. Doreen says:

    I love your blog, website, cookbooks, etc…. and the antics of Jack are priceless. I have a 16 yo kitty who was so fun in her youth – doing the “sideways kitty jumps.” Now, she’s a relaxed woman of leisure. Every once in a while she gets a burst of running up the stairs to be followed by a touch an arthritic walk afterwards. She loves the greenery and would be most happy exploring Joe’s wreath… sniffing it. Thank you, Susan, for sharing so much of yourself with us. A jolly Christmas to all!

  20. Laurie Ann Mitchell says:

    I just read your blog for the first time today. Loved seeing you prepare for Christmas. from Cape Cod across Nantucket Sound

  21. linda becker says:

    As always you continue to inspire and bring a smile to my lips…… love your kitties they certainly have lots of personality! Best of luck with Yankee Mag. Will look for it. A very Merry Christmas to you and Hubby

  22. Gloria Kaufmann says:

    Just love reading your blog. It just gives me a warm feeling. Also, love that polka dot tea cup and the wreath!

  23. marianne says:

    susan, i just finished reading your willard newsletter and just have to ask, where did you grow up in southern california? the description of your childhood memories along with those black and white pictures are exact duplicates of my childhood. in fact, in the second picture with the two rows of kids,the little boy half turned to the camera looks exactly like my ex-husband. i truly enjoy your website and the willard letter. just picked up the 2013 desk calendar from the post office today. thanks for sharing your talent with us all! marianne

    • sbranch says:

      That’s my brother Chuckie, and unless he is keeping things from me, I don’t think he’s the same guy! That photo was taken in Long Beach, where I was born, but I grew up in the Valley, Reseda and Woodland Hills. I think we all looked alike then, like Mousekateers, all the photos are the same!

      • marianne says:

        thanks for replying. i grew up in covina, not too far away. you are right about the pictures, it seems that all those old black and white pics from the 50’s & 60’s have the same people in them. 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          We were interchangeable. When I meet old high school friends, we are more like brothers and sisters. All our neighborhoods were the same!

  24. Amy Fluck says:

    I love to hang Boxwood wreaths in my kitchen windows, but this year when I went to purchase them at our local home and garden store they they were all brown and dried. What a disappointment! I’ve used boxwood cuttings from the yard in arrangements, but I’ve never made a wreath before. You have inspired me, and I’m going to give it a try! Thank you for all your beautiful and quaint ideas EVERY time. You were a big inspiration when we planned our trip to England this year and although I didn’t tell you then I read every word and comment twice and some out loud to my husband until he was on board for my dream trip too! It was wonderful!

  25. Denise betz says:

    Hi Susan, thank you for making take a pause every time I get to read your blog or get a new edition of Willard! I am in love with your artwork, products, and mindset. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  26. Vicki Grusing says:

    Love your energy and enthusiasm in sharing everything in your life. Your Jack is smart. My cats are great at getting things; but not so good at bringing them back. They are funny when they sort through the toy basket looking for something new to play with. Thanks for sharing.

  27. Ricki Tealt says:

    Love Joe’s wreaths. I’m entering the contest. Merry Christmas! Ricki

  28. Linda says:

    I feel like I win something wonderful every time I visit your inspiring, charming site! Just seeing the items you put together spurs creative thoughts.

    Hope you have a beautiful Christmas season – and please find the time to share every little detail with all of us….

  29. Lorraine Stotts says:

    Would love to share a cup of tea with you and Joe. The wreath would be the perfect finish for our holiday decorations. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  30. Sara Suchevits says:

    I so enjoy your blog. Thanks.
    Please enter my name for the great giveaway.

  31. Elaine Phillips says:

    Dear Susan, I want to thank you for lifting up my spirit every time I look into your blog. I’m a native Rhode Islander who has been living in Naples Florida for over 30 yrs and when I check out the blog I feel like I’ve had a visit at home with an old friend…so Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year to you and all those you hold dear….

  32. Merry Christmas Susan and Joe! Thank you for inspiring me all throughout the year. You truly spread cheer and embody the true Christmas Spirit all the year long! Blessings to you both and I will subscribe to Yankee just to see your home next year 😀

  33. Judi says:

    Pick me to win! Pick me!

  34. Catherine Morris says:

    Please include me in your drawing. I continue to enjoy your artwork and blog. Merry Christmas!

  35. Susan says:

    Thank you for your Christmas newsletter. You live an enchanting life with Joe and it is fun to be able to see how you celebrate your lives through the seasons. Happy Holidays! Susan

  36. Sharon Henriksen says:

    I have been purchasing your calendars for the last three years and so enjoy your artwork and literary quotes and comments on each month’s page. I just recently discovered your blog and Willard column. Your grandfather sounds like a real original just like my Grandma Gertie. I will now call memories of her stories and musings a Gertie because I enjoyed the story of how your family labeled ” Willard,” stories. Thank you for your wonderful artwork, recipes, blog, and Willard, and let’s not forget Jack. My cat Pumpkin, lived for 19 years and brought a lot of happiness to me just as Jack does to you and Joe. Happy holidays and I would love to win your giveaways.

  37. Melinda says:

    I just love your blog. Thank you!!!

  38. June Nelson says:

    I just love your blog and newsletter. Thank you for the beautiful bookmark…I printed out one for myself and one for a dear friend. Merry Christmas to you both and A Blessed New Year.

  39. Carmen Jackson says:

    I thoroughly enjoy reading Willard and your blog. You are such an inspiration to so many. Thank you for taking the time to cheer us up. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  40. Flo Krebs says:

    Can’t access the recipes in Williard’s Cookie Jar. Any other way to get the cookie jar? I’ve used it in years past and it is wonderful and fun! Thanks and Merry Christmas.

    • sbranch says:

      Hmmm, try again and let me know, I checked it this morning and it was fine … maybe it was getting a little overload …

  41. Sheryl Feldkamp says:

    Thanks for sharing all the Christmas cheer.
    Merry Christmas

  42. Stephanie Carpenter says:

    I treasure your blog so very much. I would love a chance at the goodie give-away and one of Joe’s wreaths! Every single entry you make I look forward to like a treasured friend. Happy Holidays from Ohio!

  43. Frances Adams says:

    I’ve loved your books since my mother gifted me with Heart of the Home in 1986. I never realized that you had a website until I happened to come across it last week while I was looking to see if you had any new books coming out. I was so excited to find it and I’ve been happily reading and catching up on your past blog posts and all the other wonderful things on your website. Even though I was disappointed that you didn’t have any new books coming out, I’m so glad I found the website.

    • sbranch says:

      I do actually, by this summer sometime, if you search around on this blog you will find out that Joe and I took a trip to England and I kept a diary of it … I’m painting and handwriting it (in the readable handwriting) right now .. it should be done in a couple of months. I think it might be called, A Fine Romance.

  44. Irene Santillanes says:

    That’s the cutest little bird tree;,you’re always giving us the greatest ideas for more fun.

  45. Andrea Hawkins says:

    I know your cat is brilliant because I have one too.:). I am a new quilter and happy you have designed fabric which I have purchased. Today I was binding a quilt and after a few interruptions our cat finally fell asleep and snored through his nap.
    I am wondering why you moved east?

    • sbranch says:

      It’s a long story, basically a terrible divorce was the inspiration. I will write that story someday. I found a little tiny house in the woods, one bedroom, and accidentally bought it.

  46. Diane says:

    Yeah, Joe and Susan…what a team…enter my name ,my fingers are crossed..

  47. Robin McIntyre says:

    I feel you and I are living parallel lives, but in the opposite direction. I grew up in Orleans (as you know, Cape Cod) and moved to SoCal—on a two-year plan—in 1990. All these years later, I’m still in CA near Sacramento, but I still yen for Massachusetts! I miss the seasons, but at least I’m back home every summer in Orleans. I lived on Martha’s Vineyard (in Vineyard Haven) the entire summer of 1982 working as an intern for Lillian Hellman, and loved being there, of course! (The year you moved there, right?!) I’ve enjoyed all your cookbooks, art, stamps, etc. since I found “Heart of the Home” in 1988. (All my girlfriends have your “Girlfriends”.) I love to cook (and cook all the time since I’m now a mom and half my family is Celiac, which really changes how one cooks…), and I enjoy doing graphic arts on a personal level. Anyway, thank you, thank you, thank you for your Williards, your art, your inspiration, your sharing. You’re a well-loved gem! I’ll renew my subscription to Yankee and look forward to you at Christmas next year. All best wishes for a lovely year ahead to you and yours.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, March of 1982 — actually the day John Belushi died. I remember that as being the most strange thing in a day of strange things! Were you here then? A couple of days later, the entire Saturday Night Live crew walked into my hotel dining room in the middle of winter, coming for his funeral — I was the only one there, they were so recognizable, I thought I knew them, Not! Talk about fly on the wall! Anyway, very nice to hear from you, you do have the best of both worlds!

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        No kidding – wow. Sue, not for nothing but I truly hope you have an autobiography in you at some point. What a load of memorable experiences you could write about – not the least of which being starting life again clear across the continent from home on an island in the Atlantic and finding your art talent etc… Can you say “New York Times Best-Seller?” :>)

  48. Linwood Dickerson says:

    I looked forward to the one thing in my life that will make my day so much more enjoyable and that is to read your blog, because of your kitty babies I have a new and first kitty and she brings such joy. I hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas.

  49. Brenda rich says:

    I am new to your website and blog and have fallen in love! Your blogs and recipes are wonderful and I already own a few cookbooks. Please continue and I cannot wait to see the Christmas tree! Brenda. P.s. I would love the teacup as I drink tea daily.

  50. Paula Kraft says:

    I have loved your work for many years. I was thrilled when my friend told me about your website. Thank you for spreading such joy.

    Happy Holidays!


  51. Carol Wilkinson says:

    Love, Love, Love the window greens and the wreath. I enjoy your website so very much. I taught Home Economics for many years and love it so much when people really cherish their homes as you and Joe do. Merry Christmas and God Bless.

  52. Carol King says:

    You have been very blessed to have a love like Joe. He is a charmer and so talented. I have always been in the snow for the holidays except for two years in Southern Cal. It was very hard to be there without the change in seasons. We are now in CO. without snow this year but with the cats and our dog nearby I am content. Love the four piece cup with it’s dots of many colors. I wonder if Joseph had one to match his coat?
    May your holidays be filled with new memories, much happiness and peace.

  53. Robin Jozaitis says:

    Hi Susan!

    You must get up really early and have lots of energy when you do….what is your secret?? Your decorations, swags n banners, wreathes, displays, old books n dedicated-decoration themed rooms are amazing. You make me want to do more decorating around my own little place….we had downsized moving from a house to a very small town house and donated a ton of decorations in the process. We have a new tradition that we started last year of cutting down our own Christmas tree the week end after Thanksgiving. We don’t have a lot of other decorations any more though….maybe we will have to make a swag or two like you did.
    Joe’s wreaths and greenery swags are beautiful! You’re both blessed to have each other…it looks like you have a lot of fun together!

    • sbranch says:

      I do get up really early, and go to bed early too … I love the morning, the more of it, the better — I have the world to myself and can get lots done! Have fun with your decorations Robin!

  54. Mary says:

    Dear Susan, We met in California when you had your grand opening for the shop on Branch Street. It was lovely. My friends and I came down from Marin County and what we came away with from our trip was a cherished memory of the most delightful day and meeting you, a long time friend, that we came to know so well through your books. Thank you for all of that !! We look forward to so much more. Merry Christmas From my friends and Me, of course

  55. Suzanne Kilgore says:

    Thanks so much Susan for bringing all my magical childhood memories surrounding Christmas back to me! I love reading your blog and the Willard newsletter every time you post them. I also enjoy the seasons vicariously through your enchanting descriptions. I still live in California, but tat doesn’t stop me from wishing for a white Christmas! Merry Christmas to you and Joe and the kitties.

    • sbranch says:

      Someday, rent a little shack in the snow for a Christmas, plan way ahead, and make that your gifts, then,just cook.

  56. Cheryl anne Votaw says:

    You give us such sweetness through all you share with us. I am so greatful for you, your artwork, your writings, your cuteness and joy! They encourage, uplift and inspire me and you feel like a special friend and that is a gift. You have that gift of connecting so sweetly with all of us, even when we dont know you. You share and let us know you and that is a sweet gift and I thankmyou you for that. Blessings to you and yours. With Love, Cheryl Anne

  57. Oh, I just loved visiting your blog tonite, to see what you are up to! I loved reading about your childhood and seeing all the great pictures of your home and Joes fabulous wreaths! Much better than buying them, such pretty greens from your yard!
    I wish you every joy of the season, all the traditions you love- enjoy!- they are so important and comforting. I’ve been decorating for lots of my clients who are older, so I’m not ready at my house yet either, but once I get decorated, I will leave them up for a very long time, well after Christmas, because I love Christmas so, and want it to last all year! Merry Christmas! Love, Linda

  58. Your home looks so festive and comfortable. You inspire me and I love all of your work.

  59. Kathy L. says:

    Your blog and your life are so beautiful and inspirational! Love them!

  60. Kristine R. says:

    Hello Susan ~ I have just recently found your website and blog. Since that first day I read and viewed your beautiful photos, thoughts, and drawings, I felt a wonderful connection to you. 🙂 You have touched my heart and soul with your genuine love and appreciation for life! I admire your creativity, talent, and the willingness to share all of those things with me and your thousands of fans. Thank you!

    Sincerest regards ~ Kristine

    • sbranch says:

      So sweet Kristine, I’m just lucky to be able to do this fun thing and meet such wonderful people, like YOU!

  61. Mary Shannon Gaither says:

    I moved to a much smaller, older home last month. I sold and gave away lots-maybe too much like a little tree for birds! and a teapot with lid. But I guess that means I need a new one! I see so many touches in your home that I want to copy: like the little chair by the fireplace. And where did the white tea kettle come from?
    Merry Merry, Shannon

    • sbranch says:

      It’s a Copco, look at them HERE … sometimes I wouldn’t mind clearing everything so I could start over! The finding and collecting is the fun thing! Only let things you truly love back in!

  62. Heather Roberts says:

    I wanted to tell you that I love your website. I love reading your blog and all the pix esp. the Christmas and winter picture.

  63. hope demarco says:

    Love pictures of Jack. I just got Christmas kittens for my daughter who is ill from our shelter. They are Jack(frost) and Jingles. What pair of trouble these brothers are! They have certainly brought smiles and Christmas cheer into our home. Merry Christmas Susan and thank you for all your lovely and happy posts.

    • sbranch says:

      They are the best mood lifter I know! You are so smart to bring them home . . . xoxo Blessings on you and your family.♥

  64. Kattywhiskers says:

    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas Susan, Joe, Jack & Girl!

  65. I just want to start by telling you how much I enjoy your beautiful blog. I actually found it by googling you a few years back because I wanted to see all the lovely books you have out. My mother has so many of your books and they have become a tradition to slowly read through (according to time of year) while sipping hot tea, ice tea, coco or some other delectable beverage. This cup is just addable and would be the perfect accompaniment to my susan branch reading. Thank you for the awesome opportunity!

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