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. Gloria Masterson says:

    Hi Susan,
    My very good friend-40 plus years!- started me reading your newsletter and I’m so glad she did! We live in the Arizona desert, so Christmas is very different than yours. I haven’t always lived here though and I miss the cold, the snow, a warm fire. I won’t complain about shoveling sunshine though;-)
    Thank you for your delightful, friendly way of sharing your home with us!

    • sbranch says:

      There really is something good about everywhere! As they say, it’s Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air!

  2. Maureen says:

    Hi Susan, You just seem to squeeze so much into one day and probably wish you could do more. That’s what tomorrows are for I guess. Everything you touch seems to have a little magic to it and such a happy spirit. May your light always shine so bright as we go through these short dark winter days. You are such a gift to us all. Thank you for sharing so much with so many.

  3. Joanne Steele says:

    May your Christmas be merry and bright, dear Susan. You have shared so much of yourself with others and have brightened our world. Thank you for giving me so many things to share with my own friends and family. Blessings!!

    P.S. Much as I love the surprise gift you are offering, this comment is from the heart, so there is no way I can use it to be a part of the “draw” so please do not include my name. Hugs!!

  4. Tamara Leavins says:

    Hi Susan! I don’t expect that you’ll ever actually read this yourself, but just in case you do, thank you so much for all the inspiration I receive from you. The first time I ever saw your work was on a magazine page in 1998 or 1999. It was one of your illustrations with an inspirational saying. It so embodied everything that I love. I kept it taped to the wall in my office for several years. Ever since then, I know if something is “Susan Branch,” it’s going to be perfect. Any time I’m in a store & see one of your books, I buy it. Every year I order your pocket planners for the special girls in my life. My daughter & I can’t live without your blotter calenders. A few years ago I found some rolls of your shelf paper at “Big-Lots.” As soon as I spotted the little sifters & measuring cups I knew I’d found a treasure. I have white cabinets with glass doors & I used the paper like wallpaper to line the cabinets. It’s adooooorable! Every night I make my chamomile & mint tea in my bird cup. It makes any hot drink an extra special moment. I also love to “copy” your decorating. What’s crazy is I also have a “Peter Rabbit” room. Sorry – blah, blah, blah! I just think you’re probably the most talented person I’ve ever come across & everything you share on your blog or anywhere else makes me smile. Thanks again for sharing your wonderful talents. The world really is a more beautiful & happy place because you’re here.
    With all sincerity from the best friend you don’t know,

    • sbranch says:

      I read them all Tamara, I don’t have time to answer every one, but I sure WANT to!!! You are so sweet, thank you for every wonderful word! xoxo

  5. Judy says:

    Hi Susan,

    I love reading your blog. My sister Jane who lives on MV introduced it to me and I passed it onto my friend Linda, who is also enjoying it.

    I’m looking forward to seeing your tree when it’s done.

    A faithful reader,
    Fort Myers, FL

    • sbranch says:

      Say hello to Jane .. is it Jane Palletroni? (not exactly sure if I spelled her last name right!!) And to Linda too! Thanks Judy!

  6. Mary Ouellette says:

    Your Cardinal picture and ALL of your decorations are so sweet and charming. I have your original “Christmas In The Heart of the Home” book, and pour over it every year for inspiration ! I posted a “bird” picture on the “friends of Susan Branch” facebook page. Thank you so much for helping to keep tradition alive.

  7. Caren says:

    Just love reading your blog and seeing all you do, so inspiring. Love the notebook with the male and female cardinals and the tea cup, just beautiful. Can’t wait to see your tree.

  8. Jane Wood says:

    I have loved your work for many years. I still have the torn out pages, of the recipes you did in the older Country Living Magazines! Your post of your family’s (Joe, Girl, and Jack) daily life is a joy to read. Your talents are a true blessing to all. You make it look so easy! Keep up the wonderful work and charming products. And continue to inspire us all. Have a very blessed and Merry Christmas.

    P.S. Love Joes wreaths and swags. I think your right. He doesn’t know what he got himself into! Beautiful.

  9. Vivian says:

    After a very difficult day I have come home to your wonderful blog. Our family is going thru some medical problems right now and it is very hard not to get depressed. Your blogs help me enormously to keep stable. I can’t thank you enough for your wonderful, wonderful writings. I have all of your books and get a calendar every year. I do think I NEED the cup you have featured today, so now I am off to “shop”. God bless you and thank you again for making my days wonderful. With all my love and appreciation. Vivian

  10. Kathy Clarke says:

    Hi Susan! Your stories about Joe remind me of a neat thing that happened this season with my husband. He decided he wanted to decorate this year (instead of just me). He also found something decorative and it sparked an interest! Yeah!!!

  11. Karla Z says:

    Hi Susan,
    I truly enjoy your blog – it is truly inspirational for me, as I love to decorate our home for the holidays as well. The bird sounds are a nice touch; it is just such a pleasure to see your photos and read your blog. Thank you for sharing your life and thank you for the chance to win! Happy Holidays !

  12. Suzy MacLachlan says:

    I just saw a banner in a country catalog that I was going to order, but I LOVE your homemade version so much !! I’m going to go for it myself =D Thank you for all your wonderful ideas ; )

    Have a beautiful and joyful holiday season !!

  13. M.A. Nichelini says:

    Love your decorating so far. I need to start but I am slow since it never seems like Christmas in CA because I am a NY girl and need cold cold days and hopefully snow flurries to get me in the mood. I do love Joe’s wreath, what a dear husband you have. I made cookies today, too. I like the way the kitchen warms up and smells so good with something in the oven.
    Happy Decorating,
    Mary Ann

  14. Karen aka Ladyheartwell says:

    Dear Heart, If your BLOG didn’t arrive every few days I would absolutely die from Susan Branch Blog depravation! Each one of your Christmas BLOGs seem better than the one before. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE all the garlands etc. you put up at our kitchen window. It’s FABULOUS!!! So cute and it looks so do-able. Thanks for all you give to us. YOU are the best Christmas present for all of us!!

  15. sSharrie Mezzanotte says:

    Wishing you a moonlit snowy night !!!

  16. DP Dunn says:

    I love this time of year. From my childhood I have a musical angel that I bring out every year. It plays Silent Night and spins. The happy memories it brings are special. Your memories and comments bring me smiles and reinforce how the simple things are what matters. You also remind me to take time out and enjoy. I am typing this as my 16 year old cat is trying to lay on my chest. He still believes he is the tiny 2 pound cat we brought home a long time ago. Thank you.

  17. Alice says:

    I’m fascinated by the little framed item below your Merry Christmas banner in the window. By any chance is it an antique post card? Did you have it framed with glass on both sides so it could be read?? Many thanks for all you do and how you inspire us!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s actually a little clipping from a newspaper, at least that’s what it looks like … it has father time on it — I found it framed like this and just liked it.

  18. ali hartman says:

    lovelovelove it all! The ideas, the art, the kitties!! …..could they be sent, too? 😉

  19. Karen Hoffman says:

    Merry Christmas Susan!

  20. Mary Turner says:

    Love, love, love all of your work, Susan! You are an inspiration to so many!

  21. Lonna B. says:

    Dear Susan,
    Your decorating is so authentic. It is endearing- with no commercialism or mass production. Love your style.

  22. Debra Henderson says:

    Susan, getting your blogs are the highlight of our day! I homeschool our daughters, ages 13 and 15, and when I check my emails, they always ask if we have a message from our friend up North (we live in Arkansas, down South 🙂 Then after all the work is done, we sit down and read it together. Our favorite posts include anything with Jack and Girl, b/c they are so much like our cats, Basil and Callie. We have so many things in common, that I think if we could sit down and share a pot of tea, we would all become really good friends. But as far as we are concerned you are already our friend 🙂

  23. Carole says:

    Hello Susan,
    I’m new to your blog but feel quite at home here. I met you first three years ago when I bought my first Susan Branch calendar. Now every month I get to know you a little better. I have found that you speak a language that warms my days. Each month I laugh with you and learn from you. Thanks Susan!

  24. betty neely says:

    Love the whimsy! Need some inspiration this year. Especially loved Joe’s garland and wreath. From sunny Colorado, wishing you all a wonderful and happy Christmas.

  25. Helen Rusert says:

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE EVERYTHING SUSAN BRANCH! Years ago I bought your large wall calendars and still cannot give them up because of the beautiful pictures!!!! I would so love to see inside your home….no doubt all who enter there feel right at home. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!

  26. PAULA says:

    As usual, your lovely spirit is infectious, how much like a Christmas card you are, all the bright lights and warmth of the season in one package. You inspire us all. I think I have every book you have written, going back and reading them is like a visit with an old friend. Thank you.

  27. Helen Rusert says:

    I am treating myself to some wonderful Susan Branch for my 60th birthday next week!!!!

  28. Alice Crandall says:

    Hi Susan,
    Thank you for sharing your sweet kitties Jack and Girl, as well as the great decos and tree.

    My calico kitty likes to be warm too. She sits on the heater vent or lounges in a spot of sun.

    Merry Christmas to one and all!

  29. Carol Chaney says:

    Thanks you for your wonderful blogs! I always feel so inspired by you and want to try it all! We are truly blessed for your sharing with us and I always learn something!! Carol Chaney

  30. Sharon says:

    Love all your ideas and comfy decorating! I get such inspiration reading your blog! Your cats are so cute. They add smiles to my day.

  31. Kathie from CA says:

    I love all things Susan Branch. I love the banner you made. I made them with my 4, 5 and 7 year old granddaughters. I put their name and year on the back. They did their own printing so we can compare banners from year to year and compare printing improvements. So fun.
    I would love the mug etc. I am drinking hot chocolate with homemade almond cake as I write this. Have a great week.

  32. Jeanne says:

    It’s so much fun to pick & choose what I can use of your recipes & dacor.
    Ummm – – I think my husband has pampered our Miss Kitty as much as you do Jack. We’ve had several cats at once & I was very in love with them all. However, right now I’m caring for four dogs that are a part of our family (an aging German Shepard, a blind Yellow Lab, & a loving, but very strong & energetic American Pitbull Terrier) so, the kitty care & love mostly comes from my husband. She’s the most spoiled, pampered kitty we’ve ever had.

  33. Carol Cooley says:

    Susan, I love the wreath made from your yard! What an inspiration to look around your surroundings and create something beautiful for the holidays. Looking forward to the next recipe!

  34. Emily Sullivan says:

    Hi Susan,
    I love reading your blog and look forward to reading your Willard every month. You make me feel like one of your girlfriends each time I read them. Thank you for sharing. I just collected my supplies to make the sweet Merry Christmas banner. I can’t wait to make it.I’ll be making several. I live in New Jersey and have a sweet little cottage in Ocean City which was one of the homes damaged during Hurrican Sandy. Many of my friends and neighbors also suffered damage too. I think your sweet little banner would be a cheerful decoration for them. Merry Christmas to you and Joe!
    Love, Emily

  35. Vicki Peoples says:

    Jack & Girl are adorable. Love that you share your love for them with us in your blog. Thanks for sharing your wonderful words & ideas. >^,,^<

  36. Pat Carver says:

    Thank you, Susan, for the highly personal and creative touches you add to the blogs you share. I particularly enjoyed my vicarious trip to England, thanks to your photos. Did you ever know Ken and Cathy Campbell, who ministered in one of the churches on MV for about 10 years until 2006 when Cathy had her biking accident? Cathy was a college roommate. She and Ken are lifelong friends who now life in TX. I’ve always wondered if you have ever met them. Merry, joyful, peaceful Christmas to you and Joe and kitties!

  37. Catherine says:

    Dear Susan ~ all of your blog postings are worth a second reading ~ or even perhaps a third or more ~ but this one is over the top enchanting ~ truly enchanting in every way. We are all so blessed to have you in our lives. Our happiness is much improved with stories of Jack ~ the clever kitty and his sister ~ the ever so sweet and adorable ~ Girl Kitty. And let’s not forget the man of your life. Joe the carpenter, the painter, the garland and wreath maker, the garden fence guy ~ and the role model for all men ~ should I go on…
    This morning I changed the “background” on my dual monitors from your fall leaves and berry “wall paper” to the Snowmen wallpaper. Now I have 6 cheery snowmen to keep me company while I work, and I also printed several pages of the angel stationery for my journal entries this month. Thank you for for everything.
    Have a wonderful and blessed holiday ~ and know you are so very appreciated by us all.

  38. Pat Everest says:

    I am new to your blog Susan, which was shared with me by a friend. I love it and anxiously look forward to getting the emails so I can enjoy everything you post. It is so relaxing. What a wonderful gift you have and are willing to share with all. Those cookies look delicious. Perhaps I’ll be the lucky one to win your beautiful wreath, mug and note pad. What a great idea!

  39. Susan, I love your blog! Reading your blog is like sitting down with a friend and a hot cup of tea! thank you for sharing your home with us. It’s like peaking in the window of the house you wish you had!! Merry Christmas!

  40. Bonnie Porro says:

    Have enjoyed your books, Willard and blog for probably more than 15 years (I cannot remember exactly when I purchased the first book–it was “Christmas from the Heart of the Home”). I am so glad I got to meet you and have you sign my books at QVC some years ago. The picture of Jack looking into the fireplace was my favorite. I have a little tuxedo kitty named Rosey who looks a lot like Jack and she sits in front of the fireplace just mesmerized by the flames. I always wonder what she is thinking.Today I am making a batch of Annie’s Butter Cookies as favors for a group I am entertaining on Friday evening.They have been a favorite of family and friends for many years.

    Have a wonderful Christmas. Thank you for all the great recipes and fun ideas I have enjoyed through the years.


  41. Mary Kay Scheaf says:

    Love your ideas – as always. I feel as if I am transported to whimsy island!! I have been decorating, too. I got out all of my Christmas books–yours included and went to town!! Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  42. Marsha says:

    I love your blog and decorations. Thankyou for all that you do. You’re inspiring for me to do continue putting those little extra touches out each year. Thanks

  43. Valerie says:

    It’s a blessing to just sit at the computer with my cup of perked coffee after the girls(14 this month and 15) are off to school and enjoy the peace that comes through all that you share with us!!!! thank you for sharing your talent with us all. A gift from the heart is what you want to share with “girlfriends”. I am honored to be considered one. It’s just fab at age 56 to cherish “me” time with you.

  44. Mary Gilbreath says:

    Okay, here goes…
    I’ve been wanting to write to you since I started reading your blog about your big transatlantic trip. I, too, took that trip after you with my husband & 10 year old boy. We celebrated 25 years of marriage on that voyage!
    We even visited some of the same places. My husband’s first cousin lives in Gloucestershire.
    I have felt connected (does that sound weird?) to you since then.
    I, too, love interiors, decorating & worked as an fashion illustrator many moons ago in NYC.
    We have two cats: Mr. Darcy & Willoughby.
    I tell my big sister, if you & I lived in the same town, I believe we would be friends.
    Merry, merry to you!

  45. Carol Linhart says:

    Susan, I absolutely love “Willard”and always look forward to receiving it and I also love reading your blog…I have many of your books and have bought many for gifts over the years for others…the stories and illustrations are amazing…I love everything you share with us as I’m sure many others do too! We have started to decorate our small house…here in Pennsylvania we are hoping for snow for Christmas…the seasons are so different than when I grew up here…we would have had snow already…I’m waiting for it to happen!
    Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year…Carol

  46. I love that cardinal. Garden birds are just the sweetest little things. I was amazed and overjoyed the other morning to find a Goldcrest, Britain’s smallest bird, feeding on bugs in the ivy growing on my stone hedge. They are normally a woodland bird, so this was a rare sighting indeed . . but then strange things are afoot these days . .

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, they are indeed! Sometimes I worry if I should be happy about warm weather or not! Happy for a blizzard or not!

  47. Theresa Cherry says:

    Susan – I love hearing about your kitties! Memphis, our 2 year old black with a tuxedo patch kitty keeps us busy. He also loves to chase ponytail rubber bands. He “hides” behind curtains and jumps up on our legs. But the best is when he arches up like a Halloween cat and comes down the hallway sideways!! Thank you for all you do – Theresa

  48. Kenda Evans says:

    I just started following your blog about a month ago. It warms my heart. I even bought Christmas in Conn. from Amazon and am looking forward to watching it for the first time.

    Thank you for making my mornings wonderful!!

  49. Michele Salazar says:

    Thank you once again for a beautiful and calming start to my morning of work on the computer.
    I knew your talent was boundless but I didn’t know Joe was such an arteest too!!
    Can’t imagine that beautiful wreath would look better on any door other than my granny smith apple colored one!
    p.s. kiss your 2 kitties on the kittie-lips for me.

  50. Michelle Lange says:

    My husband gave me your first cookbook as well as your holiday cookbook when they were first published. He knew I would find your recipes and beautiful illustrations an inspiration to make our home warm and welcoming. I display your holiday cookbook every year in my kitchen! I am so happy I found your website! Many thanks!

  51. Lynda Schneider says:

    Hi Susan

    Loved the little “Merry Christmas” banner you made. I may try my own this weekend. You inspire me. I don’t have a creative mind but when I see these little simple things you do, I think “Wow, I could do that”.

    Thank you!

  52. Penny DeRocher says:

    How I love cardnals! We have a pair that lives somewhere close to our yard
    and usually see them twice a day at our feeders. Also love
    Girl kitty and Jack, always wait for their next adventures. Thank you for the opportunity to enter your contest.

  53. Lynda Schneider says:

    Oh, I forgot to tell you, I am a “kitty Mommy” too. I have 3. A girl kitty named Dolly. She is a tortie and definitely has “cattitude”!. 🙂 I also have 2 boy kitties. Both black and white. They are Hank and Cletus. Cleetie looks just like your girl kitty. They are all very sweet, funny and smart. I got them a couple of days after Christmas (they are siblings) 6 years ago. They keep our house merry and bright all year round.

  54. Kathryn says:

    I love everything about your blog and Willards!
    Just started chemo for breast cancer and visiting your site gives me a few moments to escape. I imagine myself at your home on the Vineyard and it’s wonderful. Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so glad it does that for you Kathryn … this too shall pass, blessings on you, brave woman, for getting through it.

  55. bobbie calgaro says:

    How cheery your home looks. Thanks for sharing with us. Traditional whimsy is right up my alley too.

  56. Barbara from SoCal says:

    It’s always so much fun reading your blog. I look forward to it every day and this time of year it’s even more special. Thank you for welcoming us into your beautiful home. I live in SoCal but sit on top of Cajon Pass where it snows and the temps dip into the teens in the winter. It’s definitely not as beautiful as Martha’s Vineyard, that’s for sure! LOL My eyes would go into “color shock” if I saw what you do on a daily basis. I’m just glad I can “pretend” when I see the pictures you post 🙂

  57. Claire says:

    Hi Susan,
    I LOVE to read about and see your kitties, especially that rascal, Jack! I have a fiesty cat too named Blueberry who amazes me every day with his antics. Since my boys are all grown up, it’s going to be a “Kitty Christmas” this year.
    Thanks for your wonderful friendship.

  58. Dolores says:

    My girlfriend Cindy sent this to me in an e-mail. I don’t know a better way to get into the Christmas Spirit. Jack is beautiful!

  59. Carol Lynch says:

    Susan –

    I am so excited when I get your e-mail and I sit down with a cup of tea or cappa to read all your exciting adventures, recipes and your creativity. You make me feel like I am right there with you experiencing all the fun things you do. Please keep all the fun news coming. I’m sure everyone else enjoys your emails as much as I do.

    Merry Christmas and God bless you and your family – Caroll

  60. JoDee Jordan says:

    My daughter sent me your blog. I love your decorating style (especially the birds)! I have some of your books and a beautiful Christmas linen towel that I display every year. Merry Christmas and may God bless you and your family. JoDee

  61. Pam Morton says:

    Love, love, love your cleaver whimsical style! It brings a bit of cheer to my heart each time I see your ideas put to photo and paper. Thank you for sharing yourself with us all!
    Give the kitties a hug from me!


  62. Janyce Beyer says:

    Thank you so much for your blogs! You are such an inspiration to me. I have loved your little books and recipe books for years and years. Yesterday I looked at your offers for shopping and I fell in LOVE with that little mug! You and Joe are such great decorators!! I sincerely hope your Christmas and your layout in the magazine are all you wish for them to be. Kiss the kitties for me!! Janyce

  63. Maureen Wheeler says:

    What a treat ! Hands to work , Heart to God . Thanks for your daily pep talks .

  64. Kathleen says:

    Merry Christmas Susan! Thank you for bringing old fashioned cheer into a crazy world! We need more happiness and you provide it!

  65. Tracy Nassau says:

    Would LOVE to win! A cup of Christmas Cheer to you, my friend. I absolutely delight in reading your posts…..the pictures and photos are always amazing.
    I just have to ask, because Im desperate for ideas……..cute and clever husband gifts???? (he’s prob. about Joe’s age) What does Joe love to get for Christmas??

    • sbranch says:

      Both old and new books, sweaters, tickets to anywhere! He’s really easy. He gave me Mark Twain’s autographed photo one time. That was a wonderful gift. Does your husband have a hero? You could do something like that, there are places that sell autographs, you could google.

  66. Linda Pennington says:

    I just love “Girl”, she is so majestic and carries herself like royalty. Thanks for being you and for being “there” to turn our lives into magic. Christmas is a time of magical happenings and it would be magical to find a package from Susan and Joe on my porch this holiday season. Blessings to you, Joe and your families. (of course including Girl and Jack that darling boy)!

  67. Patricia Scollan says:

    Hi Susan,

    Wasn’t feeling up to par today until I checked my email and there you were! Loved your holiday post and really enjoyed your latest blog. Jack is tooooo cute. Nothing like a furry bundle of love. Thanks for sharing him. Hope your holidays are very merry. I know you help to make mine happy and inspired. Thank you.


  68. Dorothy Stone says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your life with us. I always enjoy your uplifting stories and for awhile am carried away to Martha’s Vineyard. It’s like a short vacation. I love the kitties. Merry Christmas!

  69. Sandy Garvey says:

    I love your Willard and all your blogs. Your home looks so cozy all of the year, but especially at Christmas time. You and Joe are so talented with your swags and Joe’s wreath! I buy your calendars every year for myself and my girlfriends. Good luck with your photo session. I wish you and Joe and your family the most blessed Christmas and happy and healthy new year.

  70. JoAnn Cottone says:

    Hi Susan – I absolutely loved today’s quote: Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love. I have eight small homemade quilted stockings to stuff for girlfriends (votives, YOUR cranberry/orange marmalade jam in baby food jars, etc etc) and will use that sentiment on the little cards I’ll attach. Thank you for sharing the beauty of your home, island and kitties with us!!

  71. constance Pettie says:

    Merry Christmas Susan and Joe!
    You guys are so crafty and you inspire me! I love your blog and can’t wait to read and see all of your beautiful pictures!
    Happy New Year too!

  72. Elaine Schmidt says:

    I love love love each and everything you do, I want to just jump into the pages and enjoy it for myself. You are so creative and make everything warm and cozy feeling. Have A Great Holiday Season.


  73. Cindy Becker says:

    I wish I could do something for you that would give back even just a fraction of the joy and warmth and comfort you have given me all these years. At times when things aren’t so good in life all it takes is to take it all away, no matter what it is. You are indeed, one truly unique and lovely person. Thank you for everything, and I do mean everything. Much love. XO

  74. Bobbe says:

    My sweet Daughter-in-Law, Cate, sent me the link to your blog. Wasn’t that a nice thought? I enjoyed reading the blog, especially notes about Jack, your cat. My cat companion of 6 months, Georgie, (she’s 2 yrs. old) also retrieves her ball, and rubber bands. Thanks for the photos and sharing!

  75. Paige Zeigler, S. Williamsport, Pa says:

    Dear Susan, Again I say thank you for sharing your love and inspiration. A few days ago I “had” to call two friends to share your blog – it was so encouraging. I am living Christmas decorating and baking through you (thank you very much!) for am not able to use my left hand due to an operation. It is so much fun using my imagination and your talents and, must say, my home is beautiful in my mind. Surely will make the banner sometime. Yes, Joe is a marvel, but how could he not be when around you. He must have caught the “can do bug”. I did. Today’s picture of Jack made me smile. What a love. Give him an extra hug and tell him Paige enjoys his company. Thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      We’ll just have Christmas together, I’ll make the tea, and you rest your hand, and it will be very merry still!

  76. Pam K says:

    Thanks for the pics of Jack and Girl Kitty, Miss Susan. I always love seeing them and am tickled I remember some of your Christmas decorations from last year’s posts.
    I don’t know how you do all you do. Do you have more than 24 hours in a day up there in NE? If so, it’s just one more reason for me and my sister/mother-in-law to move up there one day. And have you had any snow? Can’t wait for pictures of that. Hope you have a wonderful day! Pam K. from Dallas

  77. Cindy says:

    A little sad this Christmas, lost my Dad last month. I remember all the years he made sure we had that ‘perfect real tree!’ No fake one for him! And lights had to be just perfect. When all was done, he would sit back and just smile!
    Merry Christmas to you and Joe! May you have many blessings in 2013!

  78. Francine says:

    I love the holidays and I love reading your blog…makes me feel like I’m on the island too!

    Merry Christmas!

  79. Kiki A says:

    Your house is lovely! Thank you for all of your magic inspiration.

    Merry Christmas to you and Joe and Girl Kitty and Jack!

  80. Kathy Me says:


    Your blog is my afternoon escape. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and your home. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year.

  81. Tracy says:

    Your home, stories, words and treasures are lovely! Thank you for sharing them with the world.
    Have a Blessed Christmas season and enjoy your home to its fullest!

  82. Lynn says:

    You’ve made my day! I’m at work….busy as ever…finally took a minute to catch a break…and to my surprise I find your Willard! Oh I long to be home cleaning and decorating to make a happy Christmas for my family too! But…The hospital job I do is very important…and if I don’t get everything done I know it was ok because I was needed else where! Merry Christmas to everyone! Hope I win the drawing too!
    Love~Lynn H.

  83. Gail Rose says:

    Hi, Susan

    I love your little lights on your window. Well I love it all. It’s so nice having a friend who has so many friends. I feel like I have them too. I fell in love with yor fireplace so my dear husband is building me one. I’m so blessed.
    Tell Joe I said hi. Take a break and have a cup of tea with us. *****love, Gail**

  84. Kris Malkin says:

    Hi Susan!!!

    What a nostalgic Willard! I just smiled all the way thru it remembering our childhood days…we knew we had a good life, but we just didn’t know what we were missing (or NOT missing-all the ‘extra’ trappings needed for the East Coast)! And you talking about the charm of the MV Main Street…I remember that from my East Coast days! Thank you for adding to the joy of the season (and for all the cookie recipes!)! Love you much, girlfriend!

    Kris (Teachman) Malkin

  85. Lynn Bauer says:

    Hi Susan,
    Just spotted your Willard in my e-mail and read it from top to bottom, then on to the Blog! I read and re-read these because they give me such a feeling of comfort. I can’t wait to hear all about Yankee visiting you and reading about you next Christmas in the magazine. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy & Healthy New Year!
    Give the kitties hugs!

  86. Julie Ball says:

    Dear Susan,
    I grew up in New Hampshire and am currently living in Michigan. I remember the many copies of Yankee Magazine that we had in our basement. I would read them quite often and enjoyed it very much. I am so excited that you will be featured in it. Sad that it won’t be until next year that we get to see it! I love reading your blog and look forward to Willard every month. Your living on the island gives me glimpses of New England that I miss terribly! I truly hope that you and Joe and your furry babies have a wonderful Christmas and a lovely holiday season. Stay warm! I know how cold it gets in the winter back there! Season’s greetings!

    Julie Ball

  87. Pam G says:

    Oh Susan I love you! What a wonderful post and a fabulous Williard. This has not been the typical Christmas in my house-but I need to begin to see the joy-my Mom and dearest friend both loved the holidays so very much. BTW I had a flu shot yesterday and think I have the flu-hope it only last 1 day. I am so excited about your Yankee magazine feature and your upcoming book. I think I may just make a few purchases on your shopping pages this yr. mostly for me as I need that.

  88. Dianne Gerlach says:

    Yes, I want that wreath – maybe 4 of them. They are gorgeous. I love Joe, too!

  89. Toni Moriarty says:

    The wreaths and garland are beautiful…hope I win one. LOVE everything you do:-)))

  90. Linda says:


  91. Nancy in Wyoming says:

    just noticed that your link to the garden center brings up a garden center in Utah! 🙂 which probably isn’t where you got your beautiful tree…

  92. Lori Ragalis says:

    Love,LOVe this fabulous BLOG and beautiful wreath. ~~~HUGS, Lori Ragalis

  93. Anne B says:

    Kitties and Christmas decorations never worked at our house. Oour late cat played Herod with our handbuilt ceramic Nativity set and patted a shepherd and a sheep off the buffet onto the floor. He knocked over the donkey as well but just onto the buffet, not the floor, so the only damage was a broken ear (now mended).

    The Herod incident is NOT the reason the cat is our late cat — he lived another 16 years after that incident — but it made us a lot more cautious about putting out fragile things when he was around. Jack and Girl apparently are much better behaved! It probably helps that you don’t work outside the home so they have little unsupervised time (since they spend so much time supervising you!)

    • sbranch says:

      Jack patted my Beatrix Potter three-bunnies right off the shelf into the sink, broke off two ears the other day. Testing love. He survives. Joe’s a good gluer too.

  94. Sue Urness says:

    I am a total Christmas nut! I don’t even sleep nights because I’m all jazzed thinking about fine tuning my Christmas decor. It makes my husband crazy! But I love it so. I’m not a baker (thank goodness hubby is) so, for me, it’s all about the decorating. I love seeing and studying every little decor you do. And I would soooo love to win the latest prize. Happy December 5th!

  95. Mary Larson says:

    I love the banner you made! And the two photos of the moon on the street where you live. Gorgeous!

  96. Connie says:

    I’m newly-arrived at your Blog-world but have been a fan of your charming artwork and books for many years (I think I have them all). I’ve been to the Vineyard twice and can see why you love it so — it must be magical in the winter! You are an inspiration to me on how to enjoy the simple things in life such as your daily walks and for your sunny outlook toward everyday things. Seeing your artwork always gives me a lift and makes me smile. Thanks for that! And also for sharing your home with us — Good luck with your upcoming photo shoot. I’m sure it will all look terrific. I’m off on MY walk now — between rain showers. This is Oregon, after all. Merry, Merry!

  97. Christy says:

    Love the photos of Jack. He looks like he has on one of those pairs of glasses with the fake nose and mustache! Your tree has such a pretty shape; can’t wait to see it decorated.

  98. Kim Eighmy says:

    I would love such a wonderful gift from you & Joe! I am always transported back into a time of magic and wonder when I look at Willard or one of your delightful cookbooks! When can we expect a new cookbook?

  99. tina says:

    So, when am i coming over for a cup of tea????

  100. Laura Garcia says:

    Hi just wanted to say that I love your decorating ideas. Just got my cookie jar which my girlscout troop has used to make your famous sugar cookies for our soldiers overseas. They also made cookies for our local hospital where our wounded soldiers recover. I am also making your banner in a smaller version for my daughters doll house. Merry Christmas .

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