How to Make a Wreath + a little secret . . .

Here’s that tutorial Joe promised us on how to make a wreath . . .  So fresh, smells cold like snow, makes the house smell like Christmas heaven!  And here he is, in his own little Santa’s Village on our back kitchen porch.

See the little pink rose on the railing?  It’s the last one from our garden.  Can’t believe it held on this long!

Can you see the florist’s ring he’s wiring the greens to?  If you’d like to do this, get a 10″ ring at your florist, plus some florist’s wire, clippers, and a pair of gloves.  And some cuttings from shrubs — Easy!

(Now for some MUSICA!)   In our yard, we found holly, Chinese boxwood, English boxwood, ivy, and pine, plus various clippings of things we liked from our walk in the woods and from the neighbor’s houses! Look around, you’ll find perfect wreath making things in a yard near yours!

I think it’s pretty obvious from that video that we don’t actually know what we’re doing, (maybe I shouldn’t include Joe in that!  He would read this and say, “Who’s we?”) — but I’m sure he would say that he was winging it!  After Joe made a few, he got smart(er) and more experienced and started doing them like this one above — he bought a regular pine wreath, and then added a few of our own clippings to it; he did it all in half the time, and it still looks fun and fresh.  I thought maybe some of your husbands might like this!  Below is the one made completely from scratch. 

 Joe just brought it in.  I think it’s beautiful!  Good job Joe!  See the little rose?  He put it there.

  My hero!  For more reasons than one . . . . he also made me a special little roping for my Peter Rabbit Room all from English boxwood! 

See it? Over the painting, between the windows?

There it is . . . I added carrots and birds and snow balls and put in the painting I did of my garden, which I am now calling “Mr. SueMcGregor’s Garden” because I am a corn ball and now the entire world knows it.  I love this little woodland scene so much I’ll probably never take it down!

This is where I keep young me.  If I was that age today, and know what I know now, which is that you can have anything you want as long as you can make it, I would have a tree fort, and I would decorate it like this!  But you can see, it’s never too late!

When I came back later, I found the Peter’s were having a bonfire!  Celebrating the winter solstice, I’m sure.  See the little mushroom card?  That is also Beatrix Potter art, and on top of the yellow book on the right is a pottery mushroom, my treasure, I bought at the Armitt Museum in Ambleside in the Lake District.  I’m so excited because I’m just getting to the Beatrix Potter part of the diary I’m writing; she was so much more than I ever knew, and I love talking about it!

Well, I was trying to hold out and save the Peter Rabbit Room for later, but this is the problem with me and Christmas . . . I can NOT keep a secret; the fact that I had these photos has been poking at me like a finger in the shoulder all day long!  I want to give everyone their presents today!  Anyway, I hoped you would like it!  So there you go!  Happy Thursday Girls!!!    XOXO


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368 Responses to How to Make a Wreath + a little secret . . .

  1. Sandy from Ca. says:

    Susan what a wonderful post, Joe can come and make a wreath for us any day LOL! I must try to make one but not sure we have the nice holly here in Ca. I am off to a cookie exchange on Saturday and I am making everyones favorite cookies your yummy sugar cookies ( my friends call the to die for’s) and maybe some other but for sure The To Die For’S are on the list. Thank Joe for me for showing us how to make a fresh Christmas wreath. Sandy

  2. zinnia patch says:

    Good Morning Susan!!!!
    Sitting here with a big smile across my face. You just do that to me!!!
    Joe is adorable, and his wreaths are just beautiful. Thanks to him for sharing and that rose was just too perfect!!!!! Oh how i love you guys!!!!! xoxo

  3. Lynn Cooper says:

    I love the garland with the white birds in the Peter Rabbit room. I have a set of large, white birds in a box that I think I will take out and try to do something creative with them on some garland or in a wreath. Susan, I always get some wonderful ideas from you. When I do something new, my grown sons usually notice, and my daughter-in-law, who is Japanese, notices right away. She knows where the ideas for some of the things I do around here come from – you!

  4. Mary in Phoenix says:

    Could anyone possibly have more girlfriends??? You fill us with incredible ideas and inspiration. Kindness & Gentleness sum it up perfectly 🙂 Great Peter Rabbit creativeness! My favorite books are the Beatrix Potter collection I bought when I found out I was pregnant with our first child. 25 years and 4 kids later they are worn and cherished … along with the little blue “Windemere” teapot with flowers my “mum” brought back from England 35 years ago. Beloved treasures that have new inspiration! Thanks for all you do for us. Enjoy a relaxing weekend savoring the beauty of the season. Lovely rainy day in Phoenix … with snow in the high country … only adding to the anticipation of Christmas here in AZ. GOD REST YE MERRY EVERYONE ♥

  5. Sunny says:

    I LOVE all of your “homemade” decorations. Nothing like that feeling of cozying up your house. You are lucky to have such a good man as Joe, as he is lucky to have you. As usual, thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas and your beautiful home.

  6. Linda Pintarell says:

    Thank you and Joe for the video; so instructional and I now hope I can do it. Will certainly try. Love the Peter Rabbit room…you are so creative. Why did I say that? We all know that! Happy Holidays from rainy (finally – we needed it so bad) San Diego!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh good for you, Linda! … My dad says he is getting a big storm in Arizona today too. Send some to sunny Martha’s Vineyard please!

  7. Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

    Lovely, Lovely blog today, dearest Susan! Your video with Joe was just perfect! Please tell Joe that he was a natural in front of the camera! Loved to see all the bunches of fresh (nothing beats fresh) material he used. I felt like I was really there with you guys on your porch!

    Two weeks ago my girlfriend invited us to her old barn for our yearly wreath making party. She has shared the secret of using an artificial wreath as the base and then we hot glue in various kinds of fresh greenery that she provides. It doesn’t take long before all the fake part is covered up. This year my wreath has the usual greenery, but with boxwood circling around the center. Then I added white pearl type beads (the kind you get on a stick in the artificial floral section of a store) on the wreath, with some small green and gold Christmas balls and dried orange slices.

    I hung it in the kitchen on the door that goes to the basement. Every time I open the door, I get a whiff of Christmas smell. Delicious! Oh, here’s another secret, I mist my wreath with water every day to keep it fresh.

    I wish I could take all of you Girlfriends into her old barn. It was built when people still used horse and carriages so there is a place for the carriage and a separate place for the horse. When I rolled the door open, she had four worktables loaded with greenery and another table laden with “extras” to put our wreaths. Several completed wreaths were hanging around the barn. In the next room–a sort of workroom–another table held tempting goodies and warm drinks.

    It’s a yearly tradition for so many of us. We take our time building our wreaths; catching up on news; being silly; getting inspired; eating and drinking; oh my–I had so much fun!

    I loved seeing the rope of greenery over your door and the colored lights on your porch. After so many years, I am getting into colored lights again. But, like you, I mix them with white twinkly lights.

    Thank you–thank you, Susan. I can’t say it enough!! You have the gift of Friendship! All women need girlfriends and you share your self with all of us. On top of it all, you generously and unselfishly allow us to be girlfriends with each other! You are a very special person!
    Love to you and Joe,

    • sbranch says:

      I love it we are all able to connect here … makes me love the internet, which I honestly NEVER expected to do! Your barn full of greens, heavenly! Your wreath sounds just beautiful!

      • Victoria Miller says:

        I wish you could take all the girlfriends to the old barn, too. It sounds so delightful, and must smell wonderful! Your wreath sounds like a joy. Enjoy!

        • sbranch says:

          I can’t imagine the barn being interesting since it is so full of STUFF it just looks a mess … if I could get Joe to get rid of all that stuff; it does have nice bones, but a little hard to see right now! It has a deep stone-wall basement, with a dirt floor and NO ladder or stairs into it! Interesting. I always wanted to put stairs down there and make it into a wine cellar, with a little table and a candle, and do something Autumny and Halloweenish in there every year.

  8. Carla says:

    You two are sooo cute! Joe has been very busy making all kinds of wreaths and garlands….bless his heart, and I KNOW you truly appreciate his efforts. The music (I assume coming from inside your house) is truly a nice touch! Have a wonderful weekend!!


  9. "Auntie" says:

    Love your house all year long, but especially at Christmas Time! Please know that all these Holiday Time Posts are so, so, so, so, so special to “Auntie”…

    From ‘The Land That Snow Forgot’

  10. Linda Petersen says:

    Hi everyone! Oh how wonderful to wake up~~fix my peppermint mocha coffee~~turn on my computer & find sweetness to start my day!! Thank you for sharing the wreath maker’s skills with us :0). Gotta love a guy who gets into helping with Christmas doins’! Love Peter Rabbit’s room too~~adorable! Have been enjoying all the posts & so thankful for your gifts of friendship. Have a glittery day! XOXO
    Linda, Chino Valley, AZ.

  11. Angie(Tink!) says:

    ♫♥♫ I’m Twirling with Dean to “It’s a Mashmallow World” Good Morning Sweetest Elf~Sue! Bravo…The Video World Applauds You! I Think You Two Have a New Calling…. How To Videos! 🙂 Thank~You for The Wreath Lesson I Love it & Now I Know How to Make a Wreath & The Possibilities are Endless…for Christmas & Every Season….Yay! 🙂 Kathy~O will Cherish Her Wreath it’s Beautiful! & I Love Your Peter~Rabbit Room All Decked Out for Christmas! The Garland with The Carrots & The Snowballs….so Cute! 🙂 are You Two Pooped from The “Yankee~Photo~Shoot” ??? You’ve Had a Few Very Busy Exciting Days! I Love All The Twinkling Christmas~Lights on The Outside of Your House & all The Decorations…so Festive & Gorgeous… Christmas Makes Everything even More Magical! Ho~Ho~Ho! well Friday Means The Weekend Is Upon Us….. 🙂 any Plans? Parties? Shopping? Wrapping? Sipping Egg~Nog Fireside? I Know….All of The Above! 😉 I am Savoring These Magical Christmas Days….sending L♥ve & Always a Bit of Pixie~Dust! Merry Weekend To All! xoxo Poof! 🙂 ♫♥♫ Elf~Angie(Tink!) 🙂 ♫♥♫

    • sbranch says:

      We’re going to see the movie Lincoln, for one thing; lots of carolers out around now so we’ll probably get something hot to drink and wander the streets and drive out to see the Christmas lights! Happy Weekend Angie Tink!

      • Angie(Tink!) says:

        Hello Sweet Sue… Lincoln is Suppose to Be Excellent! (Oscar Buzz too) Enjoy! Christmas~Carolers & Hot Drinks & Christmas~Lights Everywhere! Heavenly! We’ve Got More Shopping…lots of Wrapping….More Christmas~Cards I Feel Like going Caroling Right Now! 🙂 Years ago I was the One who would Gather all My Friends Make Sure everyone was Bundled Up… I even had an Old Fashioned Lantern with a Huge red Candle to Lead The Way passed out all The Christmas Carols & away we went to Sing All Over The Neighborhood…so Much Fun! & a Few Years Back a Bunch of Us Got Lots of Hay Loaded Up a Pick~Up Truck & Poof! Hayriding Christmas~Carolers ♫♥♫ We need to do That Again… for Now I’m Just Singing around The House for all My Neighbors to Hear lol 😉 Merry Weekend Sweetest Elf~Sue! Love & Joy to You & Joe & Girl~Kitty & Jack! P.S. did Ya Read Your DM’s on Twitter? xox Poof! 🙂 ♫♥♫ 🙂

      • Diana - Highland, IL says:

        Oh Susan… Lincoln is just gripping!!! My husband and I were both blubbering at the end.. but we are historic goofs and it was an awesome movie!!! Let us know what you think???…

        Also, I am a little embarrassed to say that there is a little of the peeping Tom in me.. I just LOVE looking in on your little corner of the world. I love taking walks at night when people have their curtains open and the lights on and going about their happy business and seeing the activity and what people do with their houses… it fills me with curious wonder… and I think.. wow.. there are people all over, just doing what we are doing but in a their own special way.. like when we travel .. it is so interesting to me that look.. .here are all these people in Hawaii!!! WHO KNEW.. and they are just going about their business in a glorious place!!! I guess I am a little crazy, but I always think about that wherever we go… and meet lovely people… The world is such a small place really but yet so vast and so much to see and do and feel. Thanks for your little corner I get to visit. It is cool and calm here in my little corner of the world.. almost off work and gonna be on elf duty this weekend!! Love to all the GFFs out there and you and Joe and the whole bunch! Enjoy your weekend.

        • sbranch says:

          I’m sure it will affect us just like you … we blubbered through the Lincoln Library … it was so touching what that man (and his family) went through to do what he did. What a brave soul. A man of conviction. I can’t wait to see it. And I do what you do too, I think about the Champs Elysees, crowded with people, right this moment . . . or people serving lunch at the farm kitchen where we stopped in the Yorkshire Dales. It’s all going on!

          • Diana - Highland, IL says:

            I knew you would!!! 🙂

            Right now, my heart is in Connecticut. I am without words.. only prayers and supplications.. Hold your loved ones close.

  12. Pam T. says:

    Love the beautiful wreath for Kathy. I know she will be so thrilled to get it. Funny thing…I have been buying the wreaths for our front doors from Trader Joe’s in recent years. They are very nice pine wreaths (maybe you have seen them?) and really are lovely on their own. So I just buy them and hang them up. Yesterday, friends and I were in Claremont Village (So. Cal…have you been there?) and found some adorable little reddish “berries” all over the ground. I picked up a bunch with the help of my friend and added them to my wreath. Gorgeous!! I don’t know what the berries are, but the trees they came from we thought might be Jackarandas. (not sure I spelled that correctly) So fun! Thank Joe for the inspiration please!

    • sbranch says:

      There are wonderful Pepper trees in CA — they have clusters, almost like grapes, of small pinkish red pepperberries — does that sound like what you found? Jacarandas are the ones with the GORGEOUS purple flowers; not really sure if they have berries or not.

    • Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

      Or maybe they’re pyracantha berries? Not from a tree, but a large shrub common here in California, both Southern and Northern. I have two in my yard and they are now full of vibrant red berries about the size of large blueberries. Very pretty in wreaths.

  13. Rebecca Wright says:

    Great video ! I’m inspired !

  14. Christy in SoTex says:

    You know, I was worried that you guys were really stripping down the box wood shrubs with all the trimming and wreath-making. But after I saw the picture of them by the patio, I knew I was worried for nothing. They’re huge!

    Tell Joe the wreath is beautiful! I know Kathy will love love love it!

    And thanks for the tutorial!

    • sbranch says:

      The people who lived here from 1949 until 1985 were garden people — they planted all these things … five Holly trees about three stories high! I thank “Mrs. Bowditch” every day!

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        Holly trees! Every time I hear the phrase I think of my grandpa and his beloved holly tree smack in front of their house here in Rochester. I think it was about 7 feet tall when he died. He was a garden person too – ALWAYS out in the yard – 95 in the shade or pouring rain. Only snow cover could stop him. He’s been gone for 24 years but last Summer I drove past my Grandpa & Grandma’s house and that darn tree is now taller than their house! I actually said out loud in the car “Way to go, Grandpa!” :>)

        • sbranch says:

          There he is, leaving a lovely mark on the world! That’s how I feel about the people who planted the yards on my street … a debt of gratitude!

  15. Janet in Georgia says:

    I love your directions! I know exactly what you are talking about – the thing, to the thing, to the thing. I give the same kind of directions!

  16. Barbara S says:

    Hi Joe! Thank you for giving us a wreath and garland making tutorial–I thought it was great and you have inspired me to make a few garlands for my home here in Georgia. Have a very Merry Christmas! Oh! and please tell Susan I love her video of you making the wreath!

    Barbara S. from Cumming, GA

  17. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Kathy’s wreath turned out absolutely perfect! Joe did a fabulous job and I so love the pink rose for that special touch. She is going to love this present! I also think the way you did the Peter Rabbit room with the garden is so English in inspiration. Your home looks so full of love and serenity with all of the ways that you and Joe decorated for the Yankee shoot. The good news is now you can just enjoy all of your hard work as the days count down till Christmas!

    And, I could not agree more with you on your wisdom reference . When I was the same age as you are in that old photo, I remember having the feeling that I could do anything I wanted as long as I worked for it. Somehow that determined young girl got buried in becoming an adult and resignation became more ” realistic” as I learned the world was much more complicated and unfriendly. Now as I look to retire , I am thinking more lately that I better resurrect that young girl determination because it is the last chance to make a go for it!!

    • sbranch says:

      If you think small, you can make a world that you will LOVE.

    • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

      Winnie, I’ve had the same sort of thoughts since I retired. Like, “where did I go?” and now is the time to re-find myself… must be a natural occurrence once you slow down and have time to think, once again… 🙂

      • Winnie Nielsen says:

        Thanks for your encouragement Susan and Pat. I am beginning to realize it is all about perspective. Nothing has really changed. I am still me and capable of being that determined young girl, but it is about taking off those stupid glasses that show pathways with roadblocks. And time. When you have been frantically keeping up with what your employer wants and needs for 34 years, you don’t have much time to consider the other pathways. Time to set my day’s agenda is what I am most craving!!

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

    hello everyone, good morning susan and everbody. it snowed here last night, not much its just a dusting but its enough on the ground and the rooftops and its cold out there, 29-31 degrees!!! BRRR!!!! the birds ( chickens, turkeys) are staying in their warm nests this morning, i go out early and turn on the heat lamp/sun lamp so the henhouse and the barn warm up for them, now they don’t want to leave their warm nests and go outside right away, well the ducks go zipping out the door and head straight to the pool for their morning swim…in icy water…BBBRRRRR!!!!! but the rest stay where they are warm and happy. can’t really blame them as i prefer my nice warm fire and warm slippers to being outside. even our wild turkey stay indoors, she comes around and goes into the barn and sits with the other turkeys in the straw and is just as content as can be to stay there. i can just imagine the hens turning their tail feather to the heat lamp and getting their bottoms warm and toasty and scurrying to get back to their nest to settle into their nest all nice and warm and cozy and going AWWWWWWW!!!!! like we do with our backs to a fire to get our fannies all nice and toasty, and go sit in a nice warm chair. AWWWWW!!!! love the wreaths joe makes, they are beautiful, and thanks for showing us how to do it. love the peter rabbit room, its so sweet. off to go feed the birds and clean out the water tubs and duck pool….. if the hoses haven’t frozen. have a great day everyone, and a great weekend. hugs…. 🙂

  19. Marysol says:

    You know, I’m beginning to think your blog is all the therapy I need, and perhaps, chocolate 🙂

  20. Barbara (WA) says:

    I am not sure I’ve seen an closeup photo of that side of your house before and immediately began to notice the details/trim. She sure is a beautiful house and a treasure!

  21. Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

    Good morning, Susan~~~~

    This will be a quick note as I have to get ready for work in a bit. I loved the video you took of Joe making the wreath. It was very good and informative for those who may not know just how to make wreaths. Good job Joe and to you, Susan for showing us.

    I love the Peter Rabbit room…. so simple, but so elegant! You know, the more I see your home and all you have, the more I’m starting to like the “country” look. Always have liked Victorian and country is just a fine line difference. I’m finding myself getting little birds and small animals for the windowsills. I love gardening, so it’s looking more and more as though I could grow a small garden in my kitchen windows… LOL

    I’m off to work now. Have a great rest of Thursday!

    Carol M

    • sandy says:

      hey Carol M, just wanted to say Hi from one who used to live in Weaverville. I used to get out to Eureka for fun. And the math competition at the University! Now an expatriated Californian. cheers, sandy 🙂

      • Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

        Sandy, we don’t get to Weaverville very often, as we don’t go to Redding much. I do love going through Weaverville though. All those old foundations as you come into town. Have gone to the antique shop and have had lunch in town once. Where do you live now?

        • sandy says:

          I went thru high school in W, graduated in 1967. a very nice small town for me. I moved away, back, away, but have not been back since, mmm, 1979 when my mom retired from the County Schools ofc. I lived up and down California and am currently on the Olympic Peninsula in WA state. I do miss the California Pacific. Have you been in that area long?


  22. Rosanne (Oregon) says:

    O, Kathy O., you are going to love your wreath! The last pink rose is the perfect touch of whimsy. It really warms my heart to think that Kathy O. will receive some special magic all the way from Christmas Island and the elves (S. and J.). When she opens the box, I envision hearts and sparkly fairy dust flying out and filling every corner of her house with the love and good wishes of S., J. and all the Girlfriends (and we can’t leave out Jack and Girl). Tidings of comfort and joy!

  23. Maria M. says:

    Before I look at any of your posts, I have to put on a bib…I just LOVE your home!! It’s the vision of my own dream home. Thanks for sharing it with us.
    P.S. Thanks to you, I’ve ordered a copy of all of Gladys Taber’s books and have been joyfully reading one by one. :o)

  24. Kathy T. says:

    Love Love LOVE your blog! wish I was there to see everything in person, including the fur babies 🙂 Martha’s Vineyard has been on my bucket list since before I ever even heard of you. Just waiting to win the lotto! lol

  25. Nicki Anderson says:

    Joe’s wreath is absolutely gorgeous ! What a blessing HE is. It was so pretty, I could almost smell the greens. MERRY CHRISTMAS to you both.


  26. Susan, thanks for sharing these lovely pictures. Your Joe is wonderful…a treasure! It was so nice to check my email and find this post, a bright spot in a day that’s filled with such tragic news out of Connecticut. God Bless you and Joe for all the happiness you give to us.

  27. Cyndee Gayle says:

    Beatrix is smiling down upon your Peter Rabbit Room!

  28. Susan Scheer says:

    Wishing you a MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS!! THANK YOU FOR YOUR LOVELY BLOG. You put a smile on my face and creativity in my soul with every posting.
    Jack is a heartbreaker :D. Girl is demure. Joe’s wreaths are beautiful! I am going up to my attic right now to find my old Peter Rabbit books and display them in my guest room. Love, Susan

  29. I’m so happy for Kathy O! She’s a lucky girl, but then again, we all are because we have you, Susan! ♥ A few years ago, my best girlfriend (from 8th grade, who lives only a block away!) and I would get together after the usual November windstorm and collect the fir branches that had blown on the ground, meet at her house, make some tea and make wreath’s and things to decorate our houses! It was a nice tradition that has gone by the wayside somehow. You have inspired me to start it up again with her, so thank you! And Merry Christmas!! ♥

  30. Dorinda Turner says:


    I love your decorations. Your home looks all ready for Christmas.


  31. Liz says:

    Thank you (and Joe) so much for the tutorial! I am pretty sure I can handle it, can’t wait to try!

  32. Cyndi in NC says:

    I love the “Mr. SueGregor’s Garden” painting. Of course I love anything with a white pickett fence, espically a garden. When I see my little bunnies in my backyard I can’t wait till I get my garden with the pickett fence back there. I fear the nice weather will be over by the time I feel like getting out in the yard to get it going. Will just have to see how long this lasts. But the bunnies will be there reguardless. *S* Joe is getting the hang of the wreaths and swags. They look great. The little pink rose is a nice touch. The back porch is such a cozy place to sit and make them.

  33. Pam Fortune says:

    Hi Susan
    More lovely photographs of your beautiful home. I love the Peter Rabbit room, the little collection of Beatrix Potter books reminded me of the many times I took my three daughters to Hill Top where they were allowed to choose the next book for the Peter Rabbit book shelf in their bedroom. Now the book shelf has been transferred from my eldest granddaughter Robyn to my youngest granddaughter Imogen who enjoys having the books read to her at bedtime. I am very pleased you love the Beatrix Potter books, they are timeless. I shall soon be off on my travels to Cambridge to my eldest Daughter Fleur for a relaxing Christmas so I will take this opportunity to wish you and Joe and the two kitty cats a very happy Christmas and a happy new year and I look forward to all your next year Blogs.

  34. martha says:

    Beautiful……..thank you!
    Martha from CT

  35. Troy Louise says:

    Yes, I love the Peter Rabbit Room! Thanks for sharing it with us. Your home is so beautiful. And, your Joe is one amazing guy. Kathy is going to be so pleased with that gorgeous wreath! Thanks & happy, happy weekend.

  36. Kathy Ohrt (Lucky recipient of gifts & blessings) says:

    Hi Readers of Susan’s awesome & charming blog,
    I opened my email Monday to a surprise & blessing from Susan. I was so excited & thrilled to have “Vanna” pick my name to receive Joe’s beautiful wreath with nature & love wrapped around it! And Susan’s special treasures she is sending with it. It just made my whole week & uplifted my spirits. Susan had asked me this week if I had a chance to read comments, I went in to read them, I had to get my kleenex again! I was overwhelmed, thank you to all of you for your caring & thoughtful comments & prayers! I told Susan about Noah’s caringbridge page to read about our journey.
    We update family & friends, it is safe/secure & you go in & enter an email address & you will need to put my son’s name NoahOhrt to get to our page.
    We are praying for Noah’s healing. People are welcome on that site to post a message. We love hearing from everyone!
    I told Susan her house looked beautiful! Love those big white comfy chairs, I could visualize sitting & relaxing by the fire reading a good book! Love that Jack is included in these posts, what a cutie!
    Thank you Susan & Joe & fellow readers!
    Love, Kathy O.

    • sbranch says:

      Kathy!! So happy to see you here! Lots of love has been coming your way! Please give your darling son hugs from all of us! He’s a brave boy! xoxo

      • HveHope says:

        It’s a little late (but, in God’s ‘time’ not really, I suppose), but we’re praying for Noah’s healing Kathy! (Hopefully here on earth, but definitely will be in Heaven). by His grace alone….

  37. Susan (in VA) says:

    Thank you so much for our presents–the wreath tutorial, Peter Rabbit room pix, and time spent with Joe and you.

  38. mary spring says:

    dear Susan..received your message on “facebook”….already lit all the candles and have been praying…we just have to keep Faith, Hope, and Love……

    • sbranch says:

      I went looking for mental health help for a family member fairly recently. I really put my mind to it, was positively determined to find help, and found out, there is nothing out there. I’m sure those parents tried everything for that sick son that must have scared the whole family to pieces. They knew, but it’s like there’s nothing that can be done; these people can be bombs waiting to go off. I bet the Scientists and Doctors who study mental illness would have all kinds of ways to diagnose and solve this if we, as a collective American family, put our minds to it and kept it as a focus. It’s just so sad.

  39. Donna Ray from Hamlin, NY says:

    Hi Susan, I remember when you showed us the stash you had purchased on the mainland for making Christmas things…. I saw those carrots and have been wondering how you would use them. Should have known it would be terrific! Just love the little bonfire! Those characters are as alive for you as they were for Beatrix. I’m sure they love having Mrs. SueGregor’s Garden to romp in.
    Thanks for showing us how to do the wreaths and swags. I always thought it was way more compicated than “wire that to that thing”……..I’m inspired to try one tomorrow…..because “you can have anything as long as you can make it!” Wonderful words for young folks to hear, and us older folks to remember.
    I spent the morning volunteering in a 1st and a kgn classoom in the school I just retired from as school counselor. I want to hug everyone of those children tonight. The horror that happened in Conn. rips my heart. In your Christmas book, Susan, you advise us to “Kiss a baby at Christmas.” Let’s all kiss our babies and count our blessings and reach out in loving kindness to those so deeply hurt and sad.
    As always DonnaRay

  40. Gail Marie says:

    Lovely Susan. Thanks for sharing, love the how to video with your man!

  41. Cynthia says:


    Many thanks to you and Joe for the video….I always need to be tutored when it comes to crafts….you made this simple and more important, do-able! I wish I could make a tiny one for new little grandaughter Hope’s room in NICU, but they don’t allow that…but perhaps I will make a little one, and when she comes home at the end of January (we have our fingers crossed!) she will have it hanging above her crib….thank you again….I needed a little Christmas spirit today, and since I just got home from the hospital and checked my e-mail, I saw your blog and opened it up….I got just what I needed….thank-you both!


  42. Victoria Miller says:

    What a joy to see Joe making wreaths, and I loved the addition of your last pink rose. Kathy O. has a wonderful treat on the way! It’s been a treat to come here after this long day, tragic for too many (and any is too many!) Thank you for a joyous place to return to, a place to get one’s bearings again, a home away from home where one always feels welcome and knows delight and warm hearts await. It is a comfort this evening to come here and be with you, in the cozy Peter Rabbit room, with your delightful painting and Joe’s garland (enhanced a bit by you, of course). Thanks for another heart warming, inspiring post, and thanks for being you! Your comment on Facebook from the Friends of Susan Branch there was most appreciated. Peace, love and understanding to all.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s not that I ever want to forget, it’s that some things are too difficult to bear. So I will put on an old movie today, and play Christmas music, and look for the magic, and send it all to those children in heaven. The way we live our lives can be done to honor them, is what I think.

    • Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

      Victoria, you said it beautifully. I couldn’t find the words…
      ♡ Heartfelt thanks and hugs.

  43. I love your oil painting. It looks wonderful in the Peter Rabbit room. 🙂 Have you done any others. I always think of you with watercolors. This is lovely. Also I LOVE your wall paper choices. Especially the one in your dining room. I would love something like that in my bedroom its so old fashioned and cozy feeling. Did you put that on very long ago? Was wondering where you got it.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I did put that on a long time ago and didn’t make a note of where I got it, sorry! I have done only two oil paintings in my life; a couple of years ago I took my first art classes with a teacher — for oil; this, and a tiny one of an orange tree, were the results. Another good reason to have a clone, so I could practise more … it’s so different than watercolor; I would need some years to get close to the kind of “old master” grip on painting with oils that I would so love to have.

  44. Karrie Steel says:

    I absolutely love the carrots in the garland – they could not be more perfect for that room !

  45. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    Tell Joe thanks for the tutorial!!! He is your handsome man! I really like the Peter Rabbit Room, and the swag is sooo cute. Who would have thought to use carrots!?! Well people used fruit, so why not veggies. A gardener’s wreath would be cute in summer. Girlfriends I saw some nice red or white birds at the Dollar Tree this past week. Have a great weekend!

  46. Carol (Daisy) says:

    Thank you for the wreath/garland (rope) tutorial. I totally get it and know “I can do that”! Really. . . who wouldn’t want to stay in the Peter Rabbit room?? Just look at it!! The coziness of the decorating plus the architecture of the room itself. It would make me smile everytime I’d walk into it. Actually, your whole house for that matter!! You and Joe make it a such happy place, oh, and of course, Jack and Girl Kitty!!

  47. life is sudden and short so eat dessert first and open gifts when given…that’s my motto -smile-. thank you for another happy post; Susan, you’re my dose of happy and a visit here makes a warm and cozy respite in a frosty world, sometimes, gone mad.

  48. Karen L., in Memphis says:

    Thank you for the Wreath Making tutorial. They are beautiful. I like the swags too. We are off tho hunt our tree today and will be bringing back cuttings to decorate with, I will be using the “JOeY Technique”. Like he needs anything else to keep him busy but it looks like he has a way to make his Christmas money. I was wondering if Jack liked to talk or is he the silent type?

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, he’s the silent type. I do get a little bit of purring, but he’s like a 10 year old boy who just wants to go go go; he runs by me, and jumps up to rub my legs and say hello, and off he goes! Have fun getting your tree Karen!

  49. Susan says:

    I am head over heals for your Peter Rabbit room! I love Beatrix Potter so much that I named my Mini Cooper after her. I don’t ever want to grow up either. My inner child is too rebellious and must be let out daily.

    Big Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

  50. Jacquie says:

    My mom loved Beatrix Potter. My very first books were her Peter Rabbit books. I love them, they are my treasures. Thank you for sharing the Peter Rabbit room. It is delightful!

    Your real treasure is Joe. You are so lucky to have him, and he you. Happy trails to you both.

  51. Beautiful wreaths Joe, thanks for sharing with l’l ole us!
    Susan, love the Peter Rabbit room at Christmas, love love love your painting and the pic of you! They add a beautiful touch to the special room! How was your champagne? were you excitedly exhausted when the shoot was over? They looked like they were having a ball! Especially with Jack! Lol!
    Hugs and blessings!

  52. Purely serendipitous, Susan, to see this beautiful posting today. Love the Peter Rabbit wreath — I wouldn’t take it down after Christmas, either. In light of what happened in Connecticut yesterday, it was nice to visit your blog and extract all the smiles. 😎

  53. Emily says:

    Thank you for the wonderful tutorial! I’m smitten by your Peter Rabbit Room! Lovely!

  54. Kristin says:

    I love the wreaths. I sometimes cheat by using a fake pine look wreath as a base and then covering it with holly, boxwood, and leyland cypress trimmings from our yard. I adore the Peter Rabbit room. We have a bonus room with the same roofline and someday when the kids are grown I plan to create a Peter Rabbit room of my own. Your house is so lovely, simple, and warm.

  55. Charlene says:

    Susan, the Peter Rabbit room is so very charming. I looked so forward to seeing how you dressed it up. And that Joe is wonderful, too, taking the time to show how he makes the wreaths. I love seeing the glimpses of your pretty world. It inspires me to make mine prettier, too. Merry Christmas to you, Joe and the kitties.

  56. stephanie says:

    Susan and the girlfriends –

    Here is a list of “26 things that restored our faith in humanity this year” – I thought you’d love it – I think we all need it after this week’s event:

    • sbranch says:

      How beautiful Stephanie … Crying my eyes out . . . so wonderful . . . thank you!!

    • Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

      thank you, thank you for sharing this site. After all that has transpired and the overwhelming sadness that I’m sure we all feel, it is good to remember that every day good happens. But it is up to US to make it happen!

  57. Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

    Oh, Stephanie—thank you, thank you. I pulled myself away from the news this evening to find a little solace here on Susan’s site. This list is a blessing. How we needed to see this and soak it in at a time when even God’s heart is broken. Bless you.

    • stephanie says:

      You are welcome Shannon. It soothed my broken heart a bit too and knew the girlfriends would feel the same.

  58. Sharrieboberry says:

    Aw! Those were wonderful secrets to share. I love the picture of the bunnies around the bonfire.

    In Louisiana, on Christmas Eve, bonfires are lit on the levees along the Mississippi to light the way for Papa Noel.

    Their fire looks very cozy. 🙂

  59. Wendy says:

    I love your house – have ever since I saw it on the back of your Christmas book but that Peter Rabbit room is my favorite – I’ve always wanted a bedroom w/slanted ceilings. Its lovely.

  60. Diane says:

    Thank you for inspiring me and the rest of us to view life through the lens of whimsy. Truly your blog lifts my spirits and motivates me to live each moment with joy….making my own house of creativity and fun.

  61. Audrey Patterson says:

    Thanks for your wonderful blogs.

  62. Delores Hollenbeck says:

    Dear Susan… what a beautiful article you wrote today in your blog… I have felt so sad and much heartache in regards to the tragic ordeal that took the lives of so many … innocent people… You writing is simply wonderful… and I thank you for sharing your feelings… This is the first time I have written in a blog of any kind… but you shared what I have felt and we need to keep the prayers going to our Heavenly Father…..



    Your BLOG today was very inspiring. A month ago I was with my dear husband of 47 years when he received the news he has esophageal cancer with metastasis to the lungs and liver. Our entire world seemed to stop at that moment. It felt as if I had received the diagnosis. It is hard to define the “whys” of life when someone like my darling never drank a drop of alcohol or smoked in his entire life. In spite of this news we know the Source of all Life and Hope, our Lord Jesus Christ.

    For years I’ve looked forward to your BLOGs, your next book, your next calendar(s), etc. and have introduced your happy products to my friends who have also have also become your devotees. When your BLOGs arrive they are like rays of sunshine; more so of late. God has blessed you with so many very special talents.

    Thank you once again for the joy you bring to so many people! Please have a VERY Merry Christmas.

    • sbranch says:

      Joe and I sat in a dark movie theater tonight, after the movie was over and all the other people had left, we were watching the credits. He took my hand, and I thought, what would I ever do without him. Your comment was so touching and sad, and part of life and awful. Wishing you both many more moments to celebrate your love. xoxo

  64. Sarah says:

    Thank you. I was blessed by spending some time on your blog; enthralled by pieces of a hand made Christmas. There is a humbleness and comfort in your decorations, collections and home setting. Further, I just enjoyed tea and toasted B&M bread in front of a warm fireplace. Thank you for that product reminder! It has been years. Merriest Christmas holidays to you!

  65. Thank you so much, Susan, for sharing how to make a wreath with us! You are awesome, ans so is Joe!!!!! Merry Christmas to you both!

  66. Diane C in IL says:

    The roping in the Peter Rabbit room is so sweet and the added carrots, well of course it had to have carrots. I’m thinking you loved the tree house in Swiss Family Robinson too.
    I’ll have to try and find some different greens for my wreath next year. I use branches from the neighbors evergreen, but it looks very boring after seeing what Joe put in his. Maybe I’ll just have to plant some holly in my own yard!!
    Your house has such wonderful detail to it. I sure wish as much time was given to that in the new houses today.

  67. Barb Murphy says:

    Thanks for the wreath making tutorial and decorating ideas. What a treat to find this as I was sitting down for l my lunch break.

  68. carmen in CA says:

    Oh Sue it’s wonderful…please thank Joe for teaching us and you for recording and sharing your Peter Rabbit room! I feel enriched and not the least embarrassed now about my PR room where I keep all my BP figures (except for ones who are visiting other rooms, stuffed BP characters & PB books. Thank you for all of the joy you’ve both shared with all of us this year and the trip to England and Scotland and the best part was you included us with your wonderful writings and pictures!! Many of which were so similar to photos in our albums & since my husband can no longer travel, your sharing was particularly dear to me. I shared many of your photos with him. 🙂
    Happy Christmas to you both and a Joyous New Year!

  69. Karen says:

    Thank-you, Susan. Your house is so beautiful. Merry Christmas to you and yours!


  70. Of course Joe would be creative!! How could he not be living with you? Again, this “stalker in me” loves peeking in your lovely home. Some day I hope to visit the island in the winter! I adore your chenille bedspread (sparks a great memory for me!) I hope you have a lovely holiday!

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