Hi Girls!  It’s 24°, sun’s just up, blue sky, no wind, but we are on a Blizzard Watch!  They are talking 1-2 feet of snow for Martha’s Vineyard, probable power outages!  “Crippling Blizzard!”  Yikes! But we have MUSICA

I just love this photograph.  I took it at the Emma Bridgewater factory, in a very old building in Stoke-on-Trent in England.   The factory was so organized (everyone knows where they keep the rubber bands) and no matter where you looked, tea was at hand.  It’s an interesting juxtaposition between the hearts and the walls, a little romance can brighten up the darkest spot!

My theme today is Romance.  Has to be, because yesterday Joe and I celebrated our twenty-sixth anniversary!  This is one of the wonderful postcards in his collection.

Last year at this time we celebrated our 25th by having an anniversary breakfast and inviting all of our friends.

I used champagne corks for place cards, old books, birds and flowers for the table, my Johnson Brothers Rose Chintz dishes, and a little bowl of chocolate kisses, because who doesn’t love a little kiss at breakfast time.  ♥ ♥ ♥

We cooked up a storm for this party and had a wonderful time doing it.

♥   ♥   ♥

Cooking is my idea of deep, dark, delicious romance.  Romance is all about the five senses and cooking appeals to them all, smells good, tastes good, looks, feels, sounds so good, and cooking includes the 6th sense, the sense of imagination and creativity.  These books are my idea of romance novels.  I love to read them and be inspired; sometimes Joe and I read recipes out loud to each other, like storybooks.  He will say something like, “Listen to this, they’re putting cinnamon in a taco!”

But you can see why — if this isn’t pure romance, I don’t know what it is.  And luckily, Joe thinks so too.  He is my victim, and I am his.

Making banana fritters is almost as romantic as eating them, especially when playing a little old-fashioned music.

Mmm, saw this picture of cheesecake as I was scrolling by, just had to put it in. Looks very romantic to me!

And then there’s tea . . . and all the romance around this sweet tradition.  I designed this tea strainer and Lenox made it …. of course they’re long gone but I still have mine, so I thought I’d show you how cute it was.

Maybe you need some chocolate-chip and orange heart-shaped tea biscuits to go with your tea?  So quick and easy, and such a nice way to say I love you. ♥  (I think we still have heart-shaped iron pans in our web store in case you need one.)

More romance, this lovely little embroidered beaded heart, was sent to me by my English Girlfriend Siobhan.  It hangs in the kitchen.  Love!

Someone wrote the other day, wanting to show my favorite piece of transferware.  That’s a difficult choice, but I think this bowl is it!  Not very big, but what a cutie.  “WOOD” is deeply stamped on the bottom; a very fancy pair of numbers are painted next to the stamp, “24.”  That’s all I know about this little pink bowl.  I always wish these things had tiny little chip video cameras on them so we could pop it into our computers and see everywhere they’ve been during their lives.  I’d love to see the women who bought these bowls, the very first tables they sat on, the cupboards they were kept in, who washed them, and what was in them.  Look how lucky the people of the future will be, we have videos of EVERYTHING.  But then again, maybe what makes it all so romantic is that it’s gone forever, and we just have to imagine.

So, yes, soon, it’s going to look like this around here! Even more — the weather man just said our storm will be HISTORIC!  How exciting!

How romantic!

‘Specially when I look out my studio window and see my guy taking care of things.

Our anniversary was very low key this year, no parties, just us, the kitties, the fire.  We’re planning to celebrate everything after the book is turned in and we return to our regularly scheduled life.  It won’t be long now!

 I ‘m painting like crazy (I keep bits of scrap paper next to the page I’m working on, where I test the paint on my brush, or do quick squiggles — that’s what this is — don’t worry, it’s not going into the book!).  Joe is scanning the finished pages and sending them in as they are finished.  So yesterday, our anniversary was just a regular day, no special plans, we wished each other happy anniversary and that was about it, a special day, like any other.  Then he went to the supermarket for groceries and came home with roses.  He surprised me with them, I didn’t expect it, so I was very touched.  He is such a doll.  It was kind of like that heart cup in the picture at Emma Bridgewater’s — just the littlest bit of romance brightens everything.  He also hid a coconut cake in the back freezer.  So after dinner, which was ribs and sweet potatoes, he pulled out his surprise cake.

He is taking good care of me as I finish writing our book, and paint titles for the front cover.  It was the perfect Anniversary.  I could not have asked for any more.  ♥   ♥   ♥   So back to work I go.  I wrote a new WILLARD yesterday!  It’s being prepared now so it can be emailed to everyone.  I love writing Willards . . .  it’s hard to believe this is my first one for 2013!  The Valentine Willard will start going out February 12.  You should know, it has little surprises in it just for you. Because Valentine’s Day was invented for women! We need those little surprises!  Like roses.♥ 

 I laid out the back cover of the book … then I took it to Joe to ask him what he thinks.  We feel so lucky because last year we had a celebration to last a lifetime and since then, we’ve been reliving it almost every day!

Twenty-six years together . . .

Isn’t it romantic?

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820 Responses to BLIZZARD WATCH

  1. Well, we are snowed in pretty good here in southern coastal CT. I really don’t know how we will shovel out tomorrow. We will have to take it a bit at a time. I hope that everyone reading this is safe and warm and still has power.
    A few days ago I tried a recipe for some healthy oatmeal muffins – sort of a portable bowl of oatmeal, and Susan suggested I share it here. I got it from First for Women magazine, but I’ve added some annotations. Try these muffins. You won’t be disappointed. (I pasted the recipe, and it lost the formatting, but I hope it’s still relatively easy to follow.)

    Baked Harvest Oatmeal Muffins
    From First for Women – October, 2012

    2 cups old-fashioned oats
    1/4 cup ground flaxseed (optional)- but it makes the recipe even healthier!
    2 Tbs. flour
    2 tsp. baking powder
    1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    3/4 tsp. salt
    1 and 1/2 cups milk
    1/2 cup unsweetened or berry applesauce
    1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
    1 large egg
    2 Tbs. safflower oil
    2 tsp. vanilla extract

    Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with aluminum liners, or grease and flour wells.
    In a medium bowl combine the oatmeal, flaxseed, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
    In a large bowl whisk together the milk, applesauce, brown sugar, egg, oil, and vanilla extract. Add flour mixture and stir, just till combined. Stir in any add ins such a raisins, craisins, nuts, chopped fruit, etc. Caution: mixture will be soupy in consistency.
    Divide batter evenly among 12 muffin cups. Bake 20 minutes or until done. Serve warm or at room temperature.

    When I first made these, that runny batter made me expect the worst, but I used an ice-cream scoop to put the batter into the muffin cups. I had added raisins, dried cranberries, and chopped walnuts. There was enough batter for 3 additional small loaf pans (It also makes 20 or so muffins.) – didn’t rise much, so loaves were not very high. Anyway, I was so surprised. They came out dense, but moist and delicious. I compared them to having a portable bowl of oatmeal. Even my husband liked them a lot, and he is not usually fond of muffins. They also kept well – for 3 days, at least. We’d eaten them all by then.

    Suggested add-ins:

    1/2 cup grated apples, 1/4 cup raisins, 1/4 cup chopped pecans

    1/2 cup chopped dried apricots, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 1 Tbs. orange juice, 1 tsp. orange zest

    2/3 cup mashed bananas, 1/3 cup chocolate chips

    1/2 cup mashed banana, 1/2 cup shredded coconut

    1 cup fresh blueberries, 1 Tbs. lemon juice, 1 tsp. lemon zest

    1/2 cup dried cranberries, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 1 Tbs. orange juice, 1 tsp. orange zest

    1/4 cup peanut butter and 1/2 cup chocolate chips

    1/2 cup pumpkin purée, 1/2 cup diced apples, 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, and 1/4 cup pepitas (optional)

    • joan spears says:

      Would LOVE the first book on England!
      A special thank you for putting two of your fans together oh, so many years ago (when that whole Pepperridge Farms fiasco was going on). Phyllis Mullins and I have been best friends for years and years and it is all because of you thinking we’d enjoy each other’s ‘company.’

  2. Lynn Cooper says:

    Gorgeous picture of you and Joe! Happy Anniversary!!!

  3. Tracee Stewart says:

    Happy Anniversary Susan and Joe! Batten down those hatches and hold on! Stay warm! Praying for safety and warmth for you!!

  4. Karen C from NC says:

    Happy Anniversary Susan & Joe!

    Wishing you both only the best ! Hope you are fairing well in storm Nemo. Please give us an update on snow totals. Keeping my fingers crossed that you continue to have power. Hugs.

  5. Hi Susan — Thinking of you, Joe, Jack, and Girl Kitty tonite and praying that you all are safe and warm. The photos coming out of the Northeast are amazing and I hope all goes well for everyone. Seems strange that I’m here in the Houston area wearing a summer gown, have a small fan running, and it’s in the 60s outside. Take care of each other !!!

  6. sandy says:

    to my moon-loving friend,

    Advice from the moon ~
    live life to the fullest, be someone to look up too,
    don’t be phased by difficulties, take time to reflect,
    enjoy a little space, honor the cycles of nature,
    light up the night.

    xox sandy

  7. Rae Ann from northern in Minnesota... says:

    Thinking of you and yours hunkered down…the winds look fierce…and the snow is blowing sideways…hope your power stays on…stay safe…xoxo…

  8. Susie (NY) says:

    Happy Anniversary you two lovebirds! Here it is very late and I’m looking out at the snow seeing mounds all around me and then I thought “I wonder if Susan wrote in her blog”. Yeah! What a lovely read before bedtime. Now I can lay me down to sleep….perchance to dream….I’m dreaming about Willard!


  9. Carol says:

    You two are a gorgeous couple!! Happy Anniversary!

  10. Dorothy Ann says:

    * Hello Susan *

    I just finished reading your new post…”Blizzard Watch”. Oh my! I don’t think you have to worry about “Finding Nemo”… Nemo has found you!

    To you and Joe and your little kitties and to all of our girlfriends out there…
    Stay safe…stay warm…stay cozy indoors…and ever-far from the storm.

    Then, midst the talk about the blizzard watch, were your romantic tales and music, a photo of you and Joe, recipes and a picture of the most romantic roaring fire I have ever seen. That’s the “lovely” part of your Post.

    Do keep in touch with us, as we follow you and all who are in the storm’s path.

    * Dorothy Ann on Cougar Mountain, Washington *

  11. Dorothy Ann says:

    * Hello Susan *

    I just finished reading your new post…”Blizzard Watch”. Oh my! I don’t think you have to worry about “Finding Nemo”… Nemo has found you!

    To you and Joe and your little kitties and to all of our girlfriends out there…
    Stay safe…stay warm…stay cozy indoors…and ever-far from the storm.

    Then, midst the talk about the blizzard watch, were your romantic tales and music, a photo of you and Joe, recipes and a picture of the most romantic roaring fire I have ever seen. That’s the “lovely” part of your Post.

    Do keep in touch with us, as we follow you and all who are in the storm’s path.

    * Dorothy Ann on Cougar Mountain, Washington *

  12. mary spring says:

    …seeing,via twitter, that all is well with you all this morning..staying warm with candles and fire light…thank you for the photos and updates…stay warm and enjoy !!

  13. judi says:

    Good morning! Hope you are weathering the storm ok. Your twitter doesn’t come up like it used to and with no entries showing since 5:22 p.m. yesterday I wonder if you have lost your power. Will have to check the tv to see what is happening. Checked in on the NY harbor webcam and they appear to only have an inch or two of snow. The difference between getting rain or snow is HUGE. Don’t remember what the inch difference is i.e. 2″ of rain = _” of snow, just know it is a lot. Warm thoughts to you.

  14. Georgie says:

    Happy Anniversary Susan and Joe!

    Love your post with all the pictures! Love the recipes! Love the journal jacket!

    Thinking of you this morning as the snow continues to swirl in MV. I’m hoping your power is restored quickly. Watching the weather channel shows blustery wind gusts bearing down on your precious island. So glad Joe chopped extra wood. All four of you will be huddled around your fireplace warm and cuddley.

    Sending xoxo. Stay safe girlfriend.

  15. Nina says:

    Happy Anniversary Sue & Joe what a delightful couple you are! Hope you keep warm and cozy in your lovely home. A blizzard sounds so exciting but it would bring our British isle to a standstill if we had it! They measure our snow fall in centremetres and if we have 4 or 5 were in trouble! lol xxxx

  16. Pamela Jo says:

    Happy Anniversary! I was just watching the news and they said that Martha’s Vineyard is having hurricane force winds. You will be in my thoughts and prayers as you weather the storm. Stay safe and warm!

    Pamela Jo

    • sbranch says:

      Our power just came back on! We are safe and sound, warm as toast (although that wasn’t so true at 4 am!) … thank you for your prayers, it’s very beautiful out there today!

      • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

        Praise be! 🙂

      • Cathy McC. says:

        So good to hear you are safe and prayers that you are able to stay warm! How much snow? It was great to see that so many folks heeded warnings out east and stayed off the streets. It broke my heart, however, to see that there are still folks in tent/hut shelters following Sandy and have to endure this new storm. We cannot forget about them! Ethel

      • Rhonda D. says:

        Glad to hear you’re safe and sound and warm as toast. You’ve weathered the storm well. Now it’s our turn. A very nasty day here in the maritimes. But we will get to see that gorgeous winter wonderland tomorrow. Now I just have to go and find that perfect snowday project (while we still have power and daylight). Hmmm.

      • Chris Wells from West TX says:

        Dear Susan,
        How exciting! (She says from the warmth of Texas) I can’t wait for you to send pictures. It must be so beautiful.
        Enjoy and hope you don’t lose power again.

      • judi says:

        WONDERFUL to hear from you!!! Been checking, trying to get info on your weather situation. Just got to the ferry facebook page where they had some pics and info. You must be close to that high tide now. Twitter does not work for those of us without an account now:( Look forward to anymore info from you. Stay safe and warm. Hugs, prayers.

  17. Stacey says:

    Happy Anniversary! I hope you stay warm and have power during the storm. Gives me chills even just thinking about that kind of cold.

  18. Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

    Good morning, Sue!
    I really planned to “sleep in” this morning but I just COULDN’T! I think maybe Gladys Tabor was in my heart, stirring me awake..I knew I was surrounded by the beauty of a fresh snowfall and I HAD to go see it for myself! (Thank you, Shannon, from Pennsylvania, for your comment yesterday!)I took my camera out and got some absolutely beautiful photos of our home and yard! So, so pretty! I feel so blessed to be able to see this!
    I know you must feel the same, Sue! I hope MV didn’t take too big a hit…prayers are with you!

  19. Randi Bault says:

    Happy Anniversary,
    I remember when Marvin and I lived in Lake Tahoe, California…We had 3 days of Snow, snow, snow and no electricity. All of our apartment neighbors became the best of friends, and everyone put their refrigerator food in the snowbanks outside of their apartment doors. It looked so funny, but it worked. We played a lot of board games and battery radio. It was the whitest winter I ever lived through…Best Wishes for both you and Joe!
    —-<–<–@ Randi
    P.S. Could you post a photo of the stairs to your second story house? My sister loves stairs and has always wanted to live in a house with stairs….

  20. Mona says:

    Happy Anniversary Susan and Joe! I loved reading about your anniversary trip last year, the trip and all the excitement, how fun! And this year seems just as wonderful, to have a quiet lovely time at home. Thank you for sharing both.

    Your blog was such a blessing this week. We finally got the keys to our new house last Friday. When we went it we found out that it was left in less than stellar condition. Nothing destroyed, but oh so dirty and trash left behind in the house and yard. So discouraging! It is going to take so much work to get it ready to move into. And while I know it will be worth it (anything worth having is worth working for, right?), it still seems a little overwhelming this week. Well, after a long day, I sat down at the computer and there was your lovely, lovely blog with pictures of warmth, happiness and love! And it restored me! Gave me hope for my own home in the next few weeks.

    Glad to know you are safe through this huge storm. I hope there will be pictures of snow, snow, snow for us! Love to you and Joe, Girl and Jack!! =^..^=

  21. Happy Anniversay, Susan, and Happy End-of-Blizzard! I so enjoyed this post! It makes me wish that those nice but negative folks at The Weather Channel would look at these events like most of us — a chance to get prepared, get cozy, and get patient!

  22. Jen from Sebastopol says:

    Susan will you be doing a book signing in California, and if so what month?
    I think you and Joe look like a perfect match, and it has turned out that way.
    Happy Anniversary!

    • sbranch says:

      I only have one planned so far, it’s in San Luis Obispo in November, I imagine there will be more, just not sure at this time. I’ll post a schedule when we have one.

  23. peggy says:

    hope all is well ! my mother in Law is in Worcester/leicester area and have over 28 inches at the moment!! so much snow! looks fun

  24. sandy says:

    oh, so glad to hear the power is back! nothing like electricity to light up our lives, eh? and warm up, and cheer up! stay snug, xox sandy 🙂

  25. Chrissy Thrower says:

    Loved this! YOU INSPIRE MY HEART,
    Happy Anniversay Susan and Joe!

  26. Danella Farrell says:

    So happy to see your snow pictures this morning. Glad you are safe!

  27. Judi says:

    Just found your website although I’ve so enjoyed your books throughout the years. Thought you might like a saying that we found posted in a place where we were lodging for a few days in England. It read “I’ve had many troubles in my life, many of which have never happened.”. I don’t deny that we find ourselves with troubles, but this seemed to put many things in a different light for me. Thank you. Lord, for Susan’s gifts:)

  28. Sue Blaney says:

    Fan since 1992 when I rec’d your Christmas at Home book as a gift…since then have many more. SO happy to read you are working on a new book!

  29. Diana Everett says:

    Thanks for keeping us up to date on what is going on in your neck of the woods. Glad that all is well with you and Joe and the kitties and birds…….prayers answered! I am so enamored of the picture of your studio by candlelight that I put it on my facebook page…with credit, of course! <3
    Hey, I like what Judi said in the previous post: "Thank you Lord, for Susan's gifts!" Susan, you cannot even imagine what an inspiration you are to all of us mentally, physically, emotionally, artistically……. You simply make us want to be better people and you do it with such ease and joy. Thank you! And ….stay warm. Pass the bacon, please.

  30. Connie Haltermann says:

    I was enjoying your beautiful pictures and listening to your Billie Holiday MUSICA, and the idea of the music reminded me of a time when you selected Bella Luna as your MUSICA. I was instantly introduced to the music of Jason Mraz and transported to Heaven. After I Googled him and listened to more of his music, I HAD to buy every album he ever made. He is such a POET. I love ALL his music now. (His latest CD, Love is a 4-Letter Word, is his best album yet, but Bella Luna will always be my favorite song of his.) Thank you so much for that wonderful gift of that gorgeous song that day.

  31. Wendy says:

    Happy Anniversary a tad late! I remember the photos from your breakfast party last year, so good to see them again. I am writing this response after my response to your ‘powerless’ post ( I am a bit backwards! ) but I do appreciate the preparations for the storm and warmth of your fire, good food, oh those fritters are jumping off the page at me, and coconut cake & roses. So sweet! We had a whopping unexpected 3″ of snow Thursday night here in VA. Stay warm and well fed!!

  32. Carol in KS says:

    Happy Anniversary! Glad you had such a special “regular” day!!

  33. rebecca Robinson says:

    I was born in the same town as your pink transfer bowl was made, Stoke on Trent in UK. My parents were potters.
    Your bowl was probably made in the 19th century. The painted 24 could be a pattern mark . I hope these pages help.

  34. Genie B says:

    Your blog brings such joy. Thank you for sharing the videos of your home — inside and out — along with Girl and Jack (Joe too). Wonderful to see the variety of birds at your feeders!

  35. Kathy Korb says:

    Hi from Wisconsin!
    We are having a snowy, sleety, icey, and rainy week!! No fun to be out and about! Love the bowls and the scrap paper next to the paint!! You have inspired me to get a sketch book and get out my paints and stickers and pieces fabric and whatnot, etc. Thank you! Kathy

  36. Barbara Welch says:

    What an absolutely lovely picture of the two of you! Congratulations and here’s to twenty six more.

  37. char fruland says:

    What a wonderful surprise to find willard on my ipad!
    love all of the info i found as well .

  38. Ellie says:

    You look so happy with Joe……May you be warmed by your fire and comforted by your surroundings……What a wonderful life you have…..Here’s wishing a very “Happy Anniversary” to you both…..Can’t wait for your publication to come out…..Best wishes………Ellie

  39. Carolyn says:

    What a wonderful treat to receive your Willard today! Perfect timing as my day was not going so well. Roots in the sewer pipes and overflowing toilets! And soaked carpets. But a wonderful husband who dropped everything to take care of it all! So looking forward to reading “A Fine Romance”! Stay warm!! Carolyn

  40. Sally says:

    I want three of the book A Fine Romance. Add that number to our count

  41. Gabi says:

    First of all, Happy Anniversary!!! Love is grand!
    Thanks for the new Willard. My own new kitties (Miss Marple and M. Poirot) enjoyed the birds very much. I am excited for the new book and love, love, love the Kipling portrait (my last kitty was named after him.)
    Thanks for making the world a cozier place!
    Wishing you warmth and the energy to keep creating!


  42. Cindy B. (Maryland) says:

    Just recieved my email Willard. Made myself a cup of tea & settled in to read. I so enjoy seeing anything coming from you in my inbox. After writing this, plan to go to your store & pre-order a copy of your book! So exciting!! My son recently moved to San Luis Obispo ~ so looks like I may need to make a trip there in November. Hope you’re staying warm.

  43. Joanne Yeager says:

    Happiest of anniversaries and happy valentine’s day!

  44. Lynda Rhodes says:

    I love your books and have many of them….I too, am a watercolorist and was
    so excited to learn we use the same W.N. brushes….my husband and I are
    planning a first time trip to England June 28th…..I would love to have had
    your new book to read before….I am so excited! and have loved reading
    about your trip to England….
    Lynda Rhodes

  45. Cindy says:

    I always enjoy receiving my Willard! I have all of your books (at least I thought I did-just purchased Sweets to the Sweet). And your calendars are always a staple on my Christmas wish list!! Can’t wait to read your new book!! Happy Valentine’s Day Susan!

  46. Gail from California says:

    Hi Susan,
    Willard was wonderful to read!!!! I’m so excitied to have been able to order a Fine Romance in advance. Loved the few pages you showed us girlfriends. It’s going to be wonderful!!! Oh boy! I didn’t even connect the calender page for Febuary, with the title of the book. Susan it was diffently made for you to write this book. Thank you so much for designing the bookmarker for us. You know we just had to have it???? You really do inspire me, Susan.

    Glad everyone is safe and sound in your little nest egg. The pictures were beautiful and so was your story.
    Stay warm and cozy…… and Happy Valentine’s Day…… with love, Gail

  47. Noreen says:

    I would love to have a copy of A Fine Romance.

    I am looking forward to the new book.

  48. Beth Panzarella says:

    I would like to be entered in the drawing for one of the first books “A Fine Romance” in circulation. I can’t wait for it to come out!!!

    I wish you the Happiest of Anniversaries! May each one be happier than the last!

    Living in Texas I get to enjoy winter vicariously through your website!
    Thank you!!

  49. Melynda Rockey says:

    I received my Willard today and it said to enter a comment on the blog for a free book drawing. This may be too soon to enter so I will keep checking, but if not, count me entered.

  50. Elaine McCallum says:

    I am trying to stay calm. I tried repeatedly to preorder the book and finally emailed. So I am holding my breath that I get on the list. It would be so sad not to ! Oh yes I would love to be included in the drawing. If I should win I could give that copy to my daughter. Thank you so much

  51. Bobbi Jo says:

    I love the progress you are making on your book – I will be counting the days until it is published. I live very close to SLO so I could come up for the book signing – what a wonderful treat that would be for me and my dearest friend who introduced me to you in the first place!!!

  52. Lois McKinnell says:

    Really enjoying re-reading the “Love” book, as I do every year at this time. So many wonderful ideas, recipes, and memory-makers! Really happy to hear you have a few copies available again as my daughter is out on her own now and would love to have her own copy. Thank you for many years of inspiration. Keep sharing the love!

  53. Dede says:

    Happy anniversary a little late. Sounds like you celebrated just right. We will be married 39 years in July. Does not seem that long –even on those days when it is! LOL
    Looking forward to the new book. I just love all your art play (never is work is it?).

  54. Betty Shull says:

    Please put my name in for the drawing of the book.

  55. Diane Harris says:

    Can you hear me squealing with delight? I took a procrastination break from the report I’m writing for work and went to Facebook and saw the FOSB post that pre-orders for THE book are open! As fast as my little fingers could dance over to the website I ordered two; one for me and one for a dear anglophile, tea-party-loving, garden-dreaming friend! Yippee! This made a blah Tuesday without NCIS (darn State-of-the-Union), more exciting that it has a right to be! Girlfriend, you better be painting like a mad woman so as to meet all your deadlines. No procrastinating!

    From the Queen of Procrastination!
    Diane Marie

  56. Holly McKinney says:

    Last night, my daughter and I curled up in our favorite leather chairs and spent the evening looking at every one of your books! I have collected them all over the years and LOVE every single one! She is now 23 and LOVES all of your books too!!

  57. Kathy Pennell says:

    I love to receive your newsletters, but this latest one is the best yet! I can’t wait to get your book and begin my dream journey via your eyes. I don’t think I will ever be able to travel, but this book promises to be the next best thing!
    Happy Valentine’s Day and another day of Fine Romance.

  58. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh Susan I just got your Willard! I love it!! (As I always do!) I can’t wait to read your new book..”A Fine Romance” when it’s released! I love the pre-order availability! You do such an amazing job on all your writings! Diary s, books, blog & Willard! You were predestined to “write”!


  59. Janet Dailey says:

    I absolutely love all of the pictures this time, especially the beautiful birds and the warming fire. I am certainly looking forward to your book and all of the beautiful pictures and illustrations. It must have been a most interesting trip for both of you. I always look forward to hearing from you.
    Janet Dailey

  60. Kathleen Coleman says:

    I love that you have written the book..I saved your posts when you were on your trip. Having them in a book will be wonderful. I am preordering and if I win the drawing I will give a copy away. Thanks for sharing your life, recipes and pictures.

  61. Just popping in to say a belated Happy Anniversary 🙂 I won’t make any more posts since i’m catching up. Dont’ want to overfill you with my notifications, but know that i’m oohing and awing over everything and loving all the pictures and even your watercolor scribbles!
    I did actually try my hand at it last year, but that’s it. It was terrible lol


  62. Noël Holly says:

    Squeeing with delight over your blog and the brand new Willard with such happy news! I can’t wait to pre-order! One for me and one for my bestie who is also a huge fan of you and of England!

  63. Sue C. says:

    Susan, oh my goodness, I’m so excited to see your finished English Romance book. I have been fortunate enough to have visited England 10 times in the last few years while my daughter’s family served there for six years in the Air Force. They are returning later this Spring for another four years. I hope to have your book in hand as a guide when we continue our adventures. Happy anniversary, girlfriend!!!


  64. Bev says:

    Happy Anniversary. I love your blog and Willard…always makes me feel “cozy”.
    Can’t wait for your new book!!

  65. Ellette says:

    Just read the “Willard ” and can’t wait for the new book. I will definitely be preordering one!
    But, also put my name in for the drawing! Thank you so much.

  66. Janet Hundley - Grafton, WI says:

    I loved the Willard and have pre-ordered my books. No need to get one early, but it sure would be a treat.
    Most importantly, Happy Anniversary to you and Joe. Thanks for sharing your lives and for always reminding us to take care of each other…we’re what we have. And it could be otherwise….
    Love you lots,

  67. Jane Lefebre says:

    Oh my goodness!! You are speaking my love language!!! I already fell in love with the English countryside…but now I will have a book to remind me why! I ordered 2 copies at a moment’s notice ~ one for me and one for my friend who loves England like I do. We flew to England on the day of the royal wedding (WE had our plans before THEY set the date), and came home with enough tea cozies and bunting to make any Brit proud.
    You made my day!

  68. Jane Ortyl says:

    I think your “scratch pads” would make great inside covers for your future books. Is that the “bookplate page” on the reverse of the cover? It’s interesting and fun to see the artist’s doodling and color swatching. Thanks for sharing and thanks for a chance to win your book. LOVE your products and books!

  69. Hausfrau says:

    I am so excited about A Fine Romance, as I know I will absolutely love it! And now we wait…

  70. Nancy Brand says:

    The blizzard pictures are wonderful! I am in FL for the winter, but always loved the Michigan snow storms! For me it was often a snow day…no school. My new Willard arrived and I have also ordered 2 of the new books. Love all things English, but not the cold damp days when it is dark by 4 PM. Recently returned from 15 days on the Queen Elizabeth. Dreaming in scones!! Happy Anniversary to you and Joe.


  71. Sandy Richmond says:

    I haven’t received Willard yet, but pre-ordered A Fine Romance last night. Yay!

  72. Nancy Bodmer says:

    I made you an earthenware plate of your picket fence gardenand home about 15 years ago and visited your island but didn’t have the nerve to knock on your door, so stood outside like a puppy dog, wanting to come in out of the cold. I have all your books and would LOVE to receive the VERY first book of your England travels. I have a home that I named Windermere, yes, I was there! Your blog inspires me. I still make earthenware plates (400 a year!). Life is good!!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh I still have that plate Nancy! I love the name of your home, perfectly understandable, what a GORGEOUS place that is!

  73. Chris Wells from West TX says:

    What a fabulous Willard. Love the book cover. I can’t wait! And book marks too! Just perfect. I have never (obviously) been part of the creation of a book before. The anticipation of the trip, the Ocean Cruise(and I didn’t even get seasick), the journey through English countryside, home and watching you write the book for us! What an experience! Now the anticipation of a finished book…right into my hands.
    Hopefully I will have gardening to take my mind off the wait…..

    • sbranch says:

      I know and all you girls have been right there the whole time, I’ve never done one like this before, and it was so much better than the old way of being all alone!

  74. Gerri Keating says:

    Love your Willards and always longing for an adventure, I am really looking forward to your new book.
    I do hope you will visit RJ Julia’s independent bookstore, here in Madison, Ct., as you did a number of years ago( maybe 10-12 yrs!!! How can that be?). I enjoyed coming to see you then and I would love to have the opportunity to do so again.
    I would like to be in the drawing for a pre-publication of your Fine Romance book, please.
    Thank you for all your recipes, inspirational ideas…Gerri

    • sbranch says:

      I have RJ Julia on my list, so hopefully they will have a slot for me! I will let everyone know as soon as I do!

  75. Gerri Keating says:

    Please put my name in the drawing…and that last sentence above…was:
    Thank you Susan, for all the sweet reminders to look around us and find
    the beauty of nature, recipes and inspirational and positive ideas…

  76. Elizabeth Hodge says:

    Please sign me up for the advance copy of the book. I can’t wait. Finally, a publishing date, but waiting until October seems so long away! It looks wonderful, though, and I plan to give it to many friends. (Also, please do some note or writing paper with your ocean liner watercolors! Please, please!)
    Best wishes,
    A Long Time Fan in Maryland
    Betsy Hodge

  77. Jackie P says:

    Just read Willard . . . so full of goodies and wonderfully presented. It doesn’t seem possible that the trip to England was almost one year ago. It was quite an adventure. First the ocean voyage (sometimes a bit turbulent) and then land ho. You and Joe were so generous to bring all the girlfriends. You know what it meant to all of us. NOW . . . the diary is on the horizon. (My name is on the list!) Looks like it will be another adventure for sure. An amazing undertaking done in the unique Susan Branch style. (How does she do it??!! I know, one page at a time, but STILL!)

  78. Mary Ruvolo says:

    Hi Susan,
    If I didnt know better, I would think you are my sister for sure ! Love your comments, pictures and especially your dear stove ! So looking forward to your new book. I may be an armchair traveler and will enjoy your book so ! Happy
    Anniversary to you and Joe.

  79. Ginger says:

    Just finished reading the newest Willard ~ so fabulous! Can’t wait to see your new book completed. You have such have such a gift!

  80. Debbie says:

    What a treat Willard was on a rainy day in Georgia

  81. Renee says:

    Dear Susan,
    Please pick me for your book give away!
    I love to read all of your blogs and Willard post!
    I would be so happy to win your book but if I don’t I will buy one…
    You are such an inspiration to Women all over the world!
    (My 16 year old Daughter even loves to read your blogs…we do this together)
    So pick us , PLEASE!! 🙂

  82. Margie Brown says:

    Can’t wait to see your new book. I am going to order a copy for my Mom. It looks beautiful! I know she will love looking through each page of your adventure and love it as much as you two did! You and Joe look so cute together!

  83. Linda... Gardnerville, Nevada says:

    Love your blog, love your books (-I have every single one of them), love your art! Would love to own a ‘pre-publication’ of this next book!!!!! How exciting and I think next Fall is F-A-R t-o-o long of a wait…but wait we must!?! Already have my copy pre-ordered along with a few other goodies! =}. Have a wonderfulValentine’s Day with your true love…xoxo, L

  84. judy c in nc says:

    A Fine Romance armchair traveler – I must say Willard was very lovely and so wonderful to read – I so want to win this wonderful book – I have anxiously awaited this publication since our wonderful journey through England, my husband’s birthplace. I have also pre-ordered my book – and will gift it to my daughter should I win. Not taking any chances here Sweet Susan. Thank you for your heartfelt wishes and dreams. Judy C in NC wishes you and Joe a very happy Valentine’s Day full of love and contentment.

  85. Susan S says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your warm, cozy home and wonderful recipes! Your positive energy inspires me to enjoy the present and shake off the winter doldrums. I especially enjoyed your superb bird photos as I am a cardinal lover myself. So sweet! Let it snow, again and again. Looking forward to reading A Fine Romance! Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your lovie, Joe:)

  86. Just read the new Willard and am so excited about your book! I need to get started on my housework for today but I’m going to pour another cup of coffee and catch up on the blog. I treasure your comments and your creativity. I always feel so at peace and happy after a Willard newsletter!

  87. Linda Tytko says:

    Hi Susan,
    Ordered my book last night. I have been to England with my sister, just loved it. I plan on going again after reading your book.
    Thanks for writing it
    Linda Tytko

  88. Carole Hines says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day!! Love to hear from you & this newsletter was so lovely & interesting. Wish we had just a little bit of that snow here in N.C. but alas, no such luck! I’m originally from up North & love an excuse to stay home & get cozy & watch the snow fall! I am also blessed to be able to be taking a trip one month from now, to Ireland & London. My friend’s sister lives in a little town near Dublin called Skerries & we’ll be staying there. But we are also planning a trip to London too. Would love to see the places you visited, but don’t know if that will be possible. I’ll be ordering your book, so that may have to do!! And like you, this will be the trip of a lifetime. I’ve never been “across the pond”!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Good for you Carole, it sounds like a wonderful trip. My English girlfriend wrote yesterday to say her snowdrops are up … that means they are nigh on to spring!

  89. A new book! How lovely! I read with rapt attention your post about visiting Austen’s house last year; and I can’t wait to read about your English travels. Your art is lovely and your upbeat attitude about life is wonderful.

  90. S. Barton says:

    Just posting here to say hello and hope I win the England book which looks absolutely delightful!

  91. Gina M says:

    You are always an inspiration! Look forward to an ‘armchair’ adventure in England with your newest book. No passport needed No health or age restrictions for a virtual adventure with you. Thank you!

  92. Yvonne Shafer says:

    Susan, Susan! You have outshone yourself! The new Willard is enchanting on every level! And each paragraph just leads to a wanting of more! I absolutely cannot wait for the new book and have pre-ordered my copy! I hope there is a book signing trip in or near Michigan. We love you in the Midwest too you know! I’m off to the shopping site for sheep, tea mugs, and other goodies! Stay warm and snuggly!

  93. Rhonda says:

    I just love reading your blogs, books, and Willard. You are an inspire my creativity. I would love to be in the drawing for you new book, “A Fine Romance.”

  94. Sue Ann (Olson) McFarland says:

    I would like to place my entry for the ‘presale’ book prize! Love your blog & newsletter & books & stickers & everything-love you!

  95. Nancy Roberts says:

    I can’t wait to settle in with ‘A Fine Romance’ when it arrives. And what fun it would be to win the first copy in circulation early! I have enjoyed your art and books since the beginning…and I always look forward to Willard arriving in my in-box – even though I miss having it arrive in my real mailbox like the old days. Thank you, Susan. Happy ❤ Day.

  96. Melinda May Allaston says:

    Good morning Susan,

    Happy Anniversary to you and Joe!! Here’s wishing you many more with lots of luv, joy and happiness! 🙂

    Congratulations also on the new book. I’m quite looking forward to reading it as I’ve started my traveling savings jar!! I too would luv to be in the draw for your new book.

    Have a wonderful day,

  97. Carolyn says:

    Hi, Susan. I love your books, your drawings and your sunny way of embracing life. I, too, adore everything about England and Beatrix Potter so I am very excited about your new book (I love lambs/sheep as well, not to mention sticky toffee pudding!). Lots of good luck with the book — I’m sure it will be a bestseller!

  98. doris minear says:

    Susan, I loved Willard this morning, what a treat when I checked my e-mail. I love all the pictures of the snow, as I am in S.Ca. where we just dream of the beautiful snowflakes. Love the sheep, I have a collection of the little wooly ones. They are so cozy, at Christmas, Springtime, and Easter. I miss your little shop, I loved stopping by on my way to Carmel. I have one of your birdhouses, you have fantastic taste, we both love the same things. I will be making your choc. chip oranges scones for valentines day breakfast.

  99. Joann says:

    A FINE ROMANCE….. ahhh yes, isn’t what we all want….romance? Candles? LOVE? and YES, we can have romance with a home….with a partner…and even with a beautiful country……..

    Thank you for all the journal keeping, the early-morning painting with kitty hairs, and the love you put into each thing you create…from pancakes to publications….

    and yes, of course, I’d love to be selected to receive a copy of the book….
    it would be LOVELY………….


  100. Sue says:

    Hi Sue,

    I love those scones – it’s a good thing that the pan only makes 12 – I can only imagine a larger batch would still never stop me!

    Sue from Simi

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