Summer Morning . . .

It’s a very quiet, very warm summer morning ~ I’m in my studio, the windows are wide open, I feel like I’m on a porch.  It’s still dark, insects are cricking and shisking, birds are just now beginning their morning song, I have my tea, Girl’s asleep on the pillow, Jack’s on the ironing board in front of the pantry screen door, peering out into the dark (ever vigilant) . . . foghorns are blowing over the island  . . . and in the background, softly wafting from our windows into the breaking morning light . . . MUSICA

Today I get to design advertising for our new book for Victoria and Teatime, two of my favorite magazines.  Believe it or not, I’ve never put an ad in a magazine before!  It’s exciting to think about how I want the ads to look.  It just seems to make sense to have our book in the September annual “British” issue of Victoria, don’t you think? And Teatime?  I can’t think of better places for a book about English charm. 

I had an idea the other day.  When I paint, one of the things that’s always at my right hand is a little square of watercolor paper that I use to try out color — you can see it in the back of this photo . . . the little blotter with wisps of paint color.  I couldn’t work without one of these nearby.

I use them to test my pen; I mix colors on them.  This one has the stick on it that I picked up in the yard of Norman Rockwell’s studio.

Sometimes I will paint or write something I don’t care for, it’s not quite good enough, or I don’t like the colors I used, so I’ll want to do it over, but I don’t want to waste the paper, so I cut it up and save it and use it to dab my paint on.  So that’s how some of the art and words show up on these paint daubers.

On this one I practiced pencil drawings of women’s hair. I tried drawing with pen and filling it in with color  — these cards come in very handy.

I’ve done this for years, and when the card is covered in paint and squiggles, I throw it away and get myself a new one.

Until A FINE ROMANCE.  About halfway through the painting of our book, I decided maybe I should start saving these squiggles.  So I did.  I was surprised on how fast they piled up.

And yesterday I cut them all up.

I got quite a handful of them.  They look so festive!

They’re all on card stock and every one of them is covered on both sides with all the colors of the English Countryside; the colors of teatime, long walks, cottage gardens, the Yorkshire Dales, Jane Austen’s house, ocean liner sailing . . .

They’re kind of a little story all by themselves.  Now I wish I’d never thrown any of them away!

But at least I have these . . . and there’s quite little pile of them.  I thought, what good bookmarks these would make.

Not all of them have discernible art on them, but some definitely do, and no matter what, each of them is one of a kind.  I never made the same mess twice!  So, you know I’ve been setting dates for my book signings?  I thought what would be fun . . .

. . . is if I would bring these bits and pieces that helped to make up the original pages of the book and give them away at the signings. ♥  The bookmarks will match the book!

And just in case you can’t get to a signing, or in case I run out before I get to your town (it’s bound to happen, but I promise, only one to a customer!), that big BOOKMARK in the middle is for you.  You can print it at home, cut it out, and tuck it in your book when it comes.

I love planning these book events. The people at the bookstores are such hard workers and make me feel wonderful about coming to them.  My first two book signings will be on Martha’s Vineyard, beginning with Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, on Julia Child’s Birthday  (I just love that), on August 15th. You can keep track of the dates and see where I’ll be going as we begin adding new events this month.  On the right side of the blog you’ll see COMING SOON, EVENTS.  Scroll down for dates, times, links for directions, etc. I hope to see every single one of you somewhere on our long drive across America. 

And just a few more Small Treats:  Did you notice that Kellee put up new summer computer wallpaper, stationery, and postcards you can print out?  She did!  Kellee changes everything for the season; you can always check for her updates if you go to “On-Line Shopping,” and then click on the left on “Free Stuff.”

Oops, I almost forgot to mention.  This time, one of our continuous small treats include a giveaway . . . you see that Beatrix Potter Bookmark in the pile below?  The little girl with the bunny?

Leave a comment, I will sign it and date it ~ in a few days I’ll send it to the winner of the drawing, to the lucky name that Vanna pulls from our giant top hat.

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1,519 Responses to Summer Morning . . .

  1. julie borg says:

    Love the bookmarks! I would buy some if they were in your store! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Ann says:

    Well, I am really late to the dance on this post, but hope you haven’t pulled a name yet. I was vacationing in Nantucket when you wrote this. It was a very rainy day, but we went out to the beach anyway and had fun! I love all your paint samples and was hoping you decided to start saving them.

  3. Linda R. says:

    I wish you would come to Portland, Oregon, on your booksigning tour. I’m from Montana but would make it a point to travel to Oregon. Sigh.

  4. LynnCC says:

    I spent some time recovering from a colonoscopy this afternoon by perusing your website. Such a comfort, and a reminder to exercise my creativity every day – something I often neglect. Every time I turn to your website I am encouraged to be true to my dreams, and keep trying! I have preordered your book, and printed out the lovely bookmark. With gratitude to you for sharing your inspiring talents, and love. Lynn

  5. Donna Wilder says:

    I’ve always had two beautiful creative inspirations~You, dear Susan, and Tasha Tudor. One night, years ago, I had a dream that I met Tasha at Bloomingdales in New York City at a book signing. I remember waking up and thinking,”what a crazy dream!!” I couldn’t imagine her ever leaving her eighteenth century world to be at, of all places, Bloomingdales in NYC! But, lo and behold the next day my husband came rushing into the kitchen to tell me that he saw an advertisiment that Tasha Tudor was going to be signing her lastest book at BLOOMINGDALES IN NYC! She came all dressed in her Colonial garb and when it was my turn to have my book signed I told her about my dream. She never said a word, just looked at me like I was crazy, signed my book and I was on my way. AWKWARD! Anyway, I was glad I got to meet her and it made me believe in dreams literally coming true. Hopefully my dream of meeting you will also come true and you’ll be signing your wonderful new book one day in New York City! I BELIEVE!!!

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, AWKWARD!!! Hahahaha .. that is so funny. I would feel the same way! You are a very powerful dreamer!

  6. Cinda says:

    What a good idea! I would love a Susan Branch bookmark.
    You are the sweetest girl!
    : )

    Looking forward to getting your book in my hot little hands!

  7. Barbara T, Wolverine Lake MI says:

    I just saw that you’ll be in Woods Hole for your book signing – the place where Robert Ballard worked (or maybe still does)…he is one of my heroes. FYI it’s still raining and we’re still growing those beastly evil mosquitos here in Michigan. Rainy day after rainy day! it’s in the low 60’s and my sister in AZ is at 117! Nearly double our temp! Hard to believe in the same country we can have such differences in temperatures in July. I had the heat on in the car this afternoon! mind boggling, isn’t it?

  8. Jackie P says:

    Susan, so glad to see that you will be in East Sandwich for book signing in August. I WILL MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO BE THERE. I was really stressing about how to make it the the Vineyard but now I can relax and travel to East Sandwich instead! If we pre-ordered your book, will it be shipped in time to bring to the August book signing? Not sure how that will work.

    Also, an idea . . . maybe design a “Girlfriends” name tag for us to print out, write our name on it and wear to the booksigning! Will you ever remember all of us??! ☺

    • sbranch says:

      BRILLIANT IDEA. This is just one reason I love my girlfriends!! I’ll do it, and then all the way across the country, I will be able to recognize you all!! Just love it Jackie!

  9. Sheryl from Chico says:

    Wow wee, Susan, I’ve never seen so many comments. We all are vying for that sweet bookmark. I actually have my book mark printed waiting for my copy of A Fine Romance to arrive on my doorstep. I still would love to have an original by you. I would, of course, frame it and put a design all around the border.

  10. Clair Lambright says:

    I used to have a bunny. It escaped it’s hutch and the dogs ate it. So sad. Paper bunnies are better and last longer.

  11. shawn says:

    I kinda have a bookmark obsession :}

  12. Silvia Niomi says:

    Hi Susan,

    I’m not sure if my first post went through (the last time I checked it was waiting to be moderated), so I thought I’d send in another message – just in case.

    The bookmarks are a fun idea. Please enter my name in for the drawing. If I win I will add it to my collection of your books and calendars. 🙂

  13. Sharon Haschalk says:

    So sweet of you Susan to think of us and to give out those bookmarks at your book signings! Do you know if you’ll be coming to Maine? I didn’t see it on the list of dates, but I don’t think that’s complete yet? I’d LOVE to meet you!!! Do you know if we’ll be able to buy a copy of the British Victoria here in America? I think Teatime I can get at Barnes and Noble. I’d be thrilled to win that Beatrix Potter with the bunny bookmark! Thanks so much Susan for always brightening my day when I come to your blog. Hugs from Sharon in Maine XXOO

    • sbranch says:

      I just made a date last night for Meredith New Hampshire — I hope that’s close to you! It’s American Victoria I’ll have an ad in .. the holiday issue of Yankee will have a whole feature.

  14. Melissa says:

    What a clever idea, you save your trash and it becomes our treasure!

  15. Rosinda says:

    I am so excited about your book tour! I hope to see you if you at a book signing in NY state. Crossing my fingers. Your bookmarks are all so precious. Good luck to all! :o)

  16. Deb says:

    LOVE books and of course that means I LOVE bookmarks!! thanks!!

  17. kathy holder says:

    love your books, would love to have a bookmark! do you ever come to the midwest for book signings? (st. louis, mo) we midwesterners love the east coast aslo!!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I’m going to come to the mid west, but not sure of exact places yet — watch EVENTS on the right side of the blog for new additions as dates are set.

  18. Mary D. says:

    What a colorful, wonderful idea! I love the picture where they look like a fan of paint swatches you would use when trying to pick the perfect color.

  19. Jan says:

    I hope I’m not too late! I love books and I love bookmarks and to have one of painted by you would be wonderful! I’m so glad you didn’t throw these away.

  20. Carol D. says:

    After reading your blog about visiting Beatrix Potter’s home, I just watched the Miss Potter movie twice. I loved it!!! Beautiful country. I would love the bunny bookmark.

  21. Deb Dubay says:

    What a lovely idea to turn your “squiggles” into bookmarks. They are beautiful.

  22. Sarah McDonald says:

    I’m so glad you came up with the brilliant idea of cutting up your squiggles for bookmarks! Perfect example of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!” Those little scraps will be treasured by many!!! Thanks for sharing happy things!!!

  23. Linda S says:

    Love your idea of the bookmarks. I paint also so I find that a very good idea. Please enter me in your drawing. I would love to win one.

  24. Brook Sellers says:

    Another wonderful idea. I have pre-ordered A Fine Romance and it would be delightful to have the book mark to match. Have a lovely week.
    Blessings, Brook

  25. Shawn says:

    Just love the little bunny. What a perfect idea, love all the colors.

  26. Lori Conk says:

    I’m driving on a cross country trip with my husband to help our daughter’s family move from the West to the East Coast. Two of my young grandchildren (3 & 4 yrs.) are in the car with my husband and I as we pass through the cornfields of Nebraska, watching “Finding Nemo.”
    Checking my e-mail, I was so excited to read your blog because, Susan, you bring all that is good about America alive to me. As I see my country in all of it’s summer glory firsthand, and read your happy blog, my day is perfect! My husband, grandchildren, America and you have made my day
    , thank you!!!

  27. Debbie McL says:

    Susan~such a thoughtful “giving of yourself” idea! Your art work is such a sweet inspiration and your blog is filled with such wonderful stories. I enjoy each and everyone of them. Have a most Happy and Safe 4th of July…and May God continue to Bless Our Most Beautiful Country!~Debbie

  28. Anne Hegg says:

    The colors are beautiful. I am a scrap saver, too! If I win, it will mark my place in A Fine Romance. Can’t wait for it to arrive!

  29. Kirsten from So. Cal. says:

    I love the idea of giving the bookmarks at the book signing!! I also love that Beatrix Potter one you’re giving away! Hope I’m not too late to enter……

  30. Terri says:

    I’ve been off the computer for days and I’m so glad this is one of the first places I looked as soon as I could get back on. Hope Vanna hasn’t gotten to work yet! Can hardly wait to find out where you’ll be signing out here in California. We’re in heatwave city right now, but hopefully it will be a lot cooler here by the time you get out this way, than it is right now…~whew~
    Happy July!

  31. Valorie Veld says:

    Always so inspiring 🙂 Love the colors. . . . . .thank you for adding a smile to my day! Have a happy 4th!!

  32. Anyone who does not love watercolors, little animals, children, Beatrice Potter, Susan Branch, books, bookmarks, linens, dishes, etc. ~~~~ they need to start breathing again with long, slow breaths. Can’t wait to get my “A Fine Romance ” book. Ordered one for my daughter also. Thanks for all the JOY you give us through your works.

  33. Connie Haltermann says:

    I just had to make a comment on the little stick you picked up at Norman Rockwell’s studio. In 1997 my husband and I went to Israel for eight days (our little group did the Med, the Dead and the Red). I picked up a rock right outside the Garden of Gethsemane, in the parking area at the church at Cana, you name it–and I immediately wrote on each rock the name of the place with a black felt pen. I put all the rocks from the whole week in a little ceramic tray when I got home, and now they are among my most priceless possessions.

  34. Raenell Cannady says:

    Hey Susan….
    Just finished reading today’s blog and I have the biggest smile on my face; as always 🙂 yeah, like that! You have this way of finding good in everything you see and I admire that in you so much. God’s beauty is everywhere and sometimes we just have to slow down and realize that it is usually right in front of our face. Thanks for the joy you bring to my heart…
    xo Raenell

  35. Debbie says:

    What’s wonderful day for you! Congratulations. Would love to have one of your “book mark originals” in my signed pre-ordered book. What a cool way to preserve the creative process.

  36. Kathy says:

    I was just in Martha’s Vineyard and was disappointed with the Susan Branch selection at the bookstore in Vineyard Haven. Wish I could be there for your book signing… glad I have it preordered anyway… would love a special bookmark to go with it. Thanks for the free one to print!

    • sbranch says:

      They just ran out of everything, I’m told — new things are on the way. So sorry … I hope you enjoyed your trip!

  37. Linda S. says:

    Vanna pick me! What a great lot of beautiful bookmarks-you’re the mother of invention!

  38. Yvonne Shafer says:

    Susan, I’ll take your “trash” any day! Can’t wait to get my copy of your! Enjoy the 4th!

  39. Diane Cassano says:

    Hi – First my simple question – LOVE the way you hung the flag on your house…. how did you hang it, with what type of hook ??? I would just love to know so I can do something similar on my own home. And secondly, thank you for taking the time to answer me and thirdly – have a great 4th of july with joe ! THANK YOU,

    • sbranch says:

      We have hung them so many different ways, but Joe went a little crazy for this flag, because it’s bigger for one thing. There are two hooks sunk deep into the front of the house just below the upstairs windows. We open the screens and lean out the windows to hang the flag. There is a thin long board about a half inch thick, and maybe 2″ wide that runs all the way across the top of the flag; I can’t say for sure how Joe hooked the flag to the board, I didn’t really notice. Joe rolls the flag up on the board when we take it down. He ties the roll with string in five places. So we stick this long board out the windows, him in one and me in another, we use wires Joe secured at both ends of the board to twist around the hooks, untie the string and the flag unfurls. Ta daaa!

  40. Marcia says:

    The painting of the little red headed girl so reminds me of my daughter, Alexandra, when she was little. I love it 🙂
    Have a great Independence Day!!!

  41. Marie Fluck says:

    Sure have missed your blogs while I was away in Florida to visit my sister! Now I’m catching up; what fun to come home to! Here’s a hint to pass on to friends! Put 4, 5 pennies in a little baggie and fill with water and hang on patio, doorway, kitchen, etc., anywhere you have problem with flies and insects! It’s magic! Keeps them away. Try it and see what happens! Just got this hint on my e’mail and had to pass it on. Hugs, Marie

  42. Linda says:

    Your blog always makes me feel warm & fuzzy. Love the bookmarks and your style of everything!

  43. Michelle says:

    Your bookmarks are wonderful! What a great idea for your book signings.

  44. Wendy says:

    Re-use, recycle,re-purpose… your bookmarks! Can I hope any might make their way down to Ole’ Virginny ?

    • sbranch says:

      Hmmmmm. I’m afraid we won’t get to Virginia until next winter!!! We decided to save the southeast for when the north gets too cold!

  45. Georgie says:

    Zee Book! Zee Book! It’s here!!! It’s GORGEOUS! I love the three little lambs inside the cover. We are all awaiting it’s arrival into our kitchens as well. Will you be able to include a picture of the book in your Yankee spread for Christmas? I do hope so!

    A dream come true is HERE!
    XOXO Georgie NJ

  46. Debra Eastridge says:

    What a great idea….the beautiful bookmarks! I will not make it to any of the signings unless you’re coming to Bloomington Indiana!!!??? I would treasure an original bookmark! Thank you!

  47. Calliesuesmom says:

    I can’t wait for your new book! I sat down with the summer book on Friday – I love thumbing through the beautiful pages 🙂

  48. Vicki says:

    Love, love, love the bookmarks! What a brilliant idea!

  49. Beth in SC says:

    I’m late to the party – not unusual for me! But I just adore this sweet little bookmark with the precious bunny. Reminds me of my Sweet Niece #2, who is addicted to bunnies right now. (How can Vanna resist a story about a Sweet Niece?! HAHA) Love my two penpals from FOSB on Facebook. One often sends letters on SB Stationary! Always a treat! 🙂

  50. Pamela Seitz says:

    Oh, and I’m late for the party too! We were busy over the 4th of July and I’m just catching up with my mail. I LOVE Beatrix Potter and your Beatrix Potter room. It would be a thrill to own a piece of your artwork! I have been a fan of yours for years and truly enjoy all of your letters, artwork and family fun. Thank you for sharing such a nice giveaway!

  51. Barbara Weaver says:

    When my grandson was born 20 yrs ago,I bought him a white boucle’ romper with
    an embroidered Peter Rabbit on the front. He wore it to his christening. It wasn’t traditional, but he looked adorable. On another subject, what year is your
    red VW convetible? I have a red 1969 only with a black top. It was my husband David’s pride and joy.He passed away 8 years ago and its still in the garage. When I’m having a bad day, I’ll sit in it for a few minutes and that makes me feel better.

    • sbranch says:

      That wasn’t my VW, it was just one driving by making everything look cute! Ohh, Barbara, that’s so sweet about your car. xoxo

  52. Karen Manni says:

    I love your idea of the bookmarks! Anyone would love to have an “original”Susan Branch painting!

  53. Sue St.Pierre says:

    Our 3 cats go crazy when they hear the tweeting bird as I pull up your account.
    We ALL enjoy your site!

  54. Teresa says:

    Love the bookmarks, the photos, stories, wonderful kitty fun,
    hubby-do’s, all of your home, lamps, books and how you are
    so personable!! Thank you for sharing all ;your life!
    Even though I live a similar life I still treasure
    getting on your site to enjoy with you all you do!!

    • sbranch says:

      Nice to hear that Teresa, its fun to have so many things in common with so many people at the same time!

  55. Jennifer Cooper says:

    What a great way to recycle. Cute idea. I hope you stop in Portland, OR.

  56. Marion Firestone says:

    I love your book “Martha’s Vineyard” which I stumbled on to by accident and am anxious to read some more of your material. Can I buy the bookmarks, if so where? This was such a neat book. Thanks so much.

    • sbranch says:

      There are free bookmarks on my website . . . not sure which you are looking for. But go to top of blog, to “Let’s Shop,” click on that, look at list on left, scroll to bottom to “free stuff” — and there you go! Thank you for the compliment on my book, I’m so happy to hear you liked it!

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