Lots of Little Things . . . the glory of love ….

It’s a day of “Little Things” around here, making life sweet . . . even better because you are here . . . 

I promised in the new WILLARD I would take you to the water . . . so here we go.  (Willard starts going out Tuesday morning and will continue through late afternoon on Wednesday ~ if you’re signed up for it, watch your email!)


It started out so peacefully, the little lapping of the water on the very edge of Martha’s Vineyard, and then, here comes my guy the photo stylist.  Which reminds me, while we’re at it, I should show you another of Joe’s amazing talents.  But first, Musica?  Oui!

Because I love to look at my Beatrix Potter figurines every day, I keep them in a precarious position on a narrow shelf above my kitchen sink.  It’s only precarious because that’s where Jack hangs out.  The bird feeders are right outside the windows.

Who me?  I never go there, why would I go there?  I don’t care about birds.  I’m innocent!  Where’s my fair trial?  I need a lawyer.

Here’s my lawyer, Petey!  Tell her Petey. We were together, right?

Uh-huh ~ I think Petey’s face says it all.  Anyway, Jemima Puddle-Duck ended up in the sink.

With a broken neck.  Oh, the anguish.

I took her to Joe for fixing.  And look at that rubber band origami he performed with a toothpick!  My hero!

Could you do this, to hold the glued neck together?  I could never do this. I don’t even like to think about myself doing this.  It would be like dealing with a pile of tangled hangers which is one of my worst nightmares. I would very likely accidentally shoot Jemima across the room.

Note how the rubber band goes around her tail.  This is pure artistry.  It’s so nice to have a man around the house!  Between Joe and I, and each of our talents, we make one entire person.  He reads the map, and I say slow down.  I hold the camera, he throws oyster shells.  Perfect.  Something for everyone.

So we are having company.  Today my girlfriends Elizabeth and Diana will be coming in from California, arriving on the noon boat.  I have flowers to arrange.  There’s a beach party tonight,  and we’re also having our Royal Baby Tea Party on Saturday.   Must hang the bunting, make the cucumber sandwiches!

Talk about two people making one person!  I hope Catherine has the baby soon so we know what we are celebrating (I’m sure she’s hoping the same thing!).  Hope it’s a fat healthy pink baby that looks just like its Grandmama with all the grace of it’s great grammy.  Such a happy time for our lovely Mother Country. 

So of course I’ve been getting ready for everything, cleaning house, washing shelves, hanging towels on the line to dry, making delicious carrot salad . . . and my new curtains came.  Aren’t they pretty?

I’d love to show you before and after photos, but “before” would be SO bad, I could never show you ~ they looked like they’d come out of Miss Havisham’s house.   You only get “after” pictures.  (Love Miss Havisham, the character in Dickens Great Expectations, whose expectations were so dashed that time stopped for her while she was dressing for her wedding day when she realized her groom never loved her.  She stopped all the clocks in her house; stayed alone exactly as she was at the moment of discovery, never removing her wedding dress, wearing only one shoe,  leaving the wedding breakfast and cake uneaten on the table, for years.  It was awful.  Her hair, you can imagine; her curtains were hideous. That’s what I call passion. “A woman scorned…”  I could never stay mad that long.  But I do love this woman, for all her faults, how fun she must have been to write!)  My old curtains would have fit perfectly in her house.

 But here are the new ones (that’s a canopy on the poster bed at the top).  Love lace, so light and airy, and these hot summer days, we need all the airy we can get!

I chose the “Ivy” pattern, but there were many beautiful alternatives.  I looked everywhere for lace curtains, and I found lots of them, but my windows are a funny height and everywhere I looked, they came either much too long or much too short, and in this case, I was looking for a little instant gratification that did not include hemming.  I found a lace curtain place that hems them exactly to your measurement!  They were fast, good quality, and inexpensive; I thought you’d like to know.  They’re from a store called Decorating with Lace.   Think “decorating.”  Think “holidays!”

Each time I show pictures of Jack, I’m asked, How’s Girl Kitty?  So here she is, you can see, she is fine, more than fine, perched in the soft spot as a calm little queen should be.  She truly understands the art of “continuous small treats.” 

Must go finish washing the dishes for Twine!  And make an Orange Lavender Polenta Cake from our new book (I put the recipe in the WILLARD).  I’ll show you the How-To for this cake in a couple of days.  You will love it.  I’ll take pictures of the Tea Party!

OK, that’s my day of Little Things that Make Life Sweet.  I hope you are making some little things of your own.  I will say hello to the ocean for you tonight, and watch the sun set; I’ll take a deep breath of island air and bury my toes in the sand, and imagine you are feeling it too.

Because it is. xoxo

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645 Responses to Lots of Little Things . . . the glory of love ….

  1. KarenP (Wisconsin) says:

    Love the quote from good ol’ Albert….everything certainly IS a miracle! To be able to experience the same seashore sounds that you are today through the miracle of technology is amazing! To possess the sheer genius talents that Joe has is indeed a gift and a miracle from God! To be able to truly find joy in every little event in our day and recognize it as a little miracle is such a blessing. So grateful for the happiness you bring to our days, sweet Susan! Love you!……Karen P. xo. (Oh, and I also LOVE those lacy, airy curtains!)

  2. Libby Pasztor (Grayslake, IL) says:

    So very many lovely things in your post today, I hardly know where to begin. . .
    Perhaps with a naughty-kitty(-but-not-really) story (not to worry, it has a happy ending!): my mother’s friend Mary had been under the weather, so my mother gave her a small bouquet of flowers, tucked into a very pretty coffee mug which was part of a set from Marshall Field’s. The mug was to be on loan only (because it was irreplaceable, given that Marshall Field’s was taken over by. . . that other store. . . which we Chicagoans wish would go back to where it came from!). I bet you can guess what happened: Mary left the mug on her fireplace mantel which was one of her kitty’s favorite spots to prowl and oh dear oh dear oh dear, the mug ended up in MANY pieces on the floor. If only we had had Joe there with his magical fixing skills! Since we didn’t, I did the only thing I could think of—I searched on eBay for a Marshall Field’s mug, et voila! There it was, and not only did it match the set, but it was the very same one that had been broken: the one with Buckingham Fountain on it. I think that was my best-ever “find” on eBay, and one that had a large helping of God’s grace besides!
    Okay, I know, my post is getting WAY too long, but I have to share just one more thing. . . Three days ago I washed all my Scottish lace curtains, which were long overdue for a bath. Even after I cleaned the windows and rehung the curtains, I wasn’t completely satisfied with the way they looked; guess they just don’t last forever, but the company I ordered them from years ago has since gone out of business and I haven’t been able to find another supplier. So it was with GREAT excitement that I clicked on your link to Decorating with Lace, my dear Miss Susan, and found a new supplier of Scottish lace curtains!!! AAHHHH!!! Sometimes things are just Meant To Be, and your post today was such a serendipity——-thank you thank you thank you!!! 🙂
    And now I will stop typing this epistle and give someone else a chance to comment——-I just wanted you to know how VERY special your “Lots of Little Things” were to me! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      🙂 I know, I loved the old Marshall Fields — always used to stop there on my five-hour Amtrak layovers when I went cross country. Good on you for the mug-find on Ebay, Libby! xoxo

  3. Marysol says:

    ” Rubber Band Origami.” Is there anything that man can’t do?

    If I were to try that, Ms. Puddle-duck’s head would ricochet off my hands and onto the ceiling.

    In any event, your house looks as lovely as ever. I’m sure you’ll have a blast with your friends tonight. As for me, I’m off to finish a watercolor painting – first one in 20 yrs. It is one of many ways you inspire me.

    Now, if I could only get the following ditty out of my head.

    “Hey, y’all prepare yourself
    For the Rubberband man
    You never heard a sound
    Like the rubberband man
    You’re bound to lose control
    When the Rubberband starts to jam . . .” 🙂

  4. Lee Rose says:

    Thank you for thinking of us as you are enjoying the sunset. I can feel the island air and the sand in my toes already. Boy do I need it.

  5. Susan Joy says:

    My calendars arrived yesterday, as always you did a beautiful job! So happy to read this post and the new Willard. Those kitties are just wonderful! Enjoy your guests this week. I was wondering if you were planning to do a book signing in NY.

  6. Nancy B says:

    Oh, yes. Do wiggle your toes in the sand for me. I’m guessing you are there right now as I type. Have a lovely time with your friends. Looking forward to Willard.

    Nancy (from Bakersfield)

    • sbranch says:

      We just now got home, it was very beautiful, a gorgeous sunset, and the sea was like mercury glass. Did you feel it? Cold sand, and the noise of the waves.

      • Nancy B says:

        This reply is a little late, but maybe you will find it. I simply MUST get over to the coast! 104 degrees tomorrow! My son and his family are at Pismo this week. Lucky guys! Just to let you know…I didn’t receive my Willard this week. 🙁 I registered again in case that would help.

        Always enjoy your comments.

        • sbranch says:

          Thanks for letting me know Nancy … I’ll get Kellee to resend Willard to you. Hope you get to the ocean!

  7. Love your Blog today Susan. Such wonderful thoughts of you back in the vineyard. Hoep to get out for your booking signing in August and a visit to MV. had you sign a coule of books a few years back when you were having one in Irvine CA. I would so love to have a peak at your georgous home from the street but probably wont be able to find it. But do want to see the lanterns on the houses and shop the quient little shops. Have a wonderful visit with your two friends………. Hugs girlfriend! Madelyn

  8. jeannine leonard says:

    We cannot wait for the royal baby to be born. Emily and Ashley were thinking of names for the royal little one. My husband said why do you care…and Ashley said It’s the royal baby, how could you not care. Smart child, Silly husband!
    I think it is wonderful that you are having a tea with your friends to honor this occasion.
    Thank you for the wonderful place to buy lacy things for our house. I spotted the white polka dot curtains, perfect for Ashley’s room. Lilac and white is her décor and they would look wonderful on her windows.
    Please don’t melt with all this heat we are having, we haven’t melted ourselves.
    Ice cream and popsicles do help!

  9. Carrie says:

    Hope nothing is wrong. Posted a comment early this a.m., in moderation and no longer in moderation and not listed. Apologies if needed, though it was only admiration and enthusiasm being expressed.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m sure there’s nothing wrong Carrie, sometimes the comments come in too fast for me to get to all of them — especially when there’s company in the house 🙂 — it’s probably near the bottom somewhere, I’m getting there!

  10. Sally says:

    Thank you, thank you for taking us to the water. What a treat. And thanks for breathing in a deep breath of sea air tonight. What pleasure. Enjoy every minute with your Elizabeth and Diana. Now I must go to check on Willard’s arrival. Another treat!

  11. Vicki in Cincy says:

    Two of my favorite things! A kitty cat sitting in a window with lace curtains. To me that makes my house a home. Have fun tonight, I do love the curtains!

  12. Sally Bennett says:

    Love your new lace curtains Susan. I’ve had lace panel curtains on my living room picture window for 19 years. They are still holding up. I’m wondering how you care for your quilts. Do you ever wash them? I also have a handy husband. Just today he fixed a toilet that was malfunctioning.

    • sbranch says:

      I do wash my quilts every so often, in the bathtub. It’s quite an ordeal, all that squeezing, but they do look better and smell better for it.

      • Jamie from Virginia says:

        Hi Susan! I love freshly washed quilts too. Instead of spending so much muscle squeezing the water from the quilts, after you wash them in the bathtub you can put them in the washer set to the SPIN cycle to spin the water out then hang them outside to soak up the sun! This has worked really well for me.

        • sbranch says:

          I had one quilt literally fall apart in the washer, so I’ve been afraid to use either the washer or the dryer. This was a nice “strong-looking” quilt too, but looks can be deceiving! You think the dryer’s OK?

          • Jamie from Virginia says:

            Oh I didn’t mean wash it in the washer, only run the spin cycle, not even the rinse. I wash quilts in the bath tub then carry them in a tub of some kind to the washer and gently position them around the outside edge and put the washer directly on spin cycle. I stay with the washer too. It just gets the water out so much easier. After the washer spins a few times and it sounds like not much water is draining I gently remove the quilt and hang it on the line outside. They dry so much quicker and the water weight doesn’t put too much tension on the fabrics. I have done all of my quilts this way except a 1850 antebellum red/green applique one I have. I haven’t even washed that one yet even though it needs it. Alot of quilts are more hardy than we give them credit for. 🙂 I have put a couple of quilts in the dryer upon the rare occasion. They were 1930s pieced quilts that had clearly been put in the dryer before they came to live with me. The threads and fabrics had a slight charming pucker along the edges. I don’t put them in the dryer often though, the dry heat is bad for fabric. I used to be so scared of doing quilts like this until I started washing sheep fleeces in the washing machine and when I could accomplish THAT without making wool felt I felt good about spining the water out of quilts. 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            It definitely makes sense that the water weight could really put a lot of tension on the fabrics. I can tell you’ve had lots of experience with this. I’m going to start doing some of mine your way … the ones I’m positive are going to hold together. I have some that are truly almost rags, with the prettiest colors and fabrics that can be folded in just the right way and still look very nice in a pile. Those guys, I’m really careful with.

          • shirley burt says:

            No, do not use the dryer, or even the spin cycle on the washer. You never know how the fabrics or batting will react. The hard way is the best way.
            Cherish your quilts.
            Love and bunny hugs,

          • sbranch says:

            I take no chances anymore. It wasn’t really worth it. Furthermore I’m pretty sure some quilts are probably just being held together by the dirt!

          • Julia says:

            OK – Here’s my 2 cents. This is what I do.
            If the quilt is washable I use the washing
            machine tub as my bathtub. By that I mean
            that I put the quilt in the tub and use a
            bathroom plunger to poke it around in the
            tub. I completely bypass the agitation
            cycle. Then go to spin and let the machine
            spin it. Depending on the quilt. If they
            are lightweight, I hang them on the line.
            If they are heavy, I lay a sheet on the
            driveway, in the shrubbery or on the grass
            and put the quilt on it to dry. But you are
            right, some of them should stay like they
            are and enjoyed from a distance! Also
            when I hang them on the line I use two
            lines so that they are not hanging from pins.
            They are draped over 2 or 3 of the lines.
            No matter how you do it, it is always a bit of
            a risk. If they need any mending, do it before
            you wash it.

          • sbranch says:

            All great advice! Thank you Julia!

          • Jamie from Virginia says:

            Julia, you know your quilt rules! 🙂 Sounds like you have some great experience. I learned all those tricks too when I was studying for a quilt appraiser course years ago and they work. It’s all about treating each quilt as an individual giving it the love and attention it needs, some quilts you treat one way other quilts another way. I don’t encourage using the dryer but there are some hardy quilts out there that tolerate the rare spin, but the hot air is harsh on fabric and you can get the occasional break in threads. Susan, I have old quilts like you describe that fall apart if you look at them too hard. Like you I fold them in such a way to enjoy the beautiful fabrics and appreciate the lovely lady who put her love and time in to sewing it together. Those quilts don’t even get spot cleaned for the most part, the dirt is part of their history. Wonder what quilt collectors in years to come will say of our collections?

          • sbranch says:

            If they’re like us, they’ll say, “OH thank goodness someone took such good care of these wonderful historical works of art.” I have rarely met a quilt with charm, no matter how raggedy, that I didn’t wish to adopt.

  13. Beth Keser says:

    Please post pictures of your royal baby shower tea party! My girlfriends and I are having one with our daughters too 🙂
    Isn’t your cat afraid of Petey? I know I am 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      You aren’t the only one. If it wasn’t for the fact that Petey was given to Joe when he was twelve and on board a ship to England, I wouldn’t trust him at all!

      • Jack says:

        Petty reminds me of Baby Faced Nelson in the movie ” oh Brother Where Art Thou”…….

        • sbranch says:

          Perfect, Dad! He does! Or one of those scary ventriloquist’s dummies.

        • Janet [in Rochester] says:

          Gee, he does, doesn’t he? You have a good eye, Jack! I love that movie!. Loved George Clooney’s character too, with his “Dapper Dan” pomade and his “gift of gab.” Did you know the actor that played Baby Face was also the elevator operator in “You’ve Got Mail…”?? Another favorite [God bless Nora Ephron]. Well, ‘Baby Watch’ continues, Girlfriends! Poor Kate, there’ll probably be a media alert when her water breaks!

          Truth be told, I’ve felt badly for the Royal Family for a long while. There are lots of people who think how wonderful it would be to “be royal” and enjoy the royal life, fame, advantages. But all that privilege comes at too stiff a price [for me anyway]. Your whole life is basically decided the day you’re born. In large part other people will make a lot of decisions for you. You’ll live every day in view of others – either the general public [now global] or in front of a small army of staffers and servants. Everyone will have an opinion about everything you do, say, wear – and every mistake you make. And most will have no problem expressing it. No, I’m guessing there have been many royals over the years who have absolutely LONGED for the anonymous, quiet, ordinary life and for things we all do every day without a thought. Ironing pillowcases just because you like to see a crease in them. Thumping a melon in the grocery store to see if it’s ripe. Making tea. Who knows? Maybe Prince Charles really wanted to be a farmer? He would have been a good one I’ll bet. I’ve read that his gardens at Highgrove and his Cornwall farms are wonderful places – environmentally-sustainable, organic and providing both healthy products and gainful employment to their localities. Maybe William really wants to be a doctor, a cop, an airline pilot, a marine biologist? But they never got to make that choice for themselves. No, thank you kindly. Life as Jane Q Ordinary is OK for me. A Five-year old [oops, Six now] who lives down the street, just finished kindergarten and looks exactly like the little Campbell’s Soup Girl has just come over to visit because she misses being in school so much. I’ll take that over a tiara any day. Stay as cool [as you can] Girlfriends! :>)

  14. sandy says:

    Hi Susan! what a crack up–Joe the movie stylist-broken duck mender! You must share more of his amazing talents with us! so entertaining. and how sweet that your 1 + his 1 = one wonderful 1. or, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, as we used to say in math. love the curtains–just right, in their looks and function, letting lovely light and air in. It is perfect weather here on the Olympic Peninsula. lived here since 1997 and it has never been so nice, ie, clear, blue, sunny, 70 or so degrees, every day for oh, maybe 2 weeks. I’m half way to heaven. thanks for the blessing! xox sandy 🙂

  15. jane zamudio says:

    I love your post!! Your kittys look so cool and calm!! Jemima looks on the mend! Now..about this baby! Ive been checking my computer for days and nothing! I hope now “she” waits till the twenty-second, my sons twentieth birthday! That would be so fun..except it means im getting older! But oh well,time marches on..have a wonderful visit with your friends and enjoy the rest of your summer! Stay cool!!!

  16. Natalie H says:

    Dear Susan
    I’ve had a relationship with you (via WILLARD and your books) for over 14 years, and I love it! Thanks. I’ve been meaning to share something with you that I’ve done now for awhile, so I took a photo… I have a calendar from about 2003, and I exchange the pictures from the months to match the upcoming holiday and hang it framed in my kitchen. I’ve also used my “Book of Days” for years and keep it on the kitchen counter to write little things (child number 1 lost a tooth; dog learned to play dead; etc.) and enjoy turning the pages every week to see what memory is coming up. Anyway, I just wanted to share this fun tidbit of into with you. Happy summer. Can’t wait for my “A Fine Romance” – coming soon! (PS-not sure how to add the photo after all, but if I ever do, I’ll share.)

    • sbranch says:

      You might try leaving the photo on FOSB — Facebook. For some reason they don’t seem to be allowing photos on the comments here.

  17. Becky says:

    What a grand idea; a royal baby watch tea party! I LOVE it and I am going to copy it.It sounds like just what the doctor ordered.

    Sadly, my frail little mother passed 2 weeks ago, here at my home, under hospice care. We had her memorial service here last Friday and it was wonderful, but no one loved welcoming babies as much as my mom did, so…….this weekend I’ll host a baby watch tea party as the next step in honoring my mom and working through the grieving process. My birthday is the 25th (Leo power) and my mother’s name was Mary. Hmmmm…..Princess Mary has a nice ring to it.

    Love your curtains. Love your kitties. Love you and Joe. And love the inspiration you always float out there for me. Life is for the living!

  18. Christie Ray says:

    Poor poor Jemima! She is our favorite here at our little home, and since our toddler granddaughter has come to live with us, this Grammy has taken care to put her and all her little friends safely behind the glass cabinet doors in the kitchen. They had been gathered around their little bonfires (I just had to recreate that sweet little vignette:) on the butcher block counter, but those curious toddler fingers attached to those curious toddler hands couldn’t resist Jemima and crew.
    Sweet, adorable Jack, with those inquisitive, innocent eyes…you just cannot stay upset with him for too terribly long…
    What a prince you have on your hands…Joe + Sue = 1 incredible person (but then, that is how it is SUPPOSED to be:)
    Have a wonderful week, dear friend!
    Christie Ray
    From Franklin, Tn
    (when I saw there was another Christie, I had to make sure you didn’t get us confused)

  19. Peggy Cooper says:

    Gorgeous! That’s what those curtains are. I’m afraid Miss Katniss Everdeen (my rescue from the alley kitty who is getting so big and healthy as anything and almost a year old now) is still in climb the curtains when mommy won’t let me claw the chairs phase, so I’ll have to wait, but oh boy, I’m going to keep these in mind. Girl Kitty and Jack remind me of a brother and sister Siamese pair I had many years ago that a friend could not take with him when he moved, so they became mine. Smosh and Phaedra. Smosh, the male, was the clown. Loved to sit on the edge of the rocking chair and jump on visitors shoulders as they entered the house to purr and get some love. Phaedra looked on from a high dresser as if to say “you undignified dolt. Don’t you know we’re supposed to be regal?”

    Oh that Joe, such a handyman. And yes, it is so nice to have a man around the house. My Bob is not only good around the house, but has become quite the fashion critic after my watching the English version of What Not to Wear with Trinny and Susanna. So funny to see the expression on the faces of the sales clerks when this macho man makes comments on what I try on. Our guys are just so talented. Joe the stylist :o)

    I’m going to be buying some Pimms to make the Pimms Cup from your Summer Book when the announcement is made about the new little arrival. I’m hoping for a girl like most of you. But any baby that’s healthy is good too. But just think of the outfits we’d get to see a little girl in. Oooooh!

  20. Rita from MN says:

    Ahh, simple summer pleasures. Heat wave in MN so my simple pleasure is walks at dusk with my husband. Just when the fireflies are coming out. They look like stars twinkling on the ground.

  21. Annette McD says:

    Tell “Duck-tor”Joe he watches far too many McGyver shows. Quack!

  22. Kelley S says:

    Oh my goodness did I need this post! It was a long day that pulled me in every direction-like a pack of chihuahuas were nipping at my heels. First, your video of the water calmed. Then the photo of Jack with his attorney, Petey, made me laugh out loud. That expression on his face! Joe’s ingenuity gave an “ooh” while the new curtains elicited an “ah”. Love those curtains! Girl looked so regal. Carson, peel her a grape, please. Finally, the thought of the Royal Baby Tea Party thoroughly delighted. What a splendid idea! So excited about the Royal Arrival that I check the most handily available news source throughout the day to see if there is any news. Nothing like a happy, healthy new baby to bring joy. So exciting. Do you think we can detect a twinge from across the pond? So thank you, Susan, Joe, Jack, Girl, even Petey, for brightening the day and being ever inspiring.

  23. Sandy Forbes says:

    Once again…your post makes me think we are kindred spirits. I’ve drooled over lace curtains from that exact website many a time! They look so pretty in your window! Thanks for sharing so much with us. You are a treasure!

  24. Anna Camano Island,WA says:

    I love the fact that Jemima is being repaired and not replaced, sometimes those glued together treasures (which often come with a story) end up being the most loved of all. – I so enjoyed a visit to your beach with you and Joe, no matter how often I go to the beach , it always feels so wonderful, the water, the air, the sand and rocks, life always feels good when I’m there and I am lucky enough to be only 3 blocks away, I am often amazed to find that I’m the only one there, but thats a special feeling too. – I can just imagine all the lovely tea and parties being plannned all over England, and I pray that this new little royal person lives happily ever-after. – I’m going to check out the lace curtain link now, thanks for all your joy.

  25. Cynthia Avalos says:

    Hi Susan,
    I prepaid for your new book. Remind me, when is it coming?

    • sbranch says:

      They can’t tell us the exact date the books will arrive at the studio, but they’ve guaranteed it by Sept. 1 — we think it will come sooner though. That’s all we really know. But the moment they come in they will start going out.

  26. Carol Deiber says:

    Well, I’m so happy to find you know Miss Havisham! No one else gets it when I drop her name.
    The duck mending is great. The ability to fix things is a gift. My husband has that too. He has mended everything from tractors to Batman action figures. (The grandchildren love, love, love him)
    He even put new wheels on my vacuum cleaner!
    Hugs from the farm in Iowa

  27. Susan Simon (in Illinois) says:

    Not sure what happened to my comments yesterday… they’re still awaiting moderation?
    Here’s the copy that I saw this morning when I checked…

    Susan Simon (in Illinois) says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    July 16, 2013 at 8:29 am
    Good morning, Susan and everyone…
    Love the new curtains… I have lace curtains in our guest bedroom in the summer and love having them blowing and moving with the summer breezes. Yours are beautiful.

    I am so glad Jemima got fixed… Joe is a talented rubber bander, that’s for sure!

    Have a wonderful time with your girlfriends, and I hope I get the Willard this time… didn’t get the last one for some strange reason. Your polenta cake sounds just fabulous… may have to bake that up some time soon.

    Girl Kitty is such a “regal” cat… dignified and very proper looking. Does she keep Jack in line at all? I visualize her telling him to behave! Was Jack repentant when Jemima went into the sink?

    Take care, and have a lot of fun the next few days. You and Joe do make a complete couple… you complete each other, I know. Tell him we all think he is just wonderful, too.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s me, so many came in at once, and because the girls are here, I try and “moderate” them, but never seem to get to the bottom of the pile. They’ve gone shopping so I’m trying to do it now! Sorry!

      • Susan Simon (in Illinois) says:

        NO need to apologize… I just figured it was a cyber space glitch! Have fun!!

  28. Joey says:

    Good Morning! What a wonderful read this morning! Did you know that U-tube has relaxing sounds like the ocean that run up to 3 hours? I just saw
    that this weekend and it would work well for us mid-westerners who need an ocean view and sounds for and hour or so!!
    May I suggest that you put poster putty under dangerously placed figurines?
    It keeps mine in place, and might save you from another broken treasure and poor Jack from such a fright!
    Enjoy your company that is coming and the Tea Party!!

  29. Karen S says:

    Susan, Thank you for such a cute blog. I chuckled when I read about the glued rubber banded fix-it job Joe did for you. It reminded me of the many repair jobs my husband has done over the years, and how those ” little things” are the sweet joys of life. My calendar also came and I just have to tell you it is especially beautiful this year. As always I love it the only difference this year is it will hang in my house instead of above my school desk, as I retired this year after 25 years as teacher’s assistant working with special needs kids. More time now for family and “Domesticity”. Thanks again Susan for sharing your remarkable talent.

    • sbranch says:

      Congratulations on your retirement Karen — and thank you for your 25 years of service!!

    • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      Congratulations Karen. I am just a wee bit jealous of your retirement. Enjoy! I always think when and if I ever get to retire, I will have that first cup of coffee on the porch and just spend hours, just sitting there. At least that first day:)

  30. Suzanne says:

    Susan your beautiful curtains are perfect. I immediately thought of the ones that were in our London hotel room last fall. (Wish I could attach a photo here). There is just something about lace on a window.

    I love what you said about Joe completing you. Isn’t that what a good marriage is? Two people coming together, bringing out the best in one another. Love that! Mostly I love that you find the beauty in ordinary, everyday life. A curious kitty, fresh lace curtains, a walk along the shore and the love of a good man and fast friends. Thank you for reminding us what’s really important!

  31. Mary Ann says:

    I LOVE today’s blog. It just made me feel happy to be alive. 🙂 I love, love, LOVE that beautiful bowl in the picture of glassware that you are washing for you Twine! It makes me want to go antiquing today. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us the way you do.

  32. Trish K ~ Missouri says:

    I love that quote from Einstein! You first introduced me to it, not sure if it was your calendar, blog or book, but I really think it is an awesome outlook to have. I think I need to frame it, we all need reminders! It really is the simple small treats, isn’t it? Well, I finally convinced my husband to get a cat. Except we came home a month ago with two kittens, a tuxedo we named Abner, and his grey tabby sister we named Minnow. Its been a delightful adventure ever since. I blame Jack and Girl. 🙂

  33. Michele says:

    Don’t have a ton of time to talk today. (Having company, too, in just THREE days!!!) Susan, as always, thanks for posting. It’s like a little, happy, pretty moment to pause in the day!

    LOVE to the kitties, of course!

    And your video of you and Joe made me smile and a little chuckle came out :0)

  34. Nina says:

    Hi Susan its been a while since I’ve commented but “O be still my beating heart!” A blog update & Willard all in one day! Only one thing to do make a brew, grab a scone with jam & cream and stay a while…
    What a fabulous Willard today and the icing on the cake for me were the words to Nature boy (Natie babes version of course always for me) at the end! Perfect!
    Its been so worthwhile stopping by your blog today too! so much good news it lifts my heart it really does! Thank you Susan for being you!
    Well I have news too in two days I break up for the Summer and in 18 days I’ll be on my way to New England to stay with my bestest buddy for two whole weeks! I just can’t wait although I know I will have too! It was a big surprise for my 40 tenth birthday (as your Mum would say!) And I am really looking forward to it and because its been a while I am not going to take one minute of it for granted and I am going to embrace it all!
    Anyway I have took up enough blog space! I now have to pour another brew and take a second peep at Willard & your blog again! Have a fab party with your friends can’t wait to see the piccies! xxxx

  35. Linda Petersen says:

    Hello Susan & girlfriends! Another wonderful post~~~thanks! Have a really special visit with your guests & enjoy the Royal Baby tea party. Sounds like such fun!! Jack looks so innocent~~~he’s too funny. And of course Petey has his back:0). Love your new curtains!! Definitely check the website for my dining room. Could use new lace curtains there especially when I start decorating for FALL!! (can’t wait!). Enjoyed the comments from all of you.
    Everyone have a great day!
    XO, Linda

  36. Carol Maurer ~~ Eureka, CA says:

    Good morning to you, Susan and to all the Girlfriends out there~~~ Was so happy to be able to read TWO new blogs from you, as we were gone up to WA last week. My husband, Frank to work with some friends on their bathroom and me to spoil the twins. They were 2 months old last Thursday. How they have changed since we saw them last month. So sad to say ‘goodbye’ to them, but will be up again in 6 weeks for good, I hope!!!!

    Yesterday, I since a note to you, but there was an error when I posted it. Cyberspace got a hold of it and off it went never to be seen again 🙂 I loved all the seashells that you have. Have you found all of them or are some store boughten from different places?

    Kitty Girl sure looked peaceful and acting the queen that she is. I’m sure that she thought that you had set those quilts out just for her. She sure is a pretty girl!

    How fun to have company for a few days. If you are like I am, you look so forward to seeing them and so sad to see them go home once again. Can’t wait to hear about your tea party and to see the pictures as well.

    Well, I’ve gotten all my e-mails caught up finally and have enjoyed reading all the girlfriend’s comments. So much to do with being gone all last week. Also, I will be packing boxes to my heart’s content.

    Til later ~~~ xoxox
    Carol M

  37. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Oh, I love the idea of a tea in anticipation of the Royal Arrival! Fabulous idea to have with friends. I admit to being a huge fan of the British Royals and this new baby is going to such a delightful interlude to the summer heat of July! William and Catherine will make great parents and make their country proud and even more modernized! Your plans with friends sounds ever so much fun. Martha’s Vineyard must be glorious in the summer!

    Love those Willards!! Thank-you Susan for giving us these amazing and fun newsletters full of the best tidbits.

  38. Marty Kunkis says:

    Hello Susan–
    it is amazing how many lives you touch each day–like taking the pulse of a part of the world. Really does make one happy to see your words and pictures filtered through so many different lives.

    I writing today because despite re-entering my name on the mailing list at least twice from the first time, I have not received any “Willards” since March. Any idea of what is going wrong? I really looked forward to seeing such a treat and miss it terribly 🙁
    Thank you!.

    • sbranch says:

      Marty, did you get yours? The very last Willards went into email boxes about a half hour ago (4pm est, 1 pm pst). Let me know if you don’t get it. Thank you!

      • Marty Kunkis says:

        Thank you Susan. Willard arrived today-just in time to make my day. Would love to see you in New York . The Corner Bookstore on Madison Avenue (around 93rd St)l is small, intimate and just a lovely place to browse. B&N carries your books as well. City folk may do things differently or some of your current joys are just happy memories of earlier years, but we all love your recipes, ideas and for your wonderful spirit in not only motivating yourself but so many others to make something special out of every day. A trip across country just is too perfect a dream for so many–can’t wait to see what you make of it.

      • Rosemary says:

        Susan, I did not receive a Willard.

        • sbranch says:

          Be sure to check your spam folder, and while you’re doing that, I’ll ask Kellee to send it to you and make sure you’re on the Willard mailing list. Thank you for letting me know!

  39. Jen from Sebastopol says:

    I love your lace curtains, I too enjoy them. Thank you for the name of the store.

  40. Aggie says:

    Jack & Petey – now that’s a dangerous duo! So many things broken in my house by my kitties – why didn’t I think of the rubberband trick 🙂 Love the lace curtains…light and airy, so perfect for summer.

  41. Suzanne says:

    Hi Susan,
    That substance that I was trying to describe to you is called Quakehold – museum putty. Amazon sells it and it’s made to put under figurines so they will not fall off shelves (or in a sink!) Michaels might sell something like that too. It doesn’t damage wood or anything and you can remove it at any time without damage to the piece as well. And God forbid we have an earthquake I guess as the name says the figurines will stay put! Even if the earthquake is one very curious kitty! Hope this helps! ~ East Longmeadow, Ma

  42. Marybeth Ferrie says:

    Thank you for that much needed reminder…I needed that!

  43. Hi Susan!

    I am stealing that wonderful quote from you and Iris Murdoch… Boy is is true! Now, add in just the OCCASIONAL big treat, and you’ve got it made!

    Have a great day!


  44. Jennie says:

    Oh, I love your curtains! So romantic and ethereal…
    Only two days ago I pinned up some vintage linen to make an impromptu curtain for my mudroom door- funny how something so little has made me smile and feel ‘summer-y’ every time I see it! That’s what’s so wonderful about those little things, don’t you think?
    Can’t wait to see your tea party! Have a lovely visit with your girlfriends!

  45. Maria Penner says:

    not sure you received my comments yesterday….I did forget to tell you one very important thing….12/12 is also Frank Sinatra’s birthday….Hopefully, you will receive it soon….Also….while shopping on your website…you had the Beatrix Potter journal…that made me so happy!!! You brighten so many lives and we live by the motto…”LOVE IS MORE WONDERFUL THE SECOND TIME AROUND!!!”

  46. Holly says:

    Hello! Willard just arrived to my “inbox”! Again it filled me with some of your happiness and energy (which I need a lot of right now). The heat is zapping me! We’re off to Michigan for the weekend to squeeze the grandbabies and antique shop… hopefully we can catch a breeze off the lake! Your “twine” party sounds like fun…. and the chair grouping reminds me of visiting family in the summer long ago. The grown ups would sit around the fire in chairs like yours, and the children would run & play hide and seek, until very late at night. So much fun. Thanks for all you put into writing for us. You know we love it all! ttfn…

  47. Victoria Miller says:

    Truly, everything is! And your blog reminds me and reinforces this thought through days of barking dobermans (new to the neighborhood) and early, noisy workmen.
    However, I have no complaints! Last Friday night I saw a meteor whizz through the backyard (quite high above it actually), and extinguish! It was light orange, about the size of a basketball, but more like a softball from where I sat, and it zipped through, disappeared, and there was a funky sort of but not quite burning smell. I went online, reported it at the American Meteorological Society and another site, and learned it was first seen in England an Tunisia, then southeastern parts of Canada and the USA, and then by two others here on in Sothern California. It began as a silvery glow with a long tail, and by the time it got here it was just a light orange, not so bright ball that burned out. Oh, and meteorites and things that come from space (including astronauts), have this funky ‘outer space’ smell described as “sulfer and gunpowder.” It pays to stargaze! Anyone who’d like to see a meteor can look up after midnight on August 11 & 12th when the Perseid Meteor Showers are happening, one of the best ones for sighting. My niece and daughter and all the kids and I once went to a beach on Lake Erie at 3 am to see this event. Thank you for todays Willard AND the blog, Susan! You certainly are working overtime! This has made my day, sort of like a mid-afternoon meteor from Susan Branch! And so sorry about Jemimah Puddleduck…she is my favorite! But Dr. Joe did a great mend! I trust she will be fine. And, Miss Haversham, with whom I became acquainted, has always been one of the most memorable characters in literature to me. Poor thing. I say, even if it doesn’t work out, at least eat the cake! And have a glass or two. (Chances are, you’ve been saved and just don’t grasp the fact yet.)

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, we talk sense to Miss Havisham! Did you get to see Haley’s Comet a few years ago? That was my favorite so far. Love shooting stars, even a moving sputnik is fun!

      • Victoria Miller says:

        No, alas, I didn’t see Haley’s Comet, at least, not live. However, there is a great video of it on Utube, that was taken from a satellite or some man made space traveler with a camera at the time. It starts off very slowly, but when it gets close ~ WOW! Yes, there are amazing things going on in the night sky.
        And it’s a wonderful thing to do on a summer night, star gaze!

        • sbranch says:

          I was driving through Ventura California at barely dawn, along the coast, and there he was. That was fabulous. In the pinky blue dusky morning/night sky. Mark Twain, the love of my life, was born on Haley’s comet, and he died on it, just as he predicted.

  48. Diane says:

    Oh my goodness!!!! This is the BEST Willard ever!! Heck, I even delayed supper to read it…that doesn’t happen very often.

    I’m so excited over all the news you shared that I may not be able to sleep tonight.

    Love from Diane in North Carolina

  49. Peggy Davis says:

    Jack to Petey (2nd picture of Jack) “I told you she would blab!! Can’t keep her mouth shut. Now what! All of the girlfriends know ~ they all loved me! I could do no wrong! I told that duck to move over but she wouldn’t budge. She mumbled something about a pond. Just trying to help. It’s not my fault because there wasn’t any water in the sink. Guess I have to find a place to look cute so she’ll take a picture of me and show them how innocent I am. That should do it!”

    Or at least that looks like what Jack is thinking! Hope he’s been forgiven and Branch Hall is a peaceable kingdom once again.

  50. Laura says:

    Susan Branch you make me smile.

  51. Claudia says:

    Have a great time with your girlfriends, Susan! Stay cool – gosh this heat is terrible!


  52. Carrie says:

    I love your blog and your beautiful books! On your book tour you should come to my lovely town! We live in Petaluma, CA (north of San Francisco) and we are known for our many antique stores. We also have a wonderful local bookstore called Copperfields. Please come for a visit and book signing!

  53. Jan says:

    Thanks sooo much for the very WONDERFUL Willard! I know you must put a lot of time and effort into every one you write. Congrats on the Beatrix Potter Society review!! How exciting for you! I must say the cake sounds so delicious. Where do you get culinary lavender though? Would really love to try making it. Bet the combo of the almond flour and orange is great. Plus, my one grandson cannot have gluten so would be something I could make for him. Oh, and your little painted rabbit entwined with flowers – just too cute. Hope you are having a good “twine” with your friends.

    • sbranch says:

      I get culinary lavender at my kitchen shop, but I did put some links for it in that new extremely fabulous Appendix I did for the new book!

      • Jan says:

        Thanks for the info. I also did a little checking around and looks like maybe Whole Foods might have some. The only thing is I don’t have one near me. Will also check in that “extremely fabulous Appendix” of that new book when I get it!

  54. Rosanne (Oregon) says:

    What a treat today to have both Willard and your blog to savor. I have the same (or similar) lace curtain on the light panel next to our front door, and just love the look, so light and airy. I want to say a special thank you for your web store, which is my go-to place for “continuous small treats.” I’m really looking forward to seeing all the goodies you have gathered through the year for Christmas! We are all awaiting the Royal Baby, of course, but in this family are over the moon about our first grandson expected the end of August! It is a good month to be born, judging by your two Jacks and Joe.;) Just too much to say here – just received the new calendar! and love the little calendar for my purse since I am old school and am always looking for a scrap of paper in my purse to write down an appointment. Now I have something cute for that! Thanks, Sue, for all the cute, inspiring, joyful, fun things you create and share!

  55. Laura Anne says:

    Susan!! I’ve loved the last posts and just got the new Willard in my inbox! I haven’t read it completely, but I did catch that you’re going on a cross-country roadtrip to California! How exciting 🙂

    I have a question – I am going to try my very best to get to Martha’s Vineyard for your book signing, but I wanted to ask if there will be advanced copies there for purchase? Do I need to purchase one ahead of time? I just called the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore and spoke with a lovely gentleman who said to call closer to the date as he wasn’t sure what agenda you have planned.

    Thank you so much and hope you’re having a lovely evening!

    P.S. Love the new curtains!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes Laura Anne, there will be copies available at the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore and I will be signing them, so come on down — would love to meet you!

  56. Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

    What wonderful news! So the “B” had something to do with Beatrix Potter, but not exactly her, but the society!!

    You have every right to be excited!

    You have worked so hard for this and you deserve to be highlighted by them!! Remember all those days of work at your table? Remember all the “You Go Girl” encouragements all the Girlfriends gave you? You worked so hard on this book! You deserve it and, do you know what I’m hoping?? That they decide to sell your book in the Beatrix Potter gift shop! How cool would that be??

    We are all so proud of you, Susan. And OF COURSE they are going to like your book! They are going to write a rave review and then SO many more people are going to buy it and –who knows–it may even hit the New York Times best seller list–That’s just what I’m thinking. . . .

    Lots of Love,

    • sbranch says:

      Totally cool, that’s how cool that would be!!! I got a note from one of the wonderful guides at Hill Top the other day — she commented under the Beatrix Potter pages. Just that alone is wonderful! I want to keep that connection forever. And having this blog with all the girlfriends made the writing of this book my absolute most favorite of all time. I never felt alone! xoxo

      • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

        I’m tearing up over your last sentence. Susan, that’s what girlfriends are for! To encourage each other and cheer each other on. You do it all the time for us and I am so happy that we all got a chance to give back to you!

        I am so excited for you!! And the thought of an interactive Appendix is just over-the-top wonderful! Oh, how I hope I get to see you on your tour, Sweet Girlfriend of us all!!

        You know, I said to Kevin the other day, “in two years it will be our 25th anniversary and we’ll both be around 60. We need to do something special” pause-pause “like go to England!” (thinking that A Fine Romance will be my go-to reference for this magical excursion.) Now Kevin made no comment, which is actually okay. It takes him awhile to make a decision. But I have laid the ground works!!!

        Lots of Love,

        • sbranch says:

          Oh I like this very much. Stealth. I hope Kevin will share your dream.

        • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker W.TX says:

          Ha Ha….Jim is like that sometimes. He just has to let things soak in for awhile…..and suddenly he is on board. Start subscribing to some magazines from England and let them lay around the house! Before long, Kevin will think it’s his idea!

          • sbranch says:

            Handmade houses, amazing gardens, astounding details that I think any man would love.

          • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

            oh-oh, Chris and Susan,
            Good ideas, both of you! Magazines about England! And I like that word “stealth”–that’s my mission. (I’m hearing the “Mission Impossible” theme song in the background.)
            Yes! I can do this!
            Love you both!

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        I hope this means that Hilltop has purchased mass quantities of “A Fine ROmance” for their gift shop shelves… :>)

  57. Lorraine says:

    Like so many others, I am thoroughly impressed with Joe’s many capabilities. Jemima will be fine thanks to his ingenuity. Well done.

    I’d like to request a book signing in IL – preferably southwest suburbs of Chicago – Downers Grove or Naperville where there are lovely independent bookstores – Andersons. Please think about it.

    Also, I wondered if you ever sell any of your drawings/artwork from your blogs. So many appeal to me, but the teacups in this one with “Come. Sit. Stay” is wonderful. Am I missing something in the online store?

    Just read Willard – thank you.

    Enjoy your Twine party. Sounds like fun…

    • sbranch says:

      We are just about to call Anderson’s! Reading my mind! There are a few prints in the web store, also there are some really nice large giclees that are printed on heavy watercolor paper suitable for framing, signed and numbered.

      • Lorraine says:

        Glad to hear you’ll be calling Anderson’s. Hope you can work out a date that fits into your schedule. I’ll keep checking your schedule. Fingers crossed.

        I saw the giclees – and they are very nice – but wondered about the many cute drawings I see on your blog. I would even like them in cards/stationery/etc. It must be hard to choose which ones to print or utilize for other projects. By the way, I purchased several “Counting Our Blessings, Days from the Heart of the Home” – one for me and the others for gifts. I LOVE mine and everyone who received one as a gift is delighted. Thanks.

        • sbranch says:

          We do have some pretty cute cards on our website … but I know we could always do more! Working on Anderson’s Lorraine. You can call them, ask for their events person, and request me and that will make it easier. Thank you!

          • Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

            Susan, I just emailed Ginny at Anderson’s event planning. I explained how Anderson’s and Susan Branch are a perfect match! I also mentioned that so many Illinois girlfriends are waiting to meet Susan. Just wondering if you expect to be visiting the Chicago area during September or October? We are all getting so excited!!!!!!
            Enjoy your special weekend!

          • sbranch says:

            You are good Dawn! How could they resist that letter! Thank you. And yes, we figure it will be in September, maybe around the 17th or so, depending on how the other signing dates fill in. xoxo Going to be fun!

          • Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

            ♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡ Can’t wait!!

  58. Pam G says:

    Thank you for the new Willard and the yummy recipes! Your exciting news about the Beatrix Potter Society is wonderful!…..and I am waiting for that Yankee Magazine.
    You wil so love your trip-Fall is the best time for a trip like that-not work at all. I wish I could hide out in a teeny tiny corner and go with you!
    Your husband is totally an inspiration. I cannot believe how he fixed Jemima. What a gem you have in Joe.
    I sure wish you were coming to the Finger Lakes area of NYS but we don’t have many bookstores, but it is so very beautiful here. You would love it!
    Your kitties will be happy to have someone in the house with them. We do that all the time with our dogs. I feel better if someone is there anyway.

    • sbranch says:

      Me too, kitties and dogs should never have to sleep alone. xoxo Would love to visit the Finger Lakes, I’m sure it’s gorgeous.

  59. Shelley says:

    What a wonderful post….I love all your lovely little things. Your kitty’s are cute too!

  60. Dear Susan and Joe,
    Please stop by Austin on your travels this fall and we will have a book signing and great party. Book People would be a wonderful location-or I will host a Friends of Susan Branch in Texas signing! I have 4 empty bedrooms–a wonderful cat named Shadow, and a sweet Golden Dooley named Newton to keep you comfy. Congratulations on the book. You will love Austin. I am a member of the Austin Food Bloggers Association (AFBA) and I guarantee you a good Tx time.

  61. Danella on the west coast says:

    Another lovely post and Willard too! Wonderful to read after a long day at the office. A chance to sit and relax and enjoy! Thank you again for sharing so much of yourself with all of us. Have the best day!

  62. sondra fox says:

    HELP! HELP! HELP! HELP! Susan & Girlfriends! I thought the capital letters would get your attention. Remember how in the last blog I told all of you that I was going to make a lobster chowder I read about in the Yankee magazine? Well, now I need help from you New England girlfriends who know so much about cooking with fresh lobster PLEEZE? The recipe called for 1/2 stick butter in which you were supposed to cook the lobster in. It then said you cook the lobster until the butter turns red. The mixture of butter & lobster that I cooked didn’t turn red. Do you think they omitted paprika, or is there something red that comes out of the lobster when it’s cooked like that in butter? Who knows? I sure do need help.

    When I was about six or seven years old, I lived with my grandmother, Gram, as we called her. Her house was a wood frame two story, wonderful old house with a huge porch & a very large basement. We lived in a row of houses similar to ours, seven in all. There was a big woods across the street from our houses. Each house had at least two, or three kids per house. A good Catholic neighborhood. A great place to grow up in. The woods was our playground, where we crossed pipes that ran over creeks, where we buried our animals in our animal cemetery, where we slid on the small pond on the winter’s ice, where we played hide & seek, & just plain & simple “hung out.” Our porches were equipped with swings where we used to sing all the songs we heard on the radio. Honestly, it was just like a Doris Day movie. On rainy days, we’d play Monopoly, or paper dolls. We entertained ourselves because there were so many kids to play with. Evenings, we’d play kick the can, or make up two teams, meet each other in the middle, one team would yell out a movie stars initials while the other team tried to guess the movie star. When someone guessed the star, the other team would run & tag us, then the tagged person would be on their team. This went on until one of the teams didn’t have any kids on it. Game over. Our folks weren’t afraid we’d be kidnapped. Everyone was honest in our little town. There just weren’t even any shop lifters around. We even stayed out on winter evenings, building snow forts, or sledding. The one thing your blog made me think about though Susan, was how you’re going to have a tea party for your friends. As I was saying, when I was about six though nine, I fixed up our basement just like it was my own little house, with my dear baby dolls taking naps in a corner in their little bed, & a table & chairs where my neighbors & I would have tea. My little girlfriends also did the same in their basements. Then we’d knock on one another’s cellar doors, open the door, go down the steps to the basement & have a wonderful visit. Our moms would fix little sandwiches for us & we’d have fairy tea which was tea with lots of milk & a bit of sugar. Cookies were our dessert. After tea, we’d (about four of us girls) walk our babies in their carriages. And now that I’m an adult, like you Susan, I love making teas for my friends. Maybe I was just practicing for being a grown up way back in my basement days. What do you think? (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • sbranch says:

      There is bright red roe in many whole lobsters, otherwise I can’t imagine what turns the butter red because the meat has a thin pink skin, but it’s pure white inside. I do believe you were practicing for the fairy-tale of a life we all expected when we were pushing those buggies!

      • Victoria Miller says:

        They may have meant to cook the lobster until the shell of the lobster turns red. That happens.

        • Victoria Miller says:

          And, Sondra, really enjoyed reading your post about your childhood. Yes, back in the age of innocence! The games with friends, the paperdolls, the tea parties, the exploring. Thank you for reminding me of some wonderful memories of my own!

        • sbranch says:

          Ah ha, yes, maybe that’s it.

  63. sondra fox says:

    Oh, I forgot to tell you……I loved the picture of Girl Kitty so much that I’m going to paint her into a picture for my sewing room where I sew quilts. She looks so very regal. What a dear, peaceful cat. I wish our dog Jack could see her, he’d love her so. He washes our cat, Bootsie (also a Tuxedo like your two). Bootsie loves Jack’s attention & sits there moving her head all around trying to get Jack to wash in different spots. They’re so adorable together. We think Jack is part cat.
    (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  64. Paulij says:

    Sometimes words cannot express the joy that comes from reading your blogs, Susan. You regularly choose a slice or two of life that is touching, beautiful, fun, funny or all of the above and that we can all either relate to or wish we could! 🙂 Your photos speak volumes and are so lovely and well-chosen. Thank you for sharing the fall and healing of Jemima Puddle-Duck, the light and airy lace curtains, the lapping of the ocean, Jack and Girl Kitty, Petey (I think he is cute and teasy looking), and the upcoming tea party. What a delicious combination to see and read about. I look forward to seeing and hearing about your tea party! Blessings on you and Joe.

  65. Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    All the Willard’s should have gone out, so I have to say that is the best one ever! Who knew the Beatrix Potter Society was FOLLOWING your trip to England. WOW and dare I say they are about to have many new members. I ordered the Linda Lear book about Beatrix Potter from Amazon, a used copy from the UK no less (I have never received anything from England before), the downside, it won’t be here until August something.:(
    I am really looking forward to the read. And then turn around and your book should be here! Happy dance………so much to look forward to! I bought an Emma Bridgewater cup from your web store a while back, and I am saving it for when your book arrives, then I will brew it’s maiden cup of tea. I must be careful, I could spend the whole day here in the blog and Willard, better get to work.
    Oh yes and it is raining here! I have had close to 4″ of that glorious wet stuff since Monday. Bring it on!
    Love to all the girlfriends!
    A wet and soggy Chris

    • sbranch says:

      You’re going to love the book, it’s worth the wait, so well written! I’m not quite done with it yet. I ride my stationery bike everyday for 45 min and I get to read while I ride. I don’t even think of it as “exercising” ~ I think of it as “reading!” I’m excited for your first cup of Emma tea!

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        “Wet and soggy” is kind of good for you, isn’t it Chris? At least now? Means you all are getting some moisture down there in Knickerbocker, right? :>)

        • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker W.TX says:

          We are getting rain Janet. 3 days of rain and it’s damp! Today is probably the end of this rain, but my creek is up and all my trees are watered! It is glorious. It probably won’t rain again until September so have to revel in it while we can!

          • Janet [in Rochester] says:

            I hear you. That’s great, Chris! With all the heat around the country this Summer, we all need all the moisture we can get. We’ve had enough rain here that we could probably have a couple of droughty weeks and still keep the lush green lawns we have right now. Bet you’re actually enjoying mowing yours now… :>)

  66. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Willard is wonderful! “B” is thrilling, so happy for you! SB wrapped van? OMG how much fun you had designing that!! How thrilling to see you & Joe criss-crossing this country in your van! I’ll be looking! Thank you for sharing your loves, life, & creative talent with us, we are abundantly blessed!!(!!to eternity!!) XO

  67. Please, has Dear Jemima had her splints and bandages (aka rubber bands) removed yet?

    Still not a sign of the new royal baby. The other evening I was watching a programme on the selling of Diana’s gowns. I could not stop weeping all the way through. What a wonderful grandmother she should have made; and poor Catherine, in this heat, I do hope they have air conditioning in The Palace !!!

  68. Thank you for a lovely post, and a lovely Willard too!

    It’s been months since I’ve visited, having been consumed – and a little overwhelmed – with caring for my very ill husband, daily runs to the hospital, household responsibilities, work, and so on….

    But this morning I decided to take a break, pour a glass of iced tea, and enjoy a few moments with Willard. Just wonderful, and I cannot wait until the book comes out! I particularly loved the little watercolor of You and Joe walking together…reminded me of the times my husband and I used to go for walks together. Such a simple pleasure.

    Wishing you a happy time of it this weekend. 🙂

    “Twine” – what a fabulous idea!

    ♥ Carolee

  69. Susan from the Cape Fear Coast of NC says:

    Help! I did not receive my long awaited Willard. This is the second time I have been deleted from the Willard list, is this happening to anyone else? I haven’t done anything different, same computer, same e-mail address, etc. Should I sign up again before every newsletter comes out? Still don’t understand what happens in cyber space.
    I loved this beautiful and touching post. Little things do indeed make life sweet.
    I laughed when you said your curtains belonged in Miss Havisham’s house, I think I have quite a few things that look as if they belong there. Your choice of the ivy pattern lace was brilliant and the new curtains look lovely. I’m always amazed at how some small change can brighten up our homes and our spirits. When I was younger I used to move the furniture around quite a bit. It usually ended up back in its original spot and never looked like the magazines I was trying to copy but I loved my home and loved trying to make it better.

    • sbranch says:

      You shouldn’t have to re-sign every time! I sent your email address to Kellee, she’ll make sure you’re on — but please check your spam folder. Many times, that’s what happens to Willard — he gets diverted. Thank you Susan!

    • sondra fox says:

      I’m in the same boat…..no Willard & I think I took all of the necessary steps to get one. Oh me, oh my, I missed some news from Susan. I’m sad
      (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

      • sbranch says:

        I’ll ask Kellee to check into it Sondra, and to send you Willard!

        • Janet [in Rochester] says:

          Same thing happens to me at the Vermont Country Store – regularly. For some reason I get dropped from their e-mail all the time. I order something, they ask for my e-mail & would I like to get mailings? I say Yes I’ve signed up before MANY times – and we start the whole dance all over again. Then within 2 weeks I stop seeing things from them. It’s positively WEIRD! Seriously this has happened at least 20 times to me. But don’t take it personally. It truly is the work of the evil gremlins or the aliens or some goofy misfiring circuit in the vast convoluted computer world. :>)

          • sbranch says:

            I wish it would stop though, but when I ask, everyone’s eyes just roll around in their heads! I don’t think anyone really knows why it happens!

  70. Gayle says:

    Hi Susan, I have been a fan for sooo many years….when my 33 year old daughter was a girl we discovered you. I love everything you do…..books, calenders, stickers, stationary, blog, etc. Love it all! I buy the calenders for me, my daughter, daughters-in-law, and now my granddaughters (the mini ones for them) for Christmas each year.
    I have a question….when you paint, what type of paint do you use? Acrylic? Watercolor? It’s actually hard to tell!
    Looking so forward to my copy of your new book! Hope to meet you at a signing soon! ♥

  71. Pat Johnson of Paso Robles says:

    Once again, thank you for my special treat – another message from YOU! I was thinking about the Tea Party and decided I need one of those. BUT since I am in Paso Robles Wine Country, I believe mine will be a Wine Party. . . tonight in the patio, when the weather cools down and I may even be able to hear who ever is playing at the Midstate Fair. Last night I heard Tim McGraw. AND the other wonderful things you did for me (& you didn’t even know how special it would be for me) were the lace curtains info. I am ordering – but the choices are killing me. I have needed new curtains for the living room and this is it! Love the movie of the shore – this weekend I am going to Cambria and will place my feet in the water and think of YOU! The 3 Grand-girls will be with me and I am sure they will love to do that! Have a marvelous time with your girlfriends and remember always how very special you are to me!!!! And can’t forget that JOE – thank you, Joe, for making me laugh – I needed that! Gotta love him!!! XXXXOOOO BFF Pat

    • sbranch says:

      Oh, excited for you Pat. I can just imagine how pretty they will be in your living room. I know, choices are excruciating! Have fun not going to the fair! 🙂 Looking forward to meeting you when I’m out there. xoxo

  72. Eileen says:

    Looks like Jemima Puddle-duck is going to be A-Okay! I just love reading your posts—–haven’t gotten my Willard as of yet—-signed up again—-I sure hope that it comes soon……….meanwhile, stay cool (I hope you’re getting nice ocean breezes)……..

    • sbranch says:

      Have you checked your spam for Willard? When he doesn’t show up, that’s often where he is.

  73. Vickie Ivey says:

    Hi Susan:

    Sorry to bother you, but I did not recieve my Willard either and signed up again today. I checked to make sure that he was not in my spam folder. Thanks for any help that you can provide. Love all of your blog posts, they are so fun and inspiring.

    PS. Received my 2014 calendar yesterday and it is wonderful. Thanks so much.

    • sbranch says:

      So sorry, I can’t figure this out but you are doing everything right and I will have Kellee resend to you Vickie. Glad you like your calendar!

  74. Karen Saunders says:

    Oh dear…..I’m so distraut!! Can’t get my Willard!!! Was on the computer with AOL and they finally said it was on your ‘end’. Don’t know if I believe that…I keep wondering if I did something to my computer (I’m definitely not a whiz in that department) that is preventing it from coming in. I feel like I’m missing something fun going on…know the feeling?? (Then I think, ‘get a life Karen!!!’ for being this upset about not getting it.) Well, can’t help liking your stuff, I really look forward to your blogs. Have fun with your girlfriends. You deserve a little time off.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so sorry Karen … I bet AOL had you check your spam folder too, right? I sent your email address to Kellee, I’m asking her to put your name on the list and to send you Willard. Not sure why this happens, but the Internet is very careful with large mailings, and that just might be the problem.

  75. Marianne says:

    Exciting news all around in your Willard. Congratulations – and thank you, too, for all the interesting things you do that enhance our lives, too. So happy to see that Joe could repair Jemima puddle-duck – she’s so cute – and that Jack didn’t get into too much trouble because of it. Your kitties are adorable.

  76. Mary Eva Ross says:

    I’m so happy, my calendar came today. I want to rip off the shrink wrap and check out each month, and I will I know me, wish I could keep each month a surprise. THANKS

    • sbranch says:

      The good news is, you will probably forget by the time the month gets here, and it will be a surprise all over again!

      • Mary Eva Ross says:

        Even if I don’t forget I will pretend that I didn’t peek. All of your work makes me so happy I find something new each time I look at it anyway. THANKS

  77. Deborah Norling says:

    Poor Jemima Puddle Duck ! OH JACK..JACK..JACK…….YOU ARE SUCH A NAUGHTY……no no I can’t say it..what I meant to say Jack you are such a DARLING BOY…! It looks as though Jemima will soon be enjoying perfect health after your expert mending job… I do have to say, Girl Kitty has a rather knowing look on her face….I have to wonder if she witnessed the whole incident.. however..it’s clear…her lips are sealed !

  78. Francine Werlinger says:

    Thanks for letting me enjoy the water from the comfort of my air conditioning! I LOVE your new curtains Susan! I can’t wait to see the tea party pictures! How exciting for all who have been invited!

  79. shirley burt says:

    Just wanted you to know, the calenders arrived, and I tried to make myself wait to open them. That lasted less than an hour, and I could not stand it any longer. Oh, I am so happy I opened that brown package. The calender is BEYOND BEAUTIFUL. Thank you again, Susan for sharing your talents with all of us. Now, will have to see if I can resist giving my sister hers early.
    Bunny hugs,

    • sbranch says:

      You can’t. 🙂 I already know, because I’m the same way. Try to save it, but too excited. You should see me trying to save secrets to surprise all of you here on the blog! It’s my hardest job.

  80. I look forward to reading Willard and am always eager to read more about your out and abouts.
    How absolute fun it must be on Martha’s Vineyard! I was there a some years ago and fell in love with the island. Guess I’m just an island girl at heart, I live on the island of O’ahu in the state of Hawaii. We’re in the full swing of summer right now, enjoying ehat the beaches have to offer. My favorite thing is to pick shells and beach glass very early in the morning and play at the shoreline as it gets hotter in the day.
    Thank you for Willard and your blog, I very much enjoy them!

    • sbranch says:

      O’ahu! Now THAT’S an island! 🙂 I’ve been there, but I can’t imagine how it must be to live there. Pretty good I would guess, of all Americans, Hawaiians live the longest. Aloha, smell the plumeria for me. xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      O’ahu! Now THAT’S an island! 🙂 I’ve been there, but I can’t imagine how it must be to live there. Pretty good I would guess, of all Americans, Hawaiians live the longest. Aloha, smell the plumeria for me. xoxo

  81. Rosemary says:

    If there ever was an “everything IS a miracle” person, it is you. Makes it so uplifting to read your blog. The lace curtains are so wonderful and thank you for the shopping spot to get them. You will have a lovely party for the Royal baby…am looking forward to the universal celebration. My best friend’s daughter had a little boy in the wee hours yesterday morning but I am far, far away so cannot get my hands on him. It is the time of year when we get to escape the Texas heat and charge into the upstate NY heat! for a month. I am depending on a cooling off period soon. Glad to be here, nonetheless!
    Enjoy your friends. They are so very lucky to get to MV for a visit in your home.

    • sbranch says:

      LOL “so cannot get my hands on him.” I know just how you feel. Congratulations to you and to your best friend! And to her daughter!

  82. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan…. I have had a SUSAN BRANCH robo~blast here lately and am loving it!!! First, we made it home from the Vineyard (via Gettysburg..wow) and I am missing it already. We had a perfectly wonderful time exploring the whole Island….what a simply beautiful place. I visited Bunches of Grapes several times and before I left I picked up your notecard set and have already used one to thank the owner of the house we rented….. then…WILLARD appeared in my email and I had a great time reading it all to my husband as we rolled down the highway towards St. Louis….stirred up a lot of childhood memories for both of us… a splendid WILLARD!!!…now..a new blog post!!!! complete with a hero, beautiful curtains and a party….. very inspiring!!! Joe did a bang up repair job on Jemima Puddle-Duck…very fashion-forward…..could use him around here!!! Have a great Twine and we will continue to baby watch together!! Looking forward to some pictures…. Have a great week-end!! love, cindy

  83. Sherry in Carrollton, TX. says:

    Susan, great post today, but no Willard for me! Hope I do get one.

    • sbranch says:

      I’ll ask Kellee to send it and to make sure your address is in our Willard file. So sorry Sherry! Gremlins must have filtered over to Willard!

  84. Linda-Murrieta CA says:

    Have yet to receive my Williard, have received them in the past. O where O where is Willard? Susan, I always enjoy your posts for their inspiration. Thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Linda, for letting me know. Please check your spam folder, and while you do that I’m sending your email address to Kellee and she’ll forward Willard to you and make sure you’re on the list. I do not know why this happens, but we’ll definitely try and figure it out!

  85. Anna Camano Island,WA says:

    Hello again, I posted earlier about your precious blog post, which I adore, adore, adore! But, now I am writing to say that I also have been deleted from the Willard roster, I have signed up several times also, I have also checked in the spam file, but no luck. – I hate to be a bother at all because you so freely give of yourself to all of us ladies, but I would love to read what all the lucky recipients are raving about, because everything you write is soooo much fun to read and to look at. So, I’ll check up on it later and see. Thanks for everything!

    • sbranch says:

      No problem at all Anna, I’m just glad we have this comment section so I can find out when this happens. So thank you! I’ll send your address to Kellee and she’ll email Willard to you. Sorry!

  86. Pam Fortune says:

    Hi Susan
    I have just caught up with your last three blogs and Willard, thank you so much, your written word is very enjoyable and your photos and videos are very entertaining. I have been very busy getting ready for moving house and then my sale fell through so I am now thinking maybe I will stay at my cottage called ‘Even Grace.’ The old lady who had the cow shed converted it to a cottage and she named it Even for the evening sun as she would sit at the top of the little wood and write poetry, and Grace for the Grace of God and she had a wrought iron gate made with a small cross at the top. The only thing is it is getting too much for me to maintain and that is why I felt the need to downsize. However, I will see what the future holds and take each day as it comes. Well done Joe for cementing Jemima’s head, she is one of my favourite characters but my most favourite is Mrs Tiggywinkle, that was my one and only Beatrix Potter book as a child and now my youngest granddaughter has it with the rest of the collection which my three girls collected over a period of years. Enjoy your baby tea party for the new Royal baby, what a lovely idea of yours, the prediction of what names the baby will have and what sex it will be and the most popular idea seems to be that it will be a girl and that it will be Princess Elizabeth, Diana………… Enjoy your trip around America and I look forward to my two books arriving and reading about my country through your eyes.

    • sbranch says:

      My two girlfriends that are here visiting (Elizabeth and Diana, who are best friends and cousins from California) would love either of those names! Sorry the sale of your house fell through. Maybe something else will happen. And the way it was named, almost a prayer.

    • Dear Pam,

      With a name like yours (Fortune) and the name of your cottage (Even Grace) I’d be inclined to stay put! Perhaps there is someone in the vicinity you can hire to help you maintain your place–a young person who would be happy with a little money and a lot of cookies? Or perhaps, God in His grace, will provide some other way for you to stay!

      • Pam Fortune says:

        Hi Cathy
        I have had to have help this year and I have got a cleaning lady and am awaiting a man who cuts trees coming to give me an estimate but being on a fixed budget with my pension sometimes the sums just don’t add up. However, like Mr Mcawber in David Copperfield I am ever hopeful. As for Fortune I just have three Miss Fortunes or should I say I had three Miss Fortunes as my three girls are all married. The youngest, Penny used to get teased as we used to have pennies as our currency and now it is just pence. All good fun!

  87. Lynn says:

    It appears that here was no problem with Willard this time, however, I never received mine. I even reregistered just to be on the safe side. I always look forward to reading that great letter. I hope at some point I will start receiving again.

    • sbranch says:

      I forwarded your comment to Kellee, she will make sure you get the most recent Willard, and try again putting your name on the list. I also sent your comment (along with the others) to the people who send the letter, to see if there is something we can do to stop this from happening. So sorry Lynn!

  88. Sue, perhaps this lovely story could be included some day in a “Branch-Hall House Book”! Petey, Jack & Girl Kitty could be our virtual tour guides through-out your home, spying on all the little secrets that make your eyes twinkle, and your toes tap their happy dance! (Ours too!) ;>

    “Home is Where Your Story Begins” ~ Annie Danielson

    Have a Jolly Good Twine!
    Cheers, Bunny XO

  89. Mary from NJ says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you for another lovely post! Just a quick note—when my husband and I took our trip to the cape last summer…we happened upon an antiques store on Route 6 in Sandwich. I took a photo of the same “Petey” doll they had it cataloged: Souvenir Doll Cunard Adventurer circa 1950s
    Just had to share….

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, when Joe was 12 he went to England with his mother on an ocean liner — they had games for children. He won, and Petey was his prize!

      • Susan on Bainbridge Island in Wa. state says:

        I Love Sandwich……stayed there for a visit for 10 days a few y ears ago at a working farm B&B….it was fabulous!..toured all over the cape…If I didn’t have family here in Washington state, I would move to the Cape in a heartbeat….Not knowing why ( no family background there) but I felt so completly at home there…….

  90. Lucy says:

    Dear Susan,
    I love this post too – so uplifting as usual! I haven’t seen Willard yet though,
    and wondered if I should re-send my sign up. I checked my spam folder, but Willard isn’t there either.
    Thank you,
    P.S. I’m counting the days until “A Fine Romance,” is delivered!

  91. Susan, I am here to represent Jack in his defense! If you will look in Linda Lear’s book at photo #43, just after page 332, you will find a photo of Ms. Puddle-duck leaping off the rocks. Ms. Lear quotes Ms. Potter, “Jemima Puddle-duck was not much in the habit of flying.” I propose that said Ms. Puddle-duck was known for being rather clumsy and unless you, dear Jury, believe beyond a shadow of doubt that Ms. Puddle-duck was pushed, you must acquit the defendant, Jack. I rest my case.

  92. Deborah Heater (Indiana) says:

    Hello Everyone!!! Susan, thank you so much for your recent WILLARD it was so much fun to read and prepare for the exciting Fall approaching. I have to say you sure have a very busy time ahead of you; but, also very very fun and quite the adventure. I admire you for being able to leave your kitties for 2 months (so happy they have “people”)….we left ours for 3 days and it just about killed us (they did just fine). My wish for you is to pace yourselves, enjoy the journey, the scenery will be just gorgeous that time of year. I’m also hoping at your book signings all the “girlfriends” will respect your time restraints (will be hard because everyone thinks of you as family)…..I’m not sure you will be coming close to me BUT if you do I will make you a promise right now…I will behave, say “Hello I’m Deborah Heater”, have you sign my book, wish you the best…AND I will not pull up a chair and shadow you!!! LOL I also will give Jim strict instructions if he sees me start to “bubble over” to kindly, gently remove me from the book signing line and take me out to lunch!!! Enjoy your entire process and the rewards for writing your book….you deserve it!!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m going to make you guys some special badges. You can wear them to the signings and “Know” each other, and I will “know” YOU! Fun?

      • Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

        What a great idea! Otherwise, we might miss this very special opportunity and always be wondering if we crossed paths.

      • Deborah Heater (Indiana) says:

        Sounds perfect and then all of us can “visit” and keep the frenzy from touching you!?? Maybe we should have a “corral” away from the signing line because I’m sure all the squealing and laughing will become a little distracting!!!

        • sbranch says:

          I promise, the line is the best part of the signing. I always see everyone out there laughing and talking and I want to jump up and get in line!

    • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

      I’m sitting here laughing at your comment. Deborah, like I said–if Susan is coming to the Twin Cities and not in your area, you have a standing invitation to stay with us and the schnauzers and we could go together to the book signing. Of course that means BOTH Jim and Norm would also be along to keep BOTH you and I from the “bubble over” thing… I can just imagine it… We would have a lot of fun! 🙂

  93. KAREN from Charleston SC says:

    Dear Susan,
    Once again, thanks SOOOO much for inspiring me and my sweetheart to go to England and to come back on the Queen Mary 2—especially because my “Love” passed away early last Saturday morning. In the days before he died he kept telling everyone how much he enjoyed our trip to England. So, it was meant to be– our special love for nearly fifty years from the time we met AND our trip to merry ole’ England with one another. I’ll always have you to thank, Susan, for your inspiration to get that inside room on the Queen Mary 2 so we could afford our voyage AND for all your inspirational BLOGs that spurred us on. It was 22 days I’ll always treasure in my heart as long as I live!!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Karen, I am crying. Time marches forward doesn’t it. I can’t tell you how happy I am that you made that happen. Breaks my heart to hear that he’s gone. Fifty years, how lucky you’ve been, and so many fine memories. I’m so very sorry. I wish there was a little symbol for broken heart. xoxo

    • Deborah Heater (Indiana) says:

      Karen, so sorry for your loss and how special your trip must have been since he was still talking about it. Prayers for you during this difficult time and you will find comfort in all your special memories. Blessings

    • Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

      Your comment touched me more than you know. Life is so precious…so full of blessings….so short. Enjoying time with those we love and making memories – like your trip to England…that’s the stuff that’ll fill your heart and give you courage to keep on. I’m so glad you had that time with your loved one!
      You used the word “inspiration” several times….one of my favorite words: “the breath of God”, flowing through Susan Branch to you …and now you are “the breath of God” for all of us; reminding us of what’s important. Thank you for taking the time to share with us, Karen.

    • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      Dear Karen,
      I am so sorry for your loss. Love, prayers and hugs from all of us out here.

  94. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Just had to tell you how excited I was when the mail carrier delivered your 2014 calendar yesterday!!!!! I love it sooooooo much Susan! (First item I ever ordered from you!) Went through page by page and looked at your beautiful artwork and photos…then I sighed since there are five long months until the New Year…hard to do when the heat index is 102 degrees in Dearborn Michigan!(November page brought a tear to my eye…). You are truly a blessing to all of us!!!!! Have a wonderful Tea Party tomorrow….will you decorate in baby blue or pink?

    • sbranch says:

      Pink! All babies are pink! Thank you Carilyn, so happy to hear that you liked the calendar. xoxo

  95. Jane Grayson says:

    Hi Susan

    I hope Kate has the baby over the weekend for your party! Very hot here in England so she must be feeling pretty uncomfortable. I’m afraid I haven’t received my Willard yet (it’s Fri night). Would it be possible to send it next week? Hope you have a wonderful time! Love Jane, Manchester, England.

  96. Susan ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

    Oh my word! As I read about poor Jemima’s broken neck and the fixing thereof, I had a sudden mental video of her accidentally shooting across the room and I simply had to laugh right out loud. Thanks for the chuckle! I really love those new curtains ( and the digression into the character of Miss Havisham); how lightly they must float on the breeze!

  97. Lisa from CT says:

    Hi Susan, I love your new curtains! Love your blog! My kitty of 18 years passed away this week. So glad for his life. Tomorrow I go with my grandchildren to a shelter to hopefully find a new kitty to love.

    P.S. Love all of Joe’s stylist abilities!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Good for you Lisa — I’m so sorry you have lost your baby — I know how it feels, but you are so smart to go get another, it’s a big help to have that laughter in the house.

  98. Susan on Bainbridge Island in Wa. state says:

    So here is my question about Jemima……Is Jack fascinated with the rubber band around her neck???? Hmmmmmmmmmm! silly Jack! hee hee

  99. Pam says:

    Hi Susan, Just wondered if you had sent all the Willards out by now as I don’t seem to have received mine. Sorry, I can’t remember which days you said they would be going out.

    • sbranch says:

      They’ve gone, but it seems like many are not receiving them. I’ve sent your email address to Kellee, she’ll forward your Willard on Monday — I’m trying to figure out why this is happening. Thank you for letting me know Pam!

Comments are closed.