♥ R O Y A L B A B Y ♥
Let’s start with a baby gift to celebrate, because crikey, IT’S A BOY! MUSICA!
Must have something to mark this lovely event happening our own Mother country!
Something for a Royal Baby’s first year, my Baby Love book for new moms and dads to write about their own little royal baby, and two 2014 wall calendars to record his every adorable achievement. If you leave a comment at the bottom of this post, this signed set of goodies could be yours. Even if you aren’t welcoming a baby into your family right now, Baby Love is a jolly good thing for anyone’s “hope” chest.
Getting ready, washing cups . . .
It’s Sunday morning, the party is at 4:30 pm, we have no baby, but I’m happy because finally, the sun is just starting to come out.
I’ve been lining the little shelf over the sink with flowers . . . squeezing them in amongst the Beatrix Potter People.
‘Course Jack is helping me . . . vaguely eyeing Jemima, thinking, “Don’t jump!”
Joe hung up our new Downton Abbey bunting (white), and the flag we brought home from England; I plumped the “God Save the Queen” pillow my girlfriend Elizabeth brought back for me on one of her visits to England . . .
The Twine experts of all time came from California to help ~ that’s Diana on the left, and Elizabeth on the right. They have tea parties for their girlfriends every year, it’s a tradition they make new hats for each event. They are their own kind of royalty and their names (and the sunglasses) prove it. I loved having royalty at our party.
Other people see them as royalty too, here’s Paparazzi Cathy in her posh little ruffled gloves.
Here’s another photo of them and their hats! too cute! Just a tiny idea of how fun and creative a tea party can really be.
Diana and Elizabeth are cousins, their moms were sisters. They’ve known each other all their lives. You can see by the flags in the window that they love England too, and have also done the pilgrimage to Beatrix Potter’s house! I met Elizabeth when she bought my first house from me in 1989. The two of them left yesterday, but I had them here all week!
Making the perfect cucumber sandwiches was a snap for these two . . . along with egg salad sandwiches and smoked salmon with cream cheese on pumpernickel.
I baked an Orange Lavender Polenta cake . . . I’ll show you how to make it in the next post.
. . . I made cold slaw, carrot salad, stuffed eggs, watermelon balls with yogurt and brown sugar. We bought butter cookies from the Scottish Bakehouse, and Chilmark Chocolates too. Sixty guests, friends, neighbors, family, kids, and house guests.
Joe set up a bar, made a giant pitcher of Pimm’s Cup, with orange, lime and lemon slices and cucumber sticks . . .
Proof that it takes a village . . . More bunting drapes the arbor, there’s the cousins surveying the area . . .
It’s all just busy-work, because all we can think about is when is that baby going to be born! Someone runs to the TV every 15 minutes just to make sure nothing is still happening. And it always is.
We brought the Union Jack bunting home from England . . . I’ve been saving it for just this very day.
Of course we needed a talented person to play A Fine Romance and It’s a Long Way to Tipperary during the party … John Alaimo brought his piano.
Getting it all together, teaspoons, sugar bowls, teapots and tea cozies . . .
We had little cloth covers for the creamers that keep any critters out of the cream!
I love the little details of tea . . .
Diana brought a cake topper she made for the Orange Lavender Polenta Cake ~ it looked darling. You could get one too, and see some of the other wonderful things in Diana’s Etsy store. While you’re at it, if you’d like to see what goes on in Elizabeth’s designing life, you can go to her website at Renovation-Design.com.
I forgot to take pictures of the food and tea table! This is the closest I got to the table with the camera. (Fear not, I got a lot closer without the camera!) The book about Diana (on the table) was a gift from our friend Linda . . . I’m sure Diana felt at home with all the other royalty ~ we loved having her here.♥ Just a little bittersweet without her. How she would have loved this moment.
We know this baby is coming, it’s the talk of the town, but when, when, when?
The Lady Olympia is going from person to person to ask “Will it be a boy or a girl?” What do you think the name will be?” Turns out the consensus is, it’s a GIRL, and her name will be Elizabeth! A few got a bit closer, saying it would be a boy, and they thought perhaps “Charles” or “William”. I like James for a boy because isn’t Jimmy just the cutest for a little Prince? King James would be nice for a king too. We’ll know pretty soon.
Lady Olympia takes a time out for hugs with her dapper white-linen and boater-clad Dad, the Duke of Earl, and her big sister, Crown Princess Astoria.
The Duke’s braces were brilliant!
Princess Marjorie, Grand Duchess Robin, Lady Diana, Countess Jill, and Queen Elizabeth. ♥
Queen Elizabeth tells a funny story!
Princess Irenie lives in London and came to visit Princess Samantha who just graduated from St. Andrews in Scotland. I’ve known Princess Samantha since she was a little baby. When she was two and in her mother’s arms, she leaned toward me touching my earlobes, and said in pure baby talk, “I lob youa eahwings.” Cutest little thing in the world!
Because they are five hours ahead of us here on the East Coast, by this time it was dark in England and looked like this, and the brightest light was London. I think Princess Catherine was probably feeling a little bit queasy by now, probably walking around the living room, or cleaning out the kitchen cupboards. But we didn’t know that for sure. We thought she might need some help to get this baby going.
So just before the party was over, as twilight set in, we made a big circle and held hands. We said a prayer for Catherine, for William, and for the baby. We prayed that the birth would be easy for everyone, the baby would be healthy and most of all, that it would come soon. Then we raised our eyes to heaven, lifted our hands into the air, and all together, we dropped our hands and said, Pushhhhhhh, and again, still holding hands, arms up and then down (like we were the white flag at a Nascar race), Pusssshhhhhh, and one more time: up, down, pushhhhhh. Like a mantra and a prayer. And guess what? Must have been moments later, the royal couple checked into the hospital! Well, I guess SO! And THAT is how we got the baby born.
Oh, just now as I’m writing, the new parents with the new Prince just came out the hospital doors. So exciting! It seems to have gone swimmingly and all our prayers were answered. Everyone looked beautiful, I saw tiny fingers in their first royal wave. Now, for the name . . . what do you think???? Be sure to leave a comment, and soon Vanna will choose the name of the lucky winner of the Royal Baby Gift! Did you hear that the royal mint will be giving a lucky 2013 silver coin to every British baby sharing a birthday with the new royal baby? The coin comes in either a pink or a blue pouch as a gift to new mommies and daddies. Just one of the cute things they do over there.♥
Wow!!! my book is here Susan!!! I can’t wait to sit down with a cup of tea and read it!! So, far it looks incredibly wonderful just looking through the book!!!! Thank you!!!!
Happy to know it’s in Connecticut!
AHHHH!!! I just saw that you signed it!!!! Thank you so much!!!!!
You’re welcome Lisa!
Oh my gosh!!!! I just got the email yesterday that my AFR had been sent out and here it is in my hands today!!!! The tea water is on, it’s a rainy day, DH (dear husband) is out of town…..I have a perfect evening in store!!!!! Wish I had time to read other comments before I wrote this one but know everyone is as excited as I. I haven’t got it out of the envelope yet, just had to say yea! and thanks!!!
You are so welcome Carol!
Dear Susan, How exciting as I just got home from work and there my book was waiting for me. I’m sitting down to savour each page in a very slow and deliberate manor so not to miss a thing. Thank you Susan for such a beautiful book and memory of your trip.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
I received your book today in the mail. It is so much more than I thought it would be, so much to see and read. You did a great job Susan!
Thank you Jen, I feel that pat on the head and I like it!!
Oh happy day! My very own copy of A Fine Romance arrived today! And I haven’t put it down. What a wonderful, beautiful book you have written. Thanks Susan. And the baby tea was spectacular too! Thanks for sharing all those great ideas and photos. We are expecting the arrival of our first great grand baby in October! Such an exciting time! Again thanks for the wonderful book. I love, love, love it!
October! A wonderful gift just before the holidays! Plenty to be thankful for this year!
Susan I have our book!!!!!~~~Hip hip hooray!!! Just got it this afternoon! Received notive early in the week that it was on its way, and here it is!!! Oh! the smell of a new book! Quickly glanced through it, showed it to my husband, then had to leave for the afternoon, we went to see Red 2. But I quickly sent you an e-mail, don’t know if you read them but in the subject I put :got my book!” I did that cause there wasn’t a new blog yet. There was your new e-mail from you when I got home, but when I clicked your name at the bottom it came up with the baby party blog. So here I am again just to tell you how absolutely wonderful the book is! Seeing the pictures again, your art work, and all the memories coming back! And all the new pictures and surprises you have put in there! Oh my! I didn’t remember you mentioning the pear cider, maybe you didn’t, but I wrote it down to look for it, sounds devine! Oh dear, I am rambling so aren’t I? Love love love the book! When I saw the new e-mail I saw the lamb and started searching madly for my bookmark! Yea! Found it in my Uncle Wiggily in the Country book I found at the flea mkt a couple of weeks ago. It is so sweet that you put the red ribbon in the book though!
Thanks Susan, 🙂
Yay Jeannie! How wonderful that is to read! xoxo Thank you! I do like the thought of the lamb in the Uncle Wiggily Book!
We just spent three weeks visiting our 4 year old great granddaughter & we had several tea parties. Wonderful fun!
Good Morning Susan,
What a grand surprise yesterday when my husband came home with your book! I was on my way out to lunch and hated to leave as I wanted to explore your fabulous book right away. Such a special book deserved a cup of tea and a quiet place to savor every little detail of AFR. I waited until bedtime and then fell into all your adventures – wonderful, wonderful!! Your watercolor illustrations are such works of art and I envy your ability to create such endearing details throughout your book. You are in inspiration to everyone!! Thank you so much for such a beautiful book!! Congratulations!!!
P.S. Did you like the rose chintz expresso cups? 🙂
See you in N.H. in a few weeks.
Michele In Vermont
Adored them. ♥ ♥ ♥ Thank you so much Michele — will see you in New Hampshire!!
You’re welcome! Enjoy the day before the rain arrives!!
Received my book yesterday!! I couldn’t believe it was in my hands, and it is signed!!! I read 50 pages last night and more today on my break. It is wonderful, I almost felt seasick myself on the ship! The gardens are delightful and your descriptions bring everything to life in my mind. I can hear the coos of the pigeons and the ringing of the bells – incredible book. I absolutely LOVE it! Thank you dear Susan for sharing your wonderful trip with us through your book. Love it!
Just what I hoped Ruth, you make me so happy to learn that what I hoped is coming true!
Good morning to you Susan and all the Girlfriends ~~~
I got our book in the mail yesterday!!! I was soooo happy. I looked on page 9 like we were told to and saw the acknowlegement to us.
PLUS, it’s AUGUST!! The month we move!!! Of course, I have to wait for the closing which will be on the 23rd. Packing is coming right along and our house is to be appraised today.
The month you move — wonderful Carol!
I received our local bookstore newsletter this morning and saw that you are coming to my little town and our wonderful bookstore! I am so excited! But wait, it gets better…when I came home I found your book in my mailbox! What a great day!
I’ve printed out my Fine Romance Girlfriend name tag and I’m counting the days till you come to Hudson, Ohio.
You’ve outdone yourself with this book, beautiful!
See you soon,
Hudson! See you soon Bonnie!
Your book has arrived in the Show Me State of Missouri! And it is delightful. I grabbed a glass of iced something and started reading. Hopefully my husband won’t mind a little wait for dinner as I cannot put the book down!
thanks…..it is beautiful!
Love hearing from you Senda in Missouri!
Oh happy day!!! I received my book in the mail today. Thank you so much, Susan! I can’t wait to dig into it! So excited, thank you soooo much!
My pleasure, truly, Sonya!
Received two books today and boy, are they heavy . . . with art and with love. Great job, Susan. Thanks for the bon voyage.
So welcome Nora! Thank you!
I just received your book “A Fine Romance ” and I have not been able to
put it down. It is such a beautiful book and I am so excited to have received it. I have to hide it when I have another task to tend to because my husband
runs off with it and its almost impossible to get it back until he goes off to bed. We both love it and the photos are so wonderful and being handwritten
by you makes it the most special book. I too love Beatrix Potter and have her figurines and books. What a delight for you to actually visit her home and gardens. Thank you so much for this treasured book.
Thank you so much for telling me, and please say hello to your thieving but darling husband! 🙂
I just got my book in the mail today. So excited! I live in San Jose CA so me, my daughter and my girlfriend are going to drive to San Luis Obispo to get it signed (again)! Can’t wait to dive into – A Fine Romance, so gotta go!
She replied to everyone but me. So sad. Oh well. By the way, the book is so GREAT! I read about the crossing so far. Love it! So wonderful. Told my husband about it and that we need to go on that ship! He agreed.
Did I reply to everyone but you Christine? I’m so sorry, probably my finger slipped! Which it does sometimes, whisking away a comment I mean to reply to! Thank you so much for your sweet comment! Love that your husband is in agreement!
Yay! Thank you!
The book of the CENTURY arrived this morning. Oh my gosh!!!! I knew it was going to be spectacular, but I had no idea that it would be unbelievably, beautifully handwritten. It is like no other book I have ever seen in my life!!! You have outdone yourself again, girl. I will be 76 next week. It will be the best birthday gift I have ever gotten myself. It has already found its way to the coffee table and is perched atop all our coffee table books. It will remain there for all to see and appreciate for months and months (except for this weekend when I will make time to read it from cover to cover). Jim (my husband of 53 years) was equally impressed when I took it out of the package this morning. He loves you, too. He sees you all over the house every day (e.g., framed art in the dining room, every one of your cookbooks, the birdhouse in the back yard, etc.). You are just the best. Love you!
Thank you Connie! And please say hello to Jim for me!
P.S. Just so you know, the book made its way south to San Diego….we’re just a few hours away from where the books were stored for mailing.
P.P.S. Jim buys me two of your calendars every Christmas. The little one hangs on the ‘fridge and is filled with all our comings and goings. The larger one hangs on a wall in the kitchen and no one is allowed to write in it for fear of terrible retribution. I save these forever.
“Terrible retribution” 🙂 If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.
I am so very excited…My husband tells me my book arrived yesterday. Right now I am in upstate New York taking care of my 94 year old Dad. I have been gone from home now for 5 weeks and will be here for another two. I don’t know who or what I want to see more, my husband or A Fine Romance….It’s a toss up!
I can not wait to get back to California.
LOL! Best to you and your dad, Christa!
I am soooo excited! I have been crazy-busy today packing to leave tomorrow for a two week vacation at our family cottage on Lake Ontario in NY…and your book just now arrived in the mail! It’s going right into the top of my suitcase. I am going to take the entire two week vacation to read and savor it, over lots of morning cups of tea and evening glasses of wine. Or maybe some fine English beer. Thank you for the icing on my vacation. What perfect timing!
Perfect timing Kathy — have a wonderful time!
O my gosh!!!!!!!!!!!! Just got one of the best gifts of my LIFETIME )))!!! OUR book is in my HOT little hands…YIPPEE:-))) I just can’t read fast enough….it’s beyond DAARLING,SWEET, ADORABLE….thank God for YOOU Susan…what a special friend….now must go back to what we ALL have been waiting for….A FINE ROMANCE:-)))
You are so welcome Toni!! 🙂
My sister and I received our books the day we got the notification–instant gratification!! I was totally hooked beginning at the inside cover. Loved the letter from Windsor Palace and all the memorabilia. I’m reading mine very slowly; she is halfway through her book. I e-mailed her that we could use your book as a kind of pattern for our souvenir book from our next trip to Estes Park, CO in the fall. She answered “Somehow I don’t think a book we put together would resemble Susan Branch’s! She must not sleep much, or watch TV – plus she has talent and motivation.” Thank you so much for our treasured books.
I think you’d be surprised at what your book would look like, especially with the both of you working on it! No matter what, it would be a treasure of a wonderful time between sisters, who could ask for anything more!
Happy Friendship Day, Susan! I saw it on your calendar and had to send a greeting to you! And to everyone who posts on your blog I want to say a Happy Friendship Day to you, too!
Happy Friendship day!
I received my 2 books on friday! one is a gift and one for me. I love your book!! I am traveling with you as I have never traveled before. I cant tell you the happiness it is bringing to me and now I too want to take the queen mary 2.looked at the website and maybe for our retirement in 4 years. my great grandparents are from England and Scotland so I would be doing the opposite of their journey here. truly I cant tell you how wonderful I feel after reading the 1/4 of the book today. I dont want it to end so please take another journey that we can join you on later. how about the south of france??
We were thinking a little boat ride down one of the rivers in Burgundy! 🙂 Thank you Cheryl!
Oh, Susan, got my notice of shipment on Friday, book arrived Saturday morning and I started reading and viewing it that evening. Finished up Sunday evening and there are not enough words to tell you. I went to England in July of 2012 and it was like I was going again with you and Joe. My daughter went also and so I purchased this book for her travels too . I cannot begin to tell you of the enjoyment this is ~~~ the photos, the notes, your details of everything. I could go on and on !!! Thank Heaven for “little” girls like you.
ALL of my favorite things are here in this book. THANK YOU, BLESS YOU !
SO nice to hear Joyce! xoxo
What an adorable tea party, fit for a new prince!
As a child, I remember my mother saying that she watched the entire royal wedding for Princess Diana and Prince Charles, as she nursed me…I realized that with the NY to London time difference, it would have been in the wee hours of the morning for that to occur.
I’m expecting my first little prince/princess this January, so I will fully experience all the trials and tribulations that I put my parents through!
Yes, it’s your turn now Radha. Best of everything to you and your family!
Enjoy your blog very much! I’d be very happy if I won your royal baby gift!
I am overjoyed, jumping around like a crazy person, because I love my book, A Fine Romance. I treasure my all Susan Branch books just like all my Gladys Tabor books, but NOW this new one might just be the best ever. Thanks so much Susan, you are so talented and hardworking to bring your dream to us~~~ I can’t wait to go back to England with this book tucked under my arm. Thank you!!
Thank you Paula! Take a fine romance to the scene of the crime, it will love that!
O my gosh!!!!!!!! Just saw you ADORABLE van:-))) I jusst keep saying “o my gosh!” You are going to be MOBBED everyplace you go. Don’t expect a quiet, peaceful little stroll across the country. I sure hope you will be filming some of the times you roll into a new city…my mind is already picturing the scene…haha…have FUN:-))))))
I have always been, as an author, just below the radar. I’ve always gotten to be a regular person and no mobbing has ever occurred. I think we will sail across the country, and unless we pull into one of your driveways, perhaps we will just be an odd curiosity! It’s cute isn’t it? Yes, I’ll make some videos and put them on the blog!
Oh my goodness, I saved Beatrice Potter for this evening, my sweet husband is away from home and as soon as my work was done I curled up and was in absolute heaven I tell you. I am a painter too and miss Potter my inspiration also. Well now I must go and see her cottage although I feel through your detailed and charming description I have seen Hill Top Farm. Thank you so much Susan!
For the pitter patter of your heart, that extra excitement, someday you will love a visit to Hill Top.
Hi Susan – just wanted to let you know that I absolutely love “A Fine Romance”! Love your story about you and Joe! Thank you so much for keeping a diary and sharing with us!
xoxo thank you Idelsy!
Dear Susan, and all the blog girlfriends, 🙂
How fun, to be a part of this big virtual book club! It has been delightful reading all the comments from everyone and I agree with you ALL! I haven’t finished AFR yet, because I am savoring it, like a fine meal….
I had to tell you, this summer I enjoyed a month long visit from one of my girlfriends, who was a college roommate. I had ordered FOUR copies of AFR, with her and two other girlfriends in mind. We were finishing off our time together by taking a 3 night jaunt to Laguna Beach, Anaheim, and San Diego last week. The day we were leaving for Laguna, we waited for the mailman, since I had received the email that the books were on their way… And our wait was REWARDED! Hooray! The books came and we left…. Whoosh!!!
Well, we had a wonderful time at the Pageant of the Masters, and Disneyland, and a class reunion, but equally fun was reading back in our hotel room. We were able to share and laugh!( that expression, ROFL, rolling on the floor laughing, was almost literal) what a kick, reading about how you and Joe met and fell in love!
My friend has headed home now. She had to get ready for school to begin, as do I, but you added so much to our time together.
Thanks so very much for sharing your creative talents with all of us.
P.S. I too, have two of your calendars up each year, and when I made the cards for my other two girlfriends before I sent their books off in the mail, I used some of your stickers that I found at a local scrapbooking store! Darling!
That makes me so happy, like I was there too. What a good time! Thanks so much Marsha! Say Hi to the girls for me!
I will indeed!
Just got my Fine Romance Book in the mail … Such fun reading. I am really vicariously enjoying your adventures and the boat hasn’t even docked at England yet! So much more yet to read…
Enjoy your book signing tour Susan and Joe. Thank you for writing all the books you have written, as I enjoy them so. Especially your art work touches and beautiful penmanship!
Thanks Randi, glad you’re enjoying it!
Oh, Susan! I am so very, very excited! I was notified that my A Fine Romance book had been shipped, but my husband and I were leaving soon for a much needed get-away after a long season of grief and memorial services (three deaths of dear ones within six days), of hosting several (one of them very large) events, and having house guests for weeks. I hoped against hope that the book might arrive before we left, and guess what? The day we left, we stopped by our mailbox and there it was! I have it with me on our get-away and how I am enjoying it.
You did an amazing job; you are not only an artist with pencil, paint and brush, but with words and pictures. THANK YOU for all of the time, thought, and energy you put into it. I like, like, like it, and as you said of your Elizabeth book: I don’t want it to end! 🙂 I am savoring it and and will continue to do so.
Hugs and blessings,
I’m so sorry for your recent sadnesses — you are brilliant to be taking a getaway now, probably the best possible thing to do, refresh your spirits, and I’m happy that “I” get to come along. Thanks for taking the time to write!
P.S. The red ribbon is a delightful added touch!
I received my book shortly after getting the notice that is was being shipped – great work! I am reading it in short stints so that way it seems to last longer…a little crazy but it works for me! It is so wonderful and charming and I cannot wait until my trip to London in March of next year. Although I won’t be traveling via the QEII (I wish!), your book just makes the prospect of the trip even more tantalizing!
I know I have written to you before about how much you and I look alike – its amazing!* And its kind of nice to have someone else in the world that looks like you. But then I read about the “Chanel No. 5” (I wear it, too, along with “Coco Mademoiselle”) and then the book list….its getting uncanny. If there is a way for me to send a photo to you without sending it to the entire Susan Branch world, let me know. I think you too will be amazed. And my husband has a beard, too!
*My mother, who lived in Marstons Mills for the last 25 years of her life (lucky her!), used to buy your books for me and have you sign them “Susan to Susan” and I’m sure she told you that we looked alike. She was just thrilled to meet you and always told me how “lovely” you are – high praise from Mary!
Where do you live Susan? Will I meet you at a book signing? I think I remember your mom doing that!
Hello Susan! Thank you for planning a stop in Michigan in September!!!! Oh my, just to say “Hello Susan ” in person will be a treasure……like meeting an old -fashioned Pen-Pal!!!!! (I am a “dinosaur” and have always thought of your blog like having a Pen Pal back in the 1970’s! I wrote to one in Australia, her name was Susan, and one in Germany. I never met them and unfortunately never continued correspondance past high school.) Can’t wait 🙂 Reading your book in little bits every day, it makes me smile and takes me far away to England…..no summer vacation this year……except with my hot cup of tea and A Fine Romance in my hand
Great Carilyn! See you then!!