Crazy with Joy . . .

What kind of a crazy person would EVER update her blog if she knew that the previous post would work itself down and become part of internet never-never land?  I really don’t know.  But she would probably like MUSICA when she did it . . .

 As you may have been able to tell, I’ve had a hard time forcing myself to post something new.  I never want to let go of that pool of light called “comments” from that last post!   Before last week I never knew for sure what you might think of A FINE ROMANCE.  Of course I did my best, but self-criticism is one of my middle names (I have other nicer middle names, like cake-baker and cat-feeder).  I’ve been on cloud nine ever since the very first one of you got our book.  Thank you Girlfriends, for your thoughts, lovely words and sentiments.  You, who bought the book even when I was still writing it, sight unseen, because you had faith in me.  I don’t know what to say, I’m so touched.

And today I found out we already have NINE reviews for our book on Amazon, and I KNOW that has to be you girls, because no one has the book so far, but you!  I’m so happy you like it, hap-hap-happy!  It’s like giving your niece a sweater at Christmas and finding out SHE LIKES IT.  You know how good that feels?  Well, times that by a million, and you almost know how happy I am.  Doing this book with you has been a pure treat!  Better than I ever imagined.  So much more fun for me.  I wasn’t alone.  Everything felt good.  Thank you Thank you!  Pretty soon we hit the road, driving across country state to state, where I hope to meet as many of you as possible.  We leave the island at the end of August.  And the clock is ticking!

Our book seems to have started without us . . . this is a photo from Kathy, one of our girlfriends, who took her book up to the gorgeous Mt. Washington Hotel ~ a place I went one time and found some of my dreams. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see the book out on vacation!  She told me she read it while sitting in a rocking chair on that gorgeous porch with the fragrance of the New Hampshire mountains all around!  Lucky book and lucky Kathy!

So here it is, in case you haven’t seen it, here’s our Fine Romance van, all decorated for the trip.  We put a photo of the English Countryside on it!  I think it’s cute, but Joe is still in eye-roll mode.  It’s good we are balanced. 

Please keep your eye on “EVENTS” (in the right-hand column of this blog) to see where it will be stopping and come see us!  Be sure to print out your Girlfriend Name Tags . . . we also have them for the boys now ♥.  They’re on the Events page too.  And we’re still adding bookstores; we have a long way to go, so keep the faith that we will be somewhere relatively (compared to here anyway) near you. ♥  Our first booksigning is on Martha’s Vineyard, next week, the 15th of August at the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore ~ where I had my first book signing ever, all those years ago . . . 

So what else?  Well, I designed the covers for our 2015 Calendars so they could be ready for insert into the manufacturer’s catalog while we’re away.  Yes, 2015!  I thought you might like a preview of the wall calendar ( up there )  Pink!  (And yes, I designed a new Blotter for 2015 too!)  This is why I never know what year it is!  I hope you all got your 2014 calendars, cuz it’s 2013 and time to do that!

Besides that, I’ve been getting things ready for us to go. Cleaning the house, getting it ready for winter actually, because that’s what it will be when we get back home, and we will want it cozy.  We even ordered firewood!  I’m spending extra time hugging the kitties and shooting the rubber band for Jack.  I also updated the I LOVE ENGLAND part of the blog and added our visit to the wonderful house in Chawton where Jane Austen lived and wrote.  I wanted to make sure she got some of the prime real estate of love.   And look what else I found . . .

Joe’s Hat!  They just came in . . . the perfect stocking stuffer!  Isn’t my model adorable?  We got them in a couple of colors . . . I wear berets too, they are cozy and warm and do the job for our winters, but I have to admit, they look cutest on Joe!

And something else new arrived the other day (I do believe in continuous small treats!) ~ something I think you will love too . . .

 Here’s the mock up I made of it with glue and paper . . .

And now, the real thing!  In my time I have very rarely had something manufactured!  Being as small as we are, all the paperwork and time involved makes it prohibitive, plus they have “minimums” which means you have to order a gazillion of anything, and like I said, we are small.  But I started thinking about my favorite tea, and thinking, I need a cute tea tin, and thinking, I’m going to get one made!   And here it is, the very first one, hot off the press.

Here’s the top.

and here’s the side . . .

. . . and here it is on top of my stove.   Then I thought, even though this Tea Tin would work great for cookies, crackers, coffee, marshmallows or just about anything, we probably need some actual TEA for it.  And because I’m partial to my Lavender and Roses Dessert Tea . . .

. . . because, for one thing, it looks like it comes right out of the garden!  So Joe looked around and he found a tea company that would allow me develop my own blend and soon, very soon, bags of this delicious loose tea I took with me to England and described in our book, will be coming into the studio.  I drink my Lavender and Roses “Fine Romance” Earl Grey tea in one of my favorite cups almost every day at 4 pm.  It is the perfect afternoon tea, because with a little honey and some half and half, it’s just like dessert.

“The heart-opening, wink-tippling” tea tradition I love. 

And this is another one . . . my “every-day” tea which we will also be carrying in the web store.  This is the tea I drink every morning.  I like my every-day tea be organic, which is more expensive, but I get it anyway, because as much as I drink of this tea, I think it’s better for my health.  It’s a delicious Earl Grey, with organically grown cornflowers.

We’ll have two kinds of tea in six ounce bags, tucked into the tin ~ OR, if someone just wants one or the other, the teas and the tin will be sold separately.  I’m not really planning to go into the tea business, just these two kinds because they’re my favorites, and for a true lover of tea, I think they would make the perfect gift, either for a friend or for YOU.  (I may not be in the tea business, but I’m definitely in the gift business! 🙂 )

The tins and the tea should be in by the end of September … or is it August?  I forget, we’ll let you know for sure.  My sample Tin is all packed up and ready for the trip! I know I got carried away taking pictures!  It’s actually worse if you’re here, because I take that tin to every room I’m in!  Not used to it yet!  It looks good with the book. 🙂

But to change the subject for a moment, and get us out of the house . . . let’s go up island to the famous old Aquinnah Shop where Joe and I went the other night to watch the sun set . . . past the wonderful rock walls that line the roads . . .

And the beautiful farms overlooking the sea.  It’s been gorgeous these first weeks of August, cool and clear, good sleeping weather, really almost like fall . . .

We left home without a plan, just meandering, and stopped at the Chilmark Church near Beetlebung Corner when we saw the sign out front for their church-made lobster rolls.  We ate them in the car while we drove along.

Lots of people don’t realize how much of the island is just open space . . .

This is the view from our parking space in Aquinnah!

And here’s the view from Joe’s car window…

See where we are?  All the way to the very left side of this map.

We needed to grab hold of as much summer as possible, and this certainly was the night to get some!

A gorgeous sunset.

And now, Girlfriends, we’re almost all caught up … just one more little thing to show you . . .

I told you I’d joined the Beatrix Potter Society, right?  I got an envelope from England the other day . . . You can scroll down in POTTERING ABOUT, and you’ll see they wrote about our book.

We’re now proud card-carrying members and expecting our first Journal and Newsletter in October.  Just one more something to look forward to when we get home.

OK, must go Girlfriends, errands to do today!  Hope you have a terrific day.  I’ve loved every moment of our book writing adventure.  Thank you so much for everything.  Speaking of making dreams come true . . .   XOXO

Ooops, P.S! Rachel, OUR Rachel, sometimes known as Ray, sent this photo of our book actually IN England!!  She also Tweeted this to me today, “Anyone who has lost faith in humanity should RUN to your blog & read the comments.  Amazing women!  Brilliant stuff…xo”

I tweeted back: xo I have known this forever, because of letters I’ve gotten and always had faith because of it. This is the REAL world.

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879 Responses to Crazy with Joy . . .

  1. Sheila says:

    I received “A Fine Romance” last week and inhaled it over two days. Had so much fun on the crossing to England and the wanderings in England. Enjoyed visiting all the tea rooms and famous houses and gardens. And meeting your friends was so much fun. They are so hospitable to put up with all of us. But it was such a fast trip so I will have to do it over at a more leisurely pace so I can savor each and every bite. Thank you, thank you for a beautifully crafted journey to one of my ancestral home countries (after all, King John II is something like my 24th great-grandfather!) And for having the kindness of sharing it with us!

  2. Nettie says:

    Love that tea tin too…will have to order some tea for sure

  3. Susan the book is beautiful. Since I ordered mine back in February I was fortunate enough to be one of the first to receive it and I’ve savored every word and picture, not wanting it to end. As I mentioned last year I started 32 radiation treatments just as you started your voyage and your entries on the blog so helped me during those weeks. You gave me so much to look forward to daily. I felt as if I was on that trip with you and it was just what I needed at that time of my life. Thank you so much. I’ve always treasured my books and magazines, but you blogging about your trip in such detail was the great escape I needed. Thank God I am we’ll and my hair has come back curly which I love – so low maintenance. The end product of all your hard work is truly amazing and I can’t wait to finally give you a huge hug when you come to Illinois. Dearest Susan ( and Joe who is your great support ) job well done! P.S. I showed your van to my husband and he was hugely impressed as was I.

    • sbranch says:

      You got through it Deb, and rewarded with curly hair. Proud of you Girlfriend! xoxo Thank you so much for your lovely comment.

  4. Pat Johnson of Paso Robles says:

    I am having sooo much fun reading our book (well, you did all the work though!!) and I am taking my time doing so. I sometimes read just one day or other times it may be a couple of days. It is such a pleasure taking this trip once again. And, you know that Susan Branch – she is MARVELOUS, DIVINE, TALENTED, CREATIVE, FILLED WITH LOVE FOR EVERYONE & EVERYTHING! I love love love the tin and will keep my eye out for it. Oh, I forgot – I had a Vera Bradley small zippered holder, that I carry my Nook HD in and discovered that A Fine Romance fits in it perfectly. I am reading in style. Thanks for the pics of the island – beautiful – as usual. Have a wonderful trip and I guess soon you will be off to “shine” for the public! Keep up the wonderful work and give that Joe a hug for me! XXXXOOOO Pat

  5. Lynne K says:

    I LOVE this book sooooo much that I am trying to read it as slowly as I can…LOL! Right from the beginning, when you tell YOUR sweet love story with your husband, I fell in love with your book! My husband and I just returned from a wonderful trip to Bar Harbor where we spent one morning watching small orange boats ferry passengers from a cruise ship to shore. Since then we have been fascinated with the idea of a cruise…then along comes A Fine Romance! Thank you for inviting us to join you on your lovely adventure through the English countryside….hmmmm, a cruise to England may be in our future!

  6. I’ve only peeked at our book. I think it might be my favorite ever. Even more than Gone With The Wind, and I can almost recite that book by heart. I don’t want it to end, so I can’t even start to read! I know that I will read it all at once, and I don’t want to, so can’t read at all… HELP! I think I need a intervention!

    I’m just so happy for you and for all of us girlfriends!

  7. Rita from MN says:

    I got a little sidetracked by the 2015 calendar cover. Soo, blotter? Would that be the large desk calendar that I am still in mourning for because there isn’t one for 2014? If so I will be so happy and mourn no more knowing I will have one again in 2015. Plus I will just open the delightful “A Fine Romance” and be happy. Happy Weekend, Susan and Joe!

  8. Susan!
    First, I am so glad that I crawled out from under whatever rock I have been living under and found your blog! lol… But in my defense I have only been online since March 2013. Of course I have since signed up to follow! Anyway, I have ordered my book and cannot wait until it gets here! (Here being North Georgia) I am a farmers wife with a love for tea and the English countryside. I dream of going to England one day. And so far as the tin goes, I will definitely be ordering or preordering as soon as allowed! Along with both teas as they sound divine! I love the traveling van – I so hope yall get to come to Georgia or even Tennessee! I shall be watching! And it is very nice to meet you!
    xo jan@sewandsowfarm

    • sbranch says:

      LOL. So funny. Rock. Welcome to our corner of the amazing Internet where kindred spirits meet! Nice to see you Jan!

  9. Brenda says:

    Love, love, love your van!

  10. Jacquelyn -Bainbridge Island, WA says:

    Have been waiting to comment…my book arrived at our winter digs in Las Vegas and my son overnighted it to me on Bainbridge Island. ” A Fine Romance” brings tears! The volume of work you put in on this project is above and beyond, Sue. Your artwork is gorgeous, as always, but the story guides us from one destination to the next seamlessly. Memories of being stowed in the suitcases bring smiles. Seeing so many wonderous sights stir more memories. Thank you Sue and Joe for such fun. Will be watching for your book tour events. Have great fun and enjoy!

  11. Jo Hannan says:

    Was taken with the romance of your life and shed a few tears of joy for your luck in finding Joe.
    Now, I am weeping as you arrive, literarily, on the shore of one of my favorite islands because you are going to places much loved by me and my husband. You are making me so-o-o homesick.
    A dear friend gave me this delightful book and I am savoring it, one day at a time. I imagine she is probably doing the same.
    Thanks for all of the charming things that you do to add to the livability of our world.

  12. Oh Susan I forgot to mention my ritual when reading the book. Not only did I brew a pot of Constant Comment or English Breakfast, but I spritzed on my prized Laura Ashley perfume to add to the ambience. When it was announced that Laura Ashley was discontinuing her perfume way back in the 90’s I bought up what I could get my hands on in soap, drawer liners and perfume which came in gorgeous floral boxes. I’ve kept them wrapped, stored in a cool dark place and am on my last bottle and I’m very stingy about using it but A Fine Romance deserved to be read with the fragrance of Laura Ashley.

  13. Annita says:

    Wonderful, beautiful book that is so “artfully” done in the paintings, photos and the placement on each page is perfection. For an author to be able to connect with your readers as you do, Susan must extremely rewarding. I’m slowly reading and examining each page; and the song plays through my head all day and for every ache or pain, the new household phrase is, “My Toe Huts Bet-Tee! Love it!

  14. My husband and I are savoring A Fine Romance. I read as he drives. We have a similar story. What a treasure. I have to show the photos as I read like we are in kindergarten. Enjoying every minute. So happy to know I’m not the only one who walks around with treasures. Can’t wait to get my paws on a tin and tea.
    SWOON. Love the van. Will you share the inside?

    xxxxooo little e

  15. Danella on the Canadian West Coast says:

    Dear Susan, dear, dear Susan…I just can’t wait for your book to arrive. Reading all these wonderful comments is making me especially impatient. I know it will be worth the wait. Love reading all the comments from fellow girlfriends. Thank you once again for all your hard work. I can tell you are as lovely as the wonderful art you share with us all.

  16. Jane S. in PA says:

    I posted a few days ago about my joy over your charming, much-loved book, so no need for you to reply. Just wanted to say I’m glad you’ll be doing the blotter calendar again & that I’m looking forward to the teas & pretty tin. I’ve been checking the shop for the teas, so thanks for the update. The tin is a nice surprise. You spoil us! Have a safe, happy trip. xxoo

  17. Rosinda says:

    Hello Susan,
    Yesterday, I learned that “A Fine Romance” is on its way to me! Yippee!
    How “proper” your book looks against the backdrop of the English countryside! Yay, Rachel, for snapping such a great shot.
    And I adore the new tea tin you designed. It’s perfect! xoxo Rosinda

  18. Bebe says:

    Dear Susan:
    I received my book last week– and all you all out there : This is just the best book I think I’ve ever owned! If you have a heart full of love for art and and an artists heart yourself, you really need/will love/go and buy this book! NOW! It is a visual treat that you can keep going back to–Remember when you were little and you had a book that you loved to read and reread? For me it was “Heidi”. I re-read it recently– the same copy I kept as a child– can’t tell you the exact math, but the book is at least 30 years old, and probably 40 years from when I first read it. I still love it. THAT’S how you’ll feel about this book. You’ll read it and re-read it again, and get as much pleasure from it as you did the first time!! Susan is truly a modern-day gift to all of us here in the world right now. And I believe she will be the same to future generations, and for all time.
    I love the photos of people showing where their books are- England-etc. And since Susan can’t come to all of us– How about someone starting a flickr page or something like that showing photos of where in the world her book is- in all of our locations?–
    Hugs and kisses to you all, Safe and Happy Travels too! Sincerely, BB

    • sbranch says:

      I read every single comment, because they are so wonderful, and have to use all my strength not to reply to them all, but it’s very hard when you read such wonderful things. I just want you ALL to know, I love them, and I love you! And, while I’m here, thank you Bebe.♥

  19. natasha says:

    hello dear miss susan!

    i finished the book the other night, it is WONDERFUL!! and filled with soooo much stuff that one reading is just not enough!! i will be savoring it again, but first i have to let dear daughter read it. i have been wanting to go to england someday but now i just have to go. i want to do the kind of trip you did exploring the countryside. we watch alot of british tv here at home, including dvd’s of all creatures. it was great fun to read and see pictures of the dales in your book. when we go “a fine romance” is coming with us , a travel guide hehe. im so glad i was able to order the book early as i suspect amazon will not be the only one sold out!
    oh and your new tea tin is so very cute, im thinking christmas gifts for daughter and myself, although earl grey is not her favorite, she loves english and scottish breakfast.
    tata for now, hope you have a safe and enjoyable cross country trip, i will be looking for you in november in SLO!


  20. Terry B from Oceanside, CA says:

    Love your tea tin and teas! But I especially want to tell you how much I loved reading A Fine Romance. It felt like a love letter – to Joe, to England, and to US, your readers. Thank you, thank you, thank you… uplifted my spirits and gave me a virtual vacation!

  21. Amy says:

    My package full of love (aka YOUR BOOK!) came over the weekend and I ripped it open and was smiling from ear to ear! It is BY FAR the most beautiful book I’ve ever owned, and I have a lot of books! I just want to hug it and read it and hug it and look at it and hug it and cry and smile forever!

  22. Lynnie says:

    I am so happy for your success, you deserve it! I have many berets and even a Scottish one with the ribbon and pompom on top!…This post has lots of goodies, love the van and can hardly wait for that tin to come available! I wish you had the blotter for 2013 but I’ll certainly get the 2014 one as I love my 2012 one!

    Have many more fabulous days, Lynnie

  23. Elizabeth in Montana says:

    Your book will be traveling from Montana to Colorado next week. Our dog Skye ( who is six months out from a cancer that had a very low survival rate!) is going to be having cataract surgery to restore the sight she’s lost to diabetes. I haven’t had a chance to do more than dip into the book, but it’s going with me because I (hopefully!) will have some free time to read it. Unfortunately I can’t read in the car because that makes me sick, but I’ll be spending a lot of time in a hotel room with two dogs, and your book will be a treasured companion. Looking forward to curling up with it….I’ll be sure to take some teabags and a mug with me, so I can savor the total experience. 🙂

  24. Patricia Wehner says:

    Oh my goodness!! The book is precious precious precious!!!!! Now I reeeeeally want to go to England! My English Aunt Margaret would have loved your book. I am so excited over the tea tins, and can’t wait to order one. I have been forgetting to tell you that one of my dear friends is your cousin Millie Smith! Our daughters grew up together when we all lived in Coppell,TX and we’ve stayed in close touch. She told me to tell you hello! Such a small world. I told her about my darling recipe box that now has a special spot in my little kitchen. Hope you have a wonderful trip! We will all be hiding in the back of the van, tagging along as usual! :).

    • sbranch says:

      Oh! Millie! How great! When we were around ten her family came to visit us in California. She and I slept in a trailer together and talked and talked into the night. By the time they left, I had a Texas accent! 🙂 Please tell her I said, “Hey!” And Hi Uncle Bob and Aunt Maroline too! (Small world!)

      Love to have you in the van Patricia!

      • Patricia Wehner says:

        I will tell her. I’m packing my toothbrush for the van trip now :). Millie will be excited to hear your message!

  25. Jan says:

    Am so excited about the tea tin! You must have been reading my mind. It is just sooo cute and the artwork on it – teacups- adorable! When my sister visited we went to a tea room and I bought some loose leaf tea. Now, not only will I have a place to store it, but I can buy some of your favorite teas to put in it too. Earl Grey is one of my favorite. Can’t wait to try the Lavender and Roses. So glad you ventured out and had one made. Quite the idea for decorating your van too – very nice! Yes, the weather here seems to be fall-like also. Will be here before we know it. My favorite time of year. Happy packing and preparing for your trip!

  26. Shauna Woodall says:

    My husband brought the book up to me when he came last weekend, and I was determined to savor it slowly and make it last. I drank it up! I read it in an afternoon! You transported me and my daughter and we had such fun going to Miss Potter’s House and the lovely hotel and now I want you to take that trip to Scotland (the poor clark who thought you were SO close to his home!) so we can travel with you again. Thanks for the memories — (I love Bob Hope … ) — and for sharing your love story. We are grateful for the joy you bring into our lives!

  27. I finished reading AFR today after reading each word slowly and savoring each and every page. When someone asks me what I did this summer, I am going to say ” I went to England on the QE2 and toured the beautiful English countryside”. I’ve posted before, Susan, but let me tell you, this book is one in a million. I experienced so many emotions reading it. I was laughing out loud during the driving escapades (dare I call it escapades?) and then you reached the round-abouts. Oh my! I put the book down and started crying! Don’t ask me why. I was overwhelmed at how personal this book was and that we really were in that car with you (yes, even with your 12 pieces of luggage!).
    I wish you the best on your book tour. Are you coming to Long Island, NY?
    The tea tin is adorable and will make a lovely gift.
    This is a favorite quote “To have joy, one must share it” (I don’t know whose quote it is, but I use it all the time). You, Susan have shared your joy and I am so grateful. Let’s go book touring!!

  28. Your book arrived here in Chester, UK just two days ago and I have to say that I haven’t been able to put it down since. I was so excited about it arriving. I even blogged about it here: I read half of it within the first 24 hours. My husband saw it laying on the coffee table and he picked it up and he is hooked too, and enthralled. It truly is a beautiful book and we both love it. My favourite one of yours ever. I have managed through the years to procure them all. I have bought them second hand, etc. Biggest disappointment was the second hand one I bought of your first book, only to find after I had had it a while that someone had sneakily cut out three of the pages carefully, so they wouldn’t be missed right away. Colour me sad on that one, so am looking again. I had your blotter calendar for this year, but wasn’t able to find one for next year. I love them, and the wall calendars too. I always get one of your wall calendars. You are a treasure. I fell in love with your work back in the early days when you used to do an illustrated recipe in the Country Living magazine. I guess I am a true fan. Sorry for gushing. Good luck on your journey! I’ll be going along with you as I always do! xx

  29. Linda says:

    Was shocked to open my mailbox and see a package–thought “gee…I don’t remember ordering anything that looks like a book” and there was your book!!! I was shocked as it was one of the first sent out I think (received I think 2 weeks ago?) I have not read much of it yet as I am savoring each page with all the little details……….I am drawing it out for as long as I can so it will never have to end. It is such a unique book………not what I expected even though I have been on this blog since the very first………completely handwritten is one of the things that surprised me and also the higgeldey piggeldey style………..LOVE IT!!!!! So each page gets my full attention and inspection and like a fine wine I am sampling it in small doses……not easy for a very impatient person!!! I even made a special bookmark for it!!! It is still hot here in Idaho–high 90’s , 100’s …….wish we could get some comfortable weather in the 80’s! Thanks as always for you, Joe, the kitties, and the blog as well as all the other girlfriends for making this world a little sweeter. Linda from Idaho

  30. Lori Conk says:

    Always, always you bring a smile to my face & joy to my heart! Thank you!!!

  31. Nancy B says:

    Oh, Susan, you must be so excited to be starting your trip West soon! The van is adorable and I would love to toot my horn if I saw it on the road. I finished reading “our” book today. (I stretched it out a bit to make the enjoyment last longer!) You did such a fine job; the book is absolutely beautiful and I know I’ll enjoy dreaming of a trip like that for a long time. I’m looking forward to purchasing some of your tea in that darling tin. Will it be in your web store soon?
    When it arrives, I’ll just have to make a 4:00 p.m. ritual and dream of the English countryside. 🙂 Have a wonderful and safe trip!

    Happy Travels!
    Nancy (from Bakersfield)

    p.s. I purchased some of your books from a web thrift store today. Yaaay!

  32. Deborah OBrien says:

    Computer getting more poorly by the day now, so have only just managed to arrive here~~~but, just think of the fun I will have when Computer Guy fixes it and I can go read the last blog~~~so much to look forward to, and still looking forward to my copy of A Fine Romance, so trying not to read anything too much here as we don’t need spoilers! I can get on Twitter (just) but not on Bloggle 🙁 but then, these things happen.

    So happy for you Susan that the book is so well received (as I know my copy will be *eventually* from Amazon UK at the end of this month) In the meantime, my 2014 wall calendar is here, so I have a little fix of your artwork and words!

    Want to go back and read here but am too afraid of spoilers~~~love your van though. We have a dragon van in the village! An artist, like yourself, and she has painted her van with mystical dragons from her books.

    I did spy an adorable tea tin on my way down the page this morning! Am wondering if I should risk reading spoilers or not? Oh! What the heck~~~another blog from you is such a treat and I need something while I wait for my book to arrive!

  33. Judy in Oregon says:

    I absolutely love the book! It is now the favored book of all in my library of books. It will have a place eventually (after reading at least twice or more) among my collection of tea books. The story of you and Joe was a perfect beginning to the book and I am amazed that you don’t have carpal tunnel after all the writing and illustrating that you did. I love the little book plate that you signed and which was so perfect in the book that I didn’t realize what it was at first. I am hoping that somewhere a store in Oregon will have you for a book signing as I would love to go to one and actually meet the author of such A Fine Romance.
    The tea tin design is perfect and your tea blend sounds delicious combining my favorite Earl Grey with two of my favorite flowers. I am definitely looking forward to trying it.

  34. Great big congrats to you, Susan! I new your book would be a success! I just checked and you have 36 reviews now! WOW!!! I couldn’t put it down – I laughed, I cried, and I wanted to savor every minute of reading your charming book! And I will be anxiously awaiting seeing that adorable van in eastern PA! Have fun book signing!

  35. ChristinaB - Yardley, Pa says:

    Thank you so very much for your generosity with regards to the extra book that I received in the mail. Sheri was extremely helpful and suggested that I pass it on to our local library or a friend. Like most of the “girlfriends”, I was trying to savor your beautiful book one page at a time to last longer, but that didn’t work and I’m almost finished. Congratulations on yet another beauty. You have a gift for telling a wonderful story and painting a beautiful, beautiful picture!

  36. Lee says:

    Susan, I am over the moon in love with your book. I know so many friends I want to recommend and lend your book, but right now I can’t part with it. I might start a ” fan ” club ………North Carolina “Branch”. This is really early morning humor. Much success with your book…….Lee

  37. N. Jean says:

    I have finished reading my book the first time through, I plan to read it again, I took my time and relished every moment. I cried with you when you left Hill Top Farm for the second time, I understand how you felt. I am so inspired by your trip to England that we are planning one too. The information you have provided is so valuable. Thank you over and over again!

  38. Becky says:

    I actually laughed out loud with pure joy when I opened my mailbox, and there was The Book. I read it as slowly as I could in order to savor each delicious word. Alas I could hardly put it down! I am about to start reading it one more time of many more times that I will read it. Thank you for sharing your life in such a pure, sweet way. Becky in Oklahoma

  39. GardenGirl (SE Massachusetts) says:

    Good Morning Sue,

    Received my copy of “A Fine Romance” last week and I’m savoring it slowly. It’s like a dream come true for all of us to see these pages come to life as a book which we witnessed unfold on this blog. I’m also a longtime fan of your books and calendars and have been reading your blog since the beginning. I’m planning to visit Titcomb’s bookstore and hope to say hello and have you sign my book (or maybe two) . Thank you for your warm and generous spirit-it truly brings us all together. -Kathy

  40. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~ Good Morning ~
    Your post today was so much fun~ you must be bursting at the seams!~
    Joe’s beret~ Tre Chic! As well as your van Mon ami! ~ oops wrong country!! ~ Your tea sounds very good~ we have Teavana here ( well not quite here) where you can make your own blend up ~ yum yum! A little pricey but hey I’m worth it! ~ Life is too short not to drink great tea!~
    ~Hope you make it a little closer to my neck of the woods~ Michigan is still a little too far~ We have a great little coffee ~ tea shop here that I don’t get to near enough!~
    ~ Back to the baby business~ another new baby heading our way today to tomorrow ~ 3 in 3 months~ 4 if I count your (our) book!
    ~Enjoying every page as I get closer to the end~ I’ll have to leave my glowing review too!~
    ~Happy~ Happy ~ Friday~!

  41. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    You now have 38 reviews on Amazon, I was number 37 this morning!!! Yay Susan!
    And the tin is just sooo cute. I cannot wait to get one and with the tea, how wonderful. I see you are coming to Wilmington Ohio!! That is only 40 minutes from my house and I am on vacation that week, so how great is all this. We had not made any plans to go away that week, just stay home and enjoy summer and take little one day jaunts here and there, so I know one place I will surely be that week. The van is adorable; and so is your Joe…..he is a DOLL!!! 🙂 Can’t wait to meet you. xoxo Joy

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you so much JOY! We’ve been so surprised to see all the reviews on Amazon! Hoping the calendar does half as good as the book! I’m so glad to be on your summer jaunt list! See you in Wilmington!

  42. Judy from Maine says:

    Don’t know what happened, I tried to post and it didn’t work. Anyway, just wanted to say how excited I am to have received our book. I am just back from vacation and it was waiting for me when I returned…I’ve only peeked at it so far, but it is gorgeous.

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve been hearing that … I think I should put out the sign “gremlin on board!” Thank you Judy!

  43. Judy C in NC says:

    Be still my heart … I am on page 222 and cannot even put into words the joy and love in my heart for this book. I do love that van all dressed up … kinda says to all “Look who is coming to see us” and if they do not know who you are, they will be curious enough to find out who you are. Hee, hee – Life is a wonderful thing and you are a blessing to us all. Judy C in NC

    • sbranch says:

      It’s just fun! And why not! Celebrations like this don’t happen every five minutes, right? Thank you Judy xoxo

  44. Oh Susan! I love the van, and sure hope I get to see it in person! You live in paradise (as if you didn’t know that)! I am heading into Hendersonville this morning, and going to stop at the local bookstore to plug your book, I have it in my bag ready to go! It is so much fun to read, I feel like I (well I was!) was right there with you both! Don’t forget to take Petey with you in the van! I know from reading that there are several of us NC friends so maybe between us we can get you here somehow! You would love the Asheville/Hendersonville area! Psst, the Biltmore House is here!~~ And the Blue Ridge Pkwy!
    Hugs to you both and of course Kitty Girl and Jack! I am sure you have your cat sitter trained on what Jack likes to play!
    Tweet Chirp!

    • sbranch says:

      Petey is going! No fear! And you! Thank you for taking the book to your bookstore! Having stores even know the book is in existence is truly the hardest part! We will head south near you after Christmas, while the snow flies up here.

  45. bobbie calgaro says:

    I absolutely love the book. I don’t ever want it to end. If I never get to England I will feel that I have been there through you. The blog and the book have made the places that I have always wanted to see so real. Thanks for letting us your readers into your life. You are my hero of the sweet simple creative life that I try to live. Hopefully your travels will bring you to North Carolina at some time and we will get to meet. Thank you.

  46. Sandra R says:

    I tried to be disciplined with reading your book, and dole it out to make it last. But it only lasted two days! I loved the book. But my favorite moment was when my husband leaned over my shoulder. “What are you reading?” he looked confused “There’s writing in your book?!” Well, yes. Susan Branch wrote this book and she REALLY wrote this book, so it is in her script as well as her words. Did you know there was WRITING in your book?
    So glad you are going to provide us an access point to your tea, I was going to ask for details after reading of it. Cannot wait. Enjoy your tour and be careful out there. Count the lifeboats on your van.

  47. Melissa says:

    I just received news that my niece bought a book for me! (She actually bought 4 books)! She will be seeing you at the Cape Cod Bookstore for the signings. So excited to read your book after it is mailed to me. I love your style of writing. It is so interesting to read your postings on this blog. Have a wonderful journey across this great country of ours.

  48. Treese says:

    Hi Susan:
    I preordered my copy of A Fine Romance so I am already about finished. I of course will re-read it and savior it a bit more on the second-third time around. I keep it in my saddle bags so when I am out rounding up the cattle I take a little rest and read a few pages. There are a few hay stains on it now, but hasn’t hurt it a bit! I even sometimes read it to my sweet horse Lorelie and my baby girl (Bloodhound) Miss Scarlett O’Hara, but so far they have kept their opinion’s to themselves. LOL. I have enjoyed your book immensely, but it has made me miss my little house on the Tyne River in Newcastle and the Lake District-perhaps a fall trip this year if I can ever get away from my ranch.

    But, VERY exciting news for me is calendar blotter’s in 2015-Yipee! I have bought 2 every year (one for the house and one for the barn) and was crushed when I found out you were not producing any for 2014.

    I hope you and Joe have a wonderful trip around the countryside. I love to travel in the Fall it is my favorite time of year.

    Treese/Colorado Cowgirl

  49. Linda says:

    I cannot wait to buy that tea tin, and the tea! A MUST HAVE, the minute it’s available. Thank you for getting something manufactured, even if you have to order a gazillion. 🙂

  50. melissa quarles from montgomery ny says:

    Susan, this book is such a delicious treat…I cannot begin to thank you for bringing us along with you. I love the poppy that Joe picked for us….this is the type of book that i will be rereading over and over and over! When i signed up for a ticket to your book signing in Sandwich my silly husband said..” I think you two could really be friends!” to which i replied…”we already are!” THANK YOU THANK YOU! Also thanks for the beautiful shots of the sunsets…we loved that (and all) parts of the island and my camera battery had died by the time we got there….breathtaking! Can’t wait to meet you in the flesh along with all our other girls!

  51. Suzanne says:

    OMG….you must have read my mind! When you had mentioned your lavender tea before, I thought that sounded so delicious, that I’ve had it in my mind ever since! This past weekend my husband and I celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary so we decided to take a little ride down to the Connecticut shore and just meander wherever we felt like driving to. We started in Mystic Seaport and after a lovely lunch we shopped a bit in the old town. It was there that I went into a tea and spice shop and bought a lovely jar of lavender to add to my tea! I still have your recipe for basil lemonade too, so for sure I’ll be making that as well. I can’t wait for your tins of tea to become available as they are adorable! Thank you!
    After a full day at the ocean, we headed back and stopped in Essex, CT. and had dinner at the Griswold Inn. I told my husband how you and Joe had eaten there in front of the fireplace when you were on your way to New York, (I tell him about you all the time) and we had a lovely meal. You are like our own Beatrix Potter..I feel so honored to be your girlfriend! xoxo ~East Longmeadow, Ma

  52. Barb Kucera says:

    Hi Susan, I received your book the other day but unlike everyone else, I haven’t opened it yet. OK, I did peek … a little … but just to see the adorable bookplate and autograph. (Thank you so much!!) What a visually gorgeous book and that’s just the cover! Every time I see it sitting there on my dresser, it makes me smile with anticipation. Life has been a bit hectic of late and I know when I open it, I will not want to put it down. So I am holding out until the time is right to sit with my tea and devour it…which will be soon.
    Thank you so much for taking all of us girlfriends on your journeys and for appreciating us as much as we do you. I think I speak for all of us when I say that knowing you (in the way we girlfriends do) has made our lives better.

    xo Barbara

    PS…..what ever happened with your friend who was making the glass beads?

  53. Janet Conn says:

    I love my book. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I see you will be in Hudson, OH in September. I’m outside of Pgh. only about two hours away. I’m hoping to get there. I LOVE the van and the tea tin. I can’t wait to order it. Thank you so much for making all the girlfriends so happy and giving us such enjoyment. Safe travels to you and Joe.

  54. linny144 says:

    I enjoyed the book so much. Just finished it. Seriously, I am considering a trip (plus Scottland, I never have been there and its calling my name) for my 50th birthday (in 2 years!!). My husband can’t take off as much time as me, but I think I can stay on by myself or have a friend join me (however, i will need a driver).
    Your book(s) and your website bring much pleasure to me. Your so talented and kind.

  55. linny144 says:

    oh, and i love the tea cans!!!

  56. Deb from Dixie says:

    Oh my gosh…..just checked Amazon and now there are 40 reviews! How wonderful and amazing is that…..especially because the book isn’t available yet …… is all the girlfriends sending you back a little love for all the happiness you have given us. Joyful, yes?
    I am savoring every word in the book, second reading and cross referencing to the links on the website. Susan, those links are like having another book, the best resource for detailed information…..a great idea to make the book interactive. And for all of us that went on the trip with you….and those who will be reading the book without being blog buddies first, well…..what a present !
    Love the Van….I have no idea how you ever painted that to look so real, like you could step right into the english countryside… it actually painted on your new van? or is it some sort of decal?….it’s very eye catching and fun!
    Also….great photo of Joe and the beret…he has a twinkle in his eyes…..what a love story ♥.
    Thanks to for sharing the mock-up for the tea tin….so interesting seeing the process and the final result, the tin is so cute and the tea sounds delicious.

    Rachels photo of our book in England, the photo in front of the beautiful Mt. Washington Hotel, and the photo on twitter of the book on the Missouri Prarie with the cows in the pasture……I feel a trend of photo bombing coming……a where’s Waldo/Petey/Travelocity Gnome type scenario…….”A Fine Romance” book photos from locations around the world posted online…….how much fun would that be!!!!!!!

    And happily, the adventure continues……spreading the love……and the joy and blessings of little things. All the wonderful inspiration you have given to others coming back to you……good karma. You always say, one thing you know for sure is nothing stays the same….just look at what unforeseen and amazing things are happening for you!
    Us, girlfriends are so very excited and happy for you , and Joe ( and us too). I know your Dad must be so proud of you! I can just picture him sitting and reading the comments on the blog, what an amazing feeling that must be…..and for you to be able to share with him.

    • sbranch says:

      Joyful, yes. Overwhelming and lovely and every wonderful thing. The “thing” on the van, is called a “wrap.” Somehow the design is transferred onto a thin piece of probably plastic, then kind of glued to the car! But you can take it off so it’s not permanent. Which is a good thing! 🙂

      LOVE all those photos! The Twitter one with the cows too — so cute! I thought the same thing, Where’s-Waldo-Travelocity. If I get more of them, I’ll make a little post of them. They’re easy to send through Twitter.

      No, nothing ever stays the same, and while it’s like THIS, I intend to roll in it every day! 🙂 THANK YOU my dear friends.

      My dad calls every day, or I call him, to talk about “what’s new” — he’s one of my partners in crime and as excited as we are.

      Bye for now Deb, thank you!!

  57. Gayle says:

    Dear Sweet Susan,
    I was so excited when I received your new book. I’m trying to pace myself and just read a little bit at a time and “absorb” my time with you in England. It is my favorite of all your books, and I have them all! The cozy feeling we get when we are lost in England with you is a wonderful gift you have as an author and artist. I am going to put the quote of Rudyard Kipling about the one beloved spot we all have on my fridge to remind me everyday of my blessings.
    My husband (my former highschool sweetheart) and I retired last year and moved to a log cabin in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains with a 35 mile view of the glorious blue ridge. I can certainly identify with Mr. Kipling and his love of his special spot, his beloved home.
    Susan, thank you so much for the gift you have of making us know how precious home and homemaking is. Safe travels with your book tour, and congratulations and many thanks for taking us along with you and Joe on your special trip.
    P.S. My westie “Miss Scarlett O’Hara” sends love and puppy kisses to the kitties!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m reserving some of those Miss Scarlett kisses for my own neck! 🙂

    • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

      My hubby and I were looking for a cabin out there too. Have to put that dream on hold I guess.

  58. Melinda says:

    LOVE the van!! Your guardian angel can keep track of you & Joe easily AND it is so darn cute!! Blessings for safe travels….thinking of you packing and tending to your home, I get a tug at my heart and chocked up as I know you are doing all this for us-the girlfriends. Thank you, thank you, thank you. See you in New Hampshire! Eeeeee!!!
    Melinda (& my 3 beauties)

    (Go ahead and roll you eyes, Joe…you are a sweet trooper.)

  59. Alice says:

    Congratulations on your wonderful book “A Fine Romance”. I am enjoying it so much! I don’t want to put it down. Thanks for the autograph – a nice surprise! Good luck on your tour! Enjoy it all! I love the tea tin! Will have to have one! Thanks for sharing your story and travels in such a unique way! Love all things Susan Branch!

  60. nanette from alabama says:

    An update from the mail I sent earlier saying my best friend and I would have to wait another month to open our books………we agreed we’d do it together over the phone. I rushed to the P.O. and mailed her book “priority” and her mail runs at about 1 p.m. each day. We are baking something special for a lunch time treat, making some tea and she’s watching for the postman to run. When she calls me, we’ll sit down and open our books together, ooh and aww over it and sip our tea.
    My husband knew the plan, so with a twinkle in his eye and a big grin as he was leaving for work today, he said he’d be calling me at 1 today to check and see if he got the right things at the store. I assured him I wouldn’t be answering his call. 😉 By the way, I showed him the new van and he didn’t roll his eyes! He just smiled……..
    I love the tin and making out my “birthday list” already………..all from Susan’s Store! It really makes for a fun birthday! I can hardly wait to have a cute little tin of my very own! Have a happy day, Susan! You are a very big part of MY happy day!

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, what a happy thought, you two with your tea and book and phone! Can’t wait to hear how it went!

      • nanette from alabama says:

        IT WAS LOVELY! We stayed on the phone for over two hours (nearly three?) and flipped each page together. We took turns reading some of the quotes, noticing the different photos and drawings……….and cried over your sweet dedication to JOE! It was so touching! And then your love story……….you were meant for each other! After we hung up, I continued reading…….I stayed up till after three this morning reading! Now, I’ll go back and read until I have read every single word!
        THE BOOK IS JUST CHARMING! That editor was right! YOU are charming and that is exactly why the book is charming. We all love you, Susan! Thank you for showing your love for the girlfriends. You are dear to us!

  61. Suzanne Sneary says:

    Oh, Susan, Please tell me you will be in Orange County (hopefully near Newport Beach!) so I can go to one of your book signings! I’ll set up camp and wait in line with my teacup and umbrella if need be.
    If you’ll be visiting here with ‘handsome Joe’, I’m getting busy making a vintage Laura Ashley sailor blouse (yes, I still have all the OLD patterns!!) and wearing a ‘Downton Abbey’ hat. Oh! Please put Orange County on your list of places to visit!
    Love, Suzanne 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Yes I will! My mom lives in Seal Beach for one thing. We’re going to try for the Barnes and Noble near her.

  62. Rosemary says:

    I have missed so much in the last month! My books have arrived at home but I am not at home and cannot wait until I get my hands on it/them. It has been almost a month that we have been away and it has been glorious in every way…but my usual check-ins with Susan Branch have been rare. Funny how out of the loop that makes one feel. So happy that everyone is enjoying the book and I know I will, too. I ordered one for my two bffs as well and that will be fun to share.
    Love the van….so hoping it comes my way because we have our group to find you if you are anywhere close.

  63. Carol (Daisy) says:

    This is all just tooooo exciting. Regarding the book signings. . . I looked at the Events link and saw some for MA, NH, OH, MI and CA. However, two girlfriends, Laura and Sue mentioned Chicago and Illinois signings (which are more than likely, both Chicago area.) I can’t find these in the Events link. I might be missing a lot of other locations as well because I’m searching the wrong link. Anyway, if there is one in Chicago, I hope it’s on the waaayy north side, as this Wisconsin ‘bumpkin’ would probably cause all kinds of havoc on the Chicago freeways! Maybe there is even a signing in Wisconsin or Minnesota? Regardless, could someone “clue me in”. Thanks for a wonderful book and blog!

  64. Julie Buck says:

    I am just thrilled for you! I feel as if you are the dearest of friends and am so very proud of you and your work! Your book graces my coffee table right now – as I like to just open it up and glance through the first pages very often! It arrived, along with a lovely big order of other things yesterday, so it’s still very special and new! And now, CLEARLY, I need the tea tin and both kinds of tea! I love mixing my own tea, so will be especially happy to try your special blends!

    • sbranch says:

      I know how you feel — I’m so proud of all of you too, because we’re friends, and that’s what friends are for! xo

  65. Ruth from Pennsylvania says:

    The new SB tea tins have solved my Christmas shopping. Hope when they are available, there are LOTS of them in the online store. Just the very perfect thing to set anywhere in the kitchen. And the new book, Susan, is beyond words. I am thrilled to have it, and will be ordering more for Christmas gifts, to go, of course, with the tea tins. Thank you for sharing your beautiful work and your world with so many of us.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, one thing for sure about these tea tins, there will be LOTS of them! 🙂 I will probably be filling them with cookies-to-go for years and years to come! Thank you Ruth!

  66. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    Hi Susan,
    I am trying my best to get you down here before you have to head to OH. I put a call in to Sheri. I sure wish I was still in NH. Or if I was in WI I could set something up, but from here it isn’t working. I won’t be home there until Oct. and then you will be in CA!!!
    Kindest Regards,

    • sbranch says:

      Virginia? We think we’ll be down there next winter. Hopefully!

      • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

        Hopefully!!! Do you have an idea of where??? Folks in VA and NC that I spoke with said they wanted your people to call them. They won’t call themselves. I spoke with stores in Williamsburg, VA, and Kitty Hawk and Manteo, NC.

        • sbranch says:

          Not yet, I don’t know . . . We’re still scheduling the west and California, so we haven’t moved in that direction, although we do have lists of maybe’s. I just don’t have that list myself. I’ll be sure to ask for help if we run into a problem!

          • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

            OK 🙂
            Have you found a place in WI after MI??? I tried to call Conkey’s in Appleton for my WI girlfriends and found out that it closed last year!! 🙁
            Last night I was showing my hubby the map of your travels, as he was stationed Newquay (Cornwall) in 1998. He never even got to go to seek out his ancestral area. (Birkenhead, Cheshire) Anyway, I was going on and on about Hilltop Farm and Beatrix Potter. Then he said, “Who is Beatrix Potter???” GASP I told this well-read man, “Do you know about Peter Rabbit?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “Well she wrote the story!” LOL Never forget the FIRST books we read.

          • sbranch says:

            GASP! LOL! Too funny. Tell him, that’s OK, we love him anyway!

          • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

            correction: “I asked this well-read man.”
            PS About a week ago my Arnie asked me if I ever wanted to go on a cruise, and I said no your boat is better. However, today I told him I wanted to go on a CROSSING. He laughed a little bit, because you see, he goes on a crossing once a year for his job. BUT, he said, It’s not the QE2. LOL

          • sbranch says:

            Is he on a freighter?

          • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

            My Arnie is an SCO (Ship’s Communications Officer) on an MSC (Military Sealift Command) ship. MSC ships (USNS) are the support ships for the US Navy and they are owned by the Navy, where the Navy ships (USS) are owned by the US government. The MSC ships are manned by civilian mariners (civmars) some of which are Retired Navy, as my husband. Most all of the offical officers come from our Maritime Colleges (most are on the East Coast). The ships look like Navy ships, but the smoke stakes have have a blue and a yellow stripe at the top. His ship was supposed to go into the Boston shipyard in Sept., but it was assigned to one in Norfolk instead. Arnie has the sea in his blood I think, as he has English, Swedish and Northern German heritage.
            I just had to GASP about the Peter Rabbit thing.
            He heard of Sissinghurst!!! How could one not have heard about Miss Potter??? Maybe when some of us were young some of us didn’t pay attention to the author’s names. LOL
            PS I have been working on a white garden since last summer! Actually, the guy at my garden center told me to do 1/2 color and 1/2 white as the white shows up at night. I am picking up a fountain today that has an LED light in it.
            PSS I forgot my corn moon gazing last night!!

          • sbranch says:

            We have lots of people on this island that also have the sea in their blood. If you have it, there doesn’t seem to be any getting around it! Your garden sounds gorgeous. I had a tiny white garden once, all different white flowers, which has now morphed into giant white hydrangea garden — and they really do shine at night. And a new fountain for you! Fun!

  67. Nancy says:

    Just had to let you know that I received your new book and it is wonderful. I just moved out to the country to a farm and was feeling quite homesick and overwhelmed with boxes everywhere and things not working quite right. Then, on my second day in the new house, I went out to the mailbox to see if the mail had started and guess what was in my first mail delivery, “A Fine Romance!” It made me feel so much better and I have been reading just a little at a time in between unpacking chores so it will last. Thank you so much for all the wonderful things you do with your art and blog and books. You make everyday life more beautiful. Best wishes on you book signing adventure! Hope you and Joe have a wonderful time!

    • sbranch says:

      Best wishes to you and your new house. Pretty soon you will get to the good part, the flowers and the clean dish towels. xoxo

  68. Elaine says:

    Just finished “A Fine Romance”. Loved, loved, loved it! Now I will go back and read it more slowly and savor every picture. Loved the van. Will you be in MO at all? I’m in Jefferson City. Can hardly wait for the tea and tin to be ready. We are planning a trip to the northeast. Would love to meet you on the Vineyard. Guess that’s not possible, but one can dream can’t one. My husband says I’m obsessed with anything “Susan”. Is that a bad thing?*! I DON’T think so!!!

  69. Nora Egan says:

    OUR friend Rachael gave us Girlfriends the nicest compliment, didn’t she? What a wonderful thing to say, Ray.

    I finished the book yesterday, got misty over the Barrie quote at the end, and promptly decided to reread AFR this weekend. I smiled all the way through it. I’m sure others of us will recognize ourselves in the way you “speak” — I know I did — that’s probably why we all enjoy Susan so much — she’s after our own hearts.

    Safe journey with handsome beret man, pat the kitties for us, and let’s talk up a Susan Branch Tour of England in a few years. Hey, you were going to talk to himself about this, remember? ((((hug))))

  70. NANCY JO says:

    Hi Susan,
    Love the book, didn’t want it to end. Now I have to read It again. Love the new tea tin, I will be needing that when its up for sale. OH, first time I did a book review on Amazon, just had to. Hope you have time to blog for us while you are out and about in the cute van. Yes Joe it is cute and so is your Hat.
    Nancy Jo

  71. Mary Eva Ross says:

    Susan, as usual when something from you or your shop comes in the mail I TREASURE it. “A Fine Romance” is no exception. Your work is so interesting, and right up my alley – always so positive and just so darn cute (and informative)! As for the tea tin and tea – I’m in. Please have a safe and happy trip across country. ps. LOVE the van

  72. Janet G says:

    I read your book in three evenings. Even my husband, who usually doesn’t notice much of what I am doing, said “are you done reading that already?” (Little does my husband know that I plan on reading it again and again…) I really enjoyed your book. The writing, the artwork, the layout: all beautiful and obviously created with great care and thought. Thank you. I seriously doubt that I will ever make it to England but reading your book has got to be the next best thing.

  73. Cyndee Randall says:

    Oh, Susan! My heart is happy! First. I have had your book still in the wrapper sitting on a shelf for almost two weeks. A friend ordered hers a little later than I did and I promised I would wait until hers arrived so we could open them and “OOoooo” and “Ahhhhh” together. Last night we went to dinner and opened the books. (I think those around us thought we were having a lot more than decaf coffee with our meal) Ooooo and Ahhhhh we did! Our sweet waitress just kept the decaf coming as we lingered. It is wonderful! (insert heart) Second. I just recently started collecting tea tins. Any tin, really. I have some that were so “icky” that I spray painted them Tiffany blue and will use them as vases. And there on your blog this morning: “YOUR” tea tin! Oh, bliss. Thanks you. You made this rainy day SHINE!

  74. Lynn in Simi says:

    Just wrote MY review of “A Fine Romance”. Loving the book tons!
    Love the drawings and the snapshots interspersed with descriptions.
    Can’t wait to meet you in CA.

  75. Vicki Miller says:

    Your book has inspired my own Joe and I to seriously think about a trip to England next summer…And I have 3 little Hittyville Friends who will most definitely have to join us! Thank you so much for writing such a beautiful book~~~

  76. Jennie says:

    I love this post to bits, but the sentiment at the end has me bursting- YES! That iS the real world, and what I hold on to with white-fisted knuckles!
    I can’t wait to read the book! I’m using it as bait to get myself through the next two months of some very ‘nose-to-the-grindstone’ work, and then I intend on indulging! Little treats along the way are wonderful, but your book will be the big treat at the end! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Good girl for holding on! That’s why we are here to prove it’s true. Bait! LoL. Do good work Jennie. xo

  77. Daena in NJ says:

    The book is breathtaking! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  78. Charlene H. (S.F.Valley) SoCal says:

    This is interesting…I accessed your blog on my ipad and left a comment on Thursday, August 8, at 2:55pm, MV time, it is still “awaiting moderation”. Here is part of that same message.
    “WOW…just WOW. How in the world do you do ALL THIS!? Book writing, tea tin designing, calendar creating, date time with Joe, prepping for cross-country trip, etc., AND responding to our comments! You must have 48 hour days in MV! You are amazing.”
    I appreciate your humble response to whether or not AFR would be successful. IT. IS. 🙂
    I hope that each Girlfriend shares your book multiple times and causes a ripple effect of popularity and demand! Though I want your book signings to be standing-room-only excitement, I will also pray for your rest and well-being (Joe, too!).
    The van is too, too cute! Please drive safely and be prepared for some honks and hand-waving as your Girlfriends recognize you on the highways and byways of America! What an exciting time for you, Susan! I look forward to seeing you in So. California…and, maybe, on the Central Coast as well. Lots to look forward to this Fall! With much appreciation and admiration…♥♥♥

    • sbranch says:

      See, now you know, I can’t get it ALL done. I still have about 185 comments to “approve!” So sorry Charlene, but I’m working on it. I’m overwhelmed with the comments. It’s so hard to not reply to every single one, but I have to somehow get these all approved. And I don’t want to let go of them. They’re all too nice. How fun it would be to be honked at and waved at by one of the girlfriends while out on the road! Thank you Charlene!

      • Charlene H. (S.F.Valley) SoCal says:

        Ooohhhh…no apology needed! Just wanted to express my appreciation, admiration, and prayers for your journey!

  79. Hi Susan,
    I love your book. Thank you so much!! And yes, continue to shine that light.
    Bless you, xx oo

  80. Georgie says:

    I found the post my work blocked!

    Susan, Now I have tears in my eyes reading your blog post… embracing the end of the journey and finding there’s more! What a true blessing you are to all of us. Now that blessing has come back around to YOU… through the cold mornings, bundled up in sweaters. YOU DID IT! Ok! Kleenex time for me 🙂

    The road to Aquinnah looks like England! I thought you were sharing more of your trip with us! The stone walls are wonderful. Now I see why they suggest in the travel guides, do not ride a bicycle here for safety reasons. Oh My. I will have so little time to explore your dear island. We will use the busses (the ferry was full so we can’t take our car) and hopefully get out to Menemsha to see the sunset and some fresh seafood. Yum!

    The tin looks darling… I will keep watch for its arrival… along with your dear beads!

    Are you overwhelmed… can you believe it’s REALLY happening… your trip across country. Your circle of girlfriends has EXPLODED off the map. I know I’m overwhelmed just thinking of our trip to MV next week! I will be packing many girlfriends in my suitcase so they can come along too.

    I’m so looking forward to looking into your eyes and saying… You Did It!

    P.S. I called the church to make sure there would be lobster rolls on Friday! I could hear them smiling when they sensed my excitement 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Oh yes! They know they are famous for their lobster rolls! Busses are good, they also have rental cars. The island is wild right now — August has so many exciting events. There are inner bike paths that are safe, but the roads themselves are definitely too narrow. Thank you Georgie. It’s going to be wonderful to meet you in person!

  81. Vickie Adams says:

    I just finished A Fine Romance today. I have to say I feel different now, more in tune with the softer things of life. There were so many touching moments, and you are such a special writer. I felt like I was seeing and hearing, smelling and feeling all the lovely places you and Joe went. We briefly visited the Cotswolds, but spent most of the time in London. I much prefer the countryside and can’t wait to see the wonderful places from the book. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your life and talent with the world! Gonna read a bit at least every week to refresh the sweetness of life, AND gonna put up some twinkle lights!

    • sbranch says:

      Twinkle lights!! Yes!

    • KarenP (Wisconsin) says:

      Just curious….what kind of lights are these? Like thesmall strands of Christmas lights? Do they just call them twinkle lights or do they really twinkle (which would be wonderful)?

      • sbranch says:

        Yes, like the Christmas lights. But these days you can find more and more of them, in colors and different shapes. In England, Siobhan called them “fairy lights.”

  82. Beth says:

    I just went to Amazon to order your book and they are plum out. Just writing to let you know that, after a small stroke, in the Spring of 2012, I thought I would never be interested in “stuff” ever again and here I am enjoying your blog and remembering how much I have liked your books….for like…a zillion years! Since you were writing books at age 2 and all,I mean. =)
    Your spirit is contagious! Please have a safe and productive trip.
    From, Beth in the White Mountains

    • sbranch says:

      Right 🙂 Thank you Beth, and I’m so happy to hear you are still interested in stuff! xoxo

  83. Deborah Norling says:

    Susan ! I loved this blog….! I love the touring’s soo beautiful. I wish there were extras that we could drive around our towns and advertise for you ! I am so thrilled about the tea canisters ..can not wait to purchase some !!
    Also, I have to say..I’m not normally a fan of bumper stickers, but…if there were ever “Make Tea Not War” bumper stickers, I would definitely purchase them !

  84. Emily Merrill says:

    Just put the baby down for a nap and about to begin the closet clean out before school starts and because its summer i had an ice cream sandwich and a great break from life reading about all your upcoming adventures!! I cant wait for the tea tin I will get my Mom and mother-in-law one for Christmas One will get herb tea the other Pero:) Maybe after my kids get back to school I could make some cute dolies like you have pictured…thanks for the break and so creative inspriation!!

  85. Vicki in Cincy says:

    Hi! I just saw that you are coming to Wilmington, Ohio!! WooHoo!! Thank you! I will be there….can’t wait!! xoxo

  86. Christine DeGraves says:

    Just love the tea tin! I always put one in the kitchen and change it for the season .Yours is so cute! They would make great Christmas presents for all the tea lover’s in my family!

  87. Mollie Corcoran says:

    When will your advertisement for A Fine Romance be published in Victoria and Tea Time magazines?

    • sbranch says:

      Victoria will be in the September issue (the one that’s all about England:-) ) — I think it comes out around August 20. The first TeaTime ad will be around Sept. 3, and we have one in Romantic Homes too, which will be out around the same time. I never thought I’d be excited about ads!

      • judy young says:

        I love Romantic Homes magazine and have a two-year subscription to it. I’m saving for a subscription to British Country Living. Remember when I wrote to the American version of Country Living, telling them they had way too many pages of advertisements? I have never heard back from them!!

        • sbranch says:

          Too bad. I think all magazines are trying hard to stay alive, they probably didn’t know what to say. But you would think there could be a balance of editorial with the ads.

  88. Donna says:

    I am so excited! I am coming over for Illumination Night and will be staying in Oaks Bluff for a few days. Guess where I will be at 4 o’clock on Thursday? Hmmmm…oh…well….umm…Bunch of Grapes! My favorite bookstore ever – have many a good book on my shelves from my trips to Vineyard Haven. Looking forward to seeing you again and getting your new book. I have been waiting with bated breath to start on page one and go to two and then three…very slowly so I can savor each one.

  89. Kate says:

    On one of my recent blogs I wrote about doing without things you don’t really need. And then you show us this darling tin and I must have it. So much for doing without!

  90. Kathy T (Rialto CA...but on the road) says:

    Wonderful blog today. Love the FineRomanceMobile. Hope to see you on the road, and cannot wait for the book. Yay!!!! Hubby and I on road for mid coast California trip. Visited a lovely estate in Wodside today. Curious if you have ever been to Filoli. If not, I guarantee you and Joe would love it. Ohhh… The gardens were magnificient. Very English with a lot of hedges. Gorgeous.

  91. Christine DeGraves says:

    I just love your tea tin! I always put my. Tea in a tin in the kitchen and change it for the season. Your tin would be a great Christmas present for the tea lover’s in my family! All you drawings are always so beautiful and sweet and now on a tea tin! Can’t wait until they are available!

  92. Zooperson says:

    I preordered long ago and when it came the other day, a quick ordered a few more so I am very, very popular with my friends. What fun we are all having with this lovely book. And now there is going to be tea? Hurray! That van is way cool! Sonja

  93. Shanna says:

    Hi Susan!

    I got my copy of A Fine Romance last Friday and loved every page, every painting, quote, photo and adventure. You have a wonderful gift of being able to share all of this so that we readers truly have a sense of being there with you. Thank you for another wonderful book!

  94. Judith - Texas says:

    Currently on my THIRD reading of Fine Romance; learn something new each time I read it – Total Bliss!! Last Saturday I went to an Antique shop and bought two vintage tea cups and saucers (to add to my collection) – very dainty with flowers and very English looking – can’t wait to use them when I purchase the Earl Grey Lavender/Roses tea. Can close my eyes and pretend I’m in the Lake District or Yorkshire.
    Fingers crossed that you will come to Houston/Tx for book signing – p l e a s e !!

  95. Alice says:

    How lovely to read your always-uplifting blog entry, Susan. I’m only an occasional tea drinker, but I could almost smell your special varieties and might just have to get out one of my collection of blue teapots and brew up a little beverage for myself. Keep up the good work! Alice

  96. Lori from Maine says:

    Hi Susan! I haven’t been “commenting” much lately…lots of things going on in hubby’s and my life. But, I planned on buying “A Fine Romance”, but then read about the tea tin and the teas! Now I have a shopping list! I’ll get them all a little at a time. SW Hbr. is crazy, busy this time of year – the tourists trying to fit everything in to the last couple of weeks of summer, but we’re lucky enough to have a camp (a log cabin) on a lake about 45 minutes away from the hustle and bustle. I think when I get my book I’ll make some tea (iced) and float in my kayak while I “travel” to England. Sounds like a plan. 🙂
    xo from Maine

  97. Becky Maggio says:

    Well, there’s nothing more I can add to all the amazing comments and since I emailed you last week when I received my book you know how excited I was. BUT…now that I’ve finished the book…OMG!! It exceeded expectations!! I am still in awe and will begin re-reading it. Thank you again for such a wonderful journey to places most of us can only dream about! I felt like the little girl who used to devour library books in summertime longing to be in all the places I read about. The only thing that saddens me is that I will not be meeting you along the way for your book signings 🙁 Unless I can convince you to be our guest in bayou country? Haha!! I won’t give up. The offer stands…forever.

    I’ll keep checking the events calendar and perhaps one day you will be close enough for me to finally meet you in person. Oh glory day!!

    Gotta go…time to start re-reading A Fine Romance (reminds me so much of me and my soulmate….he is the greatest blessing in my life!) ….. Becky

  98. Laura says:

    I would love an audio version of A Fine Romance to listen to you reading your story while I am cooking dinner, walking or driving in the car. You have such a pretty voice…it would be wonderful! Xoxoxoxo

  99. christie ray says:

    Dear dear Sue! Thank you for a new post and such lovely music playing in the background. I am sitting here feeling so proud of all of us….and sweet Rachel put the cherry on top:)
    I came by to print out my girlfriends badge on cardstock paper. When my husband saw the other set, and I told him we got to have name tags….eye rolling commenced, with a chuckle! He will be soooo very glad when I show him what I just printed out….one just for him!!! He’s such a good sport, I know he’ll be happy to wear it because he knows it will make me happy;) The berets are A-dorable!! I will have to get one for fall, and the tea tin and teas…oh oh OH. Do you know your girlfriends, or what?
    See you soon, dear friend,
    Christie Ray in Franklin TN
    P.S. I LOVE the van! It’s so happy!!

    • sbranch says:

      I just love men! 🙂 Their eye rolls always seem to be a deep expression of love! I think it’s when they most wish they could get away with being as fun as we are!

      • Christie Ray says:

        That’s it!! Hahahaha!
        I had to run here and tell you quick, quick… After reading way into “our” book, late late the other night, I became so intrigued with your description of Elizabeth and Her German Garden. I came across a 1900 edition and placed my order. Well low and behold, that little book just arrived in the afternoon mail (the sweetest old book with that great old paper all rough around the edges:)…we fly out Monday morning…I have reading material for my dream vacation on Martha’s Vineyard!
        The song from Sound of Music keeps playing in my mind “…somewhere in my youth …or childhood… I must have done something good.”
        Pinching myself over and over,
        Christie Ray in Franklin, TN

  100. Pat C. says:

    Hi Susan,

    I love the tea cannister you designed. It makes you smile just looking at it!

    I wanted to ask you what make of camera you and Joe use for your photos. They are always so clear and perfect. I need to buy a camera and like the way yours takes such good photos.

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