I took a vote on Twitter, and asked what subject everyone would like me to talk about today . . . I gave them choices to vote on: the YANKEE shoot with my behind-the-scenes photos, OR, all the new things coming to studio?  OR, would you like to see “pumpkins I’ve known and loved?” OR, for a change of pace, maybe a bunch of great photos of the English Countryside? OR, perhaps a jillon photos of my stove?  MUSICA♥

YANKEE Magazine won.  Votes went over the top with a pretty-please from Rachel in England, which held a whole bunch of sway with me since YANKEE, for obvious reasons, 🙂 does not sell in England.  The holiday issue with my house in it came in to our Studio on Friday (we got them first, I don’t think they are in the stores yet, but I think that by today or tomorrow, all of you that ordered your copies from us will have gotten them ~ Kellee and Sheri have been in a shipping frenzy).  The magazine did a wonderful job, I love what they wrote, so I thought, even though it’s much too early for Christmas, you might enjoy a behind-the-scenes sneak-peek for the parts of this photo shoot you don’t get to see in the magazine.

Lots of people ask me what it’s like to have your house photographed for a magazine. It’s very exciting, somewhat scary, and a lot of fun!  Everyone works hard, first me, because I’m the one running around oiling my kitchen table, winding the clocks, arranging flowers, plumping pillows, ironing linens, shining mirrors and windows, polishing silver and making things for the house.  We started early, while our pumpkins were still on the porch, just like getting ready for a party or for guests to come stay.  Then Joe, cause he’s in charge of greens, the tree, the lights, and everything heavy or over 6′ off the ground, brings the decorations down from the attic and we try to prepare, because we’re not sure what they want, but we want it to be festive when they get here.  Then the magazine writer, photographer, and stylist and photo editor come and we meet, show them around and make them comfortable and then it’s their job to take about two thousand photos.  Moving things a hair that way, a hair this way.  Every hair counts.

I wanted my decorations to be simple and easy, homey and old-fashioned and at least part of it needed to be homemade; I like my guests to feel a little bit like children, with that same sense of magic we remember; I wanted the house to smell good and say, Come on In.  Like maybe Mrs. Claus came to the island to go shopping and is staying with us, high in the eaves over the kitchen in our Peter Rabbit Room, baking every day.  Like that.  Just like that.

Home arts, the art of the Home, how do I love thee, let me count the ways.

This is my first and favorite ornament.  I don’t even keep it in the attic because I want it to be close by.  The birds, which I’ve collected for years, even found a new (old) one on this trip I’m on right now, are in a box in the sideboard, and the tree is in my studio.  The minute Halloween is over, this tree goes up.  Jack is everywhere.

I oiled the table and all my wooden spoons and let it sink in and make the wood a beautiful mellow color.

I shook out, fluffed up, and refolded my quilts.  I like tradition at Christmas, the over and over of things gives the years gravitas, and I love lots of color.  I enjoy the photos of the turquoise and feathery-pink Christmases in so many home magazines these days, they’re very cute and fresh, but I can’t seem to give up my red.

My Beatrix Potter people set the color tone here, along with fruit and snowy trees.

This little handmade house (found at an island flea market) always goes on the shelf of my stove . . . I found the tiny lights in a drawer and thought, oh how perfect!  I have no idea what the magazine people might want to photograph but this looks good to me!

But just in case, I set up little vignettes around the house, like vintage dishtowels in the pantry, so they could pick and choose.

Out come my stacks of vintage Christmas books . . .

Red and white colors for the sofa .  . . I’m thinking I want the living room to be red and white, lots of twinkle lights and candles and very romantic.

and very heartfelt . . .

with little bits of red here, there, and everywhere . . .

Birds and things from nature, and of course, lots of love.

I started my paper whites, hoping to force them into bloom by Christmastime.

Themes began to come to mind. I was thinking, “winter wonderland” for the dining room. I scoured my attic, the barn, and every room in the house looking for white, sparkly, vintagey, wintery things. I found this white bird with the gold trim on his wings and old packages of snowflake gift tags I hadn’t used and tied them onto some gold beads to make a garland over the mirror of our sideboard,  Lucite stars too . . . stars, birds, snowflakes, winter wonderland in nature.

Out comes my angel chimes, my star bobeche, my beloved scissor-cut (Scherenschnitte) white trees Elizabeth bought for me at her church craft fair many years ago, (found some for you!), white birds, silver pheasants, vintage baby cups and . . .

dancer and prancer, too, plus two hooty owls, one turtle dove and a partridge sans the pear tree (he’s silver and you can just see the top of his back in the lower right of this photo) . . .

every little sparkly, woodsy nature thing I could find to make scenes with.

Joe went around the garden cutting holly, boxwoods, ivy and pine boughs ~ he wired everything into wreaths and roping and decorated the house, inside and out.

We needed one huge wreath to put at the peak of our house  . . .

We have a friend who’s a house-painter and he always brings his ladder!

My goal was that the house be drenched in Norman Rockwell New England Christmas tradition, that says Mrs. Claus lives here.  It always helps to have a goal.

Getting the kitchen porch ready ~

There she is, all ready to be lit up! The House of Creativity in all her glory.

Out I go to get a bit of holly.

I made sugared fruit and thought I’d try doing holly the same way.  It worked!  You can do it too, brush everything with a thin coat of egg white, dip the fruit or holly in granulated sugar and then superfine sugar (which you can make in your food processor or blender if you can’t find it at the store) and allow everything to dry overnight.

Joe borrowed this wonderful long-needled pine from our friend Martha’s yard and we used it as a striking backdrop for the mantle, along with white trees, vintage silver baby mugs filled with white roses and chrysanthemums, and my white iron lambs.

Here’s one of Joe’s wonderful concoctions. He’s making the house smell so good!

He did the roping over the kitchen windows and I then went garland-mad, which is very easy to do, I just think they are the cutest things and go just about everywhere.

Michael’s Crafts is a great place for last minute inspiration, but flea markets and craft shows are the best.  Be on the lookout for unexpected things year-round. That’s where I found the garland of fruit above, the only string they had and no idea where to get more.  I got it!  I think dried flowers and pods could be strung together to make a very pretty colorful garland too ~ I’m going to look for the dried things the next chance I get.

While I’m making this, I’m thinking how great our house will look when the shoot is over and it’s all ours for Christmas.

YANKEE had asked me to make a few crafty, gifty, cooking things they could photograph . . . so I started with star croutons, to give in a jar . . .

I made them and put them in one of our red-lidded jars — and then used them at our Christmas party when the shoot was over.

I also made the MOST delicious Cranberry Coffee Cake (one of the recipes for the “Breakfast Book” I left half-done when we took off to go to England last year ~ Must go home and finish that!)

And of course our favorite Holiday Jam, half my special cranberry sauce recipe and half Orange Marmalade.

Things were starting to come together; I’m thinking the kitchen theme is “cozy gingerbready.”

Especially with Janie’s Gingerbread banner from last year hanging over my stove.  And see the little “gingerbread” house on the left?  I found those for you too. They come as a card!  You pop them out and hook them together, and there’s even a chimney and a separate snowman!

Here’s this year’s version of the Christmas banner Janie made for us, Christmas trees on candy striped string!

 Now, time to decorate the tree!  Am I wearing you out?  Remember we had plenty of time to do this so it was fun!  Musica played the whole time.  Dean and Frank singing Merry Little Christmas, baking, a fire in the fireplace, and . . . .

adorable Jack who helped with everything!  How hard could it be!?

A little of this, a little of that . . . so the art director has something to work with . . .

Hang stockings with care, make a fire, cut the cake . . .

and light the candles . . .

The mantle, with fresh holly and pine, lambs, silver, flowers and trees . . .

In the dining room, Joe put greens above the sideboard, I filled in the spaces with fruit and pinecones, tied my sheer heart ribbon around the lampshade and tucked in a sprig of boxwood (little cute thing to do, when the light’s on, the lampshade is gorgeous, you can see it in the video below). I threaded string from the snowflakes through holes in the lace on the dresser scarf for more winter wonderland.  Just a couple more things to do before its ready, action, camera!  Joe made the cardboard “E” for our gold JOY letters.  Too cute, he is very creative.  When it was done, I lit it all up to see and hear it in action . . .

We’re ready for company and here they are!

That’s Bette Troy, the Stylist on the left, then, in the middle, Nat Rea, the photographer, and on the right is Heather Marcus, the photo editor.  Not shown here but also in our group was the brilliant person who put words to the pictures, Julia Quinn-Szcesuil.

Jack was a ham, you can tell from his body language how he looks directly into the camera, draping himself in front of it at every opportunity — here is more kitty body language info:

They went right to work, arranging and rearranging . . .


Here they are in action in the kitchen . . .

And upstairs in the Peter Rabbit Room . . . (you can see more Christmas in the Peter Rabbit Room if you click on that link).

Then to the sewing room . . .

And outside . . . they left no stone unturned.  Worked at our house for two days.  And now their hard work has been honed and fine-tuned into one feature article in a magazine.  I can’t thank them enough for doing just a beautiful job and being so nice while doing it.  On that first page of the article, the picture of me?  Look close, I’m holding Jack in my arms. ♥  Jack is only 2 years old and he’s in his first magazine. A child star!  He will be hard to live with now!

After they left, me and my friends had a bonfire to celebrate . . .

The next day I woke up and felt so inspired by our days of creativity . . .

I drew and painted this page for the November 2014 calendar.

Must go now girlfriends, will add more later, but the dentist is waiting for me! Real life interrupts! 🙂 xoxo

P.S.  In case you came here looking for Fall ideas and recipes, you may have missed Eat Drink and Be Scary, so here it is! 

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629 Responses to BEHIND THE SCENES with YANKEE Magazine

  1. Jan says:

    Sorry for the double comment. My first comment had disappeared along with my name and email, so I posted another comment, and low and behold the first one is now there! Sorry!

  2. Susu S. says:

    Thank you, Susan,
    You’re house is one of the most beautiful in VH. We drove by this summer while visiting my sister and your flag was out. It was so lovely. And now I’m totally inspired for Christmas! Your charming house and decorations are just right: warm, friendly and beautiful. What a great post and how interesting to see a little of the behind the scenes of a magazine photo shoot. Thank you for a perfect start to the day.

  3. Asha says:

    Oh Susan! You’ve done it again! This blog is WONDERFUL! Can’t wait for the magazine! Thank you so much for all the inspiration for the holiday. Love ya! Hope you and Joe are doing well and safe travels!

  4. Pam Fortune says:

    Hi Susan
    Absolutely beautiful, your home looks so inviting and different, so many people make a home looking like a shop window today and in a few months it is out of fashion. Well done you, I love it.

  5. Alicia says:

    OH!!! I just read this latest posting & am feeling all sorts of misery because SOMEHOW I missed ordering the Yankee magazine you’re featured in!! Since I live in the south, I doubt it will be on local newsstands. Is it too late for me to order one from you? Oh please, please, p-l-e-a-s-e!!!

  6. Jackie P says:

    Jack and Prancer make a handsome couple! Can’t wait to see the holiday issue of Yankee. Your home looks like a winter wonderland. No surprize! With frost on the pumpkins here in NH, the holidays are just around the corner!

  7. Heather L. says:

    Oh what a beautiful and inspiring post!!! Thank you for sharing all that with us! It was so fun to see your home all decorated for Christmas and get a few ideas…..My mom and sister and I will be gathering for our “christmas tea” next week — just a time to sit and drink tea, eat something Christmasey and talk about our ideas for decorating, homemade presents and cooking for the seasons ahead. Can’t wait! And I’ll have to send them here so they can get inspired too!

  8. Barbara F. says:

    As a fan for 25 + years, you just keep getting better and better! Loved all the photos, everything came together so beautifully. xo

  9. I love your blog, and all the images you post. Your home look so incredibly cosy. So many little things to complete the bigger picture. I am impressed of just how many little things you have, especially for each season. You must have quite the attic to store all this, I guess. My house is way too small for all of this. But lovely, none of the less. Happy holidays – in a couple of months. 😉

    • sbranch says:

      We do keep most of Christmas in the attic. But in the sideboard my spring things — upstairs, I keep my owls and halloween in the hall hutch.

  10. Karen Saunders says:

    Halloween came early yesterday before dark. The dogs were barking, (contained in our fenced yard) so I looked out the window to see why and there were two trick-or-treaters with masks up a tree. The raccoons were outside of the fence thinking maybe they could score on some dogfood but changed their minds when the dogs scared them. They were so cute with their little masks and candy bags….(no bags….just kidding). We don’t get many trick-or-treaters here. Every year I turn our front porch light on and buy candy but we never seem to get any kids. And then I eat all the candy…. not good.

  11. Gayle Kissell says:

    It seems that every day for the last month I would go into Leslie’s Drugstore looking for the latest Yankee Magazine. Finally today they have it! I showed it to everyone in the store and they all got excited. It was worth the wait as the pictures and article are perfect. Then I went to Bunch Of Grapes to buy your calendars and the lady next to me was buying your book. Again, I showed everyone in that store your Yankee article.
    Gayle Kissell

  12. Kathy R from Iowa says:

    Love it, love it, love it! 🙂

  13. Beth Recio says:

    Susan – any chance you will have any Yankee magazines in your booth at Remnants of the Past? My girlfriend and I are coming and I thought there might be a chance? Living in San Diego – no one carries it. Looking forward to Nov. 8th and 9th.

    • sbranch says:

      As long as we don’t run out, which we’re trying hard not to do, we will have them Beth! See you there!

  14. Marion Rose says:

    Hi Susan,
    Sandwich, Ma on Cape Cod, will be aglow with Daffodils in the Spring. Tomorrow will be the last planting day. We had teams of people out planting.
    even had some teenagers helping. It has been a wonderful project, getting ready for our Daffodil Festival. Our Town’s 375th Birthday celebration kicks off in April with the Sandwich Garden Club sponsored Daffodil Days. Did you know Sandwich is the oldest town on Cape Cod?
    Now you know the rest of the story, Marion

    • sbranch says:

      You are going to feel so proud next year when they all come up! I have to plan a trip. We were just at the Sandwich Town Hall with Titcombs Bookstore for a signing last August. Were you there?

    • Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

      Hi, Marion!
      I think my husband and I were in line @ the book signing right in front of you and your friends. I’ve been racking my brain since then to remember your name…I kept looking for “Marion from Cape Cod” on the blog. You spoke of moving to Sandwich and just LOVING the life you’ve made there and all the wonderful friends you’ve made. I can tell you that George and I are so happy that we decided to stay in Sandwich while visiting the cape…it’s just the prettiest little town and everyone was so friendly! I love the idea of the 50/50 bulb sale! Springtime will be glorious! I think I’ll suggest that idea to our local garden club.
      Btw…you have the sweetest name. My dear grandmother was Marion, also.
      Have fun with your Christmas baking, girlfriend, and know that you are in my thoughts.

  15. Marion Rose says:

    Susan, I forgot to tell you, I received an invitation to our neighborhood Christmas Cookie Swap Party yesterday. So, it is a good thing you got me in the spirit of Christmas early, Thanks. I’m still waiting for my Yankee Magazine to arrive. Marion

  16. Marion Rose says:

    I was at the book signing in Sandwich, it was a wonderful time. I had been talking with my friends about you and your books, so I invited them to go with me to meet you. Now they have your book, A Fine Romance. Now you have more friends. I talked to Joe at the signing, he took my picture! You are so lucky to have him. Marion

  17. Mary S. says:

    Awesome blog!! thank you!
    I got my Yankee Magazine – yay!! I haven’t read it yet, but I looked at all the pictures!!!
    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

  18. Helen says:

    Got my Yankee magazine in the mail today !! Love it ! Love it !! Love it !!

    Take care,

  19. I got my copy of Yankee magazine the other day and am a little disappointed. I think you should have had the whole magazine. :)) Just Kidding…. Its fabulous. Got my Purse and Wall calendars too. I didn’t know what to look at first. So nice to get something fun in the mail besides bills. 🙂

  20. Carol Maurer~~~~ Kennewick, Wa says:

    Susan and Girlfriends everywhere, you’ll have to read my comment from the “Jack” blog. I rushed to the end to make my comments before I realized that I was on the wrong blog. What can I say?

  21. Carol Maurer~~~~ Kennewick, Wa says:

    Good afternoon Susan and to all girlfriends everywhere ~~~ I didn’t have the time yesterday to leave a comment and here I could have been first in line perhaps. No other comments were there. Oh well

    I loved the post telling all of us about the Yankee Magazine, all the pictures and all the behind the scenes. I really am looking forward to seeing it in living color! Talk about putting us into the mood for Christmas already .. LOL

    Speaking of Christmas, I had ordered the angel chimes and candles. Also ordered 3 Christmas Joy books. I’m keeping one for myself and giving the other 2 away as gifts. They came in the mail today. Also, my calendar that I ordered.

    Have a great weekend and enjoy the good weather for as long as it stays with us.

    Carol M

  22. Carol Maurer~~~~ Kennewick, Wa says:

    Orginally, I posted this comment on the blog about Jack. Silly me for that mistake. So, I copied and pasted this comment here and I it work. Don’t know what will happen to the other blog with the comment.

  23. Julie Cavrich says:

    Another great Jack blog! Loved the magazine article. You have such a lovely home. So cozy. Love Prancer! Seeing the Merry Christmas banner, makes me want to get mine out and decorate! Kisses to the Kitties!

  24. Janice says:

    Congratulations on the magazine spotlight! I enjoy seeing photos of your home, your decorating and entertaining ideas are so fun! I can’t wait to find fresh cranberries in the grocery store ~ I plan to stock up and put many bags in the freezer so I can enjoy your cranberry sauce throughout the year. It is one of my favorite recipes! Makes a simple chicken casserole so special 🙂 I made the jam too, and gave some as gifts. Yummy! Thank you for sharing!

    • sbranch says:

      I always wonder why cranberry sauce is limited to one season, it is so good with a roasted chicken or pork roast — even with my stuffed pork chop casserole, it’s delicious.

      • Lynn McMahon says:

        I found a great new recipe to use up leftover turkey and cranberry sauce! ~ it’s for a Cuban panini and it sounds yummy!
        May have to try it before I have leftovers!

  25. Susan W says:

    Deck the halls with boughs of Holly, Fa-La-La-La-Laa, La-La-La-LA!Thanks for the early inspiration

  26. Joan Ramseyer says:

    My Yankee magazine arrived in the mail this week and it was interesting to see how they developed the article along with your blog showing the process. What fun to have a crew come in and record the delightfulness of your house at Christmas. Last year I bought a teapot and two tea cups in the Rose Chintz pattern like I saw in one of your blogs of your house. This summer I was at an antique mall in Northville, Michigan and saw five dinner plates in the same pattern for sale. They were so reasonable and then they were on sale on top of that. We use them everyday. I finished reading your wonderful book and my husband and I are talking about a trip to England in the spring. We were in Norway this fall and it was spectacular. I have to say my biggest fear of going to England is my husband driving on the “wrong” side of the road. But I have to get over that and just look at it as an adventure. Your book will be a guide to some wonderful places and then we will add to it. However our trip will not be longer than two weeks so we will have to be selective. My top priority is the Lake District since I taught Brit Lit to my high school students and loved teaching about the poets from that area. Enough rambling. Thank you for sharing the warmness of your life with those of us who soak it up. All the best to you and Joe for another wonderful Christmas at your house. Joan

    • sbranch says:

      I love it when company comes and I’m forced to clean up the house … and this company was going to be both upstairs and down. After they leave it’s like heaven.

      You will love it. Stay for the whole two weeks so you don’t spend too much time packing, moving and unpacking. There is so much to see in the area.

      Love that you found the dishes. They are my favorite!

  27. Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    BB3 and I went back over this post this morning. Our Saturday morning ritual, in bed. And her favorite video was the one of the angel chimes. She really wanted to get her paws on that one! XOXO

    • sbranch says:

      Hahahaha! This little studio kitty (I keep calling him Jack because he’s a Tuxedo, but his name is Sam) I’m living with right now watches TV. I’ve not seen one do that before although I hear about if from the girlfriends.

      • Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

        My kitty, Bella, gets excited when she hears the birdsong on your blog.;) Wanted to mention – For those girlfriends who are knitters, there is a cute free pattern on the Red Heart website for a Christmas tea pot cozy. Fast and easy, and perfect for serving your holiday teas, SB! Little stripes of red, white, green, and teal – it turned out so cute, with a red pom pom on top. Love homemade, especially at Christmas!

        • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

          Thanks, Rosanne,
          My granddaughter knits. I will send it to her and see if she gets the hint! 🙂

        • Julia says:

          Thank you for the tip on the knitted teapot cozy.
          I’m going to try it for several Christmas gifts.
          Too cute! Happy knitting!

      • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

        BB watches TV also, but usually ends up getting yelled at, because I am afraid she will knock the whole thing over when she begins stalking things on the screen! I thought maybe it was because she only has one eye and that has to change her depth perception! Too funny. And BB3 is also a tuxedo kitty! Dressed to the 9’s for Mardi Gras with her elegant black mask and black evening gown with one long black sleeve and the other arm is sleeveless:) LOL

      • My cat, “Little Guy” likes to watch tv with me. He is on one side of the couch, I’m on the other. Who needs a date? 🙂

  28. Sharan says:

    Please tell Joe he inspired me last year with his beautiful evergreen arrangements. My grandmother and I had a tradition of making Christmas wreaths from pine boughs from the evergreen trees on our family farm. We would make them the weekend after Thanksgiving in the little heated garage by her house. My dad would cut the pine boughs, she would make a yummy lunch and together we would make about 10 to 12 wreaths for our family. Sadly, she passed away two years ago and we sold the farm. I have tried to keep our tradition going, but is difficult to find enough spruce tree boughs like we usually used. Seeing Joe use a variety of greens made me wonder why I hadn’t thought to use the many beautiful greens I have all over our yard. So last year I did just that. My grandmother would have been proud of me for using what I have to make something beautiful. I miss her very much and it was so important for me to keep our tradition alive. Thanks Joe for helping me keep our tradition alive.

    • sbranch says:

      That’s fantastic. I have to say I really never thought of it until last year either … and we have a yard full of holly and boxwood and the rest! I love your story with your grandmother. Making things ourselves gives such a sense of satisfaction!

  29. Sarah Powell says:

    Of Course. Dreamy.
    And fond memories of one of my BEST Christmases E V E R. xoxo S

    • sbranch says:

      I have lots of pictures of you Sarah, that Christmas, with you in those red tights with the snowflakes on them!

  30. Donna Babbitt, Brea, Ca. says:

    Susan, as a native Californian, how I envy the cavalier way you place your “pretties” around ……………and even the wine bottles on your spice cabinet………..must be nice not to have earthquake practicalities in the back of your mind. An open shelf for dishes…………………………I can only dream. What a fun, fascinating blog………………………… glad the Jack blog is permanent, his ever present look of astonishment is just so dear, my Chloe gets tons of petting each time I see the adorable Jack, she loves him too!!
    Chloe and I are perched on the mailbox awaiting the arrival of our YANKEE, but it won’t hold a candle to your blog!!

    Dish envy Donna

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, Donna! I know, I have open shelves in California too, and in the last earthquake I lost almost a whole set of bird cups and saucers. They make this glue to hold everything down, but I just couldn’t bring myself to glue things. My mom even has a stick between her cupboard handles so if there’s an earthquake, the doors don’t fly open.

      • Joan says:

        there is something called “Museum Glue” that is used in Museums (imagine that!) so things don’t fall and break. I have never used it but a friend does and swears by it – and I think objects can easily be removed from it.

  31. Jesse says:

    Your home is everything I hope mine will be someday. I’m just starting out, but it’s wonderful having something to aspire to! It always looks so cozy and welcoming, and I always imagine it smelling amazing. I’ll definitely have to try that holiday jam recipe, I bet my guy would love it! <3

    • sbranch says:

      I’m sure he will Jesse . . . have fun, a lifetime of making a home is a pretty wonderful thing to look forward to.

  32. Karen says:

    I just picked up the Yankee magazine you are featured in. I looked at the pics but have not had a chance to read the article yet but saw cute kitty cat Jack….. Beautiful decorations……

  33. Debby Holman says:

    I got the magazine today when doing my grocery shopping. It’s beautiful, Susan, just loved it. The whole issue if fabulous, as always, but the story just made it so wonderful. And so glad to see Jack in there, too! Hope all is well.

    • sbranch says:

      Going great, still here at my Girlfriend Elizabeth’s house. First thing we did is go through her cupboards and look at her dishes! Today we take the day to ourselves and go shopping to all her favorite stores.

  34. Barbara from Wolverine Lake MI says:

    I was antiquing today with a girlfriend in Holly Michigan and what did I see??? PETEY! in an antique store! 🙂 got home and found my Yankee magazine in my mailbox. Thinking of you all day 🙂

  35. carolshapiro says:

    What a perfectly beautiful blog!!! Cannot wait to buy this issue of Yankee!
    What a great way to start thinking about the approaching “most wonderful time of the year”…
    You have outdone yourself- but wait- seems that’s what I always say!

    • sbranch says:

      xoxo Carol! It’s going to be so fun driving home and seeing everyone starting to decorate, I just can’t wait!

  36. Yvonne Shafer says:

    Hi Susan! I received my Yankee magazine this morning and had to stop everything, grab a second cup of coffee, and read the cozy article! I just wish the entire magazine could’ve been devoted to you. I even started a subscription to the magazine in appreciation. Your pictures enhance the article as well. Thanks again for sharing your home with us.

  37. Frances Fowler says:

    This put me in a mood to clean, sew, and get ready for the holidays — it all looks absolutely beautiful, comfortable, welcoming, homey, and certainly reflects everyone’s hard work (including Joe’s fabulous wreaths — wow!). Everything Mrs. Claus would love! However, as usual, Jack steals the scene. I think that picture should have gone in the magazine. The look on his face at seeing the “imposter” was hiiilaaarious ^_^

    • Frances Fowler says:

      When were these taken again? I think I’ve remarked before, but I’ll do it again — I love your charming home, and one of the things I love most about your interiors is that they are largely attainable, and I mean this in the most complimentary and nicest way possible. For your home is decorated in things that you love and looks as if you actually love living in it. It seems many items that make your house a warm and cozy home don’t have to cost a fortune, or at least similar knock-off items can be bought if they do, especially the little things: glass candlesticks, pretty teacups that might be picked up for a good price at a tag sale, handmade crafts, garlands from Michael’s, valences you can make on your sewing machine. You have an open pantry, colorful dishtowels, and an ironing board that look real and inviting (yay, red!). Most people, I think, love a magazine where they can look at home’s interiors or garden and get inspired because something is within their reach, whether it’s bought, found at a sale and fixed up, or made by their own hands. It’s always obvious, by your unique cookbooks, blog, Willards, and all that you so generously and cheerfully share, that love and happiness make a house a home in so many ways (not to mention fur children, because I can’t imagine a home without them).

      Looking forward to buying your next calendar in December. It’s something I always wait to do as part of my New Year celebration, looking through each month and the exciting possibilities for each, with an especial eye out for my favorites ending with an /er/. Hooray for the holidays!

      • sbranch says:

        Frances, to put it in a nutshell, you have hit the nail on the head. I say if you do it with heart, that’s art, which is easy proof of what I believe, that there is artistry in all of us, all attainable in the smallest ways, not even one bit about money. Especially when you talk about washing windows to make more sparkle. The pictures in this post, if that’s what you’re asking, were taken early December of last year. Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      I know, put a red ball in his mouth and that’s all you need!

  38. Kathy Phenix says:

    Well, my Yankee Magazine arrived today and I have to say, I was a little disappointed in their pictures. Yours are so much better. They were so far away from Jack that you can barely find him. I’m too big a Jack fan to settle for long distance shots. Thanks for sharing your interpretation. Much more satisfying.

    • sbranch says:

      That’s the problem for magazines these days, it’s hard to compete with the clarity pictures can achieve on a computer! But I love the idea that we can be complimentary for each other.

  39. Jack says:

    PS-if you think you can hide this little addition behind the goat barn, you can get Joe to do the footing ditch with your tractor then make it so you can put 8″ x 16″ blocks in the ditch, end-to-end; get the kind without the solid panel. This gives you a nice groove to lay your steel rebar in. Then you just mix up wet cement to fill the block to the top, covering the rebar. This makes a very nice footing to support those walls and roof. And don’t forget to place the J-Bolts in the wet footing to hold your treated wood base board. You then pour your slab to fit. This is a much less expensive way to do the footing and works quite well in an unoccupied, not lived in, storage shed ….

    • sbranch says:

      Sometimes my Dad uses the comment section to send me emails! Here’s a sample of how he can fix, make and do everything … we were talking about building a small barn next to the one we already have (called the goat barn even tho there aren’t any goats there anymore), and this is his good advice. LOVE you Daddio. xo

  40. Carla says:

    I love the Yankee article, but I think my favorite picture is you and Joe on the porch holding hands….sooooo sweet!

  41. Fabienne says:

    Hi Susan,
    Your home is so warm and welcoming. I try at the holidays to get that feeling in my home too but not in your imaginative way. My friend Elda and I will be in San Luis Obispo on the tenth to see you with our first printing books! We have looked forward to this day for months and know it will be a great girlfriend day out and we get to meet you! We live about two hours plus south of there so will make it a road trip of laughter. I know there will be many many fans waiting to see you and we will be inline with our FOSBs, wearing our name tags too. See you soon! Hope you are enjoying California dreamin’ and having a blast.

  42. Paula says:

    Good choice for a post; thank you, Rachel, for saying, “Pretty please!” All of the subjects sounded delightful–later, perhaps?

    You and Joe are a dynamic creative duo! I love his beautiful wreaths and other greens! They are a complement to your creative and beautiful decorations.

    I look forward to reading about you and your house in Yankee magazine! What a treat to have the inside “scoop” besides. Thank you, Susan!

    I found an old (dare I say vintage?) greeting card of yours in a gift store in Yachats, Oregon in August–what a treat that was!

    You continue to brighten many lives. May yours be bright, as well!

  43. Minette says:

    I did not want this blog to end! I have enjoyed the Yankee magazine spread so very much, but in reading this post, I felt as if I was actually there helping a freind to prepare for a special festive Christmas party! How lovely your house is in its holiday splendor! I loved all of the little vignettes that you created and all of the lush greenery that Joe assembled as it is those unique little details that add to the overall Christmas wonderland that you achieved. Thank you for sharing all of this with us as it is truly and inspiration. Now I just can’t wait for the holidays!

  44. Julia says:

    A happy “thank you” to the girlfriends for wishing me well on my new
    adventure. After 8 years of caring for my husband and my mother
    who were both cancer patients, I am ready to start a new chapter and
    I’m leaving all of my options open in case I don’t like it. Carol M., I
    will be diagonally across the USA from you. Susan, I’m still loving this
    blog. About dishes, being the only girl in the family I inherited china
    from everyone. I had 14 sets of dishes!!! I’m down to 4 and can’t
    go any lower! I just can’t! Gotta go pack some more dishes. I envy
    your pantry – what a wonderful thing to have. It is fabulous.

  45. Julia says:

    I just walked in with my Yankee magazine. The picture of you, Joe and
    the baby is precious. Love it! Now I’ll make my cup of tea and read.

  46. Jan says:

    Received my box of goodies I ordered from your store. Had to let you know how much I am enjoying your private blend tea. I just love it! Can’t wait to try the holiday teas – putting them on my Christmas wish list. The vintage Christmas book was also great, and your beautiful heart ribbon tied around the cover adds just the right touch. Janie is so talented too – her garlands are just adorable! Know you are very busy, but hope you are having a great weekend.

    P.S. Still think you should design a Christmas tea tin. We girlfriends can always come up with more ideas leading to more work for you, right? Ha!

  47. Isabel (Orlando) says:

    Hi Susan,

    I have thoroughly enjoyed your cross-country trip with all the other girlfriends. It was great seeing all the adorable pictures of Jack and Girl again. It is not a big deal, but just wanted to say, since I don’t know if it happened only to mine, on my 2013 calendar, month of November, the date for the 4th is missing.

    Probably just a printing glitch. I see it in books every once in a while.

    Also love all your “harvest” decorations. Can’t wait to get my copy of Yankee magazine.

    • sbranch says:

      This one was a printing glitch, but I do have glitches of my own notched into my design belt, so thank you for the heads up.

  48. Marisa F says:

    hi susan!

    Two questions:
    1. can you tell us about that charming picture at the back of your well oiled table?
    2. what books are at the bottom of that stack?


    • sbranch says:

      That’s a picture I found in a flea market, a photo of a Santa-like man with a pipe. And at the bottom of the books, one of them I believe is Miracle on 42nd Street — there’s a child’s Christmas cookbook too, but I’m not sure what that other one is.

  49. Jennifer says:

    I love Yankee Magazine! My Nana has always subscribed to it and I can still remember being little and sitting in her kitchen nook flipping through those pages. What a beautiful photo shoot, your house looks so cozy for the holidays! I’ll be asking my Nana to keep her copy for me, so I can see it in person when I go home!

  50. Audrianne Hill says:

    My copy of Yankee magazine arrived in the mail on Sat. It was a nice and quiet diversion from college football. A cup of pumpkin spice latte and Yankee – all is right with the world…for the moment; the crazies always show up somewhere!

  51. Trace says:

    Oh Susan I just love love your home.
    I’ve seen it so many times here on your wonderful blog, but seeing it for the magazine..
    Oh my it’s just so warm and cozy.
    White and bright filled to the brim with love.
    Woolie Blessings & Joy

  52. Kristen says:

    Susan, your lovely blog & books have recently brought me much peace & hope going through a dark time; and also some inspiration for this nesting 27 year old!
    I wanted to know if you have any advice for finding a creative career. I’m not a writer or painter like you, but have recently had an epiphany that 9-5 office jobs aren’t for me. I crave making a living out of using my creative talents to celebrate seasons, holidays & beauty and important values to help and bring joy to others. If you have any advice or a story that helped you, please send my way! With <3 from Baltimore

    • sbranch says:

      That actually might be another book. Because I learned so much on my own path, at 27 I had no idea what I wanted to be either. But looking back, there was a lot I still didn’t know. One thing is that we aren’t all automatically born with a sense of what we want to be. Some of us have to learn and work, read and try new things and go new places and keep doing that until each piece of the puzzle that is “us” is formed, then it fits together like buttah. Another thing, and I’ve noticed this is pretty much universal, we tend to overlook or downplay our own talents. We figure if we can do it, it can’t be that good. But I made a start just from my handwriting, and if that can be done, then anything can. There are no rules for finding your passion, except the one “Keep going in the direction of your dreams.” Follow your heart, and live each day, and most of all, remember to count your blessings — because it’s there you’ll find your joy. These are the things I know. Hope this helps. xoxo

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        Beautifully said, dear sweet Sue! xoxo

      • Kristen says:

        Thanks Susan, it’s amazing to me that you have time to respond to so many comments! Thank you. Your words give me hope that it isn’t too late to find a career that I love. I’m sure you have many book ideas but I hope you consider this one, so many of my girlfriends are having the same trouble, trying to figure out how to make a living doing what they love & also enjoying their days, does that make sense? Thank you! <3

        • sbranch says:

          I didn’t paint my first picture until I was 30, my first book didn’t come out until I was 39 … and then it still took me a couple of years to believe it and discover I’d found my purpose. That’s why I say you have lots of time. When I was young I looked everywhere for those same answers. I will try to write that book. You make perfect sense. Thank you … good luck Kristen. Be sure to smell the flowers.

          • Kristen says:

            Thanks again Susan, yes I always worry I’ve wasted too much time already trying to find my life but your words give me hope that it comes. I hope you do write that book someday, even for 20 somethings trying to get their lives started in all ways, not just career wise but learning to cook, being a wife & mom, make a cozy home, etc… Thanks again for your kind words and Happy Halloween! 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            No time is wasted. I know that from looking back. It just feels that way. I call it the “Foundation for the Creation” — this painful time of what feels like waiting. It’s normal and you have to do it. That book you speak of is on my front burner. xoxo One day at a time, surround yourself in little things you love. Make something from nothing every day. A pie, a smile, a friendship.

    • Kristen, are you familiar with Julia Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way”? “Artist” refers to any endeavor from the heart. I found it extremely helpful for finding my “muse” which got me started on my creative endeavors.

      • sbranch says:

        A wonderful book … we carry it here in my web store. It’s a workbook too, and helps to keep you focused. I also loved “Thinking Like Leonardo da Vinci.”

      • Kristen says:

        Cathy, thank you. No I haven’t heard of it but I will check it out. Thanks to you both for the recommendations!

  53. Deb A. says:

    I got Yankee magazine and can you tell me who makes the bird water pitcher you have on your dining room table? I thought it was a McCoy but I it must be another pottery company.

    Enjoyed seeing your beautiful house all decorated for Christmas!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s not a water pitcher, it’s actually a vase or a planter. Isn’t it cute? I found a pair of them. I think it might be McCoy, it isn’t marked, I can’t remember if there’s a USA on the bottom or not.

  54. Wendy says:

    Favorite picture of all in this loooooong post? Jack standing next to the reindeer on the table. His FACE. Priceless kitty expression. LOVE.
    This was long. So wonderfully long…. took me four days to get through it. Albeit it it has been a weird four days (trying to figure out meds for my tummy condition) but WOW what a post. Just amazing on every level, dear Susan!

  55. carmel says:

    Yea! My “Yankee Magazine” came today! Since I subscribe, I thought I wouldn’t get it for awhile. Happy surprise. I haven’t had time to read the entire article (brought work home – we teachers look like pack mules coming and going to school) but the photos they chose are sensational. And I was wondering where Jack would be and there he was in your arms, of course. Congratulations to you and Joe. It’s a splendid spread. I didn’t know there were such creatures as miniature sheep. I’ll have to look up some photos as I just love sheep. Your dad’s description of building an addition to the “goat barn” was fascinating. What a talented man (as you already know). Well, I get paid this week so time to go shopping in your “store” again. Wishing all of you a lovely week. Take care everyone.

  56. Ann Y in PA says:

    Oh, Susan…it was a busy, crazy day in middle school. I stopped at the nursery to pick up some mulch and mums on the way home…worked in the garden until dinner – last London broil on the grill before the cold takes over – and then went out to the box to get the mail. YANKEE MAGAZINE – had I known it was in the mailbox there would have been no gardening done! The article is amazing…I just read it in a lovely hot tub…and felt like the queen of my cozy world. Thank you for inspiring us and being girlfriends with us all !

  57. Gail Buss says:

    Hi Susan, I got my Yankee Magazine. Got the subscription as soon as I knew you were in it months ago. I love it and I also love this blog which shows so much detail and much more than the magazine. So much preparation and I know the magazine doesn’t have enough room to show it all. But, just reading your blog puts me in the Christmas spirit. I can’t get over the size of the wreath that Joe made and put over that upper window in your house. Magnificent! Everything was just wonderful. I want to decorate right now but feel I must wait until at least the day after Thanksgiving. Hope you are having a wonderful time in CA with family and friends. You will be so happy though when you get back home to MV after being away for all these months. Happy travels and wishing you a safe journey on your return. With hugs, Gail

  58. Carol Lichwala says:

    Good Morning Susan,
    I love to get my Yankee magazine every month, this month was exceptional. I love the article they did on your and your beautiful home. I live in a senior complex in Western Ma. I now have almost everyone following your blog and ordering your books. A fine Romance will be on the coffee table in our community room for everyone to read. We have 4 computers in our community room and I have put your blog link on all of them…and I see them talking about it.
    Thank you for all you do for us, Susan. We love and appreciate you very much.

  59. Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

    Hi, Sue ~
    Just received my issue of Yankee in the mail over the weekend…really nice story! Of course, your photos were the “icing on the cake” but the Yankee team did an outstanding job of capturing the warmth and coziness of your home. I loved the article and didn’t want it to end. The best part, in my opinion, was the photo of you and Joe, holding hands on the porch and your quote about creating an atmosphere in our homes for ourselves and our guests, where we feel safe and comforted ~ a refuge from the outside world. Of course I’m paraphrasing and hope I got your intention right. What I love about you, Sue, is that you tell us we can do that for the people in our lives and you help us believe in ourselves enough to really DO it! You have been a guiding inspiration to me and to so many as we strive to create cozy havens for our loved ones.
    Love ya!
    PS: I made the stuffed pork chop casserole last Saturday…what a hit it was with my family! George complimented my cooking ability that evening and over and over again for the next couple of days to anyone who would listen! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      When I learned to cook, I found out I could please people with my recipes. When they told me how good something was, I beamed from the inside out and just wanted to do more. It was a huge help in helping me believe that I had something to give. When I wrote my first book, that what I was trying to do, to put together recipes that would give others that good feeling, so they would get compliments and that would help them to do it more. Hearing about your dinner warms the cockles of my heart. Thank you so much Debbie!

  60. Nora Egan says:

    What a great thing, happy magazine spread! (I had a column or two in “This Old House Magazine” in March 2009 when I gave my house a 100th b’day party.) Isn’t publication great — even for the already famous, like you! And you have a dry sink! So do I! Does it have a secret compartment? (Ask me about mine.) And Jack — that awwwdorable kitty. Can he BE any more photogenic? I think not. Love, love the dishware, we have many sets in common (all because of you, actually). Enjoy your book tour (LOVED the book) and get back home to Jack next month . . . he’s patting his paws in anticipation. And we can’t wait to see the pictures of your homecoming. Happy Halloween to you and Joe.

    • sbranch says:

      If mine has a secret compartment, it’s still a secret! 🙂 Where’s yours??? I will check mine when I get home! No, Jack is the perfect kitty model. Thank you Nora!

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        I have a dry sink, too. Don’t know about a possible secret compartment–do tell!!!! (I’m sure mine doesn’t have one so would be happily shocked if it did…!!!) 🙂

      • Nora Egan says:

        My sink is oak with a zinc insert. The piece, which was my great-great-Aunt Nora’s, and so it’s name is Aunt Nora, has a hidden bread board and knife area on the right. The sink itself is only about three-quarters of the piece of furniture and is surrounded on two sides by the nice wood on top. There are three drawers in front, a pair of sliding doors under them, and then a large (probably) flour bin or vegetable bin on the far right that is the depth of the cabinet and goes as far back as the other drawers. On the right-hand side, lift up on what you think is just the top of the thing, the wood, you know, like you were going to take the whole top off the cabinet, you may find a bread board and an area just the perfect size for bread knives. I even found antique bread crumbs! Lemme know if you find one.

  61. Judy Barnes says:

    Susan…Wanted to add my comment, along with all the rest, your home looked truly lovely in the Yankee Magazine spread and a place where the true spirit of Christmas resides! Thanks for being such an inspiration to all of your “girlfriends”.

  62. evelyn silvas says:

    & Wow. Just WOW.
    I am smiling from ear to ear 🙂


  63. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Hi Susan, I decided to go on a mission. That mission was to find a copy of Yankee Magazine in this big, beautiful city of Toronto I call home. After all, we have Crispy Cream donuts, Starbucks, Wal-Mart and Target. Surely there would be a copy of Yankee Magazine somewhere despite the email a friend received from Yankee Magazine itself saying it was not available in Canada. So, I started calling book stores and got lucky on my third phone call. The World’s Biggest Book Store right in the heart of downtown Toronto carried it. Not only that but they had the holiday issue with your article. And, I was able to reserve four copies which I picked up a few hours ago. Haven’t had a chance to look at it yet but I would say, mission accomplished. So happy to have the magazine and so looking forward to reading your article.

    • sbranch says:

      Where there’s a will there’s a way! Good for you Elaine!

      • Elaine in Toronto says:

        Hi Susan, loved your article but have to agree a little Susan Branch on the cover would have gone a long way to make it more Christmassy. Did enjoy the rest of the magazine too especially Richard Brown’s Vermont. It has a very different “flavour” from a lot of other magazines. Perhaps that is why it has lasted for so many years. Happy Halloween to everyone.

  64. Carol C says:

    Hi Susan! I loved this post for many reasons! 1st About 3 yrs. ago our home was in Country Sampler. It was a fantastic experience. Seeing your pictures brought back all the fun of that day of the shoot and sent me back to the issue to relive it. 2nd My collection of “Night Before Christmas books is missing one—a Susan Branch illustrated version–and wouldn’t it be nice if your house was the house in it—just sayin’. 3rd It got me thinking about Christmas. My BFF, Betty, and I get together every year to make Gingerbread ornaments for our trees from Tasha Tudor’s recipe. We have now inked in the date. It would be fun to hear what other girlfriends do to prepare for the holidays. Love the idea of the garlands and am going to make “God Bless Us Every One” to hang over the Dickens Village that we set up in the window seat every year. Thanks for the inspiration and the unfailing cheery posts!!!

  65. MaryO1230 says:

    Wow. How so VERY BEAUTIFUL and to top it off a very adorable tuxedo kittah! You are blessed! Thanks for sharing this wonderful and inspiring blog entry!
    Luv. MaryO San Pedro, CA

  66. lynn c says:

    I got my Yankee magazine in the mail on Saturday and loved the article on your MV home…but am loving your close-up photos even more!! I think of my home as my nest (love to travel, but coming back to my nest always feels the best!)…and you have created a wonderful nest. Am finding lots of inspiration in these photos for our 50th anniversary celebration (December 2014) which I want to be all about making welcome and comfortable all the people who have brought so much to our life together. Love the pic of you and Joe holding hands on the porch…think I might incorporate something like that into our invitations. Thanks for sharing your very creative and loving life.

  67. Deborah Norling says:

    Yankee arrived today. . I was so exited to pull off the protective cover and fully expected to see the shot of your beautifully decorated Christmas house on the cover.. I was extremely disappointed to see the plate of cookies.. I’m sure they’d have tripled their sales with the much prettier and festive photo of your bright and cheery and welcoming front porch decorated for the season. The article was very nice..sadly, they only had room to share the tip of the iceberg in the Wonderful World of Susan Branch. I’d love it if the powers that be at Yankee, realized how absolutely perfect it would be to have you in E V E R Y issue !!

    • sbranch says:

      Ha ha ha! But I agree that their cover was lacking in the actuality of CHRISTMAS. What colors were those? I don’t understand it, but I’m not the art director. I did love so much of what was inside though. Thank you Deborah!

  68. Suzanne says:

    I received the long awaited Yankee magazine in the mail yesterday! I was so excited, I couldn’t wait to open it and find your featured story. So lovely! It was kind of neat already knowing the behind the scenes and your little stories behind the pictures. I have to say that I still love seeing the pics in your blog so much more than in the magazine, you just bring them to life! It must be so exciting for you though, you and Joe did so much work to get your house looking so beautiful for the season. I’m so happy for you! ~ East Longmeadow, MA

  69. Carrie says:

    So the floodgates have officially opened, I’m going in…

    Your house of creativity was every bit of wonder and then oodles more. It shone, really it did! The pictures inside were beauties. There was such depth and interest in each that it left the reader to take in al the detail. I thought the Queen of Cozy was apt but your “legion” of fans know it goes much deeper than that.

    The aforementioned said, I was utterly stunned with the cover of the magazine. Maroon and olive green, huh? Truly befuddled. Called my BFF, (that would be Darlene, nurse who attended your signing in Goshen, Ind., and got a book signed for me) and we had quite a lively discussion about the pedestrian white bars on the cover when Susan and the House of Creativity were inside.

    The teaser titles on the cover of the magazine, again, surprised at the choices. Seems like “Queen of Cozy” might have been a great choice that would have grabbed a prospective customer but instead, “9 Decades of Our Favorite Cookies.” Oy vey.

    My friend at work said it perfectly, you and Joe were cover girl/boy material just as well as centerfolds!

    But as you’ve said, fortunately we have your glorious blog to augment the photos in the magazine. Your pics really capture the day. And how much did I love hearing the Englishman speak on your video clip and as I mentioned last year when you did a post on the photo shoot, just love that an Englishman was working on a Yankee photo shoot 🙂

    Here’s cheers to the Queen of Cozy!

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, Oy Vey, my thoughts exactly! I was really surprised too! Even if it had nothing to do with me, I would look at the cover and think, at best, February. Never anything holiday! 9 decades of our favorite cookies and if you look close, there’s “Our 30 Favorite Cheeses!” Just Lol funny. But I’m STILL thrilled to be there, after all, it’s Yankee, one of the very few family owned magazines still in existence. Love being there, honored to the nth degree.

      Now, your sudden appearance the other day in Palo Alto left us all with so many questions! I told Elizabeth and we were just shaking our heads, how did that happen? You have to tell! The little book, how perfect that was. You have guardian angel DNA in you Carrie! Thank you for the surprise, but you have to tell how the heck you did it so I can tell Joe and Elizabeth.

      • Yes, Carrie, you must tell us! And I don’t even know what the heck Susan’s talking about! 🙂

        • Deborah Norling says:

          Palo Alto ? ! Yes…someone must tell us..If I’d known there was something official in Palo Alto I could have been there !!

          • sbranch says:

            It wasn’t “official” in Palo Alto ~ my girlfriend Elizabeth and her aunt had a tea in their garden and invited both of their book clubs and I came and gave a little talk and signed books there. We really wanted to have an official something up there, but it was very hard to plan with a bookstore when we didn’t know when the books would be in … this garden party was planned back in August, so I saved them books. Must try again!

  70. sherrill says:

    Dear Susan,
    I’m so enjoying reading your blogs! I’ve been looking forward to buying a copy of Yankee magazine at the store but now am a bit under the weather, so I hope they’ll still be a copy when I get out!
    I just love my “Come,Sit,Stay” tins and an looking to having a couple of the tea towels you spoke of in one of your blogs. Any idea when they’ll be available?
    Be well and be safe~

  71. Laura Ann in Vermont says:

    Loved the Yankee article, and they almost did as good a job of capturing the spirit of your home as you do with your blog! I sort-of came close to getting my home in this issue, too. The article on p. 64 (When the Leaves Come Down) pictures my part of the world and I recognize most of the photos and names. Small world!

  72. Kelly from eastern PA says:

    Hi Susan!

    Grabbed up my copy of Yankee magazine yesterday and flipped through to be sure it was the right issue. Lo and behold, there you were with Jack & Joe smiling at the camera. I wanted to tell the other people in the aisle that “I know this woman, really! She’s not just some lady in a magazine.” LOL But I refrained. Read the article last night with my tea and I can’t tell you enough how much your closing words were to me….”I understand how people need to feel as though there’s something steady in the world. You can make that for people. You can take them back to a time they feel might have been safer than the time is now, when all was well.” Spoke to my heart….thanks for all you do to make our girlfriend world safe & sound, and indeed cozy! Kelly

    • sbranch says:

      I think I read this and answered but in case that was gremlins, I’ll just put this up anyway . . . Thank you Kelly!

  73. Deborah Heater (Indiana) says:

    HAPPY HALLOWEEN GIRLFRIENDS, this time of year takes me way back to my childhood and coming home from school so excited to put on my cloth cat costume and eating a dinner of grilled cheese and tomato soup. We loved going out and until we moved to IN where being in the country wasn’t as fun trick-or-treating vs in the suburbs where we went house to house and had bags and bags of candy. Now, my Dad didn’t approve of sweets for kids (WHAT) so once he went through it and downsized we each only ended up with a brown lunch sack each?? it was still fun. I carried over the tradition with my two nieces (now in their thirties) and my daughter (26) who all just LOVE this time of year. Every year I would decorate our home as a haunted house and bake a German Chocolate Cake and have scary music playing when they got home from school. I would bring home Baskin Robbins “Witch Icecream Cones” where the cone was the hat and the pumpkin icecream was the face…they just squealed. I have to admit I no longer enjoy standing at the door and greeting the little goblins (mainly because of our 2 kitties and the “meanness” that happens nowadays. I got a thank you from my niece in GA thanking me for making Halloween so special and now she has 2 little ones and the tradition continues. I hope everyone with little ones has a very safe, good weather, (IN is having rain and high winds so our time to give out treats is happening on Friday in some areas) Halloween and enjoys making traditions with their children. Also, don’t forget to FALL BACK at 2am Sunday and set back your clocks and change your batteries in the smoke alarms!!! Phew…..there is my P.A. for the end of October. Again, where did October go Susan?? Do you girls remember Zagnut, Clark, Zero candy bars….oh sweet, sweet memories 🙂

    • Deborah T. Norling says:

      What fun and fond memories..but…the one thing I would have looked forward to…is… HOME MADE GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE ..forget the candy..let me eat c a k e !

  74. Judy Dow says:

    Ethel and I went out this morning to get our Yankee magazine. We were like two little school girls waiting to open them. I’m having to hold myself back. Tomorrow is Halloween and much to early to get out Christmas things. But…hmmm… Maybe just one room? Loved the pictures, especially the one in the contents page with jack stretched out in front of the fireplace table! Happy Halloween !

    • sbranch says:

      The fact you two went together made me feel like I was there too! Did you take your masks? One of the highlights of our Wilmette Tea Party!

      • Judy Dow says:

        Actually we should have. But our Scottish friend Margaret has shown us the fun of fascinators. We are making our own soon for the holidays. If my daughter shows me how I will send a picture. Btw…rabbit,rabbit!

  75. carol melville says:

    Dear Susan
    I was so excited to find the December Yankee magazine on the shelf I bought four. I brought two to my nieces wedding to surprise my sister in law and my blog friend Wendy Louise. You certainly are an inspiration. Tuesdays I watch my granddaughter Claire, (you signed her Grandma book) and have made a tradition of sending dinner home with her mommy and daddy.We all enjoyed the delicious meal from your halloween menu. I especially enjoyed the mini curry pumpkin pots. I always though they were gourds. Very delicious. You bring so much to our homes. Thank you for the ideas and inspiration.
    Look forward to the forthcoming book Pancakes:))
    Carol Mel

  76. Karen Saunders says:

    Susan, can you tell me if you will be signing books both Sat and Sun or just Sun?? (At SLO.) Thanks, Karen

    • sbranch says:

      Signed books will be available all day on Saturday, along with Sheri. But my booth will only be there on Sunday, and if you want your book personalized, I’m going to be there from 1 to 3 to sign them. You have to come Sunday, Karen, so I can meet you!

      • Karen Saunders says:

        Wild horses can’t keep me away….coming all the way from Oregon and can NOT wait to meet you….and Joe. I’m just going to say right now the things I will not have the courage to say in front of you…I think you’re fabulous and my total inspiration and I think you’re a warm decorator, wonderful friend and all in all great person. And I’m not just saying this…you really are all those things. It’s a shame because what we all really want to be is your best friend and sit in front of the fire and chat and have tea…. next best thing is we get that from reading your books and your blog. sigh….anyway I’ll be there.

        • sbranch says:

          Oh Karen! You will see I’m so normal and you won’t be tongue tied at all. But you are a doll to say that xoxo See you soon!

  77. Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    Happy Halloween Everyone!

  78. Julie Marie says:

    HAPPY HALLOWEEN SUSAN!… I know you are missing being home on MV and handing out treats to all of the little ghosts and goblins… I am missing having you there!… hope you have a bewitching day (and night!) today… xoxo Julie Marie

  79. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Susan, your beautiful bowl of Holiday Jam would have made a gorgeous cover photo for Yankee Magazine, don’t you think?

  80. diana from ancaster says:

    just picked up my copy of Yankee magazine………… canNOT wait to get home to savour each page…especially looking forward to enjoying the article about our favourite girlfriend (and joe)’s home!

  81. Mary Eva Ross says:

    Heading out today to find my copy of Yankee Magazine (10/31). I went through this post about 20 times remembering when it was actually happening and just get so excited and I’m sure I will wear the pages out in the magazine! Always feel so domesticated and inspired reading through your posts. Thanks from one of your biggest fans (I know we all feel that way :))

  82. Susan Jones says:

    Oh my… I know that I haven’t had much time to keep up with your blog, and what a wonderful entry to review! I just know that you are on your way to my house to transform it for the holidays… right? …. ha! Just wanted to let you know that my SB Wallet Calendar just arrived so that I can carry a bit of happiness in my purse throughout the upcoming year! Thank you for making my heart & soul smile… xoxoxo

  83. GF Michele says:

    Susan, your home is stunning! Do you decorate this way evety year? Or was it more “over the top” for the magazine?
    The look on Jack’s face in the picture with dancer and prancer is PRICELESS!! Also, please DO finish the Breakfast Book!! You will, for sure, have one happy “boyfriend” out there 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      It was cleaner than usual, that’s for sure, it all shined. Even the mixing bowls on the top shelves! I usually decorate pretty well, not sure if it was More than usual, but it was as complete as it has ever been! I’ll get on that book. I just want to go home and write and paint and paint and write, watch the snow, listen to the fire and hardly talk at all!

  84. Deborah T. Norling says:

    Oh Susan…re: Palo Alto..I’m just glad you had a chance for a nice visit with your friend and her auntie… Right now, I’m needing back up from the CANDY COPS.. I’m alone in the house..the trick or treaters probably won’t arrive for a good 30 minutes or so…. just opened a bag of…(what else.. ? )…”KIT KATS” !!… Every year I tell myself….Ok..just have one….o.k..two………ok…S I X !

    • sbranch says:

      I’m terrible with the Halloween candy too! My favorite is the Butterfingers. I end up hiding a handful in my desk drawer so the holiday continues far far too long! 🙂

  85. Judy Mapston says:

    One of my best girl friends and I are driving up to San Luis Obispo to meet you and my friend Bonnie (who you know) and go to the Remnants fair. Very excited!!

  86. Wendy says:

    So EXCITED to find YANKEE magazine in my South Florida mailbox today!! LOVED seeing inside your beautiful home for the holidays and was even more thrilled to find more wonderful photos on your blog tonight as I definitely wanted to see more.

    Thanks for always sharing your passionate and inspiring creativity!!

    Wendy 😉

    • sbranch says:

      It’s great we can do it this way, hard copy in magazine, and extras on the blog! Double your pleasure double your fun.

  87. Kim says:

    I got the magazine and it was a lovely treat. However (with all due respect to Yankee magazine), I loved your post even more! It was so nice to see what things really look like, without all of the perfect lighting and staging. So cozy. Thank you for continuing to share your home with us.

    • sbranch says:

      So nice of you to say that. It’s good to have both…kind of the before and after. I always love befores and afters!

  88. Helen says:

    Hooray, just returned from New Orleans and in a pile of held mail, my Yankee magazine 🙂 Good to be home curled up reading. Looking forward to the breakfast book!

  89. Beth in SC says:

    My girlfriend brought your magazine by my office for me to see – Oh my! So beautiful! Even these Southern gals, we adored Yankee magazine and think you enhanced their product oh so much! 🙂

  90. Brian Dickie says:

    Ms. Branch,

    I am so looking forward to hearing you in San Luis O. this weekend. My partner and I are celebrating our anniversary. I cannot wait for her to show me the town and learn her better.

    Thank you,
    Brian Dickie

  91. Deborah T. Norling says:

    Susan…did you used to read “YANKEE” in the good old says..when it was the much more unique and quaint and perfectly perfect smaller size ? I was one of the people that was extremely disappointed when they went to the larger size made the magazine extra special..and the strange truth is..I’ve never felt as fond of the magazine since it lost it’s unique-ness ! I still have some of my favourite smaller issues that I can’t bear to part with.

    • sbranch says:

      I love them too, but I still think YANKEE has some one-of-a-kind qualities. It’s a very useful magazine, for one thing. Maybe I’m just partial!

  92. Kristine says:

    Hello…I just want you to know how much your blog/books/way of life…mean to me. I just got a chance to read this post and I feel like a different person than the person who first sat down in this chair. In a world that is far from relaxing, I feel like your blog is a little piece of peace. It means a lot. Just wanted to let you know.

  93. Jamie says:

    Love, love, love everything! I have my copy of Yankee magazine I found at our local Barnes and Noble in Bee Caves, Texas just west of Austin. I’m taking cues from you with my decorating this Christmas…simplifying with charm and enchantment! I love how you mix the clear twinkle lights with the large color lights. For the color lights, do you use the old fashion ceramic lights or transparent ones? I think it’s the ceramic, but hard to be sure from the pictures. I had hoped to make it to one of your book signings or to San Luis Obispo, but hope one day our paths will cross as we are true kindred spirits along with all the girlfriends. So glad we have this format for chatting and sharing. You are a true inspiration. Thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      Ours are the old-fashioned ceramic lights. It really does make things more interesting when you use different sized lights in one place. You know I’m going to be in Albuquerque on November 22? That’s pretty far from you, but I thought I’d mention it just in case. Have a great day Jamie!

      • Jamie says:

        I had not checked your events page recently, so I’m glad to hear you’re swinging a little further south on your way home I presume. How anxious you must be to get there! Thanks for letting me know, and I’ll definitely try to be either there or Oklahoma City. Have a wonderful day!

  94. Lizzie says:

    Did anyone NOTICE that the 2013 Calendar did NOT have any pix or printing
    on November 4th??????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SOOOOOOOOOOO
    LOVE SUSAN BRANCH, her 2014 Calendar is adorable, NATCH!!!! 🙂

  95. Sara says:

    I can’t remember if I told you or not, Susan, that my latest entry on my bucket list is: “Walk past Susan and Joe’s house on Martha’s Vineyard some snowy night when it’s all decorated for Christmas”! (I can hardly wait!)

  96. Jeanne Sofsky says:

    I just found you on Amazon. I saw your book A fine Romance and ordered it because I love England too. I adored your book, so I bought one for my Mom and my cousin Pat for Christmas. I now intend to buy more of your books and read your blog.
    Have a wonderful Christmas. Keep writing.
    your new fan,
    Jeanne Sofsky

    • sbranch says:

      Nice to meet you Jeanne … I was hoping A FINE ROMANCE would make some new introductions for me, and here you are!

  97. Mary Lou Cummings says:

    Susan- found you in my Yankee Magazine and discovered your charming website and blog. Everything about your art and lifestyle is inspiring. Your energy seems endless. Don’t know how you do it all! By the way, thought Yankee did a wonderful job with content and photos.
    Kudos to you!

  98. nancy says:

    A jillian pictures of your stove – Yes Please!

    • sbranch says:

      I can’t wait to do it. I really can hardly look at it enough! It’s like my kitchen fireplace, it mesmerizes me! I’ll do it soon. Stove and Thanksgiving go together.

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