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. jeannine leonard says:

    These pictures just make me feel so happy inside. Heartfelt joy!

  2. Rita Baker says:

    Yesterday there were snowflakes coming down among the Autumn leaves that were falling. Next week is Halloween. And now, reading the blog, you’ve got my Christmas preparation spirit kicked into high gear! I want to make presents to give my friends and your books always give me ideas. Thanks for the suggestions, and mostly, the inspiration to dive headfirst into the coming season!

  3. Debbie says:

    Reading this post has put me in the Christmas spirit and it is only October! Can’t wait to receive the next issue of Yankee!

  4. Oh my heart just sings looking at all the sweet, cozy touches you put into your beautiful Christmas home! So much inspiration and beauty:>) Thank you Susan! I’m a big fan of your lovely work!

  5. Lori says:

    Thank you Susan! I can hardly wait for my Yankee magazine to arrive. We have had snow flurries here in Indiana and now after reading your blog, I am getting into the Christmas spirit! Any chance we can get the cranberry cake recipe? Please?

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t have it with me, and thought I might save it for the Breakfast book to make it more wonderful and not so been there done that…. 🙂

      • Mary in Phoenix says:

        I’m sure I’m not the only girlfriend that gets excited to hear you talk about your breakfast book 🙂 Sounds like are itching to get back and work on PANCAKES … can’t wait! XO

      • Carolyn says:

        And when can we expect the Breakfast cookbook? 🙂 I think this Christmas post is so amazingly beautiful!!

  6. Elaine says:

    Lovely ! How thrilling for you all ! Do I detect a bit of Brit accent in the man in the video taking the photos ? I have always loved your home so wonderfully decorated and yes I am in love with your stove hehe ! Such a talented lady you are and love your work and site .Thanks for sharing this fun experience with us . Cheers xxoo

  7. Vickie in Olympia says:

    Wonderful post! So cheerful (as are you!). Yesterday while weeding my garden, I was wondering if you and Joe will make it back to MV for the holidays. I don’t know how you have managed to be away for so long. After three days I’m ready to be back into my four walls and routine. Thank you for reminding me again that creativity comes from inside me not from somewhere else. Cheers!

    • sbranch says:

      Luckily, where we are now holds many charms for us — lots of family and old friends. But my routine and house and all the things of home, I will be very glad to get back to them, if I remember how to HAVE a routine!

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        Before you know it, you will be home and your routine will return and it will feel as if your trip was a dream! At least that is the way it is with me…This post is so wintery and it fits the weather here–cold and snow flurries today. After our abnormally hot and humid Summer, it feels really cold now! I’m glad we went to Door County even if it was for only a couple of days as that was our Fall season this year. We came home to cold temperatures. We’re having an extremely early Winter here, it seems, so it is almost as if we went directly from Summer to Winter! Planning and decorating for the holidays is so much fun, it makes the loss of a long Fall season less bad… Can’t wait for the Yankee Magazine to arrive in the mailbox! 🙂

  8. Betsy says:

    I have a motto…..It’s Never Too Soon For Christmas”! You have made my day and inspired me to get going on my projects for the holidays. I can’t wait for the magazine to arrive. As soon as you mentioned it I signed up for a subscription.

  9. Patricia Little says:

    Your stories are so alive , it is easy to imagine oneself with you enjoying your lovely home. You are blessed with a wonderful gift and feel sure if we could meet, I would feel I have always known you. Keep doing what you do so well, Susan, and thank you for a little trip to your country, Patricia, Merseyside, England

  10. Gail says:

    Just beautiful!!! Makes me want to go home and decorate, however I must wait another month at least…Can’t wait to pick up the magazine!

  11. mary spring says:

    …dear Susan…what a ‘dream-weaver’ you are…you had me floating in the realm of Christmas charm and magicality…and then you mentioned “dentist” and I plopped right back into reality.. (and it isn’t even Halloween yet !!..LOL..)..thank you so much for that journey you took us on…’LOVED ever word and photo !!…thank you..and, as always, take care and with love….(you’ve placed me right into the Holiday spirit…)..

    • sbranch says:

      I know, the dentist was the cold reality for me too…there I was with angel chimes ringing, and suddenly in the leather chair!

  12. nina sznurman from Maryland says:

    SSSSSSSSSSSSSoooooooooooooooooooo Beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!! You are a gem–love the house -cant wait to get my magazine this month–love the whole house with all the white and red–so many inspirational little things to enjoy –love the pantry——-have a great Thanksgiving!!!!! and Christams!!! nina

  13. nina sznurman from Maryland says:

    SSSSSSSSSSSSSoooooooooooooooooooo Beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!! You are a gem–love the house -cant wait to get my magazine this month–love the whole house with all the white and red–so many inspirational little things to enjoy –love the pantry——-have a great Thanksgiving!!!!! and Christmas!!! nina

  14. MaryAnn says:

    Susan, Your post today brought tears to my eyes! Especially the first video with the Christmas music playing. I can hardly wait until my Yankee issue gets here. It is never too early for Christmas-my favorite season of all. While Autumn is my favorite of the four seasons, Christmas is a season all of it’s own. And part of enjoying Autumn is the anticipation of Christmas. Your home looks wonderful. I love that your kitchen door is decorated , too, and there is a wreath on the inside of the kitchen door as well as the outside! Mrs. Claus would be so comfortable there! I could go on and on. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I am a bit sentimental these days, as it has only been a couple months since Dad died (you were so kind to offer sympathy when I mentioned it in a reply a while back). Memories drift back of when we were kids, and they are wonderful memories! Your post today has been a jo(e)y!!

  15. Jen from Michigan says:

    What perfect timing! We had our first snow flakes in Michigan today! I love Halloween but I am looking forward to our first Christmas in our new house! Thank you for sharing your home with everyone and inspiring us to decorate from the heart! I cannot wait to pour over the issue when it comes!!

  16. Karen Saunders says:

    I got my magazine last night!!! Was very excited to snuggle in and read it. I LOVE the big square plate on your sideboard. So pretty!! And your house is absolutely fantabulous!!! Every person reading your blog can imagine themselves sitting in front of the fire sipping tea with you and Jack on their lap. I guess it makes me happy to think that such nice people are enjoying that house. Snow makes it perfect!! Makes me want to start baking and cut a tree…..but it’s not even Halloween so I guess I’ll just have to hold my horses. Good job my friend, as always!! (any story on the plate?) karen

    • sbranch says:

      I think we carry on the tradition from the nice people who had the house before us…. and before them. You can feel the happy ghosts of family-life past in there. I got the plate at a huge yearly flea market in MA called Brimfield. It was so beyond my $$$ means at the time, but I pretended not to look at the price because I just had to have it. I’ve never regretted it. I have NO idea if it’s actually worth anything, but it’s so pretty I don’t care.

      • Karen Saunders says:

        I’m like you in that respect…..if I like a little set of salt and pepper shakers or other glass items at the grocery store in the home dept. I get them. I don’t care if it’s cheap. Some of the greatest ‘stuff’ I have didn’t have a big price tag!! (I love my stuff…makes me happy when I look at it..)

    • Carol Maurer~~~~ Kennewick, Wa says:

      I have to agree with you, Karen…. I’m now in the Christmas spirit, or at least in the Holiday spirit.. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

  17. Mary says:

    Oh my goodness! This post was pure magic for me. In recent years, I’m afraid, I’ve begun to see Christmas as another item on my to-do list. The pictures of your beautiful home are such an inspiration. I love Jack’s expression in the photos, especially when he’s on the table with the reindeer. This year, I’m vowing to do less shopping and running around, and more of the decorating and baking and relaxing that I love. Thank you for sharing this. Your Joe is a treasure!

  18. Anna Marie says:

    Could I possibly first? Say it ain’t so. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the update! Now I am brimming with seasonal happiness. Thank you, Susan. Going out to look for a copy.

  19. Thea says:

    Wow. I just love your house. I used to live in one very similar, about 8 yrs. ago. and this spread made me a bit nostalgic. sigh. Can’t wait for this Yankee issue to get into my house. t

  20. Debbie Rockholm says:

    Dear Susan, Oh how exciting to open your Blog and see it is all about Yankee Magazine and the article on your “BEAUTIFUL HOME”. I received my Yankee Magazine the day before yesterday and was so impressed with the article. They did a beautiful job, but that is because they had the most wonderful home to work with and had two very special people to make it look fantastic. It’s simply magnificent…you captured everything that you were hoping for. Well done sweet Sue and Joe. I have my Yankee magazine on my coffee table so I can share with all who visit and tell them what a very special girlfriend we all have in Susan Branch. Thank you for sharing your beautiful home with all of us and giving us inspiration. You are the best.

    Debbie R from Valencia, CA

    P.S. I will definitely be making your cranberry jam for gifts. Thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      How sweet of you Debbie — believe me, when I was doing this, I had all of you in mind too . . . wanted to say Merry Christmas to my Girlfriends!

  21. Ann says:

    Oh what fun to see the behind the scenes of a photo shoot! I am a regular subscriber of Yankee for the past 33 years (a Christmas gift from my husband’s parents since we were married, carried on after they left us). It’s a wonderful magazine and I think the girlfriends will love everything in it. I love your vision of Mrs. Claus staying in the attic and shopping on the island. Such an imagination! I will be rereading this post several times to be sure to catch every little detail. You are amazing! Hope the dentist went easy on you.

    • sbranch says:

      It was easy, and now I get to say that magic happy word, Phew. Over, done, for a while. Yay. Thank you Ann, xoxo

  22. Helen says:

    Ah, Susan…..oh, how I loved this blog ! It’s not even Halloween yet and OH HOW I LOVE IT HERE IN NEW ENGLAND IN THE FALL…..but now you have gotten me in the cozy Christmas mood ! Can’t wait till our “Yankee” magazine arrives (we’ve been getting it for 48 years) !
    Take care, Helen. P.S. Hurry back to New England !

  23. Sue Miller says:

    Beautiful! My Yankee arrived yesterday. Loved pouring over the article and the pictures…much inspiration for one and all! Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      Love the computer . . . to be able to have the magazine with even more on-line, pretty darn wonderful what we can do today!

  24. Ruth Thomas says:

    How absolutely enchanting and lovely and inspiring and….I’m speechless! It’s amazing how everything comes together if you have some idea of what you want to show. I’m not creative at all, but I am always inspired by what you do. This has certainly put me in the Christmas spirit already – but I would not mind having Christmas as a permanent holiday – at least as it relates to decorating and music and lights and happiness and…snow. We actually had snow on the ground in Indiana this morning! So exciting. Can’t wait to see Yankee magazine with all of this loveliness to behold. Thanks dear Susan and I hope the dentist was a good visit.

    • sbranch says:

      It was really good, I happen to LOVE the woman who cleans my teeth (Carol), so that’s a big help. She never hurts me. She tries to drown me sometimes but that’s it. Nice to hear from you Ruth ~ thank you!

  25. Kathy Ohrt/Iowa says:

    Dear Susan,
    Love the stroll through your charming home again! ♥
    Loved your book! ♥
    And seeing Joe making the beautiful wreaths. ♥
    I saved the red cardinal, apples, pear from the my wreath after it dried up.
    It lasted so long in the Iowa winter by our front door on our porch.
    Also seeing the pretty little tea cup I have on my antique cupboard in my dining room.
    Thanks for sharing Susan,
    Love, Kathy O.

    • sbranch says:

      Isn’t it fun to see it again? I thought about you! Now you can make a wreath and use your cardinal and fruits again! xoxo

  26. Ann from Maryland says:

    I am so glad you decided to make the magazine shoot the topic of this blog. I enjoyed it so much and look forward to the arrival of my copy of the magazine. Especially enjoyed the photos of Jack. He is a pip! Did Girl Kitty make it into the shoot or did she hide out while they were there? You definately inspired me to get my house in order early so I can take time to enjoy decorating before the big day arrives. Have a wonderful holiday season!

  27. Lo says:

    Can’t wait to see the magazine! What a lot of work you went to – looks great!

  28. Dorinda says:


    Do you think you will be getting more of the magazines in the store since you are all sold out? I live in the south and can’t find Yankee Magazine down here 🙁



    • sbranch says:

      We have gotten more . . . I think they’re up ~ look in the right hand column at the top of the blog, there should still be a YANKEE icon you can click on.

      • Dorinda says:

        Thank you So Much! I have ordered one for me and my mother…I can’t wait for it to come. Thanks for posting all the pics. 🙂 I am now officially in the Christmas spirit. In fact this weekend I started making my own Christmas banner for my house 🙂

  29. Sharon Calvert says:

    Thanks, Susan; I saw the tweets and agree whole-heartedly with your decision! I haven’t seen a Yankee magazine since I moved from New England in 1987, so this is going to be such a special treat! Although it’s currently 74 degrees and sunny outside, with autumn and Halloween decor going on inside, you’ve stirred the Christmas Spirit within me … it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in my head 🙂 Looking forward to the next installment of the book tour; enjoy!

    Sharon in Alabama

  30. Barbara H Patterson says:

    After I pre-ordered Yankee with your Christmas spread I forgot I did it. I haven’t walked to the mailbox yet but when I do I will be armed with all your behind the scenes stories. Susan, you are amazing. I have read your new book 3 times, using for a marker (besides the sweet ribbon) your condolence note written on a “teacup” years ago when my husband died. We lived on our boat and your books went sailing with us. They now reside only 3 blocks from the beach here in SC, I hope to add “Pancakes” to all my first editions soon. Can I preorder it?
    I Heart you, my dear. Barb

  31. Karen P. (Wisconsin) says:

    Thank you for this behind-the-scenes making of A Christmas with Susan Branch! Love it so much. Can’t wait to see the magazine! Especially love the cute pic of Jack looking at the white deer as if to say “Hello. And who are you to invade my space?” Too funny the look on his face! Love all your twinkling, sparkly, RED touches! Too gorgeous! xo

  32. Colleen says:

    Great sneak peak. I cannot wait for Yankee Magazine. I am going to buy it and save it for the day after Thanksgiving in front of the fireplace.

  33. Janet in Rochester says:

    Just one thing to say [I know, really unusual for me – LOL]. In the video of the sideboard chimes and candles, you say “A little jerky I know, but….” No, ma’am. Not Jerky At All. This scene brought tears to my eyes. The music, the quiet, the sweetness and gentility of the lace-covered sideboard. It could be 100 years ago. Just Plain Beautiful. I will play this over and over, I know. That plus the significantly-cooler temps here in the East really have me thinking Christmas now too.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m sorry I said that, I really meant my movements were jerky, but it’s more like my words were! I did feel like it was a hundred years ago!

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        Maybe it was the music that got to me, over and above everything else, I’m not sure. But this was THE loveliest “Sue” video ever. And that’s saying something. I’ll keep it forever.

  34. Dearest Susan, what an inspiration you are! I’ve been listening to Christmas music for several weeks … I drive my husband crazy 🙂 … but it makes me happy. When I saw your post today, it made my old heart skip a beat. What a lovely, Christmasy home you have! I can almost smell the Christmas in the air. Your video clips made it all perfection in cyber-land. Thank you for the smiles and good feelings!

  35. Kathy George says:

    As always another wonderful post. I so appreciate the work that must go into these posts but you are a natural. I will refer to this come Christmas decorating season for your wonderful ideas. None of this gets old. You help us make memories for our families all the while enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of the seasons. Thank you so much.

  36. Judy Dow says:

    It’s only October 23, but after reading your post, I want to decorate my house for the holidays. I can’t wait to see Yankee Magazine!! Thanks for sharing. I could almost smell gingerbread as I read this!

  37. Sandy says:

    I would love to spend Christmas at your home. I can tell it’s just full of love and warmth. Truly a HOME. Thank you for the inspiration. For the past 2 years I haven’t even put up a tree but this year I think I’ll just go all out!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Or get a tiny real one that just fits perfectly on a tabletop and then cover it in lights and put on the music and you are done and it will be beautiful!

  38. Absolutely wonderful. I thank God for people like you who are warm, lovely, talented, gifted, and who share all of it with us. 🙂

  39. Deborah Thomas says:

    LOVE the pictures!!! I have been a fan of Yankee for over 30 years, and think their photography is exceptional! The subject matter is always of interest, and I have many back issues. Can’t wait to buy this one, got to be a winner-

  40. Mary in Phoenix says:

    Such inspiration and creativity! Never too early to get into the spirit … Only 63 days til Christmas you know. Love how you reuse & re-purpose. You can’t just run to Michael’s when you live on an island! But I think you were “green” before it was cool 🙂 Congrats on an awesome magazine article and thanks for the behind the scenes tour from your creative perspective!
    “Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” ~Norman Vincent Peale

  41. Pam Zopf says:

    Can I move in with you….please. Your home is like a dream come true. I love all of Joe’s greenery art. Love the birds…some good ideas for my kinda small condo. Will be visiting the island next September and will be thrilled to walk by your home. Everything is perfect.

  42. Ann Y in PA says:

    Oh, Susan….magical ! You could never wear us out….what an early holiday treat for us all. It turned cold here in PA today and windy, too….and your post makes it all feel so cozy. Thanks for giving us a sneak peek….I subscribed to Yankee Magazine when you mentioned you would be featured so I would not miss out – now I can’t wait for it to arrive. Thank you, Susan, for sharing with us !

  43. Debs OBrien says:

    Oh! My! Is this your best blog yet? Ever? Can a good thing be made better? I always thought your house perfect, but after all the dressing and staging, well, wowser! Such hard work for you, but look at how that table glows, and all those little vignettes, precious displays of treasures, and I feel privileged beyond to see all this, and get the ‘official’ behind~the~scenes peek.

    “Yankee” is not available in the UK, as you mention, but I shall have to see if it is possible to buy a digital copy and break with my ethics of not reading digi~mags.

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I know I will be spending a lot of time here over the next few days, with an Emma Bridgewater mug full of Twinings teas or hot chocolate~~for tonight it is so chilly it almost feels like winter frost isn’t far away now~~

    Waving from Across The Pond {where the weather is wild and windy again} xoxo

  44. Nancy Jane says:

    When looking at the pictures it is like Where’s Waldo but instead it is where is Jack. I love his mustache. I must get a copy of the magazine. Not sure where in the heart of the Midwest but I am on the lookout for it. Thank you for sharing.

    • sbranch says:

      We thought it might be a little hard to find, which is why we have them in our web store, just in case Nancy Jane!

  45. Mary Pat says:

    Oh, how utterly lovely!!! Makes me want to rush out to our shed and lug in all the boxes filled with Christmas specialties! But, I’ll be good and wait till Black Friday, brew some wonderful tea and start by making our Advent Wreath. Then’ it’ll be an angel tree in the kitchen: a smallish tree with white lights, and zillions of ornaments ( all angels ) that watches over my attempts at domesticity during this georgous season! Thank you for this preview! Love all of it!

  46. Annie Scott from Dallas says:

    Beautiful home. How do you ever get to sleep with your brain always so creative??

    • sbranch says:

      It isn’t easy 🙂 I wake up and it’s going. And I never remember my dreams because I think I am too deep asleep to have them!

  47. Pom Pom says:

    Wow! That was wonderful! I’ve been listening to James Taylor’s Christmas album as I fall asleep this week and now, after looking at this festive spread, I think I’m longing for the holidays. First, Maui (I know! I can’t wait!) and then home for the entire holiday season. Bliss!

  48. Thanks Susan for including us girlfriends in the photo shoot when you blogged about it last year! What a beautiful job Yankee did, capturing the hominess and warmth of your well loved home. What a lot of work, but the end result is so charming!

  49. Martha Ellen of VA says:

    It’s all so magical Susan. Congratulations to you and to Joe! You both worked so hard to create a lovely home. A home that Yankee Magazine wants to come and do an article about. I’m looking forward to seeing it all in print! xoxo ♥

  50. Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

    I’ve been waltzing around my kitchen with a mug of your tea in my hand..and now I’m going to settle myself on the sofa and comment on this wonderful blog! I subscribed to Yankee Magazine last year about this time when you told us about your feature in this year’s Nov/Dec issue. I also subscribed to their digital issue so I can get it on my ipad. Can’t wait to receive them both..yipeeee 🙂 Happy, happy day!! Also, can’t tell you how pleased I was to see Julie Marie’s comment on your last post. She suggested that you might consider designing a Jack/Girl Kitty charm, and lo and behold, you’ve already put an order in for them. The other day I was thinking about how pretty and sweet a black and white kitty charm would be…it just goes to prove that Great Girlfriend Minds think alike! Happy, happy, HAPPY day!! I ordered the Fine Romance charm yesterday, already have the MV and Girlfriends. I purchased a Pandora bracelet when we were in Mackinac Island a few weeks ago, and I love, love the look of it with your charms. Maybe in the future you could think about a tea charm in golden caramely colors? Just thinkin’ and wishin’ out loud 🙂 Oh, and did you see the absolutely beautiful Baby Prince George today with his Mum and Dad? Precious, precious. Made me cry happy tears. God bless that dear little one. Hugs!

    • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

      Whoops…meant to say that my bracelet is a Troll bead, not Pandora. Both are lovely, but I like the feel of the Troll bead chain a bit better.

    • sbranch says:

      I did, it was adorable, and I really loved the article about the grandpa Prince Charles they’re talking about in Time Magazine. I really like this man and he deserves SO much more credit than he gets for doing all the wonderful things he does.

  51. Cathy McC. says:

    What an inspiration, Susan! Lucy and I are tempted to start decorating for Christmas and it’s not even Halloween yet! You and Joe certainly have the right touch, and I’m betting that all the “girlfriends” wish we had him making wreaths in our yards, too. (And this girlfriend wishes for a Jack on a ladder, too!) Does this make you a bit anxious to get home to start getting ready for the holidays? Hope your trip is going well. BTW – I’ve happily been introduced to Sharon Lovejoy blog through you — another relaxing read. Soooo looking forward to getting the Yankee magazine and looking at every detail with Lucy and also my daughters. Wishing you well — Ethel

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve been thinking about our Christmas this year. After all the travel I want to make it very simple and warm with as many hugs and fires in the fireplace as possible.

      • Cathy McC. says:

        You are just the person to make that happen — with a little help from the jolly man in the red suit!

  52. deezie says:

    Hi Susan
    What a fun and fabulous post. I can’t wait to get my Yankee Magazine and see that article on your beautiful home. I love everything about Christmas and your house at Christmas time is just spectaculiar. You made it all nice and cozy and now we all want to come to your house for Christmas!!! hope your dentist appt went well. Hope it was just a routine visit 🙂
    happy day Susan

  53. Sara McKeefer says:

    Thanks so much for the tour… your house looks beautiful and a welcome respite from this dreary autumn day here in Indiana. You know the dish to the left of JOY on the sideboard? That is remarkably similar to my daughter’s, which came from her Great Grandmother Amanda Loxley, who the family insists descends from one Robin of Locksley! Don’t you love the stories families preserve down through the generations?

    Thanks again for the sneak peek, Susan!


  54. You are my hero. Can’t wait to get my copy to add to my “Susan” collection 🙂 xoxo Jacqui

  55. Pam says:

    Your house is beautiful and the decorations stunning. It’s made me feel quite Christmassy!!! 🙂

  56. susie says:

    Susan, I absolutely love every bit of this post. It was nice to see the clips of what all went into this. I laughed at the expression on Jake the cat’s face. That cat was everywhere. Too funny. The picture of your house all adorned for Christmas is beautiful. Blessings to all. xoxo,Susie

  57. Mary Redle says:

    Your decorating and style is so warm and inviting. I got the feeling I could walk in the front door and be greeted with the spirit of Christmas in a home filled with cherished memories and the spirit of a long time friend. Thank you for sharing your talents and warmth.
    Mary Redle

  58. Mary Brehm says:

    Hi Susan. Yay! a new blog post. Just in time for my birthday (how did you know?) What a lovely treat after coming in from a hard day’s work. I want to thank you for being you and for being such an inspiration. Your creativity, Obvious joy for life and fun spirit are infectious. Even though we don’t know each other personally, I consider you a friend (and wish we really were). Whenever I pick a flower, spy a vintage treasure at an estate sale, share a silly moment with my kitty or see a pretty moon I think, I know sue would enjoy this! I am looking forward to you coming back home to the east coast. I like knowing that you are here.
    Thanks again for a wonderful post. Mary B in Burnt Hills, NY

  59. Mary Redle says:

    Your decorating and style is so warm and inviting. I got the feeling I could walk in the front door and be greeted with the spirit of Christmas in a home filled with cherished memories and the love of a long time friend. Thank you for sharing your talents and warmth.
    Mary Redle

  60. Marysol says:

    As much as I love and respect Mrs. Claus, I’d have to arm-wrestle her for the chance to stay in Peter Rabbit’s room. And I’d (almost contritely) win.

    Beautiful, heartwarming photos of Christmas at your house, with hammy Jack in almost every one.

  61. marty says:

    Oh My! Such a beautiful house, such a wonderful match with my favorite magazine. I grew up and lived in Massachusetts until I was married many years ago, and we kept a family home there for many years, so when I do feel homesick for my New England roots, Yankee is balm for the soul. I cannot think of a better joining of love and joy than your house at Christmastime for all to see. Congratulations and thank you to you and the folks at Yankee for coming together to provide such a treat.

    • sbranch says:

      I just sent your comment to YANKEE. When people work so hard, they love to know what they are doing is making a difference. Thank you so much Marty!

  62. Diana from Ancaster says:

    LOVE it LOVE it LOVE it…
    i think Santa and Mrs. Clause would feel right at home!

  63. Heartsdesire says:

    What a wonderful tour, thanks so much for showing us around the Yankee Magazine shoot. Don’t think I’ve every seen any photos of your sewing room before. Even though it’s still fall, after seeing your amazing house decorated for Christmas, I’ve been inspired to make a few things, finish a few things and generally get a little excited for Christmas. And my tea tin arrived on Monday with the fabulous organic tea, and I’m loving it (the tea and the tin).

  64. Julia says:

    I just want to say “thanks a bunch!”
    It looks wonderful. I’ve sold my house in the
    city and will be full-time near the beach by
    Thanksgiving. Wish me luck girlfriends. This
    blog has me looking forward to decorating
    and cooking for Christmas. I’ll be decorating
    my first staircase! Now I’m going to go back
    and visit this beautiful blog again.

    • sbranch says:

      First Girlfriend to wish you luck! Happy new house Julia!

    • Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

      So lucky! A house by the beach! Congratulations, Julia! Happy Holiday Decorating!

      • Carol Maurer~~~~ Kennewick, Wa says:

        Good luck in your new home, Julia!! It will be fun to figure out how to decorate. I’m also looking forward to decorating our home that we’ve only been in about 3 months now. I found it so much fun to decorate outside for Halloween and not worry about things being taken by those they don’t belong to.

    • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      So happy for you Julia…a staircase…wish we could see pictures! Have a wonderful time decorating and getting to know your new house.

  65. CarolK says:

    What wonderful inspiration for holiday decorating! As soon as Halloween is over and all boxed up, I’m digging out the festive Christmas stuff and going crazy around the house. Fa La La La La La La La Laaaaaaaaaaa. When can we look forward to the Pancakes and Breakfast books? I’m dying to see what you’ve cooked up for us, DearHeart. Hugs from NJ…….

  66. Anne says:

    Dear Susan,

    I can’t say enough about this inspiring, beautiful, wonderful blog–watching it, I felt the warmth of your home, the second to none decorating–how very sweet of you to share it all. This is surely a “Home for Christmas” dwelling if ever there was one!!

  67. Julie Marie says:

    Oooh Susan, I love this post!… I can’t wait to get my copy of Yankee… I got an email yesterday from your girls telling me it has shipped… maybe tomorrow it will come… soooo excited!… thank you for the behind the scenes photos… I bet they all had as much fun as you and Joe did!… and Jack… what a little ham!… just like my Tessy, always ready to pose for the camera!… I can almost smell the heavenly scents coming from your kitchen… and feel the warmth of your fire, and hear your soft voice singing along with Dean and Frank… and Bing… THIS is what Christmas is all about… home, family… traditions… it’s perfect!… oh, by the way,… is the Peter Rabbit room just inside the window you put the BIG wreath on outside?… I read all about your Peter Rabbit room and how you can lay in bed and see out the window and look at the stars… is that the window?… how enchanting!… much love to you… now I really can’t wait for my mail to come tomorrow!… xoxo Julie Marie

    • sbranch says:

      The big wreath is on the front of the house, the Peter Rabbit is all the way to the back and kind of up in the trees.

      • Julie Marie says:

        Thank you for letting me know Susan… my Yankee arrived!… I have devoured each and every word and photo… just had a question… the article says you met a “local” man named Joe Hall… who of course we all know and love!… was Joe born on the island?… just curious if the love of your life lived on the Island love of your life growing up?…

  68. Yvonne Shafer says:

    Absolutely delightful! I can’t wait to get my copy of the magazine! Will you share the recipe for the cranberry cake? You’ve whetted my appetite! Thanks, as always!

  69. Deborah Norling says:

    As always you have used your magic and whirred and stirred up the little kid feelings of anticipation and excitement and hope and peace and delicious treats….of the CHRISTMAS ! ! … ( can barely stand the wait for the December…YANKEE ! )

  70. Nancy B says:

    Oh, I love this behind the scenes story! My copy of Yankee Magazine is waiting for me at Strawberry Patches. I mean’t to pick it up this morning, but forgot; will do so soon! Thanks for taking the time to share.

    It won’t be long now!
    Nancy (from Bakersfield)

  71. Jan says:

    Ohhh! Just beautiful!! I do remember some of the photos back when you gave us a sneak peak last year. So glad you gave us the insiders view! So warm, homey, and inviting. Lucky you, to have such a beautiful old home! You and Joe did such a great job decorating it. So inspiring! Thanks so much for sharing.

  72. Sylvia Faye says:

    I remember and love those candles which make the angels swing when lit. As usual you have everything so welcoming and inviting and homey. One very important item I did not see in any photo on this lovely blog was the reason for Christmas. Do you put up your manger scene later on but if so since this is a Christ Mass (Christmas) issue it should have had a special place, n’est ce pas?
    How wonderful for you and Joe to return and all the major work is done and you can complete it with your wonderful baking and have time to relax and enjoy the 12 days of Christmas as they only commence with Christmas Day.
    Love all the new items in your store.

    • Elaine in Toronto says:

      Hi Sylvia, there is a wonderful, almost folk art, manger scene in one of the photos – I think it’s the thirteenth picture from the top.

  73. Maureen MacKenzie says:

    Hi Susan,
    My Yankee Magazine hasn’t come to the house yet, but the digital issue just came to my inbox. What a great article and beautiful pictures of your home. You and Joe look so happy! I love, love, love it!

  74. Rae Ann R...back in Michigan...forever... says:

    Can I really be the very FIRST commenter on that wonderful blog!!! I’ve been thinking I better call and order my copy of YOUR Yankee magazine so I did that + ordered a few more things right before reading your blog…soooo glad I did…can’t wait to get it…had to order your 2013 Christmas ornament~how very appropriate for our first Christmas in our new house…I’m going to hang it up as soon as it arrives…my retired husband Dave is calling me to dinner!!! He actually cooked tonight…xoxo

  75. Jack says:

    There is no doubt about it — simply put …… You are just not normal!

  76. Janice says:

    How beautiful! Thank you for the behind-the-scenes look. I, too, adore garlands, bunting, pennants, whatever they may be called. Jack looks like he had a wonderful time supervising it all.

  77. Jo in Western Springs, IL says:

    Wow! I mean that sincerely. Wow! I feel like skipping over Halloween and Thanksgiving and diving straight into Christmas! But I won’t do that ’cause those holidays are jam-packed with homey pastimes as well. Susan, you’re such an inspiration to all of us. Thank you for opening up your home and especially your heart over and over again and again. Have a lovely season of holidays, sweet girl!

  78. Pat Stansel says:

    The pic of the front of your house is so impressive ! Professional photography,
    Is still the best way to get the best results! We all think we do pretty well with all these digital
    cameras, but their eye for lighting composition etc. really shows! Can hardly wait for my
    Yankee mag. To come !! Your house is truly a HOME !!!

  79. Dorothy says:

    Please Mr. Postman deliver my copy of my Yankee Magazine! Cannot wait to see the Susan Branch article, I have been waiting a year! : )

    • sbranch says:

      Hope you get it today Dorothy!

      • Dorothy says:

        Not today. I am thinking of putting a pleading note in the mailbox tomorrow! Probably, my mail delivery person is reading my subscription and enjoying your article! Oh well, I’ll just content myself tonight with rereading “A Fine Romance”.

  80. Joanie B from San Diego says:

    Just taking a break, and found your new blog entry! My house is all decorated for fall, fall leaves, pumpkins galore, scarecrows and my favorite- squirrels. Of course Squirrel Nutkin gets his own spot. Thanks for the Christmas inspiration and the joy of “shopping” among our own well loved treasures, so our Christmas says “MY home!” thanks for the inspiration, Susan, as ever, totally fun!!!

  81. Beth says:

    Thank you for inspiring me. I start decorating for Christmas this weekend!

  82. Tracy Jones says:

    Dear Sue,
    I loved every part of this blog! You really did an amazing job getting everything ready and it must have been so much fun. I can’t wait to get the magazine. Thank you for sharing your home with all of us! Tracy xo

  83. Niki says:

    These photos are wonderful….inspirational! I just unpacked and hung my Halloween decorations and now I can’t wait for Christmas!

  84. Aunt Marti says:

    Thank you so much for sharing the “behind the scenes!” I KNEW I should have ordered a copy of the magazine for myself; I’ve asked Tattered Cover in Denver if they can save me a copy!

  85. Tracy says:

    I must say that I loved every one of your photos and am feeling very inspired. However… I actually laughed out loud at the photo of Jack and his facial expression in “Dancer and Prancer” !! Thank you Susan!

  86. Kellie Badger says:

    Hi Susan!
    All I can say is, “Wonderful”! Can’t wait to see this issue of Yankee magazine. You and Joe did a great job of decorating. Just reading your blog this evening made me ready to decorate for Christmas! Thank you for all the warm, cozy, homey, wonderful things you write and tell us about! Lots of Fall color in Indiana, and our woodstove is crackling this evening.
    Take care,

  87. Sarah Maldonado says:

    And that Christmas jam is a favorite of mine! I just love it and could eat it straight off the spoon many times over, (However with today’s diagnosis of diabetes, guess I’ll need to monitor that habit, yikes.) I’ll make it and give it away with a smile because I know how yummy it is! I love garlands, too, Susan. I have a pink heart garland tied to the white cast iron bed in my guest room. Makes me smile! My copy of Yankee magazine is on its way according to your girls and I can’t wait! I’m already enjoying your special teas in my “Darling” cup. Merry days, Susan and girlfriends!

  88. Martha Jean Starnes says:

    This southern girl is devouring her first Yankee magazine cover to cover….beautiful magazine! Best part? “Queen of Cozy”! Beautiful article…so happy for you!

  89. Andi M says:

    Thanks for the little taste of things to come, always love to go behind the scenes! It makes me feel important.

  90. Diana Everett says:

    Feeling warm and cozy and absolutely speechless. Well, sort of speechless. I am never really speechless….as you might recall from our meeting in Hudson, Ohio! 😉
    I have to run and set up camp outside my mailbox so I can lock myself away with this latest issue of “Yankee” the second it arrives! Safe travels, and best to you and Joe. My husband Morris really enjoyed talking with him and discovering that we knew some of the same folks in MV. Bye!

  91. jill avery says:

    This is as usual a complete inspiration! Stunning & cozy!

  92. Annelies says:

    How delightful…now I feel so inspired for the holidays. Thanks at the peek!!! XXX

  93. Brenda Caldwell says:

    This edition just left me drooling!!! I must go on the hunt for this issue of the magazine 🙂

  94. Nettie says:

    Oh my goodness…..this is an amazing blog! I love. Love love it. It is cold here in upstate New York with the threat of a frost in the air. Looking at winter is quite a change from the lovely fall we have had but with all the cozy ideas you share with us I am beginning to think that yes I can do winter and Christmas again.
    Susan , you and Joe are quite a team and continue to comfort and inspire your girlfriends. You are a special lady indeed. My friend Carol introduced me to you so many years ago and I am grateful to her for that every time you touch my life. Thank you

  95. Nettie says:

    I am going out to look for Yankee magazine tomorrow!!

  96. Sherry K says:

    This is soooooo getting me in the Christmas mood! I need to pull out the boxes of ornaments and start thinking how I want to decorate my house. Your decorations are so wonderful…love the scherenschnitte trees. And, of course, the bird-themed tree in your kitchen. Thanks for sharing the magazine coverage of your house. xoxoxo Sherry

  97. Laurie Walt says:

    I love you Mrs. Claus:-)

  98. Rae Ann R...back in Michigan...forever... says:

    I forgot to ask about the dee-licious looking cranberry coffee cake…do we really have to wait until your breakfast cookbook is published???

  99. The Yankee article was well done, though more large pictures would have been nice(after all, we’d have been happier if they had given Branch/Hall the whole issue-ha, ha!) Loved seeing this posting from you–such fun seeing it from your perspective. At least they got Jack in the picture. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      The great thing about the Internet and blogs, you have no limit to how many photos you can do. And the great thing for a magazine is that it’s real and touchable. So together, you almost have it all! (All, of course, would be a cup of tea and a piece of that Cranberry Coffee Cake showing up with the magazine!)

  100. Francine Werlinger says:

    Magical! I LOVE it all!!

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