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. Joy says:

    I love every little bit of every vignette in every room! So glad you shared this today.

  2. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    I think your dad is right – not normal – but extraordinary! Your Christmas home is a work of art, filled with beauty, warmth and best of all, inspiration for the rest of us! I laughed so much at that photo of Dancer and Prancer! Jack is a born super star and obviously loves the limelight. I ordered the little gingerbread house cards because I wanted to send one to my granddaughter. So cute that I’m keeping one for myself too, and one for a girlfriend! Thank you for all the fun holiday things you’ve put in your webstore. I’ve started a little stash and it will be so fun to take them all out when it’s time to decorate. You are a Christmas fairy for sure!

  3. Jane says:

    You are such an inspiration and fill my head and heart with joy! Thank you for the time that you take in your humble, sweet way, to get us excited about the simple but most importants things of life. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to your posts. You are the best!

    • sbranch says:

      Too sweet Jane, this is why I do it! It’s wonderful to make things for such an appreciative bunch of Girlfriends!

  4. Sharie Porter says:

    Aaaaah, I think I’m in heaven. I’ll read this over and over so I’m sure not to miss anything. I want to get my Christmas decorations out TODAY! Joe’s foliage everywhere is awesome. Thanks for sharing Susan. Loved, loved the sneak peak and behind the scenes peek.

  5. Ozark Mountain Mama says:

    Just what I needed! On November 1 the Christmas music starts playing in house and car, the Christmas dishes come out and the festooning begins. It just occurred to me to share this with my husband, who, bless his heart always wonders if he is the only man on earth to make flower arrangements and wreaths, etc for the woman he loves. He must know about your Joe! Will be watching the post office box for my Yankee. I hope you are enjoying your time in your ‘other’ home.

    • sbranch says:

      Your husband is about to find out he is one of the normal ones! At least that is the prayer for all of us! xoxo

  6. Wonderful and magical! I cannot wait to see it. Loved Jack hamming it up. You and Joe inspire me….I’ve yet to finish my Fall decorating and I now want Christmas!

  7. Bev says:

    Your home is beautiful! Just had to say…when a dog yawns, it means “I love you”. That’s proven by research. Wonder if the same scientists researched cats licking their lips….:)

    Love your blog!

    Cheery wave from

  8. judy young says:

    Stunning post and stunning house! I loved all of it! You two are the best! Such creativity and inspiration we can “borrow”. I love your bureau with the JOY letters and the angel chimes, bobeche, green glass, pine cones, silver quail, white paper trees… is so simple and sweet and old-fashioned. Just love it! I am so ready for my Yankee magazine to come in the mail. I have a subscription and bought it just to get this one issue! Are you going to recreate the same decorations THIS year or do something different?? Take care!

    • sbranch says:

      Might do something a bit different, because we are arriving home kind of lateish in the season … Mostly I want to see our friends and unpack and kiss the kitties, after that, I’ll figure it out. Maybe I’ll just paint!

      • judy young says:

        You could have your friends decorate it for you with your decorations so it would be ready for Christmas when you return. Might be fun to see how they would interpret the season. But nothing beats yours! Mine is decorated for Fall right now, with scarecrows and pumpkins and my middle son and his wife and our 2 1/2 yr old granddaughte, and 4 1/2 year old grandson, are here for the weekend from Virginia. We are having so much fun…carving pumpkins, making ghost cookies, and walking in the neighborhood to admire the “haunted” houses.

  9. Michele Clark says:

    One thing is cuter than the next….very inspiring…it gets my creativity going Susan…Thanks!!!

  10. barbara miller says:

    the tinkle of the angels bells……ah, I am ready to think about Christmas. a tip of my beret to you!

  11. Michele from Vermont says:

    Hello Susan!

    After a very long day working at a semi-annual clothing exchange here in Woodstock, Vt., it was a wonderful surprise to find your latest note this evening. Love all your special holiday decorations and can’t wait for my Yankee Magazine to arrive! I remember you shared some of your grand photos with us last year and it has inspired me to try some new ideas out this year. I also love the “vintage” style of decorating. You must be thrilled about the article and your house looks just fabulous, of course, I wouldn’t expect anything else with all your talent and creativeness!
    Just want to add that my glass charm and Peter Rabbit mug arrived several weeks ago and they are so precious. You have excellent taste in all the items you select for your “shop.”
    We here in New England have been enjoying a spectacular Fall foliage season. The colors are to die for and the crisp, cool nights are just beginning – a perfect time to get out a down comforter and have a favorite cat curl up with you.
    Can’t wait for you and Joe to be back on the East Coast again! Say “Hi” to Joe for us. Again, just loved your blog tonight!

    • sbranch says:

      I love to find the things that I love (not to be too repetitious!) — but if I like something, I always think someone else will too. It will always be a funny kind of shop because of that . . . no rhyme nor reason! Thank you Michele!

  12. Audrey by the sea. says:

    Oh Susan, I was so happy to see this post about the Yankee Magazine visit. I live in Canada, in Ambleside, about a block from the sea, just like you. I think of you and all the girl friends when I open my front door to smell the sea each morning. The photo shoot pictures are great. I cannot get Yankee Magazine up here, so to see these pictures on the blog gives all us girlfriends a chance to enjoy the fun even if we can’t hold the magazine in our hands. Have enjoyed reading A Fine Romance, and am starting over for a second time to pick up what I may have missed in the first reading. Thank you so much.

    • sbranch says:

      So happy to hear that Audrey … the Internet certainly does give us a smaller more connected world! Love it.

  13. Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

    Hi, Sue ~
    Has it REALLY been a whole year since you were getting ready for the Yankee magazine visit?! Wow! I can’t imagine the actual magazine spread could be any more beautiful than your own photos and blog…gorgeous!
    I have to tell you that my daughter and her family just moved into a new home last month…a big white farm house just loaded with charm. They’re gradually getting settled; painting and decorating as they go. The other day I visited and Alli showed me a new garland she had made, using pennant flags spelling out ISABELLA. It hangs the whole length of Izzy’s playroom! So adorable!
    Alli told me that garlands are all the new decorating craze. I just smiled to myself…thinking all the while…I betcha Susan Branch has a lot to do with THAT!
    Hope all is well with you and that your dentist visit was painless…

    PS: I left a note for Sandy and Rhonda on the previous post….just want you both to know I’m praying for you.

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, thank you Debbie xoxo

    • sondra fox says:

      Hi Debbie, If the Sandy “was” “Sandy from Chihuahua Flats,” I really appreciate your prayers. I’m doing my best to keep myself happy. Friends & family help, but it’s really up to me to keep my head on straight. And, prayers help. You’re wonderful to think about me in your prayers. Your kindness helps me a great deal. Much love, (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

      • Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

        Isn’t it a bit of a miracle….how we can feel such a connection with women we haven’t even met in person? Sandy, your stories of loving, honoring and caring for your husband throughout his illness…the way you’re sharing your heart with all of us since his death…it touches me and makes me a more appreciative, loving wife to my husband. I will keep you in my prayers as you work through this difficult time. Thanks to Susan for making it so easy to reach out to each other.

  14. Beth Keser says:

    I can’t wait to get my Yankee Magazine now! I love that magazine, and I know it will be my favorite issue! I am glad you mentioned you need to finish your breakfast book. I figured it took a backseat to your England trip – after reading A Fine Romance, it makes it easier to wait for the breakfast book. I am still sad that I finished A Fine Romance so fast.
    Looking at your house all decorated makes me excited for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Go to the top of my blog and click on I LOVE ENGLAND. There are two appendixes in the drop-down, choose one, and then go play for a while, it will take you back to England anytime you want.♥ I know, it’s hard not to live in that dream. I like it there better too.

  15. ReNae says:

    You have just made my day….my week really…I have been quite sick with a sinus infection and have been so in the dumps….whow…you left me speechless! I was not even going to decorate this year! That may just have to change…I have been inspired by the very best! I too am waiting for my Yankee magazine in the mail! You never fail to inspire, delight, bring joy, give hope what else can I say Susan! Thank you once again for all you do!

  16. Marion Rose says:

    Good evening Susan,
    Look forward to my Yankee magazine with your story and pictures. Your
    blog sets the feeling for winter and Christmas. I love the homey style you have.
    Must tell you we have had a beautiful fall on the Cape. Today, we finally are having well needed rain. With so much sun everything in the yard is dry and still needs lots of watering. Our garden club sold daffodil bulbs this year, over
    7,000. It was a 50/50 sale, 50 to plant in your own garden and 50 for the garden club to plant all over our town. A big job for the planters! Our town will be aglow in yellow come Spring.
    Enjoy your traveling, Marion

  17. Nancy says:

    I have received my pre-ordered copy of the magazine and enjoyed the spread there but this post is so much better! Thank you for the rest of the story!!! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I love that we can have both, a hard copy to have at home, and now the back up story on the blog! I wish all my magazines did it like this, double the pleasure!

    • Pat Stansel says:

      I agree, who else but Susan could possibly show her house with such love an attention. She knows just what we want to see. And the details are what brings out that certain something! She invites you in an makes you feel your home!

  18. judy says:

    This is great–thanks for sharing but I’m so not ready for this!! I have to do company Thanksgiving first! I’ll begin the day after Thanksgiving but thanks for the inspiration! Judy in Nashville

    • sbranch says:

      Don’t worry Judy, we’ll go back to that soon. I just did the behind the scenes for everyone who got the magazine . . .

      • Pam Zopf says:

        I want to move in with you please. Your home is so warm and inviting. Will be off to buy the magazine tomorrow. Love all of Joe’s greenery projects. Will be visiting the island next September. Hope to be able to walk by your house.

  19. Susan (Grayslake, IL) says:

    Susan … I so admire your talents, but I have to commend Joe on his talents as well. When does your Breakfast/Pancake book come out? Not to be greedy, but now that I have read (and re-read) a Fine Romance, I am anxious for more Susan Branch. 🙂 Thank you 🙂

  20. carol mel says:

    Dear Susan
    I am watching the Soxs but really thoroughly enjoying the peek into the Yankee photo shoot. As much as I love decorating for Autumn I now can hardly wait to decorate my gardens and home for Christmas. I am definately going to sugar my holly–loaded with berries and will make the star croutons for my annual Christmas family open house. You continue to fill my heart with the pleasures of being creative.
    So many thanks.

  21. Kathy Phenix says:

    Waiting with baited breath for my issue of Yankee to arrive. It’s always enjoyable but this one will be extra special. Have a wonderful Halloween!

  22. JuLee Reeves says:

    Your home looks beautiful and full of love. Wonderful inspiring post. Sending hugs to the kitties and dear Iris.

  23. Nellie says:

    Susan, this is the most amazing blog today! I just love everything you did to decorate! Love seeing Jack on top of the ladder! Also, what a good idea to have your painter friends come to hang the wreath at the top of the house!

    Christmas is only two months from Friday! It must be time to begin decorating!:-) Hopefully I will be able to keep things under wraps until after Thanksgiving.

    Hope there were no problems with the dentist appointment.

    xo Nellie

    • sbranch says:

      Nope, just fine, a normal check up! Thanks Nellie!

    • Nellie says:

      I’m SO excited! I just came home this morning with a copy of Yankee Magazine, found at Barnes & Noble! My husband and I are both fascinated by the stove in your kitchen. Does it have two ovens.

      Also, I have made that visit to the web store and those charms are on their way for “someone” to give me for Christmas.:-) Now – to find the bracelet for them.:-) That will be part of it, too.:-)

      Hoping Palo Alto is good!

      xo Nellie

      • sbranch says:

        Yes, it does have two ovens, and two broilers. It’s old, from around 1956, just like the one my mom had when we were growing up. You can get them all refurbished and they work like a dream. Heavy. Palo Alto is like another universe. I just found out why. Google, AOL, Twitter, Microsoft, Disney, Pixar, they are ALL here. The brain power is exploding in the air as you walk down the street.

        • Nellie says:

          Incidentally, if I may say so, in my opinion, your post on the Yankee shoot is better than their article.:-)

          Technology! We just have to move with the times, or we will be left far behind!

          I went on the website to learn about the stoves. They are amazing! We do have a double built-in oven here, and it is put to use even sometimes when it is just the two of us.

          xo Nellie

  24. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh Susan, I love this post and can’t wait to see it all come alive in the magazine!! Your home is so beautiful! I’m sure you so enjoy it again this holiday season!

    Off tomorrow to see if I can find this Yankee magazine! smile…

    • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

      Hi Gert: Barnes & Noble carries it in their magazine section. Ours just arrived in the mail. We’ve subscribed to Yankee for years–love the photography, articles, and recipes! 🙂

  25. Kristi says:

    Is this issue of Yankee Magazine still available from you? I did not see it in your web store. I’m sorry I did not pre-order this issue! The photographs of your home are stunning!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, you can still get it, Kellee just walked in to say more had arrived. Go to the top of the blog and click on YANKEE in the right hand column.

  26. Donna Hardin says:

    Not sure where my original post went that I wrote earlier…not computer savvy! Loved the Christmas pictures. I have always loved Christmas time…the homey feeling , delicious baked foods, family and friends all around. When did they do the photo shoot? This year? Just curious…one friend had a Christmas photo shoot in July! I am excited to get my Yankee magazine and I ordered Willard’s Notes. I am halfway through A Fine Romance, taking it slow because I don’t want it to be over! My daughter, Spenser, and I enjoyed meeting you in Kansas City. The offer is still on to stay at our B&B if you are ever in Iowa near Des Moines!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, they came last year around the first of December. I don’t know if I could pull it together in July! Thank you Donna! Hello to Spenser!

  27. Jane S. in PA says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed the Yankee Magazine issue. Your home looks beautiful! “Cozy” describes it perfectly. Bravo, Susan (and Joe)!

  28. Nadine says:

    Can’t decide what I like best–the cozy kitchen? No, the Beatrix Potter folks. . .no, the angel chimes on the dining room sideboard. . .no, no, has to be Jack and the reindeer. . .or, maybe, the tea tray by the fire. . .or, um. . .well, I give up, it’s all great! And that time of year is right around the corner!

    Thanks for the little bit of anticipatory candy!

  29. Janny says:

    Adorable :-). I received my copy of Yankee on Monday & stopped to read the article before I did anything else! Thanks for the inspiration.

  30. Violet says:

    This type of decorating ,is right up my alley.
    We are kindred spirits for sure.
    This is Christmas at it best.

  31. Cynthia Pfledderer says:

    Now I’m in the holiday mood! 😀

  32. Bonnie in Bakersfield says:

    Lovely! Everything is truly lovely! Inspires me in all kinds of ways. I think I will unpack my Mom’s antique green frosted glass candlesticks and start getting ready to decorate right now. That antique Santa picture in the tree ornament photo is again, lovely. I believe in Santa Clause!

    Thank you for another lovely (my favorite word) and inspiring post.

  33. sondra fox says:

    Honestly Sweet Sue, you are put into all of our lives to spark beauty, inspiration, love, sharing, & creativity. I’m grieving over the love of my life passing away in July. I decided I wasn’t going to even put up a Christmas tree this year. I wanted to honor my husband’s memory by not having any decorations. I was so wrong. After seeing your home decorated for Christmas, I’m going to decorate & celebrate the birth of Christ. Your Christmas home is simple & lovely. Thanks for bringing me out of my doldrums, into the beauty of Christmas. I don’t even know you Susan, but you have a great influence on my life. Love you to the moon & back, dear Susan. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • sbranch says:

      Yes Sandy, that’s so right! Celebrate! xoxo

    • Marsha MacLean says:

      Dear Sandy,
      I remember the year my dear husband passed away and thinking along the same lines at first, but then shifting to the idea that he would want us to go on celebrating life, and the life we had together! It made it easier somehow, and when everyone came by on Christmas, that was the attitude we had…
      Blessings to you, Sandy. I’ll be thinking of you.

  34. Susan P. says:

    Susan, You are normal as me! Who sleeps in a Sleigh Bed…has a sign in my bedroom “CHRISTMAS EVE FOREVER” Who plays Christmas Music when I bake (even in the Summertime)…it makes the cookies taste better!!! (try is true) I received my Magazine…I loved it…but I wanted more……SURPRISE you gave us more!! Thanks again for lifting my spirits and just making me smile and have a little Christmas gleam in my eye,,, no, it is not a tear of joy, it is a gleam! from the soap box of. Susan P. See you in San Luis Obispo in Nov.

  35. Martha B says:

    You’re an inspiration for sure. Can’t wait to see the magazine. Love Jack with the reindeer.

  36. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan…I have a subscription to YANKEE…so I am mighty excited about its’ pending arrival…..loved the insight to the photo shoot….can’t see how they could go wrong with you and Joe at the helm….the house in all its’ holiday glory~well ~ it just looks beautiful….it’s all of the little special “attention to detail” things that put it over the top….like the mug on the chair and the lights on the cabin…..very inspiring….I am watching the Boston Red Sox beat up on my beloved St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of the World Series. I have a Pumpkin Cake Roll riding on this!!!!! 🙂

  37. Karen in Milton, WA says:

    Hi dear Susan. Thanks for the “behind the scenes!” My Yankee magazine arrived Monday (thank you Kellee and Sheri!). I tried to whisk it away, and save it to read sometime after Thanksgiving….but it kept callling to me and I could only hold out for about 3o minutes! Love it and thanks for the recipes too. Was Yankee the first to break the story of your upcoming breakfast book “Pancakes”—can’t wait! Love, Karen

  38. Rhonda D. says:

    Your home is so beautiful and cozy all decked out for Christmas…can’t wait to see it in Yankee magazine. We have had Thanksgiving here in Canada already, so this makes me feel very inspired. I noticed the gingerbread trim on your house in one of the pictures…it is absolutely gorgeous. You have a very fine home Susan and it just screams “decorate me!” (especially for the Christmas season).

  39. Katy Noelle says:

    That wonderful, wonderful Jack! What a cutie!!! =) This is all just too fun for words and, since I’ve had ‘Silent Night’ stuck in my head for a week, this post was JUST the ticket! =) and, Susan…. eep – I LOVE your house all lit up from the outside!! Sigh. So festive and pretty! =) Smiles all around!! =)


  40. bramble says:

    Can’t wait to get my copy! I LOVE decorating for the holidays!

  41. Carolyn Grossman says:

    Just too beautiful for words !!! I love the photos! Gorgeous!!!

  42. Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

    Beautiful! Will look for Yankee tomorrow, but now I can’t wait for the Pancakes breakfast book……breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. You always keep us on pins and needles waiting for your next fun and exciting creation….maybe in time for Christmas?……no pressure……but now I can’t get my mind off Cranberry Coffee Cake, YUM……

  43. Cathy of Golden, CO says:

    DELIGHTFUL is the word! So inspiring. What a wonderful time I’ve had oohing and ahhhhing over your beautiful home.

  44. Ginny Sargent - New England says:

    Being a big cat lover …. I hit page up to see the next page of this wonderful blog post (I get Yankee and I am just too excited to get it now!) I have to say the look on Jack’s face looking at the reindeer that I had a huge belly laugh. Oh, how precious and funny! Jack’s expressions could be curious of the new “fella” and trying to make contact. Or perhaps it is a chickie poo and he gives his side way glance, playing coy. Mostly I am thinking (that Jack is thinking) “Who the heck are you!!! Go on fess up, why are you here?? You know I am “the” cat of the house and these humans belong to me. Well, except the thousands that are here driving me nuts playing with all kinds of things I would enjoy chasing” Oh, I could go on with that photo. Anyway it would make a cute insert to a Christmas Card. I just love that Jack (you too Susan lol) because he seems to express all his wonderful and mindful thoughts in that adorable face of his.

    As I said….. I like cats. =-)

  45. Sandy from Ca. says:

    What a wonderful edition of the magazine is wonderful and I am getting mine in the morning if we have one here LOL 🙂 Love gingerbread men anything wish you still had the garland but maybe next year? Enjoy your time at the coast and see you very soon 🙂

  46. Jan from Northern CA says:

    I can’t wait to see what treasures you’ll have at your booth at the Remants of the Past show in SLO!! I’ll need to purchase something to treasure from our trip. Also can’t wait to see Yankee magazine. I’ll have to search it out tomorrow…..if I can find it? I didn’t know I could order it through your website. Ordered another copy of “the book”… I know it will be a wonderful Christmas gift for another friend. Your photography has so inspired me to try more on my own. Got a new camera for my birthday…having such fun! Well, enjoy your time out here on the west coast. See you soon!
    Jan from Northern CA

    • sbranch says:

      Kellee and Sheri are planning lots of good things for the Remnants show! If we still have some left, they’re also bringing YANKEE. A FINE ROMANCE arrived at the studio today (finally, so happy!) so you will have your book very soon. Happy Birthday Jan ~ and enjoy that camera — the digital ones opened a whole new world for me. See you soon!

      • Jan from Northern CA says:

        My camera is coming with me……I’m still learning to use it and what better place than the Queen Mary and the show!!!

  47. Tonia Mallory says:

    Absolutely loved the behind the scene pics. You always give me great decorating ideas. I can feel the snow in the air. 🙂

  48. Karen in Milton, WA says:

    Hi again and BTW…..have you heard of this new book: “Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life?” I’ve included a description, below, from Amazon in case any other of the girlfriends would be interested. Cheers!

    “There aren’t many books more beloved than The Tale of Peter Rabbit and even fewer authors as iconic as Beatrix Potter. More than 150 million copies of her books have sold worldwide and interest in her work and life remains high. And her characters—Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle Duck, and all the rest—exist in a charmed world filled with flowers and gardens. Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life is the first book to explore the origins of Beatrix Potter’s love of gardening and plants and show how this passion came to be reflected in her work. The book begins with a gardener’s biography, highlighting the key moments and places throughout her life that helped define her, including her home Hill Top Farm in England’s Lake District. Next, the reader follows Beatrix Potter through a year in her garden, with a season-by-season overview of what is blooming that truly brings her gardens alive. The book culminates in a traveler’s guide, with information on how and where to visit Potter’s gardens today. Richly illustrated and filled with quotations from her books, letters, and journals, it is essential reading for all who know and cherish Beatrix Potter’s classic tales.”

  49. Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

    Loved this Get-In-The-Mood-For-Christmas blog, but I want to talk about books.

    A friend recently told me about books by Miss Read and mentioned that she was going to see if she is on your Books I Love list. I decided to look for myself, and I’m glowing.

    I didn’t realize there were comments from The Girlfriends. I feel as if I’ve just attended the best book discussion in the world. I have a list of recommendations long enough to last the rest of my life. Can’t wait to start.

    All Book-Loving Girlfriends should check this out. I’m already working on my goals for 2014, and some of these books will definitely be on the list.

    For those who haven’t seen Books I Love before, click on “About Me” at the top of the page and you’ll find it.

  50. Theresa says:

    Susan, will you share with us how you hang all your garlands (both the green and the paper) securely, without ruining your walls and furniture. You are such an inspiration! Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us!

    • sbranch says:

      We just tuck or tape, not very professional, but quick. Joe has put nails around the doors. Things like that.

  51. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    What beautiful photos of your wonderful home. I can’t wait to get my copy of Yankee magazine, I subscribed just to get the one with your article.
    The photo of Jack with that white reindeer is priceless.
    I have a question. There is no 4th of November on my 2013 calendar. Is that for a reason, or is it a misprint?
    Can’t wait to see you in Pasadena very soon.
    Take Care.

  52. Marie says:

    This has to be my favourite post ever Susan! I love all of your posts, but this one just resonated deep into my Christmas Loving Heart! I live in the UK, so won’t get to see the magazine, and so I appreciate even more your sharing this with us! You have put me into Christmas mode even earlier this year! I think I might crack out the Christmas Carols today! Well, probably not, as the Toddster would think I’d gone off my nut, but I’ll be singing them in my heart! Love all that you do and all that you share. OH, must tell you the Toddster read your latest book. He was drooling over it the whole time I was reading it and could hardly wait to get his hands on it. His opinion was that it was delightful, so even men like it! Thought you might want to know! xxoo

  53. Rosanna says:

    I’ll take a “Susan Branch kind of Christmas” over anything else that is out there! Thank you for this ‘tease’ of what is in the issue – it was like finding some presents in the back of the closet and discretely untaping the box to see what is inside!
    I’m an almost lifelong Yankee subscriber – and am impatiently waiting for this issue to arrive in my mailbox! (When my Yankee magazine doesn’t arrive when I think it should, I strongly suspect that the mailman keeps it to read himself! 🙂 )

  54. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Good morning, Susan. Yankee Magazine is hard to find in Canada so loved the behind-the-scenes peek. Trying to read the title of the red book on your stove underneath the “yum” sign. Can’t quite make it out. I, too, have Christmas books I put out and read every season. Always on the look out for new-to-me old ones. Your home is one big beautiful Christmas card. Thanks for sharing.

  55. Jacquie says:

    Capturing the “magic” must be in the details! I actually thought the video clip of the discussion in the kitchen was interesting…did she rotate the kettle about 3 degrees to get it right? Really looking forward to this spread.

  56. Martha says:

    Susan, so fun to see the Yankee preview and behind the scenes – the perfect magazine to showcase your home! When we categorize an idealized New Englandy holiday scenic we often think of the art Norman Rockwell but your work is right alongside this master in artistic talent, understanding the old – fashioned “New England Yankee” way of life and capturing the “Heart of the Home” ❤️

    • sbranch says:

      xoxo Thank you Martha!

      • Martha says:

        You are most welcome!
        Just came back from my yearly girlfriend weekend away in N. Conway, NH. I had my coveted Yankee Magazine and saved it to read (NOT easy to wait) while away when I could have my friends there to enjoy it too! A highlight of the weeknd is when my group of 5 bestest friends all exchange b-day presents on Sat. night. A Fine Romance was my gift to give! Wrapped in pretty girly paper, tied with cozy rick rack…it was a BIG hit!!! She will be as “koo koo” about your book as I was, it has been on her list to read.
        And lastly, sometimes my husband goes to MV to work …he knows that I love all that is SB. He’ll say, “I’m going to the Vineyard to work today, I’ll say hello to your friend!”

        • sbranch says:

          Too cute, your husband. And you and your friends in North Conway, lucky you! Must have been gorgeous up there! Isn’t it exciting to be giving a gift you know someone is going to like? I love that more than getting gifts myself! Thank you Martha! xo

  57. Balisha says:

    Just what I needed to get me in the spirit of things. I’ll reread closer to the time that we decorate the house…for more inspiration. Now, I have to find that magazine…B.

  58. Martha says:

    ….darn auto spellcheck… I sent it off, retread to find ” scenic” rather than “scene” !!! :-/

  59. Holly says:

    Susan, everyone who visits your home during the holidays must feel so blessed! What a gift you give to them! ♥

  60. Becky Maggio says:

    Thanks so much for this amazing post!! Like many, I am just putting finishing touches on thanksgiving but feeling inspired for Christmas now, too! Did you get my email about book signing in Fairhope (Page & Palette) last week? Too much to type here but I can resend if you didn’t get it. Lots of good info for you…just had to share it 🙂


  61. Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    I have never inched my way through a blog so slooowly. Did not want to miss a detail. I had no idea a photo shoot could be so involved…moving the tea kettle a micro turn! I did not order Yankee Magazine from you because Jim’s lovely daughter bought me a subscription to it when she heard me talking about it. That was in August and alas I have yet to see a magazine! I must call them today. I WANT MY SUSAN BRANCH EDITION!
    I am always ready to view Christmas. Maybe it has something to do with having a December birthday. I just love Christmas. And it comes just after my beloved Fall.
    I’m like you, give me red at Christmas. Love it. There must be a way to bookmark this, so I can go back over it again and again as Christmas nears, like one of the other girls, it makes you want to start decorating.
    And I noticed when I got home from work last night, my dear little BB3, with her one shining eye, watching me and licking her little lips! She loves me! Right now as I sit in bed with the IPad she is curled up under the covers with me! I don’t think she ever wanted to be a barn cat:)
    Lots of love Susan! Have a happy day…..I know you will!

  62. Paulie says:

    STUNNING, AMAZING, BEAUTIFUL, INSPIRATIONAL, AND HOLIDAYS HERE we COME……Thanks for perfect timing. This goes so well with this cold weather that is arriving and is such a great morale booster for what is yet to come! Fantastic Post! as always! – and Congrats on such a lovely spread from Yankee! It is beautiful and so well deserved !

  63. Barbara says:

    What fun you must have had, Susan! I just finished my Fall mantle but this made want to pull out the Christmas things. Your house looks so pretty and Christmasy!

  64. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~ Good Morning~
    Thanks for the Christmas preview~ Hard to believe its only 2 months away!~ From today!~ With Thanskgiving so late this year that time is really going to fly by!~ Have a great day~

  65. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I ordered a subscription to Yankee a few months ago to make sure I will have my copy plus a whole year of Yankee wisdom! After reading this blog , I cannot wait to get my copy!! It is going to be so fun to read what they presented after getting a peek at the behind the scenes details. What a compliment to you and Joe to feature your lovely home and how you do the perfect Cristmas roll out! Believe me, I bet there are a gazillion of us girlfriends who will be taking ideas here and there and making them happen in our homes this year!!! Two details that jumped out at me was the sugaring of the holly with the fruit. Genius! And how did I miss the cranberry marmalade mixture jam?? Oh,la,la knock me over. This WILL be in my home this year!

    Thank you for such a great virtual tour of the upcoming Yankee Tour. Now I just need my copy to arrive . In the meantime, I am deep in the love of pumpkins and all things fall up here in Virginia and North Carolina. Florida decided to run a continuous showing of The Endless Summer, so this girlfriend had to head north and submerge myself in apple orchards and blazing red Maple trees!! Today we are off to Monticello to see all the cool things since the last time I visited 20 years ago!!

  66. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Thanks so much for the behind-the-scenes with Yankee, so fun to join you! The day my magazine came (thanks SB Studio!), I opened the envelope, ready for reading after dinner……I tried to wait, but couldn’t, had to turn off the stove & go read! Lovely article, beautiful pictures, very comfy cozy gingerbready! xoxo

  67. Deb~in~Denver says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! So cozy and welcoming! I will be pinning this and will start searching for the magazine. I can’t help but smile every time I see sweet Jack’s face. Thank you for sharing.

  68. Georgie says:

    Susan! Be An ELF!!! Every day! All year long! We Girlfriends Love the Pixie Dust you share with us throughout the 12 months 🙂 Your wonderful home smiled beautifully for the camera. I can’t wait to receive my copy of Yankee!!!

    The video of the candles was so delightful. I felt like a little girl again looking into the store windows in the big city all decorated for Christmas with lights and magical, sparkling scenes filled with moving toys and trains circling beautiful trees…

    Do you remember the name of the music CD you were playing in the background? I loved it! I can’t wait to see your new cranberry bread recipe!!!

    Happy Early Merry Christmas
    Your Yardville ELF,

  69. Deborah Heater (Indiana) says:

    Traditional, Vintage, Homemade, Crafty, Elegant, “Furry”, and just simply M*A*G*I*C*A*L. Thank You and Congratulations on a lovely portrayal of your home and life in MV at Christmastime and Everyday Susan/Joe/Jack (and behind the scenes Girl Kitty). Blessings

  70. Jack says:

    AND….., I remember how I got yelled at and distained , by you other nine people , because I wanted the Tinsel put on the tree , neatly……..

    • sbranch says:

      Nut case. Now we roll it into a ball and throw it on. 🙂 Lying. ♥ From what I understand, everyone tortures their children the exact same way you did. The nut does not fall far from the tree . . .

    • Deborah Heater (Indiana) says:

      Jack, when I was a very young girl up until we no longer put up a very large live tree….it was my job to place each piece of silver tinsel neatly over each bough. It took me several days to make it just perfect which wasn’t difficult for the perfectionist child in the family. I was delegated this tedious job once my brother took a handful and literally threw it at the tree one year!! I was mortified and without a civil election/votes I WON….I always felt a sense of pride even as I was being ridiculed by my brother (I’m sure Susan can relate to brothers). Looking back on this now at my “advanced” age when you are a child being good at something (cleaning the bathroom comes to mind which also became my chore til I left home), hmmm maybe my siblings “pretending” to fall short on the skill chart always telling me how smart and proficient at everything I did (true) were really the clever ones? I just thought it was because I was the baby that they abused me? ha I always use the old saying “Anything worth doing is worth doing well” even today and I take pride in that. So, good for you wanting the tinsel put on neatly vs in gaudy gobs of tinsel terror! Susan, did you “pretend” to be inept (doubtful) at this ritual so Dad was left doing this thankless, arduous job? Hmmmm

      • sbranch says:

        Inept wasn’t that good of a thing to be in our family. And pretending didn’t really work. We were pretty ept. That’s how I remember it. 🙂

        • Jack says:

          At that time our house was one big ongoing party … Game-on, 24/7, it was either someone’s birthday, fourth of July, vacation at Rufugio or Sequoia, Christmas, turning the house into a fort or a stage for a play — or meeting at Tapia Park for BBQ with all the “families,” in Malibu Canyon on Friday afternoon. Energy plus, party time all the time! Remember that kid down the street who couldn’t say his “r’s” and stood in front of Jim’s fort and proclaimed, “Da wo is ovo tomallo!” (The war is over tomorrow!) Never to be forgotten, famous last words. That kid was known as “Ovo,” henceforth and forevermore!

  71. It’s always fun to be around creative people creating! I loved the videos to see what they did!
    My favourite photo above though, is the one of Jack and Prancer- Jack is such a ham! (Couldn’t you see it as a Christmas card? 😉 ).
    Your sideboard was also inspirational 😀 I think I want to do it to mine! Now I need to find the little chimes (Mum and Dad had one when I was little- I loved it!).

    Thanks again for sharing!

  72. Martha says:

    “Retread” ???? !!!! 0h my gosh, so sorry. I will proofread much better and overcome the powers of auto check!!! In the least, I am providing a little levity :-/

  73. Angie(Tink!) says:

    ✫♥*¨☆*✿✫♥*¨☆*✿✫♥*¨☆*✿ Jingle Bells & Ho~Ho~Ho Oh Sweet Sue…Halloween is Next Week & You Know I’ve Been Doing The Pumpkin Jig! But This Blog Has My Wings All a Flutter! (You Know that Christmas Lives in Me Heart 365 Days) 🙂 I Can Feel All The Christmas Joy! Thank~You Elf~Sue! I Love the Video with The Angels Twinkling & The Video with Yankee Magazine Doing Their Thing! Rachel was Right! (& “Pretty~Please” are Very Magical Words!) 😉 For Me Halloween Begins The Entire Holiday Season! Twirling Into All The Magic As This Holiday Season Has Truly Begun! Holiday Pixie~Dust Everywhere! Yay! Love & Warm Hugzzz Sweet Sue! xoxo Poof! ✫♥*¨☆*✿✫♥*¨☆*✿✫♥*¨☆*✿ 🙂

  74. Michele says:

    Oh Susan, Thank You!! (and b~t~w, it’s not too early for us, we saw *flurries*, yesterday!!! :0) So beautiful.
    Your posts get my creativity hoppin’!
    Still working on that letter for you :0)

  75. Francine Werlinger says:

    Can you and Joe stop by on your way home and decorate my house for Christmas??? Bring stuff!

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, OK!

      • Betsy says:

        I don’t know how the rest of you “Girls” feel out there but I think Joe should go in the business. I tried to make a wreath out of the greens on our property last year. My friend stopped by for a cup of tea and asked me if it was suppose to be round, a rectangle perhaps or maybe a triangle. Oh boy, I am for sure not a wreath maker! xoxo

  76. KarenP (Wisconsin) says:

    This has to be one of the most gorgeous posts yet! Love the feast for the eyes here! Beautiful pic after beautiful pic!! Getting me excited to decorate for Christmas! Thanks! xo

  77. Barb from Ohio says:

    I am so glad I was able to access your blog today; I haven’t been able to all this week as every time I got on it, it would crash. Don’t know what was wrong. Love these pics from last years Yankee shoot and want to come back and pour over them when I have more time. Everything is beautiful; your house was beautiful the way you decorated it, but then it always is no matter what time of year.
    Cold here this morning with heavy frost, but no snow like some have a little further north. Not ready for snow just yet, must have Halloween first! Have a great day!

  78. Mo'a says:

    This is the most beautiful post I have ever seen about the Christmas preparations. Your house exudes happiness…no matter what the season. I must say that in it’s Christmas garb it positively shines.
    My dear departed mother-in-law had a rule…’Do not even think about Christmas until after Thanksgiving’…old New England family 🙂 I, however, think Christmas all year and make my little Jólasveinar…Yule Lads (they are 13)…and are a big part of Christmas in Iceland. I use them to count down to Christmas on my blog.
    Thank you for this beautiful post xoxo

  79. patti says:

    What can I say Susan, there are just no words to your talent. Amazing, Beautiful, they just really don’t measure up to it. Thank you once again for sharing. I didn’t get a chance to order the magazine with the move and all. Can I order it still or buy it somewhere ??? Happy Holidays <3

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, you can still get it … go to the top of the blog and click on YANKEE in the right column and you can order the magazine there. And thank you Patti, for the sweet words. xoxo

  80. Dear Susan,

    How lovely your house looks at Christmas! We’ll have to look for the magazine at the market when it comes out! Thank you for taking us along “behind the scenes”!

    My parents were introduced to Yankee magazine by my Great Grandmum’s Cousin Lena. The generations were staggered so that Lena was actually more my Grandmum’s age. Lena and her husband did all kinds of wonderful old fashioned things, such as rug hooking, chair seat weaving, sewing, quilting, and antique gathering. Lena used to do dressmaking and altering. Once she surprised me with an old basket full of doll clothes that she had made for my favorite doll! How delightful it was to go their home and see what they were up to next!

    What fun it will be to see your home in Yankee, one of our old favorite magazines!


  81. Vicki in Cincy says:

    Hi Susan, Thank you for sharing the magazine prep for Christmas. I can’t wait to start decorating and spreading some CHEER. Right now, I am missing my Midge (Mewmew, LuLu, Pigsley; all her nicknames lol), our 13 1/2 year old sweet heart cat. She was diagnosed with carcinomatosis of her abdomen last week. Since we could not bear to see her suffer, we sent her on to heaven to be with her dog sisters: Sheba and Beverly. It is lonely at our house, but we know she had a good life and she was spoiled rotten in the best way. We went to dinner and toasted our Mewmew and had ice cream (her FAV) in her honor to celebrate her cherished life. It was great to see Jack’s pictures and imagine how snuggly and furry soft he is. I know you miss your sweet ones! Take care! (hope the dentist was routine) <3

    • sbranch says:

      Oh I am so sorry Vicki! That’s heartbreaking. If you get a kitten, you could name it “Christmas” xoxo

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        dear Vicki so sorry for your loss, I know ow you feel, when we lost Inky I thought my world came to an end, now I have the four terrors.. Tabby, Midnight, Tabitha and Miss Kitty, running around the house and all the mischief and mayhem they create and my days are full of fun again. get another kitten so you won’t be too lonely for her, she would want that for you. blessings to you. hugs…. 🙂

        • Sharon Fritchey says:

          I am so sorry for your loss, Vicki. My heart goes out to you.

        • Janet in Rochester says:

          My sympathy too, Vicki. I feel your pain. I was 16 when I first lost a pet, and 45 years later I could still cry like a baby for Duchess right now. Let yourself cry as much as necessary – you NEED to let that out. But look at pictures and videos too, talk with your friends/family about Midge. Soon you’ll find yourself remembering only the funny and happy moments. Take care.

      • Vicki in Cincy says:

        Thank you for caring, you’re a sweetheart…I have happy memories and we plan to add a new addition as soon as we get settled in our new (to us) house. Holly would be a cute name too 🙂

    • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      I am so sorry. I remember you have mentioned Midge before. You called her “your smidge of a Midge”. I know how empty the house must seem. My condolences, it’s painful.
      Sending a virtual hug.

  82. Barbara (WA) says:

    I love behind the scenes stories! And I love Jack the kitty and Jack the dad 🙂 But I really love the bowl holding the cranberry jam and am, as usual, wondering the pattern name/manufacturer. I am hopeless. . .

  83. Janie Phillips says:

    Everything here is so beautiful, and I’m honored and just plain tickled to be mentioned! 🙂 You and Joe did an amazing job! xoxo

  84. pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

    oh my is it time for Christmas already??? I just got the graveyard dug and the bones scattered about, and the pumpkins on the porch. i’m not ready for Christmas now!!! we have a big cold front slowly moving in by the weekend, looks like we may have an early snow for Halloween…wonder where I can find some woolen undies for under my witch costume, no sense in freezing while scaring the kiddies and handing out candy. lovely pictures, but i’m not ready yet for Halloween, still have Thanksgiving to do and barn party coming up that we do every year for the neighbors. enjoy all the beautiful Fall colors, winter is sneaking in early this year. stay warm and hugs everyone. …. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Not Christmas yet Pat, enjoy your fall!

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        whew, good thing as I just finished my witch costume and found some warm wooly undies for Halloween night, this is one witch who likes her comfort!!! I am enjoying the Fall we are having here, and getting ready for Halloween and then a barn party this weekend for the neighbors. a fun way to celebrate the Fall and the harvest. Happy Halloween everyone….Happy Haunting!!!! 🙂

  85. Christine says:

    I am so looking forward to seeing Yankee Magazine!! What a wonderful display of Christmas. Sure puts me in the mood. I keep thinking “I have something like that” or “that is so cute to look for”. Thank you continually for your wonderful ideas.

  86. JoEllen Bendall says:

    I love it allllll! As a longtime YANKEE subscriber, I’m curling up for a whoooole day to wallow in your Christmas. And just so you know, some day I’m coming to live in the Peter Rabbit room. I’ll be quiet. No trouble at all. I’ll do laundry. I’ll scrub. I just want to grow old there…xoxoxox

  87. Idelsy says:

    Everything looks so beautiful – thank you for giving us a sneak peek. I can’t wait to get the magazine!

  88. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Love, love, love your Yankee holiday magazine shoot, first seen via your blog, and then I took a sneak peak at the digital version earlier today!!! I can’t wait until my actual Yankee magazine comes in the mail for me to read, and reread and hold!!! I will make sure I carefully store this treasured edition with all of my Christmas books, to share and enjoy for future Christmas holidays to come!!!! (Glad to see Jack in the spread. I want his “paw” autograph, for sure….he’s priceless!!!) We just had snow flurries this afternoon, in Dearborn, Michigan….so appropriate for your Christmas themed blog!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      How wonderful Carilyn! And there’s the sage comment by your mom again in this post too!

      • Carilyn Wolski says:

        Yes, thank you so much Susan!!! Words cannot express the joy in my heart when I see my mother’s words on your beautiful calendar!!! She would have been so happy and appreciative of you for including her saying on the November page! Being a homemaker, feeding and caring for her family was her world. (She passed at age 59, in 1986.) I know she is smiling down from heaven!!! God Bless You!

  89. Kay - North Central Texas says:

    Oh, I’m so excited. I’ve been thinking about the Yankee magazine shoot for several weeks now. Can’t wait for the magazine to come. Your post is the perfect tease to peak our interest. In your sneak preview your house looked so welcoming and I bet it smelled amazing.

    Also, this a good reminder of how much work goes into getting the house Christmas ready. I better start brainstorming.

    LOVE IT…..

  90. Barbara says:

    Dear Susan,
    Recently I discovered your blog and fell in love with it instantly. Your drawings, writting and photos express Happiness, Joy and Peace. Every time I feel troubled I read your blog. I´m from Argentina, unfortunatly for the terrible economy here I can´t afford your books (YET, hopefully!) Even though I live in a different culture, I love the same things: Beatrix Potter, my own kitchen garden, animals (have 15 rescued dogs at home), my home and a peaceful life. I read “how I learned to paint” (and the comments) and you describe every art supply except the kind of paper you use… can you tell me wich one you use? You inspire people, AROUND the world, you should know that… and God bless you and your family for that.

    • sbranch says:

      We are kindred spirits the world over Barbara, so happy to meet you here. On the paper, I use so many different kinds. Everything from cold press watercolor paper to smooth bristol board. I try all kinds. xoxo Have a wonderful day! Praying for your economy to get stronger . . .

  91. Becky Maggio says:

    My comment from early this morning is still waiting moderation. Did you get it? I just so want you to know about Page and Palette bookstore in Fairhope! Sorry if I’m being pushy…you know I love you 🙂


  92. Barbara from Wolverine Lake MI says:

    oh dear Susan, my BFF!!! I am taking my time with this one, savoring every detail and every photo and what did I notice first? We have the same tea kettle! well not exactly the same since yours is white and mine is stainless steel, but they are the same (Le Creuset). I have all of the lime green pots for cooking, but for my stove I didn’t want green, I wanted the SS one. I noticed in the little video as they were tweaking the details and I do the same thing after I give my stove a good washing I adjust the tea kettle so it’s “just so” and mine also sits on the burner to the back right, just as yours does — well that’s how it is with BFF’s ha!! 🙂 Your house is so delightful, clean fresh and crisp. I don’t know how you do it! Mine has more that lived-in feel if you know what I mean girlfriends 🙂 Would love to hear that you have that next book in finishing-mode – then you could go on the NEXT book-signing tour and we would get to see you again! The Breakfast Book sounds like a winner!

  93. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    Lovelyt post! I am now getting the itch to start decorating. Can we have the recipe for the cranberry coffee cake or do we have to wait for the breakfast book? Please oh please don’t make us wait 🙂

  94. Lori from Maine says:

    I have a little Christmas tree just like yours. It’s also one of my first decorations to go up. I have little mini ornaments that I’ve collected over the years, but have decorated it with all kinds of things in years past. One year I hung earrings (large, gaudy, fancy ones!) all over it…and it was beautiful!!! Whenever I needed a pair of earrings, I went to my tree and picked them out! After reading your post, I’m looking forward to decorating, baking, etc. I always say I’ll start early so I can enjoy the last couple of weeks, but, usually I’m in a rush. Maybe this year???
    xoxo from SW Hbr.

    • sbranch says:

      Or do less, really, because Christmas should not be for rushing. Make a list of your favorite things, and take the top five, and there you go! I had to do it “all” for the magazine, but I don’t do that every year.

  95. Gert~Iowa says:

    Well Susan..I went to two stores today and couldn’t find the magazine…I am bummed..! I will call and see when it’s coming in! Then maybe reserve a copy!!

    And I want that recipe for the cranberry coffee cake! It looks delicious!!

  96. Sharon Fritchey says:

    I got my Yankee magazine in the mail today and just had to come tell you how much I loved the article, Susan! Thank you for sharing more about it here on your blog!!!! I loved seeing you, Joe, Jack, and your beautiful home all ready for Christmas!!!!

  97. Patty in Michigan says:

    Well I am back for my second time today going through all these beautiful pictures. So many wonderful things to look at! Susan, you, inspired me to start a collection of mixing bowls and in the video from your kitchen photo shoot I see that I have one of the same mixing bowls you have…..Vintage Ware pink and blue stripe. 🙂 I think you and Joe need to go home soon so you can get back to the “Breakfast Book” you started! That would be a GREAT book! I LOVE breakfast!! I think it would be cute in one of those little books like your Christmas Joy, Sweet Treats, the little Love book you did. I have all three and would love another! No pressure here 🙂

  98. Sandy says:

    I would love to spend Christmas at your home. Everything looks so beautiful, warm and inviting. For the past two years I haven’t even put up a tree but thanks to you, I may just go all out this year.

  99. Jan says:

    Ohhh how beautiful!! I remember seeing a few of the pictures from last year when you gave us a sneak peak of the photo shoot. Am sooo glad we got the insiders view too. Lucky you, to have such a beautiful old home. You and Joe did a wonderful job of decorating. It looks so homey and inviting. What an inspiration! Thanks for sharing with all of us.

  100. Danella on the West Coast says:

    Dear Susan,
    Christmas is my favourite holiday of all. Your home looks wonderful! Hope my Yankee magazine arrives soon. I can’t wait to show everyone my ‘friend’s’ house all decorated for the holidays. Continued safe travels for you and Joe. Thanks again….so much!

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