It’s Friday and tomorrow it’s MARCH (rabbit-rabbit).  Just when we’re dreaming of spring, here comes thirty-one days of chill (in like a lion) known as March Madness. And it’s the weekend.  Do you have plans?  Hey, you darling California people, enjoy that rain, stay away from mud, drive carefully!  I’m thinking about you! MUSICA.

cozy weekend

It’s a great weekend for MOVIES, plus we have the Oscars on Sunday — hope the rain is over by then so the stars don’t cover up their dresses!  I’m trying to figure out our Oscar Menu that night.  Peah-Ci-da to start!  Because the month of March seems to last forever, I think of it as a time to get things done so when Spring actually arrives, I’ll be exercise girlFREE.  I try to get as much out of every abnormally long and never-ending day as humanly possible.  It’s a healthy-eating, organizing (with Kellee and Sheri, thinking about what new things we can get for our web store this year, what new designs we can come up with, we were on the phone for two hours yesterday, plotting!); it’s a cleaning-the-studio and getting-ready kind of time, vacation and garden planning, being cozy reading a good book (I’m reading Goldfinch ~ (did I say Hummingbird?) ~ has anyone read it?  I’m barely into it, but the writing is great so far).  It’s such a thick book ~ I can live inside this book for a while.  I hope it turns out to be nice in there.


diary book

Since we went to England, a very long time ago, I’ve not had the chance to really clean my studio!  New piles get added to old piles, and you can almost hear them groan.  So, with next year’s calendars finally done, that’s how I’ve been spending the last week, filing, organizing, throwing away.   I’ll have you know it is heaven in here right now.  I can see the tops of tables.  Shocking! And I thought I’d give you a little tour of what’s on my front burners: THIS ↑ in all its glory, may look like a mess to you, but it’s actually everything I need to write a diary about my first little house on the island, drawings and memories.  I’m always scribbling something, I write while I watch TV, when I first wake up, in restaurants and while we’re driving and these are stories gathered over the years that have been piling up.  Now I get to organize them into some sort of sense that spells B-O-O-K.  Don’t ask me how, because I don’t know yet.  I compare the process to sweeping the kitchen floor.  All the tiny bits and pieces are scattered to every corner, I sweep and sweep and the crumbs and kitty hairs come closer to each other, I sweep some more until they are one solid thing in the dust pan.  That’s book writing.


Pancake Book

And then there is this  pile to consider.  It’s everything I need, recipes, stories, and sketches to write a book all about tea and tea parties.  This will be my prettiest book ~ think dishes, teacups, creamers, flowers, delectable desserts and delicate sandwiches.

pancake book

Then of course there’s this, my Pancake Book, like a giant lump of clay just begging to be shaped into something that brings all of you home for breakfast on a snowy morning or outside for a summer brunch under the roses.  It doesn’t look cozy from here, but trust me, this pile of paper is like warm-just-from-the-dryer flannel jammies personified.  Every time I make something delicious for breakfast, the recipe goes into this pile. This book will also have the story about my mom called Pancakes which some of you have read.


shell hunting

There are more piles in here, a read-aloud Christmas Story, a couple of How-To books about Creativity, a pile of sketches I would like to paint (and paint and paint).  I don’t lack for something to do.  But you can see above, this is where my heart of heart lives, even in this freezing weather . . . this is where my dreams go to grow.  When I do this, I am happy, and I’ve been doing it since I moved here, always to the same place.  Martha’s Vineyard, empty wide beach.  Snow is gone for the moment, so we take advantage of it.


For the all too important work of shell collecting.  It’s spring and I can’t have enough yellow things in my house right now.  These paper thin shells are called Jingle Shells (like the song) or Mermaid’s Toenails.


Quite perky for a windowsill.



My destiny, isn’t it a kind of meditation?  Salt water seashore and cold winter wind and jingling seashells?


And now, this morning.  I come downstairs and it’s still dark and I turn on the light over the stove to make my tea.

GirlAnd there is the little Missy, already downstairs, waiting for me.  I love how her eyes need to adjust to the light . . . I grab the camera.

Girl KittyBlink-blink-blink, she squints at me.  And then . . . clickity-click down the stairs comes the King of the Roost, the Lord of the Manor, he who is waited on hand and foot, Jack.

kitty love

He goes straight to Girl as he always does ~ but normally he never gets this close, she runs long before he can get to her.  Leaps across the kitchen table in a single bound if need be, to get away from him.  But this morning, I think he got a kiss!

kitty kisses

I couldn’t move too much or I would scare them and this is too rare, but look at that…. don’t you think he’s getting a kiss?  Look at her feet.  She’s such a dainty Girl.

That's enough of that!

So much for that, the romantic moment doesn’t last long — she’s outta there, enough is enough!


So, have a fun rest-of-the-day!  Here  are a few more ways to get the most out of March!  I’m off to see my friend Margot’s newest art project with two of our girlfriends today, and then the four of us are going to LUNCH.  I love to go to Lunch with the girls ~ one of the things that makes for a red letter day. 

Girlfriends  Have you had lunch with your girlfriends lately?  If not, wouldn’t now be a good time to put a date on your calendar, something fun to look forward to?  You need to catch up!  Have yourself a wonderful weekend!  Bunny-Bunny, Girlfriends.  XOXO

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594 Responses to MARCH MADNESS

  1. Julie Marie says:

    LOVE this post dear Susan!… so excited for your new books, wow, three of them coming up!… I think the one about your first house will be my favorite one… love seeing how your day begins… hello kitties!… yes, looks like Jack is getting a smooch from Girl Kitty!… and those “Mermaids Toenails”!… so pretty!… I did not know mermaids had toenails, only a tail!… hee hee hee… I guess Martha’s Vineyard mermaids are enchanted ones… as everything on your island sounds enchanted… enjoy your day having lunch with your friends… two of my nieces and I are getting together tomorrow to celebrate, well, EVERYTHING!… much love, xoxo Julie Marie

    • sbranch says:

      You are so right. The fairies that run ahead setting up scenes of beauty work overtime around here.

  2. Amy Warren says:

    I hear you on watching movies..watched “The Girl” last night-about Alfred Hitchcock and his obsession with Tipping Hendren, and a classic from the 70’s, “The Silent Partner” with Elliot Gould playing a bank teller who outsmarts a bank robber, played by Christopher Plumber. Enjoy your organizing and spring cleaning Susan!

    • sbranch says:

      Wasn’t that awful how he treated Tippie Hendren…wow. Cruel.

      • Amy Warren says:

        Yes..I never knew until I saw that movie. Am going to read the book the movie was based on, SPELLBOUND BY BEAUTY: ALFRED HITCHCOCK AND HIS LEADING LADIES by Donald Spoto.

  3. Bets Kirby says:

    I may be thought odd, but I do love March – “for lo the winter is past and the voice of the turtle is heard in the land” – tho we’re to have major snow this weekend. The wind will blow winter away, mud is squishy. Garden planning in high gear.

  4. Hello Susan, Loved your pictures and drawings. I like to think the cats kissed.:) Too sweet. I like the line of shells on the sill. Your piles look very like the “many ” piles I have in our office…I should be ashamed.I love that movie Emma with Gwyneth. Enjoy your weekend and time with your pets. xoxo,Susie

  5. Pat Stansel says:

    Oh happy day—we are finally getting rain !! I’ ve always loved the rain but now it’s such a blessing! The pic of grilled cheese sandwiches & tomato soup brought me back to my childhood. After going to the plunge in the summer, Mom would fix that for us —never felt more loved than that —true comfort food. So thrilled that you have the new books starting to take hold, boy I can feel your energy. Spring is springing in you !

  6. Sharon says:

    Who is the author of Hummingbird please? We are having a respite from winter in Central Ohio before the next snow/ice storm arrives Sunday into Monday. Good thing I have quilt blocks on my design wall to play with and The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley to read in preparation. Love the picture of the beach. Happy Friday!

  7. NANCYJO says:

    Hi Susan,
    Oh goody a new post! Yes cold is the word, 5 here this morning. More goody, you are thinking of new books, I’m ready to add them to my pile of Susan books when ever they are ready. Big pat for the kitties, I miss mine.
    Nancy Jo

  8. Asha says:

    Oh Susan! What a wonderful post! Just what I needed on this cold, cold day! I sometimes read your blog at work on my lunch hour which I did today. It’s always inspiring, especially today (the organizing part). I know we were sisters in a past life. We LOVE the same things. Kitties, the sea, sea shells, food, books, girlfriends, Downton Abby, the Oscars. Thank you for sharing your life with us! You are truly a blessing! oxoxox

  9. Anne in Maine says:

    I really do think that was a kiss! Yay Jack. She’s warming up to you. (Although secretly I think she really does love him but wants to keep him guessing.) Have a wonderful day. Enjoy lunch with the girls. It’s one of my favorite things to do with my friends. Makes for great memories. Anne

  10. Jamie from Virginia says:

    Susan, you do know how to lift flaging spirits! What a lovely, uplifting post today. Thank you for sharing part of your creative process. It is comforting to see how other creative souls surround themselves in their “creative-nest”. More snow and ice on the way to Virginia. Old Man Winter has worn out his welcome. I love the sunshiney-yellow jingle shells! What a great find on a cold winter day. I should think a mermaid’s toenail would be a lovely shade of meadow green though. 🙂

    A weekend without the joys and sorrows at Downton Abbey! Oh what will we do? I shall rethink the last episode and be happy that Edith found inner strength to follow her heart and that Mrs. Hughes FINALLY made a move on Mr. Carson! Oh how absolutely cute they were at the seaside.

    ~ Jamie

  11. Wanda says:

    Oh! What a happy day! Just a quick look at your blog and stress seems to subside: peaceful thoughts, lovely things, sweet kitties. Thanks for how you help us with that! Hoping the photo of your house at spring with the blooming tree will soon be available for us people who like to see it on our computer. : )
    Have an absolutely fabulous weekend!!!!!

  12. Linda June says:

    How wonderful to wake up to a new blog from you! I always check here first to get my morning cheer as I drink my cup of tea. As usual, you have sent me sunlight, seashells, and new books to look forward to. You are amazing, Susan! Thanks so much for just being YOU 🙂

  13. beebarbs says:

    Lunch with girlfriends is so fun! Laughing and eating — two wonderful things. Love your anticipated book projects, but can you start a small pile for a “Spring” book, Susan?

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

    Hello Susan, Good Morning Girlfriends!! oh what a sweet picture of Jack and Girl Kitty, I always want to call her Miss Kitty, seems like a perfect name for her. how cute that Jack gave her a kiss or she gave him one. how adorable. well all my cats are curled up on the blanket on the bed sleeping, its a cold wet morning here, we are getting a small part of Titan this morning, but nothing like what California is getting. the crocuses are flowering, the snowdrops are growing tall by the back door step, the daffodils are sending up tall shoots and the shy violets are in bloom out in the front, spring is almost here. Yankee Doodle Dandy is on TCM and a fire is going in the stove, a cozy day for me today. I have plenty to do, lots of sweeping and running the dust mop around and some serious sewing to get done, new Easter outfit for the Easter parade in town. have to get out my bonnet and spruce that up a bit, maybe change the flowers and do it differently and add a new ribbon, tomorrow its over Joann’s for fabric and ribbons and to look over the patterns. Mardi Gras is coming up fast and St. Patrick’s Day, then Easter, busy time of the year for us with the peeps and hopefully my baby ducks and turkeys will arrive soon, along with the baby geese. the barnyard is getting busy and ready for spring, the hens hear the peeps in the nursery and hopefully they are getting in the mood for a brood of their own. we got our first duck egg already, so the ducks are getting a running start on the season. well off to get busy, have a great day everyone and a great weekend. ta ta for now. hugs……. 🙂

  15. Seeing Girl and Jack reminds me of Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson holding hands. A budding romance? In Girl & Jack’s case, probably not, but we can hope. Girl was probably too sleepy to fully realize she was being kissed

    I’ve been nesting too. After a long fall and January full of fun activities at the store (starting with YOU) my poor neglected house needs a good spring cleaning. And after this mornings “EPIC STORM” (.04″) our yard is a mess so I’m on my way to surprise Bill and get it cleaned up before he gets home.

    Love your quote about friendships. Have a lovely lunch my lovely friend.
    xo Suzanne

  16. Marianne in Mo. says:

    Your future books sound like fun! Can’t wait! We have tickets to see Jersey Boys on Sunday, and they are telling us the weather will be sleet and snow, while we should be enjoying the show! So worried – we live about an hour from the theatre, and we also are joining dear friends before for dinner. I’m hoping the forecast is wrong. Hate driving thru sleet and snow, especially in late winter. Always is more hazardous it seems.
    Did lunch with the girls last week, and you are right – it lifts the spirits! Enjoy your day, and weekend too!

    • Marianne in Mo. says:

      P.S. Girl may just be finally realizing that Jack is here to stay! Maybe they had it out while you were on the road, and came to a mutual agreement! ;-)) Those boys are persistent, aren’t they?

      • sbranch says:

        I’m thinking maybe you’re right. Every once in a while I hear them running upstairs. No yowling or screeching, but I know if I went to look, they would stop before I got there. I just hope it means they are having fun.

    • sbranch says:

      Be careful Marianne, I know you will, and maybe those darn weather people are WRONG. It wouldn’t be the first time.

      • Marianne in Mo. says:

        They were wrong, plus, we got our tickets switched to Sat. Still, we drove home in sleet and ice, got stopped due to multiple car accident (no injuries) for 45 mins., but had a great time. Just thought I’d let you know!

  17. Mary in Phoenix says:

    *M*E*R*R*Y**M*A*R*C*H*… aquamarines & daffodils, shamrocks, March Rabbits, Pi(e), Mardi Gras, women’s history, spring & fall (so hemisphere), St. Joseph, St. Patrick, 31 days, domestic happiness, new life, growth, friendship … and lunch with girlfriends ♥ Thanks for always reminding us of the glory 🙂 xo

  18. Toni says:

    Hello Susan. What a delight to see your lovely blog this morning. I just had lunch with my girlfriends this week. It’s so important that we take the time to stay connected.
    Happy March

  19. Sue G says:

    Snuck away on my lunch hour to read a little pick me up between my two Kindergarten classes. Your beach shot looks so inviting, and I love those jingle shells. I use to collect them when I went to Florida over spring breaks years ago. I just came in from recess its zero degrees with a biting wind but the kids needed to get out and run around for a bit, whew! Snow tonight and tomorrow and so March comes in like a lamb. I love your pancake binder and piles of papers and ideas. Looks a bit my classroom at the moment, so many fun, creative things to do with my little friends. Have a wonderful weekend! Do you dress up for the Oscars? Just wondering!

  20. Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

    Without a doubt, dear Susan, your destiny certainly IS a kind of meditation. I love those piles of books, just waiting to be born. You are so blessed, and so are we. Happy, happy day..FOGT newsletter arrived in today’s mail. There you not one, but two pics! So excited for June!

    • sbranch says:

      I love that letter, I forgot I was going to be in it, so I opened it and oops! I know her!

  21. Stacy says:

    Oh those shells are pretty! And I love your stove. Thanks for another cozy post. Now I need to make a lunch date. Happy Weekend!

  22. Helen says:

    So grateful for the rain here in California…….We are looking forward to a barbecue tomorrow with a friend arriving tonight from the UK……but may end up with an “inside” barbecue :)….no worries…..our parched soil needs the rain! Have a wonderful girlfriends lunch…….I am hoping for one soon…..good for the soul. Have a happy weekend Susan 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Put on Frank Sinatra . . . “Hate California, it’s cold and it’s damp . . .” I never could figure out what that song was talking about!

  23. Linda says:

    So blessed we finally have some much needed rain here in So. Cal. The perfect day to curl up with a book and making your Hot Milk Cake for the first time.

  24. Christine from Covina says:

    Such a treat to find this this morning! We are enjoying and appreciating the rain this morning. We are getting some wind too,, a real California storm! A good day to stay indoors and get things done, or not, maybe just watch movies.
    I love you have your ideas for books in stacks. I know I would enjoy any one of the books!
    Thanks for being there and sharing with us!!!

  25. LindaSonia says:

    I like March – maybe because it’s my birthday on the 2nd!! and yes, lunch with girlfriends in on the list!

    Love your kittykats.

  26. Nina From England says:

    Hi Susan What a wonderful cheery blog update (again!)
    Well you never cease to amaze me when I read girlfriends I thought it was the bestest book ever then I read Autumn and thought that was, then a fine romance….And now you are talking about a book about your first house which I would love to read that story and also books on two of my favourite things. Breakfast and afternoon tea! Wow does it get any better than that, I doubt it! Excited muchly!
    Well I don’t know about lunch but I do have a new “Peah-Ci-da” flavoured with rasberries you could join me & my friend Gaynor for a transatlantic drinkypoo’s later! Usually its a transatlantic coffee but every now and then Coffee just doesn’t cut the mustard! lol Have a great weekend enjoy your lunch with your girlfriends xxxx

    • sbranch says:

      “Coffee doesn’t cut the mustard” sounds like something the Dowager Countess would say! 🙂

      • Nina From England says:

        Lol I love her! She sometimes reminds me of a bird when she pulls those faces! xx

  27. Karen Saunders says:

    Hey Susan….so excited about your future books. Whatever you do PLEASE have lots and lots of illustrations. I love how you paint. And for your store, not that your asking 🙂 but I love your paper products. I love the different colored straws, I would love tiny umbrellas for drinks (don’t drink but I think it’s fun to stick them different places. They’re so cute!) I wish you would do prints of the pages of your books and sell them….. I hope you don’t change the theme of your store too much because I don’t think any of us are tired of it. I think the ‘girlfriends’ are an easy bunch to please. (Have I lectured you long enough??) Sorry! ….just excited!! I am a big buyer of things. I love pretty cocktail napkins, and paper plates. Don’t know why I buy so many cocktail napkins because I don’t use them, I stick them in a toast holder and display them and SOMEtimes if I really think someone’s special I’ll open a pack!! Guess I’ve spouted off enough. Have a fun day.

    • sbranch says:

      Funny, I like cocktail napkins too … some of them are just little pieces of art! You never spout off! xoxo

  28. Cara M. says:

    Dear Susan…
    I hope you have a wonderful weekend, too! I am looking forward to your Pancakes book the most! I remember you had started that long before your trip to England. I love breakfast food and breakfast at dinner and brunch….whatever the season! I know anything that comes from you and your Heart of the Home will be most excellent! Thanks for all your creative inspiration!

  29. Nellie says:

    Oh, Susan! You give all of us hope that we, too, might be able to write! I just wish the piles on my work space had such creative secrets in them!:-) Perhaps if I spent some time organizing and clearing through them, something surprising might emerge.

    Just Tuesday I enjoyed lunch with a few retired teacher friends from my school. We always seem to spend more time talking than we do eating.:-) And – we do a magnificent job with the eating part!:-)

    The calendar may indicate the beginning of spring, but the Weather Channel doesn’t seem quite in sync. Perhaps the next 20 days will move us far away from storms with names. Titan! Hopefully you are the last one!

    I feel honored that you share your creativity with all of us in such special ways. I anxiously await whatever your next publication may be!

    xo Nellie

  30. Lori says:

    Here is hoping that March will come in like a lion so it can leave like a lamb! Looks like you have enough to keep you busy … I vote for ALL of the books. 🙂 There is always room on my bookshelf (and in my heart) for another Susan Branch book!

  31. Cindy B says:

    Yeah, a post – thanks! Love to have coffee with my girlfriends.. we also visit old houses and bake. Look sooooo forward to the tea book – hurry hurry…..

  32. Wendy says:

    Susan –
    I do appreciate your helping to get me through this longest winter I can remember. I like to come visit your blog and be reminded of other things to think about. We visit MV every summer but not until the fireworks time in August. We are only across the water here in Brewster on Cape Cod but the trip feels like a world away and we love our adventure every summer.
    I think your cats are very sweet and admire that you are able to get such good pictures of them. I especially love your cupcake rug that I imagine (since I can see your initials in the corner) that you made for yourself. By chance have you written any sort of pattern for it? It is just charming.

    • sbranch says:

      We count time by the days, and life is longer. Thats what happens with a blog, or a diary or any written thing, it gets recognized and doesn’t just disappear. The rug was part of a collection I did a few years ago, lots of different designs were made … but I think they’re all gone now. We just have a few pillows left in our web store.

  33. Rosemary says:

    Ohhhh I’m so happy to see the piles of papers/notes for the book regarding your first little house. I so look forward to this story and pictures.

    • sbranch says:

      I have probably ten diaries from that time too. Everything written down. Must get to sweeping!

  34. Gail Buss says:

    Hi Susan…….It sure did look like a kiss to me! How very sweet but you are right, it didn’t last long. Maybe they were just sniffing each other! In any event, I am excited about the result of your straightening up the office. I knew about the Breakfast book or Pancake book that would be coming at some point. But, now I’m really excited about the Tea Book. Love to go for tea and actually I’m having lots of friends over for a St. Patrick’s Day Tea on March 17th. I’m so enjoying the planning in my head and think I should put my ideas and menu down on paper so I don’t forget any of it.

    I went for lunch the other day with some friends. My Joe does not like Grilled Cheese which I absolutely love. So if it’s on the menu I seriously have to consider it. At first I planned to have a Reuben (a favorite) but then I saw they had Grilled Cheese with tomato and bacon! Oh yes! I just had to have that. I’ve had grilled cheese with tomato or grilled cheese with bacon but never all that together on one sandwhich (well actually it was 1/2 sandwich and a small side salad). Wonderful! Love going out to lunch with friends or even going out to breakfast with friends. So much fun.

    Going on a trip (cruise) this week and I hope it’s really warm when we return. It is still chilly here even with the sun shining but the yellow pollen is everywhere. Hopefully we can use the pool by mid-March! Only time will tell.
    Hope you had a delicious lunch. Hugs, Gail

  35. deezie says:

    Hi Susan
    I just get so happy when I see a new post from you in my email. Love that.
    I adore jingle shells. I was just making little jingle shell planter markers for my seeds I just planted. I used ones with holes in the top, wrote what I am planting and hung from the pot with twine, looks so cute.
    Have fun out to lunch
    I hear another storm is coming this weekend, stay warm

  36. Susan says:

    A group of us are getting together to quilt and craft for a week, without husbands or children – can’t wait!

  37. Nancy says:

    Just made weekend plans with a close girlfriend…not until the end of March, but something to look forward to! Love love love the quote at the end of your post!

  38. Susan says:

    And thank you, thank you ,thank you for the shell collecting quote!

  39. Sandy from Ca. says:

    What a wonderful day you have planned 🙂 I am so happy you are writing more for all of us because I need a new “Susan” book!!! I am so happy you have given us a chance to see into the near future and know that we have more to coming our way. We had rain this morning but still not enough for us yet, wishes for a wonderful March and more rain to come our way 🙂

  40. Elaine says:

    Lovely post and photos ! I do love that stove of yours . It is cold here but the sun has been shining and that makes this winter easier for me to handle ! My Miggs and I still get out for our walks I just layer up . Thanks for sharing ! Have a good weekend !

  41. Shanna says:

    I love all of your book ideas–it must be hard to choose which one to pursue next; or do you work on more than one simultaneously? I often read two or three books at the same time, so maybe writing more than one book at the same time is possible?

    It’s been raining here in Northern Cal since Wednesday–yay!

    • sbranch says:

      For me it really needs to be one at a time, for the concentration, to make it a nice round story with a good filling in the center.

  42. Sue Fancoeur says:

    Hi Sue,

    Am I first? I couldn’t believe there were no comments yet! So true, so true! Here in So Cal we finally get to anticipate a cozy room, rainy outside winter day! I hope it lasts until tomorrow when I am home from work. I have a day with the girls all planned for Sunday – Brunch and “The Book of Mormon” in Hollywood, then home in time for the Oscars. How perfect does that sound?
    Have fun today!
    Sue from Simi

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

    Happy weekend!!!…love the thought of did I count them right???…threeTHREE3…new books from you!!!…still can’t believe your snow comes and goes…we are up to 172″ in northern Michigan…xoxo…

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

      P.S. Is “Hummingbird” a novel or non-fiction book???…author please…

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

        YUP…you did say Hummingbird!!!…or maybe I am losing my mind from the below zero temperatures we have been having here in northern Michigan!!!

        • sbranch says:

          LOL, That didn’t take long! I said it, I went to lunch, at lunch I thought, “Hummingbird? That can’t be right.” — yes, I wrote it. But I fixed it!

          • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

            Gosh, I needed a chuckle today–thank you. At least you didn’t say you were reading a new book “Crow” or “Ostrich”…I sort of wondered as I have been reading reviews of Goldfinch. Let us know if it is good…

          • sbranch says:

            LOL, could have been!

      • sbranch says:

        Goldfinch, oops, wrong bird . . . 🙂 Donna Tartt.

    • sbranch says:

      Three unwritten books. That middle word is the operative one. The crumbs are there, the sweeping takes a while!

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

        That’s ok…as long as the crumbs are there…we/I can wait a bit…LOVE hummingbirds too!!!…maybe you need to do a “bird” book…xoxo…

  44. Denise W. Jose says:

    Susan; Thank you for another wonderful blog. Can’t wait for all the books you have planned. The tea one sounds like it would be great. I just recieved a supply of your lavender/rose earl gray tea. Can’t wait to share it with a dear friend that is coming to care for me post surgery. Tea and special friends . Sounds like a perfect cure.
    Love all your cookbooks so I await a new one. I still have several pages I removed from Country Living magazine years ago. Fav. sugar cookie hearts.

    • sbranch says:

      Wishing you the best, soon it will be in the past and you’ll be having tea with your girlfriends. xoxo

  45. Cindy Stierhoff says:

    A kiss is just a kiss, so says Chevalier, but between Girl Kitty and Jack, that was a smacker of a kiss, warmed my heart on this cold, blustery, rainy day here in California, even heard some lighting a bit ago. Have a great lunch date with your girlfriends!

  46. Colleen Baptista says:

    Oh, how I do look forward to your diary about you little cottage!

  47. Sue says:

    Oh how I wish I could be strolling along that beautiful stretch of beach gathering seashells….

  48. Mary S. says:

    Oh, how cute to see Girl and Jack kissing (I’m sure they were!)!!

    Love from Mary S. in Fresno CA

  49. Kathleen Hirst-Avon, New York says:

    Hi Susan, it’s afternoon here in my little corner of the world. My wonderful neighbor brought over some homemade bologna with pickle relish, onions and mayo he made for us. It is so yummy. Yesterday I made your bean soup and we’ll be having that for supper tonight. I love the interaction of Girl Kitty and Jack. My two babies, Cheddar 1 year old and Nipper 12 yrs. old. are just now starting to get comfortable with each other. Usually, Cheddar uses Nipper like a chew toy! We love them so much! I always love reading your blogs. Wish we were neighbors! Hugs to the kitties!

  50. Pom Pom says:

    Oh, I DO love the pancake story. It’s the reason I made pancakes for my eighth graders, every Thursday morning for a whole year. Your mama and her red lipstick . . . so sweet.
    Fly Away Home is so dear. I was sneaky and showed it to my struggling readers, trying to stimulate their dreams and imaginations. It worked!
    I am enjoying Call the Midwife season 2 before season 3 is available in May. Have you seen it? Another BBC wonder. One last thing, I am SO happy you are going to write a book about your first little MV house. That piece of art is my very favorite.

    • sbranch says:

      What a good teacher you are. I always wondered, I liked the Scarlet Letter, but I think the boys didn’t particularly fall in love with reading when they got that as their first “real” book — and for me, Old Man in the Sea was relatively hideous. Teachers should trick their kids into loving books, whatever it takes, so they get that gift of a lifetime.

  51. Marian says:

    If anyone could ever snuggle up to a stove, it would be yours in the picture above. It makes me want to put on my fuzzy house slippers and warm cuddly robe and cook a big breakfast. You should know that I do love reading your blog (who wouldn’t!!!). It makes me feel cozy, loved, and happy.

  52. Sweet Sue says:

    Good Day Susan!
    Thanks for sharing about your piles of projects and all the creative fun ahead! It has inspired me to take my piles of ideas for projects and start working on them one at a time!
    Also loved the yellow shells and your walk along the beach….even in winter I love to walk along the beach and collect shells as well.
    Enjoy your lunch out with girlfriends today!
    I appreciate you and thank you for sharing your life on these wonderful blogs!
    Bless you now and always!

  53. Melissa says:

    Oh, it’s good to see someone else’s piles! I’m in the process of cleaning out my “studio/work room” and have piles also. Yours will be made into books, and mine will be put into notebooks to look at on my leisure time…my own “coffee table books”. Thank you for the encouragement to keep at it.

  54. If you are working on a tea book – that’s SUPER exciting as I sell tea books and always looking for a new one!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ll try to do a really good one for you Bernideen. One thing for sure, it will be a FUN book to do.

  55. Tisa @ Seattle Retro says:

    Oh the joys of Breakfast Dinner (!) which my hubby fixed last night — ham & cheese omelet, pancakes with real maple syrup, homemade hash browns, a big glass o’ milk….sigh…he cooks everyday & it feels special everytime! Cozy winter; come, spring! Share what delights you find to munch at lunch & have fun with the girlfriends. (am loving the glimpse of book-planning, so inspiring)

    • sbranch says:

      I had my favorite thing of all these days, a crisp wedge salad with bits of bacon and blue cheese and tomato. Just love that salad! Of course we had a plate of French fries to share. Discussion of them included the word “vegetable.”

  56. Heartsdesire says:

    How lovely to see the kitties enjoying a moment of affection. Sounds like you have a wonderful day planned. Lunch with the girlfriends is always a pleasure. Of all the books you have planned, I’ll look forward to the tea and tea parties. Will love to look at the dishes. Have a wonderful weekend, hope it’s not too cold for those walks on the beach.

    • sbranch says:

      We put on our version of snowsuits, wrap up in hats and scarves and mittens, and as long as the snow isn’t deep or iced hasn’t sheeted the road, we can go.

  57. Rita from MN says:

    What a wonderful post, Susan! I has just come home from tackling driving in snow again and was fed up with winter and snow and cold. And then I read your post and I remembered the good things about winter. I will try to focus on them for this last “real” month of winter. Those of us in Minnesota know that even though spring is on the calendar this month it is still very much winter. Happy last day of February! Come on March!!

  58. Barbara says:


    I love your Robert Louis Stevenson quote. I am blessed to have a summer house on Long Island and plan to somehow get the quote framed and add a seashell frame, shells I collected, of course. Thanks for your blog.

  59. Deb W says:

    Noooooooooo……..the Emma with Kate Beckinsale is so much better! And the Persuasion with Amanda Root, better than either one.
    I am delighted about the subjects of your new books though. Ever since you posted the photo of your little cottage a while back, I have wanted to know more about it. I have a ‘thing’ for cottages….tiny cottages…cottage gardens….. cottage decorating…..sigh.
    And TEA!!! what is better than a nice cup of tea! With tiny sandwiches and pretty cups. I hope the piles coalesce into books soon, because I will be looking forward to them!

  60. Nina - in Calgary, AB says:

    Thank you for the movie suggestions…I’m renting them both now!!

    And, I wish you extra special inspiration to finish up those book projects as your fans anxiously await!

  61. melissa quarles from montgomery ny says:

    Lady lunch….my favorite kind of day! I get together with my besties about 4-5 times a year as we are spread out, and it is always the highlight of my month! Your quote brought a tear to my eye because yes, how wonderful to be able to say anything and to not worry and to laugh….oh the laughter!!! Thank you Susan for making our blog days full of light, inspiration and love! God bless you!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve read that having the support of girlfriends makes us healthier, and I believe it from the bottom of my heart.

  62. Jeanette says:

    Happy March Weekend to you and all!!!!

    The calendar may turn March, but, oh no, here in the Mid-west winter reigns!!! We’re in for a bonafide snow storm! Can anyone say 6-12 inches???

    So, I will have time to feather the nest even more. I broke out my springness last Sunday as I couldn’t take the cold and drab! I beautified the table with spring green placemats, put new candles in the holders with my glorious bobeches from you sparkling the way; updated my vignette in the mud room with daffodils, forsythia and pussy willows. Put my bunnies on the mantle and now it feels warmer already…Hey, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do!!!

    I’m sure you enjoyed your lunch with the girls and sending springish wishes for a splendidly enchanting weekend!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Love the sound of your sparkling springtime table, mudroom, mantle. It really makes a difference when I do that… may be raging and snow outside, but it’s bunny world around here, and that just cheers me up!

      • Jeanette says:

        Me too! Me too! It has made such a difference. Plus, I buy fresh flowers every week for a pop of more color. So grateful the tulips are in, I just adore them! XooX!!!!

  63. sylvia Faye says:

    Interesting your blog today is about new books you are writing/or going to write for all your girlfriends to love.
    Yesterday I found one of your first books, Vineyard Seasons, More from the Heart of the Home and a first edition at our local Antique Store. I am so pleased and spent a good part of last evening reading and reading all the thoughts of past events you wrote…the lovely picture of the eight of you and you the oldest sibbling. My youngest daughter has eight and I think I am going to leave this book in my will for her eldest daughter…she would love it as much as I do.
    It made my day as I could escape for awhile amid its pages and do dreaming in technocolor……..thanks for this book and look forward to following you in the writing of your new books. Especially look forward to the ‘TeaBook’
    Off to make my day as there are oodles of things calling my name.

    • sbranch says:

      Your youngest daughter has eight children? That’s quite amazing in this day and age. I loved every moment of being from that big family. We were a little tribe. So happy you found that book, I can imagine your daughter will love anything coming from you.

  64. Laura Croyle says:

    What fun! Love seeing the kitties kissing! Who would have guessed?! It’s nice to see they like each other after all!
    Oh! Oh! Oh! Absolutely LOVE all your ideas for more wonderful books! Especially the ones about your first little cottage on the island and TEA! Both destined to be best sellers for sure!! Oh, can hardly Wait! Which one will you start on first?!
    I just found an un-opened box of your kitchen garden cards at a Thrift store yesterday! Yippee! So Fun to find little treasures that have been kept waiting for me! 😉
    Getting in the mood for Spring cleaning, too. My house sure needs it!
    Blessings on your day!

    • sbranch says:

      One day I think, Christmas story, next I think, little House, then I think no, TEA, and it goes around and around!

      • Rhonda D. says:

        Hoping you will soon write about your Little House/Creative Journey. Your journey is so awe-inspiring and will leave us a legacy to follow our own hearts and creativity, make better lives for ourselves, thus a better world. It is very healing for me right now to try to write about my family history, piece the good times back together for myself and future generations. (Basically to stop and smell the roses in a rat race I used to call life that almost took my life). A big part of my healing is coming through following you “out of the pit,” you’re helping to light the path. There’s no better education than experience. I think this will be an important book, you’re showing us that we can do it.

        • sbranch says:

          That’s exactly what I would like, now let’s just see if I can do it . . .

          • Rhonda D. says:

            We’ve been sitting back, watching your beautiful life unfold right before our eyes…I have no doubt you can do it. And we would all love it too. You’ve figured out what is important in life, important to you, and have lived your life accordingly. You’ve taught yourself and then taught us. You’ve been a good teacher…how blessed are we! Cheering you on from the Maritimes!!

          • sbranch says:

            Rhonda, I have my book writing page open while I’m answering comments and when I read yours it inspired me to run over to the book and add a couple of things . . . now, it’s a half hour later and I finally came out of the well I go into when I write and realized, hey where was I? So, I’m back! Thank you, your cheering is wonderful! xoxo

  65. Jude says:

    I always look forward to your post, Susan. You are such a happy spirit and a day brightener. I live in the south, in Mobile, AL and the city is in partying spirit of Mardi Gras which will culminate Tuesday, Fat Tuesday and then Lent will start on Ash Wednesday. I am so looking forward to spring and you voice my thoughts so well. Easter is my very favorite holiday.
    I’m looking forward to your future projects as well.
    Enjoy your weekend. (I’m rooting for Nebraska for the oscars.)

  66. deb webb says:

    Loved your blog today, as always 🙂 it makes my day complete! Seeing your beautiful little furbabies makes me long for a kitty of my own…but 3 dogs~ I don’t know how they would feel about the competition! 😉
    My BFF lives in Portland so we are going to have an “on the phone” Oscar Party! We call each other and dish on the dresses, who’s inebriated, who isn’t, and then of course we have already shared our voter ballots for the wins, via email–the winner gets FIVE BUCKS!! and believe me~ we trash talk that 5 bucks up there! lol! I’m making swedish meatballs, a crab spread for crackers and assorted crudite, Lauri is having smoked salmon, olives and cheeses! We’re both having champagne-which makes us extremely witty! My DH gets into the banter as well~ It’s so much fun, this is the second year we’ve celebrated oscar night with each other chatting up on the phone~ it would make a funny you tube…. we’ve been crazy best friends since 1st grade~ what a blessing is that! Have a wonderful weekend Susan, <3 you!

    • sbranch says:

      You must have had some champagne before you wrote this Deb, because you are extremely witty! 🙂 I never thought to watch the stars for inebriation, but it must be nerve-wracking so they probably drink in the car on the way over! I would! Then I would need decorative bejeweled duck tape over my mouth to stop my “wit” from spilling into the cameras and ruining my image! 🙂 I can see I don’t have to tell you to have fun — hello to DH and BFF!

  67. Carolyn Alverson says:

    Congratulations to Karen Powell. When I added my name to the hat, I held out little hope that mine would be drawn. Surprise of Surprises! On Tuesday, my dear friend, Anne, came to cheer me as I impatiently wait for an injured leg to heal. Out of her bag she brought 1) a old SB calendar filled with your creative art and collection of wise words, 2) her very own pop-up book that I had admired at Christmas, and (drum roll) 3) a copy of the Gardening book illustrated by Tasha Tudor, whom I adore as much as Beatrice Potter. What a FRIEND! I am blessed beyond measure–and YOU, dear Susan, are our kindred sister! You have NO idea how my spirit rises into the heavens with each blog, each email entry. YOU are a true blessing! Don’t stop sharing your work & heart.

    • sbranch says:

      Another winner! What a great friend you have, cheering you up so. Hope you’re on your feet soon Carolyn and into the garden!

  68. Liz says:

    Bunny Bunny to you dear Susan!

  69. Linda Pintarell says:

    Our turn…finally…it’s blustery outside…windy…rain coming down – I can finally say that from usually sunny San Diego! We need it so bad; our drought situation is NOT good. A day to stay inside…another “finally”. Maybe I will get a closet cleaned…or something along those lines. Not that we should get a vote…but if you are “on-the-fence” so to speak – I vote for PANCAKES. I LOVE breakfast – my favorite meal in or out. Have a great day girlfriends!

  70. Shauna Woodall says:

    Thanks from the rainy West Coast! I love the last quote you gave here, to keep what’s “worth keeping, then with the breath of kindness, blow the rest away”: I’m so lucky it’s how I feel about my husband, lovely girlfriends notwithstanding. But then, I get to lunch with my best friend every day because I home school my teenage daughter. She and I are huge Susan fans. And I can’t wait to get my hands on one of those books about creativity! (I am a v-e-e-e-ry patient person and a writer myself, so whenever it comes out, I will be first in line.) Have a warm-from-the-top-of-your-head-to-the-tips-of-your-toes kind of day, Susan!

  71. Ginger says:

    This one made me smile. spring is on my island, too. Shells on my window sill, too. Last week I went to put on my glasses after hubby left for ferry. They were not there. I called him but he assured me he didn’t have them. I dug my old ones out of the dresser drawer and began my search. I cleaned out every drawer and under the bed. No luck. Then I hit the kitchen. No luck. Our place is tiny and there were no more places to look. Awhile later, hubby called to say he picked them up with his todo list. They were in his breast pocket. Whew! But…the house was spring clean in February. All day I was dizzy with the blurries. Anyway, I do love deep cleaning but don’t take the time for it often enough.

    I love your kitty stories. I have Yorkie stories. They are so much fun and full of personality with no idea they are smaller than a soccer ball. Watch out! She might kill you. Haha. It is fun to share times with a little furry friend.

    Thanks for continuing to share your interesting life. Really, we all have similar things, but you seem to be able to write them down in an interesting way. Thanks again.

  72. Suzanne says:

    I am sooo looking forward to all these new books someday, especially the tea book, no wait…the first house on the island book, well now hold on just maybe the pancake book…oh my goodness, they all sound wonderful! Can’t wait!
    I have the same habit of collecting those lovely little jingle shells! They sparkle in the sun and look like little jewels…sometimes I find the peach colored ones too. I keep them in a little dish in my bathroom, they are so delicate and sweet. Don’t they remind you of tiny potato chips?
    My kitty looks just like Girl in the morning, they are so funny! Her eyes squint and blink when I come downstairs and turn the light on (4:30 a.m.). She’s not really happy I think about waking up so early but then she knows that her breakfast will be served so she sits by her dish…all worth it! Have a glorious weekend Susan!

  73. Dawn (in Illinois) says:

    Rabbit, rabbit! Oh Susan, your wonderful piles of creativity are SO exciting!! I love seeing them from the very beginning of the process. Can’t wait to read each one of the books!! We’d all LOVE to help you write each of these treasures. Hope you had a lovely girlfriends’ lunch today. I’m looking forward to lunch with a special group of retired teacher friends on St. Patrick’s Day! ♧♧ It’s almost Spring!
    Happy hugs,

  74. Amy D says:

    Oh my, can’t wait for ALL of those projects. A tea party book?!!!! Are you kidding me? They all sound absolutely wonderful! Thank you!!!!

  75. Sylvia in Seattle says:

    That was sweet to see a moment, however brief, of connection between Girl and Jack :-). Also fun to see your project piles practically throbbing in anticipation of what they will become once your creative process switches into drive again. Thanks for showing us those pretty and delicate yellow shells.
    I love the Oscars and watched Nebraska last night. A quirky cast of characters shot in black and white. Loved it. I’m rooting for June Squibb. She’s older than me just a bit 🙂 But, so many great movies and performances. It will be fun. Also I’m really looking forward to receiving my antique book from the studio. I think we are in a similar age bracket also, the book and I. I’ll go to lunch with it for sure.

  76. cindy says:

    Hi Susan! Brrrrrrrr! Just came in from lunch with BFF…hot soup and bread, a little “treasure hunting” in our favorite vintage shops, purchased a new cookbook , poked into an old boostore…excellent 3 hour jaunt, and returned home to the dogs and a dark hot chocolate. Sucessful close to February! I wanted to suggest to you the original Cheaper by the Dozen” with Clifton Webb. It’s a real charmer , and as you probably know, a true story. I, for one, have enjoyed this New England winter, but the FLOWER SHOW in Boston will be here in less than 2 weeks, yay! March has its charms as well, especially the foggy nights! Thanks for the frequent posts, it’s really nice of you !

  77. Peggy says:

    Ahhhhh! Good camera time for Girl Kitty, but who can blame her for only making a rare appearance! I would stay in the Peter Rabbit room and not come down either. Jack definitely stole one. Could you rearrange the order of your books and do the “How To Creativity” ones next ~ not getting any younger here!! Hope you had a nice lunch!!!

  78. Merry King from Alabama says:

    This post just screams, “I’m ready, Spring, come on home!” I wish it was going to be springy here too, and like you, we’re getting a cold, icy weekend. Like you said: perfect movie watching weekend. 😀 Makes me want to pull out the “You’ve Got Mail” and Audrey Hepburn movies in my collection.

    -Merry K.

    • Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

      Is Merry King your real name? How delightful. I save happy names. I can add you to my list: Joy Spring, May Heart, and Gay Cloud. I also have a Lacy Valentine, but I cheated. That’s not her first name – just the one I assigned. So much fun when I addressed her valentine this year. Wonder if the mailman gets a chuckle?

  79. sandy says:

    hello Susan! I love the way you see the bright side of everything–that is so encouraging! have a blessed day, sandy 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      Hello Susan,

      I just received your new book and so excited to read it. I am so excited to find someone else who loves Beatrice Potter and Peter Rabbit. Last May, I went to the Lake District and it was so beautiful and and visisted Ms. Potter cottages and homes in England. This was my one dream that came true. I just recovered from Cancer and asked the Lord to please help get to visit beautiful England and the Lake District countryside. I took the train and traveled and did not want to leave, but I had to get home to a 23 year old cat and two cute dogs to get home to. My Libby, the cat passed away in November and she had a good life. I enjoy your website and the blog. It is such a joy for me, plus I have visited Martha Vineyards several times along with Nantucket. I could go on, on, but it I have not found folks that have the same interest as me. Thanks again! :0)

      • sbranch says:

        How wonderful Cathy, so nice to meet you! I hope you like the book and it brings back all those wonderful memories for you!

      • Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

        You just made my day. My Tiki is 16-1/2 and I dread the day she leaves me. Then I read that your kitty lived to 23! I’m going to quit worrying and just enjoy my baby.

  80. Helen C. says:

    Susan – I loved seeing all your little seashells lined up . Whenever we go to the Cape and walk on the beach, I look and collect those little yellow and orange seashells….. I never knew they were called “Mermaid’s Toenails”……I love that ! Wait till I tell my two little Granddaughters (they always like seeing them when I put them out in the summer) …. they will love that they are “mermaid’s toenails” !

    Enjoyed your blog. 🙂 I went out to lunch today too …with Hubby….had hot seafood chowder on this cold, cold day with warm crusty bread; then came home and curled up under a wool blanket on the sofa and started a new book (“The Husband’s Secret”) …..hope mine will be good also….good so far.

    Take care,

  81. Cocoa from San Diego says:

    Hello Susan,
    How serendipious! My daughter was just telling me about Sarah Jessica Parker using the “rabbit, rabbit” saying. And both of us were wondering where she got this from and why? And lo and behold, our favorite “Susan” has the answer in her blog!
    We love you for all your attention to the little things in life, which make us appreciate what is all around us!

  82. Pamela Jewett says:

    Hi Susan,

    I like your ideas for surviving March. It is a long month, but at least a bit warmer than January!
    We are getting some of the storm over-flow from California here in Nevada, but the mountains block a lot of the moisture. We welcome whatever rain/snow we can get.
    Thank you for the suggestion of Emma. I haven’t watched it in awhile so look forward for some snuggle time.
    Have a wonderful lunch with your friends. Friends are the staff of life!
    xoxo Pam

  83. Kathy says:

    Love Girl and Jack! Thank you for sharing such a special moment between them. Have a great weekend.

  84. Karen P (Wisconsin) says:

    Oh! I can’t tell you how excited I am about the thought of a TEA book! I can just picture how lovely it will be! I KNOW you will have fun putting that one together because it’s such a passion of yours. Love to see that Pancakes is still on the burner (no pun intended! 🙂 And those jingle shells! I’ll bet they would sound wonderful clinking together in the breeze if they’re strung up together! Such fun things you find on your walks! Rabbit-rabbit, in advance! March is here! xo

  85. Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

    Oh boy, Oh boy!!! Two wonderful new art/cookbooks to look forward to: Pancakes and Tea….my favorite meals!!! Here in SoCal, we are having quite the rainstorm. The electricity went out for an hour or so this morning and is bravely back on for the moment. Hope it stays on ’till the ham and bean soup is done simmering and the biscuits are out of the oven. Have a wonderful time today with your MV girlfriends, Susan!

  86. Michele says:

    Susan, so excited about your projects!

    And OH. MY. WORD. The little “encounter” between Jack and Girl Kitty! Give them lots and tiny kisses for me :0)

    (P.S. I haven’t forgotten about a letter (a REAL snail~mail letter) to you!)

  87. Helen C. says:

    Susan – me again ! I was just sitting here thinking….. HOW CAN MERMAIDS HAVE TOENAILS ?? I KNOW my little Granddaughters will ask me that ! Helen

    • sbranch says:

      Magic! *♫*✱ •*¨*• .☆.♪• *¨❋ **•• *¨✱*•★.* ♪* ✱ •*¨ ✸*•.★ .♫•*¨☆ ✱*•*♥. . .

      • Sandra R says:

        oooo. (open mouthed wonder) I would ask how you did that, but suspect that answer would be a repeat of above.

        • sbranch says:

          🙂 you can help yourself to that, you can copy and paste it into an email and then save it. Whenever you need some magic, you just copy and paste it to what you want to use it on.

  88. carmel says:

    What a beautiful quote from Craik. Thanks for sharing it. It truly reflects the comfort and joy of sharing with trusted friends. I’m grateful to have them. I truly look forward to your pancake and tea books. It’s fun to even anticipate their publication! Have a lovely weekend, Susan and all the lovely ladies of this blog. By the way, I think Girl gave Jack a little nuzzle. Don’t know about a kiss. However, that sure is progress!

  89. Hi Susan! I have never hear anyone say ‘rabbit rabbit’ on the first day of the month except my mom and now you!! Where did you hear it? My mom always told me to say it before you got out of bed and spoke to anyone – it would bring you good luck! I never remember until later in the day. Love that you mentioned it! Also loved the picture walking on the beach right in front of my cousin’s house. Looks like a beautiful day and hopefully not as cold as it is here in MI! Many thanks for a picture from ‘home’. My day is now complete!

  90. jan lane says:

    Today is a red letter day for me. I am in our new mountain home, in Pine Mtn. Club, Ca.
    We are having a much needed rainstorm, and tomorrow and the next day it is expected to snow.
    I just peeked outside a few moments ago during a lull in the storm, and there were several little beautiful birds feeding at the suet cake which hangs on the balcony. I love to watch the birds, and the squirrels and see the small animals and the deer family enjoying the sunshine, but as we need the rain, I am really cherishing the change of winter. March will definitely come in as a Lion and most likely go out as a lamb. It has been years since I have been able to experience the change of seasons.
    I am making a nice hot meal for a late lunch. We are having an Italian style baked chicken breast with garlic, Italian parsley, onion, a can of Italian style diced tomatoes over top with a liberal splash of red wine……….This is simmering in the oven and in a little while I will put some water in a pot on the stove to boil for the pasta.
    I may also enjoy a small glass of sherry in the afternoon as it certainly does seem that we are tucked in for the day.
    As it is supposed to snow, I will ask my buddy to light a roaring fire in our river rock fireplace and put more pellets in the wood burning stove in our bedroom. I am also almost tempted to put on some Christmas CD’s as we totally missed out on Christmas this past season due to moving here on Dec. 26th. Our second grandson was a gift to us on Christmas Day!
    March will be a good month, I think. All of this rain should bring life to this dry landscape………..I can hear the trees singing.
    Happy March to all!

    • sbranch says:

      Christmas music sounds like the perfect thing!

      • jan lane says:

        Just after I posted earlier in the day, when it was raining outside………bringing much needed rain to our parched state, I happened to look outside and lo and behold, it was snowing!!!
        It has snowed all day on the mountaintop, here in Pine Mtn. Club, Ca. It is supposed to snow tonight, tomorrow, tomorrow night and also on Sunday. The snow will really pile up………..I love it. It is the first real snow since we moved here the day after Christmas. I am so thankful to have had one good snowstorm before spring comes………as it will likely be one of the last opportunities for actual moisture. We have had dry, warm and sunny days whilst most of the country has either been under water or snow.
        I love checking Susan’s posts………..they are always so colourful and the pictures are just precious.
        Now off I go for a cup of Earl Grey and to wrap myself up in a warm blanket……..
        I see the white snow as a fluffy coverlet shining bright beyond the porch light……….and there is a stillness that is absolutely pristine……..if only such beauty could last forever.

  91. Annelies says:

    SO SO SO much rain…and I am enjoying each drop (G)!!! I am cuddled up and watching Paradise ( did you catch THAT wonderful series on PBS) and soon to work on a quilt in the sewing room. Yes, the simple life is always the best. Oma and I are waving hello and blowing kisses too ( does that seem to much…if so, I apologize)!!! XXXX

  92. Mary Cunningham says:

    Happy March Susan! 20 days until Spring…we are waiting for another mess of icy weather coming this weekend….ick….over it…..need for my toes to feel sand, must wait for November,then I’m off for 2 peaceful weeks at Panama City Beach Florida! I do think Jack received a kiss on his sweet face…Girl is being cautious, wouldn’t want him think he’s “the cat’s meow” …lol…love the little row of sunshine yellow!Precious gifts from the sea!…..hope you have a toasty weekend, and your favorite movies win! Mary “Barefoot Sparkler” from frozen Nashville Indiana 🙂

  93. Susie Kunze says:

    Thanks for the new post. We have to keep thinking winter, not spring, because we are in for another storm this weekend. I guess it will make the spring that much sweeter once it finally arrives. It is a good thing Easter is late this year!

  94. Mona in Riverbank CA says:

    We are loving the rain here in central California! You can almost hear the trees and plants drinking it in. Those yellow shells are adorable – so pretty! When we can get to the ocean, that’s what I spend my time doing. I have a little jar full of beach treasures, shells and bits of shells, stones, feathers, dried plants. It’s nice to have a bit the of ocean in the house! I can’t wait for all your forthcoming books. And I love the pictures of Jack and Girl. A sweet little moment and you got it!

    The quote at the end of your blog is one of my favoritest quotes. I love that feeling of safety with friends, knowing each other so well that we can be our true self, good and bad (but mostly good). And you reminded me that it’s been awhile since I’ve been to lunch with my good friend. So I’m off to make a phone call. Take care and happy everything! =^..^=

    • sbranch says:

      I was thinking I could hear gulping noises from here! I’m happy for all my California friends and their gardens, and the rivers and lakes, hooray!

  95. Paulie says:

    Not a speck of snow ??????? How could you ? Sure would love to be able to walk that beach too……….lovely thought for today though. Thanks for sharing it. Loved this post. A Tea Party book! Oh how exciting ! Love tea parties. Love old China ! Love the décor that goes along with it ! I am almost sure I lived long ago in the Victorian era……….:) Just love all the table settings and the traditions that go along with them. I do miss those days when all the china, crystal and silver came out for entertaining. Unfortunately the motto today is “Wicker is Quicker” Too much work they say! Oh well, we can’t go back in time I know, but that sure doesn’t stop us from treasuring those days and memories. Have a super week ! Don’t work too hard ! Happy Painting !

    • sbranch says:

      My girlfriends all collect from family and from yard sales like I do, and when we have dinner parties, we use it all and pretend we live back in time. (Maybe I’m the only one doing the pretending!)

      • Susan P. says:

        When I was a young girl of 10 and read about Teas…I would pretend with my younger brothers….I would make them drink Tea (water) and munch on water cress sandwiches (soda crackers) I had no idea what a Water Cress was???? But because of all my readings through the years I had real deep passion for tea,,,and I knew one day I would enjoy the real experience of Tea. At the age of 30 something I went to my first real tea at Frills in Monrovia…..I WAS HOOKED…I LOVE THE WHOLE WORLD OF TEA ..I have since collected table cloths and napkins from yard sales (easy to clean up) plates and cup and saucers and I have a rather nice collection of Teapots. I do not “pretend” anymore…I go to tea and I give teas allot…family and friends….hhhmmm I think it is time for a Spring Tea real soon. My poor brothers hahaha To all the girlfriends out there use your good things not just for the special occasions…but every day meals. I use my Aunt Agatha (102 years old and still with us) pink champagne glasses to drink sparkling cider yum taste so much better. My mothers nice silverware for more than just Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners. Depression glass plates for any time dessert (like before the main meal) My Franciscan apple ware plate for an afternoon sandwich,,,it also has had a In an Out Burger on it…Anytime we use some of our special things…doesn’t it just make us feel so good to pretend….Downton Abbey is only a place setting away. ENJOY love, Susan P.

        • sbranch says:

          Lovely. Tea is just a grownups way of playing house. The prettiest parties of all!

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

          I’m with you, Susan P. I love anything tea!! I’ve got a collection of all sorts of things that are tea related. You name it I probably have it. When we moved from a Victorian home in CA to a one story rambler in WA, I only put out my antique tea pots, cups and saucers. I’ve stored away the non antique ones, as I don’t have room here for everything being out on display. I haven’t given a tea here as yet, but have been thinking about it.
          Carol M

      • Susan P. says:


      • Jane F. says:

        I do it, too, Susan. Use my mom’s china teacups and my aunt’s cake plate set; and amethyst goblets. Someone has to be the “go to” person! All my friends here love it, and I love doing it even more!!! Just goes with the cake!! lol Great post. Love seeing your book projects stacked up. You inspire me to keep at it, too!! Happy March!!

      • Cynthia says:

        Oh ladies I still entertain on the holidays I host with my china & silverware, tablecloths, & cloth napkins for all 20 of us. I’ve even started pulling it out for random Sunday dinners when the mom’s/grandmom’s come over. I think they appreciate a pretty table, & the fact that the 2 sets I have both belonged to them & they enjoy seeing them used with love.

  96. Marty Cotton says:

    Another delightful post-thank you so. I have never seen those beautiful yellow shells before!As I said before, I always learn so much from you! I am enjoying Gladys Taber’s books-am reading Stillmeadow Seasons right now, and there are 3 others waiting for me on my nightstand.
    Will there be more copies of Kitchen Gardens going up for sale or has your stash been depleted? I am checking so often throughout the day, and somehow I still see them listed only after they have sold! I did manage to buy the Betty Crocker Cookbook for Boys and Girls on EBay, however! Future generations will be falling all over themselves to snag vintage copies of your books one day as well (not that we don’t all currently do that to buy them brand new!)

  97. Lynda Hovan says:

    Those Mermaid shells are the sweetest! I think I would have to work them into a garland somehow, for Spring. Like you need something else to do–lol. Good luck with all your projects. I am already earmarking funds so I be first in line to purchase the books. Ohhhh, I can’t wait.

  98. Dear Susan: Love, Love everything that you do. Really enjoyed your book “A Fine Romance”. Since I am Scotch/English ancestry, I devoured every page of the book and wished that I could travel to England to see everything that you saw. I am 81 years old so I will just read and reread your great book. As to the weather, I live in the northeast corner of Ohio and we have had a nasty winter. Lots of snow, wind and freezing temps. But soon we will enjoy Spring when it comes, and in the meanwhile, enjoy your pictures of your home and the beach and read about your pets, real and imaginary.

  99. stephanie says:

    I love your blog so, so much. Each post makes me so happy.

    – why does tomato soup and grilled cheese work together so well? If anyone sees a “Panera Bread” they have a tomato soup and half grilled cheese sandwich that is delicious.

    – will look for Hummingbird. I think the girlfriends would enjoy “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd (Oprah’s new selection) – quite devastating at times but beautifully written.

    – Can’t even STAND how excited I am about all three of your future books. I want them all! How can you decide which is first?? So excited for you and all of us lucky readers!

    – the “home sweet home” door snake (in the cat pictures) would be amazing in the store! After this winter we need all the help we can get to prepare for next winter!

    • sbranch says:

      I really made a big mistake, it’s not Hummingbird, it’s Goldfinch! I got my birds mixed up! I tried to get that home sweet home door snake for the studio, but the people quit making them! Too bad, it’s so cute and it says it all.

  100. Laurie says:

    Hi Susan! Enjoying catching up on your blog as I fly through the skies from Springtime in AZ to 12 degree weather in MI! We literally had to go out and buy coats for most of us. Love the pictures you’ve been putting up of the snow and now the flowers. Hoping to visit Martha’s Vineyard with my hubby soon….maybe a 25th Anniversary trip! So beautiful. Enjoy your day!

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