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. Kathryn says:

    Just got back from lunch with my mother today! Lunch out is more fun than dinner out!

  2. Ann says:

    Love your organized piles. Just went through my writing folders and realized its been a while since I wrote something new. So happy to see March on the horizon!

  3. Dianne L. says:

    I hope you will write the tea book first! THe one about your first house on the island sounds fun, too. I love A FIne Romance and also found your Summer book. My youngest just informed me that mermaids don’t have toenails. Go figure.

  4. Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

    Nice to find your new post, nice to have a good distraction… We’re supposed to get 1-2″ of more snow and then plummeting temperatures, once again, to 12-15 below zero. Got the call from the vet that Fanny’s bloodwork is much worse–cancer into her bones now. Hard decision coming but won’t make it until we absolutely have to…

    • sbranch says:

      I think it’s true what they say, your love for her will tell you when the time is right. And until then, hugs and kisses galore. xoxo

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        Oh Pat, I’m so sorry to hear about Fanny’s test. Sending prayers, hugs and all good thoughts. And pats for Fanny and Bette. ❤️

    • Vicki in Cincy says:

      Pat, so sorry to hear about ur dear Fanny, you didn’t mention her species ;). Just love her so much while you can. My heart goes out to you…..they are are babies. Take care!

      • Rhonda D. says:

        So hard to hear about Fanny, Pat. These babies are so precious to us. Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Sending hugs.

      • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

        Vicki–they are miniature schnauzers…the books call them “the dog with a human brain” and we say they are right…they are very “talkative” with all kinds of verbal sounds. I swear sometimes they are trying to talk–and this is without being asked to “Speak” as a trick…they are so smart, it is scary sometimes…

        • Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W TX says:

          I am so sorry about Fanny’s test results. They are with us too short a time. I recently read a pet card that said, “in the beginning they need us… the end, we need them.” It is so true.
          Keeping you in my prayers Pat.

    • Lynn McMahon says:

      ~ Dear Pat~ I’m so sorry to hear about Fanny ~ it’s so hard I know ~ you are in my prayers~
      We are expecting more of the same ~ yuck! ~ weather here ~ someone on the radio said something kind of funny about the snowy~ cold~ weather here lately~ Our weather is a lot like Justin Bieber~ It’s was nice and we loved it when it first got here but now it can go back to Canada! ~ Sorry Bieber fans……
      ~Have a great weekend!~

      • Janet in Rochester says:


      • Margot in WI says:

        We barely made it from West Bend to Burlington yesterday, it is cold, but not as cold as Pat up in MN. We found a beautiful house by accident in Sheboygan. Custom built in 1933 by a German architect, who also designed churches. The lake and river areas are so cleaned up and tourist friendly now.

        • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

          Margot, does this mean you are moving to Wisconsin? (That you “found” a house…) Sounds like the temperatures are finally going up but then, of course, we have more snow predicted. I’m trying to keep a vase of tulips in the house (thanks to Trader Joe’s)!!! If we keep thinking Spring, maybe it will come…

        • Lynn McMahon says:

          Hi Margot~ Winter is still here! ~ Sheybogan is beautiful! ~ Good luck in a house search if you are looking!~

  5. Lucy says:

    Hello Susan!
    I really enjoying your post today – as always! Breakfast for dinner is a great idea – thank you!
    I must tell you that I received in the mail today 2 yards of gorgeous Martha’s Vineyard fabric – your design from several years ago – the wonderful toile! I happened to see it on Etsy and my heart skipped and beat & snapped it up! Oh, how I wish I had bought bolts of it from way back when! It got me thinking, and hoping that maybe you would be designing a new collection. (As if you have nothing else to do, right?!) I could just imagine something designed with England or New England in mind! It would be magical!
    Today, sign me, hoping!

    • sbranch says:

      I can’t believe you found that, how great Lucy … it’s been gone so long, but you just never know. Yes, maybe someday a new line. That would be wonderful!

  6. Ann Y in PA says:

    Oh, Susan…we always do “rabbit rabbit” in our house, so I love when I see that you do it, too ! Enjoy lunch with your girlfriends…my college friends ( we went to Kutztown State College so we refer to ourselves as The Kutztown Girls) recently all met for tea at a shop near here. A Tea Affair ! We had high tea, with soup, and scones, and fruit salad, and sandwiches, and cakes and TEA, TEA, TEA….oh my. What a day….to sit and enjoy each other. Made me thinking we need to do it again…soon. Enjoy your weekend….SNOW….Book Fair at my school and pizza with friends afterwards….but now it is FRIDAY…pizza, “twine”, and weekend. Thanks for reminding us no matter the weather we can fill our days with fun !

  7. Debbie from White Bear Lake says:

    This post made me happy!! Where did you have lunch?

    • sbranch says:

      It means I went out to lunch and haven’t “moderated” all of the comments yet (right now I have 150 to go) — which I do because my blog gets tons of spam (2,150 in the trash right now!) — I don’t want people to have to deal with this gibberish, so until there’s a way to really stop it, I will “moderate!” Sometimes I’m slow, sorry!

  8. Denise W. Jose says:

    I posted a comment at 2:33 and for some reason it is awaiting moderation. What does this mean?

    • sbranch says:

      It means that I haven’t been able to moderate yet, but I’m here now. I get a lot of spam — so I have to approve each one. Plus I like to read them. I have 149 waiting right now. I do two, and three more come in, so it might be a while!

  9. Sue in Fl says:

    I got all excited when I read that one of your future project might be a read- aloud Christmas book. That would be wonderful! I so hope you do that. I’m also looking forward to the pancake book. I know it will be filled with good things. You make me want to have breakfast for dinner this week-end. I might make some waffles with the last of our wonderful maple syrup from Quebec City and watch my Downton Abbey recorded shows again. Whatever project you decide to do next, I know will be wonderful. I will be one of the first in line to buy it. It always makes my day when I see your post in my email! Glad you are able to get out and enjoy your beach walk. Spring can’t be far behind.
    Sue in Fl.

  10. sandy says: Hi Susan, I think you will appreciate this–March 6 is World Book Day! It’s main purpose is to encourage to start and contiue reading, but I love books and will celebrate. Your books will be especially special that day! xox

    • sbranch says:

      March is the perfect month for World Book Day … such an easy thing to celebrate!

      • Ann Y in PA says:

        Oooh…I did not know that was World Book Day…and I am a librarian, and that is my birthday !!! Will I ever celebrate ! Thanks for sharing that information – I will pass it alon>

  11. Christina R says:

    OH SUSAN! I’m so excited to hear about your book plans! I loved cozy-ing up with my kitty and reading your England diary. I think I’m at the point in my life similar to your small-cottage-in-the-forest days, at least it sounds like in the not knowing where I’m going side of things. 🙂 So I’m so excited for your diary! and breakfast too!

  12. Kathy R says:

    This post was so comforting. I have been sorting piles of papers today too, and funny but just this morning I was thinking ” Susan Branch wouldn’t have piles to go through”, thinking of the beautiful photos of your home I have seen. But of course, creative people have to gather their “materials” which is what some of my piles are about ( not all, but some) and it has been snowing, again, and will Spring ever come, and so forth. It was nice to feel kinship with what you were about today.

  13. Kathy George says:

    Perfect blog about meeting for lunch and catching up. Spent today with my sister-in-law to drive her for errands and lunch. She is on the mend from a skiing mishap last week. Her left arm in a sling from a broken collar bone and right hand in a cast due to a break. Told her I was the Home Health Aid for the day. 🙂 I left them a complete meal but she was most excited about a signed copy of A Fine Romance I gave her as a get well gift. Glad I saved it for the right moment.

  14. Romy Silvester says:

    Hi Susan, I have some of the same shells as you. I always called them finger nail shells. I also have about 250 some shells from all over that I decorate using my secret method. The colors are outstanding. I try and go with the original design of the shell from the sea and embelish it. My little home has shells in every room that match every room. Some are studded with gems, some turn out to look like paintings and some look like the sun coming up over the ocean and some look like little flower gardens. I get so much enjoyment out of creating a new look on each shell. Also have made jewelry out of sea glass and shells and Christmas ornament shells. Have a fine romantic day. Romy

  15. Gin in New Hampshire says:

    I’ve looked forward to you writing a book about your early days on Martha’s Vineyard for so long. Can’t believe it’s happening!

  16. Mary of pa. says:

    Susan, Indeed, I think March will enter like a lion, weather coming in this weekend. burr! just had lunch, with my neighbor girls today. Every week we get together at each others home or out for some fun adventure and lunch of course. ( there are 6 of us.)

  17. Jennifer says:

    Oh….you’ve got me all inspired to really begin my book! And the other books I want to create! “Dream big…start small”. 🙂 You told me, “Take three distinct steps each day”. I know you don’t remember….there are so many of us that love you….but I printed it out and put in on my drawing desk. Thank you Susan.
    Thank you so much for allowing us to see your life. You bless us with so much inspiration!
    And gathering with your girlfriends…’s wonderful! Once a month we have a gathering of friends. I host it at my house and we call it the ‘cooking club’.
    We have a different theme each month….like March is PIES AND PASTRIES.
    There will be sweet pies and savory pies. We all bring a tiny wrapped gift too and then swap by drawing a number. So much fun! And the food is delish!
    There’s about 8 to 10 of us. Lots of yummy recipes have come from this special time. My friend and I co-host and it is one of the highlights of our month.

    Anyway, thanks and love to you and Joe.

  18. Lorraine says:

    Thanks as always for sharing your walks and treasures with us. Love the yellow on the windowsill. It looks very spring-like.

    If I had a vote about which book you should write first, it would be a toss up between when you bought your first house and the tea book. The pancake book sounds yummy but the other two make it to the top of my list. I LOVE tea but can imagine your story about moving across country alone and buying your lovely, little house would be a page-turner… And, I always love your prints and cards… I don’t think you will ever be bored.

    Isn’t it wonderful to clear away “stuff”? I cleared off my desk the other day and pulled together all the paperwork for our taxes. It took a LOOOOOONG time – but it feels so good when it is done. I went to the accountant today AND I have a clean office. AND it’s the weekend! Life is good.

    Thanks again for sharing and helping to cheer us on through the last of this winter than seems like it will never end. It really does help.

  19. Beth in SC says:

    I’m heading to dinner with the Bestie right now! Been too long. I can’t believe how many irons you have in the fire! Look at all that SB Goodness just waiting to be published, distributed and drooled over!

  20. Diana from Ancaster says:

    Hello dear Susan! Thank you for another lovely post…. March 1.. The promise of spring and not one but 2 new books? Nice nice nice.Hugs from here!

  21. shirley burt says:

    How lovely, a day with girlfriends, even if the time only allows luncheon. I took my sweet friend, Janet to the chemo clinic for her blood work checkup. We stopped for lunch as a reward. We had chowder and biscuits. So nice that we have girlfriends to share moments.
    Oh any book you write will be absolutely delightful so many fabulous choices, so organize and begin !!!! We will wait as patiently as we can while your creative juices flow.
    I send you much love and bunny hugs,
    Best of luck with your shell collecting and bits of papers.

  22. Debbie P. ~ Weedsport, NY says:

    Hope your lunch was delicious…. I just want to tell you that I’ve made your homemade tomato soup twice this winter…we just had it last night with grilled cheese The recipe is so easy and now that I know, I’ll never go back to Campbell’s. I noticed in the Autumn book, that you suggest a brownie for dessert ~ I didn’t have the chocolate so I couldn’t make them but that’s all I can think about now 🙂 I’ll have to make some this weekend…another thing I’ve always made from a mix. See? Your books take me by the hand and say “You can do it…it’s easy!”
    I’ve been working on filling up your To My Daughter cookbook for awhile now so I can relate to you ~ every time I make something delicious, the recipe goes in a pile on my desk until I can add it to the book.
    Have a wonderful weekend, Sue!
    PS: Love the seashore photo. You are so lucky to live near the ocean!

  23. June Fisher says:

    Susan, Reading your blog today, was like being bathed in soft,warm sunlight, while nibbling a delectable sweet, accompanied by the perfect cup of tea.
    Thank you,

    • Carol C says:

      Is this by any chance the same June Fisher that lived in Beckanna Apts. in Raleigh in the early 70’s?

  24. Samantha S. says:

    I cannot wait for those piles to become books, especially the tea one!!! {anxiously waiting! 🙂 }

  25. Lori C. says:

    I just love the scene in Emma where Jeremy Northam (as Mr. Knightley) reprimands Emma (Gwyneth) for making fun of Miss Bates. It is so pongnantly sweet.

    • sbranch says:

      I feel so sorry for her!

      • JoAnn from SoCal says:

        I do too. I just want to give Miss Bates a hug. We’ve all had our Miss Bates times, surely.

        All of our upcoming books sound TERRIFIC! Not that you asked, dear Susan, but I would vote for the creativity book as numero uno. I’ve always thought I wasn’t the least bit creative, but I think with you guiding me I could reconnect with the kindergarten girl of 60 years ago who enjoyed paint and crayons!

  26. Monique says:

    Give me the simple life..any day~
    Like strolling a beach…in my worst attire..
    picking up shells and shark’s teeth..and sea glass..
    In Florida I find some similar to yours..but white and they call them bear paws..must be different.
    I have Goldfinch on my Kindle..if I could finish The Rosie Project..I could get to GF..
    You must have said Hummingbird.. because I thought..hmm.. haven’t heard of that one:)
    I am in a sorting..organizing mood too..Flipped my calendar page today..I know a bit early but wanted to view March~
    Got my lamb in the mail..wondering if I should make a dry run:)
    All your projects are exciting..
    I’d love to walk a Cape beach in March…does the ferry work in winter?
    We took the ferry to MV and Nantucket.. twice..but in Junes..
    I want to go back:)

  27. Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

    To all the California Girlfriends–“Happy Rain!!” and may it rain just right–soaking the ground and no mudslides.

    To Jack and Girl Kitty–One can only hope!!

    To Susan–did you know that Chris W. in Texas and I have become real email-pals?? Oh, my, how fun and all because of you!

    One of your quotes–“Everybody loves a Baby, that’s why I’m in love with you”–I sing to my kitty except at the end instead of “pretty baby”, I sing, “Baby Button” (his name:))

    I took a peek at March in your little calendar–oh,oh–I can’t wait for the total reveal tomorrow! It looks like a fun picture!

    I am reminding myself that March is Mostly Winter so expect Mostly Winter for Most of the month!!! (Sleet and an undetermined amount of snow is coming Sunday eve into Monday.)

    Thank you for a very lovely post!

  28. Jeanne Hedin says:

    Your post today was like a smorgasbord of delightful goodies! I’m still smiling over your description of writing a book. 🙂 And what charming books we have to look forward to. I am excited about each of your ideas, but especially so about the tea party book – can’t wait! May I be so forward as to suggest that you might consider including a few of those darling shells with a future giveaway? Thank you again for being a bright spot in our never ending winter.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, some real Martha’s Vineyard seashells would be a lovely add-on for a giveaway — good idea Jeanne!

  29. Sandra R says:

    Your posts are such a blessing! The opposite of crazy-making, what would that be? Sanity stabilizing? I am excited at the book bonanza. Really captivated about one telling the tale of your journey to MV, how you chose it, how you felt about being there, how you found your house. Did you know, really know right away? Or did you come to know later? And how did you deal with the doubts (I know your knack for happiness probably helps with those.) So many questions, I cannot wait for your book but guess you have to write it first! Enjoy your day!

  30. Beth from San Diego says:

    Susan – lovely blogpost – I have read The Goldfinch – a very heavy read albeit a page turner – has taken about a month to stop thinking about it. In fact I am re-reading A Secret Garden for some joy. The writing is very John Irving-esque, – the writing is good, just a heavy read. My opinion for what it’s worth. The reason I read it is because I collect bird figurines and when I was at Remnants I found a beautiful antique goldfinch which now sits on my mantle – of course the book is not about birds!! Loving the California rain – though the wind is blowing hard. Hope it doesn’t blow the clouds away! Aw the weekend.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh oh, no joy? Well then, I hope it makes me a better person. Some redeeming quality.

    • JoAnn from SoCal says:

      Hi there, Beth….from another San Diegan (transplanted from San Francisco).

      • Linda Pintarell says:

        Hi there Beth and JoAnn…from a native Californian…living in San Diego for last 30+ years. I think we have quite a big group of Susan girlfriends in San Diego.

  31. Melinda says:

    Hooray! It is indeed raining and thank you for the well wishes you sent to those of us in California. As one who just adores cold, overcast, rain, wind, -any snuggly weather- I don’t have the delight of it too often here but today, oh, today! Hearing the sound on the roof, having lamps on during the day…it is just so wonderful. Cuddled on the couch with tea, I find two presents…two new postings! Thank you.
    Can this day get better? Yes! About to pick up my 3 beauties (my oldest daughter is 13 and i’m so happy for her that she still delights in things like living room forts!) from school and the plan for tonight is making soup together, then building a fort in which we’ll watch movies.
    Thank you photos of sweet kittah-kitties (that is “we love kitties” talk for me and my 3 beauties), a big, snuggly “ahhhh!” Comes out of us when we see Girl.
    Happy, happy, happy weekend & time with special loves to you and all the wonderful girlfriends!

  32. March is more than welcome around here, even if it comes in like a lion. If my vote had been taken, February would have been kicked to the curb in the first week…so very glad it’s over.
    After m.o.n.t.h.s. of reading A Fine Romance (I pre-ordered) I am now finished and celebrated by buying another copy and sending it to my BBF (Beloved Best Friend) Sandra. She’s an artist as well and, last month, Loved my copy when I took it to her for review. That was all I needed to act quickly! Her surprise should arrive Wednesday…hoohaa! I can hardly wait.
    Susan, it is a Very Fine Book and has given me much delight over this long, cold, snowy winter. Thank you much!

    • sbranch says:

      “. . . February would have been kicked to the curb in the first week!” LOL. Nothing more fun than giving someone a gift you’re sure they will like! I’m always more excited than they could ever be!

    • Cat says:

      Hi, Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm – I feel like I know you! I live in Bland County. We are practically neighbors! I have followed your lovely Thistle Cove Farm blog and your alternate blog about the tasks that must be done following the death of a spouse. Although I am lucky enough to still have my husband, your posts have helped me to try to prepare myself for the eventuality – for either him or me. It is very informative and helpful. Thank you. And I’m glad to hear you sounding so much more cheerful. Susan Branch will do that for us, won’t she? (Thank you, Susan!)

  33. Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

    I NEED some of those little yellow shells. Can you put them in your store, please?

    • sbranch says:

      Oh dear. That means spending a lot more time on the beach. Don’t know if I can do that . . . 🙂

      • Jack says:

        Easter vacation’s coming –seems like you could get someone’s kids to work the beaches for around $2.50 per hour…..

        • sbranch says:

          LOL, for shells? Kids have changed Dad. 2.50 they spit at 2.50!

          • Susanb says:

            Your Dad is great! He is so funny! I actually laughed out loud reading his comment. Everyone should laugh daily. Thank you Susan’s Dad.

          • Janet in Rochester says:

            That’s probably true on Martha’s Vineyard. Everything costs more on an island. But around here you could easily get LITTLE kids [under 7 or so] for that amount. Teens no way – most of them would most certainly sniff at $2.50/hour. But little kids – absolutely. Although I’d probably make it $2.50 per cup of shells, or something like that.

      • judy young says:

        I just hate that we have to wait for next winter for Season Five!!

  34. Connie Turner says:

    I am so excited to hear that you might be writing a book about tea, tea parties, dishes, etc. Please start it right away. I am not getting any younger! Thought of you last night – B & N has a dear little suitcase with two mugs and two plates inside with Peter Rabbit on them for a little girls tea party!

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, neither am I!

      • judy young says:

        Me neither! Please write the tea party book first! It will be the prettiest book ever and will be one that will stay out on the coffee table forever (well, at least, as long as no one is picking it up and looking through it!)

  35. oops…forgot to say, I’ve been on a Wooster and Jeeves kick, just finished those DVD’s and am beginning Lord Peter Wimsey. Love those early English made for televisions productions.

    • Deb W says:

      After you posted this, I pulled up some episodes of Jeeves and Wooster on YouTube. Watched one from Season 2 ……..filmed at Highclere Castle! It was strange seeing different actors, dressed in roughly the same time period, in all the same rooms we just saw on Downtown!

  36. Ann says:

    Hello Susan,
    I hope that you love The Goldfinch – I did. Keep reading, and soon you will meet “Boris”, a delightful, memorable character. For days after reading The Goldfinch, I spoke with a Russian accent.
    I am really looking forward to seeing some of your book ideas come to fruition – they all sound great!

  37. Joan S says:

    A perfect post for a cold rainy day. I look forward to your future books of deliciousness. Time to make lunch dates!

  38. Janice says:

    Just started Goldfinch the other day. So far I’m enjoying the writing. I really feel like I’m IN the museum. Did you ever read The Art Forger? I enjoyed it and felt like I learned a lot too (nefarious and good).

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

    Hello Susan and all girlfriends everywhere ~~~ The sun is shining today!! Yay!! Although it’s a bit cool still, if seems like spring. We are hoping that the forecast is wrong and it WON’T be an artic freeze over the weekend.

    By the sounds and looks of it, you have 3 potiental books on the front burner to write. All sound really good. I’m thinking, though, that the book on tea and tea parties would be a good one to start out with. Lots of pictures of your tea parties that you have had and the lovely tablescapes that are layed out for us to see.

    Oh, Girl Kitty looked soooo sleepy. I’m surprised that she was up so early. And the kisses that Jack was either getting of being able to give was great!! Perhaps in Girl Kitty’s state of mind, she didn’t realize what she was doing…LOL.

    I’ve been making a list of plants and flowers that I want to get for the yard. I’m so excited for spring to get here. I want to go outside and NOT be cold. I have old plants in front that need digging up. I’m going to start all over. It sure needs some color.

    Frank has been busy these last few days building me a storage cabinet to go into the closet in one of the spare bedrooms. We put up about 4 shelves in each of the spare bedrooms when we first got here so that we could unpack and have some place to put things. I’m wanting change though and I think that the storage cabinet will make a good change and more storage. It will take up half of the closet and is 5 feet tall. Just under the high shelf running the whole length of the closet. I would also like a smaller cabinet built right next to it. I only have a very few long skirts and dresses in that closet. They don’t take up much room at all.

    I would like prayers said for my ex-husband. He just got the results back from the tests done that he has a brain tumor. He will be having surgery soon. I’m sure at this point in time that the doctors don’t know if it’s malignant or not. Not to say the least, my son and daughter are very upset and worried, as I am also.

    On to better things …. you all have a great weekend and stay warm all of you in the mid west and back east with this latest storm. Those that live in California… I’m so happy that the rains have come, but please be careful !!!!

    Carol M

    • sbranch says:

      Thinking of you and your friend, Ex-husband friend and father of your children. Prayers to you and yours, I’m so sorry to hear this. xoxo.

    • Nina - in Calgary, AB says:

      Praying for you and your family as well Carol!
      Keep walking in your faith…

      • Rhonda D. says:

        Carol, I’m so sorry to hear about your ex-husband. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. Sending you hugs.

    • diana from ancaster says:

      adding my prayers as well

    • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

      Oh, Carol, I will be praying, too–for everyone!
      Love, Linda

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

        Thank you thank you for all your prayers on behalf of our family! There is sooooo much power in prayer! Thanks again.

        • Sweet Sue says:

          Just offered up a prayer for your ex-husband….that the brain tumor is not malignant, that it is operable and the all will be well. I agree that when 2 or more are gathered in His name He is there in our midst…..there is powere in prayer. I have been fighting cancer for the past 1 1/2 years and know the reason things have gone so well is faith in Jesus for healing and the power of prayer. I go in for scans again on March 17th……can you all pray for me that the scans will be clear……and that no cancer cells are found? Thank you praying girlfriends so very much.
          Love you Carol and know your faith will see you through. Blessings!

  40. Carol Lichwala says:

    Hi Susan,

    So nice to see Jack and Girl Kitty so close. It actually did look like a kiss.
    I have every book you wrote, can’t keep them in my bookcase because my friends are always borrowing them. A Fine Romance is not leaving my bookcase, I bought 3 books for my friends and the rest are ordering theirs.
    Looking forward to your next book, I have a special place in my bookcase just waiting.
    Have a wonderful weekend. Hope you don’t get too much snow.

  41. Vicki in Cincy says:

    Hi Susan, thanks for the lovely post. I too, am excited about all ur new projects! What’s going on with Girl and Jack? Is he maturing? 🙂 posted byOr is she finally deciding he’s an ok kid? Lol…Maybe they bonded while u were visiting all us girlfriends!! Cute though, especially since u got it on camera, thanks for sharing. Big winter storm coming for a lot of us….be safe !

    • sbranch says:

      He’s not maturing, and she doesn’t think he’s OK! They were just cavorting for the camera I’m sure!

      • Vicki in Cincy says:

        Did I tell u I got a new cat? A beautiful 2 year-old female, tortie/ tabby mix with the greenest eyes. We’ve named her Winnie and she is still getting adjusted to the house. We’ve just had her for l0 days. OH! Kitty love is wonderful! 😉

        • sbranch says:

          I’m so happy for you Vicki! Hugs to lucky Winnie!

        • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

          Oh, Vicki,
          What fun! A new kitty! It is so caring to get an older cat–and with green eyes! You have rescued her from her loneliness and given her a home. And she will reward you with love and laughs!

  42. Carol (Daisy) says:

    Thanks for the MAGIC!! On this very cold Wisconsin day, I decided to dig out the gardening magazines that I have saved through the years. I use them for gardening ideas and helpful hints and this year to remind me that yes, warm weather will eventually get here plus I am starting spring cleaning because like you, when the weather starts to warm up, I am outta this house!! I have not looked through the magazines for several years and imagine my surprise when I opened up the ‘Country Living Gardener’ issue from June 1997. On page 52 was an article titled ‘A Vineyard Haven’! I took one look at the house and knew it was your house. . . the flag on the front, the curved front entrance railing, a pony-tailed Susan walking in front of the house, the VW parked in the drive, your lovely ‘kitchen garden’ surrounded by a white picket fence and a little friend named ‘man cat’ strolling in the yard. It’is a lovely article about a lovely yard, house, and its residents! I only knew you then by the several Susan Branch books that I owned but now I’m so happy to be your ‘girlfriend’ as well as all the other ‘girlfriends’ that I meet in your wonderful blogs! In the April issue of ‘Midwest Living’ magazine there is a quote on the Reflections page which totally reminded me of you…. ’the early piece of the morning is mine’ (Wallace Stegner- Crossing to Safety). That is, until I saw the blog today, you sometimes have the fine company of one or two wonderful kittens!!  Sorry for the very long-winded post but you give us so many things to comment about!

  43. Pat Stansel says:

    Hey , what happened to my comment —–it was a couple hours before the others I saw & was quite innocuous. Most of the day it was waiting for approval & then it disappeared.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s probably here somewhere. What shows up for me is the newest first. I went to long lunch with the girls, I’m “moderating” right not, sorry Pat!

  44. Gloria L. Nugent says:

    I see somebody else beat me to the suggestion of sharing the gorgeous yellow shells. Never seen them before…lovely! I also loved the quote about the beauty of true friendship. Had my FIRST EVER sip of ci-da last night & it was worth the search & wait. I think I will join you on a toast on Oscar night. Yay for getting to turn the page to March in about 12 hrs!!!

  45. Marcia A. Sherman says:

    Spending part of March 1 with my best girlfriend, daughter Rosy. Side by side pedicures after lunch – maybe cutting up magazines for vision boards.
    Laying in supplies for the NEXT snow – yikes.
    All is well.

    Marcia in Sewell, NJ

  46. Lisa Reser says:

    A book about tea and tea parties! I can hardly wait!!!!

  47. Marilyn says:

    what exactly does Bunny Bunny mean?
    Just wondering?

  48. Jane Armour says:

    CAN NOT WAIT for the new books! Especially the one about your first little house on the Island, & the one about tea! One of my most favorite things. Also, the breakfast one. Yum! Tell us please,please, pretty please that they are coming out SOON!

    • sbranch says:

      Would you like them hand written, or typed? The fastest handwritten book I’ve ever done was A FINE ROMANCE and that took nine months after we returned home from the trip. Usually they take about a year and a half. I’ve never typed one so I’m not sure if that would be faster or not!

      • Deb W says:

        Weeeeelllll…..that is a hard one to answer. It is difficult to wait a long time for something we want so much (like the next season of Downton, as well as your new books) but on the other hand, the handwritten books are so charming. Literally like reading your diary. That is a hard call. Let’s see what everyone else says, and if we can get a consensus.

      • judy young says:

        Hand-written, definitely!

      • mary spring says:

        …”rabbit, rabbit”….please keep to your handwritten style !!…that is a great part of all your books’ charm !!..( I know you know that already; ‘just sayin’….)..

        • sbranch says:

          I prefer it too! Especially for the diaries, it just makes sense.

          • judi says:

            Find a handwritten font that works for you! We want those talented hands/fingers of yours around for a long time to enjoy your delightful artwork:)

          • sbranch says:

            That was a thought too. I could use a font, then handwrite and watercolor the quotes and the artwork. So it would be a mix. But I’m not sure whether it would save time. I’m a wicked fast typist though!

          • A font of your own handwriting WOULD allow you to do more of projects faster…..just don’t tell us and we’ll be fine with it! 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            Hahahaha! I couldn’t trick you, I’d have to tell you.

          • Elaine in Toronto says:

            Is it possible to have a font custom made to match your hand-writing? Wouldn’t that be nice. Your beautiful handwriting and the ease of typing! Win-win.

          • sbranch says:

            I’m sure it is. I should stop and take the time to find out . . . but it’s like teaching someone to do the dishes the way you want them done, sometimes it’s just easier to do it yourself.

      • Jane Armour says:

        Okkkkkkaaaaaayyyyy. The hand written is so charming & so distinctly yours, I GUESS we can wait! The saying goes that patience is a virtue, right?

        • sbranch says:

          LOL, I wish I could just do the Bewitched nose wiggle and voila, but then they say instant gratification isn’t always the right thing. Good for chocolate. Maybe not for books. Or babies.

      • Karen P (Wisconsin) says:

        Yes, handwritten! Unique, charming, lovely! Of course, even if you did it typewritten we would love it, I’m sure, because you know how to make anything sweet and darling! xo

        • sbranch says:

          You know I will do my best. xoxo

          • Susan P. says:

            Handwritten for sure !!!! The way I look at it is….for the next 3 to 6 years I will have some awesome gifts to give to my family and friends and daughters for all occasions. All thanks to you Susan for your special way of doing things! It will be like CHRISTMAS….when ever they come out…LOL this is so me and my friend Patsy will really enjoy this…It rained all weekend here in California so I put the fire on (I have a cord to burn) and to make it so special….YES I PUT THE CHRISTMAS MUSIC ON. AAHHHH so nice and cozy and so soothing…I love my world, Susan P.

          • judi says:

            SAVE those hands/fingers for artwork and book signings:) A font is perfectly fine.

      • Sweet Sue says:

        Definitely a hand-written book… is well worth the wait. 🙂 Also my vote would be for the Christmas children’s storybook first, the tea book second and the book on when you first came to Martha’s Vineyard third. I also like the idea of including some of your seashells in your next giveaway! Be blessed this day!

  49. Nancy says:

    Lunch with the girls? Oh, yes!! Ten of us who did seven years of community service together have lunch in one of our homes once a month….and we travel somewhere fun a couple times a year. Friends for over twenty years…..:-). Girl Kitty is sooo beautiful!
    Happy March!

  50. Maureen MacKenzie says:

    Hi Susan,
    I love seeing your “possible” soon to be written books! We are just back from Scotland and my sister-in-law had a bottle of Pear Cidre…you are right…it is so good. What about those Hobnobs biscuits? Ahhhh
    I was so jealous to see your snow drops! Ours are somewhere under the snow. In Scotland all the snowdrops are up and happy….crocus and many other flowers too. It was wonderful to experience spring a few weeks early, but…we’re having another snow storm Monday and possibly another snow day for me (I teach 2nd grade) on LI. That will make 5 in the past few weeks….we’ll be in school until July….yikes! Enjoy the snow…it might be the last one for this winter.

    • sbranch says:

      Was it chilly, was it sunny? I want to go to Scotland!

      • Maureen MacKenzie says:

        You would love it. It was around 45° and sunny…..most days anyway. You know…you can have sun, rain, snow, sleet and sun again all in one day! 🙂 When the wind howls at night it reminds me of old movies. It makes a beautiful sound.

        • sbranch says:

          Ooooo, I just love the sound of it. Couldn’t you just talk about it all day long?

          • Maureen MacKenzie says:

            Yes, and sometimes…during the winter….at night the wind sounds similar here – at home. I know my husband and I are both thinking of Scotland. ♥

  51. Judy F. - Orange County, CA says:

    Hi Susan, during our much needed rainy days here in southern CA, I’m staying inside cozy and warm in my Susan Branch P.J.’s that I bought several years back, when they were available. Lucky me, I have three different pairs and LOVE them all! I have no plans to change into anything else as long as it continues to rain here! I know it sounds very lazy, no big projects to work on like you. Have a good weekend and enjoy the Oscars, Sunday evening!

  52. Cheryl Egan says:

    Hi Sue,

    So Glad to see that the Pancake Book is still happening.

  53. Cheryl Egan says:

    Hi Sue,

    So happy to see that the Pancake Book is still happening.

  54. barbara lassiter says:

    Oh, please and pretty please, a tea party book next! I went out with friends today for lunch and to celebrate one friends birthday. She loved the copy of A Fine Romance that I gave her. It was a very cold, but sunshiny day and we enjoyed being out and about before the next storm arrives! A little bit of sunshine and friendship goes a long way in what seems like a very long winter.

  55. Rebecca Walsh says:

    Surprise, Surprise, you must dash to Williams-Sonoma, if you can. For Easter, they have have two sizes of scrapers that have Beatrice Potter pictures on them !!, the smaller set has Jemima Puddleduck and Peter Rabbit on them and the larger has Mrs Rabbit with Mopsy, Topsy and Cottontail. They are so cute, I could not resist, so I went for the smaller one. Hope you find them.

    • sbranch says:

      She is turning up everywhere these days … new products at Wms Sonoma! I hope some of the money goes to protect the things she loved.

  56. Susan P. says:

    We are really happy just praying and hoping that the mud slides are not real bad.. we know people that could be affected by them. I Had to be out in the rain…For two little grand babies (lambs) were waiting for me. But when I got home yes there was a new post THANK YOU SUSAN made my day.

  57. Kate says:

    Here in frigid Indiana when someone says, “March Madness,” you think of basketball. We are having our tourneys now and there’s a saying that we always have a big snow right around tourney time.

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

    Susan! I heard you…”Hey you darling California people…”! 🙂 Yes, I am enjoying the pouring, coming-down-buckets rain. But, oh my! My cell phone went off with a wild alert warning for Flash Flooding! Though I am not near the fragile area, it is nice to know that the authorities are keeping a watchful eye.
    It has been a long long time since our old S.F.Valley home has been pelted by such volumes of water! When there is a quiet moment between squalls, I can hear the dripping. Its ok as long as its OUTSIDE dripping. Plunk, drip, plunk, drip, plunk, plunk…
    As always, I enjoyed your sharing in this post and the fact that you are such an incredibly creative soul. Look at those piles of INSPIRATION! I have piles on my desk, too, but, somehow, they just don’t seem to be as much FUN! 🙂
    I sat at my computer today, and as you suggested, turned my thoughts toward summer and booked our Summer Vacation rental for August. And I’m packing for a Girlfriend Get-Away to Palm Springs next week. I’m driving but the other three are traveling in from Michigan, Illinois, and Oregon. LOL…they can’t wait to feel the sunshine warmth of the California desert. Exchanging email with them as they pack for this trip is hilarious. I should send them some MUSICA to smooth the process.
    Thanks for thinking of us Girlfriends, sharing your kitty love, and giving us insights into your creative process. Love it! Stay safe and warm! ♥♥♥

    • sbranch says:

      What fun for you and your three friends ~ you and a little warm sunshine for them, and them for you. Have a wonderful time!

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

        What a SWEET reply. Thank you, Susan. 🙂 I will raise a glass of wine (or Magner’s pear-cider, if I can find it) in your name…and share my autographed copy of AFR with them. ♥♥♥

  59. Jody says:

    I love how those piles of notes will turn into delicious books!

  60. Rebecca Walsh says:

    Now, I have read today’s posting and I find it so funny that some many of us are un the cleaning out the closet mode. I just straightened the linen closet today (before I read today’s posting) and have already been purging the kitchen and bathroom. Is it a phase of the moon or just deciding that I have too much stuff and need to share?

    Rabbit, rabbit to you too. Starting to pull out bunny stuff to decorate for Easter, but first Mardi Gras and St Patrick’s day. Time to celebrate the early spring occasions.

  61. Cyndi in NC says:

    If I lived along the beach, where I could walk to it daily, that’s where I’d be also. As it is I have to drive 35 to 45 minutes and when it’s cold not so much! Movies and grilled cheese and tomato soup are my go to lunch. Especially when it’s cold it hits the spot! Funny you talked about going through your stacks as that’s what I’ve been doing. Clearing more than just a path. *L* Yes, it’s time to get things ship shape. I love Kitty Girl sitting on the darling cupcake rug. Is that her favorite spot to sit? She looked so cute sitting there. I loved seeing her and Jack interact and I think he got a kiss also!! How cute that was and how lucky you got the camera and recorded it. *S* Thanks for sharing that with us!! Stay warm gals!

  62. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh Susan, did I ever tell you I “love” yellow?? My very favorite color!! And how I’d love those little yellow shells, I’ve never seen them before! It is so nice to see and hear about your organized office!! I’m in diar need of doing that same thing in my office. Thanks for the inspiration! Happy March!!

    • sbranch says:

      I love yellow too. Once I had a yellow wall-papered bedroom with big flowers on it … I woke up happy every day in that room, thinking for the first minute or so that I might be Doris Day!

      • Gert~Iowa says:

        Oh, I know…we painted our kitchen yellow, with white trim! So pretty…it was always a happy place to cook, bake and watch the birds and squirrels out the window!! smile… My 3 favorite things, the color yellow, sunshine and lots of light!!

  63. Jack says:

    Objectivity prevails ….. so many different ideas for your new book and you can’t do them all of them at once! As you may remember we discussed the Breakfast Book about 5 or 6 years ago — and breakfast being touted as the most important meal of the day. BUT it will also require the most artwork, drawing and painting. Coming to the Island story finding your first house seems the most straightforward easiest story to tell and as such the easiest one to get into print. The Tea book also requires a lot of artwork ala The Breakfast Book, but overall a bit smaller I would think .

    Sooo, objectively speaking it appears that the little house story, with the sign on the tree, would be the quickest one to do and to get into print!

    • sbranch says:

      You are always so good at helping me “sweep the floor!” My best sounding board during A FINE ROMANCE!

      • mary spring says:

        ….dear “blog” father Jack, such good advice..surely your daughter will take your words to heart…regardless of her choices, tho, it will be so exciting…as she has been known to take us right along on the journey..gotta love it all…

        • Cathy from Golden Co says:

          I say do the one that will give you the most joy to create. God and the universe will do the rest! Whatever you do will be wonderful.. We need more Jack’s in this world!!!

          • Mary in Phoenix says:

            I agree with everyone here … but in looking at your calendars, cards, fabric, china, stamps, books, etc. etc. through the years I think you have A LOT of the artwork done already for the tea book 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            It’s true, lots of already done bits and pieces. Love to see them all in one book!

      • Linda Pintarell says:

        I love your dad; actually I’m always on the lookout for his replies. He reminds me so much of my dad…who would have been 102 this month…but he had 96 fabulous years on this earth…even living a while in Cottonwood working in the mines in Jerome. Kindred spirits maybe…I think they would have liked each other. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to think and talk about him.

    • I agree with Blog Daddy. Type the story of your coming to the Island with water colored illustrations and hand lettered quotes. I think we are all sitting on the edge of our seats to read the story of how that all happened. Then, do a hand lettered and illustrated Tea & Breakfast book. BTW I’m sure I’m not the only one interested in knowing more about Blog Daddy Jack and your mother. They must be extraordinary to have such an amazing daughter!

      • sbranch says:

        That sounds good . . . let’s see what my little art heart lets me do! As you know, sometimes the choices are made for us!

        • mary spring says:

          …good morning, Susan…excuse me, but did “blog daddy” say to type your coming to the island story ?!?.. don’t forget that your diary stories need your lovely handwriting…just sayin’ (again)…please don’t forget that the joy is in the journey as well…altho we all are so anxious, there really is no need for speed..please follow your “little art heart”..with love, as always..

          • sbranch says:

            He was just figuring which book could go fastest, I don’t think I’m reading him saying no handwriting. Although it wouldn’t surprise me!

        • Dawn (in Illinois) says:

          Yes, listen to your heart, Susan! One of the books must be tugging at your heartstrings a little stronger, telling you that you MUST do it first. It will bring you such joy to follow your heart! Listening to your heart is a very important part of the process… (That sounds like the same kind of wisdom that you would share with us!) ♡♡

          • Barbara says:

            I would really like you to write the Christmas book first so we might be able to get it by this Christmas. I can’t imagine how beautiful your Christmas artwork would be. Pretty, please…

  64. Daralyn says:

    Thank you for today’s inspiration and for a place of peace <3

  65. Rhonda D. says:

    Oh my, your book list is such a tease…you know we want them all. You make me feel like a child on Christmas morning. Maybe doing some typing along with your writing would make it faster for you (and us). I will add you to my prayer list so you can be like spider, grow arms and legs. I love your description of book writing. I’ve been writing journals, quotes, history for many years. I’m now starting to “sweep my floors” and it looks like I’ve been writing books and didn’t even realize it. I lived for many, many years in a quote garden…my Scottish Grandad was Quote Master extraordinare. One of his all time faves, “a little bit of powder, a little bit of paint, makes the ladies what they ain’t.” (He could be a bit sarcastic).

    The Jingle Shells are lovely. I’ve lived by the seashore most of my life, and I’ve never seen any that look like those. So beautiful and delicate. Definitely include some in your next give-away.

    I think Jack and Girl have something going on that maybe you’re unaware of. We used to have a cat and a Doberman. They hated each other. If the dog had gotten the chance, I think she would have eaten the cat. But we found out that when there was no one home, they were sleeping together. Go figure. We found out from the fur trail.

    Happy March Girlfriends! (I hope it’s a “lion tamer”). xo

  66. Jean W says:

    Love love love those beautiful shells!!! Yeah newbooks to look forward to! Iwould vote for the one about your first house as I got your first book when it first cameout ( a gift from my husband- he’s a keeper).Thanks for the lovely post. Happy Spring!

  67. Lisa R (northern Az) says:

    I love the “rabbit, rabbit” tradition. Never heard of it, where have I been?? Thinking some cute little rabbit cut out sugar cookies would be a fun thing to do on March 1 …. and a couple of good movies, as we will be getting the rain! (much needed). Aren’t girlfriends the best! Just had lunch with mine yesterday, where we all shared pie. What could be better. Happy March Susan!
    P.S. I vote for Little House on the Island. 🙂

  68. Victoria Miller says:

    Visiting your blog has become like visiting the home of one of my good friends! Always get a little touch of excitement wondering what will be the Musica for the day ~ I hadn’t heard or thought of that one for years, and ain’t it the truth! Loved your simple treasures, ‘Mermaids’ Toenails’…so beautiful on the window sill, and so poignant in your gloved hand ~ summer held in winter. And your piles of paper; the fact that you scaled them down is such an inspiration. Still moving back in and there are boxes full! All those neat piles that you, with your magic, will transform into more wonderful books for us! (While you’re working, you’ll have to put on Strange Magic by ELO.)

    It was lovely that Girl Kitty and Jack were able to at least rub noses. Some things just take time. Perhaps they feel a momentary need to unite because of the presence of an adorable little dog in the room.

    I started reading your book and was startled by an amazing coincidence having to do with the word “smitten.” Suffice it to say, Joe had much better luck with the word “smitten” than I did. However, we are now good friends and have movie nights together, and a good friend is always good to have! (Mittens, we can discuss.)

    I particularly luv the quotes by Robert Lois Stevenson (I just quoted him today about here in California, “The rain is raining all around, it falls on field and tree, it rains on the umbrellas here and on the ships at sea!”) And indeed it has, all last night and the major portion of all day. I dug in boxes looking for my raincoat and an umbrella, but by the time I’d found them I’d found so many other things, I spent the afternoon unpacking more things (mainly books).

    Were I to go for a walk on a beach like that here lately I’d be tempted to just keep on going. Not really, getting settled in my brand new apartment, although the building is still in the throes of a major remodel. My view is marred by scaffolding because they are going to re-stucco (they had to decide to do this during rainy season), and they have four more units to gut and rebuild. Sometimes life is Interesting.

    Wishing you and your family and all the girls and boys (well, we know at least your dad) joy to the world and a wonderful month of March!

  69. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    Love the kiss between Jack and Girl Kitty!
    I so envy your getting organized, I have so much of that to do that I don’t know where to start.
    All the ideas for your books sound great. I vote for the Creativity book first. I could use a real inspiring push and shove in that area too.
    We are loving sitting by the fire tonight on a very rainy California night. The plants outside are singing with joy.
    Happy Weekend.

  70. Terry says:

    Just perrrrfick x

  71. Like the rest I am so looking foward to your next books. They always delight for sure. I am so ready for March this year after the long wet Winter we have had over here. The sun is shining today (third day in a row, yay!) and there is a light frost on the car but the daffodils are up and the crocus are blooming. Can the bumbly bees be far behind? I think not!

    I had lunch with a bunch of lady friends just the other day and then we are having a special “Birthday” lunch for a friend this coming week. Lunch with friends can never be over rated in my opinion! I hope you had a lovely time with yours! I’m sure you did.

    Tea parties are so much fun. I did a little tea party cookbooklet the year of the Queen’s Jubilee and had a lovely time creating it. The artwork, the prose, so much fun. Nothing like yours will be though. Mine was very small, almost like a tidbit. I just know yours will be gorgeous. I can’t wait! I shall be first in line to buy it. Some days I surprise my Todd with a tea party just for two. So much fun. He’s a really great guy to put up with all my whimsies. Kind of like your Joe, I guess! Oh, and he also read “A Fine Romance” cover to cover and adored it too. How could I not love a man like that I ask you!

    Have a great first of March! ღೋƸ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒღೋ

  72. Susan on Bainbridge Island in Wa. state says:

    RABBIT! RABBIT!…………It is the 1st of March and in many places it is coming in like a lion….It was beautiful here in the Pacific Northwest..sunshine! but they are now predicting snow for the weekend…then rain!
    I adore your blog and all the happiness you share…It hit home with me so many times, bringing back so many wonderful memories stored away in the cobwebs of my mind and heart…I adore jack and Girl and the little smoochie thing going on with them! loved it!….More power to you to organize all your things in your studio…It not only clears the tables but also your mind!..Good going girl!!! I am going to be next!!!! I am so excited about your book about your first house on the Island….This will be a wonderful read for me…I know you will tell much about that time in your life..starting over, etc! Well Sue Sue…It is time for bed now and I must wish you happiness during the March Madness! Again thanks for being YOU!!!! xoxox

    • judy young says:

      It is the first of March here in North Texas and it was a balmy 83 degrees today. Just beautiful. However, that is about to change. Sunday’s high temp will be 35 degrees and a low of 15. It might be -10degree wind chill Monday morning! Talk about sun-burned goosebumps! I had to work today and then met with a contractor to discuss remodeling my master bathroom. It is going to be gorgeous…I am sooo excited! Went to the library later today and picked up a bunch of books written and illustrated by Tasha Tudor, so sweet. She has an Easter book with lovely drawing of lambs, have you seen it Susan?
      Does anyone like coffee icecream? I have only recently discovered it, and oh my goodness, where have I been!

      • sbranch says:

        83 to 35 in one day. Wow. We go from the other end . . . 20 to 35! Joe lives on coffee ice cream I like it with giant chunks of chocolate in it! 🙂

        • Susan on Bainbridge Island in Wa. state says:

          me too, Susan….Hagen Daz coffee ice cream!! Delish!!! and out here in PNW..we have an ice cream called Java chip and it is fabulous! not too sweet with just a little choc. chunk ….Wonderful!!!!!!!! YEAH!

        • Sweet Sue says:

          Where oh where do you find coffee ice cream with chocolate chunks in it? Is there a particular brand that makes that that may possibly be available in Southern California? My Dusty would like it as much as your Joe does! Do share about where it can be found!! Please do!!!

          • sbranch says:

            Our favorite was Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz by Ben and Jerry. But for a while at least they quit carrying it at our store (maybe even quit making it) … I haven’t seen it in a while, but it was yummy. Now we just look for any reasonable facsimile. Ooops Update: I just Googled it and apparently it’s back! On my grocery list now!

          • Sweet Sue says:

            Thanks Susan for the info on the Coffee Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz Ice Cream by Ben & Jerry. I told my Dusty and we will look for it when we go shopping this weekend. By the way Dusty says to say “HI!!!” to Joe. He says us coffee-chocolate aficionados need to stick together. 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            Hello back to Dusty from both of us!

  73. KAREN RUTH from Charleston SC says:

    We must be on the same wave length, m’luv, for I’ve been doing the same thing; going through papers and stuff, organizing, filing, tossing, saving, sharing, etc. I find that it’s cleansing to do this especially when it’s dreary and raining outside; it makes me feel as tho’ I’m still accomplishing something very worthwhile. Tiny Timmy and Muffy, my sweet Maltese pets, constantly hover wondering what I’m going to do next! They probably hope they won’t be next in this process. 🙂

    I LOVED the last quote in your BLOG about friendship!! Since my husband passed away I haven’t gone out as much. It’s time to change that!! Friendships are what sustained me following his death just six weeks after our trip to England last summer. Friendships are the closest thing we get to heaven on this earth. Thank you for the reminders you give us!!! They are SOOOO refreshing— and needed!

  74. Karen Williams says:

    What a breath if fresh air your blogs are, Susan. Just love to read them and immerse myself in your goodness!

    It’s a beautiful morning here in Cambridgeshire, England and its also one of my favourite days….I am Welsh and it is St. David’s Day! We say ‘Dydd Gwyl Dewi Sant, hapus i chi’ = happy St David’s Day to you! The daffs are out, we are saying goodbye or ‘Hwyl Fawr’ to the snowdrops and am thrilled to see that you have been early spring-cleaning too! I did most of mine a couple of weeks ago, when I couldn’t stand it any longer!!!

    There was so much rain, I couldn’t get out into the garden so I cleaned like a mad thing on a mad day! Just the kitchen to do now, but not on this happy day!
    Happy daffydowndilly day to you all!
    Karen x

    • sbranch says:

      Happy daffydowndilly and Happy St. David’s Day Karen! So nice to hear from you!

    • Sweet Sue says:

      Happy Daffydowndilly day to you as well! I have wanted to go to the United Kingdom for quite some time……to Cornwall in England, to the English countryside that Susan writes about in A Fine Romance , to Wales and most definitely to Scotland….reading your email makes me want to go NOW….can you share some more ……maybe I could possibly email you directly…….:-)

  75. Martha Jean Starnes says:

    Good Morning Susan-
    The pictures of Girl kitty made me chuckle…I have always been the early riser in my family. The Girls (my 2 kitties) and I have our own morning routine (which includes me turning on the bathroom faucets so they each can get a drink of water) and if my husband, Darrell, gets up early, it really throws us off kilter…:) Weekend plans? So excited! Three friends and I (two of whom I have given a copy of A Fine Romance and they loved it!) are doing a day trip today to Old Salem, NC where a Coffee, Tea, and Chocolate festival is being held….yum! We get to see how the Moravians roasted and made coffee, sample historic teas and learn how they used to drink chocolate…yes, drink chocolate! Have a wonderful weekend! P.S. Reading about the possibility of two more books from you makes my heart giggle!

  76. Elizabeth k. says:

    Yesterday, a friend & I went to the MV Museum, and spent the better part of two hours enjoying the History of Advertising exhibit, and all the other features. Such a fun and educational way to spend a frigid afternoon!
    Your creative blog is a great way to begin this day, the first day of the rest of our lives!
    Cheers from Chilly Chilmark, Susan! I do feel so blessed to live here, too!

    • sbranch says:

      “First day of the rest of your life” was the exact thing I said to myself this morning! Have you read about Nancy Luce — I’m thinking there might have been something about her at the museum.

      • Elizabeth K. says:

        Yes! The museum does mention her, indeed! It’s a fascinating stroll through time!

      • Elizabeth & Susan – I know that the museum use to have a display on Nancy Luce. She was quite a character and loved her chickens. My grandmother lived in VHS and use to tell us stories about Nancy and her pet chickens. The museum is a wonderful place to spend many hours!
        Lee from MI & VH

        • sbranch says:

          Lee, here’s Elizabeth, she lives in Chilmark! Elizabeth, meet Lee, she lives in Vineyard Haven and Michigan. And we meet here! Here’s more about Nancy if you haven’t already seen it . . . click HERE — she was an amazing island character.

          • Susan, thank you so much for sharing your article on Nancy. If the poor dear was afflicted with Lyme’s that would certainly explain a lot. Such a sad life, but yet there was such a creative side to her. My dad found one of Nancy’s original little books stashed away in a desk and he gave it to the MV Museum – it really was quite a piece of art. Thank you again for sharing your article. And hello to Elizabeth – you are so lucky to live on the island. I am counting the days until I return!

          • sbranch says:

            Oh my goodness, he did? That is so fantastic. Most of her things went, in a round-about way to Brown University. If there were a few more hours in the day I would go beg them to give them back to the island! Why don’t you live here year round?

  77. Christy says:

    My heart skipped when I read you are going to write a book on Tea Parties! Oh my!
    Then it leapt when you said Pancakes too!!!
    During these cold winter days I find myself picking up and watching All Creatures Great and Small, and drinking ever so much tea! Then Saturday comes around and the roommates and I will have a yummy breakfast of pancakes, and sunshine. I can’t wait to read the new books, but I’m going to join you in tackling the piles this week. Papers to grade, and more snow to come. I think it is a sign that I should sit down and get it all done 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration. All the best!

  78. Joy says:

    All of your book projects sound wonderful! I’m especially excited about the tea one, though. I’d be fine with a mix of typing and handwriting/ drawing, but whatever works best for you will be delightful, I have no doubt! I do love March, it is a hopeful month. Winter is almost over and spring is coming. Now I must go read about “rabbit-rabbit”!

  79. Jules says:

    The book may not be written yet, but I’d like to pre-order the one on tea and tea parties. I’ve been collecting mismatched china for a couple of years now and hope to have a grand tea party soon. Also, I love the photos of your kitties. Why are kitties so wonderful?

    • sbranch says:

      I do not know. Because they are like uncatchable bunnies and squirrels.

      • Sweet Sue says:

        I like that description of kitties….uncatchable bunnies and squirrels….reminds me a darling painting I recently purchased in Santa Ynez of a little girls in a white dress with a pink bow who was feeding a group of bunnies yet they definitely looked “catchable”. It is in an antique silver frame. I placed it in our bathroom where we also have a old antique framed painting of what looks like the hillsides in Santa Ynez. They look great together! How are your bathrooms decorated in your home there? Maybe you could share some photos and ideas some time?
        Have a wonderful day!!!

        • sbranch says:

          If you go to the top of the blog you will see an icon that says HOME SWEET HOME … there’s a drop-down and one of the things on it is “My Bathroom Photo Wall” — you can go there, or HERE, I put the link, and see one of my bathroom decorating posts!

          • Sweet Sue says:

            Great idea for decorating the bathroom! I have copied your instructions for “Friends” wall and am thinking about doing something similar yet calling it “Family and Friends” since our friends are more like family. Thanks for sharing have a blessed day!

  80. Cathy from Golden Co says:

    Just spending a HAPPY, foggy, cozy morning reading all the wonderful comments by all our happy girlfriends. I feel so content. I have to say Jack is getting so big! My, they grow up so fast!

    • sbranch says:

      Right before your very eyes.

    • Peggy Cooper says:

      Hi Cathy from Golden. I’m Peggy from Pueblo, and it’s very foggy and cold down here in the banana belt of southern Colorado also.

      • Cathy from Golden Co says:

        Hi Peggy! So happy to meet you! I hope your usually warmer weather holds out as I will be driving through on Monday on my way to Sun City, AZ to visit my brother. Spring is on the way!

  81. Christine Aschbacher says:

    Three more weeks until spring break arrives! Iwill be heading to St. Louis to visit my mom and girlfriend! Can’t wait for lunch with them!

  82. Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    Too late to say Rabbit, Rabbit! The Ft Worth family are here, with their new addition, a teeny, teeny, tiny, very yappy Pomeranian puppy. So grandma rescued it from the crate this morning and have been outside (keeping my eye to the sky for hawks!) and walking around the yard with her! She is hardly a real dog, no offense to all the tiny dog owners. My dogs just look at her, knowing there is no way to play with this puppy. And one of my barn cats was actually stalking it!
    March is here finally. I haven’t even turned the calendar yet. That will require a cup of tea.
    Love the piles of potential books, just waiting to have life breathed into them. You have had enough suggestions as to which book first. I know which one I would love to see first, but as I said previously, I will buy any Susan Branch First Edition!
    I read your dad’s comments about hiring small boys to pick up shells on the beach! Did we really babysit for 50 cents an hour!? Plus I remember being bored and cleaning the house after the kids went to bed! How times have changed!
    20% chance of rain for this area of west Texas tomorrow…..pray hard girls, it is so dry!
    Happy first day of March, everyone. I am off to read my calendar.

    • sbranch says:

      LOL “hardly a real dog” … my girlfriend has a hairless Chinese Crested . . . also almost not real! I actually babysat out of the house for 25 cents an hour because there were six teenage girls vying for the babysitting jobs in our neighborhood! Eight hours for $2. Those parents had it made in those days!

    • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

      Sounds like you have a busy weekend! Toby is bringing Baby James with him while he works on taxes today. I’m so happy! Kevin and I have been having colds, etc. so we haven’t seen the family in awhile.

      And, yes, 50 cents/hour. That was it! I tell that to young girls now and they are amazed! Plus, today, people usually tip a babysitter on top of whatever they pay them.

      I will pray for rain! I hate to tell you, but we have an alert for snow Sunday afternoon into Monday afternoon. This has been one amazing C.O.L.D. and Snowy winter.

    • Laura Ann in Vermont says:

      I’m probably a little younger and I started off at $1 an hour. I was a big babysitter–I babysat almost every Friday and Saturday evening and was always booked in advance for New Year’s Eve. I saved almost all of those dollars and, later on, my husband and I used it to pay for half of the down payment on our first home. I was 23 years old.

      • sbranch says:

        That’s very impressive!

      • Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W TX says:

        I probably spent mine on chocolate!

        • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

          I spent my babysitting money on books. And, now that I think about it, I think the going rate was 50 cents an hour, too. Yikes, doesn’t that seem hard to believe! 🙂

  83. Barb from Ohio says:

    My vote would go for the book about your first house on Martha’s Vineyard, then the tea book and pancake book and any other book you’re thinking of. Any of these books will be great, but learning more about your first years living there and your first little house sounds so interesting. But which ever book your heart tells you to do first will of course be the right one and we’ll all be waiting patiently for it. Stay warm and happy this weekend, more snow is on our way for tonight and tomorrow here!

  84. Carla Ludwig says:

    I am sooo excited about your new books!!! My vote would be for the story of your move to MV. I am especially interested in that story as my husband and I plan on moving to New England after our youngest graduates H.S. Very exciting, yet very scary as it is a big move for us. I also wanted to tell you that I had my first Pear Cider last weekend while visiting Concord, MA. I had it at the Colonial Inn in Concord…..YUM! Have a great weekend!

    • sbranch says:

      Happy you enjoyed the Cider — it’s really something different. Moving is a big thing. Do you have friends out here?

      • Carla Ludwig says:

        My daughter lives in the Boston area so I am out there visiting quite a bit. I have made a few friends while visiting different times that I keep in contact with. My daughter teases me saying I can talk to ANYONE, but I just tell her I am “networking” LOL. I plan on joining some groups, and maybe getting a job in one of the cute little shops as a way of meeting people. I find New Englanders to be very friendly.

        • sbranch says:

          That’s the trick, joining groups, volunteering, getting a job. It’s working next to people for a common goal that works the best. When I came here I didn’t know that and I have this streak of introversion which I also didn’t know at the time. So I didn’t know how to meet people. But I’ve watched others do it since, and they do just as you are planning. Plus of course, your daughter! Best of all.

  85. barbara lassiter says:

    Would it be appropriate for me to say here that there will be an exhibit at the Winterthur Museum in Wilmington, DE called Costumes of Downton Abbey. It runs from March 1, 2014 -January 4, 2015 and features costumes from the show. I know that there is a lot of interest here and discussion on this blog about the program. I just saw this in the paper yesterday and even though I haven’t watched the show (yet), I’ll probably attend this with some friends. More information can be obtained from Winterthur is a real gem and this will probably be very well done.

  86. Annie in IL says:

    It’s like Christmas around here this morning. Received my box from Shop PBS containing all four seasons of ‘Downton’ AND I received my FOGT newsletter!! This makes up for the horrid weather forecast we have of ‘wintry mix’ including the possibility of ice accumulation. I love snow (which is in the wintry mix) but not the ice – frightening! Keeping fingers crossed it’s just snow and some sleet. We have a friend who lives in town and has a B&B – that’s where we run to when the power goes out. She has already confirmed she does have a room if we need it. Also awaiting phone call from friend about lunch out before the ‘wintry mix’ hits us. So far it’s shaping up to be a good day! Rabbit, Rabbit.

  87. Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

    I received an email blog today which I wanted to share with my friends – all about London – but couldn’t remember the website. Remembering (incorrectly) that I got it from your list of favorite blogs, I went there to link it and it wasn’t there. Then I remembered that I saved it in my favorites, so here it is I think you and the Girlfriends would love it. This lady lives in England and goes all over and takes photos. I love seeing England through her camera lens.

  88. Kim Campbell says:

    GAH! I can’t figure out what this is..Peah-Ci-da? Help! lol!

    I just got my Beatrix Potter Society card and latest journal!!!!!! And the latest FOGT newsletter. Yay! Reading for a cozy week-end. Tomato soup and grilled cheese sounds good! XO Kim

    • sbranch says:

      Peah Ci-da is a drink Joe and I first tasted on board the Queen Mary 2 going to England — and then we drank it almost everywhere we went while we were there … it’s actually Pear Cider written with an English accent — I wrote a book about the trip called A FINE ROMANCE which is why everyone knows about Peah Ci-da!

  89. Di Word says:

    I loved Goldfinch. Hope that you will, too. The corgis are enjoying the warm day, but there is rain on the way.

  90. I can’t wait for the next book. Just the little tid bits here and there make it sound fabulous.

    Big snowstorm on the way here. Sigh…

  91. april says:

    Happy March, Susan! It’s a red-letter day for me because my oldest daughter turns SEVENTEEN. Oh MY! 🙂 We tooke her out for sushi last night, which is as close as I’ll get to “girlfriends'” lunch this weekend. I loved the picture of your beach and shell collecting.
    I hope you enjoy your beautiful weekend; your pics of the kitties reminded me that there IS enough love in the world for all of us–sometimes we need to persist in looking for it. 🙂
    Hugs!(Oh and I finished “A Fine Romance” just in time to loan it to a friend who was going on her first cruise…she took it with her and LOVED it too!!!!!) Beautiful!

    • sbranch says:

      Happy 17th birthday to your daughter — it sounds like the Perfect Girlfriend Dinner anyway!

  92. Linda says:

    I have several afternoon teas and lunches planned with girlfriends in March, and I’m excited! A book by you about tea parties would be the “perfect book” for tea enthusiasts like me.

  93. Jennifer Williams says:

    I love the pics of Girl and Jack! I have two black and white kitties, brother and sister, named Bonnie and Clyde. They are so much like your two kitties that I laugh out loud when you write about Girl and Jack. Because I KNOW what you’re talking about! 🙂
    I have to tell you how excited I am about your speaking at the FOGT Reunion in June! I had been wanting to go to a FOGT reunion for a while, but it is such a long way from Texas. I really love Gladys Taber and her writings, but when I heard that you were going to be there this year, well that sealed the deal! Road trip with my daughter from Dallas to Danbury in the works! Woohoo! I look so forward to meeting you in person. Even though I feel like I “know” you because I’ve loved you for so long, through your books, your art, and your blog.
    Hope your weekend is lovely! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Oh how wonderful Jennifer! I look forward to meeting you both … June in Connecticut is going to be gorgeous! All that and Gladys Taber’s house too!

  94. Carrie says:

    Dear Susan,

    So of the books you have floating about in that massive grey matter in your right, oh so very right, hemisphere of that endearing, creative and exquisitely artistic brain of yours, which story would you regret most not having told that perhaps is most uniquely YOUR own story? are you near the water yet, I’m trying to get you to take a drink 😉 – a feeble attempt at levity. So that sort of tells you my vote – the story that is only yours to tell and no one else has the voice to share that which is only YOUR story.

    That said, I must say for this hardest of cores Anglophile, it is most unheard of that I would pass on anything that might be slightly related to ole’ blighty, so not choosing the tea book as #1 surprises even me.

    Had the best time last weekend in Cincy, despite the X5 delays at Denver for our connecting flight – OY,, we made it and a ball was had by all. The exhibit was very special indeed. But guess what Princess Diana had a small collection of? Beatrix Potter people – always knew she was a kindred spirit but when I read she had some of these on display in her private apartment at K.P., well, what more can be said?

    The Princess Diana Exhibit had many rooms, beginning with rooms that displayed the Spencer Family Tree. The exhibit is still being put forth by Earl Spencer, Diana’s brother, Charles, who delivered the poignant eulogy at Westmisnter, and that influence was a bit heavy. But home movies of Diana as a young girl playing, being silly, swimming/diving – the normal things we all did was very moving. Her report card and a note she wrote about not inviting “Sarah” back for dinner. The entry before said she had Sarah over for dinner, must have gone down like thunder because she never wanted to cook for her again (think she was referring to her sister, Sarah.)

    There was a room with many of the iconic dresses over the years but then came THE room with THE dress on display. My cousin’s two daughters were pretty much at my side throughout the exhibit which made this experience exponentially better. Well, they protected me as I approached THE room that held THE dress I’ve wanted to see since’81. There was a room prior to THE room where I was reading the first draft of the Eulogy (written by Charles on his flight back from South Africa, where he was living at the time of her death, to London) and the re-written Candle in the Wind by Elton John. But these caring, compassionate, enthusiastic and most delightful young women knew how much I was looking forward to seeing THE dress but wanted to protect me from inadvertently catching a peripheral glance, wanting me to have the full-on experience, so they essentially body blocked me the whole time. Each time I turned to look at a different wall in this room w/the eulogy, etc, they would turn so I could not see THE dress room.

    Then it was time. I turned and head on, there was THE WEDDING DRESS OF PRINCESS DIANA! The welling of emotion started from the tips of my toes and crescendoed in my heart until it leaked from eyes. There it was. Years upon years and hundreds of books, and yet there it was, the genuine article. Just near the actual dress was live footage of the wedding day on a very large flat screen. Also of great surprise, they actually had the Spencer Family tiara on the top of the mannequin wearing the dress. I was not expecting that. My sister and I studied it intently. Comparing it back to the live footage from the wedding day and how it blinded with sparkling diamonds and silver on the wedding day. It was quite a shock to see the state of the tiara now. I can only liken it to sterling silver that is over 80 years old and has never been polished. Shocking, quite frankly. And the base of which the tiara sits is made up of some form of material – maybe velvet. It was very discolored, much like a sweat band that had been worn to one too many basketball games. All of the last bit said, it did not take away one ioda from seeing it. OVER THE MOON I TELL YOU…

    They had one entire room devoted to all the condolence books sent from ALL over the world. It was a bit hard to imagine. And many came in sets of three or more and were thicker than any encyclopedia I’ve seen. There was a room about her charities and video clips from when she died. I saw the place where I stood at Horse Guards Parade as the Gun Cortege walked by. They captured the grief of a country and world in mourning quite well.

    It was such a special weekend as I was with people I love so dearly. We had the extra special treat of traveling back to my cousin’s home where we had a delicious dinner and I was introduced to Kale – yum!

    Her daughters and their household for that matter, have joy bouncing off them unlike anything I’ve seen. Tried catching it in a bottle and think I may have nabbed some because I’m still living pretty high after such a wonderful time. But wait, I wanted to tell you about these budding artists. These young ladies seem to live for art as well as for reading the next great book. I purchased four pieces of art which are now on display at work. AND, they like to build. One has a set of tools that would make most men drool. They sew and do beadwork….their minds are constantly creating. We’ve come up with the California Challenge. We will be sending each of the gals x3 items and see what they create.

    Lastly, for years I’ve always hoped I would see a cardinal before I took the dirt nap. Well most unexpectedly, after rising from the dinner table and turning away I glanced out the window to the backyard where there was a birdfeeder nearby, and there was a flicker of red in flight. My cousin’s husband nabbed the binos for me and I got to stand at that window and take in the cardinals, both male and female. When I properly saw my first one I, most unfortunately, let out quite a scream which, in turn, had them alfight but never fear, they returned. We also saw Peter Cottontail, squirrels and many other bird varieties. They also showed us pics of dears lying in their backyard atop a blanket of snow.

    Last weekend will live on in my imagination as long as the neurotransmitters are firing.

    I’m on my very last case of books to give away, it’s been such a treat for me to pass on AFR which so perfectly captures that which fills my heart.


    • sbranch says:

      Thrills me to know Diana had Beatrix Potter people in her home. I didn’t realize the Exhibit would be so detailed or have so many facets. How old were the artist girls? What a great trip, all this and cardinals too! Thank you for the perfect visuals. The fabric of THE DRESS, was it sumptuous? xoxo

      • Carrie says:

        Very difficult for me to describe the wedding dress. I have embedded the visual of Diana in the dress and have realized it was she who made the dress. She imbued it with her ethereal spirit, countenance and goodwill which brought the iconic dress to life.

        I wasn’t 100% sure I wanted to see this dress in a lucite case under bright lights in a most unorganic context as opposed to leaving the image of Diana wearing the dress as a pure and unadulterated memory.

        Regardless of trends, critiques and even Diana not liking it years later, I found the dress breathtaking and magnificent. Looking at it, you would not know it was reportedly very light. There have been two art handlers who have been the only people ever to touch the dress, of course w/gloves. They have said the dress could be lifted with a little finger it is so light. I did not get that impression by looking at it. The dress was of a silk taffeta. The 25′ train was covered by the silk veil, attached to the Spencer family tiara, which covered every bit of the train perfectly.

        The dress had 10,000 small mother-of- pearl sequins and pearls hand-embroidered onto the dress. It required 6 different fabrics including 25 yards of ivory silk taffeta (I’ve read about British silk worms f/which some of the silk was produced) 100 yards of tulle crinoline and 150 yards of net for the veil. The bodice was boned and had old lace in the panel. The bodice had a floral basket embroidered on the front.

        Her shoes were beautifully hand-tooled leather soles with gold and a fleurette pattern including initials C & D with a heart. The shoes were made of embroidered ivory silk and detailed with mother of pearl sequins.

        A few subtle details whether incidential or in deference to her dear mother in-law I found touching : Diana’s mother gave her earrings to wear on the wedding day, so did Kate’s parents. Diana gave one last glance back at the wellwishers before walking into St. Paul’s, Kate did the very thing. Both Diana and Kate left the hospital after birthing their first child with similarly styled dresses and I LOVED that Kate did that in this day and age where unhealthy emphasis is placed by the media on those famous bodies and how quickly they return to pre-baby shape.

        My cousin’s daughters I mentioned who are very creative and artistic are ages 16 and 14. Can’t wait to see what magic they create as the years unfold.

        * You may want to check out “Downton Abbey” stars out of their costumes: *and make sure to read the captions at the bottom.

        • sbranch says:

          Thank you for that close-up and personal description of the dress. Loved it Carrie!

        • Sweet Sue says:

          Thanks Carrie for sharing about the Princess Diana collection and describing in such detail the wedding dress. It must have been beautiful to behold though I agree that watching the wedding on TV with Diana in the dress was quite a special occassion. I especially liked the coach she rode in to the ceremony. To live in England where they still have Kings and Queens and Princes and Princesses….oh my…the pagentry and lifestyles!
          Share more when you can!

          • Carrie says:

            Thank you Sweet Sue! Very kind of you to share in my enthusiasm. It was exciting seeing Lady Diana in that dress in ’81, wasn’t it? The glass carriage coach that she rode to St. Paul’s Cathedral in was great – didn’t you just love how it looked like a bunch of meringue surrounding her in that carriage? It can be seen along with the Gold State Coach, the latter of which is used only for Coronations or Jubilees at the Royal Mews, right near Buck House (B.P.) Again, thanks Sweet Sue. Wishing you the best, Carrie

    • Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      Wow Carrie,
      What a trip. You made me feel like I was almost there! Thanks for sharing!
      And happy you were able to see Cardinals before before you take that dirt nap. 🙂

  95. Pamela Jo says:

    Trying so hard to “Think Spring” here in PA on this first day of March, but living the reality of yet another foot of snow on the way with continued bitter temps! Winter Storm Titan is coming. I don’t like it since they’ve started naming all storms….hurricanes were bad enough! The meteorologist just said “If things work out perfectly, some of us may see more than a foot of snow!” I say, if things work out “perfectly,” I will walk out my back door and find the snow gone, my Spring flowers blooming, and the temperature in the upper 60’s! If the temp climbs to 110 in the shade this summer, I WILL NOT complain! LOL!!

    Your blog gets me through these long, cold winter days! Love to see photos of your house, and especially of your kitties! So sweet! I’ll enjoy the sunshine today, but by tomorrow afternoon through Monday it will be back to the shovel! YIPPEE! Can’t wait (written with much sarcasm)! ; )

    Have a great day!

    Pamela Jo

  96. Susan Cardot Lance says:

    Hi Susan

    Ohhhh! New books from you! Can’t wait. I would love to read about your first house there on the island and see your wonderful artwork. I’m all smiles….. Also, in a post last year, you wrote about a plant that grew up inside your house from the cellar. That would make such a cute children’s book…


  97. Lynne Neal says:

    I collected piles of thosed yellow shells when visiting Cape Cod in August ,I love that they are called jingles shells, I made a wind chime out of them for my Cottage up North and a beautiful mermaid ornament I bought there. I had never seen shells that colour before.
    Thanks for the name of them,

    • sbranch says:

      They must make a very pretty little jingle in the wind.

    • Sweet Sue says:

      I just love sea shell windchimes…..yours sounds delightful… time you collect shells maybe you could make a windchime for me…..I ‘ll pay you for the shells, your time and shipping… the meantime maybe you could send me an email with photos of your windchime. Let me know if this is feasible for you, leave me your email and I will write you.
      Thanks seashell friend!

  98. Sharon in So. Calif. says:

    Rabbit-Rabbit to everyone! Susan just want to put in my two-cents worth, I don’t care what book you do first!!! I will absolutely love ALL, no matter which comes first. I can wait, knowing eventually you will do all of them. You work so hard for us, thank you from the bottom of my heart! I too, love those pretty yellow shells, I have never seen them before. I wonder if the Pacific side gets them?? I do have 344 sanddollars though that I have been collecting for years. I had a secret spot for about 3 years but they took out 2 piers and it changed everything! Loved Jack and Girl’s “moment”, so sweet. And I have to say I love your Dad! He is so funny and thoughtful and helpful, a perfect Dad! He had to be, to make perfect YOU!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve never seen a sand dollar here . . . so perhaps that’s the trade off. Thank you about my Dad, he’s pretty darn wonderful.

      • Gloria L. Nugent says:

        Thinkin’ you 2 gals should trade your special sand goodies! I am amazed at the color of that yellow myself. Maybe cause I am longing for the yellow flowers to appear.

        • Sharon in So. Calif. says:

          Gloria it’s so funny you say that, I was just thinking that this morning! Mine are packed though, recent move, and I would have to do some serious digging in boxes to find them.

  99. Carol C says:

    It doesn’t matter which book you do first, all of us girlfriends are gonna love it! I do really like your unique hand-written style and hope you do stick with that, though. We are having a gorgeous, sunny spring day that makes you want to get the winter heaviness out of the house. I started by putting my blue willow back in the corner cupboard. Its had redware and slipware in since fall. Bought tulips at the store for the center of the table and will next get out all the Beatrix Potter teapots. So it’ll probably snow tomorrow!

  100. Peggy Cooper says:

    You know what you are Susan Branch? You are the next Gladys Taber! Such wonderful ideas for books. I turned my calendar to March this morning, and after reading all the Irish musings, we had to go to the Shamrock Irish Brewery for lunch. They have a lit up sign behind the bar that tells us 15 days to St. Patrick’s Day. My husband got the Boxty with Country Gravy, and I had the Beer Cheese Soup. Now were home in front of the fire because it’s only in the 20’s with fog and starting to snow – feels even colder since it was in the 60’s yesterday. We never know in Colorado from one day to the next. Trying to decide now whether to read, paint, or watch a movie. Decisions, decisions :o)

    • sbranch says:

      Romantic way to spend the day. Where Irish eyes are smiling. I had the best time doing the March page of the calendar … I never did one specifically for St. Patty’s Day before.

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