Hi Everyone!  Between WILLARD (which starts going out this morning and finishes Wednesday night) and this post, I think I’m going to wear you out!  But in the Willard I promised you a recipe, I promised “make-up gifts.” (Too long since last Willard, should call them welcome-back gifts).  But first, we need MUSICA . . . and I need to show you what my dad, better known as “Blog Daddy” and his darling wife Jeannie sent us for Easter.

a picture


Is that cute or what?  I get the bunny with the bow and I’m seven again.  It’s got green peeps, it’s filled with those dad and melittle chocolate eggs with the thin crispy crust and my favorite dark chocolate-covered coconut bars.  Thanks Dad, thanks Jeannie! There’s me and Blog Daddy  . . . Such a cute surprise! (We were so young!)   

I hope Easter weekend was as beautiful where you are as it was here!  We’ve been getting amazing doses (as in medicine) of spring, drinking it in, making it almost impossible to stay inside, stay home, stay down.  We want OUT! We pop this music into the player and off we go… 


The island

The island is coming alive and it’s fun to drive around and look at it.  You can see we are still waiting for leaves on the trees, but the air is filled with the sweet smell of thawing earth, the light is new, and the sailboats are coming back.  It’s perfect timing . . . Happy Earth Day!  It’s today!  Pretty smart of the powers-that-be to tuck Earth Day into this beautiful time of year!  For extra enjoyment, for frosting on the spring cake . . . Check out the Washington DC Cherry Trees in bloom!  They will put a song in your heart.

earth day

And now, here’s the recipe for the cake I wrote about in Willard, an old-fashioned lemon-filled sponge cake, soft as a baby’s hiney, perfect for spring birthdays, and gorgeous as a Mother’s Day Tea Cake.


Mother's Day Tea Cake

And since I made this cake for Easter, I thought I’d show you just how easy it is to put together.  Making this roll is much easier than you might think if you haven’t done it before.

set the temperature

So set your oven for 375° and here we go . . .

butter the pan

Butter a 10″ x 15″ cookie sheet that has a rim (jelly roll pan), then lay down a piece of waxed paper (allowing it to go over edge), smooth it into the corners and into the butter, and then butter the paper too.


separate the eggs

Put the yolks of three eggs in one bowl and the whites in another.
add sugar

Beat egg yolks a little bit then add a cup of sugar and . . .

thick and lemon colored

Beat them until they’re thick and lemon colored . . .


Sift a cup of flour together with salt and baking powder . . . (don’t worry I’ll give measurements at the end)…

add flour mixture

And stir it in to your batter along with six tablespoons of hot water . . .

beat the egg whites

Beat the egg whites until stiff and glossy.

Happy spring

While you’re doing that take a peek outside . . . oh, my, what a DAY!

look out the window

And LOOK!!!  I begin calling for Joe . . . we have robins by the herds, we have gaggles of cardinals, whole families ~ (not that I will ever take them for granted), but see that bird on the right?  We never see that bird.  ever.  Got out the bird book where we find out it usually likes woods and thickets.  This is our driveway . . . he is a “rose-breasted grosbeak.”


spring birdies in the driveway

We ooh and aaah over him for a few minutes . . . He must have spring fever, coming over for some dessert seeds.

fold in whitesOK, that was nice, but back to “work” ~ folding in the egg whites . . .

add zestAnd then the zest of one lemon . . . Now spread the batter evenly on your well-buttered cookie sheet and put into oven for 12 to 15 minutes.

sugar a dishtowel

While it’s baking, lay out a clean dishtowel and sift over a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

pull cake out of pan

When the cake is done, and wafting fresh cake fragrance to the neighborhood, bring it out of the oven and use the edges of the waxed paper to turn it out onto your powdered-sugar covered cloth . . .

remove waxed paper

Voila!  While still hot, carefully peel off the paper.  Then take a pair of sharp scissors and cut off the crispy edges of the cake all the way around . . .

cut off crisp edges

You can eat those crispy edges immediately, but from experience, if you eat them all now, you’ll have nothing to dip in the lemon filling you’re about to make. Just sayin’ . . .

rolling up the cakeNow, using the dishtowel begin to roll up the cake.  It’s fairly malleable while it’s hot so you can make a nice roll, just pull out the towel as you go . . .

roll it up

Once it’s all rolled, just leave it there and let it cool while you make the filling.  Essentially it’s in training now to be a roll.

make lemon filling

LEMON FILLING:  In the top part of a double boiler, put two whole eggs, a cup of sugar, the grated rind of two lemons . . .

juice of two lemons

The fresh juice of two lemons and two tablespoons of melted butter.

fresh lemon juice

Pour the juice into the double boiler through a fine sieve if your lemons are like mine and filled with seeds.  Stir over simmering water for fifteen minutes until the filling is thick. Cool slightly. (Más MUSICA Girlfriends?)


Then it’s time to unroll your cake; carefully peel it open until it’s flat ~ it goes very easily . . .

spread filling

Pour over the lemon filling and spread it almost to the edges, but leave it thick in the middle. (Don’t forget to save a little bit of filling to dip your cake clippings in if you have any left.)

too much of a good thing

roll it back up

Roll the cake back up, not TOO tightly, because you want the lemon filling to stay inside.  I roll and lift the cake a bit as I go so as to keep the lemon from squeezing out the sides. Move the cake to an oval serving plate.


Sift over a little more powdered sugar ~ the cake is beautiful, but I decide it needs a little Easter decoration . . . so I run outside to pick some of my pretty yellow (non-toxic) forsythia flowers . . . any excuse to go outside is a good thing.

pink flowers

grab some flowersAnd voila!  Like little butterflies.  Your cake would be just as pretty with wild violets, pansies, johnny jump-ups, or roses . . 


peek outsideNow, soak the dishes, while you’re at it, notice the guy in the garden . . . that really good guy in the garden?  Doing the aphrodisiac-thing women love?

isn't it romantic

garden in the springMulching and getting everything ready . . .

daffodilsGo ask him if he would like a piece of Lemon Cake . . . Tell him you will bring it and he can eat it in the garden.


for JoeHe deserves this . . . tender soft sugary cake with the most lemony of lemon fillings . . .

hang up birdhouseAnd while you’re out there, find reasons to stay . . . Hang up your bird houses . . . because you LOVE the serenade of birds in love . . .


bunny crossingGo take a picture of your old bunny crossing sign … take note of good mulchy dirt . . .

on the walk

Give up looking for more to do and go on a walk!  Such an amazingly gorgeous weekend.



Remember these Jingle Shells I found on the beach . . .?

yellow shells

. . . and then arranged on my window sill?



Well, one of our Girlfriends mentioned how much she would like to have some of these genuine Martha’s Vineyard jingle shells . . . so yesterday, out on our walk, I collected these . . .

boxed up

And I put them in this Emma Bridgewater tin as a surprise . . . because I thought they might be a fun giveaway for spring, to celebrate the change of season, a box from the sea.


Jack agreed.  I tied the box up in a little bag.  Then I thought maybe not everyone wants shells, but I bet everyone would love an original 1900 copy of the wonderful “Elizabeth and Her German Garden,” the first book written by one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth von Arnim (she also wrote “Enchanted April” which you would love if you haven’t already read it).  So I added that . . . Look at the beautiful raggedy edges on the pages of this old book . . . (Of course, If I’m doing anything different at all, Jack is immediately involved.  He has an inquiring mind that wants to KNOW.)

shells and Elizabeth

So I put them together and thought, that looks nice, but something is missing . . .

a gift

A Fine Romance!  Yes, must have that in the package. I hope you like it! I’ll sign my book and the Elizabeth book to whomever wins the drawing . . . All you have to do to be entered is leave a comment; right here at the bottom of this post you’ll see the tiny letters “comment” ~ click there and say anything sweet and you’ll be entered.

another giftBut is that enough when it’s been almost a year since your last Willard?  Don’t you owe the Girlfriends something else?  Maybe not “owe” but “wish to give?”  Oui!  I think so!  So Vanna will choose TWO names this time, and the second name drawn will get these two Keepsake books (guided “life story” journals with lined paper, places for photos, sewn-in ribbon bookmarks ~ and lots of fun questions to be answered in their own handwriting by mom’s, grandma’s, aunts, sisters), more Mother’s Day festivities! xoxo  We are starting early because we know that the best way to remember Mother’s Day is to forget it once, but we never want that to happen!

Mother's Day Cake

Here’s the recipe Girlfriends!


  • 3 eggs, separated in two lg. bowls
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. hot water
  • 1 c. sifted unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • grated rind of one lemon (zest)
  • sifted powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375°.  Butter a 10″ x 15″ cookie sheet or jelly roll pan, one with a rim.  Line it with waxed paper leaving some to hang over edges (an inch is fine). Set pan aside.  Separate eggs into two large bowls.  Beat egg yolks, add sugar and beat until thick and lemon-colored.  Stir in hot water and dry ingredients.  Beat egg whites with electric beater until stiff; gently fold into egg batter.  Fold in grated rind.  Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly.  Bake 12-15 min.

Immediately turn finished cake onto clean dishtowel lightly covered with sifted powdered get-attachment.aspxsugar. Carefully peel off waxed paper.  With sharp scissors, cut off the crisp edges of the cake.  Using the cloth, roll up cake pulling out cloth as you go.  Leave it covered and rolled, set it aside to cool while you make the filling.


  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • zest and juice of 2 lemons (strained if necessary, no seeds please)

Put all ingredients into top part of double boiler.  Beat well and stir til thick, approx. 15-20 min.  Cool slightly.


Unroll the cake, spread on the filling, and roll back up.  Cool completely.  Transfer to serving dish.  Sift over a tiny bit more powdered sugar.  Add flowers if you like, edible and unsprayed, violets, pansies, roses, johnny jump ups. Here’s a list of edible flowers.

Now something everyone needs the week after Easter, a delicious recipe for:

stuffed eggs

These make the most delicious just-home-from-work treat, on the porch while you watch the green things growing. Which is what I hope you’re all doing these days, just as crazy with spring fever as we are. ♥  Deep breaths of the gorgeous outdoors, that’s the only “cure.”


Happy Spring, Girlfriends . . . I’m off to work on my book, my new addiction, a few hours every morning, trying to figure out what our heroine is going to do next (she seems to have a mind blessingsof her own) . . . housekeeping, gardening, normal life in the afternoon.  Don’t forget to leave a comment for the seashells and books.  Also, if you have any trouble with WILLARD, be sure to let me know.  He goes to lots of addresses now, it takes a couple of days for them all to go out, but if you haven’t received him by Thursday morning, check your spam box (because I’ve heard he can take a detour) and then let me know . . . you can write either here, or on Twitter, or on FOSB (Facebook), and we will be paying attention!


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2,815 Responses to WELCOMING WILLARD ♥

  1. Rhonda says:

    I feel as if I have just spent a day with you; baking, walking on the beach, watching little birds and taking good care of your gardener. Thanks for sharing your day with me.

  2. Ruth Hoover says:

    I love Willard!! I can just be carried away reading and listening to the music!! It is like a short little vacation in the middle of my day!! Thank you so much Susan, what a wonderful gift!!

  3. Patricia says:

    I am absolutely enthralled with your website. I am a former visitor of MVI. My husband spent every summer there for at least 10 years! I try lots of your recipes. I even ordered my birthday gift from your shop, ( the spring blend of tea and the bird tea cup with cover )today I am 65, yep! Medicare!
    Thanks for all of your wonderful Giveaways”

  4. Paige Turnipseed says:

    This was my FIRST Willard and it was great as all your info is! We are loving having some good spring weather here in Nevada too. Just returned from Oregon from my mother-in-law’s house . . . they had many beautiful blooming bushes and trees that don’t grow here such as dogwood, azaleas, rhododendrons, etc. Had to take lots of flower photos : )

  5. Jenny says:

    Your posts always nourish my soul. Happiest of Springs to you Susan!

  6. Bebe says:

    Oh, it’ll be a far cry for me to win this one with so many entries- but oh, well, there’s cake to make and a book to finish reading, and a blog to visit every few days…….Not to mention a walk around the yard in this spring-blooming-lawnmowing-green-grass-smelling-chickens-crowing-dogs-barking-breeze-blowing day! XXOO, BB

  7. Dede in Kansas says:

    Oh Susan what wonderful gifts. Would love to have one!
    I always enjoy your writing as much as I do the illustrations! Thanks for sharing in photo’s too. Spring has finally popped here in Kansas. Winter seemed so long this year. Ready for spring colors!

  8. Ana says:

    Susan: I love your posts and look forward to them always. Thank you for the giveaway.

  9. jennifer says:

    I get to be with my mom for Mother’s Day for the 1st time in 20 years or so and I know she’ll love lemon cake. She has alzheimers and doesn’t remember me, but she still likes her desserts!

  10. Jill S says:

    Oh happy days! Love getting a new Willard! I’ve been getting them ever since they came out by snail mail. I loved seeing the envelop in my mailbox, it meant it was time for a cup of tea and a good read! Thank you for still taking the time to write and email them out! It is always such a treat!

  11. Victoria Gariepy says:

    Hello Susan! I absolutely adore you and your blog! It always puts a smile and my face and makes me feel a bit more optimistic. Have a great weekend!

  12. Mary says:

    So much to like in this post, the cake, the garden, the rose-breasted grosbeak, the books, and that cute guy in the garden!

  13. Anita Taylor says:

    Oh my, nothing could be sweeter then to win an adorable box of sweet shells from the Vineyard …..

  14. Cheryle says:

    I always enjoy your super uplifting, funny, (beautiful pics), informative and simply wonderful blog. I ‘get’ the picture of Joe working ;~)! Your words touch my heart.

  15. Thea says:

    Hmmm. It’s a toss up between yummy cake and having a man around the garden lol. Have a blessed day, Susan

  16. Lois says:

    I love to see your pictures of Jack “helping” you! Of course, seashells and old books and cake are special favorites, too.

  17. Theresa says:

    Thanks so much for such a cheery post, and the giveaway is so sweet! Would love to have a copy of the book…. It’s been snowing here the past couple of days, so your post was perfect….maybe I should get out my DVD of Enchanted April for another reminder that it will get green again ☺️…

  18. Kristi Faull says:

    That cake looks very yummy! Thanks for a chance to win treasures.

  19. Ashley W says:

    Happy, happy Spring! I love those delicate little yellow shells… so pretty. I was very excited to see Willard again, thanks. Happy creative writing on your new book. 🙂

  20. Margie says:

    Susan thank you for the spring filled beautiful post. The baskets from your Dad are just to cute not to mention such a treasured gift. Can hardly wait to make the lemon roll cake. I haven’t made a roll type cake in years. Happy Spring it is truly a glorious season. Your are just so inspirational from your pictures to your writing. Thanks for taking us along on the journey.

  21. Linda K says:

    I always enjoy reading your blogs, Susan. As I write this my husband and I, along with two of our very best friends, are attending the annual Cowboy Music and Poetry Festival held at Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch in Santa Clarita, California, just north of Los Angeles. A whole weekend of fabulous toe-tapping musica !! You would love it!!

  22. debbie young says:

    It has been a garage sale kind of day here in Ventura County, “The Ojai” is going on in Ojai, the annual tennis tournmanet, our little space in the “Oak VIEW” was warm, freezing, wendy and warm. Two great friends sat and kept me company bringing fresh donuts-hubby helped with set up, signs, clean up and keeping the coffee coming! But Monday it will be two weeks we have been “camping” at home, our two story home, the kitchen upstairs leaked into our master bedroom ceiling….so waiting for the insurance response team to now tear things open, ,,,,,, It is a little tight in an already small home with our four little doxiepoohs……. At the end of the day, it is wonderful to get on your site and relax, as I am right now at almost 11:30pm with a cup of hot decaf tea….. just the perfect ending to a long and productive day! SB is R&R <3

  23. Amy Mills says:

    She sells sea shells by the sea shore.
    Your photos are vibrant, always inspiring and cheerful.
    Amazing find at the beach.
    Love those treasures.

  24. Jane P S says:

    I love the way your website starts up with the bird flying across the top of the page. When my two year old grandson hears the bird chirping he excitedly yells out, “Birdie!!!!”, and then comes running to sit on my lap to watch the bird fly across the page again when I hit refresh. I usually refresh the page four or five times while we talk with the bird. Then he snuggles up to me while I read the post and enjoy all the pictures and the music. He especially thinks all the bird and kitty photos are the best!!! Thank so very much for all your sharing, which I immensely enjoy, and creating the opportunity to allow us the special time that is precious to me as I read and share your posts with my grandson! Thank you, Susan!!!

  25. You made my day Ms Susan B..How nice to have you return to me!
    You’re almost like “the spring”, you know..always welcomed & fun to
    watch grow!!

  26. Julie Merusi says:

    Susan – enjoy your books, blog & music choices. Thank you for sharing YOU!

  27. Julie Merusi says:

    Susan – enjoy your books, your blog & music choices. Thank you for YOU!

  28. Cheryl Craven says:

    Thank you for your delightful blog! It is always a ray of sunshine in my day. Can’t wait to try the cake……looks too delicious

    Enjoy Spring!

  29. TJ in VA says:

    Hi Susan,

    Happy spring! It is glorious to see the color softly emerging with fresh new green leaves. I was commenting to my adult son about the wonderful shade of green on the trees, and he so aptly remarked that the color of the baby leaves was beautiful…I love that he called them “baby leaves.”

    Like you, I’m enjoying the sunlight…the Easter basket green grass color of lawns…daffodils…forsythia…periwinkle…tulips…dogwood, tulip magnolia, crabapple, and redbud trees…ah-h-h SPRING!

  30. Susan says:

    How positively lovely!

  31. Jackie M. says:

    Happy Spring, Susan! I just love this time of year with the smell of blooming things! The cake recipe is going to be perfect for our Mother’s Day Sunday brunch!

  32. I was so exited when my friends gave me your latest book at my birthday tea that another friend had for me at her house. When I read your book I felt like I was there in England with you. I had so much fun reading it. I can’t wait to read another one but until then I enjoy your blogs. Thanks.

  33. Monika Petras says:

    Love seeing springtime on the coast. Eagerly awaiting blossoming trees in the Midwest!

  34. Jennifer Lauri says:

    While “babysitting” my son’s cat (Chippie, with a cut back paw), I finally dove into your latest book “A Fine Romance” and enjoyed every single moment of it. Having been to England back in the late ’70s, I yearn, once more, to be tickled pink at each and every turn in the road, garden, town and cottage that I venture to. Your book helped me get there, if even for a few hours a day. <3

  35. Debbie says:

    After such a looong winter looking forward very much to spring – Happy Spring!!

  36. julie Tave says:

    you are amazing Susan,
    thank you for your breath of Spring
    greetings from France,
    best Julie Tave (changed email address please delete the yahoo one thanks)

  37. Linda McKibben says:

    Read your blog everyday and love seeing the world you live in. The shells are so sweet and I would love to win them. Thank you Susan.

  38. Kimberly Edwards says:

    I am enjoying every moment of Spring, and reading your post makes me so happy to be reminded that others enjoy the changes in season as much as I do!

  39. Kathy from Shelburne Falls says:

    Susan ~ Honestly, my day always starts off a little bit better when I read a new posting on your blog. Your positivity (is that a word?!) is infectious! So then I send an email to my girlfriends – I think that’s now called paying it forward (o:

  40. Julie Child says:

    I will surely win THIS time!! Hello today from cloudy and rainy Sacramento…so happy…we need the rain! Poor parched California! Love the view of your gardener! Made me laugh….so very sweet…what a hard worker. I am lucky to have such a gardener myself. Happy SPRING!

  41. Doreen Walbrecher says:

    Charming, warm and filled with LOVE!

  42. Nancy Burdeniuk says:

    Hi Susan,
    Your posts always make me smile. Enjoyed Willard, just finished reading Elizabeth and Her German Garden…waiting and anticipating spring flowers here in Canada!

  43. Debbie Melo says:

    Dear Susan,
    I love getting your blogs, they brighten my day every time! This was my very first Willard & I loved it! I learned about Elizabeth Von Arnim in A Fine Romance and have been enjoying her book The Enchanted April so I can’t wait to read more of her books.
    Have a Lovely Spring Day!

  44. Dawn Rae Conery says:

    Dear Susan.

    Your blog posts take me back to a simpler time, so refreshing and comforting.

    Thank you!

  45. Ruth Winkler says:

    Dear Susasn, Just wanted to comment about how much my daughter loved your book, A Fine Romance. She told me to read your latest lemon roll cake and I cannot wait to try it. My daughter is also a shell gatherer who lives on Long Island. I, however, live in the green mountains of Vermont. Love your comments about Mother Nature. I am 86 and would love to win the 1900 book, which will be given to my daughter, after I read it!

  46. Lori says:

    Wonderful post and such a beautiful idea to give away seashells from MV. Also, I have always wanted to read Elizabeth and Her German Garden. So exciting. Thank you!!

  47. Beverly says:

    Good Morning,
    This is the first time I have been here and I so enjoyed the visit. (Thanks to TeaTime Magizine for pointing you out to me) What a pleasant and fun gift idea. The tin is beautiful but to hide shells inside – wonderful. And books. Enough said.
    P.S. Loved your Jemima Puddleduck on the windowsill.

  48. Mary Jean Price says:

    Dear Susan,

    Thank you for being you, for all the sunshine you pass our way and for being my friend! You exude so much love and joy!
    What an absolutely wonderful giveaway to enjoy and cherish! How I would love to pass it on to my granddaughters!
    The comforts of home are the basics of love and happiness and you have given that to us!
    Enjoy every moment!
    With love,
    Mary Jean (from Cleveland, Oh)

  49. Angel Black says:

    I’ve sooooo missed Willard! I enjoyed the read very much and wish you great blessings on this gorgeous Spring day!!!

  50. Sandy Westbrook says:

    When we were visiting friends on Long Island last summer, my daughter and son-in-law took me to the beach to look for sea glass. We didn’t find much sea glass, but I found some jingle shells and was immediately enchanted. I took them home and put them in a glass bowl. Every time I looked at my little collection of shells during our long, long winter, I was reminded of the sparkling water and warm sunshine at the beach. Thank you so much for posting pictures of the jingle shells on your blog! I forwarded your blog to my daughter, so that she could share the memory too!

  51. Tim says:

    Oh, Susan! How sweet of you to offer such beautiful gifts to your followers. But I’ll let you in on a little secret…you popping in and sharing your beautiful life is a gift in itself!


  52. Cindy O'Rourke says:

    Thank you so much for this Spring Willard. I am going outside right now & cut forsythia to bring inside & force bloom-I hope. Plan to make the cake for a friends tea. And AFine Romance THE best read of 2014! Brought back so many wonderful memories. Thank you for how you fill my soul with words, thoughts,smells & visions. Cindy

  53. Tory Gadomski says:

    I love everything lemon and your cake looks wonderful, your spring is delightfully refreshing and warms my heart.

  54. Nell says:

    You are a “Giver” my friend! We are all so blessed to be able to logon and share your days. Thank you for every quote, recipe, song, petal, feather, shell, ode-to-pets-of-all-varieties, author, travel postcard, movie, –oh all garden of gifts you share with us! To think I could add to my treasured SB shelf! I am already in your debt. Grace to you!

  55. Debrah Fourzan-Riccobene says:

    Happy Spring!

  56. Irene says:

    I’m always inspired when reading your blog – Thanks!

  57. Candace Feathers says:

    Can you share your best tea brewing suggestions for your lovely teas?

    • sbranch says:

      Here are my best and easiest tips: HOW TO MAKE A PERFECT CUP OF TEA: Put one rounded spoonful of loose tea into a tea ball, one of our mesh tea-infuser spoons, or into the mesh basket that comes with some of our tea mugs. Pour over freshly boiled water. Allow the tea to steep from 2 to 5 minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea. Your choice of accompaniments include honey, sugar, lemon, half and half, or milk. Cookies are good too. A cucumber sandwich and a Tea Cake makes it a party ♥

  58. Judith Lockett says:

    Oh, what wonderful gifts! I have yet to find your book in any of the bookstores I visit (near Houston) but still can’t wait to read it. I love to collect old books too – always on the lookout for Beatrix Potter. Thanks for your wonderful blog and Willards. They are always a bright spot to my day! Judy

  59. Linda says:

    Happy Spring! The blue skies look “Extra Blue” this fine morning , & even the birds seem to be chattier… Thank you Susan for the sweet cake recipe & the pretty photos, I always love looking at them. 😉

  60. Joey says:

    DITTO DITTO. DITTO -ALL of the above!! What a fun blog! Total joy and celebration of spring! I have only seen a grosbeak once, and the sparrows chased the bluebirds from my boxes this year ( but I see them building in the walnut tree). Downers, sure, but there is so much to sing about as we all sing along with you, dear Susan. And what a totally breathtaking contest! Those fascinating jingle shells alone ( we may just have to vacation in the Vineyard to get some!) but to put them in that darling Bridgewater snipe box is a real prize. Oh my…I can hardly breathe….you added Elizabeth and Her German Garden??!!!?? Oh Susan….stop…I can hardly take it! Here comes the double frost icing! A Fine Romance! I gave mine away to a dear friend who is going to England this summer and is already planning to follow in some of your footsteps. Well, I just had to add a comment….which turned out to be an epistle! But now this dreamy beautiful day is calling me to my garden filled with bleeding hearts, bluebells, wood poppies, pansies and dafodills. Thank you for all you do, sweet Susan. Hugs

  61. Anne Hebden says:

    Susan I loved reading your post as usual. The lemon cake looks wonderful and so easy to do too. I will give that one a go! I would love to be entered for your prize draw please if I am not too late.XX

  62. Dolli says:

    Your blog has been the best spirit lifter in a week full of bad news.
    Thank you for always supplying the “good stuff” in life! It makes the “bad stuff” easier to deal with.
    Winning these….well…that would be the icing on the lemon cake!

  63. Jan says:

    I made the cake but it wasn’t as beautiful as yours. Alas, no forsythia. I will weather the storm headed for us with a glass of lemonade tea and our new
    Willard. April showers in Arkansas include hail and tornadoes. Oh dear. But spring is definitely here! Yesterday was so gorgeous – the perfect day for a Farmers Market and plant sale. I got irises, blue, purple, and yellow, plus hostas of all varieties. Absolutely addictive. Happy Spring! Now, Willard…

  64. Jane E D says:

    Life through your eyes is such an enrichment for both heart & soul. . .thank you!

  65. Bonnie Schoening says:

    I’m leaving a comment because I really LOVE your blog/website – your drawings and photos and comments bring me joy and bring a smile to my face always.
    Thank you so very much for being you Susan

  66. Irma Colabrese says:

    Susan, Thank you for the Spring gifts. I love the way your enjoy the seasons and bring them to us in words and art!

  67. Teresa from Lancaster, PA says:

    What a happy post! After the winter we’ve had, I am ready for spring. I have that exact same bunny crossing sign and just love it. How neat that you have one too! Thank you for sharing your day with us.

  68. Evelyn Hill says:

    Hello, Susan!!
    I just finished Willard and your latest post! Love, love, love it all! I, of course, would love to win the drawing, but win or not, I am already a winner, thanks to you! Each post is a gift, your book has been one of the very best gifts of all, and you are an absolute treasure to me and to all your followers!! You truly have one of the most generous hearts ever known, and I am so grateful for the sunshine you bring into my life with each word, song and stroke of your brush!! Can’t wait to read your next book!

  69. Diane C says:

    You’re so good to all of us Susan. The lemon cake looks so delicious and just perfect for spring. Thank you for bringing sharing your life with all of us.

  70. Ashley Pickrell says:

    The cake looks so yummy and your garden is beautiful! What I would give to have a piece of it. 🙂

  71. Kristine R. says:

    Hello Susan ~
    We have had some dark, rainy days in southeast Idaho this week. So, your delightful sunny blog cheered things up, as it always does. Your great photos and step-by-step explanations of the lemon cake roll are perfect. Such a sunny yellow dessert!
    Thanks for the opportunity for a chance to win your treasures.
    Continuing the joy of your blog and wishing you the Best of Spring ~ Kris

  72. Arden Shelton says:

    Hi Susan: luv yer stuff….would luv to see Martha’s Vineyard….Luv, Luv, Luv

  73. Tonya Burns says:

    Spring, who doesn’t love it! I just finished getting the garden ready to go (later start here in Colorado). In the corner, where it is shady, where a little girl can sit and stretch her imagination—I made a fairy garden for my granddaughter (and me). Cannot wait for her to come over. Now I can work in my garden while she plays! Thanks for keeping spirits bright, Susan.

  74. susan clark says:

    Love all the great things that you have.

  75. Pat H says:

    Hi. I love your blog, I only just recently discovered your work. Enchanted April is my very favorite DVD. When I’m embroidering I always play this this so I can imagine beautiful gardens at my feet instead of my sewing room floor. Thanks for the pleasure of your blog!

  76. Kim C. says:

    thankyou Susan looking forward to WILLARD yippee!!! Your blog is so inspiring in many practical ways for life and home…things to do and share;) YOU ARE SO MUCH SUNSHINE TO THE SQUARE INCH! I will make the lemon roll for Mother’s Day. YOU make it look easy with step by step instructions. Thankyou!

  77. Freddie says:

    What a wonderful giveaway! I love seashells , these are real pretty. The books would be fabulous. Your blog is like food for the soul. it makes my day reading it. Thank You so much.

  78. Nancy Cox says:

    every time I read your words and see the beautiful illustrations-you make me smile-you always bring a sunny day! Really am enjoying A Fine Romance-it reminded me of my trip to England years ago. I am reading it slow to make it last…thanks again for that! Thanks for sharing everything-springtime wishes!

  79. Sharon Scott says:

    I love love love seashells! So sweet of you to collect and share! Thank you for the giveaway!

  80. Jill Bezzant says:

    Ohhh. The lemon cake is calling my name. Thanks.

  81. Kathlene says:

    Thank you for Willard on this Beautiful Day. My heart is filled to the brim. Love

  82. Doris Nollman says:

    Thanks for the wonderful cake and lemon filling recipe. Yummy! Love your blog.

  83. Barbara says:

    Your blog posts are as beautiful as your books. Thank you for spreading the joy and beauty each week. My husband and I used to visit MV when we were first married and even after our kids were young ( thank God for grandparent baby sitters). We loved the island and I always dreamed of having a little place of our own there. Since we haven’t achieved that yet….I love the photos of the island that you post and continue to dream of a little cottage there someday.

  84. I LOVE Enchanted April, but haven’t read Elizabeth & Her German Garden yet. xx

  85. Julie Holz says:

    I ordered the lamb cake mold from your website and made the cake for easter–everyone LOVED it, thanks! Will be sure to try this cake for mothers day. Love you!

  86. mel cunningham says:

    this is wonderful as always! and the hope that the prize can be my own is indeed delicious! Thank you Susan for making the world a happier more beautiful place!

  87. Linda G. says:

    Thanks for the wonderful Willard! I can’t wait to make the lemon cake, am so glad that you shared it. Hope that your birthday was happy!

  88. Tina S. from Northern CA says:

    I enjoy your posts and especially all the drawings through out. Spring is my favorite time of the year and I’m an avid reader and love books.

  89. Brenda says:

    I so love reading your blog. It’s like coming home.

  90. Karen Riley says:

    My first time to see Willard and loved it. Got A Fine Romance for Christmas and lived vicariously with you. Went to London 2 1/2 years ago and now want to go back and do your tour for my 70th birthday next year! Saving up to live the dream. Thx so much, Karen

  91. Ginger Meador says:

    I have always loved Beatrix Potter, and collected her books, and books about her. Thanks to our friend, Amazon.com, because of my interest in Beatrix Potter the little ‘cookie who knows’ sent me information about “A Fine Romance.” I immediately bought it, and read it, and LOVED IT! It is the very best travel book on the English countryside ever. The more I read, the more I knew I had found a soul mate. I love watercolor, and yours are wonderful.
    Thank you so much for such a delightful book. Now, I have found your website, and I can enjoy your blog, the Willard, and your art anytime. Thank you so much, Friend!

  92. Lisa Lundstrom says:

    Thanks for the Willard and the great recipes on your blog. Hope you can get outside and enjoy the birds some more >^..^<

  93. Marianne says:

    Hi Susan,
    Can’t wait to make the lemon cake! I love my “Spring” bunny garland hanging on my hutch! Love, love your blog. It’s not quite time to clean out the garden beds in Colorado but soon. I’m too busy with school music programs on way. Thanks for the Willard!

  94. Debbie Gemmill says:

    What an absolutely delightful post. I can smell that delicious cake, I can hear the waves, I can almost hear the sound of that nice man digging in the dirt :). Thank you for sharing your days with us. What a treat!

  95. Sue says:

    Another lovely give-away! Thanks so much for the opportunity to win the lovely gifts!

  96. Victoria Miller says:

    Susan, the Willard was so delightful, it never occurred to me you’d have another post, too! This is so wonderful, what a day brightener! The lemon cake looks wonderful – I may even take the plunge and try it. (During the move I’ve been sticking with ‘simple.’) Your posts are such a bright spot in a day, even a really good day like today when there are no building workers and it’s nice and quiet. And a neighbor just brought me some flowers and chocolate. (Really, I’m not getting older…I’m getting better!) And the phone has been ringing all day with people singing Happy Birthday. Meanwhile, I’m trying to read Johnathan Raban’s ‘The Oxford Book of the Sea.’ Your post just goes perfectly with today, another unexpected lovely surprise! I’m so glad you are a part of my life! Thank you for being you (and Joe and Jack and Girl Kitty, and all your friends in the yard, and the girlfriends, of course!)

  97. Kathleen says:

    Spring has sprung indeed. Lovely photos, and recipe inspiration! Thank you for the JOY!

  98. Joyce W says:

    Count me in too- .we’re spring cleaning my husband is replacing the boards on our deck,
    And can’t wait to work outside in the yard! When I need a break, I so enjoy reading your blog Susan and Willard- OMGoodness! I will be making that cake also! I baked all day Friday for the Youth Bake Sale at church for their summer mission trip to New Orleans. Life is good
    And we are so blessed! Make everyday special!

  99. Lani says:

    Enjoyed reading Willard. I am not sure if my comment was successfully transmitted so I am sending another just in case as I would love to win any one of your give-aways. Thank you for sharing your experiences and also your wonderful recipes.

  100. I signed up to receive Willard this year, but I don’t seem to have received it (& I did check my spam!) When you have a moment, can you send it to me & make sure I’m on your list? Thanks so much 🙂

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