Being pulled by the Heart Magnets of Martha’s Vineyard ~ MUSICA ~ going home the old way. . .




Home the long wayWe’re almost there! Looking forward to Home Sweet Home!


No place like home



Home at Last

Where this fine boy is waiting for us and he doesn’t even know it yet!





Haven’t seen these two since the day before Halloween.  Absence makes the heart Yearn!  Can’t wait for delicious Kitty Fur!


We are still on the train ~ almost to Chicago right now ~ just crossed the Mississippi ~ loving every quiet moment of our “room with a view” as you know if you’ve been to Twitter and seen the photos I’ve been sending from my phone ~ but I keep losing Internet connection for the computer ~ I’ve already had this post disappear once and now it’s really slow ~ I better not push my luck! I just wanted to say HELLO dear Girlfriends . . . I’ll see you soon!  We have lots of catching up to do!  I know you’ve been busy too . . . it’s that time of year!  With Love XOXO

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324 Responses to HEART MAGNET

  1. Patty from Ohio says:

    Hi again Susan~
    A quick question: I love printing out your free bookmarks & I noticed the Santa bookmark’s eyes looked like Joe’s! Was this on purpose or subconscious? Anyway, I just love them they are so cheerful & sweet!

  2. Vicki says:

    I hope you are home, warm and safe inside your cozy home. OMG, I just read about the stabbing attack on that Amtrak train; it was Michigan wasn’t it? Of course, the same thing can happen on a plane, in a mall or in your own backyard, as horrible as all that sounds and IS, but we can choose to hide and cower or spite all the bad guys and just get out there, live our lives and follow our dreams. I think it’s called indomitable spirit and a quest for freedom, not fear. This is America. It’s our blessing, to move freely without shackles. I’m not letting this isolated tragedy kill my new interest, thanks to you, on train travel! I was feeling sad about my husband and I being alone at Christmas, although always thankful we have each other, and then I read about the train victims…but something welled up inside me, which I think is also about the beauty of Christmas, to make peace in my heart, enjoy everything, put those carols on the turntable, finish decorating the house…and go make some cookies. Cookies make everything better.

    Susan, you missed our big rain here in SoCal and the Central Coast! You surely do know how to pick the right time to travel but, of course, you’ve been doing it a lot of years, coast-to-coast. I hope you both had a wonderful, heart-full vacation/trip, mixing business with pleasure and seeing your family. Now, can’t wait for your December blog post (no pressure or anything!!) but, truly, your posts are a gift to us readers.

    • sbranch says:

      I’ll be here soon! Home and settling in, getting to know kitties again and make them “think” we were never away!

  3. Vicki says:

    Susan, I know nothing about Twitter but I clicked on your link to it so I could see more of your train journey. The adorable photo of the the cat with knitted sweater…I think lilac and cream…with his little ears sticking out of the hood…captioned something akin to the importance of layering in cold weather(!!)…he’s not yours, right? Your cats are black and white, yes? I’m just trying to get out of the dinosaur age and get familiar with all of this tweeting and twittering…oh dear, that sentence just made feel really OLD…

    • sbranch says:

      No, he’s not mine. Someone else Twittered him and I just loved that photo so much I “Re-Tweeted” it so everyone who “follows” me could see it too. Yes, Girl and Jack are black and white “Tuxedo” kitties.

  4. Ann Y in PA says:

    SO glad you had a great trip and are now “home for the holidays”. Raw day here….home making cookies, and just had a glass of champagne (leftover from a brunch party) and made a kir royale to start off the holidays. How blessed e are to have a season of love to celebrate. Don’t have to remind me to “be an elf” !!!

    • sbranch says:

      Raw here too . . . but cozy in the yellow lamp light . . . with cheese enchiladas in the oven for lunch, all is well!

  5. Sue Glanders says:

    I would love to know the color and brand name of the beautiful light green paint that is on the walls of your living area.

    • sbranch says:

      I would tell you if I knew, but I have lost track of the paper I wrote that on! Drives me a little crazy too, because I love it, and would want to do it again. . . now I will have to take in a piece of the wall for them to match it!

      • Sue Glanders says:


      • Jan from Northern CA says:

        Hello Sue and Sue,
        I’m sure you gave us the name of that wall color in your blog when you were re-doing the kitchen. I just can’t remember what month/year you did the painting. You’d only have to go back in the blog that month and there would be the name.
        Just saying…..
        It’s raining here in Northern CA. We’ve made the news in the weather department! We’re usually pretty boring….you easterners usually have the headlines. We needed the rain, so no complaints from me! I just popped in to see if you had a wonderful new blog for us to read….you’re missed.
        Jan from Northern CA

        • sbranch says:

          I think she was asking about the living room? Yes, I’ve been hearing about your rain!

          • Janice Smith says:

            Oops…sorry about. I guess I was seeing your kitchen….and just loved seeing all the remodeling in my mind again. Love your stove!!

  6. Peggy Cooper, Pueblo, CO says:

    Glad we’ll be hearing from you soon from the Heart of the Home. Get some rest and then let’s hear from you. A busy time of year, but also a special time. Need to keep our spirits up when the days are so short and the nights are so cold. Wishing you a warm welcome home Susan and Joe.

  7. Eileen R in Pleasant Grove says:

    I grew up in Virginia and some of my most memorable and fun experiences were riding the train to visit our relatives in Utah. I did so enjoy, vicariously, riding the train again with you. Thank you for the lovely pictures and thoughts. Merry Christmas! I do just love you sweet lady I have not met in person, but feel I know through all you share with all of us.

  8. Hi Susan,

    Glad to hear you made it back safely and to the book signing in Falmouth. Pam Marck, my old friend from Acton who now lives on the Cape, planned on being there to meet you. We don’t see each other any longer, since she’s there and I’m in Maine. But we stay connected through Facebook and share a mutual love for all things Susan Branch! I have your two Christmas books out on the coffee table as part of my Christmas decor. And I posted photos on Facebook and got responses from other friends who also have your books as part of their holiday decorations. You touch so many lives, Susan! Thanks and have a wonderful holiday season back on the Vineyard.
    Nancye T. in Wells, Maine

  9. mary spring says:

    …we see pretty dishes and table settings..(on twitter and facebook)..so pretty and nice…but we need to know what Christmas cookies to make…what is/ are your favorites ?!?..i guess i will just look in your Christmas fromthe heart of the home book…lol…’so glad you are back, although I’m sure you miss your family…(i remember that feeling, when i went to cali. to see my family back in august and had to leave them..)…’looking forward to a new post !!..with love, as always…

    • sbranch says:

      I hope you just got my yearly Cookie Jar I just sent to everyone on my WILLARD list!? It’s got all my favorite cookie recipes on it!

      • mary spring says:

        …dear Susan…not yet…but I did go to your side-bar on your site for older Willard’s back in previous Decembers and found it there !!…thank you so much for all you do; even when you are so busy, you always make time for all of us !! xoxo…with love, as always …and enjoy the holidays !!

        • sbranch says:

          We’ve managed to get a bit of sparkle in the kitchen, which is good since outside it’s very dreary ~ I have my computer on my lap, a cup of tea, an old movie and a lit candle . . . Girl is asleep on the back of the couch and Jack is upstairs curled up on the bed. Life is good!

  10. Susan, a friend of mine sent me to your delightful blog. She was talking Chocolate Shot cookies and several other of your recipes, and I was hooked. Look forward to discovering more of your culinary treasures and kitchen tips. Thank you from the Pacific Northwest! Tom

  11. Bev Becker says:

    Welcome, soon to be home and back with your adorable babies. Reading about your trip, prompted me to re-read your wonderful book “A Fine Romance”. Being English and Scottish makes me so homesick for a country that I have never traveled too. I am a recovering agoraphobic so travel is out of the question, sooooo your book takes me to a wonderful land with your lovely paintings, and your descriptions so vivid that it feels like I visited along with you. Thank you so much Susan. Love from Ohio

  12. Judy in Ohio says:

    Oh my goodness, dear Susan, you will have some catching up to do…
    but there is still much time to get it all done…I have already watched
    “Christmas in Connecticut” twice!! And I have a new recipe for sweet (maple)
    rolls for Christmas morning! It IS that time of year!!

    Welcome home!

    We missed you LOTS!


  13. From my island to yours, Happy Holidays and thanks for the thoughtful, artful posts and recipes.

  14. Pat Johnson says:

    Welcome home!! The two of you can sigh a sign of contentment knowing you are back with your feet HOME! It was a fabulous trip and appreciated by all. But as Dorothy would say……… There is no place like home!!….Hugs to you both. XXOO

    • sbranch says:

      No place like home . . . this feels like our first day . . . starting to feel a bit more organized again!

  15. Marion in the UK says:

    Welcome Home Susan!

    It’s always a red letter day when your name pops on to my incoming mail list and look forward now to catching up with all your news. I haven’t previously “done” Twitter but shall go-see your pictures just as soon as I work out how to register!

    Wishing you and all yours the most wonderful Christmas and New Year.

    Marion in the UK

  16. Mary Whiting says:

    Hello Susan,
    The photos of your beautiful home are truly lovely…..your own “Christmas in Connecticut” home. If that isn’t heaven I don’t know what is.
    Safe travels home….we all missed you.

  17. Linda Pennington says:

    Wonderful pictures, the kitties look so snuggled in this cold season. It’s wonderful to hear from you. When we open the blog and you aren’t there, it’s like having a hitch in your giddy-up, we miss you. I plan to take the train to California in the fall, sooo looking forward to it. Thanks for being here for us. Linda Gram

  18. Georgeann says:

    I love Erin’s idea when she asked you to tell us how to make a proper cup of tea. I quit drinking coffee a year ago and changed to iced tea. I never learned to like hot tea. My method is to boil some water, toss in a random tea bag and leave it a minute or two. Sometimes I add a little honey or lemon. Is there a much better way? I would love to learn how to enjoy a nice cup of tea

    • sbranch says:

      To be perfectly honest, you are doing a fine job. There are web sites devoted to the details of tea drinking, but it’s really much simpler that many would have us think. Here’s how I make my tea: I bring fresh water to the boil and pour it in my favorite cup ~ over a spoonful of honey, and my “mesh tea infuser spoon” (a very handy item) which is filled with my favorite loose tea . . . earl grey and lavender with rose petals is the one for me, but plain earl grey is wonderful, and camomile is another, and so are many other teas. I add a splash of half and half and let the tea steep maybe 3 or 4 minutes and then take the spoon out . . . There are all kinds of thoughts on whether the milk should go in first, or how long the water should boil ~ but it’s really fairly basic, and those are things you can decide for yourself. Happy tea drinking!

  19. laurie says:

    Another beautiful post, I made your lemon squares today, I have collected all your books and they have made our tummies very happy all these years, I thank you for that! Happy Holidays to you and your family, fur babies and humans!

  20. Bonnie, Colleyville, Texas says:

    Hi Sue,

    I was looking over the last couple of months and noticed your comment about Norman Rockwell being in the Thanksgiving picture. Indeed it is Mr. Rockwell in the lower right corner of the picture. Back in the early to mid-seventies I lived in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and worked for Mr. Rockwell. He had fallen off of his bike (he and Molly were great bike riders) and injured his back. I was finishing another private duty nursing job for a client who was acquainted with the Rockwells and was sent by the client to interview with Mrs. Rockwell to be Mr. Rockwell’s private duty nurse. I was with him for 5 months that time (I believe the year was 1974). In 1978 I also worked for him again just prior to his passing. I have many stories and happy memories of conversations we had. He was a great tea drinker and enjoyed tea and a whiskey sour every afternoon at 4:00. Mr. Rockwell was a gentle soul and a humble man. It was a privilege to have known him and worked with him.

    • sbranch says:

      Exactly the story I would have hoped to hear about him, Bonnie. Thank you so much! How lucky!

    • Carol from PA says:

      Thank you for sharing such personal memories with all of us, Bonnie! Today we received not only the joy of Susan but a bit of American nostalgia in the way of learning and knowing something about an American idol such as Norman Rockwell! Gosh, does it never end what Susan Branch’s blog brings to each of our lives! Wishing each of you the most beautiful holiday and new year!

  21. Karen says:

    Glad that you are both home safe and sound. It’s always good to be home, especially at Christmas.


    • sbranch says:

      Today is like our first day home. I read today, exercised, put on earrings, made chicken stock and Joe made a fire. All the wonderful normal things of home.

  22. Georgeann says:

    Thanks so much for your tea hints! It seems those of us in Texas are more familiar with iced tea than hot tea

  23. M Jordan says:

    Hello Susan,
    A very Merry Christmas to you and Joe. I went with some girlfriends to your big sale in Arroyo Grande a few years back. It was a treat. The car wasn’t big enough to hold all we wanted but what a fun day out. We too have a home here in SLO and another in Texas we love to escape to whenever possible. As you fell for England, we fell for Ireland and found a wee cottage for ourselves about 10 years ago. Safe travel to you. I just wanted to say hello and let you know I enjoy your Willards very much. Oh, and a very Happy New Year to both of you.
    M Jordan

  24. Mary in Phoenix says:

    So happy you had Thanksgiving “bonding” time with your family … and happy you had special time with each parent ♥. Eldercare is going to be a crisis in our country before too long…and it sounds like you got a little taste of that. As our parents get older their needs are puzzling but such a privilege to help solve. Kudos to you for staying a bit longer than expected … and getting home just in time for your library commitment. “Doing the right thing” on both ends of the country … and always being such a great role model for us all 🙂 So, I have one question … Was your grandmother’s stuffing easier to make in AZ where the air is dryer? Things like caramel corn aren’t as sticky when made in AZ vs. CA … just curious about the stuffing? Enjoy all the simplicities of being home where your heart is. And for all the girlfriends who say they couldn’t follow you because they don’t do twitter … all they have to do is click on the Twitter link (with the bird) to the right of the blog and they can see your pics and posts! Loved the journey! And thanks for the cookie jar gift in my inbox yesterday. What a nice and timely surprise! xoxo

  25. Carol says:

    I was planning to dust mop the floors, but I picked up the 10th Anniversary edition of “Autumn From the Heart of the Home” from the table by my favorite chair, made a cup of tea, sat down to read and that was that! Sighing at the beauty of your art and words, I firmly told the dust bunnies to take a nap and that I would see them tomorrow.

  26. Trisha K says:

    I’m sure it is wonderful to be home, walking to the pond, hugging kitties, decorating. Have you had snow since you got back? It just doesn’t feel like Christmas without snow. Though, I got my Christmas present early this year, we are expecting. Praying that everything goes well, and that next year we have a little one celebrating Baby’s First Christmas!

    • sbranch says:

      No snow, but cold and rainy and really cozy — fog this morning too. I’m happy as a clam.

      A Baby! For you Trisha, I am so HAPPY to hear it . . . congratulations!!! XOXO

  27. Lynn McMahon says:

    Thanks for the Willard!

  28. Ferol Snead says:

    Dearest Susan, It seems every year I have a harder time finding your yearly calendar as they sell out quickly! I found one in Frankenmuth, Michigan on a day trip and grabbed it up! I adore your graphics, inspirational messages and words of wisdom. I use past calendars for scrapbooking by cutting and pasting allowing me to have a small part of Susan Branch in my hard bound memories! Bless you and know how much you are adored by many!

    • sbranch says:

      They are hard to find . . . we even ran out of the wall-calendars this year and that rarely happens. I don’t know why ~ the manufacturer tries to get them in lots of places, but still . . .

  29. Barb says:

    Thank you so much for all the cookie recipes, Susan. And welcome home — we missed you!

  30. Dawn says:

    Happy Advent from here in Maine, glad you had a safe trip back to the east coast and hope those kitties were purring when you got home! Cheers!

  31. Pam says:

    Hi Susan!
    Welcome home, hope you are having a cozy evening.
    Just going through my email. Thank you for Willard’s Cookie Jar!

  32. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Wonderful, you have a normal day at home, sounds lovely! Thank you for the Cookie Jar, it’s amazing, and I’ve even bought fresh flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, so I’m ready. We’re expecting a really BIG storm for the next 3 days, and have battened down the hatches – is this called a Wes’ter?! East Coast & West Coast, we’ll all be snuggling in and staying safe & cozy! xoxo

  33. carol shapiro says:

    Hi Susan, it has been a tough year for me. I lost my husband on Oct. 22nd – he was in Boston for a bone marrow transplant but never got the miracle- he tragically never made it to transplant…and, my son-in-law died unexpectedly 4 days prior to my husband. Yes, an epic tragedy of Shakespearean proportions and devastating for my small family… both men were beloved in their respective communities…my husband was meteoric, larger than life. I live in Hallmark Channel cotton candy-frothy movies all evening every evening to take the edge off, and, I look forward to your wonderful posts…I have always loved your posts- now- more than ever. They remind me so much of the importance of each and every day that we have- the simple rituals of each day…sharing with one another…oh how I miss my little celebrations of the “every day” with my beloved husband… your posts are truly a blessing to my heart- a reminder of all that is good- they are so, so worthy and I am so glad that you take the time to share yourself and the life you have created through your posts. Have a wonderful Christmas season.

    • sbranch says:

      Epic tragedy, I am SO SORRY Carol…My heart cries with you, ohhhhhh. Sending all my love, all the frothy, gently softening prayers of a peaceful heart that I can conjure up. XOXOXO

    • Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      Carol, know that all the Girlfriends are here with a virtual shoulder and a hug whenever you need one. We are a community.

      • Susan P. says:


        You are in my prayers and thoughts….lots of love and many of the girlfriends will be sending lots of love and prayers your way. Just know that you are loved. Love, Susan P.

  34. Lacy Province says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
    The latest Willard Newsletter is wonderful.
    All of the recipes are just perfect. I’m going to make the Hot Chocolate Mix first.
    So happy you all are home, safe & sound.
    Bring on the snow, cozy fires & snuggle kitties.

  35. Gail connelly says:

    Just bought your book (A Fine Romance)for myself and a friend, I love it. Beautifully illustrated and written. My Mothers from England and I’ve been there, the book is really taking me back.

  36. Cindy Tuning says:

    Welcome home and I hope if it’s snowing there right now that it’s big beautiful flakes falling slowly and you are watching The Bishops Wife and having a nice cup of something warm! I however am frantically searching for your Christmas Jam recipe to make for gifts and I can’t find it. I gave it last year as part of homemade gift baskets and am getting requests to make more. Everyone loved it! If you have a minute can you give me a reference to find it? Thank you so much and Merry Christmas to you and Joe.

  37. Susan Simpson says:

    Susan, So glad you and Joe are home! Just in case you missed it (you have been such a busy girl) Susan at betweennapsontheporch featured your Christmas book! Very nice and you will love the comments too!
    Have a wonderful Christmas and a very special New Year!


  38. Vikki Lovelady says:

    THANK YOU FOR THE VIRTUAL COOKIE JAR (RECIPES) THAT’S ONE OF THE BEST GIFTS EVER. THE MOLASSES COOKIES ARE FIRST ON MY LIST TO MAKE. And thank you Susan and Joe for being so uplifting. You are angels. I hope you are home with the kitties soon. From one cat lady to another

  39. Leone says:

    Hi Susan I just recently found your blog. I have bought and thoroughly enjoyed your book A Fine Romance. I lived in England for 14 years so it was a very nostalgic journey I took with you. We went across on the Empress of Canada in 1962. I have had your first two books for years and have referred to them often. Your blog makes me feel so cozy and homey. Thank you for that. I was wondering how you do your lettering at the head of the cookie jar you just e-mailed. Are you willing to share that? If not I totally understand. Thank you so much for your joyful blog and for sharing so much of your life.

    • sbranch says:

      At the top of my blog, where it says “ABOUT ME” — There’s a drop-down that says HOW I LEARNED TO PAINT … if you go there you’ll see how that was done. I’m so glad you liked A FINE ROMANCE ~ it was lots of fun to write.

  40. ElFe says:

    Dear Susan,
    Welcome home! Just received my latest order and I just wanted to thank you (before my short-term memory crashes!) for using shipping labels that are easy to remove on boxes that do NOT have your company’s name plastered all over–thus making it easy to re-use for passing some of your products to my loved ones. I’ve been fighting all season with labels that cling and shred and make a package I am ashamed to mail–to say nothing of the boxes with black squiggles all over where I’ve tried to cover the names. Thanks for making it simple to re-cycle.
    Warm Hugs,

    • sbranch says:

      I am so happy to hear that! I’m choosy about packaging too . . . I will love the day when we get to stop using peanuts . . . but shipping costs so much we need something light. I just really don’t like them!

      • ElFe says:

        Dear Susan,
        Just now reading your reply–CHRISTMAS craziness, you know! About your “peanut problem;” lots of companies are using crumpled brown paper now. Don’t know how it measures cost wise, but it seems to come in a long roll so they can cut off as much as is needed. AND, what I don’t re-use can be recycled! Don’t see peanuts much anymore.
        Merry, Merry! and a wonderfully prosperous and deliriously Happy New Year to you and yours!!
        ElFe…and to those darling cats, Cat Kisses from Merry

  41. Georgeann says:

    Ordered my infusion spoon and your fav tea today. Your wonderful friend who answered the phone was sooo nice. Makes me want to order more. Can’t wait to try them. Skip and run.
    This is a fun season!

    • sbranch says:

      You spoke to either Sheri or Kellee, and yes, they are both dolls! I know you’ll love the tea, I just placed an order for more of it myself. Talk about addictive.

  42. Susan, I am reading A Fine Romance again for the third time. I do so enjoy it. It embodies all the feelings I had when I first moved over here. Each time I read it I take something new from it. I am in stitches when I read about your driving experiences. That is so ME in the car! Still. Fourteen years later. This time as I was reading it I realized that we have a common ancestor and I was so excited to read that. Thrilled actually.

    I bought my sister this book for Christmas and I hope so much that she enjoys it as much as I do. I doubt she will ever make it over here to visit me, but through your words at least she can have a sense of where I live.

    I bet the kitties were so thrilled to have you home. Did they punish you a tiny bit? My mom’s cats always punished her for having left them, for a day or so anyways, then all was well again. I am looking forward to your next post. Whatever it is, I know it will warm my heart.

    It is at this time of year when I am so far away from my family back home in Canada that I feel homesick. Not at any other time. Strange that, but then again . . . maybe not so strange. Happy Christmas to you, Joe and the Kitties! Many thanks for the love and laughter and joy you bring to the table each time I pop on here and visit you. xxoo

    • sbranch says:

      Jack did punish me a bit. We play so much, I’m sure the people taking care of him wouldn’t be used to so much attention on a kitty, and he seemed a bit mad, but he’s over it now, perfectly adorable, laying crushed against my leg right now. I understand your homesickness, I have the same sort of thing. We’re lucky that way. xoxo

  43. Marie E. Fluck says:

    Good Morning! Just wanted to say “Happy St. Lucia Day” to you and yours!! This is the day all Norwegians celebrate with the oldest daughter dressed in white with the wreath of lighted candles on her head, bringing coffee and danish biscuits to the family early in the morning! We are celebrating the beginning of light – longer days! I wish you all a very special day and enjoy this wonderful celebration.

    Merry Christmas all! Marie from Pennsylvania

    • sbranch says:

      That would be me . . . oldest daughter, dressed just like the Carl Larsson painting! Thank you Marie!

      • Susan P. says:


        When I read Marie’s comment about St. Lucia Day.. I right away thought of Carl Larsson….Then saw your comment. I have several of his books and just LOVE his work let alone the story of his life and wife Karen and their children. His work is so beautiful and I just love the colors and especially the children in his works. It amazes me how we are all connected in some way through our thoughts… hobbies …collections…arts oh just connected through YOU…Susan Branch….Thanks once again. Love, Susan P.

  44. Susan P. says:


    Have a few moments before the rush of the “day”…… Everyday I go to this blog, several times, to just enjoy the pictures of your HOME. Then I go to the MUSICA and I sit in front of the screen until the very last moment before I really have to get out the door…just enjoying the MUSICA but even more I enjoy all OF THOSE WONDERFUL PICTURES OF THE CHRISTMAS HOMES….. It really is true in my life….the light from one’s home is so comforting and such a safe place. When I was a young girl of around 9… during the summer evenings all of the children would play hide and seek…about 15 of us out there. I was fine when I had to hide for I went with my brother….BUT when it was my turn to seek…..Yikes….All alone.. at the lamppost….. counting by fives to 100…I truly was shaking…and I did NOT close my eyes…BUT AT THAT MOMENT I LOOKED TOWARDS OUR HOME AND THERE IN THE WINDOW WAS THE LIGHT ON IN OUR FRONT ROOM. Even to this day I still keep the light on our front room.
    Thanks again for a wonderful blog…I have been able to step back in time for awhile each day…aaaahhhhh Love, Susan P.

  45. Marsha says:

    Hi Susan, I found your site while looking for information on vintage napkins and handkerchiefs. Can you share any websites that might help me date my collection?

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve never looked for dates for my own, so I’m afraid I won’t be able to help you with that. Google vintage napkins or handkerchiefs and I’m sure it will take you to places that can help.

  46. Good morning, Susan.
    I just received my order of lavender kitchen soaps and wooden soup holders and they are absolutely wonderful!! The soap is beautiful, the fragrance is intoxicating and the soap holder looks great on my kitchen sink. It is so satisfying to hold a hefty chunk of soap in your hands and work up a good lather isn’t it? After decades of liquid soap I have returned to the original and find it very pleasing. I ordered several as Christmas gifts and plan to order more today! Your Christmas elves out there in Californai are adorable and very efficient!
    Hope you’re enjoying being home in your cozy nest on Martha’s Vineyard. And thank you again for all the joy and hominess that you bring to all of us.

  47. Carol in Indy says:

    Good morning!
    I just received my order of Lavender kitchen soap and soap dishes and they are perfect!!! The soap is beautiful, the fragrance intoxicating, the wooden soap dish is perfect and it looks wonderful on my kitchen sink! It is so satisfying to hold a chunk of soap in my hands and work up a good lather. After decades of liquid soap I am back to the original and loving it. I orders them for Christmas presents which I will give with great pride and pleasure….and will order more today as gifts. Your elves out in California are so cute and efficient that it is always a joy to place an order.
    I hope you are enjoying being home in your snug little nest out on Martha’s Vineyard and thank you again for all the joy and hominess you bring to all of us.
    Merry Christmas~

    • sbranch says:

      Isn’t it funny, I feel exactly the same way! Love that wooden dish, love that lathery wonderfully smelling soft soap! It’s a little thing, but it’s still a special thing. I LOVE BEING HOME. There is no doubt about that!

  48. Isabel says:

    Hi Susan,

    Just wanted to know that everything is alright with you and Joe. You have not done a post in 12 days.

    Hope you and Joe and your whole family have a beautiful holiday.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s the longest ever, but I’m coming soon. I just got a new computer . . . this one has apparently been ridden into the ground. I ordered a new one, it’s here on the island, but now I will be going through separation anxiety turning this one in for a DAY away from me so everything can be transferred. It’s supposed to happen on Thursday! Yikes!

      • Janice Smith says:

        Well, great news! I was starting to worry. I’ve been dropping in to the blog often…..missing it 🙂 . You have my condolences on the new computer event. It is sooo hard to move up to new technology. Hang in there. We all look forward to your next news….and kitty photos of course.
        Jan from Northern CA

  49. Sandra Mailey says:

    I know this is a busy time of the year for all of us, and you have been away from home for an extended period of time but… you are not usually absent from your blog for such a long period. I am hoping and praying that all is well with you and yours. Please know that we all love you and are hoping that you are just busy getting ready for a wonderful ” Island Christmas”. Wishing you the very best! XOXO

    • sbranch says:

      All is well Sandra, just getting back to normal around here and it’s taking a while, I’ll be here soon. Thank you!

      • Sandra Mailey says:

        Such good news!! Have a wonderful Christmas!! I feel as if we are on a sled heading downhill toward the holiday – and I haven’t even been away. Merry Christmas!!

        • sbranch says:

          Me too. It all seems like a rush, so one of the reasons I’m so late with the blog is that I’ve been taking a little time. Reading every morning, walking too, watching old movies, wrapping presents and infusing my kind of worn-out spirit with the joy of Christmas. xoxo

  50. Karen Williams says:

    Hi Susan,
    Are you home? Missing your blogs but liked Willard! Don’t tweet or do Facebook! So am dying to see your house all cosy and warm with tree, kitties etc!
    Merry Christmas to everyone…!
    Karen x

  51. Tawni urrutia says:

    Merry Christmas Sweet Susan!
    I hope everything is wonderful and merry at Branch Hall! I miss your posts, and I’m hoping that your absence is due only to the fact your busy in the most delightful, Christmasy, celebratory way!
    Tawni Urrutia in Lodi, Ca

  52. Marianne says:

    We miss your blog! Busy time of year, I know, but miss hearing from you!

  53. Isabel says:

    Hi Susan,

    Just wanted to know that everything is alright with you and Joe. You have not done a post in 12 days.

    Hope you and Joe and your whole family have a beautiful holiday.

  54. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry for your losses, Carol Shapiro. Sending out prayers and warm, gentle hugs for you and your family!

  55. Jane Armour says:

    Where are you?! I miss you, Joe, the kitties & everyone else!

  56. Peggy says:

    Hello Sue,

    I am missing you so much. Hope you write a blog soon tho I suspect you have some other family things to attend to. Whatever it is I think all FOSB are with you in heart.

    It is my first winter without my husband John and I put up a tree and baked cookies but he was my anchor! (28yrs together)

    So I am waiting to enjoy the warmth of your posts -I check several times a day.
    I am also thinking of flying into Winnepeg and taking Via rail to Lake Lousie for a little cross country skiing. As you say, Write it down and it will come true!

    Mostly I hope you and Joe enjoy this Christmas -live it up! And give the kitties a ton of kisses from Peggy and Sparky dog ^..^

    • sbranch says:

      Love hearing from you Peggy. Yes, I did, family things needed me most of all. So that’s OK, most of it is done now and all is well. Wishing you lots of lovely memories as you make a new Christmas world for yourself ~ sending Love, xoxo

  57. Jennifer says:

    Just found your blog and I am soooo in love with it already! My children have your Baby Love baby books, they are now 22 and 17 years old, so are your books 🙂 Love, love your books, thank you so much for them! <3

  58. Holly says:

    Merry Christmas girlfriends! Hi Susan!
    I enjoyed your post, and glad to hear all is well. The photos of your home & kitties make me homesick. I took the train from Indianapolis to Phoenix about a week after you left for CA, and I’m still here!! The day before I was scheduled to return, my mom ended up in the ER, and in a few days had urgent valve repair to her heart. I was the only one who could take care of my dad (who has Alzheimer’s), so my 3 week trip turned into nearly 7 weeks! All is well now with everyone, and I’m soooo ready to return to my own home. It’s doesn’t really seem like Christmas here with all the sunshine, endless houses that all look alike, and no snow!! But we are all counting our many blessings, and so thankful for all our family near and far.

    Oh…. Susan, yesterday while antique hunting I found a copy of “Vineyard Seasons”. Great find! Right up there with finding a rare piece of Fiestaware! I already have a copy, but am collecting extras for my daughter.

    Many thanks to you for such a beautiful blog, and allowing all of us a place to meet. I know it’s a lot of work. I really appreciate you, for bringing pure joy, friendship, and making my life a bit sweeter with your lovely art, recipes, and sharing your love all things “home”. Wishing you a beautiful Christmas.

  59. Vida Howard says:

    Merry Merry Christmas!
    Thank you for all the happiness you send out to the world. I hope your Dad is doing well.
    I pray God’s Blessings on you and yours in the New Year.

  60. Kathie Ferko says:

    Dear Susan,

    I do not know if you will get this post since I added it to an old blog….worried…have not heard anything for so long…hope you are well and just really busy is the reason it seems like I have been waiting for so long to hear from you….hope this finds you and yours well…happy holidays!

    Kathie from Limerick

  61. Rosemary says:

    Hay Susan, we are missing your blogs. Give us a little something. Hope all is well.

  62. Ardena Braff says:

    Dear one, are you alright? I pray you are “merely” holiday-busy and not ill or having a family emergency. Those of us out here are having SB Blog withdrawal.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours and all the “girl friends.” AB

  63. Sreekala says:

    Hi Susan,

    Was about to add my own queries as to why you haven’t been posting in a while…when I thought to look at the previous comments. So glad to know that everything is well.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from me and my family and a couple of semi-wild kitties who have adopted us!!

  64. Kathy Fletcher says:

    I hope you and Joe are well- i am worried- been since Dec 3, and i don’t think i have ever seen you go that long without a post……but as long as you are ok- that is the main thing.
    I want to wish you both a Merry Christmas…and a Happy New Year!@!@! and that goes to both kitties too….

    we all love you and worry about you just like we do our own family members.

    • sbranch says:

      I know, it was forever, but so much needed me when I got home. Every so often the world comes climbing through every window and you need to run around and attend to it. Thank you so much Kathy

  65. martine levy says:

    Hi Susan,it’s good to hear that you and Joe and the kitties are all doing well!
    You must be busy putting your house back together after your trip and getting ready for Christmas.So thank you again for all your beautiful work,your kind words,and your beautiful blog that brightens our day,I wish you a wonderful Christmas at home and a very happy healthy New Year! I cannot wait for your new book hopefully we’ll see it next year? Keep the lights burning and the good work coming!! big hugs !

    • sbranch says:

      I get to start working on the book again soon! I’ve been washing my watercolor palettes, adding fresh colors, getting ready!

  66. Lynne Neal says:

    Oh where are you hope you are safe. I s o miss reading your blog and my Willard never comes through , hope you are all okay. Happy Christmas Susan and Joev

    • sbranch says:

      Safe and sound and enjoying the season ~ getting ourselves together after our long trip! Have missed everyone but we are back now!

  67. Alice Lucas says:

    Dear, Susan
    I just wanted to wish you and your husband a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR.
    SINCERELY, Alice

  68. mary spring says:

    …’seeing a few “twitter” tweets that you are up and about and being an elf again …(“facebook”said you were down with the flu..’hope you are feeling much better by now !! )… we’ve, of course, have missed you ;however, please take care of yourself…and enjoy this Christmas season !!…with love, as always…

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