Downton and the Full Moon

The Full Moon and Downton Abbey go so well together!  MUSICA

Violet's House

Did we love it?  Oh yes!  There are many wonderful houses on Downton Abbey; I just love going inside those gorgeous rooms, with the beautiful dishes, fireplaces, paintings, wallpaper, furniture, rugs and cut glass pitchercut glass, etched glass, sparkling glass ~ it’s the reason I watch,  besides the clothes, the jewelry, the views of England, the history, and the witty repartee ~ but this brick house is my favorite ~ Violet’s (the Dowager Countess’s) is the one I would take if they offered me my choice.  Yes, much more than Downton Abbey itself.  That’s just too much house for me.  Home darling.  Let’s go home.  Pull in, get the suitcases . . . Jeeves dear!  Bring the tea!


By the way Violet’s wonderful house is called Byfleet Manor in real life; you can go there, have tea, and even stay there!  It’s in Surrey!

One of my other main reasons for loving this show is these two:

The girls

That’s how they talk to each other.  They don’t even have to talk, they manage to say everything that needs saying just with their facial expressions.  Their tongue-in-cheek comments require that I see each episode three times in order to catch everything. Not to mention their clothes.  Look at Isobel’s jacket, the buttons! The gloves!  Their acting is wonderful but you have to give credit to the storytellers, Julian Fellowes and his team . . . something so cute last night (in the first episode of the 5th season) was the detail that the grandchildren are calling Robert (the Earl of Grantham) “Donk” (Donk, referring to Pin the Tail on the Donkey). It just has to be something they came up with from real life!  No one could make that up!

Downton Abbey Who's Who

These are the upstairs characters (missing is Lord Gillingham, Mary’s current boyfriend and childhood friend, and others I’m sure) ~

Downstairs charactersHere are the downstairs characters . . . Alfred has gone off to cooking school, Ivy’s gone and Edna is evil and gone too, but now we have Phyllis Baxter, who is Cora’s lady’s maid and just gave away the secret that Barrow was holding over her head.

I know not all of you are watching, so I won’t stay on this subject further, suffice it to say (about last night):  I LOVED sweet Mr. Molesley’s personal make-over to attract Baxter’s interest, despite Robert’s question about him being “Latin.”  And doesn’t Thomas Barrow make your skin crawl? I kind of think that if he got together with Miss Bunting (the schoolteacher rabble-rouser) they could join forces and terrorize the neighborhood.  I’d be scared, that’s for sure!  And I can’t wait to go on the scandalous vacation with Lady Mary and Lord Gillingham, maybe next week? ~ I hope they go somewhere in a darling car, with darling luggage,

darling car!

and lovely traveling clothes to a Country House Estate with massive gardens in the beautiful English Countryside . . .  if you didn’t catch it, they are going to “audition” each other for possible marriage; trying out s-e-x because they are in l-o-v-e, but afraid.  It’s 1924.  OMG.  Oh yes, and Edith.  Poor Edith. There’s always something.  But last night she made me laugh out loud when she disdainfully said to her sister Mary, “I thought only imbeciles were happy all the time” in her precise English accent which turns the word “imbecile” into a kind of sausage stuffed with cheese.

happy! I know those of you who saw it will have your favorite parts and it’s fun to hash them over ~ (I’m probably wrong about Miss Bunting; but right now I’m old enough to be firmly against change 🙂 despite how good it might be, plus she was really rude to darling Robert), but, get ready for a rapid change of subject, the real reason I’m writing is this, below . . . Because I don’t want another full moon to get by without you having your New Year’s present!


Full Moons 2015

I don’t want us to miss a single one! (Especially those school children who are waiting for their bookmarks!)

4 am

Outside in the summer, inside in the winter, from the beach, from the car, from the woods, in your own front yard, you get to make wishes on them all!

up close, the moon

A pure sky miracle!

The pink moon

How can that be possible?

Susan Branch Moon Bookmark 2015

So click HERE and you can print it out . . .

And now, it’s back to work for me


I’m working on this little painting


Kind of easy to see who we’re talking about here 


Jack likes it . . . he modeled for me . . .


That white spot is my favorite green plaid shawl over the back of my chair . . . and that’s what I’m about to do right now; finish painting it! Then, after Comcast comes and updates our service, we’re going for our walk; 40 degrees and clear today, turkeys pecking around in the yard as we speak.  Then I take in my new computer because the Google bar has disappeared!  Try living without that for a few days!  Those Downton Abbey people were lucky ~ their problems didn’t include lack of Google!

Have a wonderful day girlfriends! Wob you! XOXO 

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598 Responses to Downton and the Full Moon

  1. Mary Whiting says:

    Hello Susan,
    I loved your thoughts on Downton! All the while we were watching last night I kept saying to my husband, Rick, “Can you believe we will be there in three months?!” We have tickets for the first weekend in May to visit Highclere Castle. And Violet’s home and all the “village” scenes are in our plans, also. I LOVE her home most of all, too. Your “A Fine Romance” is our guide for this trip and it will be in my bag at all times. We were staying at Bibury Castle but they change to a B&B. But the village of Bibury is our first to see and we will follow your lead with the others. Thank you for your book – the best of all guides. We will take photos as we visit and send them along.
    XO Mary

    • sbranch says:

      Your trip sounds just fabulous Mary . . . May is so close! What a luxury to have this as a dream to look forward to! Will love to see your photos!

  2. Amylisa says:

    Hi Susan! I came here hoping for a new post from you but not expecting one..after all you just gave us a new one only a few days ago. What a nice surprise to find not just another new posting today, but one about Downton Abbey! I just finished watching it online. I was so happy to find out that PBS posts the new episode online the morning after it airs on tv. We can’t pick up that channel (ch.2 from Boston) on our hdtv box. We have yet to get cable. Last year I bought the whole season on Amazon Prime, but I’m pinching pennies right now. So thrilled I got to see it today. 🙂

    I know what you mean about the houses. That is one of the things I love about this show, too. Everything is so old fashioned and beautiful.

    Love that painting with your 2 kitties! We all look forward to seeing the completed project! Have a great day. 🙂

  3. Amylisa says:

    Hi Susan! I came here hoping for a new post from you but not expecting one..after all you just gave us a new one only a few days ago. What a nice surprise to find not only another new posting today, but one about Downton Abbey! I just finished watching it online. I was so happy to find out that PBS posts the new episode online the morning after it airs on tv. We can’t pick up that channel (ch.2 from Boston) on our hdtv box. We have yet to get cable. Last year I bought the whole season on Amazon Prime, but I’m pinching pennies right now. So thrilled I got to see it today. 🙂

    I know what you mean about the houses. That is one of the things I love about this show, too. Everything is so old fashioned and beautiful.

    Love that painting with your 2 kitties! We all look forward to seeing the completed project! Have a great day. 🙂

  4. Jen from Michigan says:

    Love love love that Downton is back on!! I have missed it so. And, I can’t agree more with your sentiment about Barrows making your skin crawl! I actually texted that to a girlfriend last night while we watched “virtually” together. I hate to wish away time but I really cannot wait until Sunday night arrives again! 🙂

  5. Lorraine from White Plains, NY says:

    Thank you for the “moon map” for 2015! The light of the full moon setting this morning woke me up as it came through my west-facing window! Somewhat more gently than a brilliant sun pouring in from the east – which won’t be happening at 6AM any time soon, unfortunately. And the temps at sunrise will be the highest of the day as we face – dare I say it? – a polar vortex dipping down from Canada! But, at least the sun is shining again! Enjoy the day! XXXO

  6. Kristina says:

    I kicked the menfolk out of the den so I could watch Downton on the big TV. They had full use of it all weekend watching football, afterall. It was my turn! And what a joy to watch! The show after the premier, “The Manners of Downton Abbey” was so interesting and really shed a lot of light on why they do what they do. I can’t wait to see what unfolds this season!

  7. What a treat, another entry this week from you!

    At long last I can stop holding my breath ~ blue is so not a good colour on me ~ and we can talk Downton again! Phew~~~

    I won’t say any more right now other than plots will thicken ~~~ and wait until the ~~~ ooops, nearly said too much again 😉

    Is there anyone better on Downton, so amusing with such aplomb than the Dowager Countess? Or as bad as Barrow? I wish someone would really, and I mean really, give him his comeuppance!

    Love the artwork ~ thanks for sharing it ~ now I, too, must get back to work as I’m turning out the food cupboards in the kitchen ~ lots of things still well in date that I won’t eat so the food bank will get a big bag full tomorrow.

    ~~~waving~~~from Across The Pond~~~Debs in Wales xoxo

  8. Julia says:

    Oh, I want to go back to England but I’m so afraid of flying! It
    is just like that but I’m like you, I’d take one of the cottages, too.
    And the accessories. I can’t take it all in. By the way I got some
    SB for Christmas. Made me happy. I was in heaven last night.
    Has anyone else noticed a small change in your decorating style
    since DA came on?

  9. Linda Joan says:

    I’m so happy to read you new blog post. I love Downton Abbey as well. I also need to start recording it, so I don’t miss so many details:lace, china, sparkling glass. I enjoyed the program shown right afterwards On “Manners of Downton Abbey”. So very much attention to detail!

  10. Julie Wagner says:

    Hi Susan,

    I love your blog, books and calendars. Always feel at home here. I am a Brit now living in Canada and also a huge Downton fan. Are you aware that you can watch the whole of season five (plus any other season episodes you may have missed – perish the thought!) at There are also some other really good British shows on there too. We just hook our Ipad up to the TV and away we go! Enjoy!

  11. Oh, but don’t you just love the fury that new contraptions have caused in the kitchen? I’d gladly trade computer glitches for the ones that happen with a new standing mixer!

  12. Grace says:

    I saw the full “wolf” moon setting over Webhannet Habor in Maine this morning. “Downton Abbey”, a full moon and a new SB blog all within 24 hours; a lovely way to begin the week. Elizabeth McGovern’s comments on the connection of women seeking equal rights with corsets going out of style were great. It is wonderful that the “over 40” Downton Abbey actresses are natural beauties who have not had “facial work” done. I enjoyed your year end review featuring photos of beautiful women of all ages. Looking forward to your new book. Happy and Healthy 2015!

    • sbranch says:

      I appreciate that too . . . although I always say, to each his own, but I like a craggy face that says I’ve been somewhere. It doesn’t seem like British actresses do as much to themselves. I know ours do just to keep their careers going as long as possible. Unfortunately, that’s the way the cookie crumbles here.

  13. Tracy says:

    Thank you thank you thank you for updating the Full Moon bookmark! I use it every year – I keep it pinned on my bulletin board so I can refer to it as I sit at my desk.

    The first full Moon is a time of silence and sitting by the home fire. As the wild winter howls, appreciate the warmth of home and family. Now is the time to go within and plan the changes you will make in the Spring. Consider now what you will plant, either plants or ideas. Start a Moon journal to record your lunar tides and write down your Spring dreams. I have a feeling you already do this, Susan!

    Downton was a delight as always! Poor Edith, her story breaks my heart. It is so interesting how that era changed the course of history. And all the table settings and measurements and such! I just love the costuming as well.

    Love your new painting – it reminds me of me and and my kitty cats.

    Happy 2015!

  14. Catherine says:

    If you love Downton Abbey I think you’ll enjoy the BBC’s new adaptation of Mapp and Lucia which they broadcast over Christmas and the New Year. Do try and see if you can somehow. All set in Rye, very English, very Edwardian and very witty – I loved it! It’s inspired me to read the full set of books, perfect for a chilly winter evening.

  15. Susan Martin says:

    I loved this post, Susan, but I am an editor as well as a librarian, and last night was episode 1 of Season 5. (please forgive me, but I just like things…right!)

  16. Susan Martin says:

    Oh! I forgot to mention that YES – Thomas Barrow does make my skin crawl – what a thoroughly unlikeable character – Rob James-Collier is a very good actor!

  17. Diane Byrum says:

    I love your commentary about DA. You say what we think–I imagine those conversation bubbles over our heads (like they did on Ally McBeal) it’s just something isn’t it? That we can talk without saying anything either. It’s the look 🙂 kindred spirits talk without speaking, understanding each other as Violet and Isobel do. Mary and Lord Gillingham seem very mawdurn (that’s my attempt at a British accent LOL) in determining if they are ‘compatible.’ Happy New Year, Susan. Can’t wait for your new book and thank you for the Moon bookmark. Love it!

  18. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    Downton is such a treat! It just has it all. While I find Isobel admirable in her opinions, Miss Bunting is just plain rude. The white coat Isobel is wearing in the photo with Violet (above) is gorgeous, and those two together are perfection. I am loving the 1920’s clothes. BTW, there is a an Australian series on Netflix called Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries that is the bee’s knees. Set in the 1920’s, and Miss Fisher’s wardrobe is absolutely scrumptious! Makes me want to set fire to my closet!

    • sbranch says:

      LOL! I guess what we need is a costume shop direct from the movies! With all the gorgeous fabrics. That coat of Isobel’s is made of that old-fashioned heavy thick linen you can barely find anymore.

      • Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

        I hope you can glimpse Miss Fisher. The costume designer has been collecting vintage fabrics, jewelry, etc for 20 years. The gowns are satin, lace, flowing, and the handbags, shoes and jewelry, even jeweled pieces in her perfect bob, are fab. We can dream!

  19. Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

    My “burning” question is….will the picture of baby Marigold that was tucked inside Michaels’s book be found under Lady Edith’s pillow in her burned-out bedroom?? And will the dastardly Barrow be the one to find it?? Oh, the suspense!!!

    • sbranch says:

      ooooooo. Such a good question!

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

        Interesting…. I was thinking that the baby picture was perhaps a baby from another woman of what’s his face (I can’t remember his name.) I didn’t think he was around for the birth of Edith’s baby.

        • sbranch says:

          I think Edith put that picture there, I don’t think it was already there when Mrs. Hughes gave Edith the book.

          • Karen P. - Wisconsin says:

            What was the book, anyway? I missed that. She threw it out of hurt/anger in missing him? When would she have put the baby pic in there and if it were Gregson’s book, why was it on the shelf? I’m so mad because I always dvr the episodes to watch a second or third time but I accidentally deleted it! 🙁

          • sbranch says:

            He was learning German and the book was his primer. It was lying around and someone put it on the shelf, then the housekeeper found it and realized it might matter to Edith. Edith was looking at the book on her bed and happened to have the photo nearby at the same time. She put the photo under her pillow and threw the book into the fire. At least that’s the way I remember it!

    • Oh, this is harder than ever now to keep quiet! 😀 It wasn’t so bad before you all started to see it ~~~ shhhhh! Deborah Anne ~~~ Shhhhh!

    • Martha Ellen of VA says:

      Yes, the burning question, Shannon! ♥

    • Anne in NH says:

      Wondered the same thing…another clue…Lady Cora asked Barrow how he happened to be in the Gallery at the time of the fire. Will she and Lord Grantham figure out why? Hope so. Tom needs to go.

      • sbranch says:

        I really wanted her to press that question . . . “keeping an eye on things,” please. red flagorama.

      • Mqry says:

        Oh about Tom Barrow. There must always be a villain in a great drama. He has been a part of the cast since the beginning. I would hate to see him go.

        • sbranch says:

          You’re right. We need him. He’s our Snidely Whiplash.

          • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

            Ha! This made me laugh out loud! I hadn’t thought of Snidely and Dudley and sweet Nell for years! I agree, a great drama needs a weasely villain 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            Otherwise who twirls his mustache and ties the girl to the tracks! A must have!

  20. Debbie Noyola says:

    Oh Susan, you are so incredibly talented! I just loved seeing the painting come to life. Please, please do more of those painting in progress in future blogs. I build furniture & one thing I like to do is take before, during & after its finished photos. It’s like magic before your very eyes. I might have to catch an episode of Downton Abbey. You have me intrigued with the mention of the English countryside. Ta ta, happy painting!

  21. Susan ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

    Well, I was just about to leave a comment on the previous blog, but I’ll do it here instead. I so enjoyed the year in review. How lovely it all was! And now you have piqued my interest again in Downton Abbey – always on my to-watch list, but not yet watched ( Have you read While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax? ). I’ve been enjoying myself catching up on your blog; my husband gave me a tablet for Christmas, so I get cozy in the recliner and read away, starting back at the very beginning. It’s fun to watch it all unfold, including the increasing amount of comments, and to recognize names of the Girlfriends. What a lovely place you have made for us – our own place to visit and chat a while! Happy 2015! Here’s to all things Girlfriendy!

  22. Penny says:

    Downton is such a fantastically enjoyable show! Do you have the ‘Companion’ books available in America? There is a lovely hardback book to accompany each series, looking behind the scenes at the making of the show, and at the manners, mores, menus and marriages of the era! They are written by Julian Fellowes niece, who is an author. Hope I am not telling you something you already know…..! X

    • sbranch says:

      I didn’t know! Thank you Penny!

      • Penny says:

        The first book is called ‘The World of Downton Abbey’, and is the companion to series 1 and 2. Next is ‘The Chronicles of Downton Abbey’, which covers series 3, both published by Collins. Then comes ‘Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey’ , published by Harper Collins, and the current book, ‘A Year in the life of Downton Abbey’, published by headline. They are all quite sumptuous, and give a lot of information about the era, and how Downton is researched and made, they are not just simple ‘behind the scenes’ books. They current one even has recipes in it which would have been popular at the time. X

  23. Absolutely love Downtown Abbey. Some of us rug hookers are thinking about doing a DA challenge rug. Can’t wait to see what we all come up with. Love your postings Susan. They always bring joy into my life . Have a great New Year

    • sbranch says:

      If you do it, PLEASE put them on my FOSB Facebook page so everyone can see it! I adore hooked rugs!

  24. Almost forgot. Thank you for the moon calendar. I love it!

  25. mary spring says:

    … well, I accidently dozed off right before Downton Abbey…yeah, can you believe that !?!…’just wanted to say that we so love to see your art work in progress !!!…thank you…btw, your area is looking like you will be getting some wonderful snow very soon !

    • sbranch says:

      It’s on too late for me too, I get up much too early ~ had to take a nap earlier! Thank goodness I have On Demand and can see it the next morning for actual consciousness-while-watching! I hope we get snow — it’s all been rain so far.

  26. Pat Mofjeld says:

    Norm and I were disappointed they didn’t go with a longer episode to start out the season–it seemed to be over so quickly! Yes, Barrow-the-Creep elevated to hero–terrible!!! He is like a evil spider! And that darling Marigold! Has anyone heard–will we ever find out what happened to her father? I wish Downtown Abbey had been made from a book so I could read the book right away! I’ll be watching to purchase the DVD of Season 5 but Norm won’t let me watch them ahead–LOL!

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

    Oh I just loved your newest post!!!! Downton Abbey!!! Now there is a show to get lost in. Did you see the after program about the manners? That was really interesting, although we were getting pretty tired by the end of it. For the west coast viewers, it ended at 11:30. I found rooms that were a mess getting ready for the show was fasinating. Of course, it was mainly the dinningroom that was talked about. I loved what the actors have to go through to be “proper Edwardians”.

    Miss Bunting had a different attitude last night from last season. I liked her then, but I’m not so sure about now. Of course, she was just stating what she believed in, but she should have gotten a clue by the way everyone else was acting at the table. I will reserve judgement for now though. I have to say that I find myself not liking Thomas Barrow. I know all he is trying to find is a place and someone to love (so they say), but…. I guess the show needs a villian of some sort… can’t have them all goodie two shoes 🙂 . I am trying to figure out which one gets yelled at by Robert Gantham. I’ve had a couple guesses, but I think I’m wrong.

    The little girl at the desk (you) and the two kitties (Jack and Girl Kitty) is really cute working away. Am looking forward to your latest book when it’s completed. Are you just about there?

    I’m off now to check on the birdies. Poor things…. it’s really windy out and could not feed them on the fence this morning. Had to put the food down on the ground. Haha, my husband says we are going to have to put them all on weight watchers pretty soon.

    Carol M

  28. Laurie Walt says:

    oh my gosh Susan I was just talking to my girlfriend who missed the episode of Downton Abbey last night. She insisted that I tell her all about the show. I felt like I was robbing her of some great experience and wanted her to see it for herself but no she insisted. I can’t remember all the names I can see faces and when I opened your blog I saw all the faces with names and I want to say thank you thank you thank you!I will print that and keep it close by so that the next time I talk to her I can give her correct names. I love the painting that you were working on it made me smile and I can’t wait to see all your new work. Happy new year. Love.

  29. Anne-Marie Vogt says:

    My husband enjoys Downton Abbey too and he suspects that Barrow will steal Cora ”s jewelry to frame Baxter. And I think the picture of Marigold will be discovered. Love this show!

  30. I agree with you on preferring the smaller (smaller?!) house to the Abbey! I’m loving your new art work. Is this also for next year’s calendar? Thank you for the Full Moon bookmark.

    Also, wanted to let you know the musica link takes me to your ‘Not Found’ page.

  31. grace thorne says:

    i watched too! oooh that thomas barrow…..evil to the core! and thanks for the bookmark…i love it!

  32. Debbie Johnson says:

    Yesterday I wrote all my family & friends birthdays in my New Susan Branch calendar….I LOVE that you always put the full moons on them. Was so excited to see that the Harvest Moon is on my birthday!!! So exciting-I’m a lucky girl!!! Do you know why they call the March moon the Worm Moon? That is an odd one indeed.
    Love D.A.-we are taping it as we are going to watch it from the very begining again, hopefully starting tonight.
    Love ya,
    Debbie J

  33. susie says:

    Susan, Thank you for the moons list. I saw the wolf moon , this very morning. It was so big and full on the wnw horizon. I want to watch Downton Abbey…but I missed it , so I will have to watch in on dvd. Blessings, xoxo,Susie

  34. It was the perfect way to spend a cold, winter evening! We are thinking alike… I have also fallen in love with Violet’s house. I’m also wondering who will find baby Marigold’s photo in the aftermath of the fire. The Edwardian manners were just fascinating, especially in the dining room! Susan, it’s so lovely to watch your watercolors come to life! Have a cozy week in your studio. Can’t wait to see more!
    Warm hugs,

  35. Ann says:

    Thanks for the moon bookmark. It goes right on the frig. Loved DA last night but I always have to watch again to catch what I missed. We had the sound up as high as it would go and we still didn’t get everything. Stay warm, everyone!

    • sbranch says:

      I find out just as much the second time as I did the first, and even get a better understanding of what I heard the first time!

  36. Anna Marie says:

    Thank you for the New Year’s full moon gift! Yes, I joined all the girlfriends watching “our show”. I so hope one day Marygold’s father shows up and sweeps them away! sigh!

  37. Monique says:

    Wait..when Barrow saved Edith..I had tears…
    Do you think he will prefer being nicer?
    Cause he sure was terrible.
    My comment on your previous post was missing almost all of it..looked so strange..don’t know how that happened.
    The clothes are fabulous..the settings..dishes..everything..the banter..quotes.
    So in love with that show am I.
    Love your new painting.I’ll be 61 and still fancy a braid on occasion..
    Which reminds me..those ladies must go to bed in full one looked different..

    • sbranch says:

      I think this will be the perfect opportunity for Barrow to get away with everything he wants, but I would love it if he turned nice. However, I don’t think I could ever trust him.

      • Karen P. - Wisconsin says:

        He’s had opportunities to be nice before. …times where we felt endeared to him. But, every show needs a good villain to provide drama. IMHO he will always be horrible!!

  38. Trudy (Holland) says:

    Lovely to read your thoughts about Downton Abbey!
    But miss Bunting and Thomas together-oh my that would be so difficult!
    No,I don’t tell whats happenig in these episodes-have seen them all on ITV on the English television and now again on our Dutch television.
    Love your drawings -I wish I had the time to make such drawings again–it has a long time ago.

  39. Mary Ritter says:

    So glad you blogged about Downton Abbey…. what a wonderful story to follow. Now that Barrows is a hero, will he turn a new leaf and lose that chip on his shoulder. I just want some happiness for Edith! And Violet and Isobel are an absolute joy to listen to. I wonder if you will give us a roll call of the downstairs characters?

  40. Monique says: is 0 F here and dipping.
    I know you love dishes..on several blogs this morning I saw that World Market has..or had great bags and mugs of DA..

  41. Arline in LA says:

    Many thanks for both the Moon bookmark and showing your steps in bringing one of your illustrations to life. The Wolf Moon was amazing here in Burbank, CA and we still have coyotes howling in the hills to provide sound effects. I think they are hoping for more rain because we haven’t seen or heard them for years. Did you mention the online Christmas episode of DA with George Clooney? Had to watch it several times to see everything going on. Off to print copies of the bookmark to include when returning some books to a new friend who hasn’t found you yet! The more the merrier.

    • sbranch says:

      I think this George Clooney thing is part of upcoming episodes? Shhhhh. We have to pretend we don’t know this! (#excitingnews!)

      • Karen P. - Wisconsin says:

        I thought the George Clooney thing is a fundraiser….not an actual DA episode? Could be wrong.

        • Arline in LA says:

          Oh, I would never add a spoiler! George was part of the “Text Santa” Christmas charity in the UK. It will never be on TV here — you need to google Downton Abbey for Text Santa to see it. It is a 2-parter and you will die laughing. It is a take on “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Don’t miss it! Be sure to see both parts.

          • sbranch says:

            Oh, I GET IT! . . . here’s the Link to this FUNNY thing, it’s wonderful, made tears in my eyes. Thank you Arline! This link is for Part 1, Part 2 is there on the same page. It’s not part of the real Downton Abbey, it’s a fundraiser they did at Christmas in the UK! GO HERE. So fun to see our favorites doing this!!!

  42. Anne D. S. says:

    Happy New Year to you and Joe! There is just nothing like Downtown, and on a full moon to boot, to keep the January blahs at bay! Here is a quote you may like from Gladys Taber’s book, Stillmeadow Calendar. It is on page 30, in the January chapter.
    “Sometimes the days are so dark I have the lights on; but then the sky opens her door as the sun goes down and an apricot fire burns over the hills. But winter sunsets do not linger, and soon the wolf moon rises.” It seemed perfect for today’s post!

  43. Cindy Stierhoff says:

    Did you happen to watch the Baking Show before Downton Abbey started?? I went and rolled out my sugar biscuit dough, cut out stars, and made a cup of tea, just in time for Downton Abbey. Well as much as you are afraid of Thomas, he did save the day for everyone!! And we all are watching over Mr. Mosley in hopes his confidence comes back one day.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I got to see the baking show for the first time. I like it. It’s not Downton Abbey but it has fun quirkiness!

      • Cindy Stierhoff says:

        I have never seen so many different kinds of biscuits made from 12 different bakers, they were gorgeous to look at… for that taste. But Mrs. Patmore would surely be the one who could make me happy with anything she came up with and a splash of Daisy on top!

      • Oh, by ‘baking show’ are you all talking about Great British Bake Off? I love it! I am a huge fan of Mary Berry since the 1980’s and always use her recipes for many of my best cakes.

        • sbranch says:

          Yes we are. . . we’re just getting it now. And I for one had no idea who Mary Berry was, but I love her name!

  44. Debbie R from Valencia Ca says:

    oh my goodness what a great beginning to Downton. I do the exact same thing….replay it several times so I don’t miss the hilarious comments from Lady violet and Isobel. Fantastic writing. Oh I can’t wait til next Sunday. Thank you for the lovely pics and of course the bookmark. Love it. Have a good week girlfriends.

  45. Kathryn says:

    I must be the only person on Earth who hasn’t watched Downton Abbey. I guess I’ll have to jump on board and see what it’s all about.

    We couldn’t see the Wolf Moon last night here in north east New Jersey. Too overcast. But, I hope to catch a glimpse of it tonight on my evening walk!

  46. Betty says:

    Hi Susan,
    Thanks for the review of Downton Abby. I loved the show last night. The show adds something to look forward to after the Christmas rush. I love moons. One year on our wedding anniversary we had a blue moon…How romantic is that. I found a recipe for a blue moon cocktail. LOL♥ Thanks again for posting today. Your timing was perfect.
    Betty @ My Cozy Corner

  47. Jillian-Michelle says:

    Thank you so much for the bookmark, I LOVE it.
    I missed Downton last night, off to watch it now…

  48. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~Good afternoon~
    That Thomas is such a slug!~ I cannot believe that he just keeps “crawling” along and getting away with what he does~ And then he comes out a hero!
    If I had to be a character from the show I would be Miss Bunting ~ I’m sure I would’ve spent a lot of time in the Tower of London with my new fangled way of thinking and intolerance for some of the snobby~ ness!~ Good thing I was born when I was~ Lol!!

    • sbranch says:

      I think she’s snobby too, but on the other end! But yes, I’d have been there with you, in trouble and the Tower.

  49. Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

    No matter how busy, you always find time to take care of us. Thank you for our Full Moon bookmark – having them listed on our SB calendar just isn’t enough. As we’re reading, a bookmark gives us constant reminders so that we don’t miss a wish.

    Sorry I didn’t give you a timely comment on the last post, but I’d like to say that it is one of my favorites. At the beginning of this year I started doing a photo a day. Journaling is wonderful, but I’m so blabby, I go on and on and on… A photo (or two or three) can record my year. And then here came your blog with the past year in photos. Now I know that I made the right decision.

    I just watched Julie and Julia (AGAIN), then your wonderful year-of-photos blog, then the new Downton Abbey and I’m now thoroughly saturated in inspiration. Look out 2015 – Here I Come!

  50. Verla says:

    One of my favorite quips last night was when Mary told Lord Gillingham that her father would “pop him on the nose” for his suggestion. I thought of my own dad and knew he would have done more than that if some young whippersnapper had tried that with one of his girls and he found out about it.

  51. Joann says:

    It was incredible… we had a fire, tea in pretty English cups and saucers, and extra to pour so we wouldn’t have to get up for more.

    It was so fast moving, I need to watch it again…and alas, next week they will show this week’s episode again before episode 2 begins, so we shall!

    The dowager is definitely cooking up something with her old friend who is new to the season….hmmm….

    And Edith with her baby…what shall become of all of that?

    Barrow is like poison…. goodness sakes, I thought he might be gone for a second, but no, we’ll be able to dislike him for another episode at least…

    And the full moon….lovely in the absolute cold, lighting up the newly-fallen snow of Saturday evening…

    Pure bliss… Thank you for the bookmark! We’ve all been ‘mooned’ by you!!

  52. Ruth Thomas says:

    I taped Downton last night but will watch it tonight – love it! By the way, did any of the girlfriends watch ‘The Paradise” when it was on Masterpiece? I loved it! I see it is out on DVD already. Happy New Year to everyone!

  53. Doreen Strain (From Florida) says:

    Happy New Year Sue! Thanks so much for the book make. I’m making myself several of them. You see, my husband has just recently been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor by the name of glioblastoma multiforme. (Please Google it to find out what it is if you don’t already know.) His prognosis is poor. He is my astrologist. I can never remember with it a waxing or waning moon and always have to ask him. Until I say this today…I didn’t even think…he will not be around to tell me in the near future, so I made myself several copies to have. I thank you for making it available and I’ll be thanking you in the future in my heart for making my memories of how he used to tell me what phase the moon is in by looking at the bookmark. See Sue, we never really know the affect we have on other peoples lives. Something as simple as this bookmark will bring me such comfort and joy. Thank you again! F.O.S.B. 4~Ever! ~Doreen~

    • Doreen Strain (From Florida) says:

      I’d better start reviewing my post before I hit the send button. That’s thanks for the bookmark and I can never remember if it is a waxing or waning moon…..! Sorry bout that!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Doreen, that’s terrible news, I’m so sorry. One day at a time dear girl. Life. It keeps on keeping on despite our hollering, STOP! Sending love and hugs.

      • Doreen Strain (From Florida) says:

        Hi Susan,
        I’m hanging in there! We can’t go around it so we have to go through it!!! I know what you mean about “It keeps on keeping on, despite our hollering, STOP!” As long as I have the little things in life that can still provide me some comfort as we go through this journey…I’ll be ok. Your blog is one of this comforts for me along with all the girlfriends that stop in for a spell. Thanks for your words of encouragement. I truly appreciate them. Kindred spirits we all are indeed!
        F.O.S.B. 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

        • sbranch says:

          If attitude counts for anything, which I think it counts for EVERYTHING, you’ve been blessed with the best! You were the first person who ever said F.O.S.B.4~Ever! And I’ve loved it from the beginning. xoxo Doreen.

  54. Shanon says:

    My friend and I are convinced the full moon makes our children act crazy! We call eachother each month to warn the other that it’s coming 🙂 It’s true, typically my children will take turns being up all night, throwing tantrums all day, etc etc. Maybe when they’re grown I’ll be able to appreciate the beauty of it though LOL. It did look lovely last night, with the very cold fresh snow that happened all day yesterday <3

    • sbranch says:

      Parties are always more fun on the full moon. The unexpected can suddenly appear! OK for adults, but downright crazy with kids.

    • Karen P. - Wisconsin says:

      When I had my oldest daughter it was a full moon night. The nurses I. The maternity ward said that there are always more babies born during full moon. The night I was in labor all the rooms were full and the place was howling!!

  55. Becca Green says:

    Did you know that if you buy the series from Apple TV, after the first few episodes air, you can watch the rest early…….and rewatch and rewatch……?
    I buy it on Apple TV, then watch it every week when it airs, and then buy the DVD’s….just in case something happens to my Apple TV……

    I am trying to make my myself switch from coffee to tea. I just bought my first real teapot. We are planning a trip to Ireland and England this year. I’m trying to get tickets to Highclere Castle. Since I started following your blog and reading your book, I am also planning a visit to see Beatrix Potter’s house and the lake country, and my guest room is now a Beatrix Potter styled room. You have such lovely ideas. Nice to know there are others out there like me!

    • sbranch says:

      With a wonderful name like Becca Green, I would think you would love all these things!

      • sondra fox says:

        Just a tip. Some European tourist spots are closed on Mondays. Good to check first before going. A friend took a long public bus ride to a garden she’d wanted to see, only to disappointed being that it was closed on Mondays. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, very true. It happened to us when we first got there until we learned to check! Highclere was closed because they were filming the whole two months we were there, so we completely missed that.

      • Becca Green says:

        Thank you very much!

  56. Karen P. - Wisconsin says:

    I do so love Molesley and Baxter together. I fear what Barrows has up his sleeve for Baxter going and stealing his thunder by telling Cora about her thievery. I sure hope he doesn’t try something like stealing Cora’s jewelry and planting it in Baxter’s room! And good for Cora remaining so calm and level-headed! So excited because I found out that a display of DA Season 1 and 2 costumes is coming to a museum/mansion here in WI (about an hour’s drive) starting in June! I will be going!! Love the costumes!! So glad DA’s back! I HAVE missed it! ♥♥♥

  57. Troy Louise says:

    I was glued to my chair watching Downton last night. I LOVE it! Just as I thought Barrow was getting his comeuppance, he goes and saves Edith! Shannon has a great question about the photo under her pillow. Thanks for the darling moon goodies. It was gorgeous Saturday evening while we were driving over the Sierras back home to Reno from Sacramento. Happy, happy New Year!

  58. I especially love how modest and feminine the women act and dress and how masculine the men act and dress. Also, there are so many kind people in the show and strong marriages. There aren’t too many shows like this anymore.

  59. Louise says:

    Susan, when I looked out my front room window this morning around 4:30am, the moon took my breath away….In between the tree branches across the street from my house, it was magical.

    Love, Love Downton Abby, great beginnings for the new season. I have to say my favorite house is Isobel Crawley’s. I love the lace curtains and that it sits right on the street in town. I can really see me living there!


  60. Gina D. says:

    Loved Jane Austen’s Mrs. Bennet reference by Violet! You’re right… you have to watch more than once to catch it all. Thanks for watching with me!

  61. Anne Miller says:

    Hello, “Miss Beautiful Light” as I have come to think of you. Thank you for this Downton Abbey post. I am still smiling, thinking of last night’s episode! I love and agree with your responses. Totally off topic… have you read Ann Patchett’s book of essays, “This Is The Story of a Happy Marriage” ? It is glorious! Happy New Year! Blessings! Looking forward to YOUR new book!

    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t yet, but I have it, soon maybe, because, my problem is there is a stack of books I need to read!

  62. Lorraine says:

    Loved watching Downton Abbey too. It seems like it has been soooooo long. Like you, I am very grateful that my husband is a fan too. I am in US but stumbled upon a British internet site that gave a little TMI… I can’t wait to see how it all plays out. Very exciting stuff coming our way!

    I yelled “Oh Edith!” when she threw the book in the fireplace. And that Thomas, does he have the luck or not??? Ugh! Yes, he needs a kick in the arse. But poor James… I’m worried about Tom. He seems to be a such loose ends and the teacher is not the solution. Can you imagine being at dinner at Downton Abbey and taunting the host? Good grief. And how could you not love Daisy wanting to learn math. Bless her heart…

    One question – I read about the 2014 Christmas special. It sounds so good. Do you think we will be able to see it? It would be great if they played it after Season 5. (Or is it the last episode in Season 5?) Hope so.

    Thanks for the full moon bookmark. It was spectacular in the Midwest too!

    • sbranch says:

      I have British friends, and they have been SO good to me, haven’t told me a bit of it, even on Twitter! James is a bit of an idiot, I’m sorry, but Hello. It just isn’t done. No, taunting the host must be the height of bad manners. I’m on Lord Grantham’s side with this one. I think what England calls the “Christmas Special” is our last big episode.

      • Hala nr. Bath, UK says:

        Hi Susan,
        Watched the Christmas Special on Christmas Day – a real treat. Loved it. All I can say is that series 5 gets better and better as it goes along and the Christmas Special was great. Love that people have to watch it more than once to work out the accents! Happy watching and sending lots of love from England xx

  63. Gail E. says:

    Loved the post, love the show, but loved seeing your artwork (in stages) the most. I wish I could do what you do, you make it look so easy. Thanks for the post.

  64. shirley burt says:

    Me, too. The Dowager’s house would be oh so much better. A home, not a mausoleum. It was so hard not to tell friends all about the first episode. But I was a good girl and Drinda and I did not tell even a smidgeon of the Downton episode. Why is it that just when we think Thomas Barrow will receive his comupence -sorry for the spelling-he does something to earn the everlasting gratitude of the upstairs? Can hardly wait until next week. Oh, and the lessons on manners and how things are to be done, so fascinating.
    Thank you for a bunny bunch for all the moon updates. We are so very lucky.
    Happy painting. We love the sneak peeks of your illustrations. Thank you for the glimpses.
    Much love and bunny hugs,

    • sbranch says:

      I know, when Cora said, Oh Barrow, we just love you so much, I thought, oh dear, now he has the keys to the castle. Lurk all you want.

  65. Sherry says:

    So do you think Michael Gregson is still out there somewhere and will return to win Lady Edith’s hand or is he a goner? At some point she has to ‘fess up about the baby, it’s killing her. And I agree that Barrow needs to be smacked around a bit and I think Moseley’s just the fellow to do it! I’m obviously very excited to have Downton back on.

    • sbranch says:

      I hope he is. I’d be so excited if he suddenly came home!

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        I think Michael Gregson is an undercover British agent in Germany, doing investigations [maybe of Hitler and the brand-new Nazi party]. For this reason he couldn’t communicate with Edith but… he’ll be back! Do I watch enough Hitchcock movies? Oh yes. :>)

  66. Mary from Ipswich MA says:

    Happy New Year and thank you for the bookmark.
    Okay my favorite part about Downton last night (besides Violet’s wit, of course) was the whole thing about Mosely’s hair. Hysterical!!
    Many Blessings to all for a happy, healthy 2015.

  67. Christine says:

    Was so thrilling to be back at Downton Abbey for another visit! such a lot in such a short time, waiting for the story to continue to unfold. But the visuals are the best!! I love watching and seeing all of the detail!!

  68. Barbara Weaver in Hampton says:

    Enjoyed your Downton comments so much today. And, yes, Thomas totally creeps me out! And Violet’s house? To die for. When they showed the shot of it on last night’s show, I thought, “That’s the house for me!” Very Georgian or something. Thanks for another fun blog post!

  69. Jean says:

    I loved your recap of Downton Abby. Seems like we waited an eternity for that show and I loved every minute of it!! Loved your comments!

  70. Marla says:

    I’m with you, Susan, I prefer Violet’s home if I had to pick one. It has such a welcoming entrance. I enjoy looking at all the details in each episode. I even loved the bicycle Edith was riding along with her bicycle attire. I spotted a long jet necklace worn by Lady Mary which is similar to one I have that belonged to my grandmother. My grandmother was a milliner and I have a real love for the hats of the 1920’s too.

    The Manners of Downton Abbey show was soooo interesting! Isn’t a week a long time to wait for the next episode? 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      If you think that you need to see each episode three times for full understanding of all quirky details, the week goes faster.

      • Margot ~~~ Virginia Beach says:

        I am already too fussy as I set the diningroom table, now I will only get worse with the stick! 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, Joe was out making my stick today! (Kidding!) Between the stick and the sticklers on that British Baking Show, I’m better with the “home cooking” style of everything! What if all your muffins had to be the exact same size and color???? Not in this lifetime!

  71. Tisa@ChicTiquesCafe says:

    The Comcast went out an hour into the show–no cable, no internet, no phone….and no clue as to what happened at the end of the show! DIS-ASTER! Will have to see if I can ‘catch up’ tonight ‘on demand’ for the “rest of the story”. But my greatest wish is…..can Lady Edith BE happy, at least for awhile? Always in a predicament, sad & forlorn. We shall have to await Julian Fellowes mighty pen! (or should I say, “The Right Honourable The Lord Fellowes of
    West Stafford”) Ahem. Yes. He knows of which he speaketh!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve been mad at Comcast all day for a variety of reasons and now I will add this to them! I would have been beside myself. On Demand works perfectly, so you’re fine, thank goodness. (And yes, he certainly does!)

  72. Michele, So. Woodstock, Vt. says:

    Hello Susan!

    Wasn’t Downton Abbey wonderful last night?! After waiting so many months, it was heaven to be right back in that household watching how all the drama would be played out. I, too, have to watch an episode a few times to catch all those catty remarks that are made and aren’t they so wonderful! Can you believe that Mary is considering a weekend away with Lord Gillingham?! Wow, that seems very bold for those times – I hope that it takes place next week, too.
    It sounds like you are having a heat wave on M.V. – we have been having a horrific of wind and frigid temps. It is only 12 degrees and the birds can hardly land on the feeders without getting blown away. Yikes!!! I do wish I could bring them in at night to keep them warm.
    Thanks for the moon schedule – it was brilliant last night here, too.
    Oh, have you see the new HGTV’s new home on M.V.? I watched the show the other night showing all the details from start to finish and it looks impressive.
    Stay warm this week –
    Michele 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      When is that on? I need to go find it! Stay warm Michele!

      • Michele, So. Woodstock, Vt. says:

        You would have to check on HGTV’s schedule as I have seen it twice in the evening time. Am very surprised that M.V. would allow such a construction like that to take place in the first place! Over the years, winners of these houses have some times had to sell them as they could not afford the taxes, upkeep and/or travel expenses to get to their new home. They now include $250,000 to probably help with various expenses like taxes which must be sky high on M.V. in general. Now, if I were to enter and win, we would be neighbors – what fun that would be!
        Forgot to mention that I love your new drawing and how “homey” it looks. When does your book come out?

        • sbranch says:

          I have to get it done! First we went away, now the calendars are due, I hope to get back to the book after I turn the calendars in. It’s terrible to only have two hands and have sleep and all that!

  73. diana from ancaster says:

    Happy New Year!

    ooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhh New season of Downton Abbey!

  74. Donna says:

    Thanks for sharing the play-by-play of a painting in progress…love your work. Can you share which material brands you use (paint, brushes, paper)?

    I never connected with Downton, but really enjoy Madam Secretary and happy for its return. Is anyone else following this?

    Happy New Year!

    • sbranch says:

      If you go to the top of the blog there are icons … go to About Me — there’s a drop down with two posts about art and supplies. We’ve seen Madam Secretary a couple of times, but haven’t got our schedule synced quite yet!

  75. Bonnie says:

    I so enjoy Downton and last night follow up about the manners of that era.

    Also am pleased to have landed here.

  76. Charlene Hisayasu (S.F.Valley) says:

    Happy New Year, Susan! Yes, yesterday was a wonderful TV day! I fixed Brick-Flattened Lemon Chicken, Sauteed Spinach, and Caramelized Butternut Squash for a yummy TV dinner. Both hubby and I enjoyed watching Charade with Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant in the early evening…thank you, TCM! Then we sat in suspense to watch what would unfold in Episode 1, Season 5!!! I, too, laughed out loud at several points. Just like you, I wish the women’s fashion of Downton Abbey were available! I love the loose but elegant lines, dazzling colors for each lady, and the rich fabrics. And necklaces adorning the back of a dress as well as front!!
    Thank you for sharing your painting progress. I am always interested in your studio, your work process, and your style.
    Hope you are well! This flu/cold is hanging unto me for quite awhile. Need to get my energy back! Here’s to 2015!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Took me a while to do that too, but it will come. We always have energy for cozy dinner and good TV!

  77. Sylvia in Seattle says:

    I was afraid I might be bored with the Downton folks, but NOooo, I’m hooked again. A couple of them I’d like to give a swift kick in the backside mainly Thomas GRrrrrr . . . but this is the hook that keeps me watching hoping for “comeuppance” 🙂 and of course Edith MUST be able to mother her little girl. I’m hoping the father will turn up somehow and they will live happily ever after and move away from Lady Mary who is so horrid to her. I do feel for Lord Grantham being somewhat upstaged . . . He’s was being quite magnanimous I thought.
    Loved the time lapse pictures of your painting process and such a fun scene it is. Computer problems are the worst!!! Good luck with that.

    • sbranch says:

      Lady Mary is hideous to Edith, I was mad at her too, but I had forgotten, in earlier seasons, Edith did hideous things to Mary. Told on her and things like that. But still, Mary never misses a chance to attack these last couple of seasons. I like Edith even if she is a bit on the whiny-ish side and tries to burn down the house. Things keep happening to her. I would LOVE the father of her child to come back. What the heck happened to him anyway!

      • Margot ~~~ Virginia Beach says:

        I think it was an accident, as she was depressed about the baby and threw a book into the fireplace, which fell back out.

        • sbranch says:

          Aren’t we, as castle dwellers, candle snuffers, supposed to be extra careful about fire? Maybe I’m not compassionate enough, but if I was her mother I would tell her to be more careful and give her Fireplace 101 as a punishment.

          • Margot ~~~ Virginia Beach says:

            Ah yes… we should be careful with our homes and things. Brats from yesterday and today do not appreciate what they have. Some folks live in a disposable world.

          • Karen P (Wisconsin) says:

            The firefighters sure got there fast! 🙂 I, for one, would be afraid to fall asleep with a fire burning in the fireplace, anyway. But, I guess that was the only heat so no other option! Yes, you’d think she’d be more careful to make sure it actually made it into the fire! Ai-yi-yi!

          • sbranch says:

            They did get there fast . . . I was wondering about that!

  78. Rosanna says:

    Life is back to normal – Downton Abbey has returned!

    Unlike some women, I do not suffer with a husband who doesn’t ‘understand’ these things – if anything he is getting hooked on the history, architecture – just the everyday life of the English in those days!

    We compare and contrast things with life today – Mr. Mosely trying to look younger – just like men and women today in the job market – that ‘gray hair’ isn’t going to get you hired or promoted when all the young ones are around! It really is like what they say: the more things change the more they stay the same!

    You might find it amusing that the TV critic of the Washington Post gave a somewhat unflattering review of this latest episode – and the reader comments took him to task for being so frightfully awful to DA! Poor fellow, I think he suffers from – dare I say it – a lack of class. 🙂

  79. Jane Franks says:

    I may be way off, but I think it was Barrow that Baxter . . . ooops almost said what she told Cora . . . anyway, I think it was Barrow that coerced Baxter to do what she did to finance a dastardly deed of his. For all we know he is a criminal with a prison record or something. There is more to this story yet to unfold! Is he, I ask myself, the one Robert yells at to leave and “never come back in this house” in the trailer for next week???!! (or that could be Edith — I doubt that — or James). I hope Mary doesn’t do something stupid. I like Blake better than Lord Gillingham. All I can think of is that creepy valet of his every time I see him. He’s too smooth. Blake is much more clever and a good intellectual match for Mary — and more aristocratic, it was surprisingly revealed last year! But. . .maybe it wouldn’t make as good a story! Got to keep the plot thickening!! 🙂 At any rate, Fellowes is a genius! He has us all hooked and waiting with bated breath!! I agree with you, Susan. Violet’s Dowager “cottage” would be the one for me. The Abbey is splendid to visit and for large events, but too big, and a bit spooky, for me to live in! You are hard at work, aren’t you! I love watching your watercolors emerge!! Thanks for sharing it all!!

  80. Rhonda P in Woodson, TX says:

    Back to work today, after the holidays, and your wonderful large desk calendar greeted me! It is beautiful with the quilt background and cheerful colors. It will brighten every work day for me in 2015. Thanks again for including it in your calendar options!

  81. Joan says:

    This was a great post. Thanks for the pics of characters, Now if you could just do one of the Downstairs people and other characters I could keep them all straight.
    The quips are so good. I have been watching the back season episodes on YouTube because I missed the first 2 or 3 seasons which has made the whole story more understandable. The history, the changes, sociological values everything makes this so worth the time. Did you notice the change in the styles of hair and clothing in this episode?
    Well, thank you for sharing. Did you know there are groups that get together to have tea and watch the program? Who knew that this would sweep up people around the globe?
    So enjoy your posts….and the kits.

    • sbranch says:

      I couldn’t find the downstairs! I tried (within reason) and will try again! I think it’s just a fun little thing, and an opportunity to have BEAUTY in our lives, while learning something at the same time — besides the story, there are so many beautiful visuals in Downton Abbey.

  82. Anne in NH says:

    Susan…thought of you a lot this week after seeing the HGTV Dreamhouse. That beautiful Cape Cod was turned into a contemporary industrial cold house…no cozyness about it. Decided if I ever won it…I would sell it and buy a home more like yours! With history and love and beauty in it. Funny that you feel the same about the Dowager’s house. Happy New Year to you and Joe and the kitties!♥

    • sbranch says:

      I was afraid of that. We drove by and you could sort of see the leanings . . . Happy New Year Anne!

      • Jane Franks says:

        I thought so, too. I wonder, though, if it could not be made personal and cozy with the right furnishings, personal treasures and landscaping? The one thing it has going for it is that everything is new and works — no maintenance for 10+ years or so. That is an attractive prospect to me. More time to create! Will be interesting to see who ends up in it. Where on the Island is it?

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, I had a new house once, and I loved the “all new” aspect. Nothing breaking down like it does every fifteen minutes here. It’s outside of Edgartown, in a neighborhood on the way to Katama, if that tells you anything.

    • Anne in NH, this is my plan, too–after I’ve spent the summer in it hosting all my family and friends. While I’m there I’ll be scouting for a house like you describe in Vineyard Haven–the best village on the island in my opinion. We spent a week on the island in 2012 and explored the whole island–I think we drove down just about every road open to the public. I’m sure I could find a smaller, less expensive place that we could keep as a second home. I wouldn’t want to leave my present home permanently….but wouldn’t it be great to have a place on MV to vacation all the time! I’d go once a season at a minimum for a couple weeks. Sounds Perfect to me!

  83. Shauna Woodall says:

    This makes me grieve for my darling Matthew Crawley. I’m still in mourning and refuse to come out of my room. That is all.

  84. Suzanne Alexander says:

    Thank you very much for the “When the Moon is a Sliver” bookmark.
    Not that I want to make time go by quickly, but I can’t wait for the next episode of “Downton Abbey.” I am pleased that I have gotten my now semi-retired husband Ron “hooked” on the show with me.
    By the way, I want to thank you so much for the recipe for your Cranberry Sauce that is under your “Home Cooking” tab on this website. I made it for Thanksgiving, and it is wonderful, Susan. All other cranberry sauce recipes have been thrown out. Your Cranberry Sauce will be at all our Thanksgiving meals from now on in our glass “turkey” serving dish.

    • sbranch says:

      I threw all mine out too! Sad, because I had some good ones, but really, you cannot improve on this thing! I could eat it every day. Try it with chocolate cake sometime! And don’t forget to mix it half and half with orange marmalade for the most delicious jam in the world!

  85. Pam says:

    Susan, I found one of your blank cookbooks at Barnes & Noble and made it into a combination recipe/photo album for my brother for Xmas. He just called to tell me how much he loves it….filled it with old family photos and copies of our Mother’s and Aunt’s recipes, which were in their own handwriting. Your book was just perfect for the project. Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      I love that. What a nice thing for you to do! You have a very lucky brother!

    • Julia says:

      That was such a sweet thing to do. I sent my brother a fruitcake
      made by my grandmother and mother’s recipe. He loved it. The
      love in it. He said that they can’t even buy fruitcake where he lives.
      He is the only one in the family who likes it. I’ll do it every year
      from now on.

  86. Brenda Caldwell says:

    I thought the same thing about the HGTV Dreamhouse….I said to my husband “That doesn’t look like a house I had pictured on Martha’s Vineyard!” I was expecting a “Susan home!” 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      99% percent of them are, but new has its drawbacks! Hard to have those narrow steep staircases when there is “code.” Plus people lose their minds and get the best of everything, instead of the simplest.

  87. Mary Lawrence aka Mi Mi Elizabeth says:

    Oh my, how I love your blog . I look so forward to it. Thanks fro the lovely bookmark. I love Downtown Abbey, it is magical.

  88. jane says:

    So, here’s the deal, darling. All through the holiday, for as busy and crazy and nutty as it was, several times a day I checked for a new post. Oh, my, was I ever worried. I imagined all sorts of things. My darling husband, bless his heart, even started to inquire after a time, “Did she post today?” AND, so there was finally a brief one, but yesterday I discovered a bona fide post which I waited to read until I made it home, having discovered it on my phone, but I didn’t want to miss any detail. And then, Suddenly! I just sat down today and automatically checked favorites and THERE WAS A NEW POST!!!! You just MADE MY DAY. I am retired but am insanely busy – it’s not like I have nothing to do. My husband is retiring, and we are moving to an idyllic island in Washington, away from the craziness of Seattle traffic and construction. We will build a new house but with all of the touches of old England and charm, on a sweet little lake with trout and eagles and sheer quiet. We will see the moon and the stars in the dark night and live a life similar to yours. I’m so happy. BUT, I will continue to be inspired by your attitude — your happiness and excitement over things like Downton and pets and food. Thank you for being honest about the teeny weight gain. We all have just pigged out on the holiday and I can’t wait for your inspiration to hit the healthy mode. I just love you, Susan! I’m so very happy you are back.

  89. Nancy in Carnation says:

    I agree with all of the above comments…loved the return of DA and all of the hints given about possible plot twists as well as the continuation of the delightful ‘friendship’ between the Dowager and Isobel…the looks on their faces…Ha! I join with many others in our opinion of Barrow…he is getting on my very last nerve! Hoping beyond hope that at some point he is dumped unceremoniously at the railway station with a one-way ticket to Siberia! 😉 AND…thank you for sharing…SO fun!!!

  90. Sonya says:

    I agree that you have to watch the episode more than once to enjoy all the asides and jokes. Thankyou for all the lovely info on the moon. It finally cleared here in Florida so we could enjoy it.

  91. Brenda says:

    I for one agree with Anna, when it comes to sex before marriage, tending to be more of a traditionalist. And I don’t want to see DA go down that road too far. Call me strange but I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Thomas. I think down deep some where, there’s a part of him that needs to be loved. Reminds me of one of my sons who always seemed to be getting into trouble, but wasn’t really a bad boy.

    • sbranch says:

      Since it’s still 1924, we’re probably safe, although I guess we’d have to ask Edith just to be sure! Thomas is such a sneaky person, that’s what I don’t like about him. I like bad boys, but he is a sneaky boy of the blackmailing ilk. We’ll see. You never know with this show!

  92. Marie W. says:

    I cannot get the “Musica” to work on this post. I was wondering what you would choose to go with this topic?? It keeps showing that it is NOT FOUND! Can you fix it???? Many thanks, Marie W.

    • sbranch says:

      I just fixed it for the third time . . . we have had computer problems today . . . let me know if it works! Thank you Marie!

  93. Maureen MacKenzie says:

    Thank you for the Full Moon bookmark….love, love, love it! I took my camera out this morning when it woke me up at 5am…so happy to see it lighting up the bedroom after all the clouds covering it last night. A wonderful way to wake up. 🙂 Downton Abbey was so much fun. I like Violet’s house too. xox

  94. Paula Cutchey says:

    Downton Abbey has something for everyone. I just love Daisy and hope she has something good happen to her. My friends all pick a character they would like to be or relate to in the show. Then we compare notes. We can chat endlessly about it. You may want the dowager house, Susan, but I want all the hats!

    • sbranch says:

      I love Daisy too. Last night when she said, “I wonder what it will be like in 1958?” I’ll take some of those hats too, if you’re the mood for sharing!

  95. Margot ~~~ Virginia Beach says:

    Wob you too!!!
    Thanks for the cast of characters, as I have been a bit confused coming into the whole thing late. My husband may be hooked too after last night.

    Since I wished all the girlfriends a happy new year on the wrong blog, I will write it again.


    • sbranch says:

      That’s only the “Upstairs” — I need to give you the downstairs. It’s worth it when you figure out who’s who.

  96. Carla Ludwig says:

    I just love Downton too, Violet and Isobel crack me up! I feel so sorry for Edith though, she just doesn’t get a break…..I just want her to be happy! I’ve just discovered Cedar Cove on the Hallmark Channel. Are you familiar with it? I love it just because of the scenery and houses… takes place on an Island near Washington State. Have a beautiful evening!

  97. Frances Fowler says:

    Thank-you for the Full Moon update — I love them! I’m about to go out in the cold to walk my beloved pittie mix, Linus, under the current one because he’s pouting. Ooooh, I have not liked that pushy Miss Bunting, not last season, nor certainly this, given her unpolished manners as a guest. I also chortled at “Donk’s” Italian quip to sweet Mr. Molesley, who has always been one of my favorites, especially since the Ghillies Ball ^_^ And take THAT, Thomas, from the Countess, who confronted you with your scheming ways, so be glad of the fire started by poor Edith! Oh, I love this show. I said lately that when the inevitable occurs, and some future January arrives without a Downton premier, I plan on dressing in a gorgeous 1920s vintage dress, flinging myself across rich, upholstered furniture, and sobbing into my cup of tea. I just know I will have fellow mourners. It’s the best!

    • sbranch says:

      She is pushy, and sarcastic. I would not want her in my school system 🙂 By the way, I’ll be with you in the flinging!

    • Lynn McMahon says:

      ~ I’m sorry but I like her “pushy” ness~ sometimes the “Hoi Palloi” needs to be brought down a notch!!!~ I guess she’s a little snobby the other way ;)! ~ Must be why I like the 3 Stooges~ they poked fun of them every once in awhile!~

      • sbranch says:

        OMG. Lynn, you are losing me with the Three Stooges. But I think that’s because when they were on I had four brothers and instead of Three Stooges in my life only an hour or so a day, or week, I had Seven Stooges, Four at all times, poking each other, in the kitchen, tripping each other down the hall, saying nyuk nyuk nyuk until I wanted to call in Mr Bates to do some discreet murdering.

        • Lynn McMahon says:

          ~ I meant “Hoity~Toity”~ “Hoi Polloi” are the common masses! ~ I had 4 boy cousins who lived downstairs from us and then had 5 brother~ in~ laws so they’ve always been a part of my life ! ~ Silly~ Silly ~ Ha ha Mr. Bates…more like a job for Snidley Whiplash!!!LOL!!!!

        • Lynn McMahon says:

          ~ The 3 Stooges had some undertones to their skits~ some were political or social~ but I don’t think it was meant to harm anyone~ As for Miss Bunting~ granted she could use a “filter” for sure but she isn’t a hypocrite~ just being herself~ we need all kinds of people to make the show interesting and give us girlfriends something to talk about!!

        • Margot ~~~ Virginia Beach says:

          Discreet murdering? LOL
          I didn’t have brothers, so God gave me two sons. In respectable settings such as theatre or church I would have to divide and conquer (I sat between them.)
          Two is all I can handle. I hope I get granddaughters some day.

        • Dayna says:

          Oh my goodness Susan, you’re killing me with the Mr. Bates reference. I’m sitting here, just me & my golden, Haley & that comment made me throw my head back & laugh out loud. Poor Haley lifted her head & looked at me like I’ve lost it!

  98. Amy Warren says:

    Susan..loved your update. Downton Abbey was awesome last night. A friend sent me a link from a website called “” that had a recap of last night’s episode that was really hysterical. It reminded me a lot of your devotion to the show when the writer was talking about the episode and had to interrupt herself to go on about the clothes. I think you would enjoy it!♡

  99. Marianne says:

    We always get friends together to watch Downton Abbey. We make tea sandwiches, scones and pots of tea and use the good china tea cups and little plates and cloth napkins too!
    Wasn’t it wonderful last night! Just love the houses, the clothes and the wonderful characters.
    I agree with you Susan. I always watch each episode two or three times and my sweet husband has bought me all the DVD’s. So now we wait for next Sunday evening and another exciting date with Downton Abbey! Oh and thank you for the moon bookmark. Love all your books too. Have given them as gifts and they are always well received. Can’t wait to see your next one. Happy New Year too!

  100. sondra fox says:

    I’ve been awaiting Downton Abby for months. Last night was a good one, with the fire & people bursting into that hussy’s bedroom. SHOCKER, SHOCKER! What a hussy that woman was, misguiding a nice young man (or, was he?) like James. Shame on her, oh shame. I wish I could write the script! Imagine Mary going off with her love, to see if they could have great sex, or perhaps see if their entire relationship will work. I don’t think it worked that way, even in Edwardian days. So many quiet, secret rooms, so many ways to be alone. Come on now. I think they just had ways in which to keep things secret. I wish our modern day society had the manners of the Downton characters, not all of the manners, but some of them, such as being polite, keeping talk about sex discreet. No one needs to know all about one another’s sexual adventures, as they do today. I liked the way the script was written so that you knew what Mary & her friend (can’t recall his name) were discussing, sex before marriage, but they didn’t come right out & say it. Condom ads are now on TV at 8 P.M., right out there where children can view them. I’d like to go back to the days when parents told their children about things like sex. I don’t want things like condoms advertised on TV. Yes, I’m old fashioned, & proud of it. Children of today lose their innocence much too soon. Sunday nights at 9 P.M., are once again my favorite times of the week! Glad you had comments on DA. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • sbranch says:

      I know, I was a child for practically my whole teenage years and loved every second of it. I don’t think they want to grow up that fast, it’s foisted on them by the times we live in.

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