Welcome!  So much excitement here in Smallville!  If you just came from WILLARD, you are going to need another cup of tea and some more MUSICA!  (If you haven’t gotten your Willard yet, don’t worry, it will be going into your mailboxes from 9am eastern time Tuesday Aug 18, through Friday teacupsthe 21st.) But you should know, our Giveaway has grown, now there are three! If you haven’t time to read the Blog just now, scroll to the bottom of this post where you can sign up for the drawing by clicking on the word “comments” and leaving a message. For the rest of you . . . I can only hope you agree that

too much of a good thing


I love this quote by one of my favorite authors.  Wonderful things ARE happening. I used this quote in my new book, and asked Kellee if she would make it into computer wallpaper for you . . . and she did! Click HERE ~ it should be up by now, along with some gorgeous new stationery . . . As you’re about to see, things are getting back to normal!  


You really know I have a little more time on my hands when you see this. I’m finally giving my poor Beatrix Potter people a bath . . .

Beatrix Potter People

Filthy piglets, hadn’t bathed since Christmas! It was the very first thing I did to gain control over my house again after so many months in book writing mode.

little vases

Now they’re back in their places, all sparkling and happy, and the little vases are filled again and I am saying . . .

oh happy day

susan branch fairy


If I ever missed taking a closeup photo of a rose in the summer, then it just wouldn’t be summer, no matter what else I think I have to do!



There is nothing like roses from the garden, they look and smell like no other roses.

Just Joey and Just Jack

One of the first things Joe and I did when everything was turned into the printer was go to the nursery for these: ↓ Our garden needs help!  Better late than never!

went to the nursery

We also decided to celebrate our newly-found freedom with a long leisurely lunch at the restaurant at Where are they?  Do you hear a car?the golf course ~ “leisurely” is difficult to find here in August, with the Island so packed with vacationers.  But we thought this place was a little bit out of the way so we’d have a chance.  Well, it didn’t work out quite as we expected because we accidentally went on the day that Presidents Obama and Clinton were both there playing golf!!!  We sure know how to pick ’em!  So much for the quiet lunch.  There were dogs sniffing the FINE ROMANCE VAN, believe it or not, and we were wanded (that’s what the secret service called it) before we could go inside.  But after that, everything was normal until the two presidents became visible on the flaggolf course, then the entire restaurant stampeded outside to watch and take pictures.  All except us, because we had seen them before.  Yeah, we’re so cool ~ it’s old hat to us!  But we did put our flag on the front of the house!  Afterwards we went to the nursery, also my first visit this summer . . . and no presidents were there!  Yay! We’re replanting around the poor neglected bird bath right now . . . Once again, it’s Domesticity City around this place and we are happy as clams.

planting under the bird feeder

Out go the fluffy, healthy, quickly reproducing weeds, making room for actual flowers.

corn on the cobWe also stopped at the farm stand and got our first corn of the season, hot, buttered, salted and peppered, it just popped off the cob! DELICIOUS! I’m sure you’ve done this ~ now I know it’s really summer!


Out of the woods into the open sky

We went out at 7 am this morning and have been walking our walk through the woods out to the water every day. This is the place where Joe and I hash everything over . . . from the habits of cormorants, to the unknown idiot who figured out how to move the huge rocks protecting tern nests so he could park his car there, to what’s for dinner and future travel plans/dreams. And we stood at the water and said a prayer for the victims of the terrible fires out west, that they be showered with love from their families, friends, and communities.  My heart breaks when I see the ruin the flames are leaving behind.


sunset on Martha's Vineyard

We’re ooohing and ahhhing every night, and counting our blessings.

hot summer nights

Coming home after a walk to the harbor to our little greeters . . .Jack’s looking at Girl who is waiting out of reach, on the kitchen table . . 

starry night

Then back out with the camera because the sky at night has been wonderful, filled with stars. I’m a big believer in ladybug magic and there was one in the bathroom last night. Insert five exclamation marks. Second floor, hot crickety summer night, brushing my teeth, and there she was.  A lucky omen.  Believe me, I look for them every day!


Jack thinks our starry night sky is wonderful too, because it seems like it’s dropping . . .


. . . yellow cat toys!


Joe’s birthday balloons were tied around a bouquet of giant sunflowers that Kellee and Sheri sent from the Studio and within 10 minutes of arrival, Jack’s scissor-like teeth had severed the ribbons and all balloons were floating free. 

Jack and the balloon

Just the way Jack understands life to be. All about him. Which it is.

Joe and Jack

Yup.  He’s our guy. Aren’t they adorable?

having a drink in the sink

Busiest cat I ever knew.  Floor water is no good anymore, he wants sink water.

mmmm delicious grass

Grass, he loves it.  I take him out and sit with him while grazes. He’s really not an outdoor cat at all, I never let him out alone, and he is so good, he never tries to get out the door. He likes me to sit next to him the whole time.

perched on the ironing board

On Cat patrol, sitting on top of the ironing board in the pantry, watching out the screen door for any possible trespassing by anything, bunnies, turkeys, neighborhood cats.


He also watches me working . . .and I watch him watching me. Sometimes I can’t believe he’s real. I don’t get as many photos of Girl Kitty these days, but never doubt that she is still our Queen.  She just likes to keep her throne in the back of the closet most of the time, so she’s hard to get in action shots!

worn out pencils

 But they both were with me the whole time I was wearing these pencils down to the nubbins, and now they watch curiously as I reorganize the studio. I’ve been cooking too, filling the fridge with August-type healthy goodies we love, ice cold Gazpacho and . . .

compost heap

. . . my favorite Coleslaw Recipe ~ stuff to munch on. Look at that apple core in our compost pile!  Isn’t it beautiful? (If you click on the recipe you’ll also see us repainting the kitchen a couple of years ago . . . just scroll down for the Coleslaw recipe, I promise, it’s there).

apple core

Nature. Just wow. I realize we are finding wow in the compost pile, but I can’t help it.  I had to dig this guy out and take his picture. I almost put him on Ebay.


black bird looking back

leaf border

owl bookmark

I can already feel fall coming and we hear it in the woods, we’ve even seen a couple of bright red leaves out there!  And what’s back to school without book things?  I know there were two Fairy Tale bookmarks in the Willard, but I thought, considering the time of year, some of you might want our wise old owl once more. Just click there, cut around him, and he is yours.


And now for the Giveaway(s) to celebrate my new book which I can barely believe is really finished! The first one I mentioned in the new Willard ~ it’s my 2016 Wall Calendar, plus my AUTUMN book, plus my new book, THE FAIRY TALE GIRL, and, for the cherry on the top . . .


fairy tale banner

 a fairy tale banner! I’ll sign the books ~ and it will all go out to the winner the minute THE FAIRY TALE GIRL clockgets here, which should be about three weeks at the latest. (But who’s counting?  Me, I am!) All you have to do to enter the drawing is scroll down to the bottom of this post and leave a message ~ just click on the tiny gray word under where I sign off that says, “comments” and leave a comment and that automatically enters you in the drawing. And the good part (or the bad part, depending on how you look at it) is that you have a lot better chance at winning this than you do the lottery!

Give away Hobson's Choice

Also, another surprise! Something else for my Girlfriends, Giveaway #2, because when I think of fall, I think of three things, delicious recipes, books, and old Cozy fall daymovies ~ and this Giveaway covers them all. My Autumn Book, filled with fall recipes, and a wonderful old movie called Hobson’s Choice. I think you will LOVE this movie! I have it, but I have to keep it, so I bought you a brand new one. It has everything going for it: It’s old, it’s English, and it’s pure charm. And it makes you feel good. What more could anyone ask for? 


testing watercolorsAnd this strange item, for good measure, will be Giveaway Number Three. I was cleaning up my studio (WHAT a mess!) and came across this.  I saved it because I think at one time I was going to cut it bookmarksup and make bookmarks out of it.  It’s one of the little bits of paper I use to test watercolors and my ink pen before I paint or write something for a book or a calendar.  As you may notice, my pen was giving me all sorts of trouble — I didn’t want it watercolorsto blob onto the “good” paper, so I kept playing with it, making squiggles until it started behaving. Anyway, I thought one of you might like the results of the squiggles . . . the originalist of the originals, stream of consciousness without the consciousness, no rhyme nor reason for it ~ but I did sign and date it … it’s about 6 ½” by 9″ and would make a fun little piece of kitchen art for your fridge or bulletin board. And it does have fairy magic in it. And you can win it.


And that makes it three Giveaways on this blog today.  Leave a comment, and Vanna will draw three names in a few days and I HOPE SO MUCH that the name she draws is YOURS!!!!!!!!!

The Fairy Tale Girl

In the meantime, I will be watching for the UPS snow treeman to bring me my first stack of The Fairy Tale Girl. I wait ever so patiently, but I am as excited as Christmas. 

2016 wall calendar susan branchWith the new book and the new calendars, Kellee and Sheri have been shaking in their boots about the WILLARD and asking me to make a special request to remind you how tiny their four little hands are.  The phone has been ringing off the hook at the Studio about the calendars and they want me to tell you that they girlfriends on phonewill try their hardest to get everything out as quickly as they can . . . if it takes a couple of extra days to get your things, you can blame it on the dratted calendars, but have faith, they’ll be there very soon. And so will your books!

Leaving New York Harbor

And then soon, we might be doing this again, sailing out of New York harbor on the Queen Mary rms_queen_mary_vintage_passenger_ship_sticker-p217215363289977330en7l1_2162!!!  We are dreaming big time. Anything could happen between now and then, but we’re going to try.  We took all our travel books with us to our leisurely lunch at the golf course the other day ~  looking for cottages to rent, pouring over maps and plotting our possible course.  Figuring out whether we should go in the summer or in the fall . . . we’ve only ever been in the spring, so there will be new things to see. And we’ll bring the Blog along, so get ready Girlfriends!!!

flower border

Girl Kitty

And there she is ~ our beautiful in-house Queen joins me to say fare thee well for now.  Thank you for your support and friendship.♥ Joe thanks you, Jack thanks you, Girl Kitty thanks you, and . . . 

girl bowing

. . . I thank you . . . ♥  Have a wonderful day Girlfriends!  XOXO

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  1. Mary Nolan says:

    So excited for new books and new travel….can’t wait to follow along again on your journey to England and Scotland….I just returned from Ireland and Wales for a family visit…yearning to explore these places more!

    • sbranch says:

      I know, I want to know every rabbit hole and there simply is not time in this lifetime to do it! Need to be a child born there with exploration in her heart.

  2. Janet Richter says:

    Hi Susan, Love your books and wonderful illustrations! Looking forward to your new books! Hope you have a great rest of the year!

  3. Linda Kidd says:

    Susan, I made the coleslaw from your recipe. It was delicious!! Thanks for sharing it.

    Linda Kidd
    Loganville, Georgia

  4. Kristen Garrett says:


  5. kat swan says:

    Oh so lovely! I can hardly wait to see your new books, they look enchanting as always! I’m so glad you have the gift of seeing magic in the ordinary….I appreciate you sharing your vision with us….

    I wish you Many more Magical Days to come…

  6. Sharon says:

    Susan your blog is wonderful! I can’t wait to read your new books. Thank you for the chance to win wonderful things. You make life special.

  7. Betty Welton says:

    Wow, you have been busy made me tired just reading about all you adventures. I was getting ready to turn off the computer when I saw your blog and of course I had to read it first. Regardless how long it was. Will keep it and read it again. Enjoyed reading about your life. Good night and see you tomorrow. Kiss the kitties for me. Betty

  8. Sandi Bellmore says:

    Love your blog and Willard Always so anxious to read them. I Love Love the way your mind works and how you are able to come up with all of this. Keep up the good work, can’t wait for the new book!

  9. Millie Ray - Kentucky says:

    I loved reading the Willard and ensuing blog. I too need to give my Beatrix Potter figurines a bath. I have some different ones than I see on your blog. I have a music box with Peter with a basket on his arm and Mrs Rabbit with a book in her hand. I’ve had this for about thirty years, and love it. I also have one of Mrs Rabbit in a rocking chair holding two bunnies. This one is stamped Beswick, England. I have others and enjoy them all.

  10. Marilyn Young says:

    Love it and love you, Joe and kitties! Keep writing and sketching so you can open up all of our worlds.

  11. Jennifer says:

    love*Love*LOVE your books! I too cannot wait until fall – your Autumn book is one of my very favorites!!!! Thanks!

  12. Caran McKenzie says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you for your beautiful books. I have most of them , either purchased, or given to me by friends, as they know how much I love them. My favorite is the Baby Book, which i have given to new Moms over the years.
    Reading Willard, and your blog is such a joy. Love it!
    Thank you again for making my afternoon a delight!

  13. Danella on the West Coast says:

    Love, love, love reading your wonderful blog. Every time there is a new message it’s like opening a present. Thanks, as always, for sharing so much of you and yours with all of us. What a treat! Have a wonderful week.

  14. Lynne Neal says:

    I’m leaving in two weeks for England , first stop Lake District, Then off to see Beatrix Potter land . I haven’t been home for two years ,so it will be lovely. Also taking some Canadian friends to see the sights,should be fun .

  15. Mary Margaret Lewis says:

    I have “A Fine Romance” right next to me as I am reading it for the third time.
    Love, love, love.

    • sbranch says:

      Look on the Dedication page in the very front, at the lower right you will see my response to your sweet comment. xoxo

  16. Carolyn Kirsch says:

    It’s like living in a fairy tale world, reading your blog. Your pictures and drawings always delight the eye, and your sayings cheer the heart. God bless you and your kitties and Joe.

  17. connie bloom says:

    Your books make me happy! I dream of new projects for our house here in lovely Georgia. Happy Fall Y’all.

  18. Ellen Wood says:

    It was wonderful listening to Charles Aznavour while reading WILLARD! Thank you.

  19. Susan says:

    I so enjoy your blog, Willard, and hearing all your news. Looking forward to hearing you describe your upcoming travels!
    Like you, I can feel a small whiff of fall in the air, and we have even had a couple of flocks of geese starting south!

    • sbranch says:

      For us too, we caught a sky full of them crossing the road, heading for one of the ponds. We were under them driving . . . going WOWEEEEEE!

  20. Karen Black says:

    Can’t wait for the new book! I took “A Fine Romance” with me when I was in the hospital getting my knee replaced; transported to another place helped with the pain!!

  21. connie bloom says:

    Just love your beautiful paintings. I am halfway through A Fine Romance. It is my afternoon relaxing treat!

  22. laura says:

    as much as I would love to receive a new signed fairytale book (as i believe they do come true), my favorite giveaway is your ‘work of art’! now THAT is an inspiration piece! my favorite artwork in my home is a finger paint from my 17 mo. old grand-niece! wouldn’t your creation be a lovely addition?! so happy that you can enjoy this magical season…and happy belated birthday to my leo friend, Joe! 🙂

  23. Annie says:

    Oh Susan, what a dwort I am! SOMEWHERE you wrote the paint names and numbers of the blue and off-white colors you used (Benjamin Moore) and I wrote them down. I do keep all your blog posts, and yet somehow cannot find those mentioned! Surely someone can help me, or even you! I’m also a house-mouse and just love puttering, sudsing up my little things, (not so much the ironing (sigh)…. but anyway… where are those color numbers and names? Have I gone daft?

    • sbranch says:

      The white is Benj. Moore Swiss Coffee, OC-45 — the blue is Benj. Moore Woodlawn Blue, no number. Hope this helps!

      • Annie says:

        Thanks so much!
        I wonder sometimes if I just get lost when reading your posts, following a link and get myself goofed up OR if it is just aging! 😘

        I appreciate your taking the time to reply to my question. When I get your blog posts and Willard’s, my day is brightened! You bring sunshine and good thoughts and pretty drawings and pictures into my home with what you say and paint and do and draw. Thank you!

  24. Susan, I am looking forward to the release of your new book and calendar. My house would not be complete without your beautiful drawings in my kitchen and office.

  25. Jean Gage says:

    You are the best “medicine” for feeling all is right in the world! We are who we are and there is only one and you make us feel that we are “Special” and sit back and smile.

  26. Dorothy Stevens says:

    It was fun to read your blog just now. You accomplished so much and now
    it’s time for some R&R.

  27. Christina says:

    Squeal!!! Please pick me! I adore your books and movie selections! Thanks!

  28. Irene Blackburn says:

    Hi Susan. I always look forward to reading your blogs. They are so full of information and are fun. Thanks for taking the time to communicate with us, your faithful followers/fans. How do you find the time? I am envious!

  29. Irene Blackburn says:

    I am having trouble sending my comments. I wrote such a fine one already, but alas it did not go through and then it deleted my comment. Just know that I am always anxious to get your e-mails. One day I hope to be a winner. Thanks for taking the time to post your blogs. Your faithful follower, Irene

    • sbranch says:

      I had 300 new comments when I woke this morning! 🙂 So maybe it’s still here waiting for moderation . . . hope so!

  30. Jan says:

    I Love your books, blog and Willard. Your illustrations, pictures and writing are so inspiring and uplifting. Thank you for sharing your stories. 💖

  31. Chris Kouba says:

    My sister gave me a book of yours and I fell in love with all your work.
    Thank You.

Comments are closed.