First a Little Musica!

First a little MUSICA;


Now, because of our give-away, a little prayer for you …


we want to be him

And now a little kitty ~ Joe and I walked past this scene the other day and both of us said almost at the same time, “I want his life.”

little things

Jackie naps

Vanna would like his life too, but noooooo, she is about to be a very busy girl.  But really, I almost hate to do this post ~ I’m still luxuriating in the 4,500  BEAUTIFUL, WONDERFUL comments you’ve left in the last couple of posts!  I don’t want to paste over them! I don’t want them to disappear.  I want to keep them forever! THANK YOU WONDERFUL PEOPLE. You have made


V E R Y   H A P P Y



I have to show you what the people who send out WILLARD provided me with for the first time. You can’t see it all here, but it’s actually a map earthof the whole world. As each WILLARD is opened, those pins start dropping into different parts of the world ~ and when they do, a window opens for just a moment showing the name of the person who has just opened her Willard, and where she lives. It is so mesmerizing I could barely get anything else done.  I saw names of my friends come down!  I wanted to call them and say, “I know what you’re doing!” I watched and applauded while pins dropped into Paris, Jerusalem, Africa, Hawaii, China, Kansas, Romania, Japan, OneWorldPortugal, Turkey, New York, Dallas and Toronto, to name a few,  and I felt like we had this great big giant wonderful club.  I just went to look and they’re still coming down, one was just opened in New Brunswick!


Welcome to all the New Girlfriends, so happy to have you here! I have to tell you, you are in such good company because . . . 

normalYes, it’s true. You don’t run into this most places you go, but here, it’s a guarantee!  Oops, I hear Vanna upstairs milling about, getting ready to come down and pull names for our Giveaways.  I think she’s about ready to make her grand entrance.  But before she gets here, I just want to make sure you all got your WILLARD?


 If you didn’t, be sure to check your spam folders, sometimes WILLARD takes a detour!  You can also try signing up again and we’ll see what happens for the next one (which I am already plotting) . . . or, get a cup of tea, and take yourself here, to read Willard. 

And now, with a little drum roll please, the adorable Queen of the Deep Dive, the wild, the wonderful, the wiry Miss Vanna, this time carrying her little lambdog “Toto,” which, I think you’ll agree, looks exactly like a lamb. Both are shrouded in the undeniable mist of a Fairy Tale.  Toto, splendid in pink satin ribbon, and Vanna, wearing lizard-green bathing attire and silver glitter ankle boot stilettos. Which she has just kicked off, having handed Toto over to me. SO, the stage, she is set.  Are we ready????

We are so ready.

I just looked up from kissing Toto, and Vanna is GONE, has taken the high dive into the vat filled to the brim with your names, and all I can see now is a deep, whirling-dervish vortex, left behind from the celebrated scissor kick Vanna is famous for. I yell into the black churning whirlpool, susan branch fairy“Pull three winners, Vanna, get them from all over, don’t let them be touching each other down there!” (She says she thinks I was born in a barn, but I’m just making sure we do this right.) I see her working her way back up through the ticker tape melee of names. I hear the music …and try to be patient. She’s coming! Her long, shapely lizard arm has just surfaced, and there are three names in her hand. I think we are there Girlfriends. 


our walk

OK, this is really it. For our first prize, the lucky winner of a personalized copy of my brand new book, THE FAIRY TALE GIRLPLUS AUTUMN from the Heart of the Home, PLUS my new 2016 Wall-Calendar, and the adorable handmade Fairy Tale Banner . . . Is . . . close your eyes, cross your fingers, because I hope this is YOU . . .  R A E   L A N G E !!!  

fairy tale girl

. . . at least for one lucky girl, and yes, better for one than for none!  Means we all still have a chance!  Don’t you agree? YES!!!

celebrateBecause there is 


Give away Hobson's Choice

susan branch fairyThe second-prize winner of a delicious evening at home ~ Dinner and a Movie ~ a personalized copy of AUTUMN from the HEART of the HOME, PLUS, the MOST adorable movie IN the world AS we know it TODAY . . . IS . . . . MAMIE VL, who promises to share with her mom!


C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S    M A M I E ! !

If you aren’t Mamie, but would like to see this charming, funny, smart, feel-good movie anyway, Hobson’s Choice is available from AMAZON . . . you’ll want to watch it over and over, it’s definitely library material and the perfect item for a cozy fall evening.♥ 


More testing watercolors


. . .the ART BLOTTER, signed and totally messed up by yours truly in the quest of making art! Here you find terrible examples of penmanship, splotches of watercolor, a list of four-letter words rhyming with “told” to be used in a poem about Autumn, some trouble with my pen, and a fat, leggy purple bird created from a brush stroke.  The “lucky winner” has only a first name, so we’ll start with the happy-girlletters in part of her email address which are: “BASBLEU” ~ is this you? And her name has two “n’s” in it . . . it’s you, DIANNE!

Hope you Enjoy it!  I know it’s going to a good home. 

I’ll be emailing all you lucky winners to ask for your addresses so I can send your prizes.  Prize number one will go out to RAE letteras soon as THE FAIRY TALE GIRL arrives.

If this was not your lucky day (at least in this one teensy respect which cannot possibly count in the scheme of things) never fear, for we shall strike again another day.  Until then, back to our regularly scheduled programming.  Love you ALL for being here and taking part, in my eyes, you’re a room full of winners.

sb border

On the ferry to the Cape

So ~ I thought I’d tell you a little story to cheer you up and hopefully help most of you forget we even had a drawing!  It’s about the town of Barnstable across the water from us on Cape Cod  — I heard this on the local news a couple of days ago ~ it was funny so I wrote it down to tell you. Barnstable yikes!residents are trying to close down the sky-diving school at the Barnstable airport. They are unhappy because the newbie skydivers, experiencing their very first dives, are screaming profanities from the moment they leave the plane, all the way down, and the townspeople don’t like it.  I can definitely see both sides of this story. I wouldn’t like it either . . . and I would hate to hear what I would holler on my first sky dive.


Makes my hands clammy just to think of it. Luckily that will never happen in this lifetime so all are safe from me.

Next, fyi, I’ve been asked several times if we have the Prayer for a Little Home in a print, and yes, I’m happy to say, we do, and this is it . . . you can read about it HERE , just scroll down to the middle of the page and you’ll see it there . . . xoxo


Have I taken your mind off it yet?

legacy boxes

Well, here’s a little show and tell: Remember these Legacy boxes I wrote about sometime back? (If not click on that link and you can read the story). Those are two of them above, I have branched out into four now.

legacy boxes

You need to read the story, but I like to save little bits of ephemera, cute things I find along the way, all kinds of things, a champagne cork with the date on it, gift cards, a bottle of wax-covered ink, bookplates, bits of this and that that catch my eye and seem special.

Legacy boxesThere’s everything from postage stamps to seed packages and even a few vintage things I find in antique stores.  All wrapped in tissue and tucked away for the future. So someday someone will find them, like treasure. Gifts for unknown persons in the future. 

snail mail

Well, I found something new to put in one of my boxes.  This is the outside of it . . . dated 1906, and written to someone (Miss Augusta Andersson) in Boston from someone in Babylon (if Google is correct) which is (says G.) in Iraq.

vintage clown

When you open the card, this is what you find inside.  They just don’t make ’em like they used to! See the feet and the hand?  The sender wrote in spidery handwriting all around the face of the scary clown. A little bit of history.

old clown card

He is missing one of his arms . . . but to think he has survived for 109 years!

vintage clown card

I wanted you to see his feet.  So into the “legacy” box he goes.  For future discovery ~ for show and tell in the year 2115.

best MV

At the end of this week I send the manuscript for MARTHA’S VINEYARD, ISLE of DREAMS to my copy editor for the official spell check!  Musica I just finished figuring out the chapters.  It’s almost done.  Next, I start painting for it! I love it Girlfriends, I really do. You are going to love Martha’s Vineyard in the 1980s!

fairy tale girlwishes

washing dishes

And I am having a dinner party on Thursday night!  So the cleaning has continued, only now with a vengeance. Just like starting over. 🙂


dish cabinet

Everything had to come down and get washed!  Most of my dishes can go into the dishwasher, but things like the hand-painted glasses above, I wash by hand so I don’t loose the cute red stripes.

vintage dishes

There is NO BETTER WAY to get your house clean than by inviting your friends to mull around in it for an entire evening! It’s a win-win!

dish hutch

So here’s the hutch, all washed and sparkling . . . v. proud of it. (My dad, aka Blogdaddy, took the doors off these cupboards for me the very first week we moved into this house, maybe even the very first day.)

bird land


And the whole time I was working the birds were going wild at the feeders outside my kitchen windows.  I call this our fish tank, because we can just watch these guys for hours!

oh the light

My tomatoes are ripening, there are flowers from the garden in the vases . . . this is dawn, the porch light was on and I took the picture because liked the way it was illuminating the post outside.


brownie anyone?

I even made brownies, so you know things are getting back to normal! Now I am on my way to figure out the menu for our party!  Something I can make-ahead, I’ve already decided that much ~ I don’t want to miss a moment with our friends, feels like a long time since I’ve done this!


With lve from me, and Vanna and Toto, and Joe and Jack and Girl Kitty too.  Thank you for EVERYTHING, Girlfriends.  You make life so much fun!  Have a wonderful day, and night, and so forth and so on forever and ever. XOXO

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449 Responses to First a Little Musica!

  1. Vicki says:

    I want to sit in your kitchen and share a cup of tea and conversation. I want to look at your birds. I want to hold darling Jack. I want to be at your dinner party. I want to see your studio. I want to look at every single thing in that lovely hutch, up close and personal! I want a piece of this life of yours! But I can’t, so I have to create my own (you’re a great mentor!)…and live vicariously through your blog with its wonderful photos, your art, your books, your humor, your good thoughts and positive take on life! Thank you, Susan, for such another tremendously satisfying post. And congrats to all the lucky winners! It was a VERY generous giveaway!

    I think this thing about knowing the very second somebody is opening a Willard is completely fascinating! Who KNEW such technology existed?!! Not moi!! That HAS to be the MOST fun thing ever! And I LUV your caption, “We’re the normal ones.” Totally luv it! Also LUV-LUV-LUV your open shelving. Have never had it, like it, wondered about it, especially how dirty it gets, but it’s worth it! And the whole concept of your legacy boxes…yes, it was a discussion from not too far back here (more recent than your link, which I’d missed), and several readers/fans (the girlfriends, wonderful people ALL) had nice [plus also useful] comments about it…made a real difference in my life, because I was feeling melancholy about all my ‘stuff’ with nobody to give it to and you just turned the whole thing around into a magical thing, which is what you do…you work the magic, Susan!

    A little PS: Had to chuckle about the skydiving. I was blessed earlier in my life to have a younger brother, who I miss with every fiber of my being, and he ALWAYS wanted to skydive from the time he was a little kid; I have no idea why, but he was always a thrill seeker and the first to take a dare. Mother and Dad absolutely put their foot down about free-falling/skydiving and said, “NO!” although, fairly, they were ‘open’ to lots of other wild things he’d always wanted to try. So, with a gentle fib, he disappeared on his birthday weekend to Perris in California and skydived to his heart’s content, which was his gift to himself as he came of age, turning 18, a legal adult. I cherish the photos of this event; his face in mid-air said it all. He wasn’t trying to be deceitful about where he was on his weekend getaway; he just didn’t want to worry everybody because he was like that; a thoughtful person. Bless him, he died young, ‘way too young…before, as Ted Kennedy said about JFK Jr, he could ‘comb gray hair’…but he packed so much living into his early adulthood, even doing things like canoeing deep into the Amazon jungle where the only people you see are those indigenous souls with the mud hairstyles. So, next time those residents of Barnstable hear somebody screaming bloody hell as they dive out of a plane, they should know that maybe it’s a lifelong dream and that the 4-letter words are really just another expression of unadulterated joy because, I tell you, my brother lived for joy…and like the actress Goldie Hawn has been credited as saying, he made ‘a conscious choice for joy.’ I’m not sad to think of him with a memory of skydiving prompted by what I consider a hysterically funny newspiece from Barnstable…not to overuse the word, but I can only remember my brother with the greatest of joy in my heart……and instead I love that he and others seek out excitement, in which case I think the rest of us need to just chill. Maybe the sky-diving company can take the criticism on advisement and, as part of their training for new recruits, emphasize the need to be respectful of people on the ground who are ‘all ears.’ It’s probably good that people’s complaints were revealed, in an effort to improve. I’m sure a solution can be found other than taping the mouths shut of the divers!

    Thanks again for being the antidote to my crummy day, Susan. Ugh, it’s 92 degrees out there and it’s not even noon yet! XO from Vicki in SoCal

  2. Ann says:

    Congratulations to the winners! Your legacy box is my junk drawer. Ha! I need to tidy up a bit. I laughed at the Barnstable story because it is a tradition in my lovely family to jump out of an airplane on your 18th birthday. Two out of three of my sons did it; the middle one took a trip to NYC instead. He’s the smart one!

  3. Eileen says:

    I always jump when you post that picture of your legacy box, the one with the name Eileen in it. : )

  4. Sandra Collins says:

    Susan, since you like old movies too, have you ever seen A Canterbury Tale?

    It’s what I call a “gentle” movie – not a lot happens, but it’s very satisfying. It’s a slice of life in a small English village. I stumbled across it on TCM and just felt like I got lost inside the story. It was wonderful. Check it out if you get a chance!

    PS: I collect ephemera too! I love to go to estate sales and I always seem to pick up the smallest, most random items. Anything with old handwriting on it or old black and white photos are my favorite treasures. Happy hunting!

  5. Brenda Caldwell says:

    Big congratulations to all the lucky winners! I get so excited reading about the drawing of the winners, I doubt if I would be able to stand it if I were actually a winner, lol! Your dishes and glassware are beautiful, it makes me drool 🙂

  6. Gaylene says:

    The map thing is the coolest. I’d want a mounted tablet that you could always monitor displayed in my library . . .

  7. Joanne Wood says:

    I am supposed to be mowing the lawn, but I checked in to the computer world for a “minute.” Big mistake. The Yahoo world news was so horrific. I made a quick switch to your blog – to fill my senses with something uplifting and pretty.. An hour later, thanks for letting me rummage around in your legacy boxes and enjoy your sparkling dish soapsuds. As I have posted to you before, I marvel at all you are able to accomplish in your busy life. So now I’m ready to get out there and mow, and march back in and do my “room by room” sweep to make ready for friends next week. Appreciate what you do. A fellow traveling on the ship Fortune. Jo

    • sbranch says:

      I have to RUN away from the news too, it’s terrible. Thank you for running here, cousin! xoxo

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        I think we all to RUN away from the news at times, its so sad and depressing at times, nothing but doom and gloom. thank our lucky stars we all have a safe and wonderfully magical haven to escape to and don’t you wish we could all live here, might get awfully crowded at times, but it would be worth it to be here. 🙂

  8. Congratulations to your lucky winners! How exciting…I bet they are beside themselves with glee!!!

    Love your idea of the Legacy Box. My dear friend, Sue, made me an Encouragement Box for my birthday several weeks ago. She typed up 365 sayings, scriptures and poems and put them in a beautiful box for me.

    I adore your cupboards with everything on display…everything is just so lovely!

    Kim in Southwestern PA

  9. Robin says:

    Happy day to you Susan,
    Thrilled to read in Willard about next year’s “Family planner calendar”. As a long-time fan of those style calendars (vertical column for each busy family member), I can’t wait to record our comings & goings on your family planner calendar. I’ll still have your traditional wall calendar just for me because that’s, well, tradition! Enjoyed every little — and big — Willard word. Thank you!

  10. Joanne Wood says:

    A correction for the above post: “A fellow TRAVELER — [not traveling]
    FROM [not on} the ship Fortune.” I mean, that ship has sailed quite awhile back, right? I’d love to have a legacy box from that voyage!

  11. Susan P. says:

    First congratulations to all the winners…ENJOY !!!

    Susan, Your Blog was refreshing….and also the comments…..which one of the girlfriends gave me a new idea for the Legacy Boxes… for the grandchildren. I have several boxes already and even some tins from my Aunt Agatha’s home..they date back to the 30″ or 40″ and one is a Christmas tin.

    I was in Lake Elsinore, CA. with my girlfriend and her mom (93) and we went to this great antique store……YES I found your book ,,Sweets for the Sweet….perfect condition….best find of the day! Going to my girlfriends for the weekend….I thought I would do some Autumn desserts and other goodies. (I felt that Autumn breeze the other day and even some of the Liquid Amber Trees leaves are falling)…….. WELL WE ARE IN A HOT SPELL SO HAD TO CHANGE THE MENUE… Basil Limeade is the big hit for this long weekend…and I am thinking anything with lemons or limes as both of my trees are full.
    So as we both have nice party plans this weekend…ENJOY ENJOY and thanks for always being so wonderful to all of us. Love, Susan P.

    • sbranch says:

      That’s so funny, we too have been melting in the humidity, and I spent all day cooking for a dinner party tomorrow night and reveling in the fragrance of lime zest, and basil! Thank you Susan!

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        I have a simple recipe for a nice cool drink, a beer margarita. so very simple to do, 1 thawed out limeade, a large pitcher and 2-3 bottles of very good lager beer. mix the limeade down in the bottom of the pitcher, add the beer and gently stir to mix the flavors, add ice if needed ( especially on hot dry days) and pour into glasses and enjoy. if no limeade is available 1 cup lime juice will do the trick and add ice. very cooling and very refreshing. enjoy 🙂

  12. carolyn chism says:

    Congrats to Mamie, Rae and Dianne!!!! So lucky! And how great is that map! Susan, now you know that every one of us who subscribe to Willard are sending you our love and thanks every time we open the email to read it!!! Thanks for sharing that great little tidbit of info! And hopefully you’ll be back to the Learned Owl in Hudson on your next book tour! Hugs!

    • sbranch says:

      There’s a big difference between pushing a send button and *hoping* someone gets the letter on the other side ~~~ and actually SEEING them open it! How amazing! I hope we can go again to Hudson too, that was so much fun!

  13. As always, so enjoyed your blog today!! And congrates to the 3 winners!! I got such a kick out of your Barnstable story – and like you, I can’t imagine the things that would be coming out of my mouth. But than, I would never have the nerve to attempt anything like that. Scarey!! Loved Jack’s picture, he looks so comfortable. And currently, my caT Grace is curled up in my lap equally comfortable. However, I need to end this and get up as my one leg has fallen asleep – sorry Miss Gracie!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Laughing, “the things that would be coming out of my mouth.” I’d have to find someone to blame, because I know for sure this would not be my idea! Hope the leg is OK… LOL!

  14. mari1017 says:

    Well, that was quite an exciting drawing – Vanna must have been exhausted 😉 Congratulations to all the winners! And to all of us who are winners and girlfriends here ♥ I’m still wanting to do your gazpacho with lobster, English muffin and brownies & ice cream – I’m in love with that menu you posted the other day.
    My favorite (probably shouldn’t say that!) nephew and my sister’s youngest leaves for college tomorrow…was visiting the weekend he was born…so many memories…now, off to college…they are taking him up to UMV, Univ of VT in the morning. I had a long conversation with him this morning, and now Autumn is really beginning to take hold of my thoughts…so I clean “around the edges” first – old paint cans, weeding, closets, things I put off for Summer…I have until middle of September until cousins come for visit, so I have time :-)~ Hate to change the Summer table linens, pillows, etc. though…then one day I wake up and the boxes come down from the attic 🙂
    Have wonderful fun at your dinner party…thanks for the many smiles…just thinking of your hold hands, hold hands, quote…we are blessed. ♥

    • sbranch says:

      Actually she fainted away. I had to wave a bouquet of basil under her nose to get her going again — she had ballet practice today so there was no rest for the weary! 🙂 That menu with the gazpacho and lobster worked out so well. All the necessary food groups! I’m still cleaning around the edges myself! Thank you Mari!

  15. Virginia says:

    Hmmm–when I read your posts and see all your warm and inviting photos, I have an overwhelming desire to go wash my own dishes and special ornaments. That sparkle makes such a difference. Every one of your photos is a perfect miniature still-life. But I’m waiting for the dust-attracting humidity to go away–at least that’s my excuse!

    I don’t mind not winning as I pre-ordered a long time ago and feel like a winner already. Book club is tonight and I’m bringing ‘A Fine Romance’ and will tell them all about ‘The Fairy Tale Girl’. Can’t wait–so close now.

    • sbranch says:

      I do much better without the humidity too! And hello to the book club and thank you SO much for including me!

  16. mari1017 says:

    oops – UVM 🙂 Sorry, Colin!

  17. P.S. I am confused, is Willard the same as your blog??

    • sbranch says:

      Actually Willard is my newsletter. It started out in the 90s as a once-a-year letter to everyone who wrote me such wonderful letters… but as times changed it morphed into an online email letter . . . you can sign up for it in the column on the right of the blog, its free, and very undependable, but when it’s there, there it is!

  18. Cyndi in NC says:

    I always love to look at all your dishes and glassware as that is what I am into. Congrats to the girlfriends who were the winners, good for you! Enjoy! Seeing Jacks sweet face always makes me smile. I know he can be a stinker but that only makes him sweeter to me! will cook something yummy! Hugs to all.

  19. Trudy says:

    Congratulations to the winners!
    I’m looking forward to your new book an I think it will be as good as your book about going England–have read it now twice and enjoyed reading about the places you visited and where we also went for our holidays.
    The card you showed has a stamp I think of Sweden and the writing on it seems to me in Swedish.
    Have a wonderful dinnerparty with your friends on thursday.
    greetings,Trudy from the Netherlands

    • sbranch says:

      Well, it’s different, but if you’d like to hear about USA — California and Martha’s Vineyard in the 1950s through 80s you will probably like it! How interesting about the card!!! Maybe Google translate didn’t quite understand what I was trying to write! Thank you so much Trudy, nice, as always, to hear from you!

  20. mary says:

    a suggestion to make for you….I am into the new crazy adult coloring craze and recently pre ordered a mary englebright coloring book from amazon….I would be totally thrilled if you would design an adult coloring book with some of your art work…

    • sbranch says:

      I keep thinking about it! What if I designed a diary, and drew the pictures, and people could paint them in, or color them however they wanted … it would be just one little drawing on each page, the rest of the page would be lined so people could write . . . what do you think of that? Would you rather have a full page coloring book?

      • Diane says:

        Ooooh! I’d love both, but either one would be terrific.

        • deborah t. norling says:

          M A R Y ! That is a brilliant idea ! ! !

        • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

          I think I would love both as well, a coloring book and one with a small picture and some lines like in a journal.

          • sbranch says:

            I think it would be fun too . . . and sometimes people could cover the drawing with a photo if they chose . . .

      • Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

        The diary, please! What a wonderful idea.

      • mari1017 says:

        My mom read to me when I was little & used to use watercolors to paint in the pictures in the storybooks. I still have them ♥ A journal/diary with your artwork to color would be just such a wonderful thing! It’s also something I could do with her with her moderate dementia – painting is such therapy!
        Thanks to the girlfriends who suggested it ♥ Thanks, Susan! ♥

        • Rhonda D. says:

          I’ve always dreamed of having a journal/diary of yours to write in. Anything like that would be wonderful and so inspirational. Then we could have a “new beginning” every day. xo

      • mary says:

        personally I would like a full page coloring book, but it sounds like there is a fan base for the diary as well..

        • mary says:

          actually, my husband gave me a wall calendar to color he bought from PBS…..some type of calender with your art work to color would be so neat!!

          • sbranch says:

            I’ve seen those and it’s really a cute idea but I feel like if I got a calendar like that I’d never get it colored in time before the month was over! Maybe it’s easier than I imagine?

        • sbranch says:

          Maybe we can do both, but I’m pretty busy these days, it won’t be for a while anyway.

      • nanette from alabama says:

        YES! PLEASE do give us a journal or a diary EVERY SINGLE YEAR and let us do some of the coloring in it!! Please? PLEASE!

        • nanette from alabama says:

          oh, and I have wished for those photo sized boxes (like a shoe box) with your art work on them. They would be so perfect for us to have one for each family member’s keepsakes…… the cards and little gifts they’ve given us through the years…….and those precious drawings they made for our fridges! I know we ask for a lot but we love you, Susan……..and adore your work!

          • Vicki says:

            I just saw a whole thing about this on TV…the adult coloring trend. Really sophisticated coloring books, with adults getting together (like a little club!) at long tables, ‘coloring inside the lines’ and having great camaraderie. Very enjoyable and therapeutic. (Kinda like a old-time quilting bee?!!) They were using colored pencils by Crayola, I noticed. Where did I see this? Was it on the Sunday Morning show with Charles Osgood (CBS-TV; luv-luv that show!! I definitely think I saw it as some sort of CBS feature and it was just days ago, so don’t know why my memory has gone blotto!).

            Coloring books for adults; I didn’t have a clue but am intrigued. [Like when my grandparents did the paint-by-number kits back in the 50s! Oil paints!] Reminds us of childhood with our crayons and coloring books, whiling away a rainy day. As adults, ‘coloring’ relieves stress, calms the mind; works the brain, lowers blood pressure … that’s what ‘they’ say about it (what I picked up from this TV segment, anyway). I find ‘puttering’ [the small task] to be similarly soothing!

            I’d made some notes off the TV piece…they featured a young Scottish artist whose whimsical and intricate ‘coloring books for adults’ sell out quickly, even on Amazon: Johanna Basford. I looked on Amazon, and there’s more people than just her designing the coloring books [pages of stuff, actually; lots of buying choices]; I guess this has been around for awhile but is just now picking up speed/getting press/going mainstream…what does this say about our stress-ridden society, consistently needing any & all ways to shield ourselves from life’s headaches and, ugh, the dreaded headlines? (Which is why the girlfriends come here, to Susan Branch, The Antidote!)

            I read somewhere that these coloring books are lovingly called zen books.

            I’m into it. OMG, Susan, you are the perfect one to do a coloring book for adults!!! Can you handle all of US doing the coloring of your sketches instead of YOU, with your amazing color blends and textures? I’m trying to understand how you might approach it, because your colors are so precise and original and unique…like the sketch is your vision but how weird would it be to see it colored by somebody else, and maybe badly…would it upset you? We could never be as good as you, but it could be a whole new thing from you; I would definitely buy your coloring books for adults!

          • sbranch says:

            I would LOVE to do it, it’s just the time thing that stops me! Really, time is our only problem!

      • Susan Morgon ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

        Oh, a diary like that would be a treasure! Please do it!

  21. Maria Shiyou says:

    You’re very generous with your gifts, Susan! Congratulations to the winners.

  22. Jane Franks says:

    Hi Susan: Wonderful good wishes for all the winners! I, like everyone else, agree we are ALL winners just for having WILLARD and the blog and the coming book! Ordered mine today!! Best of everything with your dinner party. I love entertaining like that. And enjoy some coming-up-for-air time as you prepare to immerse yourself in illustrating book #2!! So much good stuff to look forward to!! You keep helping me to believe the impossible really can come true!! xo

  23. Louise says:

    Congratulations to all the winners, so happy for them.

    I love your idea of a keeping box. I have a treasure box, where I keep all my grandchildren’s cards that they have given me, their Oma and their Opa. The kids love to take it down from the shelf and look at all the cards that they gave us through the years. It warms my heart to see their happy faces as they look at all the cards.

    Have a wonderful dinner party.

    Louise from Chicago

  24. Kate says:

    I know what you mean about cleaning for company. My husband always notices when I am being especially picky about how clean the house is. “Company’s coming,” he always says and he’s right!

  25. Valarie A Whitcomb says:

    Susan – You are so much fun! I love being entertained! Totally agree that it is important to entertain seriously about 4 times a year so as to keep the house up to snuff! Sometime I think you should paint us a picture of Vanna – eager to see the lizard green arms – or whatever!!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve thought about it. She deserves a book, her outfits are so interesting! Depending on me of course, and the mood of the day!

  26. Linda Tondola says:

    The suspense is over and even though I didn’t get my name drawn, I am still looking forward to getting my copy of The Fairytale Girl soon since I pre-ordered it. And I am excited to see a pin over Sandusky OH–that’s me! As usual, I enjoyed the update on Jack. His adventures mirror our own Ziggy who keeps us quite entertained. I have a question…. I am almost positive that I saw an older post of yours where you visited Stillmeadow and got to tour it even though it is a private residence now, I believe. But I can’t find the post and I’m wondering if maybe I’m mistaken? Counting down the days…..

  27. pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

    I have a delicious recipe for a Fall morning… apple-maple rings: the ingredients needed are : I cup of pancake mix; I cup milk; 1 large egg; 1 tablespoon melted butter, plus 1 or 2 more for cooking; 1 teaspoon vanilla; 2firm apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4 inch slices; cinnamon; 1 pint maple syrup. directions: mix 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon into the pancake mix ( for an even more Autumn flavor, try pumpkin pie seasoning); mix the first 5 ingredients until just combined, the batter will be slightly lumpy; heat skillet over medium heat, brush with 2 teaspoons melted butter or oil; dip each apple slice in the batter; cook 1-2 minutes per side, until golden brown; serve hot with butter and plenty of maple syrup. enjoy. 🙂

    • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

      granny smiths work well or red delicious, golden delicious

    • sbranch says:

      Yum! Thank you Pat!

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        my pleasure Susan, a yummy Fall treat for breakfast. I kind of thought it sounded a bit more New Englandish but I love it for those chilly Fall mornings. hope you all get to enjoy that this Fall. hugs…. 🙂

        • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

          oops forgot to mention , it makes 8 servings.

        • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

          oops goofed again, serves 4 yields 8 rings. brain is not awake this morning.

          • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

            and if you want to warm the syrup that’s okay and if not that is okay to. enjoy a treat for the Fall!!!

  28. I’m so happy for the lucky winners. It’s prize enough to read your posts. They always leave me smiling! Have a wonderful week as we wind down summer and gear up for fall, my favorite season—well, it’s a tie between spring and fall!

  29. Gerry says:

    I thought about you, after watching two great shows on PBS. One called A Few Good Pie Places and one A Few Great Bakeries. One talked about Orange Peel–a bakery, I think either on or near Martha’s Vineyard. Looked wonderful–wondered if you have gone there. I think you would love the shows. If you google them, mentioning PBS, you can watch them. I’m thinking they might have more upcoming episodes? I need to investigate. I felt very thankful I happened to see they were on our PBS station last night. Sure makes you want pie! Plus other baked goods!

  30. Sherry Reis says:

    Hi Susan,
    Oh what a wonderful Willard and French music. Congrats to all you winners, but then again ….we are all winners each time we can sip our tea and bring you,Susan, into our lives as we de-stress with your stories, photos and those adorable kitties. You reminded me that Downtown Abbey’s 6th season is just around the corner and Susan you just must look up “The Gran Hotel” on Netflix. All the subtitles are in Spanish. So beautifully written and acted. It is set in Spain in an era similar to Downtown Abbey and the women’s clothing had me pausing the TV just to take a closer look. A wonderful love story, with murders, beautiful scenery set in the city of Cantiloa. The class discrimination between the wealthy and the servants and a local detective/inspector that is a “Sherlock Holmes type” with Santa Claus mustache & white hair… he’s just so amazing. I binge watched until 4 am one morning and had to go to work by 7am. That’s how good the series is. Hope you get a chance to enjoy it. So looking forward to your new book and buying extra copies for my dearest friends. Sending Hugs.

    • sbranch says:

      I will do it. I tried once, but I was trying to multi-task and that doesn’t work with subtitles! Thank you!

  31. Carol On the farm in Iowa says:

    Hearing from you today is especially sweet, and helps me remember tomorrow and subsequent days will be better and better better….. Thank you! Hubby had surgery earlier this summer, nothing really life threatening. This is after two years of him feeling sick most of the time. We thought that was the end of it, but he is still having problems. I am a strong person not a worrier and usually very positive and full of faith. My big strong man is extremely needy when he doesn’t feel well. I am worn out, exhausted. Please forgive me, I am venting. Thanks for your cheeriness, I needed it today!

    • Diane says:

      Carol, I’ll be thinking of you and your husband and sending hope and positive thoughts to you. It sounds like an exhausting and difficult time.

    • Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      Hi Carol,
      I had to comment because we are both going through a similar situation. Jim’s surgery was an emergency, and because Jim is 85 and has mild dementia, this surgery sent him for a loop. I feel like Alice in Wonderland and I fell down the rabbit hole! I have spent an entire week with Jim completely out of his mind; hallucinating, combative, and fighting us every step of the way. His daughter and I are completely exhausted. I have slept in a hospital chair for so long, my back may never straighten. Jim is out of the hospital now and in a rehabilitation center and improving.
      I thought I was a strong person, too! I don’t think I have ever been so exhausted, both physically and mentally. And luckily like you I come here to be among the ” normal people” and find a little sunshine and joy. It works doesn’t it?!
      Everyday is getting a little better! I pray Jim’s mind will get back to normal and we can go home and resume our lives with our two dogs and our cats.
      Men can be terrible patients! Why is that? I guess they know we are here to take care of them! 🙂
      Take heart Carol. I once heard if everyone took their troubles and threw them in a heap, we would all take our own troubles back! We still have our love ones!
      I hope to take a long soaking bath ( maybe a shortened version) when we finally get home and hug my dogs.
      I will pray for you and your husband. We WILL get back to normal Carol, you and I!
      Hang in there!
      Chris now in Dallas

      • sbranch says:

        And you too Chris. Everyday, a little better. xoxo hugs to Jim.

      • Carol On the farm in Iowa says:

        Oh Chris! I am humbled, my situation is nothing compared to yours. I want to heap encouragement on you. Susan is right, we need to be able to tell SOMEONE when we are struggling, I’m glad you responded and thank you for your kindness. I am praying for you and Jim. I will be rejoicing in God’s goodness towards you, Jim and his daughter and believing for total healing. God used YOU to remind me to get my mind off ME. Can we keep in touch? I want to hear how you are coming along. not sure how we would go about that? Hugs to you, Carol

        • Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

          I really wanted you to know that you are not alone. And it IS hard! And sometimes we do need to wine (ha ha ha I think that was a Freudian slip) whine! I can honestly tell you that I was ready to choke my dear sweet love…..exhaustion takes over!
          We were able to leave Dallas yesterday and he is greatly improved today, just by being home and in familiar surroundings with his lovely Golden Retriever by his side.
          I pray things are better for your husband. Trust in The Lord, I know you do and take care of you!
          Let us know how things are going from time to time, I will be watching for your name!
          Keeping you in prayer…..Chris

        • Susan P. says:

          Chris and Carol……

          You both have just reached 100’s of Girlfriends. You both and your husbands will be in my prayers and I am sure many others. two also…I know that the care takers need prayers also. I also believe in the power of prayer. Take care and grab any rest you can…dishes and dust will wait. God Bless, Love, Susan P.

          • Carol On the farm in Iowa says:

            Thank you Susan P. I truly appreciate your kindness and prayers!

          • Susan Morgon ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

            I just love it here for exactly this reason! What a wonderful, caring place filled with the sweetest, kindest girlfriends from all over!

      • Deborah in Odessa, Tx says:

        I am so sorry to hear of this. I hope all goes well and you get back home soon. My husband had 2 major back surgeries this spring…I got real familiar with the road to Lubbock. He is finally up and working….he drives a pickup all over out here in west Tx. We are not spring chickens just can’t afford to retire just yet..or not willing to face having nothing to work at…he is a go getter. Well, taking care of him was a privilege and I know he needs me as much as I need him. Us caretakers are a pretty awesome group. Hang in there!! He needs you and those sweet pets at home do too. Take care .

        • Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

          Thanks Deborah and Susan P.
          It does help to know I have friends all over praying for our recovery! We will get there. Jim is already so much better now that he is home and we are both catching up on much needed sleep. We both had an afternoon nap yesterday… was heaven!
          Jim’s daughter will be coming out to stay with him next week so I can go back to work and today a friend is coming to sit with Jim while I go to town and run errands.
          It’s been a journey to say the least and great to know we have cheerleaders, cheering us on!! Susan Branch GF’s are the best!

          • Carol On the farm in Iowa says:

            Yes I love the sista- hood! Deborah, glad to hear you and yours are doing well.

          • Vicki says:

            I’ve already commented too much on this post of Susan’s but I simply HAVE to chime in here and say as well that WE HEAR YOU HERE and wish an ease to the daily trials. Thanks to Susan for allowing ‘conversation’ on her blog. I was tied up with elder caregiving for over six years and although I of course loved my dear ones, it took a toll on my spirits and my own health. Caregiving is demanding; it just doesn’t leave you time for yourself or anything else; all energy goes to the sickest or most-needy one. You’re often thrown into it, with no prep or warning and certainly no ‘training.’ At the time, in my particular circle, nobody else I knew had ever been in my situation, so they were sort of NO help to me; they just didn’t know what I was going through and were almost irritated that caregiving was all I could seem to talk about. Well, yes, my whole world revolved around the one thing; how could it not? I tried to refrain from taking my personal woes TOO heavily into blogs I was prone to reading (a great de-stressor I might add, to settle into favorite blogs when everything else around you is falling apart) but I found surprising empathy from cyber friends out there, and it meant a lot to me. Also, the more everybody ‘spilled,’ it helped in an odd way to know I wasn’t alone…that, yes, some had it better, but others much worse, when all any caregiver is trying to do is just help somebody else, and trying not to lose their own sanity in the process. As a reader, I’m always glad to listen to another reader’s situation. Hugs via the web are powerful!

      • nanette from alabama says:

        thinking of you two girlfriends……Carol and Chris. Wanted you to know that girlfriends out here in blogland do care about what is happening to you and we say a little prayer for you. Hope it gets better every day from here on out!

  32. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    hahaha! – love the skydiver story! Your beautiful home sparkles, and I will look forward to hearing all about that dinner party. I have a big bunch of family coming soon, so Have been pondering make-ahead dinner stuff. It will be early Oct, so right now I’m thinking maybe a big pot of Mediteranean Stew, Mac and Cheese, a salad bar? My little granddaughter and I have been making your brownie recipe ever since she was big enough to stand on a stool in the kitchen. Love it! It is a comfort to know there are Girlfriends all over this big beautiful world who adore and admire Susan Branch (and kitties) as much as I do. Kindred spirits all, who believe in magic.

  33. shirley burt says:

    Oh Susan, How you inspire. Yes, yes, invite your friends and make your home sparkle. It is definitely a win-win. The quilt bee will be arriving on Tuesday and this is my menu. Almost Pimento cheese made with rat trap cheese/hoop cheese, Homemade Deviled Ham, shrimp salad with the assorted crackers.. Summer tomatoes and English cucumbers.Then Amazing Apricot Pie. Because it is pie and it makes me happy to bake pie. Oh glorious parties. Cannot wait to see the pictures of yours. Happy Prepping to you. Thank you for loving us and sharing glimpses of your life.
    Love and bunny hugs,
    Shirley from Aledo, Texas

    • sbranch says:

      Love your menu!!! Apricot Pie!!! First thing I do this morning is pour the ice cream “batter” I made last night into my ice cream machine, it’s Basil Ice Cream, pale, pale green and just amazing. All cream and egg yolks. A little goes a very long way, (to the thighs, to the tummy) but is worth the trip! Have a wonderful BEE, and tell everyone I said Hello!

      • shirley burt says:

        Oh my goodness, how yummy your ice cream sounds !!!! Your ice cream and my apricot pie are not good for us, but we won’t tell our guests now will we??? It would make them feel guilty or worse decline having a bite, bowl or slice. I will tell the BEE Hello from you. Thank you. Have a fabulous party.
        Love and bunny hugs,

  34. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Congratulations to the three lucky ladies winning the contest prizes!!! Seeing Jack preceding the announcement of winners, put a smile upon my face, so when I did not see my name, I was still smiling! Hmmmmm, then seeing all of your gorgeous shiny clean dishes and glassware, and kitchen photos, was total eye candy!!! Have fun cooking for your guests!!! You deserve every drop of enjoyment now that you are free from writing your books! The temperatures are a bit cooler here in Michigan in the morning, and it seems the evenings are shortening, and I saw geese flying south, and scattered fallen leaves on my lawn. The crickets are chirping as though singing, as I type this evening!!! Fall is just around the corner and I am not ready for summer to come to an end 🙁 I want to stretch summer out as long as possible, continue picking flowers for my vases, and walking barefoot on the green blades of grass, and filling my birdbath with fresh water, while dodging big bumble bees on my Black-eyed Susans. Autumn is my favorite time of year, but for some unknown reason, I’m not ready for it. Maybe once Labor Day arrives I will surrender to the season. Strange how one is used to four seasons, but the four seasons continue to become brand new each and every year, always holding new adventures and challenges in our households and lives!!! Thank you Susan for all of your inspirations and God Bless You with much needed rest and relaxation!!!! Take care of yourself and have a great day, and a wonderful weekend!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s cool here for the first time in days . . . cool, dry, going to be gorgeous. I get to go flower picking and table setting this morning for my dinner tonight, my cup runneth over. Have a wonderful day Carilyn!

  35. Judy in Ohio says:

    I had such a great time reading your Blog today, dear Susan.
    I am pretty sure that there is NO WAY that you can possibly know the
    sheer JOY that you bring to our lives!…(I hope that somehow you can fathom at least a small part of it …and then just multiply that by 1,000 and you MAY be somewhere in the vicinity!!)

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!
    (Even though I did NOT win…again!…;)
    I am so excited for the girlfriends that DID!!)

    A special treat also, with this particular entry,was that your MUSICA led me over to YouTube where I was enjoying Beatles music for about an hour! (What fun!!) 🙂

    I never know what kind of adventures I will be taking with you and the girlfriends when I arrive here…but it is always NEEDED…and it is ALWAYS quite a ride! 🙂 (An WILLARD is quite the adventure,too!! LOVE it!!!)

    Hope you have a wonderful time with your friends at your dinner party!

    And thank you again…soooo much, dear friend!


  36. Sara McKeefer says:

    Oh, Susan, how wonderful to come home from an exhausting day and have your lovely letter to savor. It was just what I needed after cramming two days of shopping in two different towns into one afternoon. By the time I got everything put away and collapsed on the couch, I had totally misplaced my smile. And then, like magic, there you were in my Inbox, and by the time my eyes alighted on your Jack, my smile was back!

    I could comment on everything I lingered over—that brilliant Willard map, the tomatoes in your windows, your legacy boxes, the clown card from the year my mom was born, your sparkly hutch and the shocked, googly-eyed Barnstable girl (ha-ha!). But you have a party to get ready for!

    I do want to say, Susan, that I am SO happy for you… seriously! You have taken your God-given talent and your positive outlook on life and worked hard, really hard, to realize your dreams! Kudos to you, Fairy Tale Girl, for living your Homemade Happy Life and sharing it with all of us. When your paintbrush leaves “It’s the little things in life that mean the most” on the page, we know you really mean that, and, frankly, in this day and age of celebrity everything, that is downright refreshing!

    I was kind of disappointed that your art blotter won’t be coming to my house, but then I had this thought, Susan. If you were to make a print of it and offer it for sale in your store, I could buy it and put it on the wall with the other three prints of yours that I have. I KNOW lots of girlfriends would buy it too. Just a thought (that I’m hoping you mull over)!

    Thanks again, Susan… you’re the best! (And yes, I do believe you’re right. We are the normal ones!) 🙂 🙂 Sara 🙂 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you so much Sara … I’m just doing what millions of people do, get up every day and go to work and do the best they can to make a good life. We are all so lucky we have that opportunity. But thank you for your kind words. I will have to keep that “print” idea in mind . . . although, you know it’s hard for me to look at something like that and call it “art” or even imagine someone would want it. I need to rethink that! 🙂

  37. Lovely post. Congrats to the fortunate winners. We are all winners being girlfriends with you Susan.

  38. Mary, St.Louis says:

    Congrats to the winners ! Lucky girls ! Susan, it is so good to have blog posts from you again. Have a wonderful dinner party…you are so much fun !

  39. Marge says:

    Do you know the Orange Peel Bakery? It was featured on a new PBS special called “A Few Good Bakeries”. It was produced by Rick Sebak from WQED in Pittsburgh, PA. The bakery is on Martha’s Vineyard and looked like a wonderful spot that you enjoy.

    • sbranch says:

      It really is wonderful! At the far end of the Island . . . where it’s least expected and MOST appreciated!

  40. Judith says:

    It just brightens MY day when You share YOUR day with me. Thank you for adding sunshine with your every lovely “visit”.

  41. Pam in Florida says:

    Watching the map and “seeing” people open Willard must be so much fun. It is like having a party and greeting the guests as they arrive. Loved the photo of Jack sleeping…
    Congratulations to the three winners – they must all be doing a happy dance!

  42. Pam in Florida says:

    I love the idea of you Legacy Boxes. A few years ago, I found a scrapbook at an antique shop – appeared to be from the late 1940’s – early 1950’s. It was a treasure chest: full of old greeting cards and photos from magazines. Every page was a collage, completely covered, things overlapping, I’ll never know who the owner was, but he/she loved Christmas, dogs, baking and snow. I’ve always hoped that somehow the owner would know how much joy I received from it. Someday your boxes will truly be that treasure chest for someone – such a wonderful gift you are preparing for a special someone.

  43. Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

    Every time I see the saying, “She thought she could, so she did”, I think of you. You’re my inspiration and, I believe, for all the other Girlfriends as well.

    I just wish I could love cleaning the house the way you do. I dearly love my home, but I wish the shoemakers elves would come every night and clean.

  44. marty from NYC says:

    Susan- you can never erase the 4500 + well wishers who get so much from you , from each other and whose day is always better for a trip to your Blog. Dear Susan:
    Please continue to savor every moment of your life and keep encouraging us to do the same.
    Many have to deal with sickness, grief and other challenging times as we see in some of the comments to you — know that you make a difference in all these lives as well- not only by support and encouragement. You remind us all that there is beauty and joy in every day and one of our major tasks should be to find it or create it.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s one of the things I love about our Girlfriends, it’s like a little village here, where you hear about new babies, travel plans, every day life, and challenges too . . . just like real life. xoxo Thank you Marty.

  45. Hi Susan,
    When I first found your story in a magazine, La Vie Claire – sadly now out of print, I knew you were very special. Not only do you write wonderful newsletters, books and blogs, but you also have a “crystal ball” – your map of Willard readers! All of us in your happy community are so lucky. It’s always so much fun to discover what’s happening in your magical world on Martha’s Vineyard. Thank you for bringing us to your Fairy Tale home once again!
    P.S Congratulations to the happy winners. We are all winners when we visit here.

  46. viv says:

    I’ve run out of adjectives, but it would be wrong of me not to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog. It’s always a delight and a day brightener. Congratulations to the giveaway winners.

  47. Maureen Graham says:

    Your blog makes me so happy! Who needs prizes!

  48. I love reading your blog….It lifts my spirits up into the blue sky and golden sunshine, always! I just wanted to mention, after seeing the tomatoes on your window ledge, that they keep better longer if you put them blossom side down. That may not be an issue for you. You may not keep them that long. But they are such a treasure this time of year.

  49. Troy Louise says:

    Congratulations to the lucky winners! I have my Fairy Tale book on preorder & can hardly wait. Isn’t it funny how we have to scrub our houses for a gathering of friends. It always makes me feel much better to have everything nice & shiny. Hope you have a wonderful time. Thanks for brightening our days!

  50. Marie Dollarhide says:

    I so am looking forward to your new books The fairy Tale Girl and Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams. Your books are amazing and so colorful and informative
    To me they are just what I like reading. Thanks Willard for your newsletter keep them coming. I look forward to them, they make my day.
    Sincerely Marie Dollarhide

  51. Pam Betz says:

    Dear Susan–I know you have a full plate of work to do—but—do you think you will ever design another line of fabric with your sheep, ducks etc.? I have made a few quilts with your fabric and would love to do more. Your colors are so fresh and clean, just make me feel good. Thanks, Pam

    • sbranch says:

      I loved designing fabric, but I think it’s a tough business for the manufacturers. I’d do it again if someone asked me.

  52. Julia says:

    Loved just checking in with you on your blog. Happy Day to you!

  53. Sherry Reis - Portland, OR says:

    Hi Susan, I noticed you said you were multi tasking when you tried to locate the TV series I mentioned called “The Grand Hotel”.
    I copied this off the internet from Wikipedia: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Grand Hotel (Spanish: Gran Hotel) is a Spanish drama television series directed … Episodes can be streamed on Netflix with English subtitles, actors/actresses
    ‎Yon González – ‎Amaia Salamanca – ‎Palacio de la Magdalena – ‎Adriana Ozores

    Hope this helps. You’ll find this series as addicting as Downtown Abbey. Sending hugs to you, Joe, Jack and Girl Kitty.

  54. salve says:

    Hi Susan, beautiful blog as usual, thank you much; did you see the beautiful big moon tonight? I tried to take pictures of it among the trees from my snap camera, it does not do justice but I was so happy to watch the moon for about 10-15 minutes and enjoyed the pictures even though they don’t look as good as your Moon pictures which I enjoy so much! Congratulations to the winners of your giveaways – really love your cat’s pictures too! smile……

    • sbranch says:

      I did see that gorgeous moon, it was peeking into the dining room while we were eating and I took a picture of it ~ which didn’t do it justice either!

  55. Jan says:

    Congrats to those lucky girls who were the winners! Those brownies did take my mind off not winning. I do indeed need to try your recipe – maybe this weekend. They look so good, and simple to make, too. Hope your dinner party with your friends turned out great! Keep forgetting to ask if you will be getting anymore Autumn charms? Missed out last year, and I see they are still listed, but states SOLD OUT.

    • sbranch says:

      We’re working on getting the charms now . . .and yes, dinner was so fun, I’m still having the giggles this morning. You’ll love the brownies! They are so good! xo

  56. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Congratulations to the prize winners! Whoopee!!! I too (along with a jillion of your other GFs) feel like a winner each time I open your blog, so a big hug and thank you! I wanted to pop up on your Willard map, but, alas, somehow, Willard took a detour soooo I’ve re-signed up, & will click on the above “Willard”, with a cup of coffee!! “Isle of Dreams” almost ready too? You’re amazing, whippin’ out beautiful words and paintings whilst I wait with baited coffee (sometimes tea) breath! As always, your lovely blog & comments, make a happy, happy me!!! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Baited coffee breath! 🙂 It’s almost ready, just have paintings and layouts to do… but words are written. Been adding to them this morning ~ still getting thoughts for it. Happy day Joan!

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        Thank you dear Sweet Sue! Love Willard – just finished! Wishing you a beautiful, “thoughts” filled Happy Day! Just thought…you see the moon, then hours later, the moon sees me…we are in a fairy tale world!

  57. jane townsend says:

    A late response, sorry. I finally got to read your wonderful Willard thanks to the link in your post – thank you.
    In this latest post, I loved the anecdote about the sky divers in Barnstable, made me chuckle. I’m already looking forward to your Isle of Dreams book and we haven’t got the Fairy Tale Girl yet:- so much to look forward to!

  58. Audrey by the sea. says:

    We are all winners. The winners are winners, the un-winners are winners and you are a winner! Happiness hovers around us all on your blog Susan.

    We finally have rain by the sea today. It’s very much needed not only for the trees, but for all of the birds, insects, tiny critters, the small and large forest dwellers and the ecosystem. The forest fires in B.C. have been vicious this summer. OK, enough of morning science in this comment.
    I know you have had your nose to the grindstone for many months now and it’s nice to hear that you were finally able to come up for air and have a dinner party. Such fun to sit over dinner with friends and laugh until we almost burst with excitement. The prep is fun too, washing up dishes and cleaning is all part of the party.
    PS…Do you think that you might consider adding a little warning on the front of the clown before you store it in your Memory Box? Something like, “don’t be frightened, this is what a clown looked like in the early 1900’s.” Actually, when I get farther back from his face he is smiling, but I guess you saw that already.
    OXO. . .A.

  59. Sue says:

    I love the idea of the Legacy Boxes. I have a friend who has been widowed for 10 years now (she is only 62). She is a very caring dear person, I think I will make her a box. Not sure what exactly I put into it, but you have given me such wonderful ideas.
    Hurray for the winners of the drawing, but I must say, I was a little sad not to read my name 🙂 There is always a next time, right?
    One last thing….your “friends” are so blessed to have you in their lives. We girls out here…but oh, what fun the girls close by get to have sharing your table…

    Have a beautiful day today, tomorrow and …………

  60. Mary Ann McCann says:

    Awesome, Awesome, Awesome. Love you, Love your blog. Love all of the nostalgia….so fun and interesting. I just want to curl up with that kitty cat! Thank you so much for sharing your life, dreams and lovely thoughts. Can’t wait to get your new book and I will have to order that movie from Amazon because I trust you that it is awesome too! Have a wonderful day and enjoy your dinner party! Wish I was coming! LOL! Mary Ann McCann

  61. Suzanne C. says:

    Susan….no one leaves your blog a looser, it is such a great time to be able to read your entries. We are all winners! Love you and glad your back!

  62. AnneL says:

    Hi Susan,
    I just love all your inspiration and every book of your that I have. I would like to get all of them!! Is there a way you could have someone send me a complete list of every book you’ve had published? I’ve looked on line everywhere and nothing has a complete list. Thank you so much!!

    • sbranch says:

      If you have A FINE ROMANCE, you will find all of my books pictured on the inside back flap of the dust jacket. To that group, you would just need to add A FINE ROMANCE and the two books coming and you would have them all. Hope this helps!

  63. Jack says:

    Cocktails before dinner — no great story ever started with Salad…..!

  64. Laurie, Nico's Mom says:

    I think that these latest pictures of Jack are the cutest ever! I have a tuxedo bunny, Nico, that also warms my heart with his snooze poses. So unbelievably adorable! Where would we be without these little guys? Wouldn’t wanna be there. I treasure each day with all seven of my bunnies. We call them “The Magnificent Seven”!

    • sbranch says:

      I wouldn’t want to be there either! Seven bunnies! Oh my! How do you ever get anything done?

      • Laurie, Nico's Mom says:

        My hubby is a big help. We figure it’s almost a part-time job, paid in snuggles and the happy sound of bunnies crunching their veggies! Not to forget tooth purrs.
        Susan, I just re read “Kitty Love”. You wrote of our purpose here on earth and I so completely agree with your statement. I may copy this out and frame it!

  65. Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    “It’s the little things that mean the most!” Oh my goodness, how true that is!
    Sitting on my porch underneath the trees, dogs and kitties by my side. Feeling the breeze, even if it is a hot breeze…..watching it blow dry the sheets on the line, ever so gently, making them look as if they have been ironed. Crisp, but buttery soft and nature fresh! Feeding the hummers. I feel so badly that it has been 2 weeks since they have had food….but they stayed and then whirled by the porch to say thank you after I hung the fresh feeders!
    My kitties are basking on the front step, so happy to be out of the barn and out into the fresh air. These are the last days of summer. You can’t quite smell it, like you can in Ohio or New England, but it’s here. I will start feeding my deer again, it is getting dry! They are my deer because they pause here by the creek and rest in the shade of the old pecans and because they know my voice when I call them to come and eat…..just like that wonderful road out to the sea belongs to you because you have walked there for so many years!
    I am so grateful to be home with the things I love around me. This is my life. It is not spectacular and won’t make a big mark in the universe, I am just one of the normal ones, working, playing, loving, and trying to make my little corner a better place.
    Susan, you have helped so many of us to find ourselves, to find our place in this life. For some of us it is just to take care of our families, which has not always been viewed as a noble endeavor. But It is really the cornerstone of civilization, isn’t it?
    Once again, thank you for being here with us, to teach us through art and word the importance of home; of love of family, for caring for one another.
    We are the normal ones!! I will keep that with me always!

    • sbranch says:

      It is the MOST important thing there is. Everything springs from it. I love you for saying it. That message is the one I most hope to carry forward. I feel like if more people felt their own heroism in just living every day, it would be a better world. We are taught to want too many things, forgetting about contentment and the beauty and the difference we can make around us for ourselves and others in even the smallest of ways. Loved the creek and the shade of the old pecans . . . the deer that know your voice. That’s saying something. xoxo

    • nanette from alabama says:

      This was such a sweet post. I loved “seeing” your deer by the stream and knowing that they know your voice! You gave me joy in my day!

      • Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

        I love my deer….and I think they love me. At least they know this is their safe spot!

    • Jamie Lynn from Virginia says:

      Chris ~ what a lovely vision you describe in your note here to Susan. I can see the old pecan trees towering over the creek where the deer gather. And I can feel the warm breeze as I sit there with you watching the fresh linen dance on the line. You write with much love and a deep understanding of what is truly important in life. Thank you for sharing. xx
      ~ Jamie

    • Deborah in Odessa, Tx says:

      I love the idea of pecan trees and creeks and deer ..what solace in a busy world. You sound anchored. That is a good thing.

  66. Wendy Louise says:

    Congratulations to all of the winners, that’s everyone here in Blog land, we are all winners here! I thought of you Susan and all your wonderful friends at your dinner party. I hope it was outside by the moon light because it was a spectacular sky. Paul and I ate under the beautiful sky with all the star twinkling apon us and that rising moon made us feel that we were spinning around on this gorgeous planet, so thankful. So we sort of joined you, us here in Newburyport, MA ,and you on that breathe taking island Martha’s Vineyard under the same sky. Thank-you so much for all your connection with the sweet, beautiful, wonderful kindred spirits here on your blog, it truly is a blessing for all. So excited for now and what’s ahead…………………..your book! Can’t wait ! Love, Wendy-Louise oxoxoxo😃

  67. Sue says:

    Hi Susan, and girlfriends,

    The skydiving story brought back a grand memory… I spent 12 wonderful years with a crazy, terrific guy who led me on wonderful adventures. He had skydived many years prior to our meeting, and I mentioned once that I always thought it would be fun to do at least one.

    Some time later, he told me one morning to wear tennis shoes…we were going somewhere in particular, but wouldn’t say where. After an hour’s drive or so we pulled up to a skydiving operation. I — innocently — thought we were going to get the literature, pricing, etc., and answered a cell call just as we pulled into the parking lot. When I entered the office a short while later I heard the clerk asking him, “Which one of you is diving today,” and saw Rob pointing to ME! Before I could say much, I was in the gear, given the briefing, signed all the waivers, and we were off. To add to the equation, Rob was a commercial pilot and had once flown the type of aircraft they used for the jumps so — naturally — he was chatting with the pilot. The pilot invited him to join him in the cockpit, so I made my only jump with my sweetie along for the ride, and my story ever-after was that Rob took he up for a ride in that particular aircraft, but he made me WALK home! LOL. (And yes — that “first step” is everything you’ve ever heard about. We have the jump on video and you see the open mouth and huge eyes through the goggles!)

    As for the legacy boxes (gorgeous, BTW) — I do something similar when a friend is having surgery that I know will require a longish, uncomfortable recovery. I place lots of little wrapped goodies — some silly (kid’s toys), some nice, some fattening (chocolate), some to pass the time (magazines), etc. — in a pretty, decorative box and include a note saying to open one gift anytime the pain is bad, or the recipient is feeling a bit blue. Everyone I’ve done this for loves the idea.

    As for cleaning for company…I grew up in northwestern Ohio in a largely German heritage area. People there go into cleaning frenzies for visitors and special occasions…for a kid’s graduation, some have been known to re-paint the entire house! LOL

    Congrats to the three winners. (ALL Susan’s girlfriends are winners, aren’t we?)

  68. Margot at the Beach says:

    I am so very tired about this move, but we need our 4 seasons. I love the map! I wonder if I am the pin that looks like it is on the VA/NC border…as I was late reading the last e-mail. I love the world, but we needed a home port.

  69. Monique says:

    ♥That little banner is just precious.The envelope also..Looking forward to the book.So..little girl again.
    The Barnstable story IS funny..
    I can’t even think of ding that..but i bet I would be screaming too.And I don’t scream.
    I’ve never even heard of that movie..thanks for the recommendation..

    Here too..little vases w/ dahlias..pineapple tomato ..yes o ripening on the sill..
    the peony leaves have that fall..colr ..s now:(
    I love fall..but it’s the last 45 days of winter I find longish.
    I love getting my first Willard:)
    Funny Willard arrived but not the posts..Oh well what’s a little detour?

    Oh lala forgot to mention the treasure boxes!! Me Loveeeeeeeeee.

  70. Debra Eastridge says:

    Oh my goodness! I don’t know where to begin! So looking forward to my pre-ordered book! You say it’s being published in Indiana? I live in Bloomington, Indiana! May I ask, where is it being published? Also, My husband and I are packing up next year and heading to England for some sightseeing! Can’t wait to experience some of what you describe in A Fine Romance! Love, love your books, drawings….well, just everything!! Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      I think it’s Crawfordsville, Debra. xoxo

    • Annie in IL says:

      We love Bloomington and go there frequently. Always hit one of the wonderful restaurants and the antiques shops. Sometimes stay overnight in one of the great B&B’s. Try to go to the MAC for the ‘Nutcracker’ ballet each year.

  71. nanette from alabama says:

    THANK YOU for the lovely Willard! I enjoyed it so much……….and I love it when you put a BLUE, BLUE, BLUE ocean picture in the blogs or Willard’s. Makes my heart skip a beat………I WANT TO BE AT THE OCEAN myself so I get to live vicariously through you for a few, short moments. 🙂 As always, you are SO good to us!

  72. Thank you ,such kindness is seen in your work. There are always words of the beauty of this world and all it’s people. Your work is an offering of caring and peace for all your readers to enjoy and pass on to others. Have lovely last days of August and get ready for a beautiful fall pageant of color!!

  73. nanette from alabama says:

    You know what? I so wish you had a “like” button situated under the girlfriend’s comments! As I read them I am so wishing to comment on all of them or to press “like” because they all say something that comes from my heart, too! We really are a “sister-hood.” Twins of the heart.

    • Deborah in Odessa, Tx says:

      I like the the Like button idea. We just can’t reply to all of them. I want to and like would be sufficient.

    • Nanette,

      Now that would be fun, wouldn’t it? Of course we can leave wee replies too. Susan’s beautiful life and work has brought many kindred hearts together… I like the phrase ‘twins of the heart.’


  74. ann says:

    I saw this and thought of you ❤️

  75. Jamie Lynn from Virginia says:

    Congratulations to the winners! So happy for you Susan that you are getting back to normal life. I’ve been buried for months in designing a website for my art business and have just finished the worst of it. I feel the same way you do. I looked around the house yesterday and thought “who made this mess”?? It feels good to take one’s life back after being in the depths of a big project. But it feels weird at the same time. ~ Your story of the sky diving language ringing out over the Sound is hilarious! I can only imagine what would come out of my mouth if someone pushed me out of a plane ( I most certainly would not do it on my own accord!). ~ Willard was fabulous and the thought of another “blog trip” is very exciting. ~ So happy your dinner party turned out great. I would love to hear more about the basil ice cream. 🙂 . You really are the Fairy Tale Girl! <3

    Onward to getting my house in order now too!
    ~ Jamie

    ps. That clown was freaky enough but then those legs and arms! Gah! Scary!

  76. Teresa says:

    Lovely post, as always. Hope your dinner party was fun. How surprised was I when I was reading my current Sep/Oct issue of Yankee magazine and a BIG one page ad of your new book appeared. It is a lovely ad and there is a tiny picture of pages 150 and 151 of your new book. So exciting, can’t wait till my preordered copy arrives.

  77. Cecelia says:

    Susan, have you ever had a tomato pie? That would be a yummy treat to serve for your party. It’s luscious fresh tomatoes, onions, mayonnaise and cheese, glorious cheese all in a pie shell. If you would like the recipe, let me know.

  78. Karen Williams says:

    Thank you, Susan, for another wonderful blog post…and to Vanna, Toto et al. Congrats to the lucky winners and no, we are not going to be downhearted for long….:( …because we stick have the rest of the blog to revel in. Just love the cute kitty pics; the washing up! Who would believe we women would be happy to see soapy sud pics of washing up!??!! But yes, we are happy girlfriends we are…enjoying what you do best! Cannot believe the computer thingy that lets y see us all opening our Willards!!! I want one!!!
    Thank you!
    Love to you, kitties, Joe and all the girlfriends,
    x x xooox x x

  79. Karen Williams says:

    ,still have….not stick have!!!

  80. Pamela Tasker says:

    Congratulations to all the winners ! Thank you Susan for making our hearts flutter !

  81. denni in MN says:

    Congratulations to the winners of the drawings!! Jack looks so-o-o peaceful all curled up. Life is good when you can take an afternoon nap!! Looking at your photos I see the ways you put candles in wonderful containers and it looks ‘just right’! Thanks for more great ideas, Susan!

  82. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Hi Susan I’ve been reading some of your earlier blogs and I kinda got hung up on the one you wrote on September 27, 2011. It’s the one where you give away a beautiful vintage quilt. You also asked everyone to tell you what they liked most about autumn. Oh, my, such wonderful responses. We all seem to love fall and for so many different reasons. So enjoyed reading them all. Please ask us again why we love fall. There are so many new girlfriends we need to hear from. Thanks. Hugs.

  83. Carol C says:

    Funny about the skydiving! Today my bridge club (4 of us have been playing at bridge for about 35 years) went hang-gliding. It was wonderful so beautiful and quiet, just like a bird soaring over the mountains, river, and beautiful valley near Chattanooga, TN. Definitely not the kamakasi death dive to the earth with a parachut so not screaming curse words. At age 67 we were certainly the oldest ones lined up for this adventure. On another note, there is nothing like company to motivate the housework. Love the day after company when the house is clean and there is time to sit down with a project.

  84. Paula says:

    Hello, Susan,

    I loved the “musica” that accompanied this blog!

    Each winner must be thrilled, and I am thrilled with/for them. I do believe that Dianne “scored” BIG TIME, getting your personally decorated blotter! One cannot purchase that anywhere and it is one of a kind, a true treasure.

    How fun to be able to see where each person who opens a Willard lives. We can run, but we cannot hide, as the saying goes! 🙂

    The items in your legacy box are just the sort of thing I like to collect, also. What a good idea the legacy box is~~as well as the thought of someone one day finding the treasure. Perhaps you will find a treasure box yourself one of these days! I do hope so. 🙂 I have the perfect box for this; there is only so much space to display items like those in your box, so after displaying them awhile, into the box they can go while others take their place in plain view. I like it! Thank you for sharing this idea.

    You do so many things that bring delight to a LOT of people, Susan. God bless you!

  85. Rosanna says:

    Just saw the full page ‘ad’ for The Fairy Tale Girl in Yankee magazine! Love it!

  86. Cindy Tuning says:

    It is so good to have you back to normalcy. Is that a real word ? I feel like I’ve been on leave from here this summer because of travel and just plain being consumed with family doings. This will always feel like a safe place to land when everything else is “nuts”!!! How exciting planning your next trip. You always do it up right but this second time around you’ll know things you didn’t know then and it will be even better if that’s even possible. We’re planning our next big trip which is my dream..a train ride through the Canadian Rockies on the Rocky Mountaineer to Banff and Lake Louise. While looking through train travel excursions I spotted a tour on The Royal Scotsman traveling through Scotland so now I might have a new dream trip. That would be huge!!! Anyway, so glad you’re back and I can’t wait to see your new baby. Any day now !!!

    • sbranch says:

      You are going on the MOST WONDERFUL trip Cindy! I haven’t done it, we came very close once, maybe someday, I’m not giving up! Good for you!

  87. Kathy Thompson (in Rialto CA) says:

    Hi Susan: It’s my birthday! What a nice way to start the day to change the month page on your calendar and be greeted by AUTUMN. Such a lovely page, Susan. Make it a great day. Kathy T.

  88. PS… (private)

    Susan, You’re always giving your girlfriends so many lovely things to enjoy, and that includes me, of course. You bless us so much!

    As I was sitting here I was wondering what I could ‘give’ that might tickle your own artist heart. The thought came you just might enjoy seeing a small book I recently wrote/created as a gift for my mom’s 80th birthday.

    Although I dabble in paint a wee bit, I’ve never taken off in that direction (although I might one day — I take courage from your ‘how to draw’post), but I had so much fun designing something digitally and then had it printed in a beautiful, real book. My mom was thrilled. So was I!

    No obligation please, as I’m sure you get many requests from people everywhere. This isn’t meant to add burden to your full world. But I offer it as a little something, just in case you want to take a peek.

    The link takes you to where there’s a VIEW link — you can see the book in full screen if you choose.

    There…. sending it with loving thoughts,
    Brenda xox

  89. Mary Eva Ross says:

    Hi Susan. Every time a season starts to change I pull out old magazines, old cookbooks. I’m looking at an October 2007 Country Living magazine and I come across an article “All About Autumn” potatoes Anna and I thought to myself, that looks like Susan Branch’s recipe. IT IS YOU! I knew I kept this magazine for a reason. First, it’s fall, secondly you were in it. That order may be all wrong, I hope you know what I mean. “Everything in Fall”. I would have Tweeted this, but I don’t know how to tweet yet. 🙂 Love coming across you in unexpected places.

  90. susie says:

    Susan, I hope it’s not to late to tell you, the picture of Jack at the lit kitchen screen door sent my heart back in time. Of days when people left their doors open because they had screens and yes the cats would be looking out. As our old Kitty Tom used to. Thank you, Love, susie

  91. Jack says:

    Some of you may remember , this used to be a blog site …..

  92. Maria Berg says:

    Dear Susan,

    My dear friend Cathy and – as I believe, Tasha herself through Cathy – introduced me to your art.
    What a wonderful wealth of beautiful and adorable things you have to offer to the world!
    I keep loosing myself browsing through the pages of your wonderful web journal…

    Surely, it can’t be a coincidence that I found you now, after I decided to let myself become real, inspired by the story of the little Velveteen Rabbit, that I am about to illustrate.

    Things that I used to love as a child, like making books and cards and labels and so many other things by hand, kept knocking at the door of my heart, trying to bring me back the joy I was missing without even knowing.

    Thank you so much for sharing yourself and your wonderful art with the world, and thus with me. Watching you living your dream must be a great source of inspiration for so many hearts….

    Much love and blessings,

    Maria Berg

  93. Kathleen Hirst says:

    Hi Susan, I love reading your posts. I even go back and read the older ones too! I ordered your newest book and can’t wait to get it! Every page in your books is like a little treasure. I love the water colors and little sayings. You make our day a little bit brighter. Wish I could be in New Hampshire for the book signing, but unfortunately I can’t make it. Well, Happy September and enjoy crunching through the leaves when they start to fall. Hugs to you, Joe, Jack and Girl Kitty!

  94. Marti Long says:

    Please change my email to this new address. I cannot find a place on the blog or other email to do it and I hate to miss a single issue. Love them all!

  95. Barbara says:

    That’s it. My china is clean and my antique stained glass hutch if full of amazing inherited art supplies. I am going to paint this weekend. I tell me girlfriends that you have my life, so, it’s time I create my own. I bet Martha Stewart wishes she had half your talent! LOL. But I can’t get over how much you do AND find time to create. You are an inspiration.

  96. debra sewell says:

    It must be impossible to read alll blog posts. I love this blig so much. Yoyr website is so cozy and friendly. My sister got me mt copy of A Fine Romance when you went to NH last time. I have read it a million times. Im very very anxious for new book!!!!!!!

  97. Kate Dodds says:

    There are no words that can express my gratitude for your willingness to share your gift with the world. I have been an admirer of yours for years. Your artwork truly makes my heart smile and inspires me always. Thank you, you lovely, lovely woman!

  98. Janie Scholes says:

    Felt like Autumn is on the way this evening here in Flagstaff. Cool breeze, beautiful light and shadows. Leaves on the maple trees starting to turn. My favorite season!

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