AUTUMN from the HEART of the HOME

Hello darling people!   MUSICAMusicaTea

Get a cup of tea and join me for AUTUMN from the Heart of the Home, it’s blog time!

tree talk fall Trees make SUCH good sense when you can get one to talk. Fall is when they do it, you can hear it in the shhhhh of their leaves . . . and you find out they make sense in more ways than one! 

leaf border

through the woods

And they smell good too!  Especially this time a year, when the air is filled with them.  Here was our walk yesterday. It’s getting very beautiful out there.  Still lots of green, but the change is coming . . . 

flower border


flower border

if you dream it


As you can see, we are nowhere near peak yet, color wise, but a few things are beginning to burst, like the bittersweet . . . such a fun thing to decorate with although I can use it outside only because it’s not good for kitties.

flower border

poison ivy

You would NOT want to decorate with this inside OR out, because this is poison ivy. But isn’t it pretty?  Our woods are filled with this climber that turns bright red . . . they should have called this bittersweet — because with poison ivy you get the bitter, but in the color you get the sweet! 

fall color

You can see a bit more of it in red on the tree in the back . . . it’s gorgeous, one of the prettiest fall plants in the woods.

down to the sea

Bittersweet tumbles everywhere. It lights the shadowy places up.

Through the trees

Sassafras!  Pretty pretty pretty. The wind makes the leaves shimmer in the light . . .

flower border

leaf fall

So I was wearing this kind of loose-knit sweater and I started gathering leaves, flowers and berries to bring home so instead of carrying them, I strung them through my sweater . . .

elizabeth von arnim

wear your love like heavenThis face says Ha! I thought it looked great. I wanted to cover my entire sweater in them. Make a fall costume. But, when a car drove by us out there, Joe pretended not to know me. Silly boy. Doesn’t he know . . .

normal ones


Here it all is, that’s our woods!

windfall crabapples

These are windfall crabapples I found on the ground under a tree when we were in New Hampshire. So cute, I brought them home to put on the kitchen table. P.S. They were free!  Just lying around on the ground. Can you imagine?

last rose of season

And this gorgeous rose is the last one of the season from our garden. I debated, bring it in, or enjoy it in the garden? IN! I felt good about my decision. Up close and personal, not just for me, but for you too. Through the MAGIC of the Internet! I still can’t believe we can DO this!

2015 calendar

October, my darling, slooow down. Last two months, please . . .I really love you. I had such fun painting this page, I want it to stick around for a while!

flower border

decorating for autumn

mums from the garden

We almost always end up getting mums to decorate our porch, and then we plant them in the garden afterwards. And they always come back. These wine-red mums are growing in the garden now.

the porch

Lowely was just here for tea, she heard we’re going to have a freeze on Saturday! So I’ll cover the mums with a blanket to get them to last a bit longer. The hand-painted little thrift shop vase up there is my newest favorite thing ~ it was a gift from my girlfriend Pat  . . . adorable don’t you think? For the collection . . . From one “little vase” lover to another . . . 

…How does your garden grow? With silver bells and cockle shells…

stove decor

Top o’ the stove as of yesterday. . .

1950s O'keefe & Merritt stove

We are cookin’ with gas in more ways than one . . . because it’s getting chilly out there!

little vases

flower border

Fall color

Casper from the back

And it’s Casper time.  A VERY friendly ghost . . . already lighting the bedroom window upstairs. . . hello to the street!


See him?  Our pumpkins are up too. But you can see, although there are colored leaves on the ground, the trees still have a little ways to go. Mas MUSICA? OUI!

stove decor

When I want to decorate I just shop my house and pull out anything that says “Autumn” to me, like these little faux pears and that pinecone I found out on the road. Nature (and the attic) provides.
Feed Your Creative Heart


I read my Autumn Book and set it up in my kitchen to get inspired . . . such a creative time of year! 

the window

See, just little stuff we have around . . . the birds we sell in our web store ~ along with little faux leaves I got somewhere and saved.

The Fairy Tale Girl

We had such a nice time at our book signing in Meredith, New Hampshire with the good people at Innisfree Books ~ Lots of our Girlfriends were there! By the way, I left lots of signed copies of The Fairy Tale Girl and A Fine Romance at this wonderful Independent Bookstore if you’re interested . . . they told me they would be happy to send you one for as long as they last. You can call them at 603-279-3905.

Susan Branch the Autumn Book

They decorate their store with huge posters that authors sign for them. I figured out where to sign the poster for The Fairy Tale Girl, but was having trouble with Autumn. The caption (and my left hand) would say, “Yeah, but where?”

border flower
Innisfree Bookstore

But I figured out . . . and was very proud of myself!

little things
Fall farmstands

We stopped in the BEST farm stands when we were up there . . . and got ourselves some very large pumpkins to carve for Halloween.

good witches

reading in front of the fire

But my favorite thing was reading in front of the fire at Lowely’s grandmother’s house . . . a little bit of heaven. 


I suggested Corn Pudding on the October page of this year’s calendar (up there  and hopefully on your wall) so I thought I should give you the recipe. It’s in the Autumn Book too. SO good, SO easy, and DO float it in a puddle of maple syrup … It’s the perfect food for this time of year, I promise!


Jackie Boy

Jack. In his new capacity of door beggar. PLEASE take me out!  Please!!!!!!!! I hope over the winter he forgets about the great outdoors because, despite his little mustache and his melting green eyes, this boy has terrible killer instincts and if he were set loose, I would fear for the world of birds, bunnies and other kitties! A neighborhood cat becomes visible through a window and Jack turns into a Rhodesian Ridgeback. One scary kitty.

sammy, Studio cat

I tell Jack he has it so easy. The cats in California are working cats! This is darling SAMMY . . . helping out at the Studio. He sleeps with us when we are there, and I have to say, I get a tear in my eye when I have to leave him. He looks a little scary in this photo, but that’s just the camera, he is the MOST wonderful kitty, SO loving. After Jack and Girl of course. (I think they can read.)

Sasha, Studio Cat

And Sasha! Another HUGE help at the Studio. Look at those front paws! I Love that my Studio has kitties. Kellee’s yellow lab, Reese, comes to work with her too, so we know we are running the RIGHT kind of business, don’t you agree? If things get too busy and Kellee and Sheri get stressed, they can just reach over, pet a kitty or a dog, and voila, stress is a thing of the past and they are smiling again!

All five stars for The Fairy Tale Girl

I’m smiling too because we have 52 five-star reviews on Amazon for The Fairy Tale Girl!!! Already, before most of our Girlfriends in the UK have even gotten their books. You can’t ask for more than that! I had to check Amazon, it’s the only way I know to gauge how the book is doing. So exciting and so lucky! Whoever has taken the time to write those reviews, if you are reading this, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank ALL of you. I love reading your comments here on the blog. I’m really overwhelmed to tell you the truth. This book was a long time coming . . . XOXO


Just so you know, every day I work on Book Two. Trying to girl paintingget it done ASAP! Cliff hangers (I’ve come to realize) are so unfair! No matter how much fun they are! I think you think you know how this next book will end, but I think you will be surprised. *That’s all I’m saying*. And for all the talk about making The Fairy Tale Girl into a movie (or, a series with Zooey Deschanel in the starring role, ha ha), I have one thing to say, where is Nora Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle) when we need her? Hear that, adorable Richard Curtis who made Love Actually?fun is goodAnd so are dreams. . .even if you don’t get them!

Flap copy for The Fairy Tale Girl


So, what else . . ? Oh, yes, I’ll be signing THE FAIRY TALE GIRL at Titcombs Bookshop on the Cape in Sandwich this Saturday, October 17th, from 1-3 p.m. if anyone is in the birthday kittyneighborhood. Joe and I are having lunch with the Beatrix Potter Girlfriends before the signing, to talk about next year, the 150th anniversary of the Birth of Beatrix, a light upon the earth for her time here, and still, after all these years. There are plans afoot for a celebration. I will tell you more later . . . hope to see some of you at the signing.

come see us

pumpkins in the garden

october susan branch

border flower

Joy to the world, that’s all I have to say. Not really ALL I have to say. That’ll be the day.:-) We are starting to plan our cross-country bookstore tour for next year . . . we are very excited. You know how good it feels to put something fun on the calendar?  Oh boy, do we feel good! Because we are also planning a very big birthday party for Joe next August. With a band and a tent and everything!  pumpkinPLUS, we still have another book to do, PLUS, Downton Abbey is coming, it’s all so exciting. PLUS Thanksgiving, PLUS Christmas. AND the first snow. Our cup runneth over.  Love you Girls, have a WONDERFUL day. EAT corn pudding! XOXO 

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556 Responses to AUTUMN from the HEART of the HOME

  1. May Kaardahl says:

    Hello! I love your blog, your pictures are so beautiful and i love your Casper lamp. Have you made it yourself?

    • sbranch says:

      I found it someplace many years ago and knew it was for me! I think it might be fairly easy to figure out how to make one. Just a frame and some very stiff sheet-like material. Plus a little felt pumpkin in his hands.

  2. Linda Hufham says:

    I just finished “The Fairy Tale Girl.” I love your book; looking so forward to your next one. It was hard to put the book down every night. One thing I discovered at the very beginning! You were born Aug 12, 1947; I was born Nov 14, 1947! And I have the same baby book as you! So although your childhood was different than mine; i.e, you had 7 siblings and I had 3 younger brothers; all the major events of our childhoods were similar. You had more exciting adventures! Anyway, I love your book – all your books. I’m so grateful that you happened into your career. Our lives are enhanced as a result. Thank you.

  3. Karen says:

    I have been away from your blog for too long. I just read your latest post and remembered why I loved your blog so much! The artwork, your zest for life, and on and on. I kept looking for the ‘like’ button for each picture, poem, recipe and just in general! Thanks for keeping life lively!

  4. Faith Rose says:

    Oh Susan it is true our cup does run over! How excited you make me for life! I got your lovely book and am in love with it. It’s like sitting down with a friend while she tells you her life story with pictures and details and tea and tears! Your book is so beautiful and even though I have said this before, you are an amazing writer! Your book makes me laugh and inspires me and gives me a chance to lie down and relax. One fall evening I was all alone in the house and I made myself a lovely dinner with candle light and I curled up on the coach and read! Oh and for dessert I had molasses cookies with coffee! I enjoyed it so much, your book is a blessing to me , thank you , I am savoring every page!

  5. Crystal says:

    Dear Susan,
    We just got back from a wonderful trip to France and Spain. I had pre-ordered your latest book, A Fairy Tale Girl and gotten it to take on the trip with me. First we drove to Winnipeg, Canada from Minnesota to visit with my husband’s family also airfare was much less expensive from there. We had a long layover in Toronto, Canada and I was enjoying your book very much. In fact I had almost finished it.However unfortunately in my rush to get on the airplane, I left my wonderful book in the luggage buggy. It was laying down flat in the place where you put your purse. I didn’t realize till I was on the plane and we were about to take off. I was very annoyed at my carelessness, but decided to check with the airport lost and found on my return trip. I did so yesterday but to no avail. So if my book without it’s cover as I had left that at home, finds it’s way back to you, please let me know. I would gladly send you the postage. If not, some lucky person out there has your lovely book and you will have another fan like myself. I will put your book on my Christmas wish list and enjoy finishing it then. Hopefully it brightened someone else’s day. Your fan, Crystal from Cannon Falls.

    • sbranch says:

      Hahaha, the book went off on an adventure . . . and if it remains true to form it actually should end up on Martha’s Vineyard! Welcome home Crystal!

  6. Karen Carpenter says:

    Hi Susan,

    I know it’s been a while, other serious life matters have taken up my life but things are calming down and I now have in my fat little hands your new book which I started Wednesday. Oh my, it is wonderful! Because we are the same age it’s like a walk down memory lane and a glimpse into what made you who you are! I ration my reading so I can make this last and last! Thank you, thank you for sharing your life and for Joe sacrificing time with you to allow it to be written! I hav loved every page!

    One of the Girlfriends

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Karen! So nice to hear! Yes, Joe, he’s been a real trooper, but I will make it up to him soon!

  7. Mamey Brown says:

    Your blog is my favorite thing! I check it periodically and when I see a post I haven’t come across yet, I get so giddy!! I too LOVE Autumn!! The colors here in upstate NY are just GORGEOUS right now! I just wanted to let you know, I finished The FAIRY TALE GIRL. I thought it was AMAZING!! I couldn’t put it down. I am soooo excited for part 2!!! In the meantime, I’m sure I will be re-reading right before the next book is released…Thank you so much Susan for all that you do!!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Mamey! I’m glad you enjoyed the book. I’m pretty sure you’ll like the next one too! Colors, here too, are just amazing!!

  8. Susan Joyce says:

    Susan, I just read Fairytale Girl (in one night). I was born on Martha’s Vineyard in 1948, then moved here to Washington state as a small child where I was raised. Kind of a reverse order from your story! Your book took me right back to growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, the hopes we had, first love and the anguish of having our heart broken. The things you thought, the clothes you wore, etc, it could have been Washington in 1966! It’s a beautiful book, thank you for it. I can’t wait for the sequel, because everytime I return to MV I feel I’ve come home and I know you love it too.

    Susan Joyce

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, and this is a true love story to the Vineyard . . . I didn’t know it would be that, but as I’ve been putting it together, it’s turning out that way, as it should!

  9. Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

    Wait until you see what landed in my email today. Go to: and look at the October 30, 2015 post. It’s all about The Beatles with photos of the boys as children and their homes and lots of history. If you haven’t seen it, I know you’ll love it. (Unless you’ve outgrown them, of course. I know you’re a grown up lady now, but I suspect you’re still young at heart when it comes to YOUR Beatles).

  10. denni in MN says:

    Happy Halloween, Susan & Joe, Girl Kitty & Jack included!!!
    May Tricks & Treats bring Fun & Sweets to you tonight!

  11. Sonya Hewe says:

    So in June, I moved from Alaska to Arizona and now I have beautiful fruit trees around my pool. The lemons are starting to fall from the tree and soon the oranges will be to. I kept wondering what am I going to do with all the lemons, what can I make…….and that’s when I thought of you!! Any great recipes for all these lemons that I’m going to have? Can I freeze them?

    • sbranch says:

      You can freeze the juice. Wow, huge move, from cold to hot! There are a hundred ways to use lemons of course, first off a bowl of them on a table is a gorgeous and good-smelling thing. And from there you can go to all kinds of drinks and desserts and cakes and pudding and pies and even lemon pasta. It’s never ending!

  12. deborah.t.norling says:

    I loved seeing the California cat children helping with the book orders….in fact..I’m going to request extra paw prints on my book !!

  13. Holly says:

    Your desk is pretty bad…. I can say that because mine is worse. I have 3 areas: a sewing machine area with 2 machines, a design/cutting table (huge), and my computer/writing/ebay/everything else desk, and being in the middle of two projects, they are super messy. It gets to the point of stopping work, putting away fabric, papers, tools, etc just to have space for my brain to work! I agree creativity is messy. My studio is smack dab in the middle of my home — a remodeled 1840’s brick warehouse where whiskey used to be made. When the living area was being remodeled, I was only planning on working in one room, then things expanded into three rooms…. creeped is a better word!

    Anyway! Thank you for again lifting my spirits, taking my mind off of the everyday issues here, and putting all the pleasantness of Autumn into my heart & mind!

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, my desk was hideous, now it’s only awful. Moving up! I think almost all my downstairs rooms are studio too. When we have a party I have to pretty much move stuff around. Happy to see you here Holly!

  14. Nancy J says:

    Seeing your crab apples brings back the memory of the year I made crab apple jelly. It was so good, I hated to use up the last of it. There used to be an orchard run by this expert in the old varieties of apples and knew so much about them. He gave me a basket of crabapples and suggested I mix them with some Geneva apples to make my juice. It was wonderful and a beautiful color. He is gone, his orchard has grown wild but I cherish that memory.

  15. Loribeth says:

    Just wanted to chime in and say how much I loved your new book Fairy Tale Girl. I just devoured it! I am from NH and our daughter is far away in her third year at Cal Poly so it was so much fun to read about all the familiar places that are part of her world right now. I have been a fan since your very first book which is well worn and stained. Can’t wait till spring to read the sequel. xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Loribeth . . . How wonderful you have a daughter at Cal Poly . . . that is a very difficult college to get into these days. Congratulations!

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