Making Sausage

Well, I know you’ve been wondering what happened to me and I have an excuse. I’ve been making sausage and it’s not the kind you eat! Musica? Of course!


I know some of you are worried about me. And you SHOULD be worried! Despite how normal everything looks from the outside, I’m like that commercial, “Help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

what a mess

Only I haven’t fallen. I’ve just gone stark staring mad.  My desk has looked like this for days now. Honestly, it never looks like this. That’s why I love watercolor, because Jack 2016 susan branch calendarit’s so NEAT. But this is different . . . my watercolors are under all of this. To add to the glory, Jack periodically comes and lays down on top of everything. Sometimes he hits the table and skids through everything. Then I wish to kill him. But instead I pick him up and kiss him madly and then he wishes to kill me. Despite the way it looks, this mess is actually organized,  until Jack gets there. Yes, throw the rubber band. Get up, stop the concentration, because this mess does require it, and throw the dang rubber band. It’s just that I am doing the funnest book-two and wish not to be interrupted. What you see here are just part of the photos that are going into the book. They say no one likes to Jack on the stairswatch sausage being made, so if that is so, maybe you should look away, because this is an inside look at scrapbook book writing.  And these are just the photos!  Wait until you see the watercolors!  I feel guilty for having this much fun while being derelict in my duties. But Mark Twain says it’s okay so if you have a problem with it, you will have to talk to him.quotetime


Here I am this morning … notice it’s still dark outside? Yes, I know, so what else is new. I’ve been wanting to write you but I keep thinking I’ll get this done and THEN I’ll write, but guess what?  It’s never going to get done!  It clearly will never happen. This is going to be groundhog day forever. So here I am, because I MISS you! 

making sausage

Don’t worry about me, it shouldn’t, but there’s something about this that puts me in hog heaven. What can Do not disturbI say?  Making stuff is my middle name. And this book has so many little textures and parts, I’m enjoying myself immensely, except if the phone rings or Jack knocks everything off the table. Until then I’m happy as a clam in my house of creativity, and I have no problem, especially when the days are chilly and the leaves are falling and I start wrapping up in shawls and lighting candles, shutting out the world and just making stuff. In fact, I feel just plain blessed.

happy home

the walk

I do allow, appreciate, and adore this.  Our walk. It’s more gorgeous than ever these lovely October days, and we never miss it, we go everyday. Doesn’t that sound healthy and balanced?  Of course it does! I have myself fooled.

the walk

Pretty huh?  I wish you could feel the breeze, and see the leaves drifting out of the trees. So far I haven’t managed to catch one in mid air, but I keep trying. It’s exhilarating out there! We walked along the shore today, listened to the waves roll in, and filled our pockets with shells, glass, tiny sea-worn bricks, and rocks.fallLovely, lovely weather we’re having.

the walk

The long and winding road . . . 


So I’m going to bed now, I just had to say hello . . . I realized I forgot to show you this. It’s a scarecrow we saw at Moulton Farmstand in Meredith, New Hampshire. Note the squash situation. I think I knew this guy in another life. Aren’t people creative? It never ends. Love you dears.  Hope all is well with you.  Never worry about me, I am a loud and frequent complainer whenever push comes to shove. If there was ever anything actually wrong, I’m pretty sure I would tell you! In fact, you can depend on it. Sweet dreams Girlfriends! XOXO

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414 Responses to Making Sausage

  1. marion cook says:

    Have a lovely rest my dear. Then back to it again tomorrow, I am sure. Just ad sure as we look forward to you sharing it with us.

  2. nellie says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you dear Sue, for taking time to give us a peek at your creative process! And – thank you so much for listening to my Twitter “wanderings.” ‘Tis good that this “old lady” felt someone was listening.:-)

    Jack is campaigning to be listed on the author page as giving official assistance.:-)

    Yes, it has been a glorious autumn here as well. We are truly blessed in more ways than one!

    Love that scarecrow sculpture! Seems that one can find creativity, even when one isn’t really looking.:-)

    Always wishing you the very best!

    xo Nellie

  3. Trisha says:

    Dear Susan, Just a hello and a Thank You Very Much for your wonderful books. I ended up reading A Fine Romance three times before returning it to the library. Fell in love with your words and your photos but especially your beautiful art work. You are one of the most creative people I know. …..then much to my surprise my husband ordered your The Fairy Time Girl and gave it to me on our anniversary. Some people get jewelry I get wonderful other gifts that I treasure! And something else happened a few days ago as I was visiting our son who happens to live on Martha’s Vineyard (I am taking credit for the wonderful balmy weather that you have had for the last few days !!) We were returning to my son’s home and were at a stop sign when there in front of us was your front door. Love the pumpkins over the door! Then later that evening we were returning home from dinner and we spotted your van that was parked on Main Street…..and I couldn’t believe it! I just have decided that the perfect scenario for your next book being released to all your adoring fans(girlfriends) would be right after the season finale of Downton Abbey so that we have something to look forward to! I am so glad that I had a wonderful visit with my son and only wished that I had bumped into you on Main Street on the island! I wish you well as you travel on your creative journey and can’t wait for the next chapter on your story of life! Thanks again for sharing your wonderful life!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you for bringing the FABULOUS weather Trisha! It’s been great . . . thank you for your lovely comment!

  4. Victoria Miller says:

    I kept looking for new posts, and then I had a cold for awhile and wasn’t paying attention , and today I find a veritable plethora of new posts you have done, even while making sausage (and whoopie, no doubt)! I have to remember your method of dealing with those we love when they are being cantankerous. We hate them, but grab them and smother them with kisses and love until they become annoyed and go away and leave us alone. Come to think of it, I seem to remember doing something like this with grandchildren. Autumn is so lovely there, and with the ocean. Thank you for sharing it. We are still enjoying Summer in sunny Southern California. In fact, we have had some terrible heat waves. Too much of a good thing, so to speak. But now it is just perfect. And the Persimmon tree in my neighbor’s yard still celebrates Autumn; the leaves are turning to gold, and very pretty with the deep orange persimmons. My neighbor doesn’t pick them, but leaves them for the birds to enjoy, which they very much do. And I’ve had the joy of watching a squirrel grab a small pommegranite from that tree and have a gay old time devouring it while perched on the corner of his garage roof (which is enchanting, sloped, and with a cupola with a sailboat weathervane.) So there are little glimpses of Fall here. I’m so enjoying ‘Fairy Tale Girl’ (well, most of it: some of it brings back some of my own not so wonderful memories). I now understand your outstanding embracing of the world of music. Also why the couple on the frontcover appears with the heads missing. (Been there, done that.) Very much looking forward to book 2. However, you certainly have the right way of going about it; enjoying the process. A joyous Autumn to you and your happy household, and to all the girlfriends (and boyfriends), where ever they are with the seasons.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Victoria . . . love those persimmon trees in California — so festive in the fall, like decorated Christmas trees! The cover was just about THE DRESS, that’s why no heads! Somehow it seemed better that way. The flowers on the cover are all missing one petal . . . he loves me, he loves me not. xoxo

  5. Kathy Hughes says:

    Susan, so good to see you working madly on your next book but how wonderful to take a break to let us know you’re okay. No pressure, but can’t wait for you to finish. 🙂 Just wondered if you had received my email. I wrote you — then realized how busy you were traveling, so I forwarded it to the marketing email address. I contacted a book store manager here about a book signing in the spring, and I do hope you will see my email even if you’re too busy to answer right now.

    I read some of the earlier comments, and I, too, am amazed that growing up in SC was so similar to growing up in CA. I had the most wonderful childhood in a very small town and loved doing many of the same things you did. Your book made me laugh, and I didn’t want it to end. Your siblings were lucky to have you as their big sister. Happy Autumn!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ll see if the girls got your email Kathy, thank you!! And it’s really the other way around, I’m lucky to have my siblings!

  6. Kate says:

    I just finished Fairy Tale Girl. You have got to get that second book done even though I do know it has a happy ending. I just want to tell you in one place of the book I was thinking to myself, “this girl needs some gumption.” And then you tore those last two pages out of Kimi’s book and I actually pumped my fist in the air and said, “That girl has gumption!”
    Love the scarecrow picture. Had to look twice.

    • sbranch says:

      First I was sad, then I got mad! You should know, I thought of a lot worse stuff than that. But my mother’s raising would never allow it.

  7. Betty says:

    Love your Autumn photos and your ‘messy’ desk 🙂 Look forward to your follow- up book. Really enjoyed “The Fairy Tale Girl”. Many memories revived for me there too. Happy days! Betty

  8. Carla says:

    We miss you too Susan, but cannot wait to see the end result of all of your hard work! I just finished Fairy Tale Girl, I tried to savor it but just could NOT stop reading. I absolutely LOVED it, can’t wait to hear the rest of the story! Have a wonderful weekend! Carla

  9. Marsha MacLean says:

    Hi Susan,
    How fun to see your work table full of clippings and photos… It’s the best way to work! I was so pleased to see you’re working at full speed, since I’m one of many who (somewhat selfishly) just can’t wait!
    Still, the most fun is seeing you enjoying it so! Hope you have a great weekend, blessings! Marsha

    • sbranch says:

      I’m loving “the rest of the story” — even more, because it’s . . . oh, here I go giving it away again. It’s just fun that’s all. XOXO

  10. Sara McKeefer says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that you’re having way too much fun, Susan, and that I need to write a book so I can have way too much fun too! Love the photo with the church in the background. What a beautiful view and right outside your window! I’m a little curious, though, about what that odd looking appendage is near the top of the steeple. It doesn’t look like a satellite dish…more like a TV antenna. Do you know?

    I think I’ll go to your shop and order me a birthday present. Sounds like a plan, doesn’t it? I’m thinking $70 worth in honor of making it 70 years come Sunday. You keep doing what you’re doing, Susan, because we all need you to keep stocking our bookshelves. Seriously! ~ Sara ~

    • sbranch says:

      It’s a very beautiful weather vane! Happy Birthday tomorrow dear Sara! Treating yourself is just the right thing! XOXO

  11. Pat Johnson says:

    Oh MY!! So happy to see that someone I admire and love can be as messy as me!! It simply shows how creative you are……hehe! Well in SLO county it was quite warm today….I am not sure Fall is coming yet. I never know what to wear when I get ready in the morning. Maybe that means I should wait until noon to dress for the day…… lovely! However……I love the pics that you send of your neck of the woods. Makes me feel like I have taken a trip and yet not moved from my chair…..thank you. Sending you hugs and tons of “energy” to tackle any job you feel like doing……..Love you Tons……Pat from Paso 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I fell so in love with the seasons when I got here all those years ago, I’m SO excited to be able to send them “home.” What a miracle! I used to put leaves in boxes and send them to friends — this is way better!

  12. Cindy K says:

    Love that daily walk of yours! That would certainly get me out every day!
    Nice to see you are alive and well, and staying busy. I love this time of year, and all the the wonderful bits of “autumn” in your post.
    It was so nice of you to think of us while you have been up to your ears in creativity. I’m sure the rest of the girlfriends would agree with me when I say it,s nice to be thought of! 🙂
    Enjoy making sausage!

  13. Lynn says:

    I’m happy to see a cup of tea on your desk! Everything must be okay!!

  14. Gert~Iowa says:

    Wonderful to hear from you! And thankful, all is (sort of)… I could just see Jack..sliding across all those photos….(bad boy) ha!! Your walk sounds absolutely amazing to me! Tom and I use to do that..(many years ago), everyday all year long! You will finish this project, but I just can’t imagine the exuberance you must feel as you complete one page after another!! (BTW Tom will be coming home next week! I’m so exited!) Blessings and hugs my friend!

  15. Debbie S says:

    Just finished Fairy Tale Girl and loved it. Can’t wait for the continuation of the story. I live in Paso Robles so it was interesting to read of your time in SLO.

  16. Gladys Marie says:

    Wonderful seeing you again, Susan. Such a sweet & happy visit. Thank you & God Bless.

  17. Pam says:

    Hooray, I have my copy of Fairy Tale Girl. I haven’t had a chance to start reading it yet, but hopefully soon. Always love your photos of your walks. We went to Stow the other day for a birthday outing for our daughter. There were loads of conkers and beechnuts. In fact standing under the trees they kept landing on our heads. Not sure if it was playful squirrels or just gravity :). Glad you are finding it fun putting the second book together, can’t wait to add it to my ‘library’.

  18. Ann Woleben says:


    I understand your fun. Even though I have to steal a few minutes for creative efforts, I love that feeling of being totally “lost” to the world when I become immersed in my journaling. It’s a precious gift of time. Enjoy!

  19. judi says:

    Ah, dear one, I haven’t commented much as I felt guilty for not having your new book. I’m trying to downsize and decided to go to the library to get the book. So, two days ago I went with my husband and went right to the info desk. Well……they did NOT
    HAVE YOUR BOOK, waaa…then my husband says…he just ordered it yesterday for me and it came Friday. Yea! Well, I described your book to the nice lady in charge at the library and she said right then…she was going to order it for the library. Happy was I!

    Have only had time to devour 20 pages but intend to reward myself after getting a few chores done and scurry back to it. Xo judi

  20. Jacki G. says:

    Hi Susan! Did you send out a Willard anytime recently, like within the last month or two? If so, I never did receive it, and I really do love reading them. Please let me know what I need to do to start getting them again. Thanks a bunch!

  21. CarolK in NJ says:

    What a hoot that squash man is. So imaginative! We get to see plumbers crack even on the scarecrows. LOL When work gets to you, take thy self (and Joe) to the Orange Peel Bakery near Gay Head light and treat yourself to a goodie or two or three. NOthing works better than rewarding oneself for doing a good job. My dining room table (aka my craft room) starts looking like your desk when I start working on my scrapbooking projects too. Jersey hugs

  22. matty says:

    Birthin’ is never easy! It is messy, hard, and, well, somewhat annoying at certain times… but isn’t it worth all that once you hold your “baby”? I finished “Fairy Tale Girl” in two night-night sessions… and I am concerned about how it will all come out in the end! (giggle)

    Glad you have Joe, the kitties, and the walks to keep you “balanced” whilst you work! One could do worse…. and if there are tea… and candles… and shawls.. Oh, my!

  23. Regina Carretta says:

    So enjoyed your morning post today……don’t we love our fur bucket family pets? When I have a “hot mess” of papers, magazines, photo’s on my dining table, my old Golden Retriever, Rosie (Rosebud), finds her leash, drags it to my feet, and gives me a wink before laying on it, on her dog pillow….our pets know what we need,and it is pretty cute that your kitty plunks down in your creative pile! thank you for sharing all the process you go through when writing a book….looking forward to reading both books ……


  24. Nancy says:

    Another great post, always leaves me with a smile or a out loud laugh. Love though darn kitties. Lost my little ‘Cookie’ this fall. They always give us such comfort or a good laugh. Nancy from Kansas.

  25. Anastasia Smith says:

    Thanks, Susan, for more chuckles.😄. Lucky you that you can say your cluttered desk is NOT the norm! This fellow MA resident is curled up in her throw as she types. Love the seasons too!🍁🍃🍂. The pictures have piqued my curiosity about your next book; i will look forward to the finished product.😘

  26. Rosemary says:

    The more I read of your posts, books, everything SB….the more I would love to sit down in a cozy room by the fire(I am thinking your house if you don’t mind) with 3,000 of our best friends and just have a chat. So many of us think alike and of course, you express how we feel, what we think, who we are in the MOST perfect way. I really don’t think I want all 3,000 there but I must not be greedy. And, the next book and the next book tour…I think I am in on the road trip but definitely on the book…am just planning the road trip with my sidekick who went with me to Kansas to see you on the last one. Happy days!
    We are having a fall day in North Texas….yay!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, lol, 3,000 of our best friends in for a chat! What shall we cook? So happy to hear you are getting Fall in Texas, it’s been a long time coming!

    • Jack says:

      Poor Texas their Fall turned out to rain-fall , 20 inches so far — hurry up Patricia and
      Blow away…””

      • Rosemary says:

        You are right, Jack. We needed the rain so badly but not all in 3 hours! Not really 3 hours but we were fortunate in North Texas where I live so had no aftermath like those south of us.

  27. Cindy H (from Louisiana) says:

    I loved your blog about the intensity of ‘scrapbook book writing’ alternating with peaceful autumn walks. My peaceful place is in my cosy rocking chair overlooking our lake, filled with migrating geese, blue herons, and egrets. THE FAIRY TALE GIRL sits on the windowsill, always ready to whisk me away to the 70’s and your dreams fulfilled. As the warm fire crackles in the fireplace, I am so grateful for the exquisite watercolors, thoughts and books you share with my daughters and me, validating our lives as women, wives, mothers and grandmothers. You are a beloved inspiration, Susan Branch!

  28. JoanS says:

    I love how your creativity spills out over your desk. Thank you for taking time out to tell us about making sausage.

  29. Helen says:

    So excited for the next book!

  30. Claudia Cole says:

    How do you get the right amount of sleep to keep up with your busy life? So many projects, including another book. Wow! I am in awe! And I do appreciate how much you care about the “girlfriends” all around the world. Thanks for sharing your life with us.

    I, too, was an Art major with emphasis in design. Although I liked to draw and paint, I found my nich in quilting and knitting. Like you I also love vintage items and it is a joy when I find something old (which is actually something new to me).

    Take your vitamins, Sue, and drink lots of tea!

  31. Janet Hundley - Grafton, WI says:

    Please don’t ever stress out. We will all wait for you and your art. Deadlines aren’t going to change our love for you. Enjoy the process and never miss your walks if you can help it!

  32. nanette from alabama says:

    It is SO perfectly sweet of you to let us know you are okay! We can’t help but worry a teeny bit when we don’t know what is going on………you say “peep” (letting us know you are there and accounted for. ha ) in the most delightful ways…….

    Perhaps you feel smothered in all this love that “worries” when you are busy working……….but it’s just lots of love and that is a good thing. Thank you for loving us back! With every blog (or book) we just love you all the more!

  33. Deborah in Odessa, Tx says:

    I just looked through here one more time …I love to read the comments. I love all the pics and the Headless Milkman…haha..I missed that little part before because I was looking at the hinder end. The whole thing is funny.

  34. Gail Golden says:

    Thanks for the update. I check my news feed every day for your most recent blog post. The weather here in Florida is lovely, too, with just a hint of cool. Temps are only rising to the mid 80’s. I envy the falling leaves, so I’m really enjoying your fall photos. The closest we get to fall color are our two golden rain trees. The blossoms are a beautiful blend of pink, rust, pale green and gold. Really pretty when they fall and make a carpet on the grass.

    Can’t wait for that next book, so tell Jack you have to keep your nose to the grindstone. I love seeing him in pictures and photographs. Wouldn’t a book about him be grand? I hope you don’t mind, but I printed off a picture of him that I look at every day, just to smile at. I miss my kitty who passed away two years ago. We’ve not gotten another because our rescued doxie is blind, very jealous of us, and hates cats…sigh. So Jack is my kitty, too. Thank you for sharing him.

    Love to y’all (kitties included, especially Jack)


    • sbranch says:

      I’ll tell Jack! A book about him would be wonderful, I have to agree! I’ll ask him to write one. Will keep him busy this winter. xoxo

      • Mary in Phoenix says:

        So, I’m reading these comments from the bottom up and see your response that says a book about Jack would be wonderful. I’m thinking you mean your dad … OMG … how great would that be … a book of “Jack Jargon” or “Blog Daddy Wisdom” 🙂 His recent words, “some things have to give so others can be given” … or fall in Texas being “rain-fall” … are a prime example of the great thoughts that come out of his life-well-lived 92 year old mind 🙂 I would LOVE that book ♥ xo

  35. Ginette Wheeler says:

    Yesterday morning as I was driving to work, (I start at 4am) I was enjoying the moon and feeling certain you where too, there is something to be said about the quietness of this hour and having a moment to savor the beauty that sometimes can get lost in the day.

    At work one of the first tasks I had to do and honestly probably my favorite was to check in the new magazines for the week, while doing so I came upon the one that always makes my heart sing, “Where Women Create” and snatched it up immediately, I could subscribe but where would the fun be in that, denying myself of this little perk?! I hope you have a chance to check it out, there’s an artist who just blow my mind, Jane Perkins from the U.K. She calls herself a “re-maker” or collage artist, her work is incredible (you could probably pull her up on line). I got out my magnify glass to check out all the details and smiled at the little discoveries, such a treat.

    Speaking of which, I got all my Halloween decorations up a week or so ago though I’ve been adding little touches here and there, I tend to go way, WAY overboard. I was inspired by your love of swags and strung some fall leaves (unfortunately not ones I gathered myself but those us Florida girls buy at the grocery store) on clear thread and drapped infront of my kitchen window, I just love them and thank you for the beautiful idea we’ll be enjoying right through Thanksgiving!

    One more little thing I want to thank you for is your encouraging words about “doing our part” to make Halloween special for the children. I too love my memories of this special night and know how it nurtured my creativity and dreams growing up and I agree with you, we need to do our part to make it special! It really isn’t that hard to put a pumpkin on your doorstep, a ghost in your window, stay home, put your porch light on and hand out treats, making the world on that night a little brighter for us all! Susan, you inspire me! XOXO

    • sbranch says:

      I agree about Where Women Create! Thank you for the wonderful words Ginette!

      • Chris Wells From Knickerbocker, W. TX says:

        I wonder how many of us have Autumn leaves strung across our kitchen windows……because of you!

        • sbranch says:

          I hope everyone can find some good leaves to do it with!

          • pat addison ( cave junction, OR) says:

            I use leaf shaped cookie cutters and for Halloween, spooky cookie cutters. if I had leaves the cats would shred them all up.

  36. Karen says:

    Thank you for Fairytale Girl. I made it last as long as I could; I tried to stop and really look at each page’s artwork as I read your beautiful story. And, I remembered things I’d long forgotten. I had that outfit! I wore my hair that way! My dad refused to protect us by building a bomb shelter so I worried at night. I sang those songs. I didn’t meet the Beatles, dang it, but I did meet …
    I was blown away by your vulnerability. I just didn’t expect it, and because you left the windows open, I appreciate your optimism and courage more than ever.

  37. Diana from Tennessee says:

    Thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures from your walks! I love walks along the waters edge! Yesterday I received the 2015 Christmas ornament in the mail and it is fabulous!! Last year I waited too late and they sold out before I ordered mine. Again thank you for sharing your world with us… to you, Diana

  38. Chris Miller says:

    Dearest Susan,
    Love the analogy of your process of creating the book to the making of sausage! Ha! And what a relief it was to take a peek at it all. Really! Your photo reminded me of how there never seems to be enough surface/counter space for creative minds!
    But be assured, that your loyal followers are forever patient and supportive no matter the meanderings, pauses or restful breaks you need to take. You give us so much and I can say that I am overjoyed and blessed to be on the receiving end of your creative exuberance for life.
    Sweet Dreams,

  39. barbara miller says:

    just finished the fairy tale girl……cried a great deal….in some ways a similar story to my life. it is good to know that the story will bring the island ,the books and Joe. thankyou.

  40. barbara lassiter says:

    Even sausage making is a creative process…especially the home made kind. Creativity just rolls around in our souls and it’s “gotta” come out, be it for sausage or beautiful watercolored books! Then we’re happy! 🙂
    Love the “scarecow”! Oh my….that is such a cute little scene!

  41. Rhonda D. says:

    Oh, Susan, your desk is so inspirational. I just love seeing creativity happening in your studio and seeing you so excited about it. It rubs off on all of us….helps to keep me dreaming. I really like your motto “fake it till you make it.” I”ll always remember that. Never thought about it from a creative point of view before. Looking forward to Isle of Dreams. The books are even more special because we get to see the creativity and inspiration that goes into them. Being an east coast gal, I always wondered what it was like to be a California gal. After reading The Fairy Tale Girl I got to mark that off my mental bucket list. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers as you write, write, write, kiss kitties, check with Joe, and write some
    more. Blessings xo

  42. Njean says:

    I have not had time to read everyone’s comments regarding your latest book. But I need to let you know that I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, looking at the pictures, and reading the little extras you put in each page. I cried with you, and I laughed with you. You are truly a person who is a great inspiration to me in my life. I adore each and every detail in your blog, Willard’s, and your books. Thank you for sharing such intimate things that have happened and are happening in your life. You are a very strong woman and I am so looking forward to your next book.

  43. Gail says:

    So I walk into the local indy book store last week & ask if they have your latest book. Them: She has a new one? Me: Mais, oui! Them: It says our warehouse has it but I don’t know why we don’t have it in the store, too. Would you like us to order it for you? Me: Oui, oui!

    It came in on Friday, and now my (neglected) house is a mess & the hamper is overflowing, but I’m up to the part where you kissed Pooh goodbye & are on the plane to Boston… Could you just zoom in on those text pages on your desk a little, so I can see what’s next?! TYVM. 😉

    P.S. – Your desk looks like my sewing room at all times. “Creativity is not a pretty sight” reads the sign on my wall.

    P.P.S. – I can’t believe Jack doesn’t EAT those hair bands. My cats would! My one cat’s sister (not owned by me) had to have 26 rubber bands removed from her stomach once. Apparently, like the number of licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop, that’s how many rubber bands it takes to make a cat need surgery. Tell Jack not to attempt breaking that record!!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Gail — and I’ll tell Jack although he doesn’t seem to be interested in eating them for some reason. He just wants me to shoot them!

  44. Kirsten in So. Cal says:

    Dear Susan, I personally want to express my gratitude for all your hard work. It’s amazing how you’ve written all your books and been able to keep up the blog and personal appearances and book signings!!! I wouldn’t want to miss any of it. Not to mention you live your life the way we all would like to live. And if that’s not so then I don’t want to know. We all need our fairy tales! Thanks for sharing yours with us!😉

  45. mary spring says:

    good morning !..’just had to stop a moment to share that I am re reading The Fairy Tale Girl and ‘SO enjoying it again..( first time that I read it was while I was in the midst of packing, so it was a rushed ( yet enjoyable ) read !.. you so have a gift with words..’loving the part of “wear(ing)-your-love-like-heaven”..for all of us with the “doily mentality”..’loving it go, girlfriend !!..thank you and ‘looking forward to Martha’s, Isle of Dreams…

  46. Heidi G says:

    I had all the planets align yesterday. We had rented a condo at the beach for the weekend, a football game was on, so my hubby was busy. The weather was perfectly sublime. Our guests had left to go home. I had your book, the time, the beach chair, a blanket and a cup of tea. I headed out to the secluded beach and read and napped and read again. I couldn’t put the book down. I finished the whole book in one day. At times I laughed out loud. I felt like you could possibly have been my slightly older sister as we lead a similar idyllic fun childhood. I loved your book and CAN NOT wait to read the next one. I hope I have a similar day to sit curled up with your next book, on a beach, with a cup of tea and read to my heart’s content. It made for a totally delightful day. Thank you for sharing your life with us in such a special way. Now I really feel like I know you in real life. I feel we would be kindred spirits!!

  47. Jan says:

    Sue, I just have to tell you how much I adore you. Your blog helps me in so many ways. I come home from work and I’m tired, and stressed, from working and cold, because Fall is in full swing here which I love but its chilly. I get a fire going in my fireplace, grab my computer and a cup of something warm, and log onto your blog. Suddenly I’m not so stressed, or tired. Feeling relaxed and inspired.
    My world is a whole lot more beautiful because you are in it.
    Love you!

  48. Carol Jones says:

    Dear Susan,

    Octobers in no. California are not quite like those on your beautiful island. We would have to drive a few hours to see the glory you see everyday. As a friend of mine would say (about most anything) “You are SO lucky”.

    I am one of the lucky ones who gets a glimpse into your life, your creativity, your kitties. I always feel my heart get a little happier when I see “Susan Branch Blog” bolded. I think even if there was an emergency – maybe a little earthquake or two, I’d wait and read what you’d written before I escaped to safety.

    I adore your watercolors, your love of Jack and all his antics, Girl Kitty, your writing, your love of birds, wildlife. This could go on and on……

    I know you have “paid your dues”, but how lucky you are to be involved in something you love and excel at. Your “girlfriends” are incredibly lucky to be invited into your world. You are not only talented, you are very generous and gracious.

    Thank you so much.

    P.S. I am sure I could go you one better in the “creative process” area. It might take a week to find Girl Kitty…

    • sbranch says:

      I think I’m so much the same as everyone, but sometimes I think others don’t know how creative they are, until it’s mentioned. So I’m here to mention it. We are SO lucky! Thank you Carol, I’m very touched by your words. xoxo

  49. Virginia says:

    Thank you so much, Susan, for taking the time to let us know all is well. Your desk looks like organized creativity, not a bit of a mess. It’s a collage in its own right!

    I had pre-ordered Fairy Tale Girl in May and read it in one sitting when it came. It made a deep impression on me and I can’t get it out of my mind. Someone above mentioned the library so I searched my local library catalog and–no FTG, locally or in the consortium! I was surprised and emailed them to suggest they buy it. I got a quick reply, copied here–

    “Hi Virginia,

    Thanks so much for your great suggestion. We will certainly buy “The Fairy Tale Girl” by Susan Branch. It looks delightful and I’m sure will be appreciated by our library patrons.

    It is surprising that it is not available in any library. It may mean simply that it was not reviewed by the usual library journals, so the librarians missed its publication.

    Thanks again.

    Susan” [the librarian]

    Back to me [Virginia]–The first book of yours that I read was from the library–loved it and bought my own copy. I think there are a lot of potential girlfriends out there who might discover you the same way. I’m sure many library-lovers read your blog and might suggest Fairy Tale Girl for their local libraries to purchase.

    And get those library journals to take note!!

    • sbranch says:

      What a big help that was Virginia, thank you so much. We are still learning how to approach different venues, and librarians are exactly who we would love to connect with. Not yet sure about “library journals” but for sure, we will be checking into it. THANK YOU for this! Very helpful!

  50. Gail Buss says:

    Hi Susan, my sister, Wendy, from Colorado asked what I wanted for Christmas and if you can make a great guess it was your new book which I now have in the Back closet since I can’t open it til Christmas! This is really hard for me but I’m sticking to it. Keep up the good work. Miss you! Hugs, Gail Buds

  51. Dear Susan,

    I had the most delightful ending to my day last night when my iPad and I climbed into bed and we leisurely ‘leafed’ through your last two posts … reading every line, noting and peering closely into every photo and image, and laughing in all the right places.


    We sure hope Kitty Cats remain on standby to hand out purry kisses for de-stressing of the artiste, and that a Certain Someone will fill the teapot and give neck rubs for said artiste as she works feverishly over her newest work of art.

    Wishing you a beautiful evening and a wonderful week ahead.

  52. Susan, your work looks like such fun! I love how you take the strings of your life and weave them altogether to create wonderful things for us to read and look at.

    I’ve been absent, too! But I have a good excuse also… I am a new grandpa! One of your steadfast “girlfriends” happens to be my daughter and she’d just had a baby. Now we have seven boys, a girl and our girl’s girl! Life is good!

    And, as always, my family is regularly treated to your fabulous brownies… It’s getting to be the time when I can also safely trot out my Mary’s Mother’s Snowball recipe!

    Take care and thanks for your continued inspiration!


  53. Heather says:

    Maybe its just me, but I see a heart in that first picture. At the top of the window. So pretty!

  54. Merci Schon says:

    Oh, dear Susan, you are just way too much fun! Just had surgery, going to be fine! But was down a bit and just knew you would brighten my day. Now that I’ve read “The Fairy Tale Girl” twice, I’m back to reading “A Fine Romance” for the third time; always find some small item I missed. Oh, yes, and I’m also looking at your first Edition (lucky me!) “Christmas From The Heart of the Home” for recipes for the upcoming holidays! I love all the holidays just as much as you do, especially Christmas. I read where your mother told you there was no Santa Claus at age 12; how depressing. I was told at 13 years, so sad. OK, I still believe in Santa Claus! P.S. I love your clutter, it just means the new book is on it’s way – yippie! Continue to enjoy your happy little world, we all need one! Love & Kisses! Merci…

    • sbranch says:

      You will love the new book, at least I think so, because I am LOVING it on my side, and that must mean something! Thank you Merci!

  55. Kelley S. says:

    Hey Susan,
    Always a delight to hear from you. Promise to get plenty of rest and keep up those walks to take care of your dear self. We don’t want anything to happen to you and your overflowing abundance of creativity.
    I totally sympathize with you and Jack’s “help” with your work. My tuxedo kitty, Jasper, loves to help, too. Usually he pushes things off of tabletops just to watch them fall. But his absolute weakness, his one thing that he cannot resist, is yarn. I’m a knitter, and if I don’t lock all yarn in a closet, high on a shelf, he will pull it out and roll it all over the house – upstairs and down. Then I come home to a giant cat’s cradle! It’s probably a good thing that Jack and Jasper can’t call each other.

    Our area in SC is still drying out and cleaning up from the 1000-year flood, so a little taste of dry, fall weather would be most welcome. But we survived and we’ll be OK. Life is good. PLEASE consider coming South on your next book tour. We would love to shower you and Joe with our hospitality.

  56. sondra fox says:

    Happy Fall Everyone! I’m so enjoying our cooler weather. Spent last week at Ventura Beach, CA, in my motorhome, with a friend, & my wonderful pound dog, Max. Max never needs a leash, although I put one on him for his own safety. We lost our fifteen year old Chocolate Lab Presley last week. He really belongs to my daughter, son-in-law, & two grown Grand Sons, but, he was my dog as well. I held him close when he was a pup, played with him a lot, often walked with him, went on fishing trips with him, sat around campfires with him, & babysat him (recently for a month). Presley knew I loved him. What a sweet, sweet dog. Don’t feel bad for me, as I have so many wonderful memories of that dog. My dog Jack, (Wired Hair Terrior) had to be put down in June. Jack & Presley were buddies. And now, both Jack & Presley are gone. A few days after Jack passed, we (my daughter & one of my Grand Sons) went to the pound & found Max for me. Max is the new era of doggies in our family. We already see him as one of the greats. I refuse to be ONE DAY without a dog in my life. How I love animals. Always have, always will. My Himalayan cat, Sheba, & Max get along so well. Sheba washes Max’s face. Rest in peaceful doggie heaven Presley dear, sweet dog. I shall miss you terribly. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • sbranch says:

      I SO agree with you Sondra that you refuse to be ONE DAY without a dog in your life!!!!! I feel the same way with kitties. They are never replaceable, but they need us almost as much as we need them. Sad about Presley, dear Sondra, loving Max. xoxo

  57. Wendy says:

    I showed my husband your funny scarecrow photo and he said, “That’s why they call it BUTternut squash.” 😊

  58. Margaret says:

    I just finished reading The Fairy Tail Girl. All the SLO “hot spots” of the day brought back many memories and many more. I grew up in Templeton and moved to San Luis to go to Cuesta, married a San Luis guy and have been here ever since. ( I am your age???) I know all the places and people you spoke of. So do you remember Sinsheimers for fabrics, The Grad for Friday night dancing, Pizza Pantry, Ciscos, which had another name before that. Great fun!!! My boys went to Grandmothers House when it first started. Betty was a wonderful lady!! Grandmothers House was a wonderful resource for non working mothers in the day. I am sure we must have crossed passed along the way.
    I too got traded in for a younger model and know how much it hurts, but some how prince charming comes along, even though he may have a few dents…and you live happily ever after. I enjoyed the book and pretty much read it straight through!!! A day or two later a magazine came in the mail from Cal Poly. There is a section called Alumni Class notes…and who did they mention…Cliff Branch… I hadn’t thought of him in a long time ….
    Great book! I am looking forward to the next edition.
    It is strange how the twists and turns of life take us. I am very proud of you and how you have grown through the years into a wonderful artist, as you were always a wonderful person. margaret bond wheeler

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, how about that tube they had at Sinsheimers with the bill that flew across the room and back! And how nice you met Betty! She was wonderful. Always such a cheerleader for me. Cliff could go, but I kept his parents. He was kind enough to share. Thank you Margaret!

  59. Dana Burton says:

    Love this post….love your house of creativity….love you Susan! So excited for the next book! Thanks for being so REAL and making us feel like we live right next door.:)

  60. Tina Lemke says:

    Just arrived to the current date of your blog! Finally slid in here, wind blown and out of breath! I discovered this blog when I purchased “A Fine Romance” and have been playing catch up ever since. I’m finally here! So you take your time dear Friend, you are so worth the wait! And Bless You! (Oh, it took me two days to read “The Fairy Tale Girl”. Couldn’t put it down! Wonderful! Must read it many more times!)

  61. Jan says:

    Your desktop looks like mine when I’m scrapbooking. Have started The Fairy Tale Girl, and am really enjoying it. Beautiful book! Just haven’t gotten very far into it yet. So much going on – my sister from New York was here for a week and then I lost a friend who fought a six and a half year battle with cancer. Hope to get back to it soon. We will have my daughter, husband, and two granddaughters here for Halloween – plus one of my grandsons. Will be carving pumpkins and trick or treating! 🙂 We too, are soaking up the Fall color. Windy and rainy here – so my back yard is scattered in a pattern of Fall colored leaves. My Dad who is 85 just finished harvesting his soybeans – 4 plus gravity boxes full. A great harvest this year! I got some great pictures of the process. Keep up the good work on your next book! You do such a great job! You are an inspiration to all of us!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you so much Jan. I’m very sorry that you lost your friend. It sounds like you honored her by making life very fun! XOXO

  62. Sara says:

    Glad to hear that you are fine and busily working on the next book. I love all the photos from your walks. Nature gives us such gifts!

  63. nancy from CA says:

    Hi Susan, from your book and several blogs I’ve seen your water cup with birds that you use for painting. I have the same cup I found clearing out my mom’s house after she passed away. Since we were regular Disneyland attenders and my mom always liked to buy a special souvenir, I wonder if mine came from there also? My question is, where in Disneyland would that have been sold? Seems an unlikely purchase except by you and my mom who loved beautiful things!

  64. Susan from Bainbridge Island, Wa. says:

    TRICK OR TREAT!!!! And then we get an hour extra of sleep!!!

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

    Good afternoon Susan, girlfriends. well the graveyard is all set up, the tombstones are up, the bones are scattered all over the graveyard, the front porch is decorated and ready, the pumpkins all carved and smiling, the cookies all baked and off to the school for the class Halloween parties and the bowl of candy is full and ready for tomorrow night and all the little ghosts and goblins to come trick or treating. we are ready for the fun to begin. so I jut want to take a moment to wish you and all the girlfriends a very Happy and Hauntingly fun Halloween. Happy Halloween everyone!! hugs….. 🙂 BOOOOOOO!!!!!!

  66. Jack says:

    I think Picasso would have titled that picture ” Headless Plumber milking fake cow”

  67. Janice says:

    It is funny, these days I patiently wait for your post looking forward to anything you have to say or shareim a single ole Gal, mother passed away almost two years ago now. And I feel a sense of lonely. I have children and grandchildren… But it doesnt always fulfill it all. So I lok forward to your post it kind of adds something to my heart… Glad to know you are doing okay just being busy. Scarecrow is to cute… Made me laugh and smile thank you.. Have a great weekend with love Janice

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I’m so sorry, I’ve been buried in the best happiest sense of the word, in my work. I love this book and am having a wonderful time being with it, but I miss everyone too. I need to get on a better schedule and stay connected!XOXO sending love.

      • sondra fox says:

        Hi Janice, I’m feeling compassion for you as you mourn your mother. I lost my husband two years ago, as well. I thought I’d tell you some of the things I do when I get lonely. First of all, several months ago, I joined a grief counseling group, which helped me somewhat. I go to lunch with friends. My family is close by & we do go out to dinner, but they’re way too busy to fill in some of my alone times. I understand their busy schedules, work, college, taking care of themselves, taking care of their own homes. These are some of the things I do when I feel on the lonesome side of life. I play the piano, I do table puzzles, I play with my dog & cat, I read, there’s a lot of take care of in my house & outside in my gardens, I sew & quilt, I call a shut in, or a friend I haven’t talked with in awhile, I take walks with my dog, & I’ve gotten closer to God, through fellowship groups at my church. I hope some of my suggestions help you as well. Blessings Janice. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  68. Janet Reilly says:

    Have loved your blog forever and especially so with recent entries. We’ve been on the Monterey Peninsula for 13 years now but prior to that we lived in Boxford, MA and had a lake house in Meredith and then Moultonborough, NH. Love your posts about the Lake and was so tickled to see the scarecrow from Moultonborough Farms. It is a wonderful farm store when’re I bought the most amazing mums among many other things.
    Can’t wait for the second book of the series to come out.

    • sbranch says:

      We loved that farmstead too, we were in there forever! You seem to be living in all the prettiest places!

  69. Hello Dear Sue!
    Good to hear from you out of your creative cocoon. Glad you had a moment to connect. I love the long slanting sunshine of Autumn and the coziness of shawls and blanket wraps. The cups of tea are extra comforting these days with the steam coming off of them.
    Stay warm while you dance down memory lane to gift us the next book.
    And oh that Jack!- his counterpart, Poirot, is here doing the same to my papers. The imp never rests and if there is a paper I need he will be sure to jump up and sit upon it. Catly virtue- he thinks- keeping warm and safe for me. 😉
    Stay well and happy. Sending love to Joe and the kits and the family- which includes the girlfriends!

  70. Robin says:

    Dearest Susan, I just caught up on your last two blogs. I won’t belabor the point – you are a blessing! Thank you for giving so much of your talents and general wonderfulness to all of us!


  71. Linda Kelley says:

    I just finished The Fairy Tale Girl and it’s one of those books that I couldn’t easily put down and definitely did not want it to end! Now I’m anxiously awaiting your next writings. Fairy Tale Girl inspired me on a number of levels, I cried through many parts (good tears) because it’s just so beautifully written on a level that fully connects with me and many of my own experiences. I will say that you inspired me to pull out all of my own framed art work that I had once displayed in the only hallway we have within our tiny cottage but had since stored in a large laundry basket in the closet. I spent part of Sunday afternoon hanging all of it near my newly rearranged desk space in a corner portion of our bedroom and am quite pleased with the results. Thank you for the inspiration that you spark in others!
    Kindest regards,
    Linda in Central Illinois

  72. Sharon Maier says:

    You have beautifully put in writing and in photos why autumn is the best time of the year! Thank you as always for brightening my day, and especially for the reminder to notice the beauty around us….

  73. Jack says:

    I can see her in my minds eye. Elizabeth Hill , dancing with zee refrigerator handle ….
    Zhat is a vunderful image ….. I’ve been practicing up on my French – did you notice ?

  74. Sonya Hewe says:

    I just finished reading The Fairy Tale Girl and I just did not want it to end. I tried to make it last, but just couldn’t put it down. LOVED it!
    And who knew, I LOVE french fries and tartar sauce!

    Can’t wait for the Isle of Dreams!

    • sbranch says:

      I heard that with A Fine Romance, so I thought maybe two books this time would be better! 🙂 SO happy you liked it Sonya, very good taste with the tartar sauce and french fries! xoxo

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