On with the Dance!

Good Morning Dear Ones, On with the Dance! . . .  MUSICA



our house in the snow


Well, this is my house in the snow, but this is NOT how it looks around here. That’s why I love this blog, it can be just the way I want it to be despite what is going on in the real world.


Reality, rise above it!

I prayed for a long fall and got it!! It’s been gorgeous here, long walks every day, just lovely. We know it will end soon, so we are glorying while playing outside much more than normal for the middle of December.

snowflakes r us

In the meantime, inside we MAKE our own Christmas . . . We’ve had lots of snowflakes in our web store . . .

stars, birds, snowflakes

Because I love to hang them in front of mirrors this time of year and thought you might like them too . . . maybe no snow outside, but inside this house, oh yeah, it’s snowing . . .


how to make paper snowflakes

I found this on the Internet, just in case you’d like to make your own!  This works like a charm!Merry In The WinterhollyChristmas vintage postcard

And Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy what ever this season means to you, because A. it’s all about respect, and B. we earth people have SO MUCH MORE IN COMMON than we have differences, but most of all, and I think Jesus would agree, Happy Love. From my folks to your folks, my heart to yours.

CookiesDid you get your Cookie Jar yet?  You will if you’re signed up for Willard! We started sending out our Cookie cookieJar yesterday, filled with wonderful cookie recipes for your exchange parties, everything from butter cookies to Rum Balls, chocolate dipped Macaroons, and cornflake wreaths, yummy! It will be going out to everyone this week, look for it in your emails! And here are some ideas for special things you can do with them if you want to turn them into “more”~give cookies

Christmas Cookies

These beauties were made by my nieces, Annie Hall’s Butter Cookies, the height of creativity!

SB Art SweetnessGladys Taber quote


Baked-Christmas-DecorationsI still have a cookie on my tree I made YEARS ago with this recipe! They last! Mine is a cookie cutter heart with a smaller heart on top of it, painted red.

Jack and JoeWe have our tree . . . that little kitty right there is sitting on my art table now . . . I just picked him up, had my arms around him, rubbing his belly and thinking he is just like a furry soft wiggly teddy bear. He is my perfect Christmas decoration.


Christmas lights

We did it, we took out the table, put our tree in its place, because we love the twinkle in the windows. In this photo it was only wearing lights, but I discovered yesterday that talking on the phone is the perfect time to multi-task ~ I visited with both my mom and dad while I decorated the tree!

decorating outside

Joe made the porches twinkle too . . . When it was dark, we got in the car and drove around the block a couple of times to look at our house . . . we are LIGHT people!

Decorating the top of the stove

And of course, some of my favorite little things are on the shelf on top of the stove . . . lamb and rocking horse, cozy Christmas houses, a stove, trees and holly, music-noteand a doggie and a cardinal!

City sidewalks, tiny music-notesidewalks, dressed in holiday green, in the air there’s a feeling of Christmas . . .

Love the birds

The birds seem happy too . . .

Christmas angel

I hung our paper angel on the tree . . .

Little house decorated for Christmas

And put on lights for the house on the stove . . .

December 2012 calendarThere are so many little ways to celebrate. . .

little things

old fashioned christmas

When you go out shopping, try to be a decoration, wear something red, put on a cute hat, a spring of holly and 


go. be. love.

More than ever.

Christmas bookmarkHere’s a BOOKMARK you can get elfish with, give to your friends and family, stuff a stocking! Just click there and print it out on cardstock. 

MUSICA A song I learned in Sunday School as a child that I’ve sung all my life and still LOVE and believe with all my heart.


We live together on this small beautiful planet, any other way won’t work. We win, not through fear and reaction, but by deliberation and through love and the spirit of Christmas. Besame, besame mucho.❌⭕️

He drew a circle that shut me out, heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.  But LOVE and I had the WIT to win, we drew a circle that took him in.  Edwin Markham

girl with hearts


prayer for a little homeholly

Blessings on you my Girlfriends. Hope you are having a wonderful season. Please don’t forget the most important thing of all . . . the time you make for the little things, including Little YOU♥. With Love from your Girlfriend, deep breaths, Little Me.❌⭕️



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418 Responses to On with the Dance!

  1. Margie Orr says:

    Reminds me of my childhood and the happy innocent dreams on Christmas morning when the days were magic. I am trying to create magic…you help to inspire me. Was wondering when you would send another blog or Willard. I do miss the snow…but lights are second best during this darkest time of the year. Our tree is up and the sparkling lights on our kissing ball. Thanks for helping to create the magic and charm of the season. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! ❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️ To the ❤️ of your home! From the ❤️ of ours much joy this holiday season, Margie

  2. LINDA JUNE says:

    Another bright blog to brighten the dark days of winter!

  3. starr miller says:

    Hey Susan,

    Loved your post today and always fun to read the girlfriends comments, too. You are loved and appreciated for taking the time to share your insights and creativity.
    What you say often gives us things to ponder, to reflex upon. Gratitude and happiness –oh yes. Good things indeed.

    We are escaping the holiday crush and taking a Christmas cruise. I think my husband and I will enjoy the endless waters and activities aboard the ship. We are also celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary. Where did those years go?

    So here’s to new adventures. Peace and Good Will to all.

  4. Rose Utterback says:

    Your blogs are so inspirational and cheery; esp. when the kitties get into the act.
    Merry Christmas to you and Joe.

  5. Kathy Madigan says:

    Thank you for this beautiful post! Wishing you “all things bright and beautiful”!

  6. Susan Lee says:

    Merry Christmas! Will be reading The Fairy Tale Girl Over the holidays.

  7. Linda H (from northern IN) says:

    Hi Susan,
    Thanks for your light-hearted, cheerful, love-filled post! What a wise man Edwin Markham is(was)! Yes, we really need more openness and acceptance in our world right now! There are so many problems, so much divisiveness.
    Merry Christmas to you and Joe! Enjoy the season–I know you will! You’re an expert at it! Hope to see you next year on your book tour! You’re not scheduled to come to my immediate area, but I’m putting the word out to bookstores in the area!

  8. Bonnie says:

    I needed to read something happy and fun today! Thank you!
    And have the merriest, Merry Christmas ever!

  9. Maria B says:

    Hi Susan, I loved your post today. In fact I love all the things you write and make, especially during the Holidays. It makes me smile. I have snowflakes and snowmen all over our home. This will probably be the only snow I see as a white Christmas is not in the forecast this year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  10. Charissa says:

    Thank you for such a wonderful post!!! I love all your cozy pictures. I forgot how to make snowflakes. I can’t wait to try them. I bought some fun glitters last year and never used them. This will give me the chance to. And we need a lot of snowflakes because it was 70 here today in Texas and will be 78 on Friday. UGH. No matter though, I cranked down the air and lit the fireplace and have Christmas music blasting at all hours. Your house and tree look gorgeous and Joe did a great job on the outside. You have the most wonderful suggestions and hints!!! I LOVE all your quotes! Did Gladys do a Christmas book? I am going to go look. I know she did things a lot by years so maybe not. Thank you so much for all the great book marks you always give us. They are always so fun to use and give as gifts!

    This post really hit the spot. I feel so much more Christmassy now!!!

    Thanks again and Christmas hugs XOXO

    • sbranch says:

      I think there’s a lovely little bit of Christmas in many of Gladys’s books, but I’m not familiar with one totally devoted to the holiday. She’s a season kinda-gal. Stay cool Charissa, glittery snowflakes should help! xoxo

  11. Such a cherry post, dear Susan. I so enjoy the quotes of Gladys Taber. Since learning about her from you I have quite a collection her wonderful musings. Your tree is in a perfect spot—a great alcove for a Christmas tree. We so much need Christmas—this year more than ever! XOXO ♥

  12. My old bones like warm climates, that is why I live in Charleston SC, we rarely see snow and that is fine by me 🙂 I do enjoy seeing other people’s homes covered in snow, just not mine. God bless you Susan for your cheerful spirit and the love you share so generously. I love reading the comments of your fans, such wonderful people gather around you, the world over. You are a blessing to us all.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family and friends.

  13. deezie says:

    Hi Susan
    Love your post today. Your tree looks amazing and so perfect in that spot. The picture of your house in the snow is gorgeous* Love those bookmarks. I really adore that little house that you put little lights on, how sweet that is. We are having a nice long Fall too and I am loving it. We are in Ct so we have similar weather to you. Enjoy this gorgeous day Susan

  14. Judy from So.Cal says:

    Thank you for the timely message,,we all need to spread a little love and joy in our own world and what a difference that would make,,I am now ready for some Christmas baking,,,,,Judy

  15. kay walker says:

    It is always a joy to find a new blog from you, about what you’re doing and what you’ve done. Thank you.
    Will you share your Christmas menu with us and do you have a favorite Christmas ornament? If so, why?
    Wishing you and Joe and the kitties a very Merry Christmas.

    • sbranch says:

      We are spreading ourselves amongst friends this Christmas. Taking food and being jolly. So the menu mainly consists of whatever it is they want me to make! And Christmas ornaments, that’s hard too, because we have everything on our tree, from the crayon picture that Joe did in kindergarten, to my sister’s “joke” ornament: a giant white bear with a halo that is a must-have every year, to the crooked stuffed stars and candy canes I made oh so many years ago. It would be hard to choose one. Each one, for me, is an oooh and ahhh moment, even the ones that don’t seem like they would deserve it! 🙂

  16. Leslie In Maine says:

    Thank you for this heartwarming post. We have an old sea captain’s house, very much like yours. This time of year I feel it is the perfect Christmas house. It begs to be fesrooned with wonderful festive things. I love what you do with your home and how you inspire me. Many thanks!

  17. Linda W says:

    Sitting by my tree enjoying your post this evening, Make a few moments of my day, all about the joys of this blessed season. I can’t wait for the Willard to arrive. 10 kinds of cookies waiting to package up for gifts. Love your ideas too!

  18. Patti g says:

    I always experience a warm fuzzy feeling when I read your blogs, Susan! Merry Christmas! Patti

  19. Merry Christmas to you, Susan, and all the girlfriends. Loved your blog today. You always know exactly what to say. You spread cheer to one and all – you are a true elf!!

  20. Loretta says:

    Hello Susan….just read your blog…..oh, the pictures are beautiful and everything brings out the wonderful season of Christmas! It has been great here in Calif. Not too cold yet, however we have had some chilly days and nights. Even cold enough to light a beautiful fire in our fireplace! It makes everything so cozy…..enjoy the holidays…..Take care…. Loretta/Santa Nella

  21. Nettie says:

    Susan, thank you for all you do for all of us girlfriends…….we love you.
    You must have frustrations just like the rest of us but you always show us ways to find joy in the everyday things. This is a very special time of year and we all look for light peace love and hope. God Bless you and Joe May your days and nights be filled with merry moments.

  22. You just added A large dose of Christmas cheer to My spirit-Thank You….AGAIN.

  23. Marcia Anderson says:

    I have always loved the Vineyard, but you have made everything so magical with your beautiful drawings and sweet thoughts. Then, there is Jack and Girl 🙂 our Cajsa died over a year ago and we were heart broken. Then in the dead of winter, our beautiful Anya with the slanted jade brown eyes and the powder puff at the tip of her tail came through the ice and snow in cold Illinois winter last year….it was after Christmas. We thought she needed a boy friend, and went out to a nearby barn and found Kitty Anders. He was half starved and lived on birds and mice. This year they are helping me with our tree. They sleep in our warm beds, and eat like a fairy princess would and her Prince Charming. I am going to order the Santa Doorstop tomorrow…it looks just like Kitty Anders Anderson. God Bless you and yours, Marcia Anderson

  24. Connie Leach says:

    Such a lovely post. It’s sort of a weird time– taking care of my mom– she’s 94.
    Trying to learn the ‘spread joy’ thing. Thanks for taking the time to send us such beautiful thoughts and images– just decorating my little tree upstairs made a difference– (there’ll be a big one downstairs for all of us). Christmas just can’t help but make joy! GOD, the beautiful Father of the beautiful Son, holds us in His Hands!

  25. Sylvia in Fort Walton Beach, FL says:

    As always, I look forward to your posts to bring more pleasantness to my day. Thank you for sharing!

  26. Debbie Dority says:

    Merry Christmas to everyone and especially to you SB and thank you so much for sharing your life and loves with us! Here in Little Rock it is our weird warm December, but three yrs ago the first half of the month had temps way above average and on Christmas Day we got 8″ of snow and then 4 days with no power!

  27. Lois Rehm says:

    Dear Susan,

    Your posting today trumps all the dismal news of the last few days. Indeed,
    love, kindness, and peace are the antidotes to the current ailments afflicting humankind. There is also much comfort in sharing the warmth of home and hearth with family and friends.

    Thanks for all you do to encourage creativity and appreciation for the simple, wholesome things around us.

    All that’s good I wish for you, Joe, the kitties, and the wonderful girlfriends that I feel connected to thanks to your blessed blog.

    Lois from Westchester

    P.S. Jacques Pepin, in today’s NY Times, writes of food memories from his early childhood days in France through recent times residing in Connecticut.
    He describes hunting for mushrooms with his father in France and how he now seeks freshly grown vegetables and seafood in CT to prepare for family and friends. He writes in a down-to-earth and wholesome way–no haute cuisine
    obsession–just a focus on plain, good ingredients.

  28. Cindy Tuning says:

    Such a festive post!! You make me want to put a sparkly glittery snowflake brooch on my winter coat and wear that 1920’s looking hat that I only use for decoration. I made your gingerbread cake wth the Guinness yesterday and it was so good!! A quilt club is having their Christmas Tea at my house next week and I will make that for dessert. Pretty sure they’ll love it too. The weather here in WNY is more like Spring than Winter so thank you El Nino. Nothing at all like last year at this time…we were buried in 7 ft of snow. Love your indoor snowflakes and Christmas tree.

    • sbranch says:

      Did you have the Christmas tree pan for your cake? Just wondering because it’s SO cute with the powdered sugar snow on top!

      • Cindy Tuning says:

        I had a cottage pan with a chimney and trees which came out pretty good and looked like a cute brown house covered in snow. The powdered sugar definitely brought it up a notch and it was yummy. For the ladies tea I’m just going to bake it in a pan to cut in squares with whipped cream. Haven’t hosted a Tea yet without serving a couple of your recipes. The guests see your cookbooks that I have on the hutch and it always starts a nice conversation . We find a few Girlfriends in the group that follow your blog. You’re such an elf!!!

        • sbranch says:

          I would also suggest, if I may, that for the ladies tea you try the Gingerbread in my Autumn book. It wants to be cut in squares, it’s lighter and I think it’s even a bit better, with the lemon sauce and all. Believe it or not! And give my love to all!

          • Cindy Tuning says:

            Thanks Susan. Lemon sauce had been twirling around in my head. I usually make ginger scones with homemade lemon curd for Tea’s so that would be a nice change and maybe more “Christmasy”

          • sbranch says:

            You will love it Cindy!

  29. Kate Eich says:

    I’m so happy to have discovered you this year. I heard about you from the blog “Enjoying the Small Things”……blogger Kelle Hampton is quite a fan of yours! I’ve already cooked a few of your recipes and ordered several books. I’m a stay-home-mom of 4 littles (ages 3, 6, 7, and 9), and everything you do just makes me feel so cozy and nice! Happy holidays.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh my goodness, yes you do have a very big job! I’m the oldest of 8, so I can relate to your household! xoxo

  30. karenR says:

    Just found out yesterday that my Husband has Cancer so your post lightened the load of stress and worry for me for a while. We have so many things to be thankful for and have a blessed life no matter what comes our way. Thank you for uplifting my spirits and reminding me the real reason for the season is to celebrate the birth of our Saviour.

    • sbranch says:

      Sending love and a warm hug to you and your husband Karen. Very rough to hear but you know about all the hope there is for cancer patients today, I’m sure. He’ll be fine. xoxoxoxo.

    • charissa says:

      I am so sorry to hear your news. I will be thinking of you and praying for you during this trying time. Sending hugs xoxo

  31. Jody says:

    Thank you for the shot of Christmas Cheer! I kinda needed it.

  32. CarolK says:

    Dear Heart, Every blog from you is like a Christmas gift. I wish the whole world would sing your song. Merry, Merry Christmas to your and yours from me and mine………..

  33. Joey says:

    Susan I absolutely adore seeing your site show up in my email. You are so awesome and such a huge day brightener. 🙂 Love your enthusiasm and talents…and love of kitties. We have two of them. One for my husband and my little shadow Sassy. We got her from our Humane Society last year and she follows me everywhere, more like a puppy. I met you once many many years ago in Salem Oregon at a book signing. It was such a pleasure for me and my friend. We took a picture..I should hunt it down. Only have about 10 shoe boxes full of photos. I will use your favorite goodbye now which is the same one I always use. xoxo
    I have your newest book and can’t wait to read it!…ha ha…I’m having trouble stopping writing. You feel like a very dear close friend of many years. 🙂

  34. Linda Miller says:

    What a beautiful post! The season of reflection
    is upon us. Your paintings, poetry, recipes, photos,
    and decorations really set the stage. Thank you for
    inviting me into your heart and home this year. May
    you and yours have a Blessed Christmas!
    Warm thoughts,

  35. Amy in Salem says:

    Loved reading your new post. I just got a 1st Edition at Powell’s, a gently used copy with an inscription from one girlfriend to another, of your Christmas book. I’ll enjoy having it for this holiday season and cooking or baking something special.
    Cheers, with a wish for a little snow to come your way.

  36. Suzanne says:

    Love and blessings to you and friends in blogland! ♥

  37. Sara says:

    A conspiracy of love… I like that, Susan. No other kind of conspiracy should be allowed! Your Christmas tree is lovely. So cool that you and Joe drove around the block just to see how it looked… who doesn’t do that? We’re putting our outside lights up tomorrow, since it’s going to be nearly 60! We should be buried under at least a foot of snow by now! I’m ready for winter, not spring, and stuff is starting to bud, which is NOT good!

    The suggestion to be a decoration when we go shopping is brilliant! I think I’ll put my new Santa pin on my red Joe-Beret, which I wear with my gray windbreaker, since it’s still too mild to break out the heavy coats! Never thought about putting a pin on them before. I have the brown beret for my brown coat and a taupe one; and about five minutes ago, I ordered a black one to pin my mother’s Eisenberg ice and smoky gray brooch on. I get compliments every time I wear a beret, and I can’t believe how warm they are.

    I’m looking forward to the cookie email. I am a cookie person. We do the traditional, decorated sugar cookies as a family, and I love watching the grandsons pile on the red hots, sprinkles etc., just like your nieces did. I’ll make some jam thumbprints, rum balls, Mexican wedding cakes, divinity fudge and caramels.

    Thanks for sharing your Christmas progress, Susan. Visiting your house is always such a treat! It was nice to see you (in the mirror)! Ha-ha! Blessings to you and Joe and your furry kids. 🙂 Sara 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      We wear berets every day out on our walk, and I know what you mean about warmth, they’re perfect. Mine has a little star pinned to it. My dad got us some special ones that are still too new and too good to wear except when we go out, they have little British icons pinned to them. Thank you so much for the good wishes, Sara, all mine back to you!

  38. barbara miller says:

    merry Christmas to you and Joe. light the lights and sit with a hot cocoa and dream!

  39. Monique says:

    Happy holidays to you..like you..we are all prettied up and twinkling..and like you..no snow yet..but we finally had sun today..

  40. Michele Taylor says:

    So glad to see your post today! And read all the comments from the girlfriends. …kindred spirits all! My husband is undergoing kidney cancer surgery tomorrow, so we have been flying around trying to get all the Christmas things done. I was feeling a little anxious and harried today and it was so good to sit for a few minutes, read your post and just breathe…aaahhh. Deep breath. Relax. Thank you. I needed that. Merry Christmas to you and Joe. And the kitties, of course. Your tree and house are lovely.

  41. Kathy Towers says:

    Thank you, Susan, for your wonderful posts!!! Do you realize what a delightful treat they are for all of us??!! You inspire us to adore our own homes, famlies, & decorations! You are the BEST! Merry, merry Christmas!!!

  42. Carole Woolery says:

    Thank you, Dear Susan, for such a lovely thoughtful happy post. Reading it was like opening a Christmas present with two quotes from our beloved Gladys Taber and a new Christmas bookmark as well! Wishing you and Joe a wonderful Christmas.

  43. Nancy says:

    Thank you for this lovely Christmas posting. Every word and drawing or photo is so warm and loving.
    Happy is the day I read your latest message.

  44. Linda says:

    Merry Christmas Susan and family! Hope you have a white one as that seems to be what you are wishing for. Let’s keep the Christ in Christmas and make the world a safer place…….we all need to pray really hard this year for this world we live in and maybe our prayers will get answered if we all do it! Linda from Idaho where it is 50’s and rainy….but not flooding like the poor states of Washington and Oregon.

  45. Mary, St Louis says:

    Love that you make those snowflakes too ! My mom taught us kids to make those when I was a little kid ( way back in the 50’s) ! So fun ..
    Susan your house is so beautiful; please post a pic at night, so we can see it with the lights. We are having an extended fall here too- 70 degrees today. We are told by the meteorologists that we have less than a 12% chance of having a white Christmas. My grandson from New Orleans is going to be so disappointed, b/c he has been hoping for snow when he comes for Christmas. I wish we could have some for him, but it doesn’t look very likely ! 🙁
    Have a Merry Merry Christmas. So much fun, this time of year. 🎶 Simply having a wonderful Christmastime 🎅🏼🌲❤️

    • sbranch says:

      Here either, probably not a white Christmas. I’m finding reasons to be happy about it, but I will jump for joy at those first flakes!

      • Ikwig says:

        Sorry to jump into the middle of the conversation, but I just wanted to point out one of the things I like most about you: you’re very, very good at “finding reasons to be happy!” That is a rare, but useful talent. I wish we all had a bit more of it, but I am so thankful that you’re willing to share your talent with us!

  46. Diana says:

    thank you , thank you Susan, for making me so happy, and reminding me to be me. Xoxoxo

  47. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    Thank you for the positive words Susan.
    Your tree looks beautiful. Is Jack a good boy when the tree is all decorated?
    Where was Girl Kitty?
    I am enjoying decorating the house and tree. Listening to Christmas music at the same time helps shut out the worlds problems. We really need to do that to stay calm. Reading your blog always helps that also.
    Enjoy the holiday season and your milder weather.

    • sbranch says:

      Girl is getting on in age, less curious about the world, more interested in quiet places to sleep. But she’s fine and has a spot on my lap every night and we brush her hair together. So all is well.

  48. Petra says:

    Your lovely posts always brighten my days!
    Thank you very much! 🙂

  49. Brenda says:

    There is a saying I love…Christmas is Love, Pass it On!
    Your blog has done that for me. Thank you so much.
    May you and your family have a blessed Christmas filled with all the people and things you love most and may you enjoy a Happy and Healthy New Year.

  50. Oh how I have enjoyed your Christmas post today, and the Willard Cookie Jar also. I always enjoy all of your posts. They are like a little ray of sunshine when they pop into my e-mail box. No snow here, and it is a very rare thing at all to have snow here at Christmas! Just once I would love a White Christmas. It is what I dream of, no pun intended! I just finished reading A Fine Romance for the fifth time and am Starting Fairy Tale Girl for the second time. I love your books. I was able to pick up a second hand copy of Heart of the Home (which I have loved for many years) as a gift for a Greek friend I have coming to stay with us for Christmas. I know she will love it. At the same time I bought myself a gently used copy of your Christmas book. Imagine my disappointment when I opened it only to discover that someone had removed several of the pages. (Insert crying face here.) I will have to find another one. I should have bought it new to begin with! Live and learn! Anyways, I know my friend will love the book I got her. I have bought your Fine Romance Book for several people as gifts over the past couple of years and they have always enjoyed them. You just make people happy. I hope you and Joe and the Kitties have the nicest Christmas possible. God bless you! xoxo

  51. Rosemary says:

    Thankyou very much for your posts.I look forward to them because not only are they beautiful,but they also make me very HAPPY.

  52. Jackie Cavitt says:

    Thank you, dear Susan, for brightening my morning…Jesus Loves the Little Children, how perfect! Take care, enjoy this beautiful season, and know how grateful all we “girlfriends” are for YOU!! xo

  53. Linda Metcalf says:

    Love your post! The tree with the lights is magical ….I like to drive up at night to ours and see the lights and decorations….makes me feel all fuzzy inside. The tiny house with lights is sooo sweet. Making Dundee cakes today and a couple of other goodies ….My great granddaughter will be here to “help”. We have lots of fun making Christmas goodies!

  54. Bobbie in Spokane says:

    You are the light! Thank you for your post making Christmas a Joy for all of us!

  55. Mary Brehm says:

    Hi Susan. It’s Cookie Day! I’m off to bake cookies with my dear friend, Michele. She’s a girlfriend too ; ) Your tree and porch look so twinkly! I love it. Have a wonderful day today and thanks once again for being you.

  56. Dearest Sue! I found you by chance right after your Christmas Book came out, how ever many years ago that was AND I’ve been hooked I mean a fan no I really feel like a long distance friend ever since! Love your post and books. I have all your cookbooks so now I need your other books. Thank you for introducing me to so many fun and beautiful things! Love and hugs and kisses. Your long-distance friend from Mobile, AL, Cathy!!❤️❤️

  57. Jules says:

    With so many disturbing things happening in the world it is good to focus on the beauty and loveliness that still surround us each day. There is still good in the world and your art and writing are reminders of that beauty and loveliness. God bless you more than He already has!

  58. sondra fox says:

    Oh, here & there, everywhere, in the midst of Christmas, don’t have time to write today, here, there, everywhere, but have to say “Merry Christmas” to all of you across our earth, here, there, everywhere. Time for a grilled cheese & tomato soup! (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  59. Laura Ann in Vermont says:

    Thank you so much for the bookmarks! I love them! I printed one for each of my daughters to enjoy once their finals are over and they can have some fun reading for pleasure. (My grown sons don’t read anymore…they relax with video games instead. I hate this, they used to love to read, but to each his own, right?) I also printed some for my husband and me. There’s nothing better than cozying up to the fire in snowy weather with a good book. (It will snow here eventually. Of this, I am certain!)

  60. patti says:

    Miss Susan your blog’s are the bomb !!!! B O O M <3 reading them put me in such a great place. Merry Christmas to you and Joe and all of the kitty's. Our Mr. Louie is growing up fast and he sure makes it a happy home. I'm so glad we got another kitty <3 Blessings

  61. Connie H says:

    Most enjoyable and lovely photos!

  62. Debbie R. From Valencia CA says:

    Dear Susan, Joe and kitties! Thank you for always being our twinkling star and for bringing magic and inspiration to our days. You truly are a blessing to us all!

    May you have the Merriest of Christmases and a Healthy Happy New Year!

  63. Jo-Anne says:

    What a gift you have with words!! Thanks so much. You have made my day!

  64. Pingback: On with the Dance! | Susan Branch Blog | Love, Laughter, and Life

  65. Donna says:

    So well said and uplifting, too! I feel so rushed and your words remind me to slow down and savor.

    I am disturbed by the current events and uneasy about some of what is being said. We are indeed all one world and surely need to remember it with the compassion harbored in our souls. Love your quotes! I just found an old copy of Gladys Taber’s ‘My Cape Cod’ in an antique store in New Hampshire recently – my Christmas reading for sure. Thanks for bringing her into my life. What a gal!

  66. Elaine Osborne says:

    Susan, Just a quick “Thanks!” for sharing Willard’s Cookie Jar with everyone. Time to start baking some Christmas cheer. Merry Christmas to you, Joe, and the kitties. Wishing you moments that sparkle with love and laughter…Elaine

  67. JoAnn Pollick says:

    Had a double treat read your blog before bedtime then dreamed I had a wonderful visit with you and even enjoyed the walk out to the sea. Must remember to always read it at night! Thank you for your beautiful words and artwork, always an inspiration. You certainly do your part to make the world a better place. Please don ever quit.

  68. Susan says:

    Melekaleke Maka,
    Merry Christmas Susan,
    You have made this year so special with all your post, poems, pictures and thoughts. All the little things in life make our world so much better. If you can stop and find the good all around you then your world is balanced.
    Thank-you for your Blog! It puts a smile on my face!
    Aloha and Happy Holiday’s,
    Susan from Maui

  69. Cyndee Randall says:

    This has been a busy season and I am way behind in decorating. Gifts are bought, but not wrapped. But yesterday I received the best gift of the season. Drove in my driveway after morning bible study to discover a ballet in my yard: woodpecker, cardinal, chickadees, nuthatch, American goldfinch, blue jays, and squirrels all darting about at the birdfeeders. Well, actually the squirrels were having their own feast of peanuts I had throw out for them earlier. Sat in the car for a full ten minutes watching the winged and furry gift. Thanks for an inspiring post. I love visiting your home at Christmas.

  70. Jean says:

    Susan–love you so, girlfriend! Your emails arrive in my mailbox ALWAYS as the best and most timeliest pick me ups! One of these days I will journey to a book signing and give you, one of my guardian angels, a big hug! OUR couple’s dance is doubly blessed in December! We are in the midst of Chanukah here in our HAPPY interfaith Judeo-Christian HOME! Lighting two menorahs, one as a couple for our FAMILY and another our youngest of four sons, lighting his, casts a warm, quiet glow in the evenings! Lots of latke (potato pancake) love, too, dreidels (spinning tops), and gelt (chocolate coins)! THEN, next week, we deck the halls with boughs of holly and then some! Thank you for reminding us EVERY season is jolly, Susan! In our hearts, and especially in our homes! And especially at Christmas! You are the best! As an at home mother now for twenty-seven years, you are a kindred spirit, supporting a choice to be a keeper of the house because THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME! I must track down your muse, Gladys Tabor’s books in the new year for more moral support! And start house hunting for a sweet home with soul and history such as yours! My handy husband and I have been fans of This Old House for years and hope to find one in the very near future! Merry and Bright Christmas Wishes! Healthiest and Happiest 2016 to you and Joe! Love you lots!

  71. Barbara (WA) says:

    I’ve long wanted a stove like yours just for the shelf!! Thank you for lovely reminders of how to live – I vow to Be An Elf!!

  72. Merry Christmas, Susan,
    This is just what I needed. Too much news for this girl. I have to turn it off and say enough. This world is full of lovely people who really do indeed LOVE.
    Love you,

  73. Karen Lotito says:

    Your blog was just the thing I needed during a tough day at work. Going to head out for a walk in a little while. It’s unbelievable how warm it is here on Long Island! I do hope it gets a little colder and we get a dusting of snow here and there, just perfect for the holiday season! A very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year to you and Joe and the kitties!

  74. Annette says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful art and words with us. I appreciate you!!

  75. jan says:

    Whatever the season, whatever the reason, it should always be about LOVE!
    The sun is out today, and there is a strong wind blowing over the mountains. This evening a cold front is moving in, and the forecast is for snow. I have a crock pot filled with the makings of escalloped potatoes and ham, and coffee is always brewing. We are making our plans to go south after the holidays, to San Diego, Ca., where my son lives with his little family. We are booking a pet friendly hotel so that our daughter will be comfortable leaving Pine Mountain Club for a few days. Our Xena kitty will be 17 yrs. old this month.
    Let’s all focus on what is really important…………family, friends, love and peace!

  76. Kelly H-Y says:

    Such a joy-filled post! 🙂

  77. Joanne Conte says:

    Thanks for this lovely post. You have a way of brightening our days. Merry Christmas!

  78. Karen Dyser says:

    I love Edward Markam’s poem and we need it so much in our world today. Thanks for spreading joy and good cheer. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  79. Dee Fox says:

    With extra warm December temperatures here in NJ your blog and Willard email are even more welcomed than usual as they have really amped up my Yule sentiment. Thank you!

  80. Asha says:

    Happy Christmas, Susan, Joe & Fur Babies! Oh Susan! Your blog is all the Christmas cheer I need. Thank you so much! I scored a wonderful early Christmas gift for me. I was browsing in an antique shop over the weekend with my three Besties and found a copy of a first edition 1990 “Christmas From The Heart Of The Home.” I was so thrilled I yelped out loud and they thought I was ill. When they saw I had a copy of your book, they knew it must have been something special for me to react as I did. So, my Christmas is complete now that I have a copy of your book. Thank you, thank you Susan Branch! Consider you one of my “Besties.” Merry! Merry!

  81. Kate says:

    Good tidings to you and Joe in this blessed season. Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year. Thank you for bringing us all together in love, joy and peace.

  82. Audrianne Hill says:

    We’ve only had 3 inches of snow the weekend before Thanksgiving here in Michigan. No snow projected at least through 21st. I love the old post cards in your blog.

    May you have a happy and restful holiday season as 2016 looks like it starts with a bang for you and Joe!

  83. Maureen Graham says:

    Hi Susan, I just want you to know how much I appreciate you and your blog. It never fails to delight and make me happy! Thank you for your kind words, sharing your ideas and stories.

    Christmas love and Happy New Year!

  84. diana b says:

    Thank u for this unexpected gift and guess what!? I finally got my Fairytale Girl!!! Sometimes I feel like I’m the last one for everything…but I got it!!! And read it and loved it…can hardly wait to read the part with your little house and the beginning of your life after your move…you are so brave and an inspiration to many who are in the same situation as you were then…hurry, hurry, hurry….have a lovely holiday in between!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m HURRYING . . . it’s so fun, I barely do anything else! I think it’s going to be my favorite.

      • mary spring says:

        ..I just know it’s going to be my favorite too !!!…

        • sbranch says:

          I will love to hear what you think. It’s hard, making something for someone, and knowing they are going to like it, and trying to get it done so you can just GIVE IT, and have it over with! 🙂

          • mary spring says:

            …good morning, dear Susan ..thank you for writing back, for Iknow how busy you have been..it’s 4 a.m..out here in Cali as I write..I am sure you have been up and at it for several hours now, being the early bird that you are !..yes, I will love to read what you are writing about now..I know we will all pull strength and wisdom from this upcoming book, as well as enjoy your gift of humor thru it all..first off, I will be wondering how you dealt with homesickness, as I have been feeling these days… I hope you and yours are having a wonderful holiday season..mine is so different this year, as I am spending it with my Mom and Dad..I’m trying to “be an elf” with them..that magic is starting to work on them..we love you, Susan..I never tire of saying thank you for all you do…from the bottom of my stitched up heart !!!

          • sbranch says:

            Oh Mary, wishing you all the most wonderful elf-returns of the day. Homesickness is a tough one, and I have noted that you can feel it if when you are at home. Sending love.

  85. Maddie says:

    Ahh such a beautiful home! I just bought Fairytale Girl and A Fine Romance for my Aunt for Christmas–so excited to give them to her. She’ll love them as much as I do! Happy Love to you too! Thanks for always spreading good vibes and cheer xoxo

  86. Linda Moon Lake says:

    Dear Susan,
    Others have said exactly what I feel, but I’m compelled to add my voice. Your light shines so brightly out into the world, and makes so many days better for me and many others. I’ve just caught up with your last three posts. While I love all of your photos, recipes and stories, it was your call for unity and solidarity that touched me the most. We are all related. I’m so glad you live on the same planet as me! Thanks for sharing your world with us.


  87. Gert~Iowa says:

    Dear Susan, What a cheerful and welcomed post! We all need and enjoy this very much! Yes, I did get my cookie jar! Wish I could make them all!! 😊 Blessings to your Christmas!

  88. Ann Woleben says:

    Thank you for the Cookie Jar. I am looking forward to trying a few of the recipes. Every time I read a new post on your blog it brings joy to my heart. We all need more joy in our lives – giving and receiving. Merry Christmas to you, Joe and the kitties!

  89. Gail says:

    Went to a big used book sale recently, hoping to find some of your books on the tables. Bad news: Didn’t find any. Good news: People must be buying them & keeping them for themselves, not parting with them! Good news: Saw a Black Dog cookbook. Bad news: I’m terribly allergic to seafood, so I looked through the book, saw Joe, but decided to leave the book there for someone who could eat the seafood recipes (this allergy is torture sometimes). Love your pictures on this post. Looking forward to more cozy winter scenes to come. Happy holidays!

  90. sheila collier-george says:

    Merry Christmas, Miss Susan, and thank you for your generous gifts of
    your time, your talent and your love that are so evident in your blog posts..and
    thank you too for the beautiful bookmarks 🙂 I’ll be stoppin’ by the store tomorrow evening for cardstock….

  91. Judy in Oregon says:

    What a lovely post today. I have been thinking this year about the excitement and anticipation that I had for Christmas when I was a child. I still love Christmas but now it is more about being with the people I love rather than the anticipation of the gifts even though that is still fun. When our kids were small the enjoyment came from their anticipation of the season. Now in this time of my life I have learned to relax and just enjoy the beauty and love all around at Christmas and no worrying about what doesn’t get done. I sang that same song in Sunday School and remember staying with my grandmother and going to Sunday School where they also sang it. They chose that day to add all colors to it and because I was wearing a pink dress I found myself standing up in front of the group as a pink person and I am sure that there was never a person the color of pink that my dress was. But being a kid I didn’t question it although there were many other colors that no person has ever been. Now I look back on it and it makes me laugh whenever I think about it.
    Your tree is beautiful. I love going outside and looking at my tree lit up in the window. Christmas decorations always make the house seem more cozy.

  92. Amy says:

    Your blogs are perfect, and always just what I need; just like your books. Thank you Susan!

  93. AngieTink says:

    ☃☆♡♬♫♪❄❆☃♡ Merry~Friday Sweetest Sue…December 11th…Breathe… I’m Savoring Every Minute…59 Degrees Here Black~Velvet~Sky Filled With Bright Twinkling Stars…Our Christmas Lights Seem Even More Magical This Morning (We are Light~People Too!) & I’ve Inspired Lots of Our Neighbors Too… This Place Has Become a Tiny Christmas~Village) 🙂 Yay! Very Quiet & Very Twinkly Outside…Glorious….I Wondered When The Moon Will Be Full & The Calendar Says December 25th!!! Oh My Goodness So On Christmas~Eve & Christmas~Night A Full~Moon For Santa & His Reindeer & All That Christmas~Magic…Huge~Smile on This Elf’s Face…. 🙂 I LOVE Your Christmas~Tree….& He’s In The Perfect~Place! & Jack Under The Tree….Oh That Face! 🙂 I’m Baking Christmas Cookies for All Our Neighbors & I’m Putting Them in Brown Paper~Bags Tied Up With Christmas Ribbon….Pure~Holiday Yumminess Sweet Sue Thanks for An Excellent Idea! 🙂 Herbster & I Went Out & About on Wednesday & I Found The Cutest Outfit To Wear For All The Christmas~Parties A Black Turtleneck Top With Black~Leggings & Black Satin Flats Then I Found a Vintage Christmas Apron With Silver & Gold Christmas Trees & Snowflakes On It….Pinafore~Style…& It Ties in The Back With a Big Bow! 🙂 Oh So Cute….I Look Like I’m From the 1950’s 😉 I Love This Time of Year!!! Sweet Sue I Have Lots of Christmas Musica & I Found a Radio~Station That is Playing Christmas Songs 24/7 & From Every Decade…So There is Lots of Bing & Frank & Perry & Rosemary….In Our Home This Christmas! Divine~Musica…. ♬♫♪ Oh There’s No Place Like HOME ♬♫♪ for The Holidays….☃☆♡♬♫♪❄❆☃♡ Sing With Me Sweet~Elf~Sue….Wishing You & Elf~Joe & Elf~Girl~Kitty & Elf~Jack a Very Merry~Weekend Safe & Sound & Cozy & Warm….& Always Be Merry & Bright! Yay! 🙂 xoxo Poof! ☃☆♡♬♫♪❄❆☃♡ P.S. I Love That You Decorated Your Tree Talking (On The Phone) With Blog~Daddy & Your Wonderful Mom! 🙂 🙂 ….. Sigh…Love…Joy…Merry~Christmas! ☃☆♡♬♫♪❄❆☃♡ P.P.S. Ho~Ho~Ho!

    • sbranch says:

      Ho ho back to you Angie! I don’t have to tell you to be merry and bright! xoxo

      • AngieTink says:

        Good~Morning Sweet~Elf~Sue….Tis Saturday…Out & About For Us Today…More Christmas~Shopping….Yay! 🙂 I Love All The Hustle~&~Bustle…..Warm Hugzzz & Always Lots of Love xoxo Poof! ☃☆♡♬♫♪❄❆☃♡ P.S. Ho~Ho~Ho! Twirling! ☃☆♡♬♫♪❄❆☃♡

  94. jesse says:

    Dear Susan,
    Its always such a pleasure to read your posts…It’s full of live and beautifully illustrated. I wish you and your love ones a wonderfull christmas and thanks for let me win a copy of the Fairytale Girl book…I love it…best wishes for the new year…Bright Blessings…

  95. Gail Buss says:

    Hi Susan, So nice to read your blog. I must say my favorite part was the first picture of your house in the snow. There is something special about snow. So cozy being on the inside looking out at the beautiful snow! I especially enjoyed your paper snowflakes. My sister gave me your book The Fairy Tale Girl for Christmas (we tell each other what we want) so I will be reading it over the holidays while we travel to VA to be with family and I can’t wait to read it. Wishing you and Joe a Very Merry Christmas! Hugs, Gail and Joe

  96. Darla Unger says:

    Love reading your blogs, you are the coziest!!!!! Have a Wonderful Holiday Season! Merry Christmas to you, Joe and Kitties.

  97. Patricia says:

    What a glorious post. I love the bookmarks. May you have a most blessed Christmas. May you be able to share all the things you love with the ones you love.

  98. JoAnne Daniels says:

    Susan — There would be so much love in one place if all the girlfriends could get together, but as it is, we are like flowers among the weeds, spreading happiness, cheer and love in our own little Smallvilles of the world. I think that’s how it works — touching people with love as we go. Your blog is always a bright spot in my day.
    I work in a library and want to share (in case you didn’t know) that there is a new children’s book titled “Beatrix Potter and Her Paint Box”, written and illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators, David McPhail. I know how you love all things Beatrix Potter, so just thought I’d mention it to you.
    Right now in my own little Smallville in NW New Jersey, we’re expecting record high temperatures and my friends are wearing snowflake pins in the hopes of bringing on some of the white stuff for Christmas. One of my favorite memories is of a Christmas Eve when I lived in a log cabin in Stokes State Forest, and my Mom called me to the front porch to watch the first snow flakes of winter drifting down from the dark sky. We have a full moon this Christmas Eve, so whether we have snow or a moon lit sky — it’s bound to be magical!
    Merry Christmas to you, Joe, and kitties — and I pray for peace on earth this New Year.
    JoAnne Daniels — decorating her outdoor tree with lights in short sleeves!

  99. Donna C says:

    I really liked reading that you can’t choose a favorite ornament and the description of some of yours. Decorating the tree is truly a walk down memory lane. This is why it can be happy and sad at the same time. These little memories are tucked away and only come out once a year to be enjoyed. My Nativity set is 74 years old, bought at Woolworths by my parents for my first Christmas. I’m thinking of not packing it away this year after Christmas. I think I’ll display it on my bookshelf to be enjoyed all year. Anyway, Merry Christmas to you and all the girlfriends hither and yon. xo

  100. Cindy says:

    I am dancing and the music that you send is wonderful for the season. The quote, “He drew a circle…” is one that has been with me for many years. It made me smile to hear it come from you also. Have a beautiful holiday filled with love and light.

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