Zee Rabbit Hole

 MUSICA 🎵  You know how when you are going about your daily life, perhaps living in a rabbit hole, but perfectly fine with it ~ and you think that although you are extremely happy doing your little thing, probably if you WritingDesktold someone about it you would be forced to watch their eyes slowly roll back in their heads as they prepared to die from boredom? Well, that’s why I haven’t written. You deserve better. But then I miss you, so here I am, ready to bore you to pieces ANYWAY. Because I’m sure what most of you would like to hear about is Christmas, food and decorating, snow and all the wonderful things of the season. And don’t get me wrong, in regards to these things, my heart is in the right place ~ and although snow is still a distant memory, our tree is pure heaven . . .


Oh Christmas Tree

. . . I just love it. As I run back and forth through the house, from the tea kettle to my studio, I pass right by it. There it is, almost perfect this year, smelling piney, twinkling and art girlbringing cheer to the person rushing past it to get back to what makes her so very boring and so very happy. BTW, note little red button on the floor under the tree? One of the best inventions of the 20th century. You plug your Christmas lights into it, plug it into the wall, and step on the button to turn the tree on and off. Perfect when you come home from a party late at night and want nothing to do with crawling around on the floor to unplug the lights. Step and boom, and off to bed. So satisfying. We’ve had ours for years ~ love it every year . . . I found one HERE in case you want one too.

holly jolly Christmas


And here’s that party we came home late from. See? I’m not THAT boring. I even made a Gingerbread Tree Cake yesterday to take to this party last night. I took this photo of our hostess Jaime and her beautiful table . . . it was a singing bird susan branch artwonderful dinner with all our best friends and the most amazing food: Jaime made Julia Child’s Coquilles St. Jacques from The Art of French Cooking, with stuffed tomatoes, a perfect little salad and a side of some sort of grain I think might have been quinoa (I didn’t have my glasses on!). Elegant, light and delicious. We had the gingerbread cake with wine A toast, Happy Anniversarysoaked pears and whipped cream for dessert. While we ate, we went around the table of old friends bathed in candlelight and each person told a favorite Christmas or Hanukkah memory, and all we did is toast each other and laugh.fun is good

Shelly's Kelly doll


Speaking of memories: Yesterday I got a Christmas box from my youngest sister Shelly. I opened it this morning and inside was a doll I made for her in 1973 when she was around 11. What a surprise! She was letting it come for a visit with me! I’d forgotten I even made it. Shelly called it her “Kelly Doll” and I laughed to read what she wrote in the letter that came with it, “Sorry Kelly is so dirty but she hasn’t had a bath in 43 years.”


Raggedy Ann

I had to turn her over and examine her, loving her striped socks and rick-rack apron . . . and then I remembered…

Christmas 1973

That I’d embroidered on her back, and there it was … a little worse for wear, but still readable. I was happy to give this to her in the first place, but even happier that I did it now! I made a doll that is now 43 years old. How can that BE?counttimebyhearthrobs

embroidered heart

Kelly came from a really easy-to-make Raggedy Ann McCalls pattern. All Raggedy Ann dolls have a heart on their chests because of the candy heart the author gave her in his original stories.So I embroidered a heart on Shelly’s doll.

Susan Branch doll

Shelly’s doll started me on a doll-making jag, you could seemingly do anything with this pattern, just change the clothes, the face, the hair color and you could even match the child you were giving it to . . . my ex mother-in-law brought me a tiny dress creativityfrom Thailand that I couldn’t get even get a toe into, it was so small. But the fabric was beautiful and I wanted to use it for something so I took it apart and made my Asian Annie, complete with nail polish and black satin pants, and yes, a heart on her chest too. I still have her. I also made another doll wearing a 1950s outfit, with a poodle skirt and blonde hair, but she went off to the child of one of my friends and ended up being loved to shreds.childhoodIMG_4368

This was also in the box Shelly sent . . . a quilt I made for my mom the same year I made Shell’s doll.

embroidery stitches

There was no rhyme nor reason to the design for this quilt . . . I was self taught, which meant I didn’t know what I was doing and just hooked the pieces together using lots of different embroidery stitches.needle

my first quilt

Shelly sent me the quilt because a couple of weeks ago my mom did some downsizing and moved into a place where she would have more care. We wanted the move to be easy for her, and what could have been a sad event turned out to be a time flies arttrue blessing because she was getting a little bit cut off from people where she used to live. Now all she has to do is walk out her door, and voila, there are lectures, and exercise classes, and delicious meals, and a great big Christmas tree, and carolers singing songs she knows all the words to and she is much happier, and so are we, her children. She has gone to exercise class every day since she moved in! SO happy! But this quilt, that has been on the back of her sofa for the last 42 years, has returned to me, for better or for worse. I am pleased to have it, but will miss seeing it in her old house.Time ...

Christmas 2015

So this morning has been a lovely little walk down memory lane. Just what I love at Christmas time.

gum dropsDespite this, visions of sugar plums are really not what dances through my head, and although I DO have my kerchief and Joe DOES have his cap, we have NOT settled down to a long winter’s nap! No,I LEAP from my bed, my feet all a’clatter, before any creatures begin stirring and say, “What’s a’matter?” I speak not a word but RUN to my Martha's Vineyard Isle of Dreamspaintbrush and pen and then fall down, down, down into the rabbit hole again (mixing my metaphors and fairy tales the entire way) where I live, deeply connected and madly in love, to be honest, with the making, writing, and painting of my new book. It wins for my most favorite project ever (but I probably say that with all of them). Some days I jump up and say YESsss! Out loud, because I remembered to include the right quote, or wisp of girlfriend conversation that I know you probably had with your own girlfriends, happy because the watercolor of the girl Cookie manbeing blown down the road by the wind actually looks like a girl being blown down the road by the wind! I can’t wait to show you. And because I am so into it is why my life looks boring and repetitive like Groundhog Day to the outside observer because this is all I really do and is why I haven’t written to say hi. I don’t think you will be mad at me anymore when you see this book, I really don’t. I still take time outs to read Christmas cards, bake a cake, to open a box and fall all over an old doll or quilt, but then, I’m done. Back to studio. On the phone, talking to mom, talking to dad, while painting. Drinking tea and stopping sometimes to play with Jack or hug Girl or go for a walk with Joe. 

Joe and me on the walk

Here we are. Gumby people out on the road in long afternoon shadows. We still haven’t had any snow. I prayed for a long fall and those prayers were answered but nothing really matters because my heart is in the book, even when out here, in my favorite place on earth. I hope to have it to the printer by the end of January. And thenKiss boring goodbye Because next year? We sail to England! And in case you haven’t heard, I will be blogging the trip, so we’re rms_queen_mary_vintage_passenger_ship_sticker-p217215363289977330en7l1_216bringing you all with us! But before we sail away, we’ll be visiting 20 American cities, doing 20 book signings. Click on EVENTS at the top of this page ~ next week, Kellee will start putting up a few of our confirmed dates so far. I’ll just say now: Yes Cedar Rapids, Iowa,✔️ and Yes, Cincinnati Ohio ✔️, and Yes, St. Charles, MO.✔️ We are coming! Next May! Hope to see some of you there! Don’t worry, that’s not the whole tour. Our 30th Anniversary 2016 Book Tour has just begun

I’m still watching progress of The Fairy Tale Girl, in the My favorite fairyGratitudeonly way I can, by the ratings on Amazon, and I’m thrilled to tell you that we have a 5.0 rating with 113 reviews so far for Fairy Tale Girl!!! Can you believe it?  And A Fine Romance? It’s got 473 reviews and a rating of 4.9, which I could not ask for more! These little books survive almost completely because of your word of mouth ~ makes me so happy.♥ Thank you! You are the best!

Christmas tree

Here we are, a winter with no snow (so far), and in a few days it will be time for the shortest day of the year, and then, the days begin to grow longer and Downton will start and life will be complete. Can. Not. Wait.


So back I go to paint some more, this was a time out for my little message of love to you all. 😘 I hope you are having a boring holiday season too. Makes life so nice.  No hectiosity to deal with, right? All is calm, all is bright. Oops, I almost forgot, you probably would like a picture of the children right?

on guard!

Always on guard. Never know when or where the attack might come from. Siempre Listo. Motto #1

oh who cares

It gets very tiring standing guard all the time. Trust but verify is their #2 motto.


Time out to apply for the job of cat model.


Am I cute enough? Is my tummy soft enough looking? Do I light your fire?  Oh yeah, I know I do.😻


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528 Responses to Zee Rabbit Hole

  1. Dear Susan,

    Popping by to wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas!

    Thank you for all the joy you bring to us all year long via your posts and stories and photos and books. It’s a little like Christmas every time you post for the girlfriends.

    I recently ordered Christmas Joy and it arrived the other day — it’s all wrapped up to give to someone special. What a sweet book. I’m happy to say Christmas also came early for me, as one day a copy of your 2016 wall calendar came in the mail It’s already hanging on my study wall waiting for January 1st — thankfully we don’t have to wait to enjoy it. It’s loverly!

    Family (19) coming to my house on Christmas Day — we’re almost ready. And it’s been snowing all day, so it’s definitely a white Christmas around here in Alberta — yippee!

    Sending lots of hugs and happy wishes for you and Joe, Jack and Girl Kitty…

  2. Ro'se from her 'cottage' in NJ says:

    Merry Christmas Susan, Joe, Kitty Girl & Jack, The snow will come, but for now it is nice to sit and remember years past and listen to the rain. How nice to have gifts that bring good memories back!
    My sister is the one who came down with the flu (CarolK) and it will be a quiet Christmas not having her and her husband over on Christmas Day. We are planning on getting together for New Years Eve.
    Your doll makes me remember the ones our Mother made my sister and me. That was back in the 1940’s -1950’s, i’m doing the math, Boy, the dolls are old (but I’m not!) Thank you for another year of good remembrances!
    Stay warm, safe, AND keep painting! can’t wait for the book to be done!

  3. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Hi Susan, I made your Spiced Pecans today. I doubled the recipe but forgot to double the amount of hot pepper sauce so they could be a little spicier, I guess. They are still delicious and I had to hide them so we wouldn’t eat them all up before Christmas. Now I’m off to make raw cranberry sauce. I’ve made your cooked cranberry sauce and also your Christmas Jam. Shortbreads are in the freezer ready to bake tomorrow. And a mince pie is waiting in the wings. Happy Christmas to everyone. Hugs, Elaine

  4. Mamey Brown says:

    First of all, your posts can NEVER be boring so please never think that. Secondly, I am sooooo glad that your mom is doing well and is comfy in her new place. Next I just LOVE the doll you made your sister; it’s simply darling!! And last but not least, I can’t wait for the next book!!!!!!!!! You mentioned when you go back to England in 2016 you will be posting, but does that also mean, that you will be writing yet another book of this trip????? (Fingers and toes are crossed)….

    • sbranch says:

      I will definitely be keeping a diary . . . and we’ll see . . . if I’m inspired then probably for better or for worse, there will be no stopping me! 🙂 I can’t wait for this trip!

  5. Patricia Ruehle says:

    Dear Susan,
    How could I NOT respond to your beautiful blog? My Sweet Henry has installed the magic red button plugs on all of our indoor and outdoor lights. Talk about easy!
    I have read your two latest endearing books and count them among my favorites. While in Phoenix for Thanksgiving, I was thrilled to find your “Girlfriends” in an antique shop.
    Girlfriends are the best. Four of us are planning a reunion in Santa Monica in January. We will fly in from Utah, Michigan, North Carolina and Texas.
    My Sweet Henry and I hope to visit Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket in the Spring.
    Best wishes for a Christmas filled with bountiful blessings and good health in the New Year.

    How can we possibly lure you to Houston on your up and coming book tour?

    • sbranch says:

      Oh what a wonderful reunion! Just the best! I think the closest we will get is Austin. Hopefully, that’s not too far for you. . . But I’ve never been there so I’m not sure.

  6. nancy says:

    You are wonderful, Susan! Every time I finish reading a blog entry, I pause and let the words and pictures sink in. Truly inspirational. You are giving us so much to look forward to in 2016.

    Merry Christmas to you and Joe

  7. Monique says:

    Merry Christmas!
    A green one in QC also..in fact it is pouring.
    I made the large Raggedy Anns with that pattern.
    I received Ann and Andy as baby shower gifts from my friend Susan..and then went on to make them too..wish I still had one.Sweet post as always.

  8. Tiah Foster says:

    Dear Susan,

    I am so grateful YOU are in my life via your blog. You bring much joy and happiness and inspiration. May 2016 be wonderful for you and your husband.

    Tiah Foster
    Sun Lakes, AZ (by PHX)

  9. Martha says:

    Sitting by the fire and watching the snow in beautiful Lake Tahoe. Enjoying your latest post and all the lovely comments from The Girlfriends. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas! xo

  10. Rhonda D. says:

    Merry Christmas to you Susan, Joe and kitties. Merry Christmas to all the girlfriends. Wonderful Christmas blog post.

  11. Diane from Poulsbo says:

    Dearest Susan….just a quick sec to wish you and Joe and furry children a very Merry Christmas! 😊 We have been so busy, and I am exhausted, but it is ALL worth it to be with loved ones and doing happy things at Christmas. Much love and peace and joy !xxooxxoo

  12. Barbara Kuzdzal says:

    Merry Christmas dear Susan ! I just opened your new book , a gift from my husband,which is one of my favorite gifts this year. I love it already but just gave it a quick look over and stashed it away in my luggage as we are heading down to Florida from Michigan to hide out from real winter. The plan is to save it for my reading room,the beach and poolside but I’m not 100 percent sure that will happen because it is calling me begging me to open it and dive in here and now. I hope you are enjoying your holiday you deserve the best of the best!!!
    Barb Kuzdzal

  13. toni baumgard says:

    Merry Christmas to you, and yours. Thanks you for all the warm and kind thought’s you write about and the stories you tell. They are so inspiring.
    I just returned from visiting with my brother who lives in a charming town called Sedro-Woolley, WA. He is very dear to me and I am very glad to have him. My time with him is expressed so well in what you write, your pictures and the warm home life you share with us. Thank You! What new surprises will the year ahead bring to all of us?
    Positive ones I hope. toni b

  14. Rosemary Monk says:

    Dear Susan,
    It’s Christmas night, very crazy few days. I’ve made a large batch of your delicious faux Cranberry Marmalade, for neighbors and family, and just finished my second batch of Blueberry Raisin Chunky Applesauce, again for friends and family. I finally got to read your blog in full, and am so happy I did. Your thoughts, pictures, words, are always just what I need to pull back from the haste of life and concentrate on the beauty of the heart and the earth, family and friends. Keep doing what you do, I’ll keep reading what you write. Thanks for being a good friend and keeping in touch. God Bless you and yours,

  15. Maureen Graham says:

    Merry Christmas! You are never boring!

  16. Mellie Huffman says:

    I loved hearing about your rabbit hole life. It is my favorite kind of life. I always look forward to this time of year. There is finally time to read and rest and I love early darkness, hot drinks in the evening and fires in the fireplace.
    So glad to hear your Mother is pleased with her new home. We think it is time for my Mother to give up housekeeping. Unfortunately, she sees a move to an assisted living facility as being unwanted and unloved and sent off to a nursing home.

    • sbranch says:

      One thing that made our move a lot easier — my uncle was already there, her brother. And she is having nothing but fun! Getting stronger too, with all the exercise. It’s just a scary thought for them. As well it would be. Best to you Mellie. xoxo

  17. debra sewell says:

    We missed you. Also, we love hearing little day to day notes. Its cozy. Keep warm snow is coming!!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m concentrating so hard, that’s the problem, the old pat the head rub the tummy thing . . . hard to do both! But soon I will be DONE!

  18. Jody says:

    I love your Xmas tree! It’s very jolly.
    Boring is good. The holy rut!

    Looking forward to what’s cookin’ in your head!!

  19. Suzette Shoulders says:

    Susan, My husband and I just got home to central Oregon after two lovely weeks in Hawaii, and guess what, WE have YOUR snow!! Ten inches on the ground when we left, and 8 when we got home , whew! And more forecast for the next 5 days! Kind of a ‘climate shock’ to come back to 38 F in Portland after two weeks of never being colder than 70 F! LOL!

  20. Suzette Shoulders says:

    Raggedy Ann made me all teary. So sweet! I did one for my first daughter with brown hair to match HER hair, and brown eyes, and she loved it to shreds. I never made one for my second daughter, sorry about that. Life got so much busier with TWO little ones around! I cannot imagine how busy it must have been when your family was growing up, how did your mom ever breathe? Sweet that she is in a senior place she really likes. My mom wouldn’t go into a senior apartment until she lost her driver’s license at 95 and HAD to choose a place, so then she pined away for her little lost house, so sad. She died a year ago, and her house was bought by some people who love its 1950’s charm, and it is having a real renaissance , and lots of love put into it. Very sweet. Wishing you a ‘Mele Kalikimaka’ and some SNOW, soon! Suzette in Oregon

    • sbranch says:

      My mom was kind of a kid herself, so it all worked out! It must be very hard to say goodbye to your home, but it makes me happy, just like you, that someone is appreciating all the love your mom put into it. Best to you Suzette!

  21. Regina Carretta says:

    Susan – with your love of old films, have you seen this youtube dance clip?
    I had to send it to you – let me know if you get it…it is pure joy…..enjoy!


  22. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh Susan, you must know I miss you!! No matter how boring you think your life is, it’s very exciting to me… In some ways I hope you get a little snow…we are to get 6-12″ tomorrow….Uggg That is too much. I love your dolls. I made some too, for our granddaughters! It truly was fun! I have been spending time with my honey at the Care Center. And feel some days like Groundhog day too. But making memories for myself that can never be replaced.. Blessings

    • sbranch says:

      Love your can-do spirit Gert, give your honey a hug for me. No snow for us yet, but it’s getting chilly finally!

      • Gert~Iowa says:

        What a way to start the New Year by sharing a hug from you with my honey!! Thank you! He will be excited!!! Good thoughts for a little winter weather for you!!

  23. Pam Rudzki from Idaho says:

    Hello Susan – I am just getting around to reading emails after all the baking & candy making. I looked at the picture of the quilt & recognized a piece of fabric, the dark blue background with repetitive red flowers outlined in yellow. My mother made me a quilt some 40+ years ago using that same fabric for the top of the quilt. The edges are frayed(need to re-edge it) & Mom has been gone for 42 years. But the quilt is still being used & loved. What a nice coincidence.

  24. Sheryl from Magalia CA says:

    Dear Susan,
    I write you often, but I will make this a short comment. Your childhood quilt is an inspiration. That small piece I saw is the beginning of a creative life that you have lead and are still leading. I am so glad no one told you to not try be because it wasn’t good enough. FYI..I received a book from my daughter that also was given to my other daughter. So, all three of us have the same book. It’s the first book of our little book club. It isn’t yours I am writing about. I could be though. It is Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book named “Big Magic”. (Creative Living Beyond Fear) Maybe one day you will check it out and mention it to all our girlfriends. Bye. Go back to the rabbit hole without any guilt. Hugs. Sheryl

    • sbranch says:

      No, I was lucky, no one said that to me. They just let me go off into my own little happy la-la land, and I’m forever grateful. xoxo

  25. debbie says:

    Happy Holidays Susan!! Just wanted to thank you for one of my best Christmas gifts this year! A Sunday afternoon, snuggled under a blanket, dog on my lap, soup on the stove, reading “The Fairy Tale Girl”. I finished it in one day and loved every single word!! Wonderful!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh boy! So glad to hear that Debbie! I am SO excited about the next one…I’m working hard every day. It’s getting close to done! Well, sort of, perhaps another month….eeek!

  26. Cindy K.Beranek says:

    Dear Sweet Sue and Patient Joe!!! Hope you two LOVELY people had WONDERFUL Christmas!!! Thankyou for the lunch date on Christmas Eve!!! You talked, I read and ate lunch!!!!!!!!!! What GREAT SURPRISE to see a new post!!!!!!!!!! It felt like gift from you!!!!!!!!!!! For the rest of the day we worked to make Christmas special for our family on Christmas Day!!! Reading your post was encouraging!!!!!!!!!! I think it is GREAT your mom is safe and soooo happy!!!!!!!!!!!! Sounds like a YEAR ROUND VACATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO glad you get to enjoy the BEAUTIFUL quilt that you made for your mom!!!!!!!!!! ALL of the dolls are sooooo cute!!!!!!!!!!! I recently bought the charm , The Fairy Tale Girl and have SUCH FUN wearing it as a necklace!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If I may PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE give us a CHARM to go with Isle Of Dreams???????????? You have been so KIND to read this letter and I hope you both have a BLESSED and SAFE New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Squeeze the Kitty’s for us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! they are SOOOOOOO CUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. Connie says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I still adore reading your blog! It is my treat to my busy self!

  28. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Love the dolls & the quilt, how sweet to have them come visit you! Charming words, pictures, loved having you visit with us whilst preparing for Christmas! So happy your Mom is settling in to her new home, my Mom is too! Lots of earthly angels helping us with our dear ones. Your blog is such a joy! Thank you! xoxo

  29. Cheryl says:

    I just got The Fairy Tale Girl for Christmas and finished it that day. I LOVED it so much. I have been showing it to everyone since then and telling them they need to buy it. Of course I have been doing that with A Fine Romance since I read that last year too! I can’t wait for the next one and will definitely be pre ordering it as soon as you make it available!
    Love seeing these dolls you made. How special that she still had that doll after all of these years. what a fun surprise.

    • Cheryl says:

      replying to my own comment! I just went into the store and saw that it was already up for pre order! Done! I am so excited. It sounds like if I am lucky I may get it before my trip to England in April which would give me a book that will make the flight (I hate flying) go by much faster and easier! Or have it waiting for me when I get home!

      • sbranch says:

        Oh I hope we make it, I think we will, If I just apply the elbow grease in correct quantities!!! England in April, who could ask for more!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Cheryl! I love hearing that! I hope to have Isle of Dreams at the printer by the end of January. Yay!

  30. Rita says:

    Dear Susan Branch & co.
    Thank you for your calendars.
    I have been buying these for awhile now, for myself and always giving a few for gifts. I stopped by the calendar kiosk at the mall today & was lucky to find one last Susan Branch calendar for 2016. I had purchased a couple of desk calendars as gifts earlier this year for 2016, but must have your wall calendar for myself. It’s something used daily for all appointments and bill payments.
    I was pleased to flip it over and see a black & white cat pictures on October’s page. Your art and your outlook on life is unique and always so appreciated! I hope we can find you there, amongst the calendars for many, many years to come.
    It just wouldn’t be the same without you. Thank you for sharing your gift.

  31. Jan Hamilton says:

    Sitting in the post-Christmas calm, I reread and re-loved some posts I had rushed through and found your recipe for polishing silver. Thank you forever and ever! Just finished and the results are amazing. You are a joy in so many ways. Nothing could have inspired me to tackle that today, yet you did! ❤️

  32. Jan says:

    Merry Christmas to you and yours a little late. Have been missing in action from the blog for a little while. Good to be back. My father-in-law passed away just before Thanksgiving after two and a half weeks in the hospital. He was 95. Then I lost an Aunt and a first cousin. Glad to have had Christmas to look forward to. Enjoyed spending it with our three children and 7grandchildren. We had 3 great days together!! Enjoyed seeing your dolls and colorful quilt with all the different stitches! Lovely! Hope your Mother continues to do well in her new home. Can be an adjustment for all. Am anxiously awaiting your new book. The Fairy Tale Girl was wonderful! Must comment on how beautiful your tree is! I too, like the colored lights. Hope you have had a wonderful holiday season. So glad to be back reading your blog. Happy New Year!

  33. I can’t let 2015 pass without thanking you for all the ways you’ve inspired my own creativity. I wish you the best year EVER in 2016 (with many more to come) and considering you’ve had many great years, I’m sure, this one should be over the top!

  34. Sharon at The Farm in a VERY WET South Carolina says:

    Hello Susan,
    Hope you Joe and the kitties had a very wonderful Christmas. I just wanted to send a quick note to tell you how much I enjoy your calendars ALL THROUGH THE YEAR. I look forward to each and every month with your paintings. Tonight I will sit and open the plastic wrapping from the 2016 calendars and sneak a peek at all the wonderful months ahead. I have all the sizes now. As I was looking for Christmas wrapping paper a couple weeks ago I found the very first calendar I have from your collection. It is a 1999 calendar and one I will treasure for all the rest of my life. Several comments refer to the Y2K “scary end-of-the-world-doomsday” event and your advice, “DON’T EVEN GO THERE.” I love what your mother always said, “Don’t worry, everything’s going to be just fine.” I am glad she is in a new place where she can visit friends more easily. Hope you and Joe and the kitties have a very Happy New Year! Thanks for all the beautiful paintings all throughout the year. – Sharon

  35. Mary in Phoenix says:

    I smile when I think of you wearing a path from the tea kettle to the art table 🙂 This is going to be a great 30th Anniversary year for you!!!… perhaps you need a 30th Anniversary Tea to go with it 🙂 New year blessings and cheers to you, Joe, Blogdaddy and all the girlfriends out there … This is the beginning of anything you want ♥ xoxo “A good beginning makes a good end” ~English Proverb

  36. Christie says:

    Happy New Year’s Eve, Dear Sue! It’s 7:00 pm on the West Coast, so only one more hour remains of 2015 in your neighborhood. Every December 31 about this time I feel drawn closer to my family and friends, no matter how many miles away from me they are at the time. I want to reach out and hold their hands as we go into the new year together, even if it’s only over the phone or in a text or with kisses blown across the universe. This year after getting to know you in your blog posts and comment responses (new and old), tweets and books, my heart’s reaching out to include you and the SB Girlfriends in this milestone hug. Thank you for so many hours of generous sharing of your favorite everythings from your overflowing cup of life. My hug includes wishes for another wonderful year of blessings and love. xoxo Christie

  37. Denise Leavens says:

    Thank you for this lovely post. From the mention of the rabbit hole to the pictures of the kids, so very good! I, too, am enamored of the step-on-the-button-turn-off-tree-lights switch. So cool! I thought the photo of Jaime and her beautiful table was a movie still! I am so glad your sister sent you Kelly doll and that you shared with us. I loved every detail, and thank goodness there are quite a few details. And to think she hasn’t had a bath in 43 years! Not many can say that! Ha ha. The quilt you made for your mother is fabulous. That is the kind I want to make, a crazy quilt. How did you keep the pieces together as you were “hooking” them with embroidery stitches? I really want to know! And that Jack, he really has the Cat Model job down, doesn’t he? What a nutter. The very best kind!

    Blessings on your work down the rabbit hole. Good to know you come up for air (and kisses?) on a fairly regular basis!

  38. Linda Metcalf says:

    Jack is amazing…how did he ever get on top of that cupboard? Wonderful photos as always. I can not wait for the new book and to go along on the trip to Europe. I so want to go back myself. But going with you will be almost as wonderful.

  39. Kassi R says:

    Susan! My aunt from Rhode Island gave me your Fairy Tale Girl book for Christmas (Leigh) with love from her AND YOU! I nearly had a heart attack. Anyways, I live in Utah, and I know you’ve been trying to get to King’s English Bookstore. Please please please call them back because they want to book you!!!

  40. Tonita McKone says:


    My dearest friend just introduced me to you and your blog. It is delightful. We live in California and spend the summers at our home on Cape Cod. I can’t wait to purchase all of your books. I loved your comments about Edith in Downton Abbey. I hope Birdie comes back, but I don’t think Edith will like living with his mother! Thank you for sharing your life with us. I hope to meet you some day.

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