Rabbit Rabbit 2016!

MUSICA Rabbit Rabbit 2016A toast to my good fat friends

wave bye bye

to 2015

December 2015 wall calendar

We had a lovely Christmas . . .quiet and filled with all the gentle reminders of what Christmas is supposed to be. Food, friends, family and

Love I've got my love to keep me warm


But now it’s time to . . .


dancing chickenTurn your calendar over andcelebrate

January 2016

Because, for the New Year and always . . .


January 2016

HERE’S TO US . . .



I love having you here . . .

Happy New Year

Time for


winter from my window

I remember last year around this time . . . out my front studio window, it looked like this!

Birds in the snow

And here, from the kitchen window . . . it was birdland!

Birds in the snowand the wonderful world of Cardinals.

Bird in a love cup 

Beatrix Potter people were warm and toasty on the kitchen window ledge . . . despite the blizzard . . .

Kitchen garden in winter

And it was so Beautiful! Every morning I would jump up to peek out this window in our bedroom to see what the morning would be.sense of beauty; susan branch art

Winter storm Martha's Vineyard

Pristine and white, I could never be thankful enough.

snow day candles in a snowy window


Vineyard Haven Ferry

Deep dark and delicious

snowed in

Magical Fairyland

on the walkAnd even though we have no snow now . . . it is still very beautiful, and getting colder every day. Today, in fact, is a three sweater day. . . that’s what I am wearing right now. I took this picture yesterday while we were out walking  . . . I’m looking into a rain puddle with the leaves at the bottom and the woods and the sky in the reflection. Is this not gorgeous?


In this one you can see where the puddle ends

photo 3-11

And here, where the woods begin . . .



Martha's Vineyard Isle of Dreams

Overhead fly the swans . . . so I painted this one for my new book . . .

on the walk

And out at the end, the waves come on shore and it smells fresh and wintery and like a garden of composting leaves . . . and way back you can see the ferry crossing . . .Merry In The Winter



Sunday! Be still my heart . . . 

Downton Abbey Highclere Castle Series

Our last season . . .I will love every moment . . .

Girl Kitty

Downton will make our winter very cozy, Downton, the kitties, Joe Hall Guardian Angel Extraordinaire, and me, with a book project and my paintbrush. It will be a nice winter. MAS MUSICA



Susan Branch Winter

Count your blessings

Jack the climber

Just about to start putting away the old year . . . dreaming of the new one coming and all the good things I hope will happen . . .

light houses magic My favorite fairy

dining room after Christmas

The table is cleared . . .

Christmas dishes

Christmas dishes are all put away . . .

Counting our Blessings

My Days Book is next to my bed with all the lovely empty pages inside and the future yet to be known . . .

And me?

inspirationYou know where I am. Every day I add more pages to the new book, Martha’s Vineyard: Isle of Dreams ~ finished pages. My goal is to have it done by, at the latest, Valentine’s Day . . . not printed, but off to the printer by then. I thought you might like to see a few new bits I’ve painted for it recently . . .There’s a little story behind each watercolor, but I’m saving them as a surprise for you. 

Martha's Vineyard Isle of Dreams

Martha's Vineyard Isle of Dreams Martha's Vineyard Isle of Dreams

Yes, there is singing in this book!If you do it with heart . . .

Martha's Vineyard Isle of Dreams

And Kitties!

Jack paints

And Jack, who is constantly with me, proudly helps, thank goodness, I could never do this alone.

memories summer memories

my first house

my first house

holly oak in the snow

You remember the little cottage I bought when I first came to the island? It was called Holly Oak.holly

Martha's Vineyard Isle of DreamsWell, in this new book (which should be coming out right around April), we go inside the house, I want to show you around, it’ll only take a minute, as you can see, it’s not very big, but it has a really cute stove . . . I’ll show you both with watercolor and with lots of photos, before and after photos too. I think you are going to love this book.gifts

It’s totally tied with heartstrings. And this is too . . . wishing you all the very best . . .SB art/BlessingHappy New Year! Thank you for another wonderful year of connection, of knowing we are not alone. I’ve loved every second of it . . . XOXO

here we go!

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566 Responses to Rabbit Rabbit 2016!

  1. liz h says:

    Just finished reading Fairytale Girl, loved it. I cant wait fof the next one. You write that your childhood through young adulthood was very ordinary but it sounded pretty glamorous to a gal who grew up in a small town in Illinois. Except for the sad parts of course. Happy New year! I know Downton blew you away too.

  2. Deborah in Odessa,Tx. says:

    We have had snow…pretty exciting down here when it happens. Now to get new yr started. Watched Downtown Abbey. Loved it. I can hardly believe it has been on for 5 yrs. Well best to you and yours. Love my new calendar. Now we shall enjoy the rest of winter and look forward to spring

  3. Heather Carlson says:

    My Dearest Susan…
    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you, Joe, & the kitties…
    I can’t tell how much I have enjoyed all your blogs so. Especially this one! I’m sitting here in my office at home with a cup of Bigalow chamomile tea, a couple of Christmas cookies our son baked for us and Nakoma by my side. (Our Husky of 13 years) our other baby..
    The music fills my heart with such love and joy as I dance through your creative water color pictures and amazing quotes that touch my heart so deeply. I have decided that I am going to save and file all your wonderful blogs under my old mail so I a can enjoy them anytime my heart desires.
    I have to tell you about Christmas morning…. We live in the state of Minnesota where Christmas is always snowy and very magical. Our 27 year old son Jesse & his girlfriend Erin came to have Christmas with us as always. After chatting for a bit and eating delightful appetizers of Kerrygold Irish cheese & Crackers with Stout beer in one cheese & Irish Whiskey in another, local summer sausage, Holiday grapes, Etc. wine, & beer. We went into the living room where our family tree was all lit and gorgeous as it is every year. My Mothers handmade angel that is 61 years old now adorns the top our tree. It is so very special to me as mama is gone now. The kids gather all the gifts and make a pile next to each of us who’s ever gifts are for each. When it was my turn to open my first gift guess what it was??? A 2016 Susan Branch calendar from our son! And I started crying happy tears! I kid you not! Everyone started snickering at me… I started looking through all the months and I was just mesmerized by the creativity, and beauty of it all. Then I opened another gift and it was a Susan Branch Home cooking Holiday Keepsake recipe book!!!!! And yes more happy tears came… does my son know me or what? It made me so happy! Last Christmas Jesse gave me your Autumn cookbook. Now I have four of your cookbooks. I cherish them all. I keep them all together displayed with a pretty doily proudly on this darling homemade pine hutch that my husband made me years ago. We had a wonderful magical Christmas as always. And I am so very grateful for my family and all the wonders and joy that Christmas brings. This blog was a nice beginning to the new year and I loved every minute of it. It was a great way to pass the time while my hubby watched his football. And by the way the lady Sara on here wrote such a beautiful poem! Is she ever talented too. I loved the picture of kitty in top of your china cabinet too cute! And another new book! A thousand Yeahs! You just blow my mind and fill my heart with so much inspiration Susan. And I thank you for all you do from the bottom of my heart. I am working on my first book witch is a true love story and your inspire me to keep writing… I will have to check out this Downton Abbey as I am of English/Irish/Scottish decent.
    Thank you Susan
    All The Best To You Always!
    God Bless
    Much Love,
    Heather Carlson in Minnesota!

    • Heather Carlson says:

      Good Morning Susan….

      I wrote the letter above and I am sorry it’s so long. I’m a writer and it’s just in my blood. I hope you get a chance to read it as I it says waiting moderation? I’m not quite sure what that means? I tried to go back and shorten it but the web page wouldn’t let me. Next time I will write less. Have a wonderful day!

      • sbranch says:

        I have to “moderate” every comment ~ but for the last couple of days, I’ve just been paying attention to my art for the new book . . . I’m sure I’ll find your letter very soon and I promise to read it!

    • sbranch says:

      A. You will LOVE Downton Abbey! The costumes alone are worth it, but there’s so much more to it than that. And B., yes, that poem Sara wrote!!!! Wonderful! She is very talented! You have a thoughtful family who thinks what to get you that you would actually like! Warms the cockles of my heart! Thank you so much dear Heather. Keep following your dream! XOXOXOXO

      • sondra fox says:

        Heather, you’re a woman of my own heart. Loved reading about your Christmas. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  4. Susan Cardot Lance says:

    Hi Susan,
    I wanted to say thank you for all the encouragement you have given me this past year through this blog and through your book, The Fairy Tale Girl. Through your blog I have started watching for things like the morning sun when it first comes up… the “dappled” light. Through your book I have started looking at my own creativity and artistic ability.

    Thank You! Happy 2016
    Susan Cardot Lance

    • sbranch says:

      You will never know how happy it makes me to hear you say that. Actually you will understand perfectly after you read my next book, because all the explanation is there — thank you so much Susan!

  5. Terri says:

    Oh thank goodness, no Downton spoilers here, lol. My daughter recorded it so I could watch it with them, tomorrow. I can hardly wait, even though it means each one is a little closer to the end…But we will make scones and have some of the lemon curd with them, that the girls gave me for Christmas. We have something special planned for our last Downton episode-watching, already too. I received a cookie cutter in the shape of Queen Elizabeth II (the outline of her profile, wearing a crown) for Christmas, which is just begging for some special occasion ‘biscuits,’ with a pot of tea. As we’re fairly cookie’ed out here, after Christmas, thought we’d save making those to cheer us up at the grand finale… *sigh* On a happier note, hung up your calendar in the kitchen on New Year’s Day and am so in love with it. Every time I go through the kitchen I’ve been taking a moment to re-read January’s quotes and admire all the lovely details you so thoughtfully put in for us, like the unicorn joke and the teensy wolf on the day of the Full Wolf Moon. Seeing it makes me feel like the New Year is off to a good start. Happy New Year to you and yours’!

  6. Saartje says:

    Happy New Year!

    Just wanted to say there is a beautiful lithograph by Escher named Three Worlds, which is a lot like the picture of the leaves in the puddle you took.

  7. SusanP says:

    I’ve been cozy by the fire with my kitties reading The Fairy Tale Girl…I love it!!! Already hung my calendar and am looking so forward to ‘the rest if the story’… Hoping 2016 brings health and prosperity to us all!!
    **say hello to Joe – I’m the ‘stalker’ who followed the Fine Romance van to Ace Hardware in Tulsa to meet you – 😁. Such a great memory
    for me!!!

  8. Kathy Phenix says:

    Oh, Downton!! You are back but I’m already mourning that this is the last season. How will life go on without The Abbey? I sure hope the last scenes are not the auctioning off of the estate. That would be just so depressing.
    I was excited when I saw you had a blog up. I missed it until it presented on FB.
    As usual it was delightful, especially Jack demonstrating his artistic talents. He is a marvelous cat. Happy New Year to the family!

  9. deborah.t.norling says:

    Jack with the paintbrush ! L O V E I T !

  10. kay walker says:

    There are vines growing up post in a view of your home. You are showing a snowy photo of this with the words snow day below it. What kind of plants are these? I love this view of your home.
    Wishing you and yours a good new year

  11. Rosie from Illinois says:

    ♥ Happiest of New Years to you and Joe, and to all the girlfriends! ♥

    Just wanted to add – have you heard about the new coin to be minted by the Royal Mint for 2016? Quote: “A 50p coin honours Beatrix Potter, … on the 150th anniversary of her birth.” (found on WalesOnline – Royal Mint News). Of course I thought of you – what a nice collector’s item – something to look for on your upcoming visit, perhaps? Or maybe a lovely English girlfriend could arrange to send some? 😉

    (I myself am intrigued by the Shakespeare coin also coming out, but that’s how I am – love the skull and rose.)

  12. Pat Johnson says:

    Happy New Year, BFF and her adorable Joe and the frisky kitties too! You always bring joy into my life and can count on you to help me through cloudy days. You are absolutely correct……..Downton Abby time, Ladies and Gentlemen unit in front of the TV and ENJOY!! Words cannot describe the outstanding night we all had!! It was a dream come true. Most definitely a gift given to all of us at this time of year. And there will be more!!! So happy! Sending hugs and love to you and yours………Happy 2016!!

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

    Hello and Good Morning Susan and girlfriends, what a wonderful holiday season we have had, ice and snow for 2 weeks, freezing rain, and ice fog included. we are not complaining, we need the rain and we need the snow to get us out of drought, and its working… we just may get out of this drought. Happy New Year to you all, hope is a happy, healthy and peaceful new year. our little birds are so busy these days, eating at the feeding stations and the suet feeders, I’m practically refilling the feeders every day now. the squirrels are happy, and get an extra helping of nuts and corn for their feed. the ducks are loving the weather, I go out and break the ice up on the pools for them, and they swim in that ice cold frozen water…BRRRRR!!!! the chickens figure its warmer in the henhouse than putting up with the ducks splashing them with the cold icy water so they stay on their warm nests. the cats are busy.. snoozing in their warm and snuggly baskets by the fire… spoiled I know, but we love them anyway. finally taking down the holiday things but leaving my snowmen up for the winter, want more snow to come and I figure these little guys are good luck. well off to get busy on the housework, and to figure something out for dinner, pot roast sounds tempting, or maybe roast beef, we will see. have a great day everyone, hugs…… 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      We got our first snow today — we were excited, but our birds were beside themselves. We had them all at our feeders this morning! Everything from blue jays to yellow finches, lots of cardinals too…very colorful!

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        we get finches, blue mountain jays, woodpeckers and wrens and chickadees. lots of different birds to watch and enjoy. makes for fun kitty TV. the cats enjoy whatever is at the feeders and over on the squirrels’ stump where we feed them.. we get doves, ravens, crows and little tiny birds I think are chickadee and meadowlarks, and more woodpeckers.

  14. Susan Hutchison says:

    When the new 2016 calendar arrived in the mail…I got cozy on the sofa and read from beginning to end~ I love it! Our son who has been in the Air Force for 24 years is retiring in 2016 and he gave me The Fairy Tale Girl for Christmas. I tried so hard not to read thru it to quickly, wanting it to last for awhile but alas I devoured it in one fell swoop. Needless to say I look forward to your next book. Be blessed in 2016.

  15. Paula says:


  16. Carol B. Yannone says:

    Have just finished your blogs and have to reply. I too wondered how Jack got up so high without disturbing anything on the way, but I have seen one of my cats do it and he literally scaled the sides of a cabinet and ended up at the top in my kitchen and yet did not damage anything on the way up and then on the way down when he was ready to descend. Amazing little ones!!! A long overdue thank you for both of your books, A Fine Romance and the Fairy Tale Girl. The later book had me reliving my own “growing up” years as I read yours and brought back so many wonderful dorment memories. Love the 2016 calendar—your talent never ceases to amaze me.Thank you and Happy New Year to you, Joe and the wonderful kitties!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, really, I’ve learned that cats can pretty much do anything they want! SO happy you’ve enjoyed the books. Thank you and Happy New Year to you, too!

  17. Sue Heath says:

    Susan, thank you for your blog! Along with your wonderful art, it is always so inspiring – bringing a sense of warmth, creativity, optimism, and well-being! You are greatly appreciated!

  18. Ruth says:

    I love your blog and your books. What color green is that in your living room?

    • sbranch says:

      Wish I could answer that, but I have lost the name of it. Very upset about it because I love it. Will have to tear off a piece of wall someday to get it matched!

  19. Happy New Year Susan, Joe and everyone!

    I love the photo of Jack on top of the cabinet with the stack of quilts. So catly. 🙂

    We missed Downton Abbey as we were traveling back from some terrible/beautiful weeks in California.
    We were able to be with our “Framily” members, my Rick’s best friend since kindergarten, Jeff, and his wife, Michelle, during the last twelve days of his life and during the very hard days afterwards.
    It was unbearably beautiful, gracious, heart-rending and grief-striking all in one. Jeff was a chef and I got to cook with him one last time -for the nurses who cared for him over the last year and for the doctor and also for other friends who came to visit. He was a loving caring generous person; doing things for others even to his last day. (He cooked Thanksgiving for 80 nurses and delivered it to the hospital while still undergoing chemotherapy)
    Our time together was a gift I will never lose, and it has changed me forever. <3
    I cooked your lemon linguine with Cajun shrimp for Michelle, a couple of days afterwards and it was a dish which brought us all comfort.
    I wanted to let you know that.
    Everything matters- Goodness matters.
    So in 2016 let's get on with loving and living – it's what matters.

    Wishing blessings of goodness, laughter, purpose, peace, and health to you all.
    And more than that please tell the people you love that you love them every chance you get and encourage your friends who are under 44 to sign up to be bone marrow donors- it is easy, painless, free, and you could literally save someone -and their whole framily too.


    • sbranch says:

      “Everything matters – Goodness matters.” Yes, indeed, and thank you for that reminder dear Gabi.

  20. Sally Radley says:

    I was so excited to see your blog! Have not been on my computer as I have
    ended up in the hospital over the holiday,,but now as I have had a chance to
    read up and also to read your wonderful book!!! I received it when it first came
    out but just a page or two at a time,,now I can’t put it down,,I just love it and
    am going to hate for it to end! I am the kind of person that slows down so I
    don’t end it too soon??? crazy huh?? but I am so happy your new book will come out in April hopefully!!! I read a part of your book to my husband this morning and he got a kick out of it,,,it was about decorating your home with lots of homey things like I do,, he does like that too!!! Happy happy new year to you,,,love everything you do and am looking forward to your new book! Sally Radley Claremore, Oklahoma

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you so much Sally for such nice book compliments . . . I think you will love the second one even more … I hope! And I hope you are better and out of the hospital and home!

  21. Connie Haltermann says:

    I brought out my two brand new kitchen calendars today–your large one and your small one that hangs on a hook on my refrigerator and records all our plans and appointments. I never write on the larger one. When I was a little girl, my mother always told me, “Pockets are for pretty” when I would put my hands in my dress pockets and stretch out the fabric. It so happens that your beautiful large calendar is for “pretty” in my kitchen every year because I have always considered each a piece of art–to savor and then save. Also, I never peek at the next month’s picture and other artwork. Traditionally I start each month by turning the page and reading every word.

    So here we go, 2016–it’s going to be a fabulous year, I just know it! (I will definitely miss seeing Downton Abbey though. They’ll just have to make a movie, that’s all….and a few sequels…with the original cast, of course. )

    Happy New Year, Susan! Keep blogging forever!

  22. toni baumgard says:

    Happy New Year! I disconnected my phone, got a warm blankie, a cup of tea and Downton. I smiled when it started because I knew I had all my dear”Susan Girlfriends” and You just out of sight watching with me. Wasn’t it lovely? Wasn’t it magic. How nice to share it with all of you. toni b

  23. Ann Woleben says:

    Susan, Happy New Year to you and Joe and the kitties. I’m dreaming that I could work from home like you, but alas, not yet. My birthday is in April so it would be perfect if your book could be published by then – a gift to myself! Although the Christmas items have been put away, I’m trying to keep the spirit in my heart. I am placing my snowmen out along with a few snow-dappled (is that a word?) bottle trees in hopes of a beautiful, peaceful snowfall. Tis the season for dreaming of gardens! Then coming home at the end of the day for knitting, reading, and baking (my husband would like more of the baking). Downton – whee!
    Blessings to you as you continue the new book~

  24. Gina P. from NY says:

    Happy New Year Susan! Rabbit, Rabbit… Brrrrrr – it’s the first really cold snap of this winter season. It is 16 degrees right now, and they are talking below zero wind chills by morning. YIKES! We had a bit of ice and snow last week, still teeny piles of snow around, but nothing like last year! I remember what it looked like in your pictures – what a lovely reminder… Yes, lovely! I do like the white stuff coming down when I’m home, cozy and warm and can watch from my windows. Since I do work in a school, it would be a Snow Day. We have not had any this year yet! So we’ll see what January brings us, though they are saying that by Sunday it will be back up to 45 degrees.

    I hung up your little magnetic calendar on my fridge this weekend. I so love it and will miss it next year. I remember you telling us that they will no longer be available after this year. It amazes me that here we are again into a new year. Where did the time go?

    Downton Abbey was fantastic last night! They are repeating it again this evening on another PBS channel and I plan to watch it again to see if I missed anything! I just want Bates and Anna to have their baby; Michael Gregson to return to Edith (did we really have any proof that he was dead?); Carson and Mrs. Hughes to get away from the Abbey on a wonderful Honeymoon (don’t we all think they deserve it?); Tom Branson to return with Sybbie for good; Mary to finally settle down so George has a Daddy; and Isobel to settle down with Dr. Clarkson. Oh, if we could all have our wishes come true! Can’t wait until next week!

    So looking forward to your new book – love the little house you lived in. How cozy that must have been. Have a wonderful week…

  25. Lois Carr says:

    Marilyn S. comments on January 2nd sound like me. Every inch of your artwork, in books, calendars, cards, etc. are to be savored and enjoyed over and over. Such simple things in life, bring much pleasure when seen through your eyes and brushes! Thank you Susan!

  26. Elaine Depo says:

    Happy New Year Susan! Loved the blog as always ~ nothing like starting the New Year off right! All I have to say is you are ONE brave girl! Those candlesticks on the narrow edge of the cabinet Jack insists on claiming as his own….just sayin’.

    • sbranch says:

      They aren’t there anymore! Once I saw him up there and got my pictures, I thought about him coming down and moved them!

  27. Chrissy says:

    Happy New Year! I love starting a new year, a fresh start with new calendars. I love calendars and I have four of yours. I have almost all your books as well. I’m sooo excited to read your new book. I’ll be turning 40 in a month and I want your new book as a present even if that means giving it to myself. I look forward to spending 2016 with your lovely blog, calendars and books. You can always find beauty and wonderment in the small things. I often don’t notice them, but you are always there to point them out. Thank you!

  28. Linda Allen says:

    I love your red & white Christmas dishes! Are they Spode? If not, who makes them? Can you tell me anything about them? I’ve been looking for some Christmas dishes, but didn’t want the usual ones you see by Lenox, Niko or Phaltzgraph. Thanks! Oh! And Happy New Year! Reading The Fairy Tale Girl….love it! Also, ordered a new SB 2016 wall calendar a couple days ago! Can’t wait to get it! God bless & Byeee!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, they’re Spode — Copeland Spode Tower is what’s marked on the back, and I think they’re at least sixty years old. You can find pieces in antique stores, or watch for a set on Ebay. Happy 2016 Linda!

  29. Julie says:

    I’m so excited to hear that you will be at Vroman’s again, my very favorite CA bookstore. I now live in N CA, but grew up 15 minutes from Pasadena. I am looking forward to your reading and visiting family & friends in S CA that week. Although I haven’t made your acquaintance, I do consider you a dear friend. You’ve been a friend to my heart. You’ve encouraged me, and reminded me that beauty and love still reign in this world. Happy New Year Susan!

  30. SUSAN from Bainbridge Island, Washington says:

    I LOVED DOWNTON ABBEY, last night…..So much good stuff…Could list many!!
    I am sending you, Sue and all that live in your home a very Happy New Year…and that it is filled with lots of laughter, love of family and friends, good health, prosperity, and peace within ….and this is for all the Susan Branch Girlfriends too! 2016 looks like a positive year ahead….Yeah! for all of us…..love from my island to yours, always……give that Jack and Girl a little pet for me, would ya? xo

  31. How does your kitty get way up there? I know cats have extraordinary climbing ability, but this just seems incredible to me. I am so excited about your new book. I think I will have to pre-order it so I can get it right away. We had a winter wonderland today, in northeast Ohio. No real snow all the winter holiday, no sledding, no skating, no skiing. But the first day back to school for my grandchildren – such beautiful snow! Oh, my.

    • sbranch says:

      It is incredible! Because where does he start from? Can’t possibly be the floor! Even if it’s the ledge on the hutch where the candles were, that’s still a huge jump. I really don’t know how he gets up there. I had actually stopped even wondering until now!

      • You need a nanny cam!

      • Elaine Depo says:

        Hi Susan, I made the comment earlier about Jack on top of the cabinet and the candlesticks. I read this and thought I’d mention my dear kitty Sami-Ann years back jumping waaay up on top of our highboy, constantly. It’s a formal piece with a bonnet top and finials, don’t know why, or HOW she got up there. One day I caught her just as she was flying through the air from the top of an adjacent wing chair….I mean it was not really close, but she wanted on top and she made it happen! It was amazing, all she needed was a cape!

  32. Karen Saunders says:

    NObody had a New Years like I did!!! Went to a friends house down the block to watch the games and when my husband and I walked back we heard this terrible clatter on the side patio roof which is fiberglass….the wind was blowing really hard and we thought maybe it blew one of the panels loose but it was too dark to see. We went inside and out dog was missing!!! Remember we are remodeling our house and so we are living in the upstairs. My son had left the upstairs windows open and Jake, our rescue dog, which has been having separation issues since our WHFT of 15 years died. He went out the dormer, climbed over the roof…which is very tall and onto the patio roof, looking for me!!! He was frantic!! We called 911, they get cats out of trees, right?? They said they don’t really do that now but bless their hearts they came. Jake is between 80-100 lbs…no lite-weight! When they arrived with lights flashing (thank God they didn’t use their siren) they got out and looked like they should all be on a calendar and I said “What dog??” Kidding. We finally got him down….and I know our new neighbors are wondering just who the heck has moved in!!! Lol!!

  33. Lynn Cunningham says:

    As always, I loved every beautiful image! Thank you for a year of beautiful pictures, watercolors and for sharing your story. May 2016 be kind to you, and to everyone you love! (I think Jack has the true catbird’s seat, on top of the stack of quilts ~ nothing will escape his notice from that vantage point!). Happiest of New Years!

  34. Cathy L says:

    Love seeing the photos of your decorations (putting them up and taking them down), moving figurines and other items around your home. Then, I got to thinking… where does she keep it all? How does she store them? It’s not like you have a humongous home. I can barely manage my small amount of boxes. Any tips?

    • sbranch says:

      We do have an attic, and all the Christmas stuff goes there. And I have lots of hutches around the house, a great place to keep everything from photo albums to dishes.

  35. Susan P. says:


    Here in CALIFORNIA we are getting RAIN… I am so happy to have rain… for our tree is still up (We get it late from OLYMPIC TREES in Washington) so we can celebrate little Christmas ..Jan 6th…and it makes it so much more romantic and CHRISTMAS loverly!!!! We have done this for years..it takes that little bit of sadness away when things have to be put away right away. But I was also ready for the New Year…and yes I was so ready for Downton Abbey…I gathered my Book of Days from Your Store…all the pillows from my husband side of the bed and got comfy and warm under the Christmas Quilt and watched the hour countdown before the new season started. It was sssooo good…I hope Tom shows up….His name was in the credits and he did a interview in the countdown before the show…SSSSOOOOOO HERE IS TO HOPING OUR DREAMS COME TRUE FOR TOM AND MARY. Thanks for a wonderful blog and making so many of our dreams come true…..just the art work alone can transfer me to places I have never been to…but seem to know so well. Love. Susan P.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Susan! Here’s hoping for Tom and Mary! I can’t believe how happy that would actually make me! 🙂

  36. Cheryl Rooney says:

    As always – so fun to read your latest!!! Love your enthusiasm – it’s contagious! Happy Downtown Days!

  37. Nancy says:

    Happy New Year Susan! Yes, I look forward to a new year – a blank canvas to be written, painted and sung. I am blessed and I wish you many blessings also for the coming year. Isn’t anticipation fun?

  38. Happy New Year, dear Susan! I am a tad late in my greeting, but it’s never too late for happy! A few observations: Downton Abbey. Sigh. What will we without it? New book coming out. Can’t wait! And that dollhouse-style drawing with the cutaway view? I am inspired! I am a miniaturist and just might have to do a kitchen like the one you show there. ( I am also a perfectionist/realist and almost always include a kitchen and a bathroom in my miniature buildings. Every miniature imaginary dweller need those!) Have a blessedly abundant day!

  39. Jennifer in Camarillo, CA says:

    Happy New Year Susan! You continue to be such a source of joy for me. I love your books, your blog, your home, your kitties and hearing about life on Martha’s Vineyard….which I hope to visit someday. Downton may be ending but will live forever in our hearts! We are getting some beautiful rain today in Camarillo…so badly needed, I love it. My kitties Pearl and Prince love to sit and watch the rain…hugs to you, Joe and your kitties 🙂

  40. Audrianne Hill says:

    Happy New Year to you too, and thank you for a lovely blog posting. But I really have to ask, how do you keep all your treasures dust free? It seems I just finish and I have to start all over again.

    I was so tired on Sunday, I fell asleep right before Downton! Thank goodness my local PBS is replaying episode one next Sunday the hour before episode two.

    • sbranch says:

      In California, my house is in a field and on a dirt road, and we have a ton of dust out there. But here, I guess we don’t have as much. Although, besides dusting, I do wash everything every so often. Downton was wonderful!

  41. Beth L. says:

    Uhh Ohhh…..I think I may have fallen down the Rabbit Hole with you!

    My Comment was “awaiting” several days and has now disappeared altogether!!!
    I don’t think Vanna liked me calling her a DIVA… when I suggested that was HER polished-pink poised pinky holding the lovely Gold and Rose Champagne Glass. (but it really does LOOK like her!) Such a Party Girl at heart!

    Anyway, I had asked how exactly YOU use your DAYS Book given there are a Zillion possibilities! I love mine but kinda hate to mess it up writing in it!
    It’s so lovely on its own! Wondering if you keep a new every year or just one??

    • sbranch says:

      You’re not in the rabbit hole, I am! I am the “moderator” on the blog, and when something is waiting for moderation, it’s waiting for me . . . and I’m being very slow as I am SO excited and deep into the work of my new book. So I’m not on the computer as much. Except now, because I wouldn’t THINK of not reading all these wonderful comments. Vanna knows she’s a Diva! In that book, I just jot down what happened that day. The simplest of journaling.

      • Beth L. says:

        Susan, I’m praying you can freely ENJOY the whole “process” of this new book… without the *outside pressures* robbing you of this time. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”
        You were born to do this.
        May you DELIGHT and relish in the Gift.
        (And Vanna will have the Champagne ready when it’s time!)

        • sbranch says:

          Aren’t you a doll. Yes, in my inner heart, I do just that, delight and relish…. it’s a pure joy. I do feel the pressure though, because it’s hard to back away from all the other things you love to do just this one thing, but this too shall pass. As Elton John said, Don’t wish it away, don’t look at it like it’s forever . . . 💛

  42. Rhonda Williams says:

    Happy New Year! I took a look and there you were! Lovely leaves, puddles and kittens!

  43. Pamala B says:

    Love reading this blog!!! I love the picture in this blog that is the clear table and angle this is taken from. Your home is so lovely. Also, excitedly waiting on our new book!!! Giggles. eeeeeeeeee ready!!!

  44. sondra fox says:

    Happy New Year GF’s! I was just thinking of a family friend who lost his wife on a Christmas Day, just days ago when I was young, (long ago). They had put their Christmas tree up in their bay window, where it could be viewed by drivers driving by. When the man’s wife died, he decided to leave their tree up “forever.” There it stood, all lite up, year after year, for all to see the man’s undying love for his wife. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  45. Joy Kordos says:

    Happy New Year Susan!!! Love your Blogs. Keep them coming. They are so heart
    warming with lots of love. Let me know how I can purchase you next book. Joy

  46. Reading the saying about counting your blessings the first thing that came into my mind was the old song, “Count your blessings, count them one by one.” I don’t think I’ve heard it or even thought of it since childhood.

  47. Gerry says:

    Susan, thank you for your wonderful blog, it’s such a pleasure to get to know you. Your joy becomes my joy. It’s amazing how simple things warms our heart and our souls.

  48. JoLynnH says:

    Happy New Year, Susan!

  49. Sue Lamke says:

    My curiosity is getting the best of me. I want to write a book of my early years to give to family. I like your format. A few questions: Is the print a font you use or actual hand printing, ? Do you do the art or the text first? Size?
    When you use a photo do you put it on the paper then the text? I hope you can help me along with these questions. Thanks so much. Sue

  50. Elske Olijnsma says:

    A wonderful 2016 to you!! I saw on FB that you finally have some snow? We finally have some winter as well in the Netherlands… We woke up to a dusting of snow on Monday and it has been freezing ever since. What’s worse… we had rain on Tuesday and today that freezes on the ground… So there’s a weather alarm here now. Some people are skating in the streets. Others can’t get to work. Some break their bones. Anyway, this is not how winter should be! Tomorrow we are supposed to get more rain/snow/whatever and then temps should go up. At last it won’t be slippery anymore… but I do hope we will get some decent winter soon! I love the cold temperatures we’re having… just not the icy part 😉

    • sbranch says:

      I’m with you, the ice is the bad part! That’s pretty much the only thing, besides a foot and a half of new snow, that will keep us from going on our walk in the morning. There’s just no getting around ice!

  51. Margot near the Bay says:

    It’s Downton Abby time again! For all the girlfriends in the Chicagoland area, the costumes from Downton Abby will be on display until February 24th. I am not sure what museum they are in though.

    • Margot near the Bay says:

      I found the answer to “Dressing Downton”!
      When: Feb. 9-May 8, 2016

      Where: Richard H. Driehaus Museum (40 E. Erie St., 312-482-8933, ext. 21) Chicago, IL

      How Much: $15-$55

  52. Gwen Gooda says:

    Happy New Year Susan & Joe – last Christmas my cousin gave me A Fine Romance & this year she gave me Fairytale Girl. My two favorite books of ALL TIME! Since finishing Fairytale Girl I decided to reread A Fine Romance – I’m enjoying it just as much as I did the first time. May you have nothing but blessings in 2016 – can’t wait for the next book!!! Gwen

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Gwen! So nice to hear! I’m working like a madman, trying to get the new book sooner rather than later!

  53. Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

    Hi, Sue ~
    Just want to pop in to say Happy New Year to you and Joe and to thank you for the all the inspiration you’ve sent my way each and every year since I’ve known you. May God continue to bless this wonderful meeting place you’ve created <3

  54. Lori Monroe says:

    Happy New Year! 2015 has been our best year yet! After being married for 23 years our precious daughter was born! She is our first child! I am officially in remission from cancer! We adopted a new dog, so our other one would have a buddy. We can’t wait to see what is in store for 2016! Looking forward to your new book!

  55. Ann in UK says:

    What a wonderful read xx Happy New Year to you and yours. Love all your photos, I can almost imagine myself on the Island, however does your kitty get to the top of that unit with the quilts on top? (or even down again – I would love to watch him) I bought Fairytale Girl for my Christmas present, haven’t read it yet as I am waiting for the “right time” to start. We have no more “Downton” to look forward too, instead we have a series with Dickens characters in new stories, which I find enjoyable. Looking forward to your new book, best wishes for 2016.

  56. Rosemary Monk says:

    Dear Susan,
    Happy New Year to you, and Joe, and the kitties and all your other loved ones. I love reading your Blogs and Willards, and keeping up to date on your life and your beautiful work. Such wonderful words and pictures, and news of your life and new book, and thoughts and art! My Christmas season brought all four of our children together in our home, at the same time, for the first time in 10 years, and I got the pictures to prove it! A warm-hearted neighbor came by and to the photos of the six of us in front of our Christmas tree. Now three of the four are scattered to the winds again–San Francisco, Washington, DC and New Zealand, while our youngest, still at home, gets ready for college next year. We are very blessed. And I feel blessed to have found you, and your books and art, to keep beauty and fun and whimsey in my life. I so loved “Love Affair” and “Fairy Tale Girl” that I put in my order for Island Girl as soon as pre-orders became available. But I am patient. I know when you will work until your book is perfect, and I will love it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  57. Sheryl from Magalia CA says:

    One question for you at this time……After reading a half dozen of these notes to you….How does one person hold all this love in her heart without it just exploding? Love you too. Sheryl

    • sbranch says:

      She doesn’t. She explodes. It is beyond wonderful. I always felt alone before when I wrote books, but not anymore!

  58. Sarah says:

    I just read the last page of “The Fairy Tale Girl” tonight and had to come by and say how much I loved it! I’ve been loving your art and beautiful things and wonderful blog for a long time, but a glimpse into your past makes it all even better! Thank you for sharing your story–I can’t wait to read “Isle of Dreams”! You are so talented and special and I’m just so glad you share yourself with all of us 🙂 Happiest of New Years to you!!

  59. Jan says:

    Loved the post and especially the pictures of the leaves in the water puddle . Beautiful! Know you are busy working on your next book, but I have to mention this while I am thinking about it. I have an adult coloring book I recently purchased, and have been thinking how great it would be to have a Susan Branch one! In your spare time, right? 🙂 But seriously, I think it’s a great idea!

  60. A. Sanborn says:

    For your love of all things Beatrix Potter -potterybarnkids.com/shop/easter/all-easter/?

    I happened onto this link looking for Valentines Day items and what to my wondering eyes should appear… all Beatrix Potter items for Easter 2016 over at Pottery Barn for Kids… LOVE it!


  61. Gert~Iowa says:

    Happy New Year Susan! Your blogs are such an inspiration and seem to make some quiet, wonderful sense of this world. It’s beautiful, it’s peaceful, we must take time to see the beauty around us!! Even if it’s a snow filled day! Or a bone chilling one! ha! Look beyond, look at the doggy or kitty who helps make ones life complete! Welcome to a new year…sounds like it will be full of wonderous things for you!!! Blessings

  62. Tawni urrutia says:

    Happy New Year Susan!
    I saw in your coming events that you are coming to Danville when you are in California!
    I am so excited I can hardly type. My Auntie Penny and I worship and adore you! To strong? No? Good! We’ve been praying that you and Joe would swing into San Fransisco, but the East Bay was more than we dared to dream…it’s practically in my back yard!
    If you are staying in SF, may I suggest you look into staying at the Hotel Drisco. It’s very old, quaint, and in pristine condition. It’s in the incredible Pacific Heights neighborhood, so you can enjoy walks with jaw dropping house peeping!
    Thank you so much for all the joy you bring to us. I can not wait to meet you!
    Tawni Urrutia in Lodi, Ca

  63. Regina Carretta says:

    Re: Your Favorite Movies link…
    Susan – wonderful films all! Have you seen the UK 1952 film, “The Holly and the Ivy”? Glorious black and white, snowy British countryside, family of characters – just a lovely story – can’t get it in the US in DVD format, and it is not on YouTube, but I hear some tech-savy folks can transfer the UK DVD format on their computers to play it…..
    thanks for the list…..


  64. Kari says:

    Whenever you take pictures around your house for the blog, I never see Joe sitting on any of the furniture, and so I find myself wanting to ask: “Does Joe ever sit down?” He always has a rake in his hand, or a picnic basket, or a shovel. Just wondering!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh he sits. But when he’s sitting, he’s not as “camera-ready” as he is when he’s doing something!

  65. PaulaJ says:

    Happy New Year, Susan~~It is hard to believe it is already the 10th of January 2016. We had the pleasure of the company of 11 of our GRAND children (all one family, ages 3-20) from 28th of December to the 8th of January, so I did not do Blog checking during that time. I was delighted to find your New Year’s Day posting with your typical, joy inspiring photos, quotes, words, and paintings, when I finally got around to clicking on my Susan Branch Blog bookmark! Thank you for the blessings you have given us this past year, via your blogs and books, Susan.

    I am excited to read the sequel to FairyTale Girl and to see pictures and paintings of your little house (delightful painting shown in this blog) and to read about your writing process. I am still amazed that you appear to only use the small watercolor pallets that are pre made. I love your style, Susan! You definitely think and “do” out of the box! 🙂

    The Lord bless you and Joe and make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you in 2016.

    I count you as one of my blessings!

  66. Carol Wakefield says:

    Good morning, dear Susan.
    Sorry to bother you on the frigid snowy day (at least here in Indianpolis. -7 wind chill and only going down. Winter is finally here! 🙂 but I wanted so badly to reread your post about your wonderful stove, but I can’t find it. Do you remember when you wrote it? Or is there a way to look up old posts by subject?
    Happy New Year! And isn’t Downton wonderful!!! (Was so scared for Marigold last night! Thought Julian Fellows was going to do someone a harm ……again!)

  67. It is so cold here in WI. We woke up to -5, but now after lunch the snow is gently falling and it is a balmy 7. So beautiful though. sigh
    I still don’t know when we are closing on the house…

  68. Helen says:

    I’m so disappointed I don’t see a reply to my inquiry about the white cup with love printed in red on it. Perhaps you are too busy to answer where you got it. Happy New Year to you.

    • sbranch says:

      I just have to go to the kitchen and look at the bottom — I looked this up just recently for someone else and posted a link in the comment section to where you could buy them on Amazon. This time I won’t have time to do that, but I’ll run to the kitchen and check it for you…just one moment please…okay, it has a stamp on the bottom and it’s a little hard to read but I think it says Keith Frymer, close enough to get you to the spot on Amazon. Yes, I’m sorry, I’m really trying to make my printing deadline, normally I would get this for you! I’m glad you asked again.

  69. Helen says:

    Thank you, Susan. You are most kind.

  70. Bonnie Bangert says:

    I love your two year pocket calendars and I wanted to thank you for adding extra lined pages in the back of your 2016-2017 calendar. I am also discovering that I love your web site as well. Thanks again and Happy New Year!

  71. Gladys Marie says:

    Looking forward to finding out the story around the painting in the cozy bed with all the kitty cats.

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