Rainy Day on Martha’s Vineyard

8 am on a rainy day on Martha’s Vineyard. I slept in to 5 am this morning, which I think would be about 9 am in normal-people time. I LOVED it!  A red letter day! Joe just made us a fire and Dark Victory is on TV. I feel so happy because by this time next week I will be totally and completely done with all work I assigned myself. All I will have to do is plant the garden and write us a new Willard before I go. Here’s the song I woke up singing this morning: MUSICA (let it play for a moment and it will wrap magic around you).

heart of thehome

I almost haven’t missed Downton (almost) because I’ve been so busy with my newest and last project for 2016. I’m getting my first book, Heart of the Home, ready for it’s 30th Anniversary. It’s, as they say,  “revised and expanded” ~ what started as a 160 page book has grown to 176 pages, with lots of new recipes, quotes, and art.  Thirty years! Can you believe it? My first baby is 30. It’s been like stepping back in time because I’m doing the pages just like I did them originally . . .


Ruler, pencil and eraser, pen and ink and watercolors . . . while listening to old movies . . . just like in 1986 . . .

Pie tops for Heart of the Home. . . I’ve been painting (and cooking) tomatoes and pies . . .

Heart of the HomeAnd chickens . . . and bowls and jars and spoons and all sorts of fun things.



I’ve picked out a bright red grosgrain ribbon for the bookmark (my first book didn’t have a ribbon originally, but it will now). I’m designing new endpapers my paint box(they were just plain white before), and I’m adding a new border to the cover . . . While I’m doing it I feel myself back at that dining room table in my first little house on the Island 30 years ago (as you’ll see when you get Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams, because I write all about it there). Which means, perhaps, that it’s not just a trilogy of books I’ve done anymore, now it’s a, what is it, a quad? A quadroopalidge?  This new version of Heart of the Home dots the i and crosses the t of all of my last three books, plus snow treeyou’ll have a new cookbook for Christmas.  So while we are sailing over the Atlantic, you’ll have something new to look forward to. I’ve been thinking of you the whole time I’ve been doing it, asking myself “what would they like?” . . . and because of that, I think you are going to love it even better than the first one!my paintbrush, doing what comes naturally

cranberry coffee cake

Remember that Cranberry Tea Cake, (with butter and sugar and eggs and cranberries and oranges and sticky pecans that put together say,”I love you”)  I told you about months ago that I was “saving?” Well, I’m not saving it anymore!from me to you with loveIMG_6123

It’s finally going to be yours . . . it’s been horrible saving this recipe, it’s so delicious and not in my nature to be a hoarder, but now I’m glad I saved it! rose and hearts


I’ve been having a wonderful time being back in the cookbook business! It’s a very creative place to be.pinksugarfrostingYes, there will!

vanilla goes into the bowlJoe has been enjoying it too . . .

I have a question ~ I need you to tell me what to do . . . See this?



I was thinking about substituting one of the other recipes with this  . . . it’s already printed in A Fine Romance, and you may already have it, but maybe it My stovetopwould be easier to remember if it were in a cookbook? What do you think?  It’s SO delicious, I don’t want anyone to forget about it . . . I also don’t want to take away the essence of the 1986 cookbook, but I do want to make it extra special for you. I only get to add 16 recipes, which I’ve already done . . . so, if I put this in, I would have to take something out. Which isn’t hard to do, how many cakes are there that serve 24 people? Gluten free? And I think this cake is REALLY good! So, if you want it, I’ll be happy to include it, and I won’t feel bad if you don’t because it’s already in A Fine Romance! Tell me what you think!Cheesecake

What makes it especially fun is that there are already so many good recipes in this book, it’s a great foundation to add on to! And don’t worry, I wouldn’t take this  out!cooking-is-an-art

making gazpachoHeart of the Home will still have the best loved recipes in it . . . I’ve added what I hope will be future best loved and family favorites. I’m not going to show you anymore because I want it to be a surprise!springstripofflowers


I got the cutest new thing. A girlfriend sent me a homemade card that had this teeny little watering can glued to it as a decoration . . . you can see how little it is compared to my Beatrix Potter Person . . .snow drops. . . just the perfect size for the snow drops . . . so I pulled it off the card and now it takes center stage on my dish shelf to show off the snow drops . . .

snowdrops. . . that are taking over our yard . . . in the best possible way.  And today, they are being drenched with rain.

Did any of you see the series called TURN?  It’s a true story about a spy ring for the American side (best-friend twenty-somethings who’ve known each other since childhood) during the Revolutionary War.  I saw season one maybe three or four times now ~ it’s flagSO GOOD . . . but I could never find season two . . . by the time I found season one on Netflix, season two on AMC had already passed, and for some reason Netflix didn’t get season two, so I just figured (sadly) that the series wasn’t going to make it.  BUT, I just heard that season three is going to start on AMC on April 25! They are repeating season one on AMC now (hopefully we’ll get to see season two sometime before the new one starts). I think you would love it . . . look at a trailer HERE. It has a wonderful treacherously-threatening theme song, I sang it to Joe when he came down the stairs this morning . . . “There’s snakes in the garden . . .” Love to see him roll his eyes and this song (the way I sing it) does the trick. P.S. There is some violence in this series, NOTHING like what some of them have, but still . . . I found it very easy to get through because I just close my eyes and it doesn’t go on forever. There is this hideous horrible sick nutcase of an officer that causes all the trouble that makes you wish he was dead, and you hope, when they do kill him, which won’t be soon enough, they will do it out behind the barn and just tell us it happened.  He is SO BAD. We will love to hate him. See what you think!

So a couple more sneak-peeks and then I will us all get back to work .MarchTopArtSneak-peek number one . . . is a  page from the 2017 calendar which will be coming out in July . . . Like it?MVYankeeAdAnd my full-page ad to go in the May/June issue of Yankee Magazine . . .ThreeBooksSo that when I go out to sign my children at the end of April, someone will know about them!  I hope! I hear that lots of you are coming to the signings and I can’t wait to meet you . . . isn’t it interesting that even though you think a certain time will NEVER get here, sooner or later, it does!? I can’t believe that soon we will be driving out of our driveway . . . cooler stuffed with road food, tears still drying from saying goodbye to the kitties . . . heading for the boat and points west . . .

Girl Kitty kitten


Bye for now Girlfriends . . . answer all my questions, please!  Have a wonderful day! ♥ XOXO

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622 Responses to Rainy Day on Martha’s Vineyard

  1. Tara Dollins says:

    Thank you so much for posting TV series you like. I dont watch alot of tv but your suggestions are always right on the money !!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so happy to share, there is a massive lack of well-done (and valuable) programs out there (in my picky opinion), so when we get one, we need to know! I can’t figure out why they don’t do more life stories of people who’ve made a difference. Like historical novels in a way. Would love that.

      • lynn maust says:

        I would love that too…recently read 2 historical romance novels.

        Also….New Hope was my old stamping grounds for MANY years…and wish I could be there for your book signing!

  2. Oh, Susan YES to the Polenta Cake – even though I haven’t made it YET it’s on my list. I love the lavendar art work you did with it! It’s a MUST.

    • sbranch says:

      Okay, I’m definitely doing it! I’ll leave the same artwork too . . . you’ll love this cake Dixie!

  3. Kim L says:

    My vote is to leave out the Lavender Polenta cake, since it is already in the other (wonderful) book. And thanks for letting me know about TURN. I will have to look it up and record it. Hope the family will like it too, since we all miss Downton. A family story to share with you…. it seems an ancestor was working as a spy for George Washington (yes, a true and verified story). On the way home, he was waylaid by a group of men. Since there was no easy way to tell whether he was talking to Tories or fellow independence fighters, he refused to tell them much. They finally wound up hanging him, only to find out they were all on the same side. (the right side, of course…. ). They were much grieved by what had happened. So sad. Such difficult times for everyone. I thought you might like this, as it relates to the Am. Revolution… hope so! Someone for us in his family/descendents to be proud of and to aspire to that level of bravery.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s a fantastic story! You are going to love TURN, because that’s something that totally happens, except, so far, they didn’t hang him!

  4. Barbara in NC says:

    I just saw on my Netflix queue that Turn Season 2 will be released March 22!
    We love it…thanks for telling everyone about it!

    • sbranch says:

      Well, that’s even better, I keep hearing April 11 — but maybe it’s different in different places. I saw season one on Netflix last night, and as usual I clicked on it “just to make sure” it wasn’t season 2! But no such luck!

  5. Sharon from Fresno says:

    Hello Susan, yes I think you should definitely include the Orange Lavendar Polenta Cake recipe in your Heart of the Home book. Can’t wait until it’s available. Gotta make this short, busy painting the house but needed a short break. The body moves slower when it’s 73 years old.

  6. Maddie says:

    I LOVE Turn! I was home sick and re-watched season 1 for the 3rd maybe 4th time! Love it! I always catch new clues and pieces to the puzzle! Good news…season 2 will be on Nwrflix April 11th! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I’m right with you! Watched it over and over . . . it’s not Downton, no fabulous dresses, but so well done, and our own history.

  7. Gail Risden says:

    Susan, A friend sent me your blog last year-love at first glance! So excited when I saw you were coming to CA. Danville is 1.5 hrs away. Then I had a biopsy which is leading to a lumpectomy next wk, then 6 wks of radiation. No way I can plan to be there. So disappointed!! To cheer me up I plan to buy your books –I now have something special to look forward to, especially if I don’t have energy to do other things. You are a delight!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so glad to hear you have caught the little critter, although it must be very scary. I’ll be back, I’m sure, and you will be well and healthy and kicking up your feet! Good luck with it Gail!!! This too shall pass!!! (Easy for me to say, sending love. xoxo)

      • Carol Lichwala says:

        Dear Gail,
        Sending love and healing thoughts your way. You are going to love Susan’s books, I have them all and read them over and over to help get me through the hard times.

    • charissa says:

      Sending hugs and prayers your way, Gail. 🙂

    • Susan P. says:

      Gail, I believe in the power of PRAYERS…you have mine also. Susan P.

    • Annie in IL says:

      I can totally sympathize as I went thru the same entire thing in 1999. Best wishes, Girlfriend. You’ll do just fine. I’m still here and doing fine.

    • Barbara Irvine (Connecticut) says:

      Gail, sending prayers and healing thoughts your way, all the way across the country from Connecticut !! You know all the Girlfriends are praying for you and we know you can kick this thing in the a**. Out, damned spot!!

      Please let us know how you are doing. Be sure to read Susan’s books, “A Fine Romance” and “Fairytale Girl” — I’ve also gone back and read all the “old” blogs and Willards (I came rather late to the party here), and loved them all. They will keep your mind off the nasty radiation thing and, before you know it, it will be all over and you’ll be fine!

      XOXOXO, Barb

    • Jane Alexander says:

      Gail Risden, 8 years ago I had a lumpectomy and then radiation. And I have been well ever since. Just wanted to tell you that good news. Love and blessings and prayers to you.

      • Gail Risden – 16 years out for me for the same procedure you are having. I am fine and know you will be, too. Have faith, girlfriend! All will be fine!

        • Rhonda D. says:

          Gail, I went through radiation and chemo 3 years ago. I have been well since then. I will keep you in my prayers…they do work. Hang on to Psalm 91:16. “I will give him a long and full life.”

  8. Susan, I can’t imagine a
    better cookbook than your first. But like all things , they get better with age! Looking forward to to reading it. You certainly are out of the frying pan and into the fire! Do you ever rest?
    I also found out the exhibit of Downton Abby costumes in Chicago at the Dreihaus Museum has been extended to Memorial Day! So maybe you will have an hour or two between The Wilmette and Iowa book signings to go for a peek. The museum is very close to the highway, 94. Our library in Grayslake, Il gave a slide show with some of the costumes that are on display at the museum. Just a little something to think about. Take care!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m about to rest, sort of, at least get out of this chair, which is going to be wonderful. I haven’t really in the last few years, I had a couple things I wanted to share while the brain is still somewhat in operating mode. Thank you for the update on the Downton costumes, that actually sounds do-able. I wrote it down. That would be fabulous! Thank you Lisa!

  9. Susan from Bainbridge Island,Wa. says:

    Happy St. Paddy’s Day, Susan! Remember in grade school, when March 17th arrived and you just HAD to wear green or you would get pinched? Fun Days being kids!!!
    Got your green on?
    Enjoy your day …..the corned beef and cabbage and all the fixin’s are happening at my house and it will be delish!!!!
    Love from my island to yours! xo

    • sbranch says:

      I DO have my green on. I lived in fear of that pinching 🙂 May the luck of the Irish be with you Susan!

  10. Deborah in Odessa says:

    Good morning!!! Thanks for the heads up on Turn …I have not seen it. Look forward to watching all of it. Add the recipe!! I can hardly wait for the new edition. I discovered you 2 or 3 yrs. ago. I found Girlfriends and was hooked. I have had to do some strenuous catching up.I had to read all of your past blogs and Willards, search for all of your books and pre-order all of the new ones as they come out and get calendars….haha I even got some older ones on EBAY… I found books for my girlfriends too. We read Romance…we bought it new when it came out .. I even read parts of it to my husband….he would ask me what I was giggling at….driving through England…ahhh.I have so enjoyed everything SB. Thank you for sharing so much.

    • sbranch says:

      Good morning and thank you back Deborah, it’s been wonderful getting to know you . . . a definite kindred spirit! xoxo

  11. Good Morning Susan! Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I am getting ready to wear my green today as I am 1/2 Irish – from my dad!!! I loved reading your blog post and my sister, Karen, cousin, Cindy, and I are very much looking forward to meeting you at the Susan Branch Tea at New Hope, PA, in May!! YAY!!! To answer your questions: YES! I think putting the Orange Lavendar Polenta Cake recipe in your new book is a wonderful idea . . . and I would love to see gluten free, too. Congrats on the 30 year anniversary of Heart of the Home! (I fondly remember buying that book way back with Karen and Cindy!) Hugs!

    • sbranch says:

      Wonderful Sharon! Happy to see you there, and happy you want the cake in the book, all good! Thank you so much, love hearing from you, Happy St. Patrick’s Day! xoxo

  12. Debbie R. From Valencia CA says:

    Good morning and Happy St. Patty’s Day. Yes to the polenta cake. I haven’t made it yet but it is definitely on my to bake list. Also, This just popped into my head this morning, but I think Sally Fields should play you in your story….she would be perfect. 👏🏻. Well off to work I go. Have a beautiful day. Looking foreword to your book tour. See you in Montecito.

    Debbie R from Valencia, CA

    • sbranch says:

      She needs to go from age 30 to age 40ish … and she went to high school at our big football rival the same time as me, so there could be a problem there! 🙂 In her Flying Nun days, definitely! Oh goodie, Montecito! See you there!

      • Tawni urrutia says:

        Debbie, I have thought the very same thing about Sally Fields playing Susan! And the young woman who played Winnie on The Wonder Years, could play the younger Susan…she looks just like the pics in the book!❤️

  13. Jules says:

    Oh, oh, oh! I love the orange lavender polenta cake! In fact, Susan, all of the recipes that I’ve made out of your books have turned out wonderful. Please keep them coming (beautiful handwritten books AND yummy, tasty recipes, that is).

  14. Kathy Phenix says:

    I started watching “Turn” when it first came on and then I somehow lost track of it. Looking forward to it’s return. Still wish you and Joe would swing through FL on your coming book tour. There are so many girlfriends who long to attend a signing. (No pressure–but PLEASE!!)
    Kisses to the kitties.

    • sbranch says:

      Joe’s brother lives in Florida, and we’re dying to go down there, so I’m sure we’ll make it one of these days!

  15. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    I say add the polenta cake, since it is a cookbook. As I get older I may not remember that the recipe is in A Fine Romance 🙂
    So that is my vote. So are you saying that I have to buy the “new and improved” Heart of the Home cookbook to get the Cranberry tea cake recipe? I already have one of your original babies. Maybe you will blog it sometime and I can print it off??

    • sbranch says:

      The old cookbook of course remains the same, but the new one has sixteen additional pages, several updates to old pages, and somewhere around 20 new recipes, including the Cranberry Tea Cake recipe, which I’ll very likely put up someday, the way I do all the others ~ I do love to have new recipes in my books!

  16. Lisa from Milton, WA says:

    Put the Polenta Cake recipe in the cookbook– and try to not take another one out! The more recipes, the better!
    My husband and I watched “Turn” when it first came out. We really loved the history and learning about our unsung heroes. Hated Colonel Simcoe and his smarmy evil. But, it seemed, like all TV shows do nowadays, the violence and brutality got amped up for Season 2 and I decided I didn’t like watching it anymore, though my husband has continued on. I’ve read some fascinating books about George Washington’s Culper spy ring and taught my 6th grade class this little-known history. We have so many heroes in our past to be thankful for!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh no, that is so disappointing to hear. What is wrong with these people? They don’t trust their storytelling to be enough, but in this case it is, the story is fascinating.

  17. Virginia says:

    Happy St Patrick’s Day, Susan! I hope you keep enjoying the day all through the weekend. I’ve got my corned beef and cabbage ready to go and it’s gray, the way a lot of us in New England like it. It’s not really Irish and I don’t know how that happened but it’s a good thing, for sure.

    I am in love with that tiny watering can with your snowdrops. What good luck that it is in perfect proportion to the Peter Rabbit figurines! And the snowdrops…perfect. My dear late mother-in-law Libby always had tiny vases of something from the garden here and there in the house. She never fussed over them but they are a treasured memory. Feverfew was one of her favorites for those tiny vases. I always grow it in memory of her.

    She had a pansy ring and I know you would love it. You can find them in thrift shops as they were so popular for many years. For short-stemmed flowers like pansies. An instant arrangement and way to enjoy flowers up close. You may already have one as it looks like something you would have and enjoy.

    • sbranch says:

      I used to have one, now that I think of it, where is that thing!? So cute for pansies, perfect for those tiny stems. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Virginia, did you hear we are supposed to have a nor’easter with big snow possible this weekend?

      • Virginia says:

        I certainly did hear that–6″-10″ possible. We never got a big snow north of Boston this winter and I missed it but I don’t think I’m in the mood for it anymore!

      • Virginia says:

        ps–Hope you find your pansy ring. It’s time to plant pansies, snow or not, yippee.

  18. Susan Webb says:

    As for taking something out to add a recipe that’s already been published by YOU,… Go with your gut instinct. Leave your first choice alone. Go with your gut. You chose it first, now don’t confuse it with doubts. Go with the first choice and leave it alone. Done. Fini. Complete. Yeah!

  19. Angie says:

    What a pleasure to read. And I agree, Adopt a cat. A rescue cat, kitten or otherwise. I don’t know how you do it and leave them while you travel. I would be out of sorts without my feline friends (3.) I say ‘no’ need to repeating your recipe but agree that a cookbook makes more sense if someone were looking for inspiration. I will see you in June in Prescott AZ. Cannot wait. And so excited to get your new book. Thanks again for all you do. By far, your blog is the best ever.

    • sbranch says:

      It is the worst thing I have to do. I woke up this morning thinking about it. We waltz around here in perfect sync, me and the kitties. They tell me what they want and I do it. I will miss them so much! And this year it’s TWICE. Eeeek. Prescott! That is going to be a very special event! Well, they all are, but this one is being hosted by a tea party genius, Mary Heiland, who happens to be one of our Girlfriends here on the blog. See you there, Angie!

      • Mary in Phoenix says:

        “What a pleasure it will be … Chatting so delightfully … Nanny bakes, fairy cakes” … in historic Prescott 🙂 Open to any of the girlfriends far and wide with tickets still available! Prescott is a great mile-high antiquing town … and tea WITH Susan Branch and HER tea recipes on the front lawn of a 1902 home on the historic register, with white bunting hanging from the trees, and Susan giving a book talk … Doesn’t get any better than that! She’ll be longing to write a tea book after this memorable event 🙂 Can’t wait ♥ xoxo

  20. Bonnie in Bakersfield says:

    I’m so much looking forward to that new and improved version of “Vineyard Kitchen”, just like I’m looking forward to “Isle of Dreams”! My dear friend Debby recently gave me “Fairy Tale Girl” for my birthday and I so enjoyed reading it. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Debby and I will be there in Morro Bay to see you, can’t wait! 🙂

  21. Susan Morgon ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

    Loved the sneak peeks, was charmed by the snow drops, and would really love to cuddle that precious girl kitty!
    Susan, did you see the news about the Southwest Chief derailing earlier this week?

    • sbranch says:

      I did! For some reason the thought of derailing on the ground isn’t as upsetting to me as the thought of falling 40,000 feet. I don’t plan that either would happen, but one of them is definitely easier to put up with than the other!

      • Susan Morgon ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

        I couldn’t agree with you more! It was a bit startling to read about it, all the same. Must have been quite a jolt, but at least the engineer had a little bit of time to brake some. I’m hoping my mother doesn’t hear of it – she worries so! If she had her way, my husband and I would never go anywhere, which is too funny since we’re, well, if not over the hill, we’re sitting on top of it, enjoying the view.

  22. Pat R. says:

    How cute, your little watering can. I have set my bunny collection out around the house and I feel that spring has finally sprung. I have been collecting them since the 70’s. Purchased some baby’s breath at the local grocery yesterday. I put it in little vases next to my bunnies. I love coming home with a fresh handful of flowers with necessities. Thank you for the positive words you always have in your blog. It is a delight to read and ponder. Can’t wait until “Isle of Dreams” arrives.

  23. Daena in NJ says:

    Your first cookbook was the most delightful find for me all those years ago. It was the first time I saw one that was hand done and delightfully artistic. It made me smile. Since then I’ve looked for books reproduced from hand and that’s been fun. Thank you for sharing your art with us all these years.

  24. Kim Campbell says:

    Oh Dark Victory ! My all time favorite movie!!

  25. Jody says:

    I have the original Heart of the Home and the cheesecake has become our family cheesecake recipe. We love how it is a smaller version of cheesecake and so delicious. Thank you for that.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, plain and simple and perfect, it’s always been my favorite too. You are welcome Jody! Thank you back!

  26. Vivian S. says:

    Hi Susan- So I was thinking about you not being able to find season 2 of the “Turn” series. I have found my library often has copies of movies and series TV that Netflix doesn’t have. I wanted to watch this funny old movie called “Miranda”. No one had it but the library. My librarian said tons of great movies are donated to the system, most of them watched only once. I watched “Outlander” and “Poldark” that way. Poldark is beyond handsome by the way and his head is the perfect width. Plus he looks great in his tri-corn hat. Not many men can pull that off…. I know that’s important to both of us. Have a wonderful Easter. I am so excited about our “trip”.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you for the info on Poldark’s head width!!! I am laughing so hard! I am familiar with him, and I agree completely! His head is great! Have a wonderful day Vivian, you started mine off just right!

  27. Charissa says:

    this is a test to see if posting is working

    • sbranch says:

      It’s working, but the blog looks funny . . . I write to our computer wizard to see if he knows what is going on!

  28. Debby says:

    Regarding whether or not to include the recipe…here is what I think. I don’t want you to leave out a recipe when I already have the polenta recipe. You need to put a pocket in the new book and then give us permission to copy the polenta recipe and tuck it away with the others. Pockets in recipe books are so convenient. And you could make a really cute one! Debby

  29. Karen C (from NC) says:

    Hi Susan,

    Thank you for your lovely post! I had a busy week, and just got a chance to read it. So I guess it’s too late for my vote on recipe being in or out. I do believe that you have made me hungry with the great photos and recipes. Yum! Thanks again for sharing your world with all of us! 🙂 I do have one question: Who took the closeups of your creative hand at work? (For example: the photo where you are writing the word cream) Awesome detail.

    Spring has sprung here in Summerfield NC. It had rained most of the morning and now much cooler temps have set in. At least the snow is staying north of us! Yeah ! But I do believe it is heading your way. Keep cozy and keep the kitties close. My Irish setter will do the trick for me!

  30. Jeanine says:

    Lol! I just picked up your original book at an estate sale today and was so excited! I’ve slowly been building my collection of your books. Polenta cake sounds wonderful! The more sweets, the better! With a cup of tea, of course.

  31. Shelly Benner says:

    Hello! There is a show on netflix called Miss. Fishers Murder Mysteries.
    Its set in the 1920’s Australia. If you have’nt seen it you should check it out. The costumes and setting are just so beautiful and the characters are wonderful! I cant wait to see what Phryne Fisher will be wearing or where she will be. The outfits and houses…just as breathtaking as Downton Abbey. ( it makes me want to buy everything from 1928 jewelry! ) So for those who love Downton and Poldark ,you would probably enjoy this too. Happy Easter.

  32. Claudia Litton says:

    Still love my 30 year old copy of “Heart of the Home”. When we sold our home & got rid of most of our stuff to travel full time in our Airstream all your books made the cut to be mine forever. Thank you for your books!

  33. Marsha from Michigan says:

    Yes, the polenta cake would be a great addition to your updated 30th anniversary cookbook. I’ve made the cake twice ( half recipe) and love it! I use lavendar from my garden! I think people may forget where the recipe is if you don’t actually put it in a cookbook. Love the original book and looking forward to the updated one!

    • sbranch says:

      I thought so too, so it’s in! I had a giant chocolate chip cookie shaped like a heart ~ it was good, but I had already put in a new cookie recipe, so I took the heart cookie out and put in the Polenta cake!

  34. sylvia in seattle says:

    Head width!! Loved that little exchange. As for the Downton guy with the narrow head, he looks like Stan Laurel with that smallish hat on . . . And can you guess how long it took me to remember that name! 🙂
    I have two films I’d like to recommend for those in need of a replacement fix: Seymour: An Introduction – kind of a documentary about a pianist directed by Ethan Hawke which is just a beautiful thing to behold. And second, Iris — a documentary about another New York original who has an amazing collection of STUFF and a great fashion sense. A real inspiration for us old things 🙂

  35. Holly Y. in Concord,NC says:

    I have the limited edition Heart Of The Home/Vineyard Seasons, it is one of my favorite recipe books! The linguine in white clam sauce is always a hit😊 . My vote is to leave out the polenta cake recipe, I think readers would miss the whole experience of the story and location where the recipe originated. You are one of my favorite authors/cooks❤️

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Holly! I did put it in after I started thinking about Heart being collection of my favorites, I just needed that cake to be in a cookbook. I took out a giant heart-shaped cookie which I don’t think anyone will miss. I hope.

  36. Lynn Cooper says:

    Susan, could you make the “Get a kitten, just do it,” into a kitchen towel and offer it for sale on your web site? I’d buy it.

    • sbranch says:

      I would LOVE to do that! What a good idea . . . only thing stopping me is time, but I just put it on the to-do list!

  37. Sandi says:

    YES, YES, YES!!!!!!! I can’t wait to make it!

  38. Monique says:

    I am finally readng fairy Tale Girl♥
    I am devouring every page.I started yesteay and am half way through.
    It is beautifully written..illustrated..and see so much of myself as a bride in ’74..I was 20..
    I also had a maxi denim skirt with eyelet..my wedding dress was eyelet..I hade Candies..
    this life of yours was meant to be since the very beginning.
    A beautiful story.
    So you.
    I adore a happy ending and you are living it.
    I am even happier for you now than I ever was..
    I smiled when you talked about the green tiled fireplace..as I have words of yours..from stickers on mine:)In the tiny little corners♥

  39. Monique says:

    Oh some of my letters stick..crumbs I guess..:(

  40. Susan,
    I first saw your books and I’m thinking it was Heart of the Home when we were on a trip to Mackinac Island (Somewhere in Time island). It was in October and the island was getting ready to shut down for the winter. I wanted to buy the book but with three little boys and on a shoestring weekend away I put it back. I recognized you from your Country Living illustrations. Well anyway, long story short, now I can afford the book — those boys grew up and got married. I still love your “stuff” all these years later! If your name is on it, I’m purchasing!!!! Lucky me.

  41. Sonya Hewes says:

    I would LOVE to see that recipe in the book as I keep my recipe books in a separate place than your other books! I’m responding late, have been so busy but took a timeout to get your wonderful post read. 🙂

  42. Gloria Howard says:

    Add the polenta cake please, even thiugh I haven’t made it yet. I just have to get one of those huge cake pans! How about just adding another page🤗?

  43. Fancy says:

    I posted a comment a few days ago? But I don’t think it was delivered? I would like to respectfully suggest a coffee mug to commemorate 30 years for HEART OF THE HOME.
    I was shopping on line and interested in a coffee mug with some of your beautiful art work. A HEART OF THE HOME anniversary mug would be such a keepsake. Thanks for letting me share.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Fancy! Only thing that slows me down is the really small number of hours in the day! 🙂

  44. Arzella Moots says:

    So glad to see your blog! I missed it almost as I miss Downton Abbey! I’m so looking forward to your Isle of Dreams and wish your trip included a stop in Nevada.

  45. PaulaJ says:

    My vote is to include the polenta cake in the cookbook. I tend to use cookbooks more in the kitchen than my wonderful A Fine Romance! 🙂 I have carried A Fine Romance around with me on long trips and on day trips; it does not hang out in the kitchen with the cookbooks. I never tire of it.

    I am eager for both new books and have pre ordered Isle of Dreams.

    Thank you for the sneak peeks!

  46. Susan says:

    I just received my first order ever from your store. As soon as I opened the box I felt the love and caring enclosed. The tissue paper was carefully folded and covered with red hearts. The books were carefully wrapped with tissue paper and a sticker. It made the items even more special. Thank you for caring, so appreciated!

    • sbranch says:

      That makes me so happy to hear! Yes, Kellee and Sheri and I are definitely all on the same page when it comes to the importance of the little things!

  47. Mary Ann McCann says:

    Hi Susan! Yes to the Polenta cake and thank you for mentioning “Turn”. My husband and I will love watching it. Also, I was sooo excited to see that you are coming to St. Charles, Mo. for a book signing. I’ve told my Bunco Babe friends and several of us are coming and making a day of it. Can’t wait to meet you. St Charles is a really neat Missouri river town and was home to our first state capitol. The state capitol was later moved to Jefferson City, Mo. Anyway, old St. Charles has lots of cute shops, antique shops, restaurants, and lovely old cobblestone streets. I hope you will have time to do some exploring. Happy Easter to you and yours! Mary Ann

  48. Carole B says:

    I vote for including the sixteen new recipes. You included an index in “A Fine Romance” so the lavender cake recipe really isn’t that difficult to find. Looking forward to seeing you May 13th in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Really, really looking forward to it. I’m arranging my spring traveling to make sure I will be home to come see you!

  49. I have just driven south to Mobile, AL from WI. 17 hours of driving, but I am here to say Spring has sprung! The grass was so green in KY and TN, and the trees were flowered out too!!! TN is one of the cleanest politest states I have ever driven through! A shout out to all girlfriends from TN…Keep up the good work! They really must do a lot of “volunteer work”.

  50. Heidi Finlayson says:

    Hi Susan,

    My Mom and I are getting ready for our Transatlantic Crossing to Southampton in May, inspired by you of course. We just got some pre-boarding information and I’m completely re-thinking my wardrobe – it’s scared me! “Smart” jeans! I needed to go determine whether mine were smart or not….I don’t think they are sadly. What types of things did you wear during the day and also in the informal dining areas? Thank you for shining any light in this area for us.

    • sbranch says:

      People wear just normal clothes during the day. When they say smart jeans, I think they don’t want holes in them, or really old, fringed, faded, sloppy. Jeans with a blazer or a sweater, all good. Bon Voyage Heidi, you are in for a real treat!

  51. Vida Howard says:

    Too many Cake recipes? Who ever heard of the like…

    Happy Spring!

  52. ArlineLA says:

    Ok, I’m really confused – no shocker there. My Heart of the Home book is not 168 pages. It’s 159. It’s the 11th printing. Did the Polenta Cake drop out of some versions? It’s not under “cake” “Polenta” “Orange” or “Lavender”. So much better that you now have control of these things! I have made it from AFR, but would definitely vote to have it in the new improved version. Yikes, now I wonder what else I’m missing on those other 9 pages.

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t know, maybe I said 168 pages, if so, I’m sorry . . . but the original book is really 160 pages (they count that last one with the heart), and is now going to be 176 pages. The Polenta cake wasn’t in Heart of the Home, it was in A Fine Romance. But now it’s going to be in the new revised and expanded version of Heart!

  53. Glenda says:

    Your blog is so much fun! Always enjoy it. You are busy busy lady for sure. Can’t wait for you new book! When things settle, I hope you will get a chance to finish the “pumpkin” book. 🙂

  54. Karen C (from NC) says:

    Hi Susan,

    Thank you for your lovely post! I had a busy week, and just got a chance to read it. So I guess it’s too late for my vote on recipe being in or out. I do believe that you have made me hungry with the great photos and recipes. Yum! Thanks again for sharing your world with all of us! 🙂 I do have one question: Who took the closeups of your creative hand at work? (For example: the photo where you are writing the word cream) Awesome detail.

    Spring has sprung here in Summerfield NC. It had rained most of the morning and now much cooler temps have set in. At least the snow is staying north of us! Yeah ! But I do believe it is heading your way. Keep cozy and keep the kitties close. My Irish setter will do the trick for me!

  55. Fancy says:

    Just checking again. I don’t think my comment ever posted on March 21?

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve been crazy and getting everything turned in and took a little time from the computer, so I’m sorry Fancy, I think it might be up now!

  56. Cynthia in Nova Scotia says:

    Hi Susan,

    Just wanted to say, I so enjoy your cookbooks and have made many wonderful recipes! Have started watching Turn as well, and will enjoy watching it over the Easter Weekend along with my favorite movie for this time of year – “Easter Parade” I fully intend to curl up, as we are having nasty weather tomorrow, with a nice cup of mint tea…..or wine 🙂 depending on the time.

  57. Lauri Hyde says:

    Hi Susan,

    After reading your opening statement on this entry about sleeping IN until 5 am is late for you, I have to wonder about just how early DO you get up every day (if I may be so bold?). And then, one must ask what time do you turn in every evening? You put the early bird to shame! My goodness, you ARE disciplined! But I guess that explains your success, so it’s no wonder.

    By the way, I am looking forward to the release of your next book and your visit to
    Vroman’s in Pasadena! I will be there with bells on! That’ll turn some heads, I think!
    Anyway, I so enjoy reading your blog. I keep checking every few days to see if you posted anything new. It is the highlight of my day when I see something new! I won’t read it until
    I am ready to settle into bed with my iPad and my tea. Truly the icing on the cake of my day!

    Looking forward to see your response to my nosey questions about your sleeping habits. Mine need some work. Probably not the greatest idea about taking my iPad to bed, but I like to read your blog or something similar, or play solitaire. It gets me sleepy, so that helps. I may end up having to use a cpap, which isn’t the sexiest accessory in town! We will see what the ENT has to say.

    I tried it years before but gave up on it then because the blasted thing kept me AWAKE! Not helpful. But a good nights sleep is crucial, so I’m hoping this time will be different. Without restful sleep your memory and cognition suffer and I can vouch for that, what with being a lady of a “certain age” and having other health conditions that contribute to that issue.

    Anyway, enough complaining. I’m just glad to be “above ground” and enjoying life on life’s terms, such as it is. Will be watching for your response to this one. Really curious. Best wishes,

    • sbranch says:

      I was finding it difficult to get everything I needed to do done in a day — so I rearranged my sleep habits ~ and, btw, I wrote about that in my new book, almost here, Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams (I think I am going to just start calling this book Isle! It’s wearing out my typing fingers). I get up early, it’s 4:30 am right now, and it’s perfect, quiet, no phone ringing, just me, the kitties and my tea. I try to go to bed around 8 most nights, but I rarely actually get there (after throwing the pony tail band for my cat Jack until he is tired too) until 9 ish. I sleep at the very least 6 hours, and love it when it’s 7 and sometimes 8. Watch for an update to the blog, that’s where I’m going next! Have a wonderful day Lauri!

  58. alice says:

    Dear Susan,

    I was wondering if you have a another jewelry bead for this book? I love the beads that you have sold so far. I am very excited about the new book. Have a wonderful Easter.
    Sincerely, Alice

  59. Huw Sayer says:

    Love the polenta cake recipe – thank you Susan – wife and daughter baked one (half size) this morning – totally gorgeous (them and the cake). Have shared photo on twitter (with link and credit to you) – added two special guests to the shot (think you will like them). twitter.com/HuwSayer/status/714455278754914304

    Best wishes

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you, I’m so glad you liked it! Your guests are also adorable. I RTed your photo . . . now watch how that cake slivers away, after the first pieces, ours goes by slivers, can’t walk by it without just a wee slice. Hello to your wife and daughter!

  60. anne says:

    Thank you Susan for all the happiness you bring. Such a great girl you are. Hope to make the book signing in Georgia.

  61. Jean says:

    Thank you for including the recipe for Orange Lavender Polenta Cake in the revised and expanded version of Heart of the Home-Notes from a Vineyard Kitchen!!! I will plan my Sprintime Tea around it! I used to be such a baker before I was diagnosed with celiac disease several years ago! Inclusion of a gluten-free cake would be SO appreciated!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!
    Congrats upon publication of your way with words and wistful illustrations of yet another memoir installment!!!! They say the third one is a charm!!! Sure looks like this latest arrival is just that!!! All good wishes to you, Susan! YOU GO, GIRL! May you and Joe have the BEST road trip/book tour around our great America this year!

    • sbranch says:

      I have to mention, there is a Pumpkin Cheesecake in my Autumn Book, that is SO WONDERFUL it’s ridiculous, and all you would have to do to make it gluten-free is use the perfectly delicious gluten-free ginger cookies in the crust, and voila, you have it! Thank you so much Jean, we are really looking forward to it!

  62. Cheryl F. says:

    Hi, Susan~
    I love TURN! Benjamin Tallmadge should’ve killed “Dr. Evil” when he had the chance! But then, he wouldn’t have an adversary, would he? 🙂 Thank you for all the sunshine you give us, and for reminding us to be thankful for everything. Can’t wait for your new book.

  63. Eileen says:

    I love all your fabrics and hope that they will all be available again. I always call my local fabric stores to ask them to carry your fabric, but so far, no luck. I’m just glad that you sell them on your shopping page. Thanks for your wonderful blog. Can’t wait for the new book.

    • sbranch says:

      We have so few left, it’s kind of sad . . . so we’ve been trying to figure out how to remedy that. Thank you for your phone calls Eileen, I know it makes a difference when it comes from you!

  64. Jack says:

    Girlfriends it’s me — Blogdaddy, and I’m sitting here — the only man in America — having just finished reading Sue’s new book! My brave daughter’s self expose of all her personal secrets — how many of you are ready to do that?
    What she does show is that with personal integrity, and dedication, it is possible for even the most lost soul to recover from complete devastation to achieve self-value and a successful life in this tricky, tipsy topsy-turvy world. She does this by using all that her little Island in the Sun can challenge her to do ….. Counting each accomplishment a step up on her reaching her goals, as she identifies them .
    Isle of Dreams is going to W-O-W you Girls!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh My, my very first review is a good one! Thank you Dad, Blogdaddy . . . That was so sweet. I am SO GLAD you liked it. I’m calling you right now! XOXO

  65. Linda says:

    I thought that you might love to know about this film if you have not already discovered it. The voice of the main character is Michelle Dockery (Mary of Downton Abbey)
    Inline image 1



    Many Beautiful Things
    The life and vision of Lilias Trotter

    BEHIND THE SCENES WITH MICHELLE DOCKERY (the main characters voice)

    Attachments area
    Preview YouTube video Many Beautiful Things OFFICIAL MOVIE TRAILER HD

    Many Beautiful Things OFFICIAL MOVIE TRAILER HD

  66. Linda says:

    If you scroll down on the website for Many Beautiful Things….you can watch a short video of Michell Dockery “behind the scenes”.

  67. Carol says:

    Hi Susan! Are you ever going to do “Spring” or “Winter” books? I have Summer and Autumn but I stack all my books to display them and I NEED a full year of seasons! Love you and your heart!

    • sbranch says:

      Someday . . . The two hand thing is the whole problem . . . in my head? You already have them! 🙂

  68. Dorinda Turner says:

    I’m so excited Susan, I just bought my ticket for your book signing at Joseph Beth in Cincinnati. You may want to let all the other girl friends know that Joseph Beth does requires a ticket for the book signing and you have to contact them to purchase it. I didn’t know and just happened to call them and found out.

  69. lynn maust says:

    Do include your big cake recipe in your new book. Thanks!

  70. D'Anne R. Paratore says:

    Thank you, Ms. Branch, my Mom has gone from 81 to 8 for your books, looking forward to your new book, just ordered and will surprise her on her b-day

    I finally have developed pics when you were in Martha Vineyard speaking on your first book, is there an address I can mail you copies?

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, if you mail it to PO Box 2463, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 . . . I know I will get it, but maybe not until we get back next July. Love to hear that about your mother!!! Happy birthday to her, from me! xoxo

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