Happy 2017 Everyone! Here we GO . . . 🎵MUSICA 🎵word reasons to go on living



go. be. love. Bird and heart ... With love from Susan Branch

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312 Responses to JOY TO THE WORLD 🔔

  1. Terri Brewster says:

    Happy New Year to you and Joe! What a lovely way to start the New Year. The day brought me joy to see this post, put my new 2017 Susan Branch Desk Blotter calendar out along with my January notepad. My desk is ready for me, while putting a smile on my face.

  2. Kathy Hinson says:

    You always put a smile on my face! ❤️

  3. Sandra says:

    May all your dreams come true, but if they don’t, keep them safely in your pocket for another moment, another day!

  4. N Bostens says:

    Dearest Susan,
    HAPPY HAPPY new year to you and Joe, and cute Jack! May this new year be filled with love, happiness, good health, lots of creativity, cooking, sewing, letter writing and all things that make you happy!
    You have already made me happy, with this unexpected post!

  5. Judith says:

    Those little yellow chicks in party hats are the cutest, happiest little things! Thanks for the smile!

  6. Marilyn Young says:

    Happy New Year Susan and Joe, I hope this is a Banner year for you both. I’m excited to learn you are coming to Slow in 2017! I may be able to get over there to see you and my sister as well. Loved your stories about your trip to England and wherever, keep em coming.

    • sbranch says:

      I will . . . I have LOTS to do before we go to California. Just made my TO DO list yesterday and got a little shocked! 😁

  7. Happy New Year! I am loving my new calendar. I also treated myself to a pocket calendar/planner this year. I hope 2017 is the very best year ever for you and Joe and Jack. I cannot wait to see what you do next! xoxo

  8. Martha Rodik says:

    Happy New Year to you & Joe . . . and the kitties too! As usual I love your sketches! Have my new Susan Branch calendar hanging in my kitchen. I keep the old ones because of the wonderful art work!

  9. judi says:

    Happy fun new year to you both! Loved seeing your friends fab dinner settings, reminds me of your beginning blogs with all your friends. The visit to the convent was so heartwarming. It was so filled with joy and creative inspiration.

  10. Helen Henderson says:

    Wishing you a wonderful 2017. Your blog and twitter posts are always guaranteed to brighten my day, however trying it has been. And you have inspired me to return to crafting, or at least to start making things for my my dolls house after a long, long break. I look forward also to more posts about your trip to England and Scotland…and maybe a sequel to A Fine Romance?

  11. rhea says:

    Yay for the new year! My new SB calendar is filled out and up and all of the holiday decorations are tissue wrapped and safely put away. Happy New Year to you, joe and jack! Here’s to happiness and health!

  12. Terri Major says:

    Dear Susan, This note is first and foremost meant to be a thank you note for your blog. What you post really does make a difference in this crazy unpredictable world. Here’s my reason. I had recently responded to your wonderful post on the House of Creativity and confessed that I bought your latest trilogy of books as an early Christmas present to myself. Those books led me to your blog which I started reading from the beginning of your posts, thanks to the wonder of the internet. In particular, I am a cat person so all the kitty photos were a delight to me. You see, my elderly(18 year) kitty had started to decline during the holidays. So, we spent hours with Smokey on my chest and me reading your blog. It helped me remain calm and content while my furry friend rested. He passed away yesterday morning and this is my first day without him and as I write this my heart is breaking. But, yes, you make a difference and I am not sure what I would have done without your words especially this past week. I volunteer at a kitten nursery and am well aware of how many lovelys need good homes but my grief is too fresh right now. Thank you again and may God bless you for your kind and positive spirit.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh, Terri, I’m so sorry about your kitty. Our little pets stick with us through thick and thin, know all of our secrets and love us anyway, and when they go, it’s a terrible emptiness. Sending love and hugs to you. xoxoxo

    • Renee Phillips says:

      Hi, Terri. I’m Renee and just read your post. I just wanted you to know that someone out there hears your heart tonight and will hold you close in her prayers. Three years ago, I lost my beloved Ricky–my perfect cat and dearest friend of nearly eighteen years. I know your pain and am so sorry for your loss. I have three cats now, and none take Ricky’s place–but time does begin to change the pain into beautiful memories. Praying for you tonight…

      • Terri Major says:

        Hello Renee, thank you for taking the time to write such kind words. This is just what I need to hear right now. I am still crying at the drop of a hat but I am trying to remember the happy times we had together. Very Sincerely, Terri

  13. Amylisa says:

    Just got to say, I LOVE your “Reasons To Go On Living” picture. I was so happy to find it’s the first page in my mini calendar. Happy New Year!

    • sbranch says:

      We made a print for it too, in case you need one … you can find it in our webstore. Happy New Year to you Amylisa!

  14. Colleen says:

    Happy New Year Susan! Just catching up on your posts and wanted to say how much I enjoyed your post on the Sisters of the Nativity. Such a beautiful place and such inspiring women! Wow. Talking about 2017, any plans for your Pancake Book to surface?!!? I have been anxiously awaiting it since you first mentioned it way back when. The actual story “Pancakes” so reminded me of my Aunt and I know it will make a wonderful gift. If plans for the book are still “on the shelf”, can we at least get a link to the Pancakes story? I loved it and can’t find it anywhere on the web. Have a great week!!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m letting my brain rest from books now, mostly because I have no choice, so I might as well take advantage of it. Before we go to California at the end of February, I have five calendars to do, among other things, then we go and don’t get back until April. That’s when I’ll start getting serious about a new book. There are SO MANY ideas. But, between now and April, I’m just letting my mind run through the possibilities.

  15. MaryBeth Hibbert says:

    With all the disarray in the world, your blog starts my day off with hope for the future. Reading your blog is like a breath of fresh air and a heart consoling tingle that brightens my day. I thank you so much for your insightful, compassionate love. Hugs and Happy New Year !!

  16. Margie Terry says:

    Happy New Year Susan and Joe!! Looking forward to your posts of your trip to London and Scotland!! Anxiously awaiting………….Every year for Christmas I give my two daughters and I your wall calendar and my youngest daughter (who will be 40 this year) also has your small wall calendar – I didn’t realize the art work was different, why is that? Loved your blog on the visit with your Nuns – will have to put their Convent on our itinerary for our visit up the Coast to MA, ME, and CT. Wishing you and Joe all the best in 2017.

    • sbranch says:

      I make all the calendars different from each other so if someone gets more than one, they won’t be looking at the same artwork in every place they put them. Thank you Margie, and all the best to you and yours!

  17. Vicki says:

    Wow, in under a year, Susan, you have traveled A LOT (thinking of you coming out here to Calif in mere weeks!). You and Joe are a couple On The Go.

    I can’t believe it, but I actually watched The Rose Parade on TV the whole way through and absolutely loved it. (That’s a bad thing for a L.A. native to say, isn’t it.) Now, it’s on the bucket list for somehow, sooner than later, seeing it (and smelling it [they say the scent is heady; so many flowers]) in person; took my whole life to get to this point (and I’m a senior!); seems like everybody I’ve ever known has been down to that parade by now, except me. Anyway, it was a colorful wonder in our so-far January gray skies. And my husband was just ‘gone’ over the SC game (mega excitement around here).

    Prospect of rain today…AND on the weekend, too. Yay! The rain over the weeks has been a surprise; another dry ‘winter’ had been forecasted for Calif’s lower half. You know, when you come out here in March, you’re going to see green foothills, Susan. Glad for you on that! We’ve greened up already. To drought-stricken ‘us’, it’s thrilling. We went to Lake Casitas over the holidays and the poor lake has shrunk SO much (saw two lovely families of the sweetest, graceful, delicate deer about 3pm). Cachuma and Lake Lopez are probably the same (Nacimiento I know has dropped in water level; I guess it’s all the lakes of course; big sigh). So, yes, loving any rain coming this way. (Gotta grow something out there for those beautiful deer to munch on.)

    Your nuns story was such a hit. The reader comments have been so interesting! I keep going back over that inspiring, heartwarming post, gorgeous-to-look-at (and read again and again). You couldn’t have put it up for us at a more perfect time. (I want to hug every single one of those happy sisters.) Makes me feel good. I want to wear that ‘feel good’ for awhile yet. You gave us a tonic right when we needed it. Thanks again for all the New Year wishes, back atcha always.

    • sbranch says:

      Green hills in California, we were just talking about that, how wonderful. I’m really looking forward to it. Yes, a little too much travel last year, but I’m going to see my mom, SO thrilled to be doing it. March is heaven in California! SO much to do before we go, must get busy!

  18. Christine from CA says:

    Thanks for the inspiring posts! Look forward to them all!!!

  19. Donna Wilder says:

    “As the old year vanishes into the land that no one can ever visit again, I can see the new year coming with a pale pure fire into the old darkness of the night sky.”~~~Gladys Taber
    May this new year bring you and yours, dear Susan, all the warmth in your heart of a “pale pure fire.”

  20. Hi Susan, Happy New Year to you, Joe and all you hold dear. I’ve been away from your blog for a couple of months. No time to read! Just got to your last Willard, and then to the more recent posts, your links bringing me to past posts and was finally led to your “We Have to Believe We are Magic” post. I can’t tell you how much that post meant to me – reaffirming all the hopelessness I’d been feeling and confirming that I was not alone in my thoughts about the state of the country. I want to commend you on being brave enough to write that. And writing it as well as you did. It’s a shame that some took it as a political stance, when in fact I saw it as more of a rallying of the troops to muster the courage to enforce and encourage the ways of what is just, good and right. I assume the next 4 years will be eye-opening for some and a struggle for all of us. May the Force be with us 😊. Can’t wait to read the other posts I missed about your trip and holidays. Have a wonderful start to the new year!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Lynn ~ my favorite part of that post was the comments . . . so much conversation there, expressions of hope and expressions of hopelessness. But for the most part, very civil. We need to talk, it’s what we do, but we need to remember it’s not us, it’s them. After we all get on the same page with that, after we start believing in each other more than them, we do something about it, we get money out of politics. No more senators (with all their inside connections) turned lobbyists working (for big oil or insurance companies) against us getting laws written for corporate needs and not ours, while still accepting our $200,000 salary-for-life tax money, in fact, no more lobbyists at all, no more corporate money in our government, in politics, or in elections, our elected officials answer to US, not them.

      United we stand, divided we fall. Just sayin’.

  21. Kathiellen says:

    Dear Susan,
    I don’t mean to be pesty, but you told me to remind you about Martha’s BLACK CHERRY CHEESECAKE ❤❤❤ if she would be so kind to share it, it would be a great recipe to make for Valentine’s Day! I bet that cheesecake was to-die-for-good!!! I am still gradually packing away Christmas but now have paper doily hearts and red foil cupids dancing in my head! Love! Love! Love! Love! And lots of Leo Buscaglia Hugs ❤❤❤

    • sbranch says:

      Here you go Kathiellen! Here’s what Martha wrote (and I quote):
      “The recipe is Junior’s Famous NY Cheesecake. Here it is:;
      But I don’t make the “sponge crust”. I crush 1 package of graham crackers, (I think there are 2 packages in a box) and I mix it up with melted butter until it looks right (sorry) and press it into the pie plate. For the cherry topping: I used frozen whole cherries, fresh would be better I guess, but where are fresh cherries now?! I bought some wild cherry preserves and mixed a tiny bit of Crème de Cassis (in black current liqueur—careful not to make it too runny), smeared it on top, then put cherries on. Voila!”

      • Kathiellen says:

        Dear Susan,
        THANK YOU so much for sending the Black Cherry Cheesecake recipe you me!! Thank You to Martha for sharing it!! I can hardly wait to make it!! That cake looked sinful!! xo Thanks again!!

    • Rose Ann Bacher-Giallombardo says:

      Oh my gosh Kathie . . . you remember Leo Buscaglia too! I loved him so much, his books are all inspiring & I wish he was still around to share his, love, hope & peace. Thanks for the memories xoxo

      • Kathiellen says:

        You are welcome Rose Ann! I adored that man and his wisdom, kindness, stories and quotes. My favorite quote being : ” God gave us memories so that we will have Roses in December” isn’t that comforting?! Thank you for your comment! Happy New Year!

        • Rose Ann Bacher-Giallombardo says:

          That is so very comforting & thank you for the Roses in Jan. too 🙂 I love when he said: “I want to stimulate you, to bring you PEACE.” Happy New Year to you too.

  22. DeLores Johnson says:

    I was so happy when I opened my e-mails and saw Susan Branch Blog. I love to get them from you. I read them a couple times and then I save them so I can go back and read them again.
    Now it is 2017 and I am starting to write in my “Days from the Heart of the
    Home”. I have all of your books I have purchased this last year and now I need to buy a bookcase for them! I want to display them prominently in our home because they are so beautiful. I also have your 2017 calendar hanging on my kitchen wall.
    I am the gal that told you we live in a Victorian home in MN. I want to send you pictures but I don’t know how to send them on your blog. Will have to keep trying. I could print the photos but would I send them to the address where we order from? I want to get them to you some way. DeLores

    • sbranch says:

      For some reason, the blog still doesn’t accept photos except for mine…but you can always send them to Facebook! Yes, you can send them to the address where you order, that’s fine, they will get them to me. I do get quite a lot of mail though DeLores, just in case you don’t hear back from me, everything I’m already doing seems to have claimed all of my time! xoxo

  23. Rose Ann Bacher-Giallombardo says:

    How sweet is this! You are a JOY Susan. Thank you for having such delightful Christmas cards on your shopping website. I’m going to order some for next year 🙂 I wish you had more of your tiny, personal calendars. You seem to have sold out 🙁 Peace & Blessings to you & Joe & “Happy New Year”.

    • sbranch says:

      Which one is that? The mini calendar, or the one for the fridge? Because the manufacturer decided not to make the fridge one anymore, so if it’s that one, I’m sorry.

  24. Happiest New Year, Susan!
    “Seek not outside yourself. Heaven is within.” ♥ One of the memories I treasure from last year is when I told you that this was my favorite quote from Isle of Dreams at our Tea Party. So, you signed all around that quote for me! 🙂 That was one of the Sweet Memories that I wrote about on my last post. I loved seeing those words today in your house of inspiration ~ just perfect as we all begin a whole new year!
    What fun to begin the year with a special gathering of girlfriends! What did you decide to serve? Magical memories in the making!
    Warm hugs,
    Dawn (in Illinois)

    • sbranch says:

      There were so many quotes I found through the years, and all with that same wonderful message, but that one was most succinct. Golden words that told me where I had to look to find every important thing. Happy New Year Dawn! You are a sweetheart! 💖

  25. Gina from NY says:

    Happy New Year to you and Joe! Loved your last post on your visit to the convent. What productive and aspirational lives they lead! It was such a treat to see their cozy and comfortable home. Thank you for sharing with us…

    Put away the holiday yesterday 😪 Always sad to take down the tree, 🎄and would have kept it up longer had it not dried up so much. Miss the lights and all the sparkles of Christmas, but have lit lots of candles tonight to bring a bit of the holiday back!

    I wish you a year of happiness, good health and inspiration. Looking forward to hearing what your next project will be!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Gina! Us too, tree has to come down today, I can almost hear the needles shedding from here! It was lovely while it lasted!

  26. Deborah In The Fields says:

    O, Susan, may this coming year of 2017 be your most blessed year yet! Thank you for lifting my spirits on some mighty dreary days! God has used you, your art, your blog, and your books to remind me how wonderful life can be. Thank you so very much!

  27. Debby says:

    Har-fap-par-Fe Nar-few Yar-fear! Sar-fu-star-fan. Dar-Fe-bar-fee??

  28. Debby says:

    Debby- Dar-feb-bar-fy???

    • sbranch says:

      Par-fer-far-fect! Arf-I har-fad arf-a par-far-tar-fee lar-fast nar-fight.🤔

      • Debby says:

        Dar-fid yar-fou har-fave far-fun?
        Wondering why Susan has fin at the end instead of fan? There is no I in Susan?? Dar-Feb-bar-Fy

        • sbranch says:

          Just because that’s what it would be phonetically so if you say it out loud, it would be pronounced correctly. I suppose you could even say, Sar-foo-zar-fen, if you wanted. Yes, the party was wonderful! War-fun-dar-fer-far-ful!

          • Debby says:

            Thanks for the private tutorial😜 I once asked you about a note that you had in one of your books, from a lady that worked at Skywalker Ranch. I am reading the bio of George Lucas right now. So I googled
            Skywalker ranch and it showed an amazing library. It looked like a room from the Bodelian library (of which I am obsessed right now) do you know if the Bodelian was the inspiration for his library? Ps I am collecting arf and Arfy words and plan on making a dictionary. Dar-Feb-bar-fy. Har-fugs tarfo Jar-fack

          • sbranch says:

            Yes, George built that himself, and I do believe the Bodelian was the inspiration…we visited it many years ago and I think that’s what they said. Jar-fak sar-fez mar-fee-ar-fow! xoxo

          • Vicki says:

            You girls are killing me!

          • sbranch says:


  29. Debbie Noyola says:

    What a lovely post. I especially liked the chickie that was kicking up its heels. I just read a good article in my Mary Jane’s Farm magazine. It was saying that there are actual scientific studies to show that a positive mind frame can prevent dementia & alzheimers. Thank you for sharing your beautifully positive (almost always) posts with us. You are a bright spot for me almost everyday.

  30. Vickie says:

    Just found your blog! I’ve read some of your books. Didn’t know you had a blog. Can’t wait to read more!

  31. Suzy B. says:

    Happy New Year, Susan! 🎉 And to Joe, too. Your wonderful art inspires me each day. Thank you! SB calendar is up and ready for a new year. It’s already making me happy. Big one for our office and a mini on our fridge. It’s 20 degrees here in the PNW… tucked in front of the fire with a hot cup of coffee, 2 sleepy dogs and a new book. Best day ever. ❄ May 2017 hold many sweet moments for you. Looking forward to your next post… and book!😊

  32. SandraWalton says:

    Happy new year…just love that drawing says everything..thank you.msny blessings Sandra walton

  33. Debby says:

    When I first saw his library, I looked to see if is was from the Bodelian. It is absolutely amazing. I wonder how many wonderful old books he has. Arf-I thar-fink lar-fu-car-fas war-fould lar-fove arf arf-and Arfy. Jar-fust sar-faying! Arf-and?

  34. chris consentino says:

    oh, my goodness!! what can I say but….thank you!! oh!! thank you!!…for being you! I am over-the-moon overjoyed to see, on your twitter, the retweets of President Obama’s ACCOMPLISHMENTS!!!! sadly, he was REALLY never even given a chance by the “opposition-party”….they really did plot their strategy to OPPOSE EVERYTHING he proposed. and….THIS after their policies had driven us INTO THE DITCH to begin with!! wow!!! and, these are the folks….many of whom were just re-elected to go back to congress and soak up glory of it all while NOT tending to the American people. wow. the “opposition-party” would’ve looked soooooo much “bigger” and better if they had only dug into the mess-on-the-floor and worked FOR us, and WITH the Pres. wow. oh, dear. as you may have read….the FIRST thing they tried to do…on Jan. 2, 2017, was to gut the “office of congressional ethics” which is an independent oversight committee. now, WHY would they want to GUT that…you may ask!!… luckily, for us, enough public comment was made, and they backed off!!!! and, a “tweet” was sent to them as well. funny. oh, my. how “CHEEEEKY”!!!! as they say in UK. yeah?? well, enuf for now…prayers for Queen Elizabeth….hasn’t been seen in public since dec. 8th. I worry. I KNOW she’s strong…but…age brings a fraility as well. hope she’ll bounce back very soooon. gotta go re-read the post about the creative nuns!!!!! very wonderful and inspiring. all love to you. and….to all….a HAPPPPY, HEALTHY new year!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      No, I agree with you. But as long as we’re being divided by our media, truth is hard to come by. Luckily you don’t need someone to tell you about the last 8 years and unemployment, you can look it up! What killed me was when one of our Congress people screamed out “Liar” during the State of the Union address. We were watching and we were shocked. It’s gotten so bad. But I have a dream. That’s the past, and now onward toward the future. Happy New Year Chris!

      • chris consentino says:

        oh, my goodness!! i’m sooooo happy and relieved to have a reply from you, dear Susan! yes, we must work “onward toward the future”, as you so wisely say. I do urge everyone to find some way in which to get involved and know that EVERYONE can do SOMETHING. it’s more important now than ever before. wishing a happy, healthy, involved new year to all. I’ve spent last weekend and this one glued to tv due to “marathon airings of…..Downton Abbey”….wow. such fun. lots of things i’d not caught the first time around. check YOUR pbs listings for when this treat might show up on your screens, everyone. downton is just SUCH an absorbing, enthralling experience….characters, costumes, music, romances…..aaaah…..wonderful !!!! takes us to a time before cares of the sort we now have. all love. xoxo

        • sbranch says:

          I couldn’t agree with you more. My girlfriends and I got together and decided to commit to writing our representatives almost constantly this year to make sure they are doing the PEOPLE’S work, and not the work of corporations. We think WE will be the Lobbyists now! DOWNTON, how I love thee . . . I do have the boxed set, but we are right now engaged in a show called A Place to Call Home ~ it’s on Acorn, and pretty good, fast moving and lots of characters.

          • FayE in CA! says:

            We are watching A Place to Call Home! Good to see Grandma evolving!! I find it relaxing except when I want to knock-off the conniving daughter-in-law! Why does it take men so long to see THAT type of woman for who she really is?!

            It has developed into quite a twisty plot…think we are on the last disc available on Netflix.

            We are also watching The Newsroom with Jeff Daniels. Written by Sorkin of West Wing fame. The writing is riveting and it is amazing that the political topics are as topical today as when the show ended in 2012. You have to have your thinking cap wide awake when you turn this show on!! Clipped, fast and worthy dialog. Good ensemble cast.

            Cheers to your snowy MV life. Smooches to Jack!

          • sbranch says:

            We only just finished season one … and so far Grandma is NOT evolving, she’s hideous! But the terrible rotten sister of George’s wife is VERY smackable. I couldn’t agree more. I can’t figure out why Sarah doesn’t TELL ON HER. (Don’t tell me anything about what’s coming!) Is the Newsroom newish? I’ll check it out.

          • chris consentino says:

            oh, my goodness!! I’ve been watching “a place to call home” on one of our pbs stations (mmmm, luckily, we have 3!!!) and am wildly absorbed!! wow!!!! problem….episodes are very far between….I MUST know how it all turns out, yeah? and….yes, a writing, calling, e-mailing barrage….steadily, and steadfastly….JUST what we need to do! already on it, I am. xoxo

          • sbranch says:

            There are four seasons on Acorn TV (so far) … we have just finished the first season and are totally hooked! You are in the perfect place for your email and letter-writing barrage to make a difference. Love you for it. xoxo

  35. Debby says:

    Since Mr. Lucas is a comic-book type of guy, I wonder if he knows about arf and Arfy? Didn’t you say it was from the little orphan Annie comic strip? hmmm …did he do the domed stained glass ceiling himself? Arf-O tar-fo bar-Fe rar-fich!😬

    • sbranch says:

      I have yet to meet the man that likes or is comfortable with Arf and Arfy, even my brothers barely put up with it and only if we were alone, you would not catch them using it in the supermarket, for example, but my girlfriends would have no problem with that. Perhaps Mr. Lucas would be different, but I would be shocked if he was! Yes, he had the entire Skywalker Ranch built to his specs! Very interesting. Talk about house of creativity!

  36. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Hi Susan, I’ve been going back and looking at your December blogs from previous years and in your December 20, 2012 blog you have a picture of your windowsill in the kitchen. There is a cute Santa cup with a poinsettia but what caught my eye is a sweet bunny (looks like Peter) on a rocking horse. Is it a Beatrix Potter figurine? Happy New Year everyone. Hugs, Elaine

    • sbranch says:

      That one is not a Beatrix Potter Person, it says, “Royal Doulton Bunnykins 1974” on the bottom.

      • Elaine in Toronto says:

        The little Bunnykin figurines are charming, too, and quite collectible. I still have my mug, plate and cereal bowl I used as a child – 70 years ago. Hugs, Elaine.

  37. Merci says:


  38. Tawni urrutia says:

    Happy New Year Sweet Sue!!
    I made your spicy ribs and rice for dinner tonight…homerun!! Thank you for all of the wonderful meals and inspiration over the decades.
    ❌⭕️❌⭕️, Tawni Urrutia in Lodi Ca

  39. Lynn D says:

    With Facebook and instagram, I have gotten lazy. I just hit the like button or tap the picture. I seldom make comments (unless there’s a prize involved), but I read your every blog post and every Willard, and I smile all the way through, because you are doing what you love , and bringing joy to a world that is often dark and angry. I love your photos, your recipes, your stories. Thanks for sharing “the long way” instead of a short tweet. You give me something to think about, to enjoy reading. No wonder you make friends wherever you go. Thanks for the lovely New Year wish, and thanks for being so willing to share. Happy New Year!

  40. Happy New Year lovely girlfriend! Hope it brings all things good your way!
    Love to you, Joe, and Jack too!
    Gabi, Rick, M. Poirot and Miss Marple kits!

  41. Robyn Genau says:

    Dear Susan,
    Happy New Year to you and Joe.
    Also, at the New Year I promised myself an Emma Bridgewater mug and it came today. It is my first and I am over the moon thrilled. I chose Starry Skies. Love the pattern. Thanks for introducing me to Emma! Probably will not be my last one.

    • sbranch says:

      I love starry skies! Beautiful cups aren’t they? Watch out, very addictive!

      • Mary Windemuller says:

        I bought the cup with red and pink hearts that says “Mummy” because I love the way little children say it! 🙂.

        • sbranch says:

          I have the pink hearts too, but without the Mummy, I have #1 Boss on mine ~ the girls at work gave it to me last year for Christmas!

      • Robyn Genau says:

        I really love foxes and I know there is an older mug that was made a few years ago. It is retired now and hard to find but I am looking. Think that is part of the fun.

  42. Dawn says:

    Happy New Year, Sue and Joe! I appreciate you! I’m looking forward to exploring all the beauty and wisdom you will continue to pour into this world.
    xoxo Dawn

  43. Linda "Who Still Stays Land !" says:

    Am tickled pink to be having my birthday breakfast of corn blueberry pancakes aka waffles with maple syrup and bacon while watching the snowflakes gently come down on Little Christmas, January 6th. Any plans in the works for a breakfast book including those meals cooked during camping trips? My parents 1947 waffle iron still works so am ready for new recipe versions for any season. Land ! Those Kansas farm style waffle breakfasts for supper were some of the best winter meals. And just as stick to the ribs corn blueberry good this morning.

  44. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Your “HAPPY New Year” post is a delight!!!! You always seem to write and include the BEST photos and words for the day making me smile!!!! I wanted to mention to you that I did even more cookie baking after the 25th and surprised nine of my sister-in-law’s with little gift bags of your Lavender Tea Cookies!!! (Wrapped with a purple ribbon). They loved them!!!!!!! They are calling me one by one to thank me and tell me how delicious the cookies are!!!! I thank them for their compliment, but I tell them Susan Branch gets all of the credit!!!!! Hopefully, I will recruit some new “Girlfriends” for you!!!!!! With our very cold Michigan weather our warm & cozy little bungalow has been perfect for me to think and dream up new and creative gifts to knit, crochet, sew, and embroider gifts for family & friends in 2017! And, as always Susan, YOU are my source of “HAPPY” inspiration!!!! Take care. GOD Bless. Have a fabulous Friday!!!!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Those cookies are so good, but in the end, the credit has to go to Rachel, she’s the one who gave me that recipe! You’re a good friend Carilyn, your smart mom would be proud of you (just like I am!)!

  45. Anne Miller says:

    Oh Susan, you are so good to all of us….I read these posts and realize that like the most patient of mothers, you share, explain and caution us not to be disappointed if things don’t go just so. It’s your kindness that lifts and cheers me the most! I have three daughters and twelve nieces ranging in age from sixteen to thirty nine. You have inspired us all with Hygge this Christmas season. Thank you “Miss Beautiful Light!”

  46. Susan Watson says:

    Thank you for your down-to-earth outlook on life through your artwork, sayings, quotes and comments. It reminds me of the freshness of each morning and bright hopes of a day. AND from you I learned of Gladys Taber!

  47. Pamela Patchet (A Novel Woman) says:

    You ALWAYS lift my spirits. Happiness and contentment is a choice. Keep reminding people in your unique and special way. ❤ Cheers and salut, from Montreal

  48. Jane Townsend says:

    Hi Susan and a Happy New Year. Loved the blog it all looked very “Hygge” in your house set against the glorious snow backdrop. Definitely go for the mugs, after all that is exactly how Emma Bridgewater started up her business – (Have you read her Toast and Marmalade .biography?). Apologies if this is a repeat but I’m not sure if my last one got sent as I was interrupted!!

    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t read it yet, but I did thumb through it. She did buy a factory though, which I don’t think I’m quite equipped to do! 😜

  49. Ruth Thomas says:

    Dear Susan, the thing I miss most from my childhood in ?RIGHT, blizzards❄️❄️❄️❄️Always loved them, watching out the window to see the snow plows come down Spring St. where I lived. Great when it meant a day out of school! And when you meet at the Hollywood sign, you will be a few miles where I spent my teen years until 1988 in Burbank, CA. We now are n Indiana and usually not as much snow here. Loving your January Calenders. Have a wonderful cozy weekend.

  50. Gale Harris says:

    I like the mug idea (and design) a lot!

  51. Lynne D Tolton says:

    Is there a way to order a print of the wonderful image above. It is just so right for the way I am feeling these days. Lots of stress and lots of projects to get through before we can rest again. . . I would love to have a copy to hang above my desk once we get the “second floor” projects finished.

  52. Ramona Horta says:

    Dearest Susan – i have been so very out of touch lately and still unfortunately cannot take time to read some blogs…i’ve just now gotten around to trying to order a calendar…a day late and a dollar short…and noticed that they are sold out. I’m sure you’ve said in your blog…but I was wondering when do calendars become available again. I could smack myself upside the head for not ordering one earlier! Time and events got away from me starting last summer, shoulder surgery and my daddy’s passing…but I will get back to your blogs soon. Thank you for being you and know that I so enjoy everything “Susan Branch”… yours truly – Ramona Horta – from the Central Valley of California… 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Don’t worry, I still see some on Amazon, go there soon. I’m so sorry about your dad, and all, I have to say 2016 was a bit rough on so many I know. All my very best to you. xoxo

  53. I spent this past snowy Saturday painting in my studio also. What a joy…it’s all I want to do. I am missing a kitty on my art table though as my little persian Mimi crossed the bridge three years ago. I still haven’t decided if I will get another furry friend. I do have 3 furry felines next door at my sister’s house that I can visit anytime. One female (old lady) and 2 male kittens (part monkey in each). At the end of October 2016, I sent you an e-mail all about my discovery of your wonderful Jack on last year’s calendar. I know you’re a very busy lady and probably haven’t had the chance to read it but I just wanted you to know how much I loved learning about him and girl Kitty. What gems they are!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, my emails get away from me, I’m sorry to say. But thank you MaryLou, I’m glad you enjoy my kitties, but a little feisty character of your own (or two) ~ you would LOVE it, they would make you laugh every day. xoxo

      • I’ve decided to open my home to kitties who need a place to stay while their families are away for vacation. In 2016, from May through August, I fostered a sweet, funny young girl kitty named “Harmony” while her dad was away on job training. Harmony was simply “away at summer camp” (heehee). I spoiled her and we had a great time. That is why I e-mailed you after reading about Jack. His antics reminded me of Harmy’s adorableness and I sent you a picture. I also sent a pic of my “Ocean Grove cat Willow” (one of ten Ocean Grove cat illustrations that I have done for a future book about the sweet cats and dogs from my hometown in NJ). I love those furry bundles of love 🙂

  54. Tamah Taylor says:

    Hi Susan, I just finished writing my lesson plans and decided to see if you had posted something new. Yes! I am happy to say that I love winter too! Of course I may get a few days off here and there for school but I just love staying home and being cozy and content. Good to hear that plans are still going forward for a possible movie. I’m in love with your Kitty, Jack. That face would get me every time! Hope it’s a yes on the mugs! Thanks for all you do!

  55. Rose says:

    Susan, yes you should make your own mugs… go for it… I would love one. But, … I was thinking yesterday as I read your trilogy for the 4th or 5th time…. “why doesn’t she publish a book of her favorite quotes.?”.. so many of us love them.. they are the best of the best…. please????? You could or could not illustrate them… see? I have your life all planned out. 🙂 I love your blogs, books and everything about you… ( I like Joe too) Happy New Year… think about it… 🙂 I don’t give up easy. Rose

  56. Nonni says:

    A belated Happy New Year to both you and Joe! I sooo enjoyed this post! It was so cosy feeling bringing back old memories; made me feel like I was 8 again laying by my grandmothers coal heater in the kitchen on a rug with my cat next to me coloring in one of my many coloring books listening to the wind howl outside and frost on the windows, in Missouri. But on to another thought…you know how your mind wonders while you do dishes starring out the kitchen window? Well, I was thinking about your sweet mug sample. You know the problem with a mug? Stains. I’m always chasing after people slidding a coaster under their mug to keep heat or stains off my furniture. What if…you made a
    mug saucer? The idea gets more weird. What if you started a completely new idea and made the shape kinda oval-(like an egg laying on its side) with enough room to stack 3 cookies on the left side or lay a tea bag there (another problem with mugs…no place to lay the bag) or even lay your spoon. It could be small but adequate. I used to be in product development for an International company promoting new products and NO ONE has ever made a mug saucer. The closest idea on the market is a tea cup sitting on a large plate big enough to hold a sandwich. Please feel free to delete this post from publishing…may give others a jump on this idea-the nuns, maybe? Ha,ha! I’m sure I speak for everyone who reads this Blog, that we are all looking foward to a wonderful collection of photos, recipes, tales of Jack and great descriptions of life in Martha’s Vineyard at the Susan and Joe house. (Need more snow pics-we’re asking, “pretty please!”). 💁

    • sbranch says:

      I love the idea of your saucer! I keep my little cookie plate nearby, but a combo would be great! The way it works today, you find a company that will put your art on their cups … and you find a cup you like … so far I don’t know anyone that would make it to my design unless I was willing to buy at least 10,000 pieces, which means I’d have to get loan from a bank and also find a warehouse to store them in . . . one charming little cookie saucer turns into something else when it leaves the comforts of the imagination and goes out into the rough and tumble world of business! More snow pictures, now that’s something I can do all by myself! xoxo

  57. Sally Geisel says:

    Susan Branch tea cups and mugs? Oh my gosh! YES! MAKE THE CUPS! Can I pre-order?

    • sbranch says:

      As soon as we get it all into production, then yes! Making sure we actually get it there! Have to find the perfect place to get them made, the perfect shape, the perfect everything. But we will!

      • Sally Geisel says:

        Please make them in the U.S. We have plenty of folks here who could really use the work. I would be plenty happy to pay a premium for American made, and union made.

        • sbranch says:

          I would love to! I am with you all the way on that. But so far, we haven’t been able to find an American manufacturer of fine china who has their things made in the USA. We found an American company that will private label for us (very difficult to find in the first place), but they manufacture in Poland. The market place has widened so much that to the manufacturing business, the world is their workplace.

          • Sally Geisel says:

            Oh, bone china. Only Lennox makes that in the States. (Wikipedia says so anyway.) Our British cousins, I am sure, would be happy to oblige (and also could use some economic help these days). I’m in. (Also, if you go with pottery, I’m still in! Your designs are so sweet and lovely. So sweet and lovely!)

          • sbranch says:

            I would love them to come from England, and they are so GOOD at dish making!

          • Sally Geisel says:

            I’m not sure if the following will be at all helpful, but Lenox does work with designers:

            Lenox’s corporate contact information on its website is skimpy, but see here:

            O.k., that was the last of my two cents, for what they were worth.

          • sbranch says:

            Yes, that’s true, but they don’t private label. They license those designers, and often design for them, as you can see, most of them aren’t artists, so it’s just their name. Plus, they have not asked to license my designs. On top of that, now many of their things are also made overseas. I appreciate the time you took to help, Sally. Believe me I’ve been all over the Internet trying to do the same thing!

  58. Sally Geisel says:

    In fact, I hope you don’t stop there. You, madame, are a brand unto herself. Service for 12, check. Bedding, check. Towels, mats, and toiletries, check. We love our Susan Branch-ness something fierce. We won’t have to order Cath Kidston overseas anymore, we’d have you! Oh do it, please do!

    • sbranch says:

      There’s always this trade off, become huge, then you pay attention to the business side, and run out of time for art and your girlfriends and all the normal heart of the homeish kinds of things . . .But a mug is do-able!

      • FayE in CA! says:

        Kudos for knowing what a balanced life is and not being driven for the all-mighty dollar. You enjoy your life too much to give it up for uber-UBER-success! Your dividends are knowing yourself and living the life you want…having time to enjoy love, home, family/friends…cats💗…and a successful career…in that order! You’ve set the parameters of your fence and know when expanding that fence will sprout more stress than you want and ultimately less joyful living! Smart!

        I wish for you whatever you desire…not what we desire from you!! If you fulfilled all of our desires to reap your creativity in all forms, we would take away your joy of living. When would you personally blog us? When would you watch old movies? The squirrels would never be photographed again! You have chosen how to live your success…and you still have time for the Girlfriends! Thank you for keeping us a priority in your fence! We are lucky.

        • sbranch says:

          Oh FayE! Thank you! I really do think most of us want to just pay the bills and set something aside for retirement, but that’s getting harder all the time, for everyone! I have no desire to be a billionaire ~ I don’t even play the lottery! I like squirrels and hunting for beach glass much better. XOXO

          • FayE in CA! says:

            RE The Newsroom: – HBO show (June, 2012 to Dec, 2014. Three seasons/25 episodes.) After spending 18 months paying attention to EVERY detail of the political season and keeping the news media ratings up, I am amazed at how media-topical The Newsroom is! I guess I wasn’t feeling the frustration with reporting back in 2012, but it could be cut and pasted into current media issues/standings. If you are still withdrawing from the political news barrage, The Newsroom might not bring you a peaceful ride!

            I am pleased and proud of myself that since the election I have chosen to keep the news turned off. I check the headlines on the internet and occasionally read an article knowing that there is an agenda from someone. I am not so stressed now. Decades ago I worked for a teacher who had not looked at the news for YEARS!! She was the most centered, peaceful, kind, inclusive person I had ever met.

            I don’t believe in the head-in-the-sand mentality…and have constantly fought it, but being diligent and paying attention to all and everything during the primaries and election nearly did me in – SO not healthy. I found everything so intriguing in the beginning, but in the end, lost all respect for current news formats. If the media world brings “war/fear/frustration/helplessness/utter sadness” inside of me, then I need to select what I allow in to me!

            Speaking of intrigue!!!! Watched the last episode of season 3 – A Place to Call Home!!! Yikes – NO idea when season 4 will be available on Netflix. HELP ME! I was SHOUTING at the TV screen “NNNNOOOOOOO!!” This show twists into intrigue that grabs you, but I am not sure why it grabbed me from the start. Some shows just do. I think it is because Nurse Sarah is so calm, centered and measured…and then her past starts leaking out and you respect her. The show hits on so many societal biases and sadnesses.

            OH…mean-conniving “B….” Regina keeps-on- keeping-on…JEEZE, LOUISE…maybe I keep watching A Place to Call Home to see her final undoing! Ultimately, deep inside we do want good and right to triumph over evil wrong-doings even if we have to be evil to undo her. SOOOO not OK! 😊

            Well, back to finishing off The Newsroom series…catching the fast-lipped quip of humor and sting of truisms – depending, of course, on how one’s view of the world is!

            Smooch-smooch to you…may you see creative strokes turning into masterpieces on art paper today. CA skies are creating some more rain outside my window…thank you – thank you…life is good.

            Grayson purrs hello. He is VERY interested in this note to you. There are cyber paw prints all over it! 💗💗💗

          • sbranch says:

            We’re watching A Place to Call Home every night now… “Intrigue” is just the right word! It took us maybe 4 episodes to get totally hooked. Makes the 50s look a little different than I remember them as a child! Love the cyber paw prints! xoxo

  59. Rie says:

    Oh my gosh . . . I think a movie or series based upon your trilogy of books (which I devoured in a matter of days) is the most wonderful idea. I’d go in a heartbeat! Wonder what adorable young actress they’d get to play you? I’ll have to put my thinking cap on to come up with some suggestions.

    I bought your “Heart of the Home” when it first came out and was a young fan. I lost track of you for a few decades, but have recently loved discovering all the interests, collections, and bits and pieces of our life, and approach to life, that we have in common. Your outlook on life and home is so refreshing, and is an inspiration for which I’m very thankful. Best of luck with all your endeavors!

  60. Carolyn Winslow says:

    Mugs? Delightful! Yes, please!

  61. Anita Taylor says:

    Just love you, plain and simple. I will be bring a group to the Apple Farm for your signing and a road trip!! Can’t wait to see you again!! Woohoo.

  62. Laura Brown says:

    You make me want a snow storm and we just had one (that is sadly melting away)!

  63. Jill says:

    Happy New Year!!! I wish you many wonderful things to come and a healthy, happy, successful 2017! I love reading your blog and books so very much. Such an inspiration to me as a stay at home mom raising my family and creating the perfect cozy spots for my family as well. 🙂 Have a great week, stay warm with all that snow!


  64. Sara says:

    I’m reading your Martha’s Vineyard book and relating SO much to your story. I’m 34, and feeling much of what you were at that time. It’s like therapy for me right now ☺. Thank you for writing your story and sharing it with all your girlfriends!

    • sbranch says:

      I secretly wrote it for you and your age, because it’s SUCH a difficult age for almost everyone. You are truly not alone. Everyone, it seems, goes through it. I just wanted to help bring it out, because while you’re in it, it’s a kind of torture!!

  65. Oh, I have to read your Martha’s Vineyard book to find out what you’re talking about (even though I’m 51). I’m so happy to have stumbled upon your website Susan…I’m slowly discovering all of your treasures. You can blame it all on Jack….it’s because of his cute face staring at me through the month of October. I followed him right to your website!

  66. FayE in CA! says:

    I ordered the Snail Mail Willards from your shop and as usual…shipping was lickety-split! Thanks, ladies! Love the heart tissue paper that is used on the purchases. Also love that the tissue is lightly taped so I can reuse the tissue. BONUS!

    Thrilled to have the Willards and cannot wait to sit down to read them. Lots of info, effort and YOU in the Willards…as with all Susan Branch offerings/efforts.

    Three storms are lined up for CA. 😀 Fingers-crossed they produce the rain that is predicted. The fields in my area are GREEN…it’s been a long while – oh my, Leprechauns must be moving in to the hillsides! SLO will definitely be green to greet you. Not a bunting welcome, but a vista to embrace, for sure.

    Keep your fingers happy…swishing paint brushes, scratching Jack and squeezy-hugging Joe!! 💗💗💗

  67. RUTH MARTIN says:

    Do you have to register somewhere for your addictive qualities? I am a bit jealous of all your artistic abilities.
    Cat question: How on earth do you live with cats AND all the special pretties in your home. I adopted Pandora 9 months ago (she is 1 yr.) and I have stripped my apartment of all my “doo-dads”. Please tell me she will mellow out and I will be able to put some of my trinkets out again. She makes me laugh and that’s what matters most. You are a lost old friend for me.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh thank you Ruth. I haven’t had a problem with any of my kitties and my doo-dads. Jack will try to eat anything growing and green, but I watch him. Every kitty is so different. I hope yours grows out of it! Yes, they are totally worth whatever it takes!

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