MUSICA!❤️ Well, first off, I promised you a photo of the wool coat I bought in England ~ the one I wrote about a couple of blogs ago … And I finally managed to remember to do it. And, btw, while out and about on the Internet,  I happened upon a website in the English Lake District that sells them (just in cases you want one too! The label says, “handmade.”). It’s a wonderful store Joe and I visited when we were there called Stewardson’s of Hawkshead .

Welcome over from the new Willard if that’s where you’ve come from (he’s just starting to go out today ~ takes 3 days for him to get to every email box, so if you’re signed up, he should be there soon!), and if not, welcome anyway! As lots of you know, Joe and I are on the train right now, in our “room with a view,” actually in the beautiful Berkshires as I write, heading down the tracks for Chicago, then on to LA ~ and right now, out our window, is the most gorgeous sunset between the leafless tress and across snow fields! It’s kind of a miracle, to be on a moving train and writing you at the same time! I’ve been sending photos and videos of our views over to Twitter … hope you’ve been able to see them (you can click on the link and take a look if you like, you don’t have to join Twitter in order to see the pictures).

Yesterday, before we left (which was just this morning), I needed to do some ironing for the trip. I’m sure many of us remember our mothers starching clothes before they ironed them ~ rolling them up while damp, putting them in plastic bags and keeping them in the fridge until they were ready to iron. Seems so old-fashioned to us now! My mom did it, there were always bundles of ironing in our fridge, she ironed all my little sister’s puffed-sleeved dresses with starch, and taught me to do it too. And my dad’s shirts ~ we were all very crisp around our house. And it wasn’t spray starch, it was the real thing. Liquid starch, the kind she used, is hard to find, at least where we live . . . our supermarket doesn’t sell it anymore, I had to go to Amazon to get it. Mostly, these days,  it’s used for crafts, but I have this linen jacket I was bringing along that is no good without good old-fashioned starch, spray starch just doesn’t do it. In fact, I have a lot of things I use real starch on. There’s actually a really good reason to do it! I’ll show you! (Jack, as you can see, was there for the whole thing!  But he was more interested in . . .

. . . what was going on outside our kitchen window, than what was going on inside . . .)

So, just in case it’s been a long time, or maybe never, since you starched something, and just in cases you’d like to try it . . . here’s how.  It’s really easy.  First off, you can read on the bottle how much starch to mix with how much water to make the fabric as stiff as you’d like it to be.

I wanted  my jacket to be slightly stiffer than medium, so I mixed 4 c. water with 2 c. starch in a very large bowl. My summer potato salad bowl if you want to know.

I swirled it around with my hand to mix it . . .

Then I put my clean linen jacket into the liquid and got it soaking wet.

I took it out and rung it out as best I could … then I noticed all that left over starch and thought, what else do I have?  Then I remembered I’d just washed a dresser scarf from the bathroom and thought, perfect timing!

 I like dresser scarves to be really quite stiff, so I added a bit more starch.

And in it went.

Then they both went out to the pantry to partly dry on the clothes rack. Soaking wet is not good for ironing, you want them damp. So while that was happening . . .

I wrapped birthday presents for my mom, we’re heading to California to celebrate her 87th birthday (on the 27th)! 🎁 She loves it when I wrap her things in my own paper, so I ordered some from Spoonflower, (the people I do the fabric for … they make all the fabric patterns into wrapping paper too!) which I’d never done before, I was interested to see the quality. And was happy because it’s the thick stuff! Very nice.🎈My mom will love it!

And then, for a couple of good reasons, I made a cake ~ An Orange Marmalade Cake, because Jack’s other Mother was coming from California to stay with him while we’re away . . . and we were making dinner for her . . . and also, because every time Lowely makes something delicious, she always brings me half.

And I wanted to do the same for her before we went away.

Which I did. She only lives two doors down, so I walked it over, and got a goodbye hug. The next time I’m doing a blog and NOT on the train, I’ll give you the recipe! It was delicious!

So then it was time to iron.  And what is the first thing I have to do?  I have to get Jack’s hair off the ironing board, unless I want to iron it into my clothes. The ironing board doubles as his perch at the pantry window to watch the world go by. So I got out my packing tape, laid a big long strip down, and moved it along until all his little hairs were stuck to it!

And now, I’m ironing. And it’s coming out beautifully.

Voila! When you starch something, it stays fresh looking so much longer. You can wear it and re-wear it and it doesn’t look wilted.

And that, in a nutshell, is why I love starched things. They last forever.

Here’s my dresser scarf, back on the table in the bathroom. Note shadow under table.

Old linens are one of my passions, loves, downfalls. The beautiful cloth, the delicate embroidery and the cotton lace ~ irresistable! Smoothing an old damask tablecloth onto my dining table is one of the simple joys of life. Lighting a candle on that table, where it almost reflects in the sheen of the cloth, is another.

Here is an example of starch and what it does. I haven’t ironed these in over 6 months. No one really uses them, because a terry hand towel is right there, so they are really more decorative than anything, but they look as nice today as they did when I hung them up 5 years 6 months ago.😜

These are the bathroom curtains in that same room, made from an old lace tablecloth, the last of the ones I brought from California when I moved into my first little house on the island. Starched and perky, I won’t have to do it again for a long time. You could never do this with spray starch. Not even with the one that says, “Heavy.”

And here are a few more linen things, just so you get the picture, which I’m sure you do by now! I should be a door-to-door liquid starch salesperson!

One more tip, and that is, you may have starched something a while back, like this linen jacket. But maybe it was crushed in the closet and got kind of wrinkled again. No problem…

As long as it’s clean, you don’t have to rewash and starch, you just spray on a little water, and iron, and it all that good starchiness comes right back.

And there they are, ready to go into plastic bags and into the hanging bag … yes, they will need a touch up when we get there, but it won’t be much! So there you go, adventures in  ironing from the Heart of the Home! Pure

Okay, enough about ironing, how about some maple syrup? I LOVED your comments in the last post, like I always do, thank you so much.💞  And yes, we did stuff poor Vanna into our duffel bag, she’s  here, fluffed out, head to toe in pink cashmere with a leopard faux fur collar (she knows how to be comfy), complaining because she broke a nail and there’s “no manicurist on board.” It’s okay, we’ll fly her outta here when we get to Chicago. Her and her “little pink zipper bag”👛 which we have had to find for her about six times now. She’s a princess. Not fit for train travel.  We knew we would need her for the drawing for our Vermont Valentine Giveaway . . . and so, with no further adieu … Vanna? Come here darling…  (oh, the look on her face😱) ~ here we go . . . the WINNER of this delicious Vermont syrup (I know because we got a bottle of this too!) is . . . . PAMELA TASKER!!!!! Congratulations Pamela! You will love this! Be sure to heat it up before you pour it on everything! Look for an email from me in your box . . . I’ll need your mailing address so I can send it to you.

And now, so it doesn’t have to end . . . there’s more . . .

  Hello. Remember I showed you these cups I was designing a while back?  That’s the one I designed on the left, my glued and pasted paper cup without a bottom. And on the right, that’s the sample they sent! Pretty darn wonderful if I do say so myself! So I did more!

This one is calledand it has Ms. Lambikins on it, amongst other recognizable doodads from my flora and fauna art repertoire. Plenty to read early in the morning when the brain requires quiet time.

And this one is calledfor us, the normal ones.💞

Last but not least, we have “Little Things,” because All three are being made right now, of fine bone china, in the potteries, in England. Yes, real, bonafide English cups. ❤️ Each holds a truly magnificent 16 oz (if filled to the very top). I’m so excited. You who have hung out around this blog for a while, know how much I have wanted to do this. Finally, the time has come.  They will likely be here in May, in time for Mother’s Day, if all goes as planned. And if you leave your name in the comment section of this blog,😁 you will be entered in a drawing to win one of these. There will be 3 winners, and the moment they come in, those winners will be the very first on our mailing list! And yes, just in cases you don’t win, they are available now for preorder. Which means, if we haven’t ordered enough, we should know fairly soon, and can get more into the works right away. After a decent amount of time, each of the designs are going to be retired, and replaced by new ones (I have so many fun ideas!) And the only place on earth where they will be available, at least for the foreseeable future, will be here in our web store. I hope you like them.💖

The last time I was in California, Joe and I were driving across country … I picked these two roses, one from my Grandma’s garden, and one from my moms. They sat on the dashboard of the Fine Romance Van the entire way. And when I got home, I took this photo of them. As beautiful as they were when they were first cut. In two days I will be in my mother’s arms. 💞 The dearest person, who was in labor with me for so long (72 hours) that a tiny piece of her soul broke off, and went into me. And that is the way it has always been and will always be. I feel so lucky. Thank you all for being here. Have a wonderful day! WILLARD’S on the way! I’ll be back soon!

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2,798 Responses to SOMETIMES, STARCH is GOOD!

  1. Karen Wills says:

    Love the mugs! Can’t wait to get mine!!!

  2. Rhonda Cooper says:

    Lots of memories resurfaced about starching clothes. My grandmother kept her bottle of water in the fridge, it had a special perforated top for sprinkling clothes and we starched everything it seemed. Sheets, pillowcases, all the beautiful lace doilies she made much like you have, that was always a Tuesday chore. She sure was organized and so dear, homemade everything including a dessert every night. She would love reading your books, blog, etc. as much as I do.
    Love the mugs!!!!
    Have a safe and wonderful trip, enjoy being with your Mom and can’t wait to read about Hollywood.

  3. Kate Iles says:

    Oh boy, you really got to me this time…your last paragraph made me want to respond…”I will be in my mother’s arms. 💞 The dearest person… a tiny piece of her soul broke off, and went into me. And that is the way it has always been and will always be. I feel so lucky.” I felt just that way about my mom, who passed away a year ago January @ 94 years old. I miss her so! The 3 mugs remind me of her attitude towards life- so full of hygge! I’m so excited about March 18th; I’m coming to hear you speak in SLO! Can’t wait! I will be bringing a surprise gift for you!

  4. Bambi says:

    Soooo very excited about the mugs! Hope my name is drawn:)

  5. Melissa says:

    Love these beautiful mugs!! Can’t wait to see who Vanna picks! 🙂

  6. KathyF says:

    Love all your mugs and all your art! you inspire me to paint more and write more…I have 4 books filled with “Christmas Memories”, “30th anniversary of Heart of the Home”, “Girlfriends Forever”, “Autumn”, 2 “Grandma Tell Me Your Story” books (that I am currently filling out and 2 “To my Daughter Cookbooks that I am filling out plus “Recipe Traditions” for me… you are definitely keeping me busy! thank you for your art!

  7. jeanie m says:

    You so inspire me to iron, starch and change things around. Your happy positive attitude is so infectious. Love that coat and also “A Place to Call Home” is just fantastic. Recommended it to my friends and they love it too. Thank you Susan Branch! Hope you have a fabulous visit with your family & friends.

  8. Jean Marie Runion says:

    I truly love the beautiful mugs and it would be so fantastic if I were able to have my name drawn for one. I am saving my dimes to hopefully purchase one, but a winner in the drawing would be beyond my hopes… Love the blog and read it as much as I can find time for. Thank you Susan Branch

  9. judyh says:

    Oh, the cups! The cups are LOVELY!

  10. Jody says:

    Oh my, what a treat it would be to have afternoon tea from one of these adorable cups!

  11. Mary Beth Fields says:

    Thank you for sharing the starch tips. I miss my Mama and both grandmothers. They starched EVERYTHING.

    The cups are beautiful. Congratulations on the design!

  12. Brenda Bartocci says:

    Love reading your e-mails and blog. Feels like spring already.

  13. Robin - Henderson, NV says:

    Thanks so much for the opportunity to have one of your mugs! Can’t wait to try the marmalade cake – yum! Have a wonderful time in Cal and wish your mom Happy Birthday from all of “us”! Your grateful readers!

  14. Maureen Darr says:

    Love, love, love your mugs!

  15. Lynne Barlow says:

    Ohhhhh! IwantIwantIwant a darling cup. Just to be sure I get one, I’m going shopping to pre-order. You never fail to put the “d” in darling!

  16. Kitty says:

    The mugs are absolutely adorable! Yes please, I’d love to win one. Thank you for the opportunity.

  17. Di Word says:

    The mugs are divine.

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

    good afternoon Susan, Girlfriends, well so far its been busy around here, the weather is cloudy and gray with a few sunny afternoons, been busy with laundry, ironing to do today so I have to get out my soda bottle with the sprinkle top and get that done, and its getting somewhat frenzied in the barnyard, the male ducks and ganders ( male geese… I think) are getting antsy and feisty, almost time for the ladies to start laying their eggs and we are seriously considering borrowing or making an incubator of our own to hatch out some more baby ducklings and some baby geese this spring and summer, of course the hens are getting ready for peep season and getting fussy over their nests. been battling with the septic tank… phewwy!!! seems an outlet pipe or baffle fell off into the tank and we needed to have a new one installed so the sewage could flow into the septic tank. anyway one looks at it a disgusting job and best left to the professionals which we did and now that problem is fixed. so hopefully we won’t have any more problems with that for awhile… a long while. had dinner with some friends and she served up a delicious pork wellington, instead of a beef wellington. delicious and I am pleading with her to give me the recipe, it was so simple but so yummy. don’t worry when I get the recipe I will share it with you all, if you wish. beautiful mugs, and I would not mind having one for my collection, but I would love see mugs done for the seasons, since Fall is my favorite season of all. I guess we are looking forward to spring and a busy barnyard here, I can see my snowdrops coming up and look forward to the arrival of daffodils and tulips. have a great day everyone, and have a safe trip and a wonderful time in California Susan. hugs everyone …… 🙂 off to iron tablecloths…. 🙂

    • judi says:

      Hi Pat, sounds like you are busy as usual. Way too hot in Florida!

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        Hi Judi, we are busy, this time of year we are getting the nursery ready for the new arrivals of peeps ( chicks), ducklings and turkeys and this season we may include geese. so its looking like another busy season for the barnyard. way too hot in Florida… how hot is it??? you could always send a little heat this way, it would be very welcome, and I’ll send some cool air your way. hugs…. 🙂

  19. Anita says:

    Crossing my fingers for a mug 🙂

  20. Lynne Barlow says:

    Your coat brought back wonderful memories of a coat my mother bought for me when I was in grade school. It was a purple, orchid, hunter green and royal blue plaid. My girlfriend’s mother said it looked like a horse blanket, but I thought it was beautiful and wore it proudly until I could no longer squeeze into it. Thanks for the flashback. I loved that coat 😍

  21. Gail says:

    Sweet mugs!

  22. Jennifer Rust says:

    I’m now going to starch things! I hope I win a mug.

  23. JS Grim says:

    The mugs are adorable! And I love the 16 oz. size!
    Treasure the time with your mother. I lost my 97 year old mother last week and the pangs of missing her are still there.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh, I am sure, and yes, “treasure” is exactly the right word. Now and forever. I’m so sorry for your loss, it’s just not the way it should be! If I was in charge. Which, clearly, I am not.

  24. Peggy McNeill says:

    Treasure every bit of time with your mother!

  25. judi says:

    It looks live you are loving that west coast wind in your hair😎💕. I wish I was on twitter but alas, don’t think I can add one more thing at this age. Enjoy looking at the pictures you post and comments. Your brother lead me back here … just had to exclaim ..HAM & SWISS BREAD! Wow! Think it would be gone in 10 minutes in this house! I believe I did comment shortly after you posted this page but, with soooo many comments it must be down the rabbit hole😳
    Happy trails dear ones! Xo hugs, judi

    • sbranch says:

      Well here it is, just in cases! Yes, my brother recently hurt his knee, he is on crutches, and quite miserable about it because in real life he is a very busy bee. He LOVES to cook and is doing even more of it now . . . he is always inventing things and sending pictures to me to make me jealous, and it works every time!

      • judi says:

        Sorry to hear about his knee. How lucky for his friends and family that he loves to cook! Do all of your siblings like to cook? Great job your Mom and Grandmother … and Dad did teaching you💕

  26. Nancy Marie Strand, I love your “Little Things” mug! It is so true that the little things in life are the most important! I would love to be entered in the drawing for one of the mugs. Thank You!

  27. Diane from Poulsbo says:

    Susan, just a quick note to say that I had never read Gladys Tabor books before, but recently I purchased “Especially Father” ….and it is hilarious and wonderful! 😍 I wondered if you had read it? I have also joined her fan club. Love love love! Xoxoxo

    • sbranch says:

      I have, one of my favorites of hers! So happy you are enjoying her, she is something for the ages.

      • Diane from Poulsbo says:

        Thank you for leading me to her books! I have far too many books and swore to never purchase another…..but you know how quickly those kind of promises are broken…..and Gladys was calling my name! So glad you are having such fun with Joe!

  28. Regina Taylor says:

    I think I need your mugs to drink from while wearing the apron I made from your fabric line, looking at the picture I bought from you (girl sitting on the beach with a straw bag and a kitty inside), reading one of the books….. Oh, and checking the date on my Susan Branch calendar….. Can’t get enough of Susan Branch….

  29. Eliza Waters says:

    Lovely cups, Sue – if I won one, it’d feel like I won the lottery with all the competition! 😉 Hope you’re having a blast in CA!

    • sbranch says:

      We are truly. It’s been beautiful. First with my mom, and now a gorgeous drive yesterday into Arizona to be with my Dad’s wife. The weather is wonderful, the sunrise this morning was just what you would expect over the desert, every pink and purple hue in the paintbox!

  30. sharon albright says:

    would love to have tea in one of your new cups!

  31. Charlene Jennings says:

    Love your coat of “many colors” you purchased from England. As you starched your other jacket in the beautiful blue spongeware bowl, I wondered if it is a Henn pottery piece? I have a few of those pieces and just love them. I am thrilled with your new cups and I did order one already but would love to have another of course! What a great idea!
    I always love reading your blogs- like a letter from a close friend 🐣
    HAPPY SPRING on its way… Char

    • sbranch says:

      It doesn’t have anything written on the bottom, and I bought it new a few years back, I believe it’s just ceramic, but that doesn’t stop me from loving it!

  32. Victoria says:

    Ohh son absolutamente hermosas esas tazas! Me encantaría ganar! Saludos! Vicky Dc

  33. Rosemary from Texas says:

    I love to iron! What fun to see those beautiful, crisp linens…and I do love linens of every description. I ironed my Daddy’s white hankies when I was a little girl…before steam irons, so everything was sprinkled. Not that much fun to iron a Kleenex….Ha!
    Happy trails to you! Look forward to more posts. Love, love, love the cups.

  34. Wilhelmina says:

    So fun~ Wishing, dreaming of my mug! They are all so very loverly! Thank you for the chance to win one!

  35. Maricarmen Ashmore says:

    Maricarmen Ashmore- Thank you for the chance to win a mug. I love them!

  36. Deb says:

    The mugs are wonderful!!!!

  37. Jolene says:

    Love love these mugs and wonderful designs and the size too.

  38. Barbara (WA) says:

    Gosh, I suddenly want to starch and iron! I love the mugs, so fun and beautiful. Have a wonderful time with your mama (mine is 94).

  39. Diane says:

    I love your closing words in the Willard about guardian angels, falling in love every day with all of life’s small everyday miracles and taking nothing for granted. It echoes a quote I copied and framed long ago: “The sacred is in the ordinary…in one’s daily life…in friends, family, neighbors…in one’s backyard”. What a wonderful way to live our lives. Thank you, Susan, for sharing your thoughts with us.

  40. Kathy B says:

    Just love your cups. I also love your kitchen prints. Hope more will be coming!

  41. Laura says:

    Oh my goodness sweet Susan, I am in love with these mugs!!!! Just wonderful!!!


  42. Debbie Randall says:

    Could anything be any nicer than to drink my coffee or tea from these oh so sweet mugs! Thank you, Susan, for sharing your art and memories with us~

  43. MARY V. says:

    beautiful mugs, things just keep getting better and how life has changed for you and Joe. WOW I hope I get pick, if not I will just buy them, ALL. BLESSINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

  44. Elizabeth Hahn says:

    Susan reading your blog is like being wrapped in a cozy warm soft shawl on a blustery day. Everytime. Thank you for having the biggest heart and sharing your magical touch. Have a great time with your mother and family in California 💟

  45. Joanne Beaulieu says:

    I would love to win a mug , they are so beautiful !!

  46. Shawnee M. says:

    The mugs are lovely! Safe travels~ Happy Birthday to your Sweet Mother~

  47. Karen Lindstrom says:

    I am so glad I found this! I have several of your books, (put away – big story – another time), have loved your “stuff” for (long enough not to put in writing – for both our sakes) ever, and just saw the gingerbread recipe on Pinterest. Then I noticed a whole lotta you, and then saw the blog, and well yeah, of course I read it. What a great find. I ‘ll be spending late nights here for some time. And I would bring the cups to bed full of blackberry sage tea to while away the moments . . . My name is Karen, and I am so happy to be back with you.

    • sbranch says:

      Welcome back Karen, happy to have you here! Thank you for keeping our years together on the down-low. xoxo

  48. Marty from NYC says:

    Give Jeanie a big hug. Her loss of your Dad must also be hard. the joy is in the gift he gave to you both with his creativity and sense of humor. Thank you and all your family for sharing him with us. Marty

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, it’s definitely still hard. That’s why I’m here, so we can bolster each other with hugs and love. I’m so glad he got to spend time here on the Blog. He loved every second of it, and me too. xoxo

  49. Marilyn Rogers says:

    Susan the mugs are just darling! I love the fact that they are real bone China from England!!
    Bless your heart!

  50. Valerie Johnson in Weatherford, Texas :) says:

    Ok, i know i was supposed to be paying attention to the finished starch project, but that PINK FLORAL WALLPAPER!! It’s gorgeous!! So excited about the new tea cups. Please say they will be microwavable.

  51. Mary Assaf says:

    The mugs are so beautiful and detailed just like all your art. I love them.

  52. Kristan says:

    Beautiful mugs and beautiful blog post! If I win, I’m giving a mug to my Mom! Have a wonderful trip 😊

  53. DeAnne says:

    I love the mugs! Will go perfect with my Susan Branch designed candle!

  54. Elberta says:

    Oh my! I grew up in a big family of girls so there were piles of dresses to starch! And I LOVE old linens and crocheted doilies after they’ve been starched and ironed! Enjoyed your post! Love those mugs!

  55. jackie bienemann says:

    Hi Susan, your mugs are beautiful. I knew they would be, I especially love the Nature one. If I don’t win, I am so glad I will be able to buy one! Enjoy your visit with your Mom, you know how lucky you are to have her. I miss my Mom so much. Safe travels!

  56. Mamey says:

    I will be collecting all of your mugs as I LOVE to change up my mugs. Thank you so much for making such beautiful collectibles. Oh, by the way. I have started A Place to Call Home…O–M–G!! It’s wonderful!!!

  57. sharon taylor says:

    Oh to be on the train, clickity clack, clickity clack. Wish I was with you. Yes, I too would love to win a mug but if not will definitely order some for my daughter, daughter-laws and myself. Have a wonderful trip. You are so lucky to have a mother to hug. From Canada, Cheerio

  58. Rhonda P in Texas says:

    Love the new mugs! I have a keepsake collection of mugs from places we’ve been and I would treasure one of your new ones!

  59. Lynne Pennoyer says:

    Love the mugs….can’t wait for them to arrive!!

  60. Jan Steffens says:

    I love everything Susan Branch!! So sad that your book signing on March 18 is sold out in San Luis! 🙁 I am 6 hours north of there but would have made the trip! I was lucky enough to go to your store when it was still open in Arroyo Grande years ago and absolutely loved it!! Still wish it was there!
    Thank you for all the beautiful things you make. Can’t wait to get a tea cup!!

  61. Grace says:

    Hi, Susan!

    I posted a comment a couple of days ago, but I haven’t seen any more comments posted since then . . . Is there a cut off time to reply to your blog? (As always, it was delightful, BTW! 🙂 )

    • sbranch says:

      No, not yet, I’m going to try to have the drawing tomorrow. Visiting my dad’s wife means my time is limited, but maybe I can to it in the morning.

  62. Carolyne says:

    Love the mugs. They’re darling…… They are soooo “Susan Branch-ish”0!!! Amazing, isn’t it, that they’re so so you. I love them!!!! And am thrilled about you meeting with screenwriters. So exciting! Enjoy your visit with your mom and friends and family. And thank you for all you do for all of us. It is greatly appreciated.

  63. Pat Bates says:

    My green tea, would taste so much better in your beautiful mug!


    Pat Bates

  64. Debbie Boerger says:

    I just finished reading the latest 100 comments. I dearly love those comments and stories. Seems as though you have inspired the women of the World to run grab everything starchable and do it up with liquid starch. (I intend to do just that.)
    I have a wacky image of all the children and husbands walking around looking like ginger bread men…arms and legs stiff. He,he. Made me remember a favorite neighbor who would complain that Sarah, he wife, was a bit too heavy on the starch for his chino work pants….he couldn’t sit down.
    Love the memories that your blog and the comments bring to mind.

    Enjoy your road trip and visit,
    Debbie in Tampa…for now

  65. Deborah says:

    Hi Susan, what a sweet and happy blog!!!! My mother and grandmother always starched everything also…also ironed our pjs and sheets…wonderful memories!!! Hope you Joe have a lovely, safe trip! The mugs are beautiful!!!! Thank you for a chance to win one! I know I will be buying some!!! Smiles, Deborah. 🙂

  66. Polly Fritts says:

    Love the mugs and hope I win one. If not, guess I’ll have to buy all three. They are so cute and will make for happy mornings.

  67. Rayna Sincissen says:

    I would love to receive one of your new mugs. They are so adorable!

  68. Candy Atwood says:

    A lovely post, as always. My mom did the old fashioned starch thing, but I do not, even though I enjoy ironing my collection of vintage linens and tablecloths (which remind me of yours). I tell my daughter & granddaughter that it is a pleasant way of achieving instant gratification. The main reason for my message is in response to your mention of having to remove Jack’s hair from your ironing board. I had that problem as well, and am sharing my solution. I have a long vintage linen runner with a fun old pattern. I lay it over the board while it is not being used. It catches the bits of cat litter and hair, and it’s easy to remove it when I need to use the board. I hate to admit it, but it took years before that light bulb went on!! You would have discovered that solution yourself, but I am just saving you a little time (which you use so wonderfully well!). Wishing you safe travels.

    • sbranch says:

      Very excellent advice, Candy! I do have a little towel for the end of the ironing board he perches on, but still those teeny hairs seem to slither through, so just in cases, I do my tape thing. xoxo

  69. Teri says:

    Oh my goodness, your mugs are just wonderful. Dang it, I never win anything but I’m always hopeful!

  70. Charlotte says:

    I love your cups. I hope they will be available for a long time as i wont be able to purchase them all at once. Do you have plans to do more pieces…teapot, plates? Please??

    • sbranch says:

      Taking it one day at a time. It’s an expensive venture for us, and we don’t want to over reach, have to make sure they work, not just in my dreams, but in the real world. But the answer is YES! The designs will change though, so if you see one that you fall madly in love with, try and get it then if you can. The manufacturer requires that we purchase a minimum number, and after most everyone has purchased their cups, we will have to let that design go, because we will no longer be able to sell the minimum anymore…see what I mean?

  71. Maryann Spence says:

    Your new tea cups/mugs are lovely. So glad you dreamed of them and kept your dream alive and waiting for the “just right” company to come along and wonderfully, it is an English company!

    • sbranch says:

      I never stopped trying to figure this one out! Every time I found a new cup I loved, I’d think, someday I’ll have one of my own! SO happy you like them Maryann!

  72. Shannon Carlson says:

    Every time I get the latest copy of Willard in my email, life stops. I make some tea and sit down and read it, like I just did this morning. They are inspiring, motivating, and with the world in such a state of chaos right now, they are so HOPEFUL. I love the new mugs and hope I get one for Mother’s Day or my birthday–they are beautiful! Thank you for everything you do. I know I speak for many 🙂

  73. Amy Marie says:

    Oh my goodness. Those mugs. Swoon! 🙂

  74. Marve Ball says:

    I hope I am the winner of your awesome mug!

  75. Amy Marie says:

    Btw, I wrote a open letter to you last year. LOL! I was just SO heartily inspired by Isle of Dreams. You don’t have to published this link or anything and maybe you won’t even have time to read it which I totally understand, but I just want you to know how much this stay-at-home mom appreciates you.

    • sbranch says:

      Amy! That was SO NICE!!! Thank you! Wow. I’m so happy you heard my message about the IMPORTANCE of moms. ‘Course I’d be nowhere without my mom, she was/is everything to me. Blessings on you and yours. Those little caring things you do will never be forgotten. xoxo

  76. JoEllen Bendall says:

    Darling girl–mugs of your very own! I’m pinching myself-can’t imagine what it’s doing to you! Love them dearly. You, tooooo!

  77. Kimberly Rossetti says:

    I love your cats in so many pics!! I love your dresser scarves AND I love the new mugs! 🙂

  78. Annie Van says:

    The mugs are magnificent!

  79. Laurie Lee says:

    Happy B’day to your mother! I am excited about the beautiful cups with your art. Have a great trip.

  80. Gail Rose says:

    I’m hoping the time has come for me to win. I love love the mugs or cups ,what ever we call them. LOL.. Thank you Susan. See ya..

  81. Diane says:

    Beautiful ending to your Willard; and so true. I have learned to appreciate all those little things.❤️

  82. Helen says:

    Hope your trip and visit with your mom is wonderful so far!

  83. Hope says:

    Sigh…I just have to sigh when I see 2,000+ comments. Oh Vanna, have mercy on this poor reader who loves her morning coffee in a generous mug with inspiring art work to start the day!
    Have a lovely trip and enjoy all your lovelies when you get there!

  84. Stephanie says:

    Oh dear! Those mugs are amazing! Nicely done, Sue. It’s truly a treasure to find goodies with your art on them-warms the soul! Your trip looks amazing. Thank you for sharing the sunny views with us on Twitter! We will soon be leaving the snow (but warm temps) due in Wisconsin for a visit to Portland, OR and later in the spring a lovely trip to your Island itself. Yippee! Safe travels, dear Sue and Joe!

  85. Jean says:

    Celebrating my mom’s 92nd birthday today!! Love those moms.
    I would love to win a mug.

  86. Dot from Illinois says:

    Hello Susan….. I was laughing to myself when reading about using starch. It brought back memories of my mom and as a child opening the refrigerator and it seemed like there were more clothes in the fridge than food at times. My mom so loved to iron. Love the new mugs and please include my name to possibly win one. Enjoy your visit with your mom and family.

  87. Eileen Nieli says:

    I love these new mugs and can’t wait until they arrive.

  88. Kelly B. says:

    Susan, I love your love of ironing- reminds me of watching my grandma iron and starch her cloth napkins and tablecloths and helping her to hang sheets on the line. Simple pleasures! Have a wonderful trip, enjoy your time with your mom🥀🌷🌹❤️

  89. Deborah in Odessa says:

    I remember starching and ironing. Now I want to buy some starch and do it again. love the mugs….so I pre-ordered. I am eager to make that orange marmalade cake, oh yum.

  90. Sandy Jackson says:

    I fell in love ❤️ with your mugs the minute I saw them! Hope I win one for my morning tea! Sandy from sunny Florida

  91. Mary says:

    Thanks for a trip down memory lane! I remember the damp clothes rolled up in the refrigerator and my mom’s ironing board! She also just turned 87 years old so I know how feel when you wrote “a tiny piece of her soul went into you”-what a beautiful thought! And MY birthday is the 27th also so I will be thinking of you on that day, sharing it with your beloved mom. Safe travels and happy celebrating! The mugs are beautiful!!!!!!!

  92. Leesa W says:

    How do you do it? Make me WANT to iron? I love reading your posts. Thank you for sharing your life and your heart with us. I always feel better after being immersed in your creative process, your trips, your small observations. Happy birthday to your Mom and enjoy your visit!

  93. Rachel says:

    Hope you are having a lovely trip, Susan! The new mugs are beautiful.

  94. Kristie says:

    Congratulations on getting your dream English mugs made! So cool! I discovered your website about three months ago and fell completely in love. My husband got me Heart of the Home for Christmas and it was the funnest read. So inspiring! I’m reading A Fine Romance now and soaking it in as much as possible. I am also British obsessed and spent my honeymoon in England (London, Oxford, Peak District and Lake District). It was just as magical (even more so) than I imagined. A dream come true. Coming to your site and reading your books feels so cozy and brings joy to my heart, so thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      Dream come true, that’s exactly how we felt. Now we are addicted, and homesick for it all of the time! So happy to meet a kindred spirit Kristie!

  95. Sarah Wagler says:

    Love the mugs! How unique and beautiful! Hope you have a wonderful trip!

  96. Jana says:

    Although I am not a fan of hot drinks–I know, what’s wrong with me?–I can guarantee that drinking ice water from a porcelain mug is sublime. These mugs look particularly pleasing… Jana from Cambria

  97. Nickie - Cayucos, Ca says:

    thank you for encouraging us to find happiness in the simple pleasures in life 🙂 xoxo

  98. Marisa Furia says:

    Pick me, Vanna!

  99. Amy Rubins says:

    Just wanted to let you know I purchased the same starch on Amazon and it arrived a couple days ago so today is “improve my linens day” I’m sure they’re going to feel much better.

  100. Karen says:

    So enjoy your blog and the recipes you post and stories of your travels. I’ve placed an order for the lovely mugs and can hardly wait for them to arrive. A friend shared her love of your books with me and now I’m hooked …. and sharing them with my friends who are now hooked 🙂 And I love your little kitty tea cup with the lid on it….I think I know a couple of my friends who may get this little pretty for Christmas this year!

    • sbranch says:

      From the beginning and my first book everything that has happened with them has been through word of mouth, girlfriends telling girlfriends, sisters to sisters, aunts to nieces, and mothers to daughters. I think that is my proudest thing, to know that.Thank you so much Karen. xoxo

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