May 4, 2012, Five years ago today . . . we, including lots of you, were here . . . sailing out of New York Harbor on the Queen Mary 2, beyond giddy (and not just because of the champagne!) . . . for our dream-come-true two-month ramble through the English Countryside. MUSICA!

So many of you came along with us, remember? That’s why we had to bring all this luggage.  Okay, I know, you were virtual, and we have no excuse. Darn! Lots of art supplies in those bags, cameras, batteries, chargers, wires, and converters, not to mention Musica! . . . we were ready for desert-island living, just in cases!

And so the love affair began, over hill and dale we went, along narrow lanes, on the wrong side of the road, on the wrong side of the car, through hedgerows overhung with bowers of hawthorn and cow parsley, popping in and out of three-hundred-year-old pubs, listening to the birds sing, winding through stone villages festooned with bunting, wandering through gardens in sun and in rain, everything the slow way ~ and all just perfect for a house-crazy person like me . . .

Visiting the tea rooms the National Trust so kindly provides at each of the lovely properties they own, and writing everything down.

We learned about and could feel the history . . . they took such good care of their country, in most places, you can feel yourself in 1756 or 1835 or even 1250! It’s amazing for the imagination.

From Kent (The “Garden of England”) and Sussex, up to the Peak District and the Lakes, through the amazing Dales to York, back to the Cotswolds, Wiltshire and Hampshire. And it all basically looked like this.

This is where I first saw bunting in it’s natural habitat! Festooning doors and windows, and criss-crossing streets . . .

Gardens and gardens and gardens. Remember? And it was never boring. How could anyone get tired of seeing this?  This one, considered a “small garden” was designed by the famous garden designer Rosemary Verey. We were so happy to be there. Lunch waited on the other side of those windows on the right, and cold Pear Cider.

Visiting kindred spirit William Morris’s house (where I bought that scarf . . .) learning about the guy I’d been quoting for years . . . and finding out just what an amazing person he was 💞but this quote had already told me . . .

Everyday was a discovery.

They mow paths through wildflower fields . . .

Then of course…to Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top Farm, a place I’d dreamed of seeing for a very long time.  I was beside myself. 

Alone her garden, with her darling Bee Bole . . .

Sketching the whole way because they didn’t allow cameras in the house . . . then turning the sketches into pages for the book I knew by that time I was definitely writing!

Honored to be there . . . Grateful for all that Beatrix Potter left behind . . .

I kept a diary of everything, took lots of pictures, and when we got home, I spent the following fall and winter watercoloring and writing everything down in my “good” handwriting . . . I had to tell the whole story . . . because if you fall madly in love with something you want everyone to feel it! You want to share that feeling!

It turned out to be part love story, part travel guide, with recipes too . . . not really knowing if I was succeeding as was doing it, but trying very hard to include every bit of the magic we found in our travels . . .

Day by day I wrote, page after page piled up, and then one day . . .

Still another dream came true. I hadn’t written a new book since 2004 and I really wanted to try something different with this diary, and here it was, bedecked with ribbon, hanging out with Petey who saw the whole thing first hand. And off it went, out to the world, introducing itself and saying Howdy Neighbor while I quaked in my slippers, waiting to see what people would think!  Then the reviews started coming in . . .

This was sent to me by one of our Girlfriends, you might remember it . . . her daughter had her own review system, I cried when I saw this! All of my books have been, for the most part, just like this, word of mouth.

And reviews started coming through on Amazon, and more crying ensued. And still does. Probably all authors think of their books as their babies, and I’m no different.  Course, then Paul McCartney had to get involved!

Or kind of. Not so sure he actually knew about it! But I love this anyway. And that’s it Girlfriends, just a little go-back-in-time celebration of a luvlee memory. Hope you enjoyed it!

So what else have I been up to? Same ole, same ole, actually . . .

Making new things. Thought we might like a Martha’s Vineyard cup!  What do you think? Selfishly, I admit, this will look wonderful in my new blue kitchen! Want to see the back?

. . . just a little something to celebrate the magic . . .

And then I thought, how about a cookie plate, tea cup and sandwich plate, wall hanging plate . . . combo? Like this . . . good for almost everything … with lots of good old-fashioned white space!

And I thought they look cute together. Mix and match. You can fit a sandwich on there, or a cookie!

Off I go! Just wanted to say hello. Off to the garden I go. Hope all is well with you. By the way, my computer person, says everything should be working with the ‘comments’ correctly now. Thank you for letting me know the troubles, and if it happens again, feel free to say something. Love you Girls! You Boys too! XOXO

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665 Responses to ANNIVERSARY TODAY!

  1. Julie Eden says:

    Great post. Nice journey back..I lived in Cambridge for two different sabbaticals of my dad…and spent part of one summer down in Cornwall working at the Minnack Theatre. Agree that you need to go there next. Loved all the photos and I love Beatrix Potter too so nice to see Hill Top Farm again..

  2. Hillaire Gallagher says:

    Hi Susan,
    The Fine Romances …was so wonderful, love to reread…and the post is great…but I cannot believe it was that long ago already….
    love the blue…..and the cookie plate is lovely.
    thank you dear heart

  3. How can I adequately express how your generosity of sharing you adventures through your pictures and books has added so much to those of us who take those trips through your eyes? You have “paid it forward” to many in more ways than you can imagine, and your zest for life and your devotion to cherishing the manners and grace and everything “old” reaffirms my faith in the values we so deeply keep close to our hearts.

    Oh, and an aside~ thinking more mugs will be ordered soon!!!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s my goal Barbara . . . to pay it forward ~ in the best way I know how. 💞

  4. Brandie Taylor says:

    I just took a reread trip back through A Fine Romance after my last round of chemo. Every moment of the journey, photo, quote, painting, and page was a welcome respite while not feeling well. It was delightful, and I thank you again. Happy anniversary!! I love the story of finding your true love at long last, after heartbreak, as mine and I were recently married and couldn’t be happier 💚

  5. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan!!I am so happy that you found my comment under the “White” blog post..meant every word…xo..anyway, I go to write back to you on this new and equally exciting and fun “remember” post and doggone it…..there is another GF’s name in my info….not to worry..i just exchanged my info for hers and here I am. Oh….how I loved that first voyage.. enlightening and very special.. who knew that from that ( and voyage number 2) and the subsequent book tour, the Lollipops were born. It’s how I met Carrie and now, sweet husband and I are planning our own trip to this magical place and yes….seeing Carrie. Inspiration everywhere!!!!So, thank you friend….for sharing all that is good…..I LOVE the MV cup…..we had such a delightful vaca there….our son and DIL to be joined us and we had the most enchanting time on the Island…..played golf..(Mink Meadows), ate, road our bikes,ate, took long walks down to the VH Yacht Club, enjoyed the very best lobster roll from the Episcopal church…..shopped, checked out the Gingerbread Houses and took in all of the history of the place….and ate some more as we toured around the rest of the Island…( Menemsha, Aquinnah, Edgartown, and Chilmark)….geesh!!! anyway..LOVE the’s mine!!!
    So speaking of golf, as you know, we now live in The Villages, FL, which boasts of 660+ holes of golf….I think I can safely say, it will be “Death by Golf” for me!! LOL!!!!! Beautiful place and we are adjusting…..
    sooooo…when’s the next trip??????

  6. Carol Nicholls says:

    I saw “A Fine Romance” advertised in a magazine and ordered it on Amazon and have fallen in love, you are my Beatrix Potter! I started planning a trip to England last year and will be leaving (on a plane, argh! – next time, definitely by ship!) on May 15th, my 5th time to England. I to am an anglophile. I saw that you had written two other books and thought I’d ask for them for Christmas. But I just couldn’t wait, so I ordered your “Isle of Dreams” and just finished it last night. Then I discovered your blog and broke the bank ordering all things Susan Branch. I also found a scrapbook someone made me in 2002 and it was a Susan Branch design! I wish I had known you when I visited Martha’s Vineyard a few years ago; I would have been looking for you! Hope that isn’t scary. Well thank you for filling my heart and head with such romantic notions!

    • sbranch says:

      My pleasure! 💞

      • Carol Nicholls says:

        OH I meant to tell you that I’m taking a copy of your cookbook to my friends in Devon and show them the pages you wrote thanking people of England. These are people we met on the train on our first trip to England in 1992. They will love you too!
        Also on that trip we met a man at our B&B. My friend I was traveling with asked him what his name was. He replied, “Brian Crapper.” My friend said, “Excuse me, what did you say?” He shook his finger at her and said with a smile, “You heard me!” He was the nephew of Tom Crapper who invented the flush toilet. Thought you might think that was as interesting as we did.

        • sbranch says:

          I’ve heard the Crapper story. I’m not sure I would have liked the way they adapted my name! But it sure makes for a fun story! Have fun Carol!

  7. Shannon says:

    Oh that was just lovely. A lovely remembrance that you so thoughtfully shared with all of us. Thank you Susan. Now I must check out that book again for you have whetted my appetite for a reread.

    • Debbie Noyola says:

      ATTENTION SUSAN. I just found my comment under the name of Shannon. Should say Deb. Looks like there’s still a glitch. I copied my comment & it’s repasted below this comment. I hope you get it.

      Oh that was just lovely. A lovely remembrance that you so thoughtfully shared with all of us. Thank you Susan. Now I must check out that book again for you have whetted my appetite for a reread.

  8. Monique says:

    Love the MV mug and the plate:) Who knows..maybe this summer I will find them in a store on MV:)

    What a trip you had!!♥
    Some trips..are just the bestests.

  9. Diane Scharf says:

    Good evening. Really like the bird cup and of course the Isle of Dreams cup. Enjoy the weather.

  10. Anne Luther says:

    Just like the list of favorite books/review system above, A Fine Romance has been close to the top of my all time favorites since I read it last fall. And yes you received some marvelous reviews in national publications, which is how I found it and you. Sometimes it seemed like you were in my head as I had visited many of the places you did on a trip last spring, before I even read your book! Am now planning a month long stay in England this December and using your book as a guide have come across some disappointments. Did you know, you must, that Bibury Court Hotel has been sold and is now a private residence? Broke my heart. And Kelmscott, mentioned here, which I am dying to see, is closed in Dec. Still it will be a great trip to finally celebrate a real English Christmas in London and in the country side. Who knows I might write my own book! You are my hero, so glad I found you. From your home state and not too far from SLO.

    • Frances Fowler says:

      I dream of England! And, not having stopped reading Winston Graham’s Poldark series since I started them in January, am also dreaming of Poldark in that way you do when you become so engrossed in something that it’s a normal part of your free night time movies! I know I will have major withdrawal because I feel Ross, Demelza, (“and the gang”, lol) have just become real and part of my soul! I’m on book eleven, “The Twisted Sword”, and will go straight to the last, “Bella Poldark” with sadness, knowing it’s the last. So when I do get to England, I must walk those Cornish cliffs! I keep your trilogy with my bedside books and love to go through “A Fine Romance” again and again. Sigh. Dream 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I heard it had been sold, but I had no idea it was private. How sad. For most of us, and lucky for the people who got that amazing place. Seems a bit much for one person!!! But the location is so beautiful. Yes, we found out on our latest fall trip that many of the tourist places do close in the winter. Try Hever Castle, only 30 minutes from London, I hear they make Christmas very beautiful. That’s Anne Boleyn’s childhood home . . . pure charm.

  11. Debbie Dority says:

    Oh my — the wish list is getting longer! That sweet little Isle of Dreams mug…in my favorite color blue…it’s calling to me! And the cookie plate…same siren song! So happy you thought of these, Susan!

  12. I can’t believe it has already been four years! I remember getting so excited when my book came, and now there has already been two more. You are a productive woman!! I just want you to know (I know you hear this often) that I just love everything about you! I don’t remember when I started following your blog, it’s been years, but I’m so glad I did. You are an inspiration in many ways. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us!

  13. Kathie Ferko says:

    Why does my name and email keep changing from mine to the poster before me…been trying to post for the last Hr.

    • sbranch says:

      Because there is a gremlin in here and he is causing such trouble! Just remove the incorrect name, put yours in and go for it. I think that will probably work. I’m so sorry Kathie!!!

  14. Jana says:

    Love the renaissance of springtime creativity that’s pouring forth! What will be next? My very first Susan Branch discovery was stickers, then cook books, then the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious trilogy! I missed the early fabrics and dishware, but hope to get a cup so I can always have something special to use to toast you, you wonderful person you!

    • sbranch says:

      Ohh Jana! People ask, how can you answer everyone, and my answer, reading comments like yours, how can I NOT??? XOXOX 😘

  15. Evelyn says:

    Hi Susan ,
    I always smile at your comments about the UK, I live in Hampshire, I think you probably know more about it than me!
    Beautiful mugs , but are they available here in the UK, as they are made in Staffordshire?
    I hope so.


    • sbranch says:

      Hampshire is beautiful, and soon the roads will be lined in the most wonderful little white daisy flowers!😊 I am trying very hard to get the manufacturer to help me find a distributor inside the UK. It’s not really something they normally do, so I’m having to be a squeaky wheel about it, but I’ll keep trying. Crazy to make those cups fly round trip for no reason!

  16. Sandra Mailey says:

    Lovely!! Can hardly wait for the new mugs and the tea pot plate!

    Love the “Look back at 2012”. “Once upon a time”, I saw an ad for “A Fine Romance” in Tea Time Magazine, and went directly to your website to order it. And as they say, “the rest is history”. I have been an avid follower ever since.
    I think it is time to revisit the trilogy. A trip to California, Martha’s Vineyard, and The Lake District is long over due. If you can’t do it in reality, why not in the pages of a book?. I won’t give up on reality, but . . .
    Have a wonderful spring!!

    • sbranch says:

      I KNEW Tea Time was the place to find Kindred spirits! 👏 Love your “how we met” story. Thank you Sandra! XOXO

  17. Suzette Shoulders says:

    Happy Anniversary of your England trip! SOOO much fun to re-read your trip to Hill Top Farm, as my buddy Jenny and I will BE there on May 23rd!!!!! Oh, are we excited!? YES! I hope we will manage to get there early enough to get a timed entry ticket for sometime that day, without driving, since we are booked into the hotel in Near Sawrey, but time will tell! It is okay with me if I can drive just a bit at first, sort of get used to it, ha ha! SO excited to SEE Hill Top, and her garden, and all those towns she put into the illustrations for her little books! Thanks for the wonderful walk down Memory Lane, Susan! hugs, Suzette

  18. Loretta Silva says:

    Hi Susan….how fun to look back on wonderful memories! Love ur new things..can’t wait to get a Martha Vineyard mug! Take care..Loretta/ Calif.

  19. Shannon says:

    Susan….. The comment section is still very messed up! Ugh! Someone else’s name and email is on my page. I will delete it and fill in my own, but I usually don’t have to do that! And what is really weird, I can see other’s email waiting for moderation. Usually you can only see your own.
    Love this post and will comment on it later.❤️
    Chris Wells West Texas

    • sbranch says:

      I’m glad you CAN change the name, Chris, even though it’s a pain, I guess Gary is just having a terrible time finding the glitch in the system. He keeps thinking he has it, but so far, it doesn’t look like he does! It also looks to me like the comments go directly up onto the blog with only the notice “waiting for moderation” on them, but they are definitely not waiting!

  20. Patti says:

    Hi Susan
    Loved walking down “memory lane” with you. . Makes me want to read the book all over again! I’m coming to see you next week at the Indian Pond Country Club in Kingston MA. I’ve wanted to see you in person for soooo long . .I’m very excited! Looking forward to tea and treats at the Mother’s Day Tea Party. See you then.

  21. Carol K says:

    How I loved your story! It’s the sort of book that makes one feel better about everything – a celebration of life. And I have your other two books in the series, too. Susan, you have a gift for sharing beauty and joy in a very real-life way.

  22. Sue says:

    I stumbled across your book Isle of Dreams by accident one day in my local library. I was deep in grief over the recent loss of my mother. Somehow going through your journey with you through your difficult loss was such a salve to my aching soul. I would like to say it was life changing for me! It gave me hope that there can be adventures yet to experience and that life can go on even after deep loss and things can even happen beyond our wildest dreams! Thank you so much for sharing your story. I love your books!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh my goodness, Sue, that was so nice of you. I feel so humbled. Sending love, XOXOXO

  23. Phyllis says:

    Oh, it can’t have been 5 years! why it was just yesterday when we got to see thru your eyes ( via your photos ) to see all that beauty. Talking about it today makes me want to drink it all in again! and YES Make the Martha’s Vineyard cup and anything else you can think of!! Your creativity must just leak out of your fingers there is so much in you! Don’t ever stop! I have had to find your wonderful china pieces on ebay …if I am lucky enough to win the having new pieces to add to my collection would be wonderful… Happy Anniversary Phyllis

    • sbranch says:

      And you’ll LOVE the quality of the new mugs Phyllis. That’s probably my favorite part. I think they’re the best of the best! xoxo Thank you!

  24. Janeen Kelley says:

    Totally obsessed with that Martha’s Vineyard mug! Can’t wait to add it to the collection I’ve decided to begin of these charming mugs!

  25. Debbie Boerger says:

    I will change Donna Cox’s name in the boxes below. Last time I looked, my long posts in Seeds, had come back. I ‘m so sorry you are having this irritation. You are on a roll with the cups, and we don’t want anything to get in the way of that.

    I am going back through your first trip blog to help me plan our trip. And the one last year!! So much fun to see you at your table doing the pages of A Fine Romance.

    Love to you, Dear Girl,
    Debbie in Tampa

  26. Vicki says:

    Hi Susan, first time commenting on your blog although I have been an fan for years. I love that teapot-shaped plate. Love, love, LOVE! I hope we can buy it soon…and am anxiously awaiting the delivery of your three newest teacups. I loved going down memory lane with you…

    Hugs, Vicki

  27. julia walker says:

    Dear Susan, Your Hans Christian Anderson plate is so beautiful~Is it for sale yet? I also like the Martha’s Vineyard cup very much. Thanks again for sharing your life with me. Happy belated Birthday! Your friend, Julia

    • sbranch says:

      Not yet, we’ll put it on presale as soon as we know for sure that the company can make them, and when and how much, and all that good stuff we need to know before we do anything silly! Thank you Julia!

  28. Dixie says:

    I wasn’t with you when you 1st sailed but I have read A Fine Romance 3 Times & met you & Joe in Memphis— All this has inspired me to persuade my husband Bob to take me back to the UK for 2 weeks this July! This will be my 8th time but we are planning an entire day in the Cotswolds, Highclere& the village & “all things Downton”, the white garden at Sissinghurst,Chartwell,etc.These are all things on our bucket lists & you’ve inspired us to not put this off ! Thank you so much!!

  29. Kay Hunzinger says:

    My first look at your Romance book – don’t own it yet but hope to. Love the little plate to go with the beautiful plate. Want one of those too. Thanks for your blog, enjoyed it very much – I’ve been out of touch a long time. Have all your other books and love every one! Kay H

  30. Paula Lewis says:

    I vote ‘yes’ on the MV tea cup! I am all in on that one! So cute. I have been collecting all your books since the very first ‘Heart of the Home’! I have enjoyed each and very one of them….they are like children….I can’t choose a favorite! Looking forward to your next one….

  31. peg shelton says:

    Oh, now I’m going to re-read all of these books. Travels with Susan (and Joe) are my cup of tea.

  32. Fran Fettrow says:

    Hi Susan,
    It was so exciting to remember your wonderful England adventure. It still made me feel like I was there. It was so great getting to meet you in S.L.O. And reading “The Fairy Tale Girl” all the way back to Southern CA. Even though there were 3 people in the car, I was completely lost in the book, and it was the best “me time” ever.

    Keep making the magic for all of us girlfriends.


  33. Kemi says:

    Every new cup design is so beautiful! I LOVE the blue Martha’s Vineyard design because as a land locked Illinoisan I fantasize about living near the ocean again someday. I am sorry I didn’t come along for the trip that inspired A Fine Romance, but I sure did watch you sail out of New York harbour this past fall with tears in my eyes! What a beautiful day it was; what a thrill to actually see the ship heading out to sea. I had no idea that was possible. Your books lift my spirits every time. Your biographical books have helped me navigate the seas of grief these last few years and I cannot thank you enough for the wonderful quotes, humor and beauty. So healing and inspiring!

    I was lucky enough to get to Devon in 1987 on a motorcycle trip with a friend. We found the most magical tea room somewhere around Barnstable (I think) that was down a narrow path in the woods. You had your tea at a table under the trees in the forest. My first cream tea too! oh my goodness! I am looking forward to the book that I hope will be coming about your most recent trip to Scotland and England. Have you ever thought about doing a children’s picture book story featuring your handsome, clever, tuxedo boy, Jack? Thank you for your blogs, photos, music, and sharing your wonderful heart with all of us. (I am even reading the Tweets!) Looking forward to the imminent arrival of the beautiful cups to share with my girl friends.

    • sbranch says:

      Lovely comment Kemi, wonderful to hear from you. It’s funny, I have lots of landlocked girlfriends who’ve made “beach rooms” in their houses, where the walls are blue and the pictures are of the ocean and that’s where they display the sea glass they found on vacation. Aloha! Cream tea in a forest. Magical. Just like it is, so magical! Lucky you for that memory. Yes, Jack, maybe someday. Love to write about him. He is quite the smart boy. xoxo

  34. Dawn U. says:

    5 years….where did the days go? Thank you for sharing your trip. My husbad was going through cancer treatment at that time and reading your blog really lifted my spirits. I’d share snippets and pictures with him during his chemo and we would dream about the time we could take our own trip. I lost him this past December and am so grateful for the memories he and I shared “traveling” with you and Joe.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Dawn, I’m so happy you were dreaming through it all. Those are the treasured memories. Sending love, love, and more love. xoxo

  35. I love that book and am about ready to read it again. It’s been years since I’ve been in England – decades, actually. Travelling around with you through the book rekindled the idea of taking another trip. Thanks for the reminder again.

    • sbranch says:

      Travel is a lot easier if you choose one little house, rent it, and stay there the whole time, venturing out for day trips to the kazillion wonderful places there are to visit right nearby. Less packing, learning a new place, driving long distances, schlepping luggage around, etc. You’ll find your favorite pub, favorite market, and you’ll start to know your way around, even recognize faces in the market, and that makes traveling so much nicer. Just in cases you’re starting to get serious! xoxo

  36. Kathy Fletcher says:

    HI Susan, love the cookie plate… has to become a reality….for sure- there are too many of us “Branchies Gal’s” that have to have everything you make- write-draw,,,we NEED that cookie plate. Tell the people that make them- it HAS to be…..loved the blog as always….and thank you for making our day with each and every blog you post. (Willard’s too).

    • sbranch says:

      I agree, I NEED that plate too, so I’m in prayer mode, and hopefully they’ll be able to do it! Thank you Kathy!

      • Judy Young says:

        They WILL be able to do it! We all have faith!! The teapot plate is absolutely charming! I MUST have one! (or two). The Martha’s Vineyard cup and the Blue Bird cup also will be stunning. Life is so lovely with you in it Susan!

  37. Lissa Landes Rogers says:

    Be still my heart. . . PAUL MCCARTNEY! That is beyond cool. Thanks for sharing, dear girlfriend. You have blessed my life♥️

    • sbranch says:

      Well, I have to be honest, one of our creative girlfriends PUT that book into his hands via photoshop (most likely) and sent it to me. But I can’t help it, I love that picture. I’m sure, if he’d ever heard of my book, he’d like it! 😄

  38. Jeannie Ramirez says:

    Hi Susan ,I really enjoyed your post,it made me want to read your book all over again. And of course I love the cookie plate and cup,with just enough white space.

  39. Colette says:

    Has it really been five years? Unbelievable. We arrived yesterday in London and will be here for six glorious weeks. A few trips planned outside of London, but mostly enjoying all this unique city has to offer. I will be here for the Chelsea Flower Show which I attended many times but it fabulous each and every year. Thanks for the memories Susan. I read “A Fine Romance” again before I left. A true treasure. I think that the problem with your blog is that you have now become too popular for e-mail. I am not on any of the social networks, so pleeeease, hang on to this. Much love from Merry Old England.

    • sbranch says:

      Six weeks, how heavenly! You’re smart to stay in one place, you really do get to know a place that way. And in case you’d like a day trip, only 30 miles away, south of London, a true taste of the countryside, PLUS a wonderful historical place, is Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, an amazing place! There’s a hotel there too, fyi, because you might want to stay over, it’s pretty wonderful. Also, only an hour south, is Chartwell, Churchill’s home. . . Have a wonderful time Colette!

  40. Nicoline Bostens says:

    Dearest Susan,
    Hi! Oh my goodness 5 years ago, already? Where has the time gone….5 years ago I hadn’t heard of you yet, but thankfully I discovered you a few years ago, HAPPY was that day! You have been on another trip to beautiful England, and we met, EVEN MORE HAPPY was that day too!
    Since reading your books several times, we (my family and I ) have visited the Lake District and Beatrix Potters home….And Jane Austen’s home and we walked through bluebell woods….MAGIC!
    You are talking of (maybe) coming again, visiting Devon and Cornwall, well PLEASE DO!!!! It’s the most gorgeous area, with stunning scenery, lovely villages, cute little teashops, beautiful National Trust houses, and more walkways that you and Joe will be able to do! I could go on and on and on, but you already know how lovely the UK is!!

    I would like to add to the lady above, Sue, I feel certain that you did not find Susan’s book BY ACCIDENT!! It was there for you to find, and give you comfort….

    With lots of love from Holland

    • sbranch says:

      I’m going to go ahead and “moderate” this one right through because it may be the missing comment Nicoline was speaking of, and I want Gary (our computer wizard) to see this! xoxo

  41. Nicoline Bostens says:

    Dearest Susan,
    Well, the internet is still acting up….My post vanished in thin air….So I’ll try again:)
    I cannot believe it was 5 years ago that you sailed across to the UK! I hadn’t heard of you yet, but thankfully I “discovered” you a few years ago, and HAPPY was that day!
    Then, you sailed across the pond again, last year, and we met at the Stourhead picknick and MORE HAPPY was that day!!
    You are thinking of visiting Devon and Cornwall…..Well you will not be dissapointed I can assure you! Stunning scenery and coastlines, cute villages, charming tearooms, gorgeous NT properties and plenty of walks for you and Joe to make! Need I say more? We have been going there pretty much every year for 30 years or so, even getting married there:)

    Thank you, dearest Susan for brightening up our days and lives with all you do!
    lots of love

    • sbranch says:

      Sounds perfect! Amazing, England isn’t very big, we’ve been there several times, and yet, so much still to see! Love it! Stourhead was the frosting on the cake! We were so lucky to have a beautiful day, and so many kindred spirits . . . not too many, just the perfect amount for our class picture! Love hearing from you Nicoline! Happy Spring!

  42. Nicoline Bostens says:

    PS, for Sue…..I feel certain that you didn’t stumble across Susan’s book by accident! I think it was there for you to find and take comfort from….
    Take care

    • sbranch says:

      Nicoline, did you send me Hollyhock seeds at one time? I have a little envelope of them from “my garden in Purmerend Holland” ~ but no name on them. Anyway, I wasn’t here last spring, nor fall, and there they sat, but right now . . . they are sprouting!!! Going to try and get them going in my garden this year! So if this was you, then thank you!!!

      • Nicoline says:

        Oh Susan,
        I’m SO glad you found the seeds! Yessssss it was Me who sent them! I’m sure you know they will be very tall, and will flower the year after they sprout. Also, their roots go down quite deep, like the dandelion ones…..
        PS, thank goodness for clever teenage sons….I had trouble posting my comments and then I could only see a few comments, but with a little help from the boys, its all good.
        Enjoy the Hollyhocks, and thank you so much for letting me know about them!
        love, Nicoline

        • Nicoline says:

          Hi again,
          We have just spent many happy weeks watching all the series of Downton Abbey again, and we are having withdrawal symptoms…..We watched “Pride and Prejudice” last week, and now we’re watching “Cranford”. What next….?? It’s probably going to “The Darling Buds of May”. Have you seen this series? It’s set in Kent in the 1950’s, and very nice to watch, I think You’ll like it, even though it’s not a costume drama…

          • sbranch says:

            Haven’t seen it but I’ll look for it. Have you seen A Place to Call Home? It’s Australian and GREAT. Keeps you going and a mad pace!

        • sbranch says:

          Yay, I thought it was you! Yes, they are sprouting like crazy now. I hope they grow and bloom! We’re lucky, it’s raining like crazy here, perfect for the little sprouts! Thank you Nicoline!

  43. Marlene Beggs says:

    I am another fan. Delightful to read the blog this morning while coming to the end of my hubby and my month in England and Germany visiting family and friends. Today will be visiting Dresden for the first time. We had 1 week in Staffordshire and one week in the Lake District visiting 12 National Trust places with our Brit family. I was an American Forces teacher in England over 50 years ago which is when I first visited Hill Top and even enjoyed the revisit more with our grand daughter who we had not seen in 4 years and met our youngest toddler grandson for the first time! Except for the very cold days in the Lake District and even colder and more windy in Dorset, we continue to delight in our experiences,

    • sbranch says:

      Wow, what an amazing trip on so many levels. I can understand the delight! Thank you for saying hello, and have fun! xoxo

  44. Donna Lynn Kawano says:

    Hi Susan,

    I love the Martha Vineyard cup and also the cookie plate! Must have them! They’ll go great with the 3 cups that you just made. I’m anxiously waiting for them to arrive! 🙂 I have ALL of your books and love them all, beginning back to the Heart of the Home. I treasure all of them and have them in a special bookcase. Today I’m about 1/2 through Isle of Dreams. I’ve been taking my time reading it because quite honestly, I don’t want the journey to end! I’m hoping that you’ll write another book reflecting your last vacation. But for now, thank you for inspiring me. You are wonderful, don’t stop creating and sharing with us! It was nice to see you at the Apple Farm book signing. You even posted a picture of me and my boyfriend, Michael, on your blog. What a thrill it was to see our pic ‘on-line’. 🙂 Love you, Susan! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Love you back Donna, was wonderful to see you too. I’ll write another book, I feel it brewing inside. But right now, because I wasn’t even here last spring (or fall), I’m L O V I N G the garden. Fertilizing my poor babies! Cleaning out my house. Cooking! Crossing things off my to-do list, designing Christmas things . . . and THEN, when the air is all clear, I’ll write something new. xoxo Thank you and Michael for coming to see me!

  45. Paula, New Romney, UK says:

    Hi Susan,
    Just wanted to tell you how much my heart soared when I saw the photo of Girl in your last blog. I miss her as if she was my own kitty, as I’m absolutely certain you do to. Thank you for that sweet moment. P.S. rather gloomy here in Kent at the moment (good old English weather)!!!

    Love Paula X

    • sbranch says:

      Oh I’m so glad! She’s gone but not forgotten. I have so many good photos of her! Ahhh, Luv-lee Kent, Garden of England, have a wonderful day!💛

  46. Chris H says:

    Thanks for the memories of your trip. It’s hard to believe that you did that first adventure four years ago! I have read the trilogy twice and have just started re reading Fairy Tale Girl. I’m finding it quite difficult to decide which of the three is my favourite but am leaning towards Isle of Dreams. On the other hand who says we have to have a favourite….I love them all.
    I’m feeling a little jealous as my husband leaves for England tomorrow but as it’s a short business trip I will have to be happy with knowing he’s enjoying that beautiful place.

  47. Well, you probably won’t want to hear this, but my comment sat there, unmoderated all night long and was still there this morning, but has now disappeared completely, not even visible only to me. So sorry to tell you, but I know you’ll want to know this.

    ~~~still Waving~~~from Across the Pond~~~Deb in Wales xoxo

    • oh, suddenly it came back ~~~ what is going on? Twilight Zone time!

    • and it’s gone again without being moderated ~ seems it only shows up {above} if I put in something on a new post ??? Not only that, someone else’s email account has just shown up where my email account should be! YIKES! That’s not good.

      • sbranch says:

        Hmmmm. I wish I understood this, I’m sorry Deborah!

        • Vicki says:

          Yeah, on Susan’s post, last one or the one before, on my side it was stuck at 799 comments for days and days, like I think over a week, and my comment was still stuck in the awaiting moderation thing; very unusual for this blog.

          But the worst thing about this, Susan, which your computer guy should know, and I know I’m repeating and this must be troubling you just like it is us, is that other people’s email addresses are showing up and, to a lot of us, that is VERY private information not to be shared. At least this time, I see that my own name and email address has shown up, so maybe we’re getting somewhere.

          • sbranch says:

            I hope so Vicki! If you see someone else’s address, please just change it. At least those addresses aren’t public. Thank you!

  48. Rachel Lucas says:

    Hi Susan it’s Chris H here and I’ve just posted a comment by removing another girlfriend’s name and email details. Usually my post will show up as waiting for moderation but this time when i scrolled down the comments to check….nothing and there’s a second girlfriend’s details instead of mine
    I hate to add to your frustration of all this but I’m guessing you won’t have any idea of what’s going on unless we give you feedback

    • sbranch says:

      I keep sending it to Gary… But it’s driving me crazy! I can’t do a thing over here! I pray we don’t have to move the blog because THAT would be a nightmare! Thank you Chris!!!

  49. judi says:

    I commented before but ??? Maybe working now. Yes, a lovely trip and loved your descriptions and pictures.

    • sbranch says:

      I have another comment from you Judi . . . is this the only one?

      Yes, it was a fun trip!

      Hopefully it’s working now! And thank you!

  50. Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W Tx says:

    It is hard to believe it has been 5 years! That was my my first trip abroad. It was a little cramped with all the girlfriends, but I loved every minute of it. I remember when my book arrived, I opened it and read it straight through, cover to cover! All the books have been hard to put down once you pick them up. And that book began my love of England, I started watching Downton, bought some Emma mugs, and now I am watching Escape to the Country! And I love that your cups are made in England! There is a special spot waiting for them, when they arrive! I will use the ones I bought, but the one I won, Little Things, is for display ONLY! Speaking of cups and dishes…..Susan, I am trying to retire! And you keep coming up with these wonderful things to buy! $$$. And now I have discovered Dash and Albert, what a name! My rug sample is on it’s way! I better keep working, too many things to buy, too many places to shop! Besides we eat well at work. We are partying today, Cinco de Mayo, and everyone is bringing food. I must start cooking.
    Love ya…hope your computer glitches get fixed!
    Chris W

    • sbranch says:

      Dash and Albert = T R O U B L E! Sorry Chris! At least you can send those samples back for a refund. 😄 Every little bit helps! xoxo

    • Judy Young says:

      I hear you Chris! I’ll be 70 in September and I’m still working full-time. Not sure I will ever retire since I am having too much fun. But I dream of retirement and being able to do each day the things I would like to have more time for, i.e. gardening, cooking, reading, redecorating (even if it is only washing things to make them sparkle, or move things around, “fluffing” they used to call it. But as you say, there are always new things that Susan has coming up that we must have and $$$. I will probably go part-time in another position at work when I am ready to retire from the fast pace. That will keep me earning “Susan money”!!

  51. Mary Brehm says:

    It’s my 5th anniversary being a girlfriend! I bought your cookbooks for my daughters for christmas that year and I received a brand new lap top. your web address was on the books so It was one of the first things i looked up on my new computer. How wonderful to discover you. I spent the rest of that christmas break pouring over your previous posts. I was completely spell bound. Your artwork is lovely and that’s what first drew me in, but it’s your talent for the written word and enthusiasm for life that has especially captured me. You have a true gift and you are a special spirit.

    • sbranch says:

      You are so sweet Mary, how nice of you to tell me. I’m honored, truly, to meet so many lovely people through this blog. Dreams come true!

  52. rhea says:

    Hi Susan,
    I can’t believe its been five years! How did THAT happen? The recap was so fun to read, the history……..I could feel it just from your words and pics. I love old. Everything old. Now I need to read the trilogy again just to get lost in the adventure. Have a lovely day and pet that kitty for me. I know Jack is probably lounging nearby 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, he is! Right here on my art table. Looking adorable, Petting him for you now!

  53. Judy from Maine says:

    Finding your blog was a special moment…I think I was reading one of the farm girl blogs from Mary Janes Farm…and they referred to you…I had to check it out…and guess what, I landed on the deck of the Queen just as she was passing the Statue of Liberty. I have been hooked ever since. We met in Meredith at a book signing, my first and only, I don’t normally do those kinds of things, but am so glad I did, it was so much fun. We’ll, just wanted to thank you for five years of wonderfulness and let you know how much I look forward to your blog posts. They truly put an extra patter in my heart when they arrive.

    • sbranch says:

      And here’s another . . . wish I knew what is meant by “disappeared” — so hard to figure this out!😜

      • Vicki says:

        Well, like what just happened with me. I left another comment in attempts to see what continues to go on here, and usually when we leave a comment, it immediately shows what we just wrote but as awaiting moderation. Now, you hit ‘post comment’ and it flips you up to the heading title of your post; scroll downward, and my comment is nowhere to be found, as if I never wrote it. Now, on that comment I just made, my true name came up, but right now as I want to send this, I’m coming up as Laura Eveland-Swanson with her email address. So, it looks like this isn’t getting resolved. I’m going to lay off commenting now til it is; what a frustration for everybody but especially you, Susan; sorry this had to happen to your blog. I’m worried about my personal email address being exposed.

        • sbranch says:

          Okay, we’ve learned we may have to live with it. Most people are changing the name (it doesn’t happen to everyone!) and waiting, because the comments don’t actually disappear, they just go into waiting for moderation (which happens when I get time to read them). We’re still trying to figure out the glitch, but it doesn’t show from our side. Your name is right here, if this is from Vicki! So sorry. But at least you can read the blog . . . xoxo

          • Vicki says:

            Ooops, I think my frustration was showing; sorry. But today is Saturday 5/6 and it seems to be working just fine now; I think your computer guy did fix things. Yippee.

            One thing I’ve noticed after going all over your blog on this weird glitch, is that there are a lot of Vickis on here, so I’m going to start calling myself Vicki South of Arroyo (that would be Arroyo Grande, Susan!). I have a friend who was trying to pick me out of any other Vickis (not that I’m such a big deal; the comments are just icing on the cake, to get to communicate!). I’m so grateful to be part of your girlfriend community here online; I learn so much from you and them, Susan! To just read and not hear from you is like standing in line and not getting the autograph; I love that you work so hard to answer so many of us, which is intimidating I’m sure when there are hundreds and hundreds of readers checking in with you. So, many thanks as always and I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend; we got a teeny bit of rain ‘south of Arroyo’ this morning which was so strange because we’ve been mega hot the last couple of weeks. You should see the hills now: STRAW. With weed abatement June 1…or else (ha!). (You know, fire danger now but, oh, it was glorious while it lasted, all that green and yellow-green [the mustard!], all those gorgeous wildflowers.)

          • sbranch says:

            Really? All the green is gone already? That was fast! Oh well, that’s why it’s called the “Golden” state!

  54. Judy from Maine says:

    My comment too, disappeared, but don’t want to curse the internet too much, after all, it brought us all together…just frustrating.
    Just wanted to thank you for all the work you put into writing your (and our) blog. I found you through one of the farm girls on Mary Janes Farm, clicked a link and landed on the deck of the Queen as she was passing the Statue of Liberty…the rest as they say is history. Thanks for five wonderful years of blogs, three super fantastic books and most of all for just being you.

    (Ready to hit post comment…a little afraid this will all disappear again, be brave, here goes!)

  55. Judy from Maine says:

    My comment too, disappeared, but don’t want to curse the internet too much, after all, it brought us all together…just frustrating.
    Just wanted to thank you for all the work you put into writing your (and our) blog. I found you through one of the farm girls on Mary Janes Farm, clicked a link and landed on the deck of the Queen as she was passing the Statue of Liberty…the rest as they say is history. Thanks for five wonderful years of blogs, three super fantastic books and most of all for just being you.

    This is my third try, got smart and copied my post before I hit post comment this time, maybe the third is the charm?

    • sbranch says:

      Hi all, Joe and I are going shopping off Island today . . . there are 111 comments waiting right now for “moderation” but I have to leave my computer at home today . . . so, I’ll try to do them when I get home, or first thing in the morning! Don’t worry, I’m thinking about you! And thank you Judy, love having you here! xoxo

  56. How can I adequately express how your generosity of sharing you adventures through your pictures and books has added so much to those of us who take those trips through your eyes? You have “paid it forward” to many in more ways than you can imagine, and your zest for life and your devotion to cherishing the manners and grace and everything “old” reaffirms my faith in the values we so deeply keep close to our hearts.

    Oh, and an aside~ thinking more mugs will be ordered soon!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I saw your post earlier, Barbara, and replied to it, and because of the blog confusion, I want to just let it go again so my computer person can see what is happening. xoxo

  57. Arnette Webb says:

    I went on a little trip by myself a couple of weeks ago and the only book I took for reading in was “It’s a Fine Romance”. I had such fun with the peace and quiet reading this book. Only problem I ran into was it excited me so much I couldn’t settle down and go to sleep at night. I kept seeing the English country side! I’ve read it many times now. Love the new kitchen ware!

  58. Nicole Acker says:

    I too posted for the first time yesterday, saw it posted and now its not there anymore 🙁 I know the site is having technichal difficulties so don’t want to add any frustration! Will see if this one posts and wait until the coast is clear before commenting again. Happy Friday!

    • sbranch says:

      No problem, is this (below) your missing comment Nicole? If so, I think I’m getting them, so I’m not sure what is happening. Happy to meet you, and THANK YOU for the kind words!!! xoxoxo

      Thank YOU for this blog! I just discovered it (how is that?) though I’ve been a longtime fan. I have a lot of catching up to do, Haha! Guess I’ll just get cozy. Twisted my arm.  You are such a special soul and I adore your art, your photos, your words and just your wonderful, unique spin on life. I feel a sense of kindred spirits here and it’s comforting to know of and to read about “girlfriends” who are on the same wavelength as me. I have a tendency to look at things through a Susan Branch “lens”. LOL Keep on keepin’ on, Susan! You are a national treasure. xoxo

  59. Liz Hand says:

    My local librarian gave me a Fine Romance to read before my first trip to England. I loved it so much I bought my own copy and your other 2 memoirs and some cook books. Thanks for taking us all along. Have you seen the British tv show Escaping to the Country? It is like our house hunters but all the houses are rural and of course it is done with such charm. We have only seen a couple episodes so far but it is so much fun, especially if you love older or quirky houses. Hugs girlfriend
    liz in Illinois

    • sbranch says:

      We’ve watched almost all the episodes now Liz, yes, so fun to see more countryside!

  60. JudyCinNC says:

    My wonderful comment never made it either. There was someone else’s name below the comment, but I changed that to my name and email – wonder if that made a difference? Just noticed “Kari B” is in the name box now and I am JudyCinNC with a different email. Don’t you just love challenges. Keep on smiling – we will live through it, we just won’t look the same. Hopefully you will get this as more fixin is needed. JudyC

    • sbranch says:

      I saw another comment from you Judy, I wonder if that’s the missing one? I’m in la-la land over here, can only see what’s there, not what’s not there! 😜

  61. Mary/Indiana says:

    Happy Anniversary, indeed! I feel like I’ve relived your trip and now I want to
    Reread the book! Of course, it would go best with tea in your Bluebird mug
    and a second cuppa in the blue Martha’s Vineyard mug! Be still my Heart!
    I can’t wait to Own these mugs! Thanks so much for brightening my day😍😍

  62. Martha says:

    I have a touch of Susan in almost every room in my house! Cookbooks & wall calendar in the kitchen, along with personal phone & address book & birthday book. In the living room all the books I’ve read of yours! On the desk in one of the bedrooms is the desk calendar! I plan to get that Martha’s Vineyard cup! It literally has my name on it!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so happy everyone is liking it. Isle of Dreams, such a magical place, whether someone has been here or not . . .

  63. Robin on the Vineyard says:

    Susan, I am in total admiration of how much you productively accomplish on a daily basis. This incredible “must-read” book was five years ago. Since then, more fabulous books, beautiful mugs and china, and of course the calendar. I could go on for a while. What a treasure this all is for the rest of us to enjoy. I need that Martha’s Vineyard mug! Happy Spring!

  64. Teri says:

    “How do I love thee?
    Let me count the ways.”
    —Elizabeth B Browning

    YOU, my dear, have saved my spirit once again.
    With our news and country in such a sad state, you have given light + sparkle to the sweetness of what can be — or what is.
    So generous. So hopeful. So wonderful.

    My hubby is always happy, too, when I read your posts. He sees how you inspire me; you inspire all of us. Like a gardener — you’re planting daisies!
    and we THANK YOU *.*
    101 hugs,

  65. Njean says:

    I remember how anxious I was to follow your blog while you were on your England trip and how anxious I was for your book to come out. It is fun to look back at that time. I am really excited about the cookie/sandwich plate and mugs. Have a wonderful spring.

  66. Pat Bland says:

    Love your blog. I have been a fan of you since your first cookbook was published and love the cookie plate Can’t wait till we can order one.

  67. Marty from NYC says:

    Susan – I am sure this will eventually sort out, but if not , lets just say it is UNIVERSAL love and appreciation for all you do that makes us want to share all our thoughts with you-even if they do get jumbled up!

    LOVED going back to “our” journey with you five years ago- so magical and so much fun -and so good of you and Joe to be willing to share your experience.

    Cheers to you for all that came from that trip-and continues to capture hearts and imagination all over the world. Marty from NYC

  68. I’ll try my comment again, too. Loved the photo of you at your desk, and very curious to know what brand of paints those are spread out so beautifully? I know you like Winsor and Newton, so are these a supplement to those, or something they make I haven’t seen yet?

    • sbranch says:

      I use all kinds of paint, any brand really, and if I see an interesting paint box, I get that too. A really good one is Pelikan.

  69. Vicky Law says:

    Your English sojourn inspired me to come to England to see for myself the delights of Beatrix Potter’s house and garden, the opportunity to meander beautiful villages in the Lake District has been a real boost for me in this tops Turvey world we now find ourselves in. Thank you for bringing us such wonderful stories.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s a forever feeling up there, isn’t it. Like nothing could go really wrong.

  70. Cindy B says:

    Loved walking down that winding path down memory lane! I now want to go dig out my copy of “A Fine Romance” and read it again!

  71. Deborah Hatt says:

    I love this walk down memory lane, dear Susan! And how I loved being reminded of favorite parts from “A Fine Romance” (one of my very favoritest books of my whole long life! … I turn 65 next Tuesday, May 9). I adore the little cookie plate and new cup design.

    Happy Trails this week, and God Bless.

  72. Nonni says:

    Hi Susan,
    Love how you worked out the “no saucer” issue with mugs…clever! And a tea pot shape-WOW, “good on you” as they say down under. Before you send it off to be manufactured, could you add some blue to the design somewhere (ties in the cup color)? A great tid bit plate and saucer for sure! Your changing up the kitchen with blue is a winner-love the rugs. I took a poll, and the consensus is we all need some “Jack” moments about now. The little scamp is a charmer for sure. He should have his own story book…like, Life With Jack. Well, got to run. Loved talking to you. Bye for now, Nonni.

  73. Marilyn Young says:

    I can only say today’s read was great! So glad you wrote and drew all these pictures. Can’t wait to have another book by my favorite author, YOU!

  74. diane puente says:

    Dearest Susan, love love love the memories of our trip to England together! 😄 I was just beginning to read the book again, so this is a welcome blog. I cant wait for my set of 3 mugs to arrive for drinking my tea and displaying in my open cabinets. They really will be the perfect size. I will definitely buy the tea plate….too adorable!…..and new mug. I wonder if I could suggest an idea for a mug or plate? I was thinking how many years we have all been together here on your luvlee blog, and I thought “what about a Girlfriends Forever mug?” I think that would be very special and meaningful. I hope this comment will get through. It is my 3rd, but I am glad to see I am not losing my mind ! Xoxox

    • sbranch says:

      Great idea! Love Girlfriend’s Forever! Perfect for us! I was away from the computer yesterday, Diane, and right now there are 132 comments waiting for “moderation” ~ which means they are waiting for me to read them…maybe your other ones are there? We shall see! xoxo

  75. Star Johnson says:

    I have liked all the cups by picture, but this one did it.
    My husband and another couple did your trip in 1992 and it was magical. We have also been to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
    Yes, I will be ordering the the newest cup when available.

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

    good morning Susan, Hello Girlfriends, Happy Cinco De Mayo everyone. I have my pitcher of beer margaritas ready for tonight, a taco/Mexican lasagna in the fridge ready to go into the oven tonight and I am ready for a fun weekend, the pet parade out here, the Magical Merlin parade in Merlin and several fun events around the area and a visit to the farmer’s market for fresh goodies. the barnyard is peaceful for now, Reuben is either behaving himself or he has lost interest in Dotty for now, whatever it is peaceful without him running around the pen and the ducks in hot pursuit of his tail feathers…. LOL!!! the cats are happy, they enjoyed their outing to the ice cream parlor and their tiny bowls of vanilla ice cream ( yes they are spoiled, but so loved). looks like we may have some thunderstorms rolling in today for sure, I can smell the thunderstorms coming in.. they smell like maple syrup, the thicker the scent the closer they are, just a trick my grandma taught me about the weather. thunderstorms smell like thick maple syrup, snow has a piney/orangey, citrus tang to it and sunshine has a musty sweet grape smell to it on hot days. and after the rain the freshest scent of all on all the clean bushes, shrubs and trees and flowers, its marvelous. well if we do get the storms, a good excuse to sit on the front porch rocker and snap beans and shell peas for supper, or just sit and watch the storm unfold. that could also explain why the barnyard is so quiet today, they know a storm is moving in. well the barn doors are open and all they have to do is scoot inside for shelter, just tell that to the ducks, they love to swim in their pools when the storms move in… goofy ducks. time to go beat some rugs and get the dirt out of them so you all have a great day today and a great weekend… Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone. love much, laugh often and live well. hugs everyone….. 🙂

    • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

      will be happy to share the beer margarita recipe with everyone, its really good and very refreshing. perfect for warm summer afternoons, BBQ’s and of course great with Mexican dishes and especially with chili… YUM!!! 🙂

  77. Clydene says:

    What a journey — I felt like I was there with you every moment. Can’t wait to go back someday. And your new cups and plates look marvelous — what wonderful gifts they will make. Or maybe they will be just for me.

  78. Laura K. Eveland-Swanson says:

    Hi Susan

    Thanks for the wonderful Anniversary Post!!! I’ve been sick with a virus the past few days & snuggling in yesterday with your blog & my favorite quilt eased the day.

    Hugs Laura!!

    PS… that was me who reminded you about your anniversary on twitter!!

    • sbranch says:

      I couldn’t remember who did that, thank you Laura!!! You definitely got me thinking about it!!!

  79. FayE in CA! says:

    The Martha Vineyard cup is PERFECT! I love MV and Nantucket. We had a lovely trip to both islands years ago. I am looking forward to another stay in the near future. I sure do hope that there will an island shop that can offer your MV cup. It is a PERFECT, high quality souvenir. (Yep, I meant to use PERFECT twice, because the MV cup IS just that…PERFECT. 😍)

    High quality mementos from trips are a joy to have in our homes. A reminder and way to re-celebrate🎈🎈🎈our past journeys. I will definitely purchase this cup from you, but hope for your company’s bottom line that it will become an island shop’s display. Perhaps the MV cup should not be retired so that it can become an island shop staple? I can see the display…MV cups and Isle of Dreams books on a pretty tablecloth. Perhaps, in time, that shop can add more of your products to their inventory. You are, after all, the Beatrix Potter of Martha’s Vineyard…no doubt about it! Dust Bunny can’t wait to be your debut into your own figurine line! (Can’t give up my pleas for Dust Bunny’s future!!!!)

    Hey, small-vase-promoter, how about a sweet bud vase with a single heart…white, of course!? AND! Why should Emma be the premier cup with hearts? How about a SB cup with hearts?

    Enjoyed this post and the white space post. Thank you.

    From my heart to yours,

    FayE in CA! 💗💗💗

    • sbranch says:

      YAY, FayE, I love that you like the MV Cup!!! LOVE all your ideas! Tiny vase is brilliant!

  80. Jody says:

    What fun memories! I’m intrigued by your notes and sketches and then putting it all down again. I’m wondering what pens you like to use to write/draw with so there is no smear?
    Beautiful tea plate.

    • sbranch says:

      If you go to the top of the Blog to “About Me” a drop-down will show, put your cursor on “My Art Studio” — and lots of info about my working tools shows up there. xoxo

  81. Denise S says:

    Considering all your recent posts, I have feedback on the mugs. I for one didn’t love the first set. Sorry! I wondered why and then you provided the answer. I liked the Santa , and then I loved the MV mug. For me, it’s the white space !!!!!! I also have a blue and off white kitchen, which I LOVE. So I vote white space and blue. Thanks Susan for the chance to have input.

    • sbranch says:

      Sooner or later, if I keep designing, I know I’ll light on just the perfect design and size for everyone! SO happy you like the new ones Denise! I’m having a wonderful time with the designs.

  82. FayE in CA! says:

    RE: computer comment “mysteries”…

    If a name/Email address shows up and it’s not yours, simply delete it and put in your own info. Happens all the time and I’ve never had a problem posting after deleting other person’s info and entering my own info.

    When you post your comment it may seem to disappear. But! Exit the blog and re-open the blog. Go to the bottom of the comment section. You will probably see your post stating “waiting for moderation.” That has always been the case for me. There is probably just a mini lag time between sending a post and having it show up stating “waiting for moderation”…

    Anyway, hopefully this helps.

    Faye in CA! 💗💗💗

    • sbranch says:

      THANK YOU FAYE, a tutorial, a solving of the problem! I’ve been frustrated with not being able to do anything about this thing I can’t see from my side! I love problem solvers, thank you dearheart! 😘

  83. pamela tasker says:

    Oh the places you go…..Yup ! I was on that trip with you. I just wanted to say I would love that Martha’s Vineyard cup, and the adorable cookie plate. Every thing that comes into my house from Susan Branch my daughter puts her name on it !! xoxo

  84. Deborah Svenson says:

    It is our “5th” anniversary as well. My husband and I were at Hilltop Farm on the same day as you and your husband. We had a delightful time on our trip in the Lake District, and then on to Scotland. We rented a car and headed off for adventures with no set plans or reservations. When I heard about your book I ran out to buy it. It was as if I had my own personal travel diary. Thank you for such a beautiful book.

    I now have all your books—I even had my friend stand in line at the British Emporium in Grapevine, Texas to purchase a copy of your new book when I was out of the state. She was first in line!!!

    • sbranch says:

      You are kidding me! We must have practically rubbed shoulders! We were the ones in the upstairs hall talking to the docent for probably an hour . . . do you remember that? The only good day in a very rainy week. We were so lucky, the sky was blue with huge white scudding clouds! Was so magical! Nice to hear from you Deborah!

    • Kat Fry on Rose Creek Farm says:

      Hi Deborah! Kat from little Rose Creek Farm in East Texas here. I wonder if your friend saw my friend that lovely day at the British Emporium! I had been to see you Susan in Austin at the fabootious Book People & as a surprise got Mel your latest book for her Anniversary & as a surprise Mel went to Grapevine & got ME your latest book, along with a framed photo of her & You & my Book! Deborah, tell your friend Mel was the ethereal looking blonde in a long white lacy dress with a wide brimmed hat. What a Small World we F.O.S.B.s inhabit After All! Luvlee!

  85. Gill Smith says:

    Oh my Susan you just HAVE to come to North Devon U.K. It’s truly the best place ever! Beautiful villages, thatched cottages, stunning coastal walks, you will love it.
    I’m counting the days now, ha ha. I missed meeting you at Stourhead, so long to have another chance here in Devon! Super blog, can’t believe it’s 5years.
    Gill from stunning Devon U.K. Xx

  86. Kate says:

    Every time you write about England I just think I should have been born there in some little village out in the countryside. I should be speaking with a British accent and drinking tea instead of coffee and eating crumpets and clotted cream. I love the United States, but if I got the chance to live my life over, I would want it to be in the English countryside. Thanks for the memories.

  87. Debi Hutchinson, CA says:

    You are truly an inspiration to me. LOVED this blog and all the wonderful memories!!!!!!

  88. Gill Smith says:

    PS. Another persons name and email came up which I deleted and typed in my own. Hope you can rectify your gremlins soon! Just thought I’d let you know it’s still happening! X

  89. Debbie Boerger says:

    Uh, Oh. We may have been scammed and hacked here on our computers. Tom went to his Coast Guard Academy web page, and a window claiming it was Microsoft said our entire system had been compromised. And of course… “call this number right away”. He did (oh dear) and was on the phone for over an hour. Tom gave the guy entry into his files, everything. Then the catch, for a mere $700.00, we can fix it and totally protect you. Fios connection was compromised. Tom insisted he would not do that, and hug up, But……the screen that was on would not go away. So he spent another hour with AOL. We don’t know at the moment.
    SO Beware, girlfriends. Take your computer to a reputable Geek that you know.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I once clicked on something on Google and my screen lit up and sirens went off and there were huge messages that said, YOU’VE BEEN HACKED, PRESS HERE IMMEDIATELY, but something told me “don’t do it,” and thank goodness I didn’t..I called Apple, and they said when you see that, stop, think, and ignore it. I don’t open anything like that anymore, no matter who it’s from! Mere $700,000. Good grief! Nice catch Debbie! It’s a good lesson to us all!

  90. Tisa says:

    It was such a wonderful trip and so thoughtful of you to bring us *all* along 🙂 Can it be that long ago? Seems like just yesterday….(love the new cup & plate idea–did you do a teabag holder too?) Can’t wait to read about your latest QE2 adventure….

  91. Melissa in Mobile, Alabama says:

    I told myself I could buy one cup, and when I saw the Santa one, I knew that was the one. But then you showed us the bird one, and now the MV Isle of Dreams one, and I realize I just have to get a bigger cabinet.:) Love these so much!

    • sbranch says:

      Makes me happy to hear it Melissa! You note I can’t wait 5 minutes before I show you, supposed to be calm and wait until they’re done, but I get so excited I can’t help it!

  92. Di Word says:

    You always brighten my day. Have a lovely weekend.

  93. Christie Levin says:

    Hello once more because I wanted to join my ‘Happy 2012 Trip to England Anniversary’ to everyone’s, and say how glad I am you took those months to transform your travel journals and memories into A Fine Romance. Co-grandma Linda gifted me with it for Christmas that year, knowing my love for most everything you wrote about. SO glad she did!! BTW, the Martha’s Vineyard design is cup perfection! How fun it will be to gift a friend with your Martha’s Vineyard Isle Of Dreams book and the cup together! However, I confess, I am afraid that seeing it made me immediately greedy for a SB cup of all my favorite places. But, really, how fun would it be to find Susan Branch cups at favorite travel locations like Cape Cod or Oxford or Stow-on-the-Wold! Imagine taking a trip on Amtrak to find SB California Zephyr cups for sale at the station, or an SB Coast Starlight cup, or an SB Southwest Chief cup!! Oh, the places your cups could go!! XO

    • sbranch says:

      Believe me, I have to stop myself with these cups. I’ve already designed a Valentine’s Cup and we haven’t even gotten to Fall yet!!! I’m a kid in a candy shop! I hope it will get more normal after a while! xoxo

      • mary spring says:

        …oh, now you have me laughing out loud Susan !!..believe me, me being a potter myself I understand your joy !!!!.. you do feel like a kid in a candy store ; I am so happy for you !!!!…in joy and with love, as always… btw, my dear sweet Mom got her cast off the other day and she is as good as new !..thank God !..that means I am headed back up to Seattle this morning.. I wish I was brave enough to try something new by myself and take that train instead of flying…take care Susan and have fun !!!!

        • sbranch says:

          If you have the time Mary, I know you’d love it. So happy to hear about your MOM! Perfect timing too! xoxo

          • mary spring says:

            ..thanks Susan ! xoxo ..and , btw, the gremlin seems to be sleeping now !…

          • sbranch says:

            Good! And interestingly, it doesn’t look like the gremlin attacks everyone! Unless people are just not telling me!

  94. Kathy says:

    Sending this comment really just as a test. The last three or four comments I’ve sent don’t seem to make it through. They either disappear or remain in “Awaiting Moderation”. So strange, and I’m wondering if I’m doing something incorrectly. Great post. As always, love it!

    • sbranch says:

      Awaiting Moderation just means that I haven’t read them yet…and I was away all day yesterday. Which means right now there are almost 200 comments awaiting moderation. I HOPE I find yours in there Kathy!! Hopefully you’ll see this! xoxo

      • Kathy says:

        Thank you for the reply, Susan! At least I know I’m doing it right! I’m visiting your island the first part of June and am so looking forward to it. It’s been on my list for a long time. On the Cape June 7th when you are at the bookshop. Would have been thrilled to meet you, but whale watching is interfering with that plan. Secretly, I would have preferred the bookshop. 💗

        • sbranch says:

          You sure are, and they should all show up! Fingers crossed! Whale watching is hard to give up! I understand! Have a wonderful trip! xoxo

  95. Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W Tx says:

    Yeah!!!! they fixed your computer glitch! I see my last comment waiting moderation and my name and email address is filled in correctly below! Back to normal! Life as we know it! Don’t you just love technology?😁😳

    • sbranch says:

      Well, I’m glad you think so… LOL, let me know if you think it stays fixed . . . I’ve gotten other comments to the contrary that came in after you Chris, so my fingers are crossed, 🙏 hoping this is true!

  96. Jane Alexander says:

    It amazes me that you read and comment on all of these notes to you! You are such a great user of time productively. Wow. And so much love pours through everything you do. Wow. Sign me up with all the rest for a teapot plate for cookies or sandwiches! White space….. I love it!! Five years ago!!!!! No way!! Time was flying by. I lived in N.J. then. Now in Katy Texas. Today my daughter spent 2 hours placing pretty dishes on two new shelves. The photo reminds me of your open kitchen shelves. I will send her your blog from the other day. God bless you and Joe and Jack.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Jane! I know, 5 years ago, such a short time, yet look what all has happened!

  97. Georgie Bonsanto says:

    Susan! 5 years of friendship. My first Twitter post to you, a picture of your ship sailing out of the port! I clung to every word and felt as though I was there with you (and all the girlfriends). Your book signing the following year brought everything full circle.

    Sending hugs from the Atlantic. We sailed far out past MV. We will go past the Statue of Liberty early tomorrow morning.

    Sending love. Hoping for good news from Hollywood.

    Georgie from NJ

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Georgie! So nice to hear from you . . . are you on a cruise? Sailing past the Statue of Liberty, probably right now, think I’ll go to the webcam and see what I can see!

      • Georgie says:

        Yes! We took a celebration cruise to celebrate Joe’s final surgery. It’s been a two-year process with four surgeries. (As you know…) We went to Bermuda, then up to Boston, and then back to Bayonne . We doc this morning and we are already home. The suitcases are still on packed LOL. We are going to take a nap first 🙂

        We are hoping to get up to Martha’s Vineyard in the fall and take that trip that we didn’t get to take last year. Get your tea cup ready 🙂 XOXO


        • sbranch says:

          I looked for your ship, but I think I missed you…don’t know what yours was, but most I saw were Navy or government. Brilliant thing to do, to celebrate your hard-earned success! You deserve that every day. I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am for you both! Hope you make it up here Georgie!

  98. Nancy Newsom says:

    Thank you for all the beautiful photos, clever quotes and happy words. Such a delight to enjoy, as always.
    Years ago, I worked in a hospital gift shop and we sold your Heart of the Home. The buyer knew that the book would make people feel better, not just sick people!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve always thought a hospital gift shop would be the perfect place for my books! Nice to hear it was there! Thank you Nancy!

  99. Carol C says:

    Love the trip back! This summer a couple that sat at the table with my sister and me on the QM2 is coming to the U.S. again and we will all be getting together. We are still in touch with both couples. We had such a fun trip and dinner was to be anticipated every day.
    When will we be able to order the Christmas and MV mugs. Several ticks off my Christmas shopping list!! So adorable!

    • sbranch says:

      How great that you’ve all kept in touch! I think next month the new mugs will go into our web store for preorder. . . I’ll say something on the blog.

  100. Stacey says:

    A Fine Romance is one of my very favorite books—I so enjoy reading all the bits written in your lovely handwriting and studying your pretty little watercolors. Reading about all the places in England you went, accompanied by their photos is just the right medicine for me when I am feeling England Sick. I was very unfortunately born in the wrong country…I don’t think “Anglophile” properly sums up my love for England and all things British! I had the good fortune to spend 10 days (which let’s be honest, is so not enough time in England, but I’ll take what I can get!) in the Land of Hope and Glory for my 40th birthday. We traveled through the Cotswolds, shopping in the towns, lunching at the pubs and tea rooms…it was MAGIC. We even stayed in our very own little stone Cotswold cottage! Happiest Fine Romance Anniversary and thank you for bringing this most charming (and very loved by me) book into the world!

    • sbranch says:

      Me too, you know you’re beyond hope when listening to Jerusalem or watching the end of Miss Potter when they show the Lake District in all it’s magical majestic beauty while you wipe your tears away. It’s funny how many years I didn’t know this about myself!!! Your trip sounds wonderful, Happy Birthday! Kindred spirits!

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