No More Swords, Courts, and Kings!

I’m weary of swords and courts and kings. Let us go into the garden. 🌸 Mary Johnston🌸  Chair dance anyone? Oui! ☺️ MUSICA

I ask myself the same question every day when I get up, “How do I move myself forward today?” It’s a great question, it gets me moving . . . because, I have places to go and people to see, and I need to work diligently in the direction of my dreams. Or I’m not happy. Even my tiniest steps forward add up!

For several years now, I’ve been on a mission, to learn more about the writing process, to see if I could figure out how to write my memoir books, to figure out how to get them published, and then to get it done. And while I did it, many other things in my life went onto the back burner. I was busy! And, one thing I wasn’t doing was deep cleaning, no good old-fashioned organization, or home care for my darling dear house that deserves better. But it got me for a mom, and therein lies the problem. As you are about to see. I can’t believe I am going to show such terrible photos. Normally I clean up before I take the pictures. It’s probably the worst I’ve ever seen it, mainly because we were hardly home last year, and when we got back, I began to “drop off” stuff in my studio, move it out of my view “until I had time to clean it.”  I’m thinking someone else out there may experience this problem, so I thought I would do some before and after photos and talk about Spring Cleaning and how to de-clutter, lighten up, and simplify your life.💞 Shield your eyes, here we go . . .

The question is: Who’s in charge here?  It was a daunting project to begin. I almost didn’t know where to start, every cupboard and drawer in our house is stuffed to the gills. But as time goes on, I’m becoming quite cutthroat about it. I choose emptiness. I took pictures of some of the harder things to get rid of.  Now I own the memories associated with them forever!  The bookshelves are full of books, some of which have been there since we moved into the house in 1989, any new books since then have had to find another place to go ~ I keep inserting tiny bookshelves in corners of the house, packing it all in even further, and now the only place left is the floor. But the floor is already almost totally covered with projects and boxes of who knows what, it’s layered. You could do a dig here, like James Michener’s The Source.

I began to empty the shelves and take most of the books to the living room, where I’m packing them to give to the second-hand bookstore on the Island. Not all of them of course. I kept the good ones! But not too many. I want empty shelves. I want empty shelves so bad. Room for new thoughts, new ideas! Room to breathe.

Because I can no longer live like this.  I think it’s stealing my energy just having to look at it. There are three stacks of original art in plastic pages on the floor under the shelves! I don’t recognize the rest of it, it’s too much of a jumble. Stacks of books, stacks of papers, crowded Beatrix Potter people. I had to design cups on top of the mess in order to get them done in time. Doing a Willard in this mess would be impossible!

All so wrong. That door to the front hall has been blocked closed for maybe three years (It was way worse than this, I’d already moved most of the stuff!). And as I begin to move through it, I ask myself, do I need this, is it adding value to my life, and if the answer is no, then I say bye-bye! I want smooth surfaces, table tops especially. I’ve been getting happier and happier every day, and lighter and lighter, and basically, I’m downright giddy now! Waking up singing! The unbearable lightness of being!

It doesn’t look like this anymore. And as I’ve done it, shelf by shelf, going through everything piece by piece, file by file, box by box, I found interesting things I’d forgotten all about . . . and realized I was engaged in a form of treasure hunt.

I washed each shelf which had not seen the light of day since 1989. Basically the answer to how to do this, is one shelf at a time.

Yard by yard, it’s very hard, but inch by inch, it’s a cinch.

See the cupboards underneath? Same thing, one at a time. And that mess on the worktable?  That BIG pile on the left is recipes, ideas, and quotes for my Tea Book which I’ve been adding to and saving for years, with no place to put it. It’s not there anymore. Now it’s organized, and my Tea Book project has one of those clean empty shelves all for itself!

And, I think, in my most maniacal of moments, now I have room ~ I can go antiquing again! 😜

Here’s one of the treasures I found, this card was in a recipe box I did for my mom around 1979.  I forgot all about it, I don’t think I’ve seen it since then.

I’d brought home my mom’s recipe file from California, and inside were handwritten recipes and letters, from my mom, my grandma, and my great grandma. I also had recipes from my dad and my sisters . . .

And this detailed letter to my mom from my grandfather Willard’s mother, my mom’s “Gram,” and my great grandmother . . . her typing strokes are indented in the soft blue paper ~ Sioux City, Iowa is written at the top ~ and she is writing my mom in California about the only news that ever really matters to our lives. Turn off the TV, and this is what there is, the real stuff of life. 💌

This is the rest of the box I did for my mom . . . so I put all the recipes from everyone else in it . . . and a card explaining who is who, for the future people who will someday find it, maybe my brother’s and sister’s children, or who knows. Maybe some rescuing type of person in a second-hand store. But I have a picture of it now, so it’s mine forever, and the box will be saved in a special family file box.

Then I began on the file cabinet, pulled out each file, went through it, threw out tons of useless paperwork, then rearranged and put back what mattered. This de-cluttering adventure is a long-term project, but I would rather do it now when I choose to, than later, when I have to! Right now I just want to! Not all of it is memories, some of it is just stuff I don’t need. I’m recycling, donating, and throwing out. I already cleaned the kitchen and emptied the sideboard in the dining room, and got rid of half of it, and after I get this room done, I go upstairs! That’s also when I will get to start seriously painting four hours a day. As soon as the studio is clean and I feel the spaciousness of it, I’ll dip my brush in water, and hear the ringing sound as it hits the side of the dish and put my first color on the paper, early one morning, in the quiet, with my tea and my cat. I don’t think I’ll get the whole house done until sometime around August. I go as slow as I want. I go to the garden, I stare at the dogwood tree in bloom. Joe and I go to the nursery. I’m planning a tea party. I shoot hair bands for my kitty. I talk on the phone to Siobhan and Rachel in England. I design cups. I brake for John’s Fish Market chocolate shakes!  But all while I’m lightening my life, and indulging in the treasure hunt and the joy of memory.

Luv-lee letters like this get photographed, and put into a “children’s letters” file. I’ve looked up names on some of the old letters ~ and amazingly found and followed them on Instagram (@susanbranchauthor)! Sometimes I don’t like the Internet, and sometimes, I love it!

And now, I have all my ideas for books in one place, in files, and NOT, as was before, in piles on the floor. Every day I feel better, I feel more and more inspired about what will come next . . . and think of the words I heard on some TV show, ” I tremble on the brink of life’s next great adventure.” But I can’t get there until I am out from under the weight of this stuffed house!

I’ve consolidated, whittled down, and distilled . . . honestly, so much of it just didn’t belong here anymore. I saved a few old things, like products I’ve made . . . put them into boxes, labeled them, and up the attic they go, saved for posterity. A very little bit of it. Stuff I hope that someday someone else will want. But if they don’t, at least it’s consolidated. I’m doing this thing just like I redecorate. Taking everything off the shelves out of the cupboards, washing and cleaning them, and putting back only what I can’t live without, and getting rid of the rest.

I had to keep a little bit of this! Just in cases.

And this too!

And of course the piles of original artwork . . .

All organized and stacked on those empty shelves where I can access them. Most of my original art is in an old bank safe in California. Each book I’ve written is totally intact, all the original pages are there, and each book is in its own acid-free box. 

Look at that. I’m making white space . . . ahhh, emptiness . . .

A finished person is a boring person. 💙Anna QuindlenDon’t worry, I’m not the minimalist type, for me that would be going too far. And I’m not done. Only about half way right now . . . but I can see the trees in the forest! I thought you might like to see some of the treasures I found:

First off, this. The box of everything, all the photos, all the memorabilia, the diary pages, even some souvenirs, everything from the trip we took in 2001 with our nieces Heidi and Holly, to London, Paris, and Bath (where we first discovered the English Countryside) . . . our theme music from that trip was Dusty Springfield from the British Invasion cassette we had in the car . . . we sang as we traveled hill and dale . . . we still sing it. Joe sang it too . . .🎵 I don’t know WHAT to do with my self . . .🎵

Here we are boarding the ship in New York. In this photo, Heidi, on the left, is 11, my brother Brad’s daughter, who grew up in Colorado. On the right is Holly, she’s 12, she belongs to my sister Mary and grew up in California. The cousins had met only once before we took them away across the wide ocean for six wonderful weeks. We’d been planning it since they were six. It was the very best time I ever had. They were wonderful and funny and smart! The box with everything from this trip was on a high shelf here in my studio and hadn’t seen the light of day in years. I still have to go through it, and someday, when I get the photos scanned, I’ll do a post about that magical trip.

Something else, a note from my dad.  Writing me about the correct way to drink tea.💞 Now it’s in my mom’s recipe box.

And this painting my dad did of his beloved dog, Chief.

And my mom’s jacks and balls. Which I labeled and saved.

And I found this photo of me and my brother Jim with my cute mom and dad, which I don’t remember seeing before, something else to put in her recipe box. Too bad about the over-exposure, but still . . . look how their arms lean into each other. They are in it together. And there’s a picket fence back there! I must have seen it and fell in love!

And this book was in the pile. I still remember the night I met Julia and how much it meant to me.

Deep in the files was this little notebook I used when writing my first book with all kinds of little reminders, quotes and notations, and even grocery lists. The address of Little Brown, and Random House. Lots of dreams tied up in this messy little book.

And I found the hollyhock seeds sent to me by Nicoline, one of our girlfriends from Holland, over a year ago! But I wasn’t here to plant them last spring, and we also went away in the fall, so they didn’t get planted then either ~ I decided to see if they would sprout, and look, they did!

Kind of a miracle . . .

You might remember Nicoline from our picnic in England! She and her husband came from Holland and she brought her own Petey doll to show me!

And now her hollyhocks are planted in my garden . . . I get so many plants from my girlfriends, I call my garden a friendship garden!

This was what it looked like outside this morning, the wisteria has begun to bloom, Lowely’s bluebells are blooming too, at the far corner of the picket fence!

I bring the blooming things in for the little shelf over my kitchen sink . . .

And took a photo of the inside of the little bells of Lily of the Valley . . .

And, you may ask, what has Joe been doing all this time! Oh, we are a team! He has been doing to the yard, what I have been doing to my studio. He’s been thatching, raking, mulching, top dressing, seeding and watering. Men ask, “What do women want?” But they should know . . . This is every woman’s aphrodisiac, someone to build a life with.💞 When we stand next together, our arms press together.


You can hear Jack meowing! I love it when he talks in a video, not easy to get him to do it!

I heard the ferry boat whistle just now like a long musical note. 🎵 Sometimes I forget where I am, how close the sea is, until I hear the boat whistle!

And as so many of you know, the Studio has been busy too . . . sending out your new English bone china cups . . . 💞

And these are the people who’ve been making that happen.  Alfredo, Sheri and Kellee at the Studio. Couldn’t do it without these wonderful people! Monday is Kellee’s birthday!

And I got mine!! Just as excited as everyone else!

I’m very proud of them. It’s hard finding really beautiful things, and then being able to afford to get them made, especially in foreign countries! Now we are importers! We talk palettes, air freight, and customs! TMI for sure!

It’s been a lot of fun on Twitter, so many Girlfriends have written and sent photos, saying, “Got mine!” Marcia (@msmrph) sent this darling photo of herself and her best friend Julie captioned “Tea for two Besties!” Makes my day! Our cup club is not very big, but it’s very wonderful!

We’re working to make your Christmas especially easy this year. I know it’s a long time until then, but in order to get things made in time, we have to start now… we love planning surprises. Especially for you. Like our dream charms. So many of you have asked us to bring them back, so we did. 💞 Here they are! I think they’ll be in our web store the first couple of weeks of June.

We reordered three of our most popular charms . . .  Autumn (in that first photo), A Fine Romance (see the hedgerows?👍),

and the ever-popular “Be an Elf,” all with small gift cards . . .

And in the midst of cleaning the Studio, sort of on top of the layers, I did manage to finish designing the bottoms, the handles, and the backs of the new mugs, and sent them off to England where the process of manufacturing has already begun. They are supposed to be here by August! We’re taking no chances they would be late for Christmas, and we need that Autumn cup first! And, yes, they are in the web store for Presale right now! I know it’s hard to think Christmas, but please try, because, like with the last ones, when these are gone, they are gone. You’ll be glad when December comes and you don’t have to go Christmas shopping! ❤️ Here they are:

Santa Claus is coming to town! In 16 ounces of fine bone China from “the Potteries” in Staffordshire, England! And, yes, they are all dishwasher and microwave safe!

This is the back . . . (only a mockup, made from paper in these photos, will look a lot better in real life!)

I did a construction-paper chain for the handle. Oh by gosh by golly!

And we have a 16-ounce Bluebird of Happiness. Which is going to look really good in my new blue kitchen! 💙

Here’s the back. It’s trying to be whimsical!

And the handle. I think it’s adorable. But still, only paper!

And my Autumn cup is a little bit smaller, 11 ounces, because you asked! I’ll do one for every season, all this same size. The only difference between this design and the real life one to come, the handle is actually going to be on the other side . . . This quote will actually be on the “front” of the cup. . .

And this will be the back ~ the handle will be on the other side from what you see here, and the squirrel will be on the left facing the other way . . . I decided I liked it better like that. Decisions, decisions.

The handle. 🍂 Signifies abundance.🍁

And now, my Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams 16-ounce cup.  You drink from it, and I hear, could be a rumor, but I think not,  your dreams will come true. ⚡️

It’s a short trip to the Island, via cup. 🛳

And here’s the handle. 💙

Be sure to read the small print on the ordering page, it explains lots of things, like what we are doing, and why, when we retire each of the cups . . . too long for the blog, but extra reading while ordering and good clarification! Hope you like them!

Now, last but definitely not least, Jack. He has taught me a couple of new tricks. You know how cats jump up to rub on your leg? Well, he gets on the table and rubs (sort of butts) my forehead, and now I softly butt him back, and we have a meeting of the minds. He puts his head near mine and wants me to do it. We are blood cat brothers. He also LOVES the running water in the bathroom . . . we go there to play . . . he is rather calm in this video, because I have the camera and he knows it, but usually he makes me turn the water on and off really fast, he bites it and grabs it and sometimes he comes out of there wet! It’s his secret life. Joe doesn’t even know about this. How do I explain that I’m being trained by the cat?!

💙💙And one more thing, I have a surprise for you . . . I thought we’d give away one of these new cups! If you already have yours, it’s okay, you’ll have a best-friend gift all ready to go!

And whoever our lucky winner is will get their choice of which one! In Love with Nature on the left, Little Things in the middle, or Love on the right. All you have to do is leave a comment! And in a week or so, we’ll get Vanna back from Bali (I think that’s where she is ~ she’s hard to keep up with!) to pull the winning name.  And I hope it’s YOU! 🌸

Bye for now Girlfriends, have a wonderful day! Love and ❌’s, Me.

Oops! P.S. Almost forgot to say, in case anyone will be around, I’ll be signing books and visiting at Titcomb’s Book Shop on Wednesday, June 7, from 1 to 3pm … joining this wonderful, independent, family-owned bookstore in celebration of their 50th Anniversary! Please come by and say hello if you can! It’s on Cape Cod in East Sandwich, click above for details. There will be cupcakes, and you don’t need a ticket to come! 😘

This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2,073 Responses to No More Swords, Courts, and Kings!

  1. Suzanne C says:

    Oh Susan I preordered and received your Love cup and its so beautiful, but I too will give it to my neice for her wedding on Saturday I must reorder next week your new Bluebird cup is fantastic! Wish I could get any of these lovely cups to enjoy! Good luck in you “House Purge”. Love forever……Suzanne C.
    P.S. pick me…pick me…

  2. Rhonda J says:

    Susan , I started spring cleaning inside, but had to stop and do spring yard work. Now I am ready to tackle the inside again. Thank you for the inspiration !

  3. Jann says:

    Here’s my new and now favorite decluttering idea: One of your lovely mugs in, 10 not so lovely mugs out! Keep the best and let go of the rest. Thanks!

  4. Leslie Naugle says:

    You and I are on the same page……cleaning out and making room for something new. Wonderful blog post as always!

  5. Gloria Groza says:

    Hi Susan! I loved this blog! I have been doing the same thing! My husband and I will be married 50 years June 30th. Now that is alot of memories, cards, letters, pictures, etc. to go through! I know I can’t keep it all, but it is hard to part with. I get started on a box and pretty soon I am reading letters and looking at mementos from road trips and the time is just gone! You have inspired me to just keep at it until I can see space, like you!
    I have to tell you this: My daughter, Lisa Hay, a lollipop girl, and I had the same great idea for Mother’s Day! She ordered me one of the cups and I ordered her a cup! Lol! I would love to win another one! They make great gifts! Thank you for making life more bearable. You are always a breath of fresh air! A sadness to share: My husband has been diagnosed with early stages of dementia. It is hard to deal with; I have known for some time that something was wrong, but didn’t want to believe it. Lisa and I have a strong faith in God, and that is getting us through. You are helping too! When I am feeling blue, I can read one of your blogs and pretty soon I am feeling better! Thank you for being you! Love, love, Gloria in Texas

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Gloria, so happy to know you are Lisa’s mom because I love seeing the wonderful photos she puts up on Twitter! My darling mother is suffering from dementia also, but I have to say, much beauty stays, her voice is the same, the love is still in it, there are some memories, and some days are better than others. Blessings on you both for a lovely celebration of a long marriage, one of the best gifts a person can be given (is what I think). Love to you and your family. xoxo

  6. Shirley Burt says:

    How wonderful you are !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Always at the perfect time, you start inspiring us. I too, have felt the need to purge. Now perhaps I will be able to follow through.
    The cups are beyond fabulous. I have my first three, and will continue to add to the collection. Artwork to admire, and the perfect size. ANd did you know that they are very happy next to the Emma Bridgewater mugs. Thank you, thank you.
    Last time blue and white, this time purging, and in the future a mystery. Thank you bunny bunches.
    Bunny hugs to all of you.

  7. Betsy Stevenson says:

    Well I am done with this school year— sent my 30 kindergarteners out the door with hugs and tears and wishes for a happy, safe summer. Each child was clutching a beach pail filled with a jumprope, crayon box, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, pencils, a blank book and a book of their choice. I call it their fun in the sun bucket! Now I face a very cluttered house from many projects and a total lack of incentive. My sister died in March from terminal cancer that was discovered at Christmas. Your thoughtful and honest blog entry has given me hope that I can wade through stacks of papers and books and create organization and free space! You would have been amazed by my sister and her darling tiny apartment in an old bungalow court in Redlands, CA. She had a gift for being organized and it is full of adorable 50’s kitsch and her brother and sister cats she rescued from the pound. Her husband is watching over it all and for now has left it decorated for Christmas just as she left it when she went to the hospital for the last time… Your sweet Santa pitcher is still on her table… I need to get up off the couch and take hold so that my home feels homey again! Lots of love to you and thanks for making my world more beautiful.


    • sbranch says:

      Heart b r e a k i n g about your sister … 💔 Think of your sister’s organization as you start with one shelf, how she would smile on you for it, live her life for her 😘 take those deep breaths of nature in her honor. Life is a gift … she would tell you that. Much love Betsy. Love never goes away it’s forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever . . . . . . . . . and ever.

    • Charissa says:

      Betsy, Bless your sweet and strong heart. I can’t imagine your pain. You are doing the right thing. Susan is good for pretty much anything that ails you. Sending hugs from Texas. xoxo

    • Marge says:

      Betsy, I was sad to read that you lost your sister in March. I am amazed that you found the strength to finish the school year and still fill the summer fun buckets for your kindergarten students. Try and think of your dear sister as not gone but gone on ahead. Wishing you comfort.

  8. Melissa P. says:

    Ooh! Lovely cups–I’m crossing my paws for Vanna’s drawing 🙂 Happy Memorial Day!

  9. Teresa Lindseth says:

    Hello Susan, Joe and Jack,
    Happy Memorial Day! A very beautiful day here in SE Alaska! Lilacs all blooming and swallows nesting in the bird house! Thank you for sharing your home, life and dreams with us! You are truly an inspiration to me! XOXO! Teresa L.

  10. Pamela from Northern California says:

    How do you always know the right things to say and do? I love your honest posts about the current world order…calms me right down. Your lamenting turning 70 –
    I had a milestone b’day that I was fretting about, too…calmed me right down. And now the brave way you showed your clutter to all of us AND talked about getting down to the business of de-cluttering. Just what I needed to read! Now, if only there would be a new mug in my future. I am so sad that I missed the last mugs…they are so gorgeous…will they be back? Or will they be retired? Thank you for everything you do.

    • sbranch says:

      We think we have to retire them … we’re such a small “this-blog based” group, that once we think everyone has a cup (from the presales), we can’t get more, because they make us order hundreds of them, we can’t just get 20 more or something like that. Maybe in a couple of years if there’s enough clamor for it, but the new ones will be just as pretty as the old ones!

  11. Pat Mofjeld says:

    I would LOVE one of the mugs!!! We have bluebirds here at our new house so that one would be appropriate and I love Fall so that one would be nice, too!

  12. Joan A. says:

    I love reading your blogs. They are like a letter from a wonderful friend. Thank you for sharing your gifts and talents with us!

  13. Vicky says:

    It’s fun to hope to be the recipient of the cup give away! Always fun to read your blog and hear and see your goings on! Yay white space!

  14. Kari says:

    Hi Susan,
    Your post is perfect! Clearing things out sure makes a mess around here and your message is the perfect inspiration to get it done!
    I hope you are enjoying spring on the island, just as your posts bring spring to our hearts. Many, many happy days to you and Joe!

    • sbranch says:

      Makes a mess here too, but I guess that’s the way it works. My studio is heaven, but the dining room and the living room are a total MESS! Next!

  15. Anne kennerley says:

    Thank you Susan, I love this post and feel really inspired. Annexx ( In Staffordshire, U.K.)

  16. Wende Taylor says:

    Hi Sue – great post on gettin’ er done! Gives me motivation to tackle some of my own. LOVE the new mugs, so pretty, so creative, so… Susan Branch! 😁 Cheers!

  17. Nanci says:

    I hope I have a chance at winnng one of your cups! Just this morning I finished ready no A Fine Romance and didn’t want it to end because you see, we were in England the same time you were. I long to go back to see the fells in the Lake District, the lambs bleeding for their mommy, a sheep dog, the hollyhocks in the Cotswolds and the rock walls and narrow lanes. Your book helped but made me even more homesick. I’m planning my next trip now!! Love your kind and joyful spirit which shows in your writings, drawings and quotes. Say hi to little Jack!

    • sbranch says:

      I know, me too, constantly homesick for it, always producing a little tear when I think about it. I just told Jack you said HI! xoxo

      • Nanci says:

        Sorry for my spelling…autocorrect!!! Forgot to proof. That will teach me. My sis is going back for the 5th time…at least.. in July. Wish I could jump into her suitcase!

  18. Pam says:

    Hi Sue, You don’t fancy coming here and decluttering our house do you? We have loads of books but I never seem able to part with them. I also have lots of cross stitch patterns, I’ll never in a million years have time to stitch them all but again I keep them. I think I’m a hopeless case. You have inspired me to have a tidy up though. When I’m in a hurry everything just gets dumped in the computer room, that seems a good place to start. Love the cups, but then I always love anything that shows off your artwork. 🙂 xx

    • sbranch says:

      I would do it Pam! But you can … maybe get a mean older sister to do it for you! There must be one around!

      • Pam says:

        There is but not sure she would be up for it! I pre-ordered your 2018 calendars yesterday, yippee. Very happy now.

  19. Bryonna says:

    Your cups are gorgeous … and I would love to win one of them! Thanks for all you do. Your work – and newsletters – are truly inspiring. Merci!

  20. Laura says:

    I loved this entire post. I smiled all the way through! Thank you for always bringing sunshine to my life. Your cups are fabulous and the new ones even more so…

  21. Penny Jones says:

    I hope I can win an In Love with Nature cup! I ordered the other two and have kicked myself until I’m blue that I didn’t order the Nature cup too! I’m drinking tea out of my Love cup as I’m typing this. Just ordered the Autumn and Santa cups. Love, Love, Love these cups! 😉

    • sbranch says:

      SO happy Penny, I think they’re the closest thing to cashmere that a cup could be! 👏

  22. Lida says:

    I would love to win a cup! I missed purchasing them. You are so fun to read and follow.

  23. Julie Lindsay says:

    Good for you – Your cleaning has been quite a success!
    I would love to win a cup – I especially love the Nature one!

  24. Debbie Boerger says:

    Yea!!! No cast needed. It seems that now with these space age walking casts, a simple break doesn’t require it. My best Tampa friend fell in her garden last year and broke the 2 lower arm bones and a wrist bone. She had surgery and a plate put in, but even that did not have an old fashioned plaster cast. I think breaking a wrist would be way more inconvenient that a foot. Once I’m settled, I can still do most things.

    It’s absolutely beautiful here today, and windy. I “should” be outside weeding and planting, but soon, I will be…determined to get the bulbs planted.

    I’m still working my way through the comments. It just lifts me up to know that We Women have so much love to spread around. My wonderful step daughter sends her kindergarteners off with summer things as did Betty Stevenson, even with the grief from the loss of her sister, she gave those little charges her love..

    Mucho love to you, too, Susan,
    Debbie….so happy in Maine!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Good Debbie! Oh my goodness, no cast, that’s a great way to start! I also got a plate in my wrist when I broke it, and my cast was removable. Otherwise, I was told, your limb or foot or whatever is trapped, and as the saying goes, use it or lose it! Gets you well faster! What bulbs are you planting? xoxoxo

      • Debbie Boerger says:

        Not really bulbs, but they have to be dug up in Fall and re-planted. Dahlias. At least I don’t have as many as a good friend here. She went into dahlia delirium. She planted almost 100. I also split a few of the corms (Is that the term?) on some peonies. Want them in a different place. I want, want, want, but Tom may be the one do, do, doing!! He’s so wonderful!!

        I just love the lily of the valley, and I want to transfer a bunch. Aren’t they just magical? Love ya! D.

  25. Kisha says:

    Love all the new tea cups especially the Autumn one!!!

  26. Lori says:

    I would love to win a cup. I purchased the first 3 and adore them. Will be buying MV for my friend that lives there. Your blog is keeping me sane… husband surprised me with a Golden Retriever puppy 4 weeks ago. I’ll have lots of cleaning out to do myself when she is a bit older. I’ll look to your blog for inspiration. Thank you.

  27. Darlene Messina says:

    Love my new mug! I also bought one for my sister’s birthday. My favorite in the new series is the Martha’s Vineyard mug. I too am decluttering and ridding my nest of unneeded things. It does feel so good to have organization and some white space.

  28. carolyn mason says:

    love my nature cup and cant wait for the bluebird!! thanks so much for you lovely art work and blog.

  29. Ivannia Diaz says:

    Dear Susan, I love reading your blog. De-cluttering is a must nowadays. We are surrounded by so much information and things. We have to choose those that make us grow as human beings. Sending you hugs and love from Germany.

  30. Sharon from CA says:

    So glad to see I’m not the only one that struggles with letting go of things. Seems that Everything has special memories. Thought when I retired almost two years ago that there would be plenty of time to get organized but now with overseeing elderly family members, life gets overwhelming at times. This latest blog was an inspiration for me to keep at it.

    • sbranch says:

      It actually feels good as you work through it, although daunting when looked at as a whole. xoxo

  31. Jeanette says:

    Your cups are adorable.

  32. Nancy Ross says:

    Hello Susan ~ Congratulations on a job well done with the cleaning project!
    Just wanted to let you know that I made your blueberry cobbler recipe yesterday (and 2 weeks ago) that I’ve had for years from the June 1990 issue of Country Living. I’ve made this recipe many times when blueberries are in season and it’s a perfect, easy dessert. I thank you ~ Nancy

  33. Auntie Nettie says:

    Inspiring words and art as ever. Thanks for the inspiration! (And the temptation – oh, that Vineyard cup … oh, the art … oh, how I miss the sea!)

  34. Sheri Bodi says:

    I look so forward to your Willards:) I am trying to go by “if it doesn’t bring you joy” then pass it on, however, it is a process!! Your mugs are all beautiful and I would love to sip my tea from any one of them! Thank you for your inspirational quotes and lovely art <3

  35. Laurie says:

    Just love all the cups!!

  36. Sheron Fitch says:

    I love your new cups! I will be ordering one to drink my delicious South African Rooibos tea from.

  37. Melissa says:

    Oh fun, a giveaway! Thank you!

  38. Betsy Stevenson says:

    Dearest Susan and Charissa, Thank you from the very bottom of my ❤ for your kindness towards me as I struggle to find my way without my precious only sister. I so loved being her big sis and your thoughtfulness means alot to me. I will keep your words and sweet wisdom in mind as I face moving forward to bring much needed order to my house. XOXO!

  39. sharon taylor says:

    Hi Susan, Just read your blog on purging, de-cluttering and organizing. What a wonderful feeling when it’s all done. This suggestion may be too late. Several years ago we moved and I knew that I wouldn’t be opening some of the boxes. So as I packed I wrote down everything that was in that box and then numbered the box. The boxes were put away until ready to be unpacked. My husband desperately wanted something to give to our grandson and I went to the computer and found it in box 14. He was so impressed!!! Anyway enjoy your space. Your Canadian friend, Sharon

  40. queenmum says:

    Would SOOOOO love to win a new mug for my afternoon tea!

  41. Terrie Trebilcock says:

    What an inspiration! As a teacher, the only real time I have to declutter is Summer. So this letter was the first step in firing up to clean out the boys’ rooms, my own closet, kitchen cupboards……
    Thank you, and happy summer!

  42. Patricia says:

    I love your cups but can’t afford them – being a senior on a small fixed income I have to set priorities. Housing, food, cat food – cups, I’m sorry don’t fit in any category. If I win this cup I would sit in the mornings looking out over my tiny front garden sipping tea, with a pretty lady kitty sitting on the table watching the birds who come close to tease her sitting on the bushes outside the window – So fingers crossed as I send this comment off to you.

  43. Audrey Waite says:

    Oh the decluttering! I started last year when my husband died and I had to move because without his income I could no longer afford our dream home. I swear he saved every scrap of paper so I’m still emptying boxes. I took a car load of books to the local library for their book sale but I still have lots of books and many quilt books and fabric. I thought of buying another bookcase but then told myself it would be better to have fewer books! I have a walk-in closet of fabric which you cannot walk into because there are baskets and boxes of fabric on the floor! I’m going on a retreat to make quilts for the needy, for children in stressful situations, for the elderly and just for fun. It hardly puts a dent in the fabric collection I have. I can relate to your situation!

  44. Deb B says:

    Such an inspiring post! I now hear my drawers, cupboards and closets calling out to me. I love all your cups….and how exciting to have new designs several times a year!

  45. Lynette Morley says:

    How beautifully lucky we are to have you!!! You make the world right again.

  46. Sheri says:

    I love the new Christmas mug! Off to pre-order that. And thanks for sharing your cleaning process. It was fun to see the view from where you do your beautiful work!

  47. Elda S. says:

    Thank you Susan, for inspiring me to do some spring cleaning of my own!
    I love all the mugs, they are beautiful. Happy Summer!

  48. Patty Flanagan says:

    What a beautiful post !
    I still treasure all my paper copies of Willard and vividly remember the feeling of seeing it arriving in my mailbox.
    Yet, I can’t deny that this version has its charm, especially with the little videos throughout.

    LOVE the cups and since I missed The Little Things one, I’d obviously love to win it !

  49. Kathy G. says:

    It’s always a cup of tea for me to read your blogs. I see you enjoy African Violets too; there were some showing up in your first pictures in this blog.
    Yeah….for all the cleaning you’ve been doing. It does help to clean out.
    p.s. pull my name for the mug!

  50. Anne Hegg says:

    Somehow this blog got buried! I, too, have been sorting and unpiling as we move to a new house, our last house! A big job! But I would have room for one more mug!

  51. Judi Davis says:

    Oh, I would love the “love” cup! I asked my poor husband if he would get it for me for Mother’s Day and he waited too long to order it so they were all sold out. He felt so bad, but I forgave him. 🙂

  52. Joanie W, Sanford, FL says:

    Love my new Little Things mug so much!! I pre-ordered the Bluebird of Happiness mug and can’t wait for it. I love all your work! Thank you, Susan, for making our world happier, prettier and a nicer place to live.

  53. Lois Rehm says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thanks for the pep talk on de-cluttering. I’m trying to apply the “joy” test to items but find some “on the cusp” so remove them from the discard pile–at least temporarily. Decisions, decisions.
    Your inspiring words and actions are a balm for me in this uncertain time in our nation’s history. May God bless and keep you safe and well. Your light shines in many a household!
    With love and thanks,
    Lois from Westchester

  54. melissa zoe says:

    Hi Susan what a nice blog it’s always fun to declutter from time to time and find treasures you’d forgotten about I love your yard and garden and Jack is wonderful I have 3 cats myself and they’re all characters have a wonderful summer

  55. Angie says:

    Was that motivation or what? Spring cleaning done right. I am inspired.

  56. Sharon Bader says:

    I love to purge and re-organize my house lots of times throughout the year. It feels so wonderful to have the house “lightened”! Thanks for your inspiring words!

  57. Marge says:

    Susan you have inspired me to start decluttering! When I need a break from this difficult task I enjoy my favorite Fortnum & Mason tea in your newly designed china cups ( I bought two – In Love With Nature & Little Things) that arrived in the mailbox. Oh, I love them! Should I be the lucky winner I will gift them to girlfriends. ☺️

  58. It took me a while to be able to sit and read your post, but it was worth the wait. Thank you for being real with us and sharing your mess. It helps to know others have the same problem with “stuff.” I’m glad you were able to get so much done.

  59. Susan says:

    Am I too late to sign up for the cups drawing, Susan? I’d love the one about being made into a child again, just for a short time! Any, however, would be so wonderful. With so many people leaving names, I would imagine chances are slim but thought I’d try. Love your calendars, cups, blog, everything! Susan

  60. Sandy R says:

    Susan, your blog is sunshine on a cloudy day ! Thank you so very much !

  61. Gloria Shone says:

    Hi Susan, my sister Darlene said I needed to read your blog right away so I did. We went on a little trip and I came home inspired to do what you are doing. I am definitely on the slow track, but things are getting done. I find it fun to work on different projects each day with no accountability. I have had the ugliest bench in front of my front door for years now awaiting its transformation. I stopped even seeing it years ago. It will happen! Good luck with the rest of your purge.

    Darlene got me one of your mugs for my birthday. Would love another…
    Gloria Shone , your Denver gf

  62. Wendy says:

    I am doing the same thing! Decluttering! It is very freeing and delicious 😋

  63. Terrie in Atlanta, GA says:

    Sweet Sue ~ what a lovely post! The mini-video of Jack playing in the water was hilarious. What will the two of you think of next? I also loved seeing the first SB-designed mugs. They look just like YOU! I’ve shopped online and emailed your kind elves when I couldn’t find the Bridgewater collections. They hinted that more goodies were in the works, but I must’ve missed your cute first batch. Ask Vanna to add me to her (rather large) crystal bowl, please and thank you? And I will be sure to check your shop more regularly. Love and Thanks, with comfort and musica 🎶 sent to your darling mama. ~ Terrie from Atlanta, GA XoXo

  64. Brenda Gail says:

    I have one & love it! It is my new favorite mug for my morning tea’

  65. Carla Ludwig says:

    Oh my goodness, you have been a busy lady! I give you credit…..organization is something that just overwhelms me, but oh does it feel good when you are done!! Your yard is looking just beautiful…..Joe’s hard work is paying off too. Have a beautiful weekend!

  66. Lisa says:

    Hi Susan!

    I really loved this article. First, I can’t wait for your Autumn mug! I really liked seeing how you design them on paper.

    Second, I loved seeing the end results of your hard work of house organization. Since we recently moved to California from Pennsylvania, we let go a lot of things in our lives too. I also took pictures of the things we loved. Furniture, stuff our kids owned…but we tried to keep only the things we just couldn’t live without. And books. Oh, my boxes of books are the bane of our moving issues! But after our move, I decided to sell what I can of what I will never use again, and donate the remainder to the library. This will leave me with a pared down library of only books that I use, and books that I love because of their information, but mostly if they are cozy or charming those will be keepers!

    I also loved your personal family letters. Thank you for sharing those. They made me think of the letters my Grandma and I used to write to one another. Aren’t Grandmas grand?!

    I love you Susan! ❤


  67. Susanb says:

    Jack’s video is adorable! So are are the new mugs. The giveaway is great, I always cross all my fingers and toes! 🙂 I am enjoying my mugs. I put hooks under my cabinets and hung them to keep them on display. I so enjoy looking at them.

  68. JeNae says:

    Oh, your mugs are darling and just beg for a fresh cup of tea! I’m off to preorder one of the Autumn ones but I would love to receive one of these!

    Blessings, JeNae

  69. Becky from Illinois says:

    Loved the quote about “every home needs a grandma” as I head out this evening for grandma duty with 3 grandsons… it’s a sleepover grandma style!

  70. valerie says:

    I’m doing some organizing too. One of the items on my list is to make sure that all my pins for Susan branch on my pinterest page leads back to one of Susan’s pages and not just a photo.

  71. Marisa in Florida says:

    Oh, I must have a mug. Please choose me, please, please, pretty please!

  72. Sheila says:

    You’ve inspired me to do some spring cleaning too! And how I love the white space that I now have in my bookcase. There is a perfect spot for one of your lovely new china cups!

  73. Gail says:

    Lovely cups!
    Oh, to be organized! It is so much easier to enjoy what one has when it is arranged in a sensible manner.

  74. Janet says:

    Great give away. I just Love the cups.

  75. Kelly says:

    I was so excited to see that you had posted a new blog. These make my day. I received my beautiful mugs and have already placed my pre-order for the new ones.

  76. Rebecca Sanchez says:

    Thank you for inspiring me to start my spring cleaning and a job well done on yours.
    Those are the most beautiful mugs!

  77. Lori says:

    Simply beautiful !! Enjoying summer on the plains as well. Your mugs are adorable 🙂

  78. Mary Lindeblad says:


    Love your blog posts and especially related to the recent one about decluttering. My passion at the moment is to give away a minimum of 25 objects each week starting March 1. It’s not that hard! Books, clothing, dishes, etc. are leaving my house to be shared with some other soul. I’m not sure how to do it, but will try to send you a picture of my kitchen shelf which features your cookbooks. (None of those are to be shred!) Wish me luck!

  79. Christine Schiesswohl says:

    Just love seeing the teapots all ready for a party. And the wonderful mugs are just so inviting to use and sip from. Love, love, love your blog.

  80. Gloria Dyer says:

    Happy Spring Susan, you are our sunshine and our warmth sitting by a fire in the winter. What ever you write about it brings comfort, inspiration and compassion. Please don’t stop !! So I’m off to do some spring cleaning 😊💕. When I win, surprise me with any one of your beautiful cups.💕

  81. Anne says:

    Beautiful mugs! Thanks for sharing and for a chance to win. ♡

  82. Rachel Ramos says:

    What a wonderful day today is! First, I am on cloud nine today.
    See, we just found out yesterday (after a long three months) that our 10 year old grand-daughter will not be having surgery on a tumor on the back of her knee! And, the tumor is benign!!!! The best next thing is to see this contest. If i was selected, i would give it to her , as she shares the love of tea parties and all things tea! Thank you

  83. Rachel Ramos says:

    What a wonderful day today is! First, I am on cloud nine today.
    See, we just found out yesterday (after a long three months) that our 10 year old grand-daughter will not be having surgery on a tumor on the back of her knee! And, the tumor is benign!!!! The best next thing is to see this contest. If i was selected, i would give it to her , as she shares the love of tea parties and all things tea! Thank you very much!

    • sbranch says:

      Like the best Christmas EVER! SO happy for you Rachel!!!!

      • Rachel Ramos says:

        Sorry, I accidentally submitted my comment twice. But yes, like the best Christmas EVER! We are so super happy! P R A Y E R S answered 🙂

  84. Paula says:

    Thankful for you my friend.
    Created and filled with qualities that have meant so much to me.
    XOXO !!

  85. Patti Hespell says:

    I want to go through your trash! 🙂

  86. SANDY AMBROSE says:



  87. JoyceG says:

    You’ve inspired me to dive into my sewing/craft room and make major headway – I can barely turn around in there, let alone work!!
    I’d love to win a new mug – I bet my morning coffee would taste all the better contained in all that loveliness!

  88. Candice says:

    Dear Susan,
    So inspiring. I can’t wait to do the same with my house. Soon. Very soon. Would love one of your cups!

  89. Vicki says:

    I love the mugs! Hope I win! 🙂

  90. Catherine Hamer says:

    Good afternoon, Susan. I wanted to write you a quick note to let you know I am thoroughly enjoying reading Isle of Dreams, AGAIN. In fact my book club has read all three of your recent books. And, some of us in the book club are in the midst of planning our own Fine Romance Trip with our husbands next year. I especially love the way you share with your readers your own struggles. We all move through valleys and mountaintops of life and “we are more than conquerors.” . Thank you for writing your beautiful books! We are blessed!

    • sbranch says:

      You are a doll to tell me Catherine, that’s just what I hoped for.💞 xoxoxo Thank you.

  91. Darlene North says:

    Love all your cups. Please enter my name in your drawing Thank You for the chance.
    Darlene N

  92. Meg Cooper says:

    Your cups are so pretty! I really love the bird.

  93. Rachel Wheeley says:

    Oh, I’d love to win a cup!

  94. Mary says:

    Your blog’s are always so cozy, calming, and heartwarming!

  95. Betts Russell says:

    I love your blog,your books,your drawings,your heart,your musica,your sense of humor and the way you love your home and family!!!! We are truly kindred spirits!!! I wish we could sit down for tea together and chat about all things England!!!! It has been my dream to get there all my life….I am 65 now and still dreaming!!! I sent my pewter heart paperweight with my daughters friends who were going to sing in London….and asked them to drop it near a lovely English garden so that a part of my heart could be there until I got there!!! That makes me so happy knowing its there somewhere….I dream about who may have found it and where it could be now!!!!!!! I’m sure it’s very happy!!!!!!💕

  96. Sally Hurst says:

    Your posts are always my favorite thing to read of all the blogs I follow! My friend gave me you ‘Isle of Dreams’ and cookbook and I was hooked! Your tea cups are so charming and I’d love to win one,

  97. Sherry says:

    Love the inspiration to clean out. Whenever I do this though I do find that months later, now that I know where they are and have disposed of them…I have an exact purpose or event they would fit. And the item unique enough they no longer make it. Do you ever run into this?
    Love all your cups! Even the mockups are winsome!

  98. Kathy Cronberg says:

    I love your cups!! And I loved the video of Jack with the water faucet! Our cat, Goober, loves shower water. She stands by the shower, and talks and talks until we turn it on for just a couple seconds. Sometimes she likes to go in the shower and lick the water, and sometimes she just wants to watch the shower run, so then she keeps talking while I turn it on and off for her. I’ve been trying to get a video of her, but she hasn’t cooperated so far.

  99. Marie in Santa Clarita, CA says:

    Susan, I thought you’d like to know I gave your lovely “Gratitude” book to each of my three daughters-in-law for Mothers Day, and they all love it!

  100. Janice says:

    I love all of them, but the upcoming Autumn mug is my favorite!

Comments are closed.