It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t start this post with the romantic beauty of June . . .

Our first peony of the season bloomed just in time for the tea party!  The sun did come out and shone softly all day, it was barely 70 degrees, a fairytale day! ~ we could open all the doors and windows and let the sea breezes in, and have our tea on the picnic table under the arbor ~ it couldn’t have been more perfect.

Our tea had the perfect amount of sweetness! I don’t know if I can fit all my spring fever joyousness in one post ~ my teacup runnethed over!

But before we go to the party . . . Vanna is standing here, drumming her pink tapered fingernails on my art table, waiting for me to pay attention to her . . . she has a tennis date with some guy who’s out there waiting in the driveway (in a yellow convertible Porsche, of course) next to my studio window under the rhododendron, sunglasses on, looking at his phone, with his MUSICA blaring . . . he even looks a little like Bobby Darin. Where does she find these guys? I think they find her!

One of our Girlfriends (in a comment) asked if Vanna was at the tea party yesterday ~ the answer is yes and no.  She came for a moment ~ she never stays, just long enough to show off her summer frock (pink dotted swiss), her tan shoulders, her long mermaid-like arms, her full skirt and narrow belt, her silver and pink sandals, ~ she twirled for us, grabbed one of the heart-shaped tea sandwiches, and ran off carrying the widest brimmed straw hat I’ve ever seen, the satin ribbons from it fluttering in the wind, on her way to the “beach club for Pimm’s cups” . . . We love seeing her, especially we love talking about her after she’s gone.  This time it was about that heart ring on her finger. Wow is what we were saying. Was it from Bobby? We don’t know . . . could have been from Ken Doll (because I know for sure it came from the Toy Box here on the Island).

So here we go . . . Right now is my favorite part of our Giveaways, the moment between the known and the unknown, the past and the future, right now while everyone is still a winner. BUT, that has to change, we have to choose a name, we must have one very special lucky winner! Our vat, made specially to hold the thousands of tiny bits of paper, each with one of your names on it, is filled to the brim, and Vanna is ready, perched on top of my art table, polished toes curled over the edge ~ and up-up-up she goes (we have very high ceilings!), almost stopping in mid-air, then over into a swan dive, and down down down she goes ~ streaming into the vat ~ she’s gone! Scissor-kicking in a whirling dervish of little papers, flying around the room now, like the feathers after a pillow fight.  La, la, la, . . . let’s see, while we’re waiting . . . have I ever shown you the house where Vanna grew up (that is, where she would probably have grown up if she was actually real)???? You have to see this, it explains a lot.

 That’s her bedroom, the front left corner of the pink house on the second floor. See that tree on the left? By the time she was ten she was reading in it, cradled in the branches, hidden in the leaves, at thirteen she began crawling out her window and climbing down that tree, singing Tammy, Tammy, Tammy’s in Love 🎵 ~ she has a real thing about freedom . . . off to the party even then. I love this girl. Joie de vivre personified.

And here she comes, clutching between thumb and first finger, one small fluttering tissue slip that she actually just pulled out of the air, one of the little floating feathers . . . oh so serendipitous! And the name is . . . ready? Okay, here we go . . . the name is . . .

MARJIE COLLINS ~ But, there’s a twist . . .  Marjie entered for her Mom, so the actual winner is MARJIE COLLINS’S MOTHER!

Congratulations *Lucky Marjie* and hugs to your *mom,* I’m so happy for you both 💞 … I’ll email you soon, and you can let me know which mug you choose, and where to send it!

And to everyone else who entered, I have to tell you, your comments are just too much. 💖So sweet and thoughtful, you make me laugh, you make me cry, and I just want to thank you for taking the time to say hello and share your lives, not only with me, but with each other.👏 You are truly an amazing group of wonderful people. I wob you! 💞

So, are you ready? Shall we go to a tea party?

So here we are, as promised, on our first really lovely sunny day, under the arbor built so many years ago by the creative man who lived here before us, Mr. Bowditch, the handy man, doctor, husband, and father of four I never met, who took such good care of this old house.  Not such a complicated structure for how much pleasure it has brought us, it holds up roses and twinkle lights and lets the stars shine through on summer nights . . . he and Mrs. Bowditch called it the Teahouse of the Vineyard Moon.

And it’s not raining! How did we get so lucky!? My favorite part, setting the table, and putting out soft pillows for the girlfriend hineys ~ always a good thing . . .❤️

I did a really simple menu . . . The tiny new potatoes were so perfect at the market, I decided to roast them with fresh rosemary . . .

They were so photogenic I had to keep taking pictures, and then I couldn’t choose which photos to show you, so I narrowed it down to only three! Pardon my enthusiasm. But cute is cute!

Cute! I rolled them in olive oil, salted and peppered them, and put them in a hot 425 degree oven, shaking the pan every so often until they were soft and cooked through . . .

I haven’t done this in so long, create a party, my girlfriends give lovely parties all the time, but I’ve been away . . . it is SO my turn, and I am loving every moment of it . . . windows open, music on . . . 

After the potatoes cooled a bit, I cut off the tops (saving them to fry up for breakfast), hollowed them out a little, added a speck of butter into each hollow along with a bit of the roasted rosemary ~ and put them in the fridge. Before serving, I put them back in the hot oven to crisp up the skins . . .

Then filled them with sour cream and sprinkled them with snipped chives and served them warm.

I decided to make filled eggs instead of egg salad sandwiches . . . something else for those who don’t touch bread. It’s my recipe from Vineyard Seasons ~ egg yolks (with two extra yolks), minced red onion, minced celery, sweet pickle relish, celery seed, a few drops of Tobasco Sauce, freshly ground pepper, and just enough mayonnaise to bind, keeping the filling nice and thick and yellow and piling it high . . .

We had an emergency while I was cooking . . . giant black ants all over the built-in breadboard ~ I pulled it out and they were everywhere, even in the back of the cupboard!  Yikes . . . Joe went after them and saved the day as usual. My hero. A small reward appeared on the counter in front of him. 💖

I decorated the plate with chives . . . And into the refrigerator they went. I love, when I’m cooking, to “have to” go to the garden to get things, like chives and rosemary . . . I grab my scissors ~ it’s the perfect break while my hero is splayed out on the kitchen floor dealing with the ants, to go out and see the birds splashing in the birdbath.

But first, we need mas MUSCIA, don’t we? I’ll turn it up loud so we can hear it in the garden ~ and out the screen door we go! These are the same chive plants I put in the ground when Joe built my picket fence garden back in the 1990s! They are such a miracle . . . so faithful . . . They come back every year, they make flowers all spring which you can put into salads, and they taste delicious. Get some for your garden. They’re good for you, they look lovely planted next to roses, and help protect them from bugs. Totally win-win!

I just planted the marigolds, but thyme, oregano (golden), and cat mint are like chives and come back every year . . . Jack adores catmint. I bring him some branches from the garden and he rolls on them in pure delight.

We needed carnations in our garden, they smell so good! My garden isn’t big, in fact that’s the glory of it, small and easy for me to keep . . . this year it’s filled with hollyhocks, peonies, foxgloves, English daisies and lots of other cottage-garden flowers that go good with our old house … and to eat, besides herbs,  there’s rhubarb that’s gone by, but the strawberry patch is blooming with flowers and berries ~ we’ll have them for breakfast soon, my tomatoes are in and caged, and we have a couple of potato plants coming up. Cucumbers and peppers are next. Fresh picked herbs and veggies, from our own little garden into the house for dinner, who could ask for more?

Here’s our picket-fence garden from an upstairs window of the house. We’re not in charge of the whole world, but we are in charge of this! Just getting started, but ahhh spring!

Back in the house where my shadow awaits.

Time to melt the bittersweet chocolate . . . I dipped the strawberries, then put them on waxed paper and into the fridge so the chocolate could harden.

I took off the stems so everyone could just pop the strawberries into their mouths . . . and we did!

Lowely brought cucumber sandwiches, I made curried chicken and walnut sandwich fingers and heart-shaped crunchy peanut butter and cherry jam . . .

. . . with red grapes, like 2nd grade . . .

And lemon rosemary cookies . . .

Here we are, almost 4 pm, and everything is ready!

A pitcher of iced lemon water and glasses . . .

… are on the bench next to the picnic table near the luv-lee wildflowers . . .

And on the other side of the bench, the “twine” part of the tea party . . . a bucket of ice and a pitcher of Cosmopolitans with lime wedges . . .

I hear the pitter-patter of little feet . . .

Annie brought the two amazing cakes, an old English recipe for almond jam cake (she surrounded with chive flowers), and a moist lemon loaf, both gluten-free and both totally delicious!

She also came with her adorable purse which I had to show you. That is thick brown satin that the shimmery disks are sewn to . . . It wouldn’t be so hard for a person to make one of these!

While everyone helped taking things out to the picnic table, I poured the tea . . . There were two kinds,  one with caffein and one without . . . first, my favorite, my  private blend of roses, lavender and Earl Grey loose-leaf tea, which I even took to England with me I love it so much (coals to Newcastle), the one I drink every day with honey and milk . . .

. . . and another of my own tea concoctions . . . Fairy Tale Tea ~ camomile, cornflowers and lemon verbena . . . loose tea that looks like a woodland floor but tastes soft and gentle and puts a person directly into ommmmm. Which is good, under blue skies, with the birds, among the green things growing. 🌿

Come and get it! Pinkies-up, Girlfriends!

Photos came to total stop as eating and talking commenced!  While we ate we talked about everything that really matters . . . . . . what we’re planting in our gardens this year and how to get the infestation of tiny black caterpillars off our roses (if you would have told the 17-year-old me that someday I would pick up caterpillars with my bare hands, or crush aphids with my naked fingers, I would never have believed you! Eeew! But I do. It’s cheaper than spraying, better for the earth, and way more dependable! And now I know I’m not the only one who does it!). We heard about Jaime’s cat that won’t stop wandering into town, everyone on Main Street knows Jaime’s cat! There’s a new Asian restaurant in town (yay) ~ we talked about what we’re reading and how we’re living with TV news  ~ having inquiring minds, we do want to know, but we don’t enjoy being driven insane with world news that is more like a soap opera than news (Jaime told us about a website she found called Snopes ~ it checks facts and rumors for truth or not truth, proven or not proven. They fact-check political stories of course, but not just that ~ it’s everything!  Such as, was there really a 3,000 pound great white shark caught in the Great Lakes as reported? Or, does cooking with aluminum foil cause Alzheimers? Even the origins of Memorial Day ~ everything, and you can put in your own questions!) ~ we talked about what we’re working on ~ besides being tea drinkers, travelers, readers, cooks, and gardeners, we’re a bunch of painters (➡️ Margot at work), caterers, mothers, grandmothers, and housekeepers. We know our way around each other’s homes almost as well as we know our own. Wendy (on the left in the photo above, wearing turquoise) is our friend who is moving away to South Carolina, so we heard all about the house she and her husband are going to build, and that she’ll be keeping a studio here on the Island and not cutting her ties. Wendy is the woman who did our “colors” a few years ago … remember that post? (If not, you can read about it HERE) . . . she has actually changed our lives and has given us inspiration along with hours of conversation and connection we might not have had without her. This was a thank you, good-bye party . . .

Lynne sent this photo to me this morning, it might be the only picture taken from the other side of the table. What am I praying for NOW? I don’t know. Just grateful, I’m sure. To have such wonderful old friends. That’s Carol ~ she’s probably telling me about her grandchild that’s on the way, Jaime’s next to me, and that’s Margot on the right, being thoughtful and serious, likely solving some world problem, which they should just let her do, she is so creative.💖

In the heart of the home, Smallville as my dad would call it, where we have tea parties, seed the lawn, pick the bugs off the roses, wish on stars (when we can find them), watch for the moon, and where, on the good days, if we’re lucky, hardly anything happens at all.

S O U L   S O O T H I N G

Doing the dishes . . .

With a little help from my friend . . .

So now the party is over, and reality is back, and look at this mess. BUT, darling people, this hideousness is the BEFORE picture . . . check it out now . . .

Is this scary or what?  SO neat and tidy, I don’t recognize myself. I’m not done either, this is my vision for the whole house ~ but I wanted to give you an update. My studio is heaven, simplicity central, but filling up (invisibly) with ideas for new projects even as we speak. I’m working with a new company on making the little teapot plate . . . it’s always a bit time-consuming when you first start a new project with folks you haven’t dealt with before, but we’re working on it. All our mocked-up cups for Fall and Christmas, the Bluebird and the Island cup, are being made right this minute! Thank you for the preorders . . . we’ll know how many to order because of YOU! 💝 And thank you for all the cup “reviews” in your comments!  Things taste better in small houses, and in big cups!

And one last thing before I go.

There is a wonderful summer tradition on Martha’s Vineyard that’s been going on every year since 1979. It’s an auction Joe and I have attended many times because it’s not just any auction, it’s called Possible Dreams ~ and you can learn more about it HERE (turn up the volume!).  Bidders have a choice of a whole array of amazing donations that are otherwise not for sale anywhere . . . from behind the scenes trips to movie studios, to original art by famous painters, a private dinner cooked by a prominent New York chef, vacations in a gorgeous house in Ireland, a sailboat ride with a famous singer, fishing trips with well-known local fishermen, every imaginable thing, and every year the dreams are all different, and all the money goes to support the Island Community Services. And even if you don’t bid on a single star-studded thing, as you can see, the party under the white tent is fabulous. Funny, fun, a lovely summer’s-day thing to do. Tickets are $25 and there’s a raffle too. SO, just in cases you are going to be on the Island on Sunday, July 30th, there will be many truly exciting dreams to choose from and make your own ~ oh, and P.S., guess who else will have a dream in this year’s event? Oh yeah. Moi. How much fun is that!? I’m so honored to be asked 💓.Here’s what will be written in this year’s Possible Dreams program:

Welcome to the Heart of the Home and an Afternoon with Susan Branch. The lucky bidder on this item, along with three guests of their choice, will tour the working studio of author Susan Branch in her 163-year-old whaling captain’s “House of Creativity.” See the writings and art from her handwritten and watercolored books come to life as Susan shares with you what inspired her illustrated diaries and how to create your own. She will cook for you, a seasonal lunch with delicious recipes from her cookbooks ~ the venue will be your choice depending on the time of year: experience a picnic in Susan’s garden, enjoy a kitchen-table tea party, or eat in front of a crackling fire. And today, because Susan is a big believer in the concept of instant gratification, our winner will take home this delightful vintage basket that includes an antique quilt from Susan’s own collection, one of Susan’s collectible bone china cups made in Staffordshire England, her 2018 wall calendar, and signed copies of her books, A Fine Romance, Falling in Love with the English CountrysideMartha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams, and Heart of the Home.

I’ll put all of these things into an old basket for the day. And between you and me, the books all have my bookmarks in them, the painted ones I use when I do my art. I don’t know if they will take call-in bids ~ I suppose you could call and ask, never hurts to do that! I do know there will be a huge silent auction. I hope some of you can make it!

So here we are this morning, in the House of Creativity at first light . . . all quiet on the Eastern Front, just me, Jack, tea and a silently humming house . . . and YOU.

The garden hasn’t felt the light yet . . .

One last deep dive into the peony before we go, ahhhhh . . . bye for now, Girlfriends, as far as I’m concerned, you are ALL winners. xoxoxo

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  1. Lucia Donahower says:

    Thank you Susan! You are right Shirley Temple is a very appropriate name, indeed!
    Have a wonderful week!
    Lucy in California

  2. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    what a beautiful tea party. Did you make the tiered serving plate? Looks like it is made from tea cups and saucers. hmmm very creative from the house of creativity 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I didn’t make it, it was a gift, and came with that little plant on the top. But it would be so easy to do! When I go to thrift stores, there are always tons of mismatched plates and cups that would make a darling tea plate. Get some good glue and voila! You could even look for Christmas plates or something like that!

      • Joy Pence from Ohio says:

        What a thoughtful gift to bring to a tea party!!
        I think depression glass would look really pretty too. I am going to have to do some thrift store shopping 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          I adore depression glass, pink and green and yellow! And white too!

          • Judy Young says:

            I once found an old cardboard box at a garage sale under a table, inside were seven big dinner plate size pink depression glass plates, there were bowls and cups and saucers, seven of each! All for the mere price of $7. I was so excited, but had to keep a straight face! I think I skipped to the car (maybe in my mind, the box was heavy!)

          • sbranch says:

            LOL! Keeping a straight face! I totally understand. Before they stop you at the door! Yes, this old raggedy box of stuff, I’ll get that out of your way! Good for you Judy!

  3. Rene Marie Foust says:

    It sounds and looks like heaven!

  4. Barb Urbank(from Ohio) says:

    Contrats to Marjie, especially to her mother on winning the mug. Thanks for posting the pictures of preparation and of your tea party, love seeing those! Nice you did get to have it outside under the arbor, so beautiful there. Maybe our weather will be more summer like soon, of course it’s not summer yet but I’m ready for it, too much rain lately. We tend to get ants every summer in our kitchen. First big black ones, then tiny ones, they come in around the sink cabinet area. I usually put out a poison trap(sorry ants) but don’t know how else to discourage them. When it’s rainy, it’s worse. I put it up at the back of the sink out of the way of our dog. My hubby used to spray outside but can’t do that either now. Certainly don’t want anything else harmed. The peonies are beautiful. The first house we lived in when first married had peonies. I remember they did seem to attract ants, so maybe that’s why I never planted them where we live now. We did finally get the vegetable garden in and had good rain after so it’s well watered. You mentioned Snopes; I’ve used it many times to check credibility on something I’ve read or heard. I’ve had people just forward emails to me with supposed “facts” in them without even checking if it had a grain of truth. Hope your week is going well, enjoy our wonderful weather and I will say goodbye till next time.❤

    • sbranch says:

      Me too, I get those same emails. Some are totally crazy. I check with Snopes, then breathe a sigh of relief. No green moon men stealing babies from hospitals, Yay! Still some folks don’t like Snopes because they would rather believe what they believe no matter what truths are presented. Here’s another fact-checker … PolitiFact …. this site won the Pulitzer Prize for its fact-checking! But it’s more for politics ~ doesn’t get in to the 3,000 pound land sharks or the moon men! Inquiring minds do want to know! xoxo Barb.

  5. Anne Luther says:

    Your possible dream entry sounds amazing. I wish you would offer it to a small group of your followers bi annually. I did a three day session very much like this, stayed in a hotel, with Anna Corba in Sonoma, a few years ago and it was a trip of a lifetime. Recently I joined 19 others and went to Beatrice Wood’s home in Ojai to work in her studio in clay and pencils and cook lunch in her kitchen from her recipes, something I will never forget. Will Susan B
    ranch be next? I hope so! I’ll sign up.

    • sbranch says:

      If I ever get Holly Oak back, I might just plan something like that there. I would love it! But our home is our home, which I love to share, but you know, I have Joe, and a kitty and a life that probably doesn’t want to turn into something else.💞

  6. Debby Rickett says:

    Thank you, Susan for including us in the tea party and all the fun preparations! The only word that comes to my mind is “lovely”. You are just lovely!! It is so funny reading about winning a day with you- I had a dream that was surprisingly very similar! I was there and ran into you in a store – and we spent the entire day together. One of my most favorite dreams! (you even took me to Holly Oak)!!!
    Hugs and more hugs to you!

  7. Beth from Iowa says:

    Hi Susan,

    We are currently getting ready for our annual summer party- pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, blue cheese/bacon coleslaw – and of course lots of cookies!!! We’re never quite sure how many will show – love our friends – but some are not great about RSVPing we just plan for a bunch and have leftovers.

    We use Snopes all of the time – my dh is an IT guy that has to be aware of cyber security – he found them long ago – they help explain why those free Disney trips are not legit!! We turn friends on facebook to them often. They might not believe us but maybe them???!

    Thanks again for another beautiful post!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Your party sounds like heaven! Your friends are lucky.🍉 Mmmm. Pulled pork sandwiches! Have fun. And yes Snopes, love it … even if I don’t like a truth, I would rather know it then walk around like a ding bat believing a lie, or even worse, spreading one.xoxo

  8. Karen from CT says:

    Oh no – I’m not the only one having trouble with those awful gypsy moth caterpillars all over my roses! I wasn’t sure what to do about that but I decided to follow your suggestion and even though it was SO disgusting- I did it anyway. I got my garden gloves on and went out there and just squished them. Bleh! Bleh! Double bleh! I sure hope I got them all because I really don’t want to do that again. I just couldn’t bear the thought of losing my beautiful roses – I just got them last year! And of course, there were aphids too… oof.
    That borax and sugar mix works good for ants – just a bottle cap full where they seem to come in and safely away from your pets. They carry it back to the nest. I wouldn’t put it outside because you only want to get rid of the ones coming in. Any ant minding its own business outside is fine -its best to keep poison out of the food chain.
    So thanks for your tip about the caterpillars – I thought of you the whole time I was doing it! LOL!

    • sbranch says:

      You are definitely not. This is my first year to get such an onslaught. We’ve been dealing with the green winter moth worms for the last 4 years, but this year, it’s the gypsy moth and boy are they ravenous! They will eat up a whole tree. You are doing the right thing. Fast and deadly and poison-free way to save those roses. Lovely lovely ant suggestion. Happy day Karen! xoxo

  9. Kerrie Foley says:

    Dear Susan, I SO enjoy reading your posts. I check for them so often and when you have a new one it’s like a wee little present every time!! I have been agonizing over the condition of my studio lately and it’s funny how gifts come to you as you need them… one of my biggest motivators was you and your beautiful bright studio which I go on your blog to look at (in the “About Me”) section for inspiration. I am a Pediatric nurse and I have worked in a special highly skilled nursing home for children with severe brain damage and disabilities for 29 years. I also paint with watercolors and pen and ink. Being a single mother of three meant that I didn’t have the money or the time to do things for me. Now, with my kids grown and happy and successful and 5 grandbabies I have finally decided it’s time. I am going to re-design and decorate my art studio. It was so wonderful to read your last blog about how you are cleaning out and re organizing your studio too!! I just kept saying YES!! YES I have clutter and stuff all over too!! I felt like I could have called you up and compared notes and we could have given each other great ideas over a nice mug of tea! As it is you have put the fire under me and I have decided to cut down to two 12 hour shifts a week in my nursing job and begin my journey in my studio on my other days. Keep your pictures coming! They are SO motivating!! I love your mug designs and your garden and the tea party was simply delicious! Thank you for being so much fun and sharing your wonderful blog. Give Jack a scritch from me and say hello to Joe. Much love, Kerrie

    • sbranch says:

      Good for you, Kerrie! Sounds just wonderful! And may I say, thank you for what you do.💞 The world needs more of you.👏 I’m glad to hear you’re taking time for yourself, you deserve it. xoxo

  10. Crystal says:

    Dear Sue, Sounds like your tea party was very lovely. Thanks for sharing the photos with us. Your prize in the auction sounds amazing, good for you.

  11. allison,violet crown says:

    thank-you for another lovely post-that teapot is delightful is it spode?

    • sbranch says:

      It doesn’t have any marks on the bottom, so I’m not sure what it is! Old, that’s for sure.

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

    Hello Susan, Girlfriends. a lovely tea, wish I could put one out in our yard, but I am terrified the gees and turkeys will attack the guests, or at least make a ton of noise to terrify anyone. ants sneaking, well thank heavens you didn’t get the visitors I had this weekend, 1 mouse ( and how it got past the cats I will never know) and 1 large icky looking spider… yuk!! gave me the creeps just looking at it, it was huge. the mouse sort of ran out once I opened up the front door, polite little thing really. the spider was caught in a very large mayo jar and disposed of very quickly… icky yuk!!! congrats to Marj and her mom for winning the teacup. I love that potato recipe, I can remember one summer back in San Diego we got up one morning to get our coffee and got the most awful surprise… instead of brewed coffee we got brewed ants… it was really nasty as the ants got in the coffee machine and ended up in the carafe along with the coffee….. took me a long while to enjoy a cup of coffee again. never will figure out how that happened. well we have one very broody hen, our Dominique hen is eggsitterin’ right now and clucking to her eggs, we have 2 very proud papa roosters strutting about the barnyard, which one we will never know is the father, but that’s life in the barnyard. she has been moved into the nursery to protect her eggs and her from the other hens and later on the baby chicks as the other hens could accidentally kill them. plus I have one last load of laundry to bring in off the line, and hopefully the turkeys will leave it alone. not to worry I have my broom handy just in case they don’t. well off to go start dinner preps, you all have a great evening. love much, laugh often and live well. hugs everyone… hugs….. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I had a bird attack our laundry yesterday, a fly-by, so to speak … one pillowcase got the brunt of it. I can’t IMAGINE what it would be like to have geese pulling it off the line! I laugh every time I read your comments!

      • pat addison ( cave junction, OR) says:

        its a bad habit the turkeys taught them… they just love to reach up and yank off a towel or sheet, whatever they can get, and drag it along in the dirt. guess they figure I need more to do. LOL!!!! 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, obviously they are not paying close attention to what you DO do!

          • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

            LOL!!! I guess not. I am wondering if they could be taught to sweep out the henhouse, feed the barnyard crowd, clean out and refill the water tubs, and container with fresh water and collect the eggs everyday!!!

          • sbranch says:

            Don’t forget to teach them how to pull the sheets out of the mud! And maybe do some curtain ironing!

          • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

            LOL!!! if only I could teach them that, maybe how to wash them as well… one can dream!! what I really need to do is teach them to stop doing that, thought the broom would help, maybe not… oh well I can keep trying. 🙂

  13. Barbara (from Virginia) says:

    In the photo from the other side of the table during your tea party…you put “What am I praying for NOW? I don’t know.”. Actually to me, you remind me of when a child is so delighted that they clasp their hands under their chin, close to their heart with joy and anticipation. I see both in your face and your gesture!

  14. Stephanie C says:

    Oh Susan, I think that is just the greatest thing ever, to win the auction bid and spend the day with you!!! I sure wish it could be me! I have admired you for many years and always will. Love the tea party! The food, the arbor, the ambiance, all pf it. Is there a deadline to order the cups? Don’t want to miss out. Thank you for always brightening my day:)

    • sbranch says:

      Oh thank you Stephanie, for your kind words . . . the new cups are in production, but only the decorated part . . . I hold off on giving them final numbers for our order until the last possible second so all our girlfriends have their order in, but after that, whatever those numbers are will be it. They need that number by June 15 in order to get the cups to us by August … we added about 200 of each cup to our last order, but were sold out before they got here and some of our girlfriends didn’t get them, which is not the way I’m trying to do this! So we’ll try to do better this time, and have extras. But it’s hard to know.

  15. Chris Hanna says:

    I have a quick question about the recipes in A Fine Romance. Because they are from your English friends I wasn’t sure if the cup measurements are Imperial or American cups?
    I’ve just read through the trilogy for the third (or maybe the fourth) time. What a inspirational read!

  16. Ann Y. says:

    Oh, it looks magical! So glad you had a good time preparing the tea and enjoying it with your friends. Reminded me of the teas ( here and at a lovely little tea room nearby) shared with my dearest college friends. We all ended up on the same floor and wing of a dorm. No computer assigning us back in 1973…we think it must have been an angel that pulled our cards from the pile and thought “these gals are going to be life long friends” and plopped us in the same building. Ever since then…through college, marriage, divorces, death of spouses, grandchildren, good times, bad times…we always get together. Today three of us are visiting a dear friend in the hospital and hoping for her recovery. She is a fighter, an artist, and she has such inner strength and faith…and she has us. Thank you for sharing photos of your wonderful day !

    • sbranch says:

      “And she has YOU.” Beautifully said, Ann. Who could ask for anything more . . . in any part of their lives, than the support and loyalty of good friends. The angels put you together. No doubt about it. Hugs to you all today. xoxoxo

  17. Shelley S. says:

    Oh my! I wish I could have joined you. I love your posts, such a nice alternate reality. Most enjoyable…so are reading the girlfriend’s comments.

    Reading that a bird attacked your laundry made me laugh out loud…not that it was a laughing matter. It reminds me of my darling late mother-in-law who once told me (as she was bringing her sheets in from the line) that a bird wanted to “buy her pillowcase”….as they had made a substantial “deposit” on them. She was so funny and never got flustered. (She survived the dust bowl days of the 30s)

    You really must do a tea party book. Hugs!


  18. Jules says:

    Lemon rosemary cookies sound fabulous. Gonna have to make some of those! Really, Susan, I just don’t know how you could ever leave your home for any length of time. It’s so beautiful and looks stuffed full of contentment. I find it incredibly difficult to leave my happy little home even just to go to work for the day. “There’s nothing like staying home for real comfort.” Right?

    • sbranch says:

      It’s never easy to go, it’s like the song, 🎶 If ever I would leave you, it couldn’t be in summer, seeing you in summer, I never could go 🎵. . . and every season is the same, no real good time to go. Joe and I tread very lightly on which season we give up when we go away. Last year we missed both spring and fall and only had one month of summer . . . this year we missed a month and a half of winter . . . so right now, we are breathing a very loud and happy sigh of enjoyment ~ because we are going nowhere at all!💞

  19. ashley (thepinkblonde) says:

    ohhhhhhhhhhh i’m going to imagine i’m vanna’s sister and i live in the yellow house next to her pink one…and it’s spring….none-o-those bare trees and i’m outta town on a whirlwind romantic getaway (to montana, OF COURSE!?!?) and vanna is gonna bid for me on that damn cute basket and i’m gonna win cuz i’m loaded….like in the movies! and it will be grand….like the lake of shining waters in anne of green gables! : ) what a fun auction…did you say where all the money goes? what a wonderful PRIZE!! make sure they get a photo with your kitty too!! many blessings!

    • sbranch says:

      Vanna would LOVE you for a neighbor! Right next door, in the yellow house! Yes, click on the link, listen to James Taylor sing while you read about where the money goes. 💞

  20. Peggy Willoughby says:

    Thank you for yet another blog that brings me peace and enjoyment. Love you tons. A young couple just moved into the house next door 3 days ago. They have pups too. One looks to be a puppy about as frisky as mine. I will take the time to meet them and chat after they settle in. I wish you lived next door to me, Susan. We would be great friends.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m glad to meet you here Peggy! Quite a miracle in and of itself! Happy new neighbors!

  21. Debbie Powell says:

    This post was so beautiful! I just love hearing about your home and garden. I would love for you to write a book about your current home. I loved hearing about Holly Oak and your current home has a story just as important, I am sure. I so enjoy when you write about it and show pictures of the place that holds your heart. I like that you know the history and the impact of Mr. and Mrs. Bowditch on your home; I am sure there are others who left their mark as well. It is awe inspiring when we really stop to think that we are really just stewards of our homes and gardens, and it is our duty to love and care for them as best we can so they can be ready to offer shelter and inspiration to the next family to call them home. Don’t you wish you could move back through all the celebrations and milestones that our homes are able to bear witness to? I just love history of homes and families and the marks that they leave and the good they are able to do in the world.

    • sbranch says:

      I would give anything. One Christmas in 1890. Or 1942. Sitting in front of the fire. Decorating the tree, if they did. To walk through the kitchen. Almost makes me cry to think about it.

  22. The Harry James video just swelled my heart beyond saying—it’s the music of the just-before-mes, and I worked for many years with a man about my Dad’s age who was an ardent fan. We played the old vinyls on our little music set-up in our small-town office, and you could just see the pleasure and remembery on the faces of a lot of our patrons and customers as they came in on those swells of music of “their” day—and even all the succeeding generations were smiling, as well.

    Once I found that the orchestra was coming to a slightly-larger town close by, and I “took” Mr. Murray to the evening of the music he loved so much. I remember that I wore a pale “evening dress” with my hair in the slight rendition of a pompadour, and he appeared in an impeccable pin-striped suit with a natty tie, and bringing a corsage of gardenias for me.

    And when that huge red velvet curtain rose to the strains of “Ciribiribin,” I looked over to see his eyes shining especially bright, as if they were opening Dorothy’s door into all that colour and music. What a marvelous, magical evening, simply spent with a dear friend.

    This D-Day reminds me that he was flying over the troops, supporting all those valiant young men surging heroically into history. And you’ve combined and kindled all those memories with one song—lovely


    • sbranch says:

      Me too, it’s music I loved before I ever heard it. Oh that Day, D-Day. I cry every time I think about those boys.

  23. Linda Who Still Says "Land !" says:

    Land sakes! Ticked pink preparing for our trip to Titcomb’s Book Shop on Wednesday, June 7th for your Grattitude book signing. It will be even more special as my daughter, Kimberly, who is here on her annual visit from Florida will be along for the trip. Needless to say the highlight of our two day stay on the Cape will be meeting you and hopefully having a few more of your books signed from our collection. Here’s to lemonade, cupcakes and wonderful girlfriends gathering to celebrate.

    • sbranch says:

      Here it is! It’s today! We’re getting ready! We have ferry reservations at 10 … see you and Kimberly in a few hours Linda!

  24. Joann says:

    Oh Susan, this is so lovely!!!!!!!!! I’ve not been very ‘with it’ for a long while. I was caring for my mom who had a second round of cancer to return. A very long story……….and a very sad one, but to save all the details for another cry fest, I lost my mom on April 29th. With her weakened condition, she fell at home and broke her femur. She survived surgery but acquired sepsis in the hospital and that is what took her from us. I am devastated, to say the least. Looking at your lovely pictures has brightened my day, and I need to focus on all the many blessings I have and am so very thankful for.
    Cadie and I are working on our business………..and we are even doing specialized Susan Branch teas, so if anyone is in Colorado and would love a special tea out with their friends, we are hosting them with our Susan Branch collection of Lenox dishes….enough for 8, or other vintage dishes if there are more girlfriends. I need to move forward in the direction of our dreams, be thankful for the time I had with my mom, that I could be there with her when she took her last breath, and use some of my God-given talents to work with my amazing daughter and help other ladies have an amazing day, share time with family and friends and we do all the work! Thank you for being an inspiration to us!!
    And, if anyone wants to look at our new website, come check us out at What a beautiful tea Susan………. xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Joann. I wish I could say I don’t know how it feels. Such an extreme loss, and never to be replaced with anything. Sending you all my love, you have such a wonderful strong family to turn to. But it’s such an alone thing.😢 I’m happy to see you making your normal generosity-filled Joy-World despite everything. I hope everyone comes for tea to share the light you are so good at shedding everywhere you go. I still see your happy face at Stourhead. Love to you and yours. xoxoxoxo

      • Joann says:

        Thank you for your very kind words Susan…we had a wonderful time in England and adored seeing you at the picnic!! Sending lots of love and hugs! xoxoxoxo

  25. Debbie Foryan says:

    I am a new admirer after reading, and loving your book. I’m enjoying your blog and all the comments from other readers. I did want to mention that I too love peonies and have heard that they will not bloom without the ants crawling all over the buds. Isn’t nature wonderful?

    I also wanted to tell you that I started a straw bale garden this year and it’s growing wonderfully. I started with 3 straw bales, but will add more next year.

    • sbranch says:

      I did hear that, my girlfriend told me that when she saw me flicking them off the buds, so I went to the internet and saw BOTH things! But especially, that ants are good to get rid of aphids. So, now I’m half and half. I flick off half and keep the other half! I’ve heard straw bales make a wonderful garden!

  26. Patti Fitzgerald from Skippack, PA says:

    Dearest Susan, I read and re-read your wonderful blogs whenever I need a breath of refreshing air during the day, as well as a burst of inspiration for living my life more authentically. Thank you so much for being You, and sharing that You with all of us, so sincerely and passionately. Even though I don’t cook (there – I said it!!), I still purchase your cookbooks, just to read them and treasure them. Now, having said that, I do think that you have inspired me enough to believe that I could actually put together a tea party similar to yours!! Thank you, Girlfriend and Kindred Spirit!

    By the way, I also love Peter Rabbit & Co. . . . . so much so, that when my daughter buys me gift cards from the Barnes & Noble bookstore, she gets the one that has his picture on it! And, of course, I keep it, even after I’ve used it all up . . . such a sentimental old fool! 😉

    Much love to you and Joe and Jack . . . may you be blessed with the many joys of June!

  27. Di Word says:

    Lovely post! The weather here is delightful, too.

  28. Shannnon Stark says:

    Beautiful Blog post, Susan! I loved it! So inspirational! Inspires me to clean, have people over, cook, learn to sew, finish an unfinished quilt that was left to me by a relative, and just be outside as much as possible this summer!

  29. LINDA JUNE says:

    What a wonderful blog this time (not that they aren’t all wonderful!) Loved your tea party and the yummy goodies. I’m going to try those potatoes for my next tea. I usually do on hot dish–usually little toast squares with cheese. Goodness, you do have a wonderful way of explaining things an making us feel like we know Vanna (!) and your whole family and friends. I love the new tea plate–can’t wait to order one! Don’t get your house too clean and stark–I love the cluttered homeyness of your decorating. My kitchen especially is full of English dishes and pictures and oak, and I LOVE your kitchen! You certainly don’t find anything like that unless you are fortunate enough to live in an old house that has not had too much renovation. Carry on–I love your blogs!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh don’t worry about starkness at this house! We don’t do starkness. But clutter, we are not doing that anymore either! Until it all grows back! And no renovating either! Like the song, we love you just the way you are . . .

  30. Jeanette in Illinois says:

    What a delightful post, Susan!!
    You transported me through your words and photos!!
    That auction is so exciting!!!! How generous of you and can you imagine the squeals of the winner?!?!?!?!
    Hope your week is absolutely delightful!
    Much love and squishy hugs!

  31. Luanne Coats says:

    Your tea party looked heavenly and you were fortunate to have a non-rainy day, so it could be held out in your lovely “Teahouse of the Vineyard Moon”. I see Jack and Joe were ever helpful, too. So glad your friend moving south isn’t completely leaving the Island. Loved the video of Jack, “talking” and surveying the gorgeous, green backyard from his lofty perch (onTwitter). Enjoy spring—it’s really already summer here in Northeast Kansas.

    • sbranch says:

      Good morning Luanne in Kansas! Happy summer . . . we are hoping for a peek at the sun here today. Fingers crossed, it’s still dark!

  32. Julie says:

    I so love the positivity of everything you share here. Thank you! The world needs more people like you!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you so much Julie, the comments in this blog from our kindred spirits show the world is full of people like me.💞

  33. Melinda Melhus says:

    thanks for the bright opportunity to share in your sunshine and floral tea party… memories of special days with friends past as i now care for my mother and remember such bright and lovely times entertaining in a home of my own ❤️•.¸¸.•´´¯`•• .¸ ❤️ ❤️ have special memories with friends on the coast but still pray to visit the vineyard one day … how special for you to offer such a wonderful bid for the auction which four special friends will be blessed to enJOY with you

  34. Nancy B says:


  35. Sherrie M. says:

    What a lovely tea party you had. I was wondering, you mentioned (a few posts back) about sharing the recipe for tres leches cake. I was wondering if I had missed the recipe? It looked and sounded really good.

    • sbranch says:

      There is a Tres Leche Cake served at a restaurant in California that I adore and have written about, but they would never give me the recipe. My recipe for Milk Cake is very much like it though … Just Google Susan Branch Milk Cake for the recipe for that . . . .

  36. Kelly Paquet says:

    Thank you again for your inspiring breath-of-fresh-air blog/letter! So much beauty, comfort and charm.

  37. Tina says:

    You take THE best pictures! I could almost taste the treats! Sorry about the ants, but again it makes you like me! The before and after pics of your work room are amazing and inspirational! awhile back you had shared the Benjamin Moore colors of the kitchen when you did the spruce. Would you happen to know what the color of your work room is? I have two rooms I might consider that color in. As always, thank you for sharing. Keep us posted on who wins the auction!

  38. Debbie Boerger says:

    I know the Girlfriends…and their Boyfriends…will have a wonderful day with you at Titicombs. Did see that we’re in for a Nor’Easter on Friday? Happy that you got the book signing/talk in before it hits…if it hits.
    We’re going to tie up the peonies soon, as they droop so badly when in bloom, especially in the rain.
    Today Tom brought in a few rhododendron blooms. We have quite a few, so we sacrifice a few stems so we can enjoy them up close and personal!!!

    Tomorrow my best Maine girlfriend, and political junkie, will come over from her camp nearby, as she has no TV out there. We’re making sort of a luncheon out of our leftovers to salve the Comey testimony. Deeeeeep Breaths, as your friend said on her twitter. I’ve added her to my morning “Medicine”. Makes it easier to get through a rough day, and you two are Icing on the Cake of Life if it’s a good day.

    Have a wonderful time with the Girls and Boys!
    Debbie in Beautiful, Downtown, Franklin, Maine

  39. Erica C says:

    Thank you, Susan! Reading your posts *makes* my day!

  40. Mrs, Mary Elizabeth Lawrence aka MiMi says:

    Darling you.

  41. Regina Carretta says:

    Susan ….together let us tell our dear British friends that we care about them and stand for them….and together let us tell London’s mayor, that our hearts are with him and this grand city, and all the people who visit, live, and work there….the UK is our friend, our ally, our history… have shared so much about the UK in your wonderful books, art, friendships….please help us send our heartfelt thoughts to the British people, to the Mayor of London, from the American people….

  42. Gail says:

    Looks like you had a wonderful tea party, all the food looked delicious, with your lovely dishes. I’m looking forward to getting my vineyard mug in the mail💕💕 Thank you so much.

  43. Rhonda D. says:

    Such a magical post Susan. I’ve had this dream for awhile now to have a tea party with my granddaughters. What will it look like? What do we serve? So many questions floating around in my mind. This post gave me lots of great ideas to try when the time comes. Not sure if I told you that my daughter is expecting again, and we just found out that it is probably another girl. So we’ll have 3 precious little girls to enjoy. We’re building a tea party! That’s the way I see it anyway. I’m so excited about all the fun things I will be able to do with them. (I actually exhaust myself thinking about it…how can I do it all?). Your flowers and garden are so lovely. We have dismantled our garden beds and are putting in a new one. I showed my husband the photo of yours, did my best sales pitch, and he didn’t say no. He actually liked it. Here’s to hopin’! I saw the other day that the movie “Maudie” is being released in the US on June 16th, for any of the girlfriends that are interested. I hope you get to see it. It’s one of those movies you won’t soon forget. A little bit of everything going on in it. I think you’ll enjoy it.

  44. Judy from KC says:

    Any chance we can get the lemon loaf recipe and almond jam cake? That lemon loaf is calling to me 😋

  45. Darlene Westmoreland says:

    Hi Susan! Do you have any new books coming out in the near future?

    • sbranch says:

      My newest is a small gift book called Gratitude . . . that came out last month. Nothing after that, until I write something, which I will!

  46. Vicki South of Arroyo says:

    What a warm, photo-filled, quote-filled, soul-filling post; thank you, Susan. To win at auction for the Vineyard, sitting down with you to share a cuppa; what a dream come true for the lucky bidder; very generous of you (lots to win; wow).

    It’s so life-affirming to be able to have what comes out of your brain…from your heart…as part of my own life through your art, your writings; you always make me feel better when I read you, here on the blog, your books, etc. You just always make me feel so hopeful. What a gift, to be able to inspire people as you do. You make us feel good. If you never did another thing in your life, having that effect on another person is absolutely priceless (and precious).

    Glad you are enjoying June; enjoying life. Your contentment is so infectious although I know you must have your less-happy times like anyone. I know you must worry about your mother; I’m sure the grief over the passing of your dad is still fresh. But you choose joy, and I appreciate the reminder. I really do.

  47. What a wonderful post! What a dream it would be to spend a day in your beautiul neck of the woods. So very different from SW Texas!! I just asked my husband “want to take me to Martha’s Vineyard on July 30th so I can bid in an auction?”
    I guess he is still thinking about it! If anyone hears of telephone or on line bidding, be sure to let me know!! Hugs to you, Susan and all the sweet girlfriends here.

  48. Kathy G. says:

    Thanks for the delightful ‘tea party’….so divine!

  49. Sandy Garvey says:

    Your garden tea party looks so inviting. I love having tea parties. It is so fun to bring out the beautiful china tea cups, teapots and plates. And make the cute finger sandwiches. I always enjoy how your blogs just “take me away” like that bath soak commercial used to say. 💐☕️👒🍡🍓

  50. Fran R says:

    Hi Susan,
    I loved this post because it transported me back to when I lived on the Cape. While living in Marston’s Mills, I hosted my first English Tea Party for my friends and sisters, an annual tradition that followed me to Denver where I lived for 5 years before returning with me to Vermont where I continue the tradition every first weekend in May. This event brings me so much joy beginning with the designing of the invitations and the planning of the menu to the decorating of our antique, Greek Revival home and the selecting of the flowers that will grace the table. When the day itself arrives, it is the smiles, chatter and laughter emanating from my dear friends that fill my teacup with love, joy and an abundance of memories. Reading about the tea that you recently hosted for your friends was a lovely reminder of those tea parties.

    As an avid WMVY listener during those Cape Cod days, I loved hearing about the Possible Dreams auction and fantasizing about attending, bidding, and winning one of the items. It’s wonderful that your basket of goodies is going to be among the coveted items to be auctioned and even more wonderful that the lucky winner(s) will have some real time with you in your home. To top it all off, the money raised is for such a great cause!

    You have a remarkable way of sharing the joy and delight of simple pleasures with all of us, Susan, and for that, I am very grateful. Thank you and I look forward to your next post.


  51. Regina Carretta says:

    Susan ….together let us tell our dear British friends that we care about them and stand for them….and together let us tell London’s mayor, that our hearts are with him and this grand city, and all the people who visit, live, and work there….the UK is our friend, our ally, our history… have shared so much about the UK in your wonderful books, art, friendships….please help us send our heartfelt thoughts to the British people, to the Mayor of London, from the American people….


    • sbranch says:

      From everything I know, they love us as much as we love them and nothing will ever change that. xoxoxo

  52. rhea says:

    Hi Susan,
    It might be too late for you to read this but I had to try and tell you how great your office looks!! I couldn’t believe it. WOW. What a difference, yet it was so cute and cozy before, who knew? You totally motivated me and the decluttering has begun. I thought I was so organized and clutter free. Nope. I just organized my clutter….so much of it. Yikes. I feel like a huge brick has been lifted off my chest. I can breathe 🙂 I literally had 30 pots in my tiny kitchen. Some hanging,stacked in cupboards,stacked in closets, really? I kept only my best ones and donated the rest and Im too embarrassed to tell you how many cooking gadgets I got rid of, some still in the original container. Seriously, who stops cooking to put on goggles to cut an onion…………..

    • sbranch says:

      I know exactly what you mean when you say you organized your clutter! That’s what I’ve been doing ~ until this time. Hard to make the decisions put provides glee once done!

  53. Tricia Ater says:

    Thanks so very much for sharing your life with us…Tea Party, Peonies, Kitties, Martha’s Vineyard and even your ants. 😉 I so look forward to your blog and photos. It’s a privilege to feel like your friend.

  54. Phoebe Crosby says:

    I’m always so excited to see what’s new!
    You make life much sweeter by always sharing beauty
    and joy in all you do!❤️

  55. Love reading your blog posts. They lift the spirit and get the day started right. I have your first three mugs and cannot wait to get the next set plus the autumn one. Your work is so inspiring. Thank you for making the world a better place!

  56. nan says:

    Hi Susan, hope it is cool where you are…if that is possible. If not, may the sun shine bright for you. I didn’t know how to email you, but I put our picture up on my blog on t for Tuesday, so I thought I would tell you this way. Hope you are having a lovely day. Nan

    • sbranch says:

      It’s very early this morning, and all our windows are open, it’s going to be a good day for the east coast (upper anyway)! Thank you Nan ~ for your kind words! It was a fun day!

  57. Sandy Engel says:

    Thank you Dear Susan for the very delightful afternoon with your sweet friends, delicious treats, and the warmth of friendship keeping everyone cozy with love❤️❤️❤️

  58. Tricia B. says:

    Dearest Susan,
    Thank you for always showing me “the sunny side of the street!!” I love, love, love the Tea Party! Everything looks wonderful I am sure you all had a grand time!! 🙂 Oh, and thank you for sharing-insert English Accent- “the bottoms” of your delightful new tea/coffee cups on Twitter. 🙂 Adorable!!
    Hugs, Love and Prayers,
    Tricia B.

    • sbranch says:

      See? Bot-toms is so much better in the Queen’s English! ☺️ Happy to hear from you Tricia, thank you!

  59. Debbie Boerger says:

    Our peonies are just about to burst open. I have all the vases (bought at tag sales) washed and ready to go. We have 4 bushes. The blooms do change every day….until suddenly, almost as though on some sort of nature cue, every petal drops to the table top.

    Wouldn’t it be sweet if you could get Holly Oak back? Sort of like closing the circle of your life on MV.

    Mucho love,
    Debbie in Maine

  60. chris consentino says:

    oh, Susan! again, what a lovely, lovely, love-filled visit!!!! we were on an adventure last week…up to our beloved new Hampshire!!!! mmmm. lobstah-rolls and ice cream to die for. MOST important thing…visits with dear old friends! childhood friends. what could be better?? and, from my oldest friend, a fact about peonies you might not know. we have 4 lg. bushes. I wasn’t too big a fan,(I, too, HATE ANTS!!!) until I learned…the ants that overtake them are quite necessary! the ants cut thru the “bud”‘s protective “shell” and allow the flowers to OPEN so we can enjoy them! no ants….no flowers! wow. ain’t that somethin’?? wow. nature is grand, for sure. prayers for London (HUGE bldg. fire!!) and, for those affected by shooting in VA. MAYBE we’ll get some common-sense thinking re: assault-weapons now. ????? hope so. praying so. do take care & keeeep clutter-free. i’m not “there” yet…but your endeavors….so admired and applauded!!!!! all love. xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      I think the issue of control on assault weapons has been so demonized (“they want to take away our guns!”) that it may never change. If Sandy Hook and Gabby Giffords didn’t do it, I’m not sure anything can. (I’ve heard there’s a guy out there telling people that Sandy Hook was a hoax. How hideous for the parents who lost their children.) SO happy you got “home” to New Hampshire. Thank you for the info on the peonies! Nature is the bomb. The good bomb. Hugs to you and yours. xoxo

  61. Charissa says:

    TEXAS GIRLFRIENDS KERA PBS is FINALLY airing Beatrix Potter with Patricia Routledge on Monday Jun 19th at 8pm central. Just thought you would want to know. xoxo

  62. sharon taylor says:

    Good morning Susan, I’m very curious to know whether you get this or not? I’ve commented twice lately and I never see my name, or if I’m lucky to get a comment back from you? Please let me know, it would be greatly appreciated. Love the tea party.

    Cheerio, Sharon

    • sbranch says:

      I got it! I would imagine your comment is there somewhere, I would hope so! I try to answer everyone, but sometimes I can’t, like when we have a giveaway and there are hundreds and even thousands of replies, I can’t always do it. Love to hear from you Sharon!

  63. Susan W says:

    June’s beauty is a daily dose for me. Summer is only so many days! I try to get up early, open the upstairs door to nowhere and gulp in the sweet fresh air. Along with our beagle dog who hears the door opening and makes a direct beeline to it. He hangs over the edge, breathing in fresh air too (or so I believe). He’s probably looking for bunnies up on he hill or listening to the neighborhoods 5 dogs. Hope you are still enjoying some pee-own-ees in your garden. Have a flower filled day

    • sbranch says:

      The thing about the pee-own-ees is that I can’t decide whether to steal from the bush for inside, or leave them for me when I’m outside! Better plant more!

  64. Karen Saunders says:

    I just found my iPad and can’t believe how glorious all your posts look bigger!!!! My iPhone doesn’t do them justice!!!! I was wondering…mostly wishing, are you ever going to do another illustrated cookbook??? I know you have kind of evolved and moved on to bigger and better things and I know they are tedious and oh so time consuming……but I just love them so and you’re wonderful art.🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷

  65. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    ohmygosh – the P.S. on your Willard made me choke up and 😥😥😥 Beautiful, beautiful. Too much negativity has inched its way into my thoughts lately, mostly via the news. This morning, after dinner out last night with three girlfriends, on a patio set next to a pretty little park, I decided to regroup. Exercised, meditated a bit on love and kindness (so important as a caregiver to my Eddie), had a healthy smoothie, kissed kitty, had coffee in my favorite Little Things mug, skipped morning news, and then there was Willard to add more sweetness! A big dip into the well. Never enough words to thank you!❤️❤️❤️

  66. Susie Brey says:

    Good Morning Susan!! I opened my computer with a large cup of coffee and of course checked your Blog to see what was going on in your world. Again, for the past two hours I have been mesmerized traveling in your world and your time. I have been lost in your writings, loving all of your words and pictures. Thank you for introducing us again to Linda Lear, for I now have bookmarked all of her sights for future adventure. Now I await Willard for another experience of joy I am sure. Thanks for sharing..but I need to work on my quilt for my granddaughter today so I will get started..and wait for another wonderful trip in Susan Branch time as only you can provide..Hugs…

  67. DeAnna P says:

    I am just so happy! Looking through the newsletter, I see you have red/pink transferware, which I collect! It made my heart sing and gave me an idea to maybe have my own tea party! And I love your picture of kitty on the table, sprawled out. You’re always so inspiring 🙂 I saw that you pictured a teabag holder in the shape of a teapot. Is that something you sell? It’s adorable!

    • sbranch says:

      We don’t sell the the teabag holders YET, but I do think we will be sometime in the future.😃

  68. DeAnna P says:

    LOL! I guess I was looking at both of the June blog posts when I referenced both your kitty picture and your red transferware.

  69. Delores McElmurry says:

    Dear Susan, I wanted to tell you that when I see one of your quotes from John Greenleaf Whittier, it brings happy thoughts of my childhood. My family moved from the Dustbowl and Depression (Oklahoma) to the beautiful small town of Whittier, CA. when I was 6 years old. My elementary school was named John Greenleaf Whittier and I graduated from Whittier Union High School. Through the years his poetry was much a part of my life. I still have a soft spot for that town, even though my 85 years have found me living in many other areas of our wonderful U.S.A. My husband and I spent a month in lovely England several years ago. We enjoy seeing your photos. I’m pretty sure I lived there in a former life. It just felt like home.

    • sbranch says:

      You probably did Delores. Love hearing that you’ve taken home with you wherever you’ve roamed. xoxo

  70. Nita Wirtz says:

    The first Willard to make me cry! I’ve moved 2,000 miles, trying to get used to all the newness here in Arizona, and my 92 year old mother-in-law, bless her heart, has moved here with me. My husband won’t join us for weeks yet and I’m turning into a very cranky “guardian”. This was all my idea, and I think I might be crazy! Bless you Susan, for giving me a breath of fresh air and a time to smile and think that maybe, just maybe, this will all work out.

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, well, you made me laugh. It will work out. You’ll be happy, don’t worry, all that disruption is harder than we ever imagine. One day at a time! Sending love! xoxoxo

  71. Shirley Dunn says:

    Greetings from England Susan! You are right we have had SO much rain. Everywhere is so green. But we have finally had some lovely sunny days- it’s going to be 30 degrees on Sunday apparently. I found it so funny that you brought Earl Grey tea with you when you came over.
    I love your books & your paintings & the fact you love cats. And your writing. It’s like a friend talking to you. Your house is so gorgeous. Don’t let your your “stuff” overwhelm you- it’s the sign of a creative mind.
    Wish your cups were available in England.

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Shirley, so nice to hear from you! Love that you’re getting a little summer over there! Cups are made in England, seems we ought to be able to find a place to put them there, where they can be shipped around the UK for lots less money! Working on it! We ship them to England for those that want us to, but the cost of shipping is, as you know, ridiculous! Have a wonderful day. Smell the flowers for me! xoxo

  72. Linda says:

    Just thought you would like to know hat my husband successfully underwent hernia surgery and when the surgeon asked how he felt he replied “my toe huts Bet tee”. True story.

  73. Jan Pittman says:

    I love reading the Willard – going to share it with a friend. I fell in love with your books when I bought my first one in The Globe Bookstore in Boston on a visit decades ago. I so adored the art. I have collected all the other cookbooks. I, too, would love to have another cookbook. The Twine tea party sounds like a great idea! Good for you in purging “stuff” in your house. I’ve been working on that and getting rid of paper docs by scanning and saving to computer. It’s a great feeling of gaining control.

  74. Anne Nicholson says:

    Hi Susan, We have just bought a house in the woods and have been busy researching what plants will grow in lots of shade. so exciting to start with a blank slate and make a beautiful garden! Peonies and hydrangeas are some of my favorites so we started with those! Love seeing all the photos of your lovely house and gardens! I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Love, Anne

    • sbranch says:

      One thing we did just yesterday ~ we took some limbs off our trees to bring more sunshine to roses and things! Keep that in mind for your garden in the woods ~ it’s a huge help! Oh the power! xoxo

  75. Kim Rose says:

    I’m now feeling so inspired…. To do a plethora of things but I have to tell you in April I had my first visit to England with three days in the Lake District – walked from the ferry to Hilltop Farm – a long three miles up hill but it was worth it – toasted you at the pub because we’d never have gone if not for you – my husband loved A Fine Romance too and perhaps I may get him on a cruise one day… I was wondering what to do for my 60th birthday and you have the answer – I must have a tea party for all the special women I seldom get to see – they have all had an impact on my life in some way – we are all so tied up with our busy lives – thank you for the inspiration, hope in my heart and the big smile I am wearing now…. Kim Rose (South Africa)

    • sbranch says:

      Nothing like giving everyone a gift on your own Birthday! Wonderful Kim! You could even go around the table and tell each one of them WHY you invited them …. oh that would be wonderful! Happy day in South Africa, Kim! (And thank you for that toast in the pub!)

  76. Denise Fazio says:

    I’ve been a fan for many years, ever since I bought my first home in Falmouth, MA. Years have gone by and have since moved back to the city but Susan Branch Cookbooks and more BB’s (Branch Books) have arrived back with me. I’ve even bought a Leather (fake leather) bound book of The Tales of Peter Rabbit. So as I await the arrival of your Christmas book this week, I just wanted to you to know that your art keeps us young at heart. Thank you for all you do. P.S. I’m the one who visited Holy Nativity. Till the next time…..Your Fan, Denise

  77. Kristin Rhodes says:

    Love the latest Willard. Now that I have a home with gardens I know the bliss of what you’ve written about over these many years. As always thanks for sharing the beautiful details. Little jealous on your motivation to clean but humbled that we are not 100% organized in the creative world

  78. Suzette Shoulders says:

    Oh, Susan! I just loved seeing your tea party fare! I do a tea each summer at my house, in July, and this year I will make heart-shaped tea sandwiches, for sure! I had never thought of doing them, but they look SO CUTE on the plate, thank you for the wonderful idea! I am planning to have some cucumber-water in a glass pitcher, we were served that at my friend Helen’s in Longridge, England, and it was SO good and refreshing! I need to start writing down these ideas, as jet-lag ideas sometimes fly away like the wind, ha ha! Thanks for all you do and share, Suzette

  79. Suzette Shoulders says:

    By the way, I am in love with your pinky tea pot, oh, my! Is that one you found in England on your last trip? Jenny and I brought home some china from the charity shops, and I am happily looking at my new acquisitions and wondering where in the world I will manage to fit them in!! Suzette

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve had the pinky one for a while. Getting dishes home from abroad is a very iffy thing, but I did it too, big fat teapot came with us. Where there’s a will there’s a way!

  80. kedra sugg says:

    I just now found out about the “Gratitude” book and tried to order 3 copies. It said they’re out of stock. Please say there will be more – they were for Christmas gifts.(and I mat need more that 3!!)

  81. Karen Lotito says:

    Hi Susan, I just love seeing the pictures of your lovely home and garden! The foxgloves are amazing! I am a huge Beatrix Potter fan and love all the things you share about her and her life. I really want to get back to England; we can visit a few of my husband’s cousins (I was so lucky to have a MIL from England!) and our dear friends in the Northeast. The rain has finally stopped – for now. But more is on the way and it’s supposed to arrive this weekend. I’m hoping that changes but for now I think I can hear the tomatoes growing and the herbs popping and my impatiens blooming out of their pots. Have a lovely day and best to Joe and Jack. Love, Karen 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I hear them too… singing their harmonic tomato song . . . butterfly highs and lady bug lows….

  82. Kat Fry on Rose Creek Farm says:

    Welp, I’m back again…Willard was oh so wonderful. Full of Wonder. From y’all being Home Sweet Home to the loverly twine party to the old movies…every bit of it. And we are all sending all the Dream Come True thoughts y’all’s way for Holly Oak. And as we know…Dreams Do Come True! Reading this & all the comments while Sipping sweet iced coffee from my Little Things mug. I took photos of her as she enjoyed making her way down to the beach when we were at South Padre Island the first of this month. She loved it by the way…now I need to take photos of her back on the Farm going about her chores. Sipping away & reading your wonderful letters to us all. In a flippy short chocolate & cream & pink floral skirt with a chocolate tankie top under a pink polka dotted cotton sleeveless ‘goatgirl’ ( I can hardly be called a cowgirl when I raise such sweet little goats) shirt with snaps (that I never snap closed. Because I can’t. lol) You make the Universe a Happier, Saner, We Can Do This kind of place. And we love & adore you madly!

  83. Phyllis Doverspike says:

    Good Morning Ms. Susan,
    Thank you again for your lovely books. I’d written before about your books when I used them for inspiration for my senior outreach. I have been singing their praises to library customers ever since and decided to reference them in our library blog posts. They can be found here: or under Phyllis’ Picks. Your books are amazing! Have a lovely day!

  84. Kathryn says:

    Thank you for such a lovely post and happy summer! Wondering if you would mind sharing where you found the lovely blue and white kitchen rugs/runner?

  85. Lynette Morley says:

    Susan, once again I love your post. How is your mom? One day I hope you will give us her story….from the beginning. I am in awe of that sweet woman you call your mom. You should tell us the story of your dad as well. He sounds like just the kind of dad every girl dreams of. You are so lucky and fortunate to have a dreamy childhood, so many do not. Maybe you will tell us your story and the stories of your siblings from the beginning as well. I love to hear stories, they have to be one of my very favorite things. And people are so very interesting. And since we are kindred spirits you and your sweet family are particularly interesting to me. Don’t leave out the parts that might not be the most favorable as we are all human and that aspect is especially endearing to your sisters as we all have made of fair share of mistakes. Even though, I must say I do not think you have. Maybe I made enough mistakes for you and me. Ha Ha!
    Much love and respect,

    • sbranch says:

      I wrote a book with all of that in it called The Fairy Tale Girl. About my mom and dad and lots of stories of growing up with my seven siblings, of learning to cook and sew, camping and building a bomb shelter, my four brothers, having a new baby every two years while I lived at home . . . and all those kinds of things ~ with tons of photos too ~ it sounds like just your cup of tea, Lynette! Thank you!

  86. Karen from CT says:

    Well I thought I might give you an update about something interesting going on with those gypsy moth caterpillars in case you didn’t already know. Here in CT we were hit really hard with them too – it’s been just awful! But in the past couple of days I have noticed a die-off, and today I read something interesting on FB about it. Apparently over the last several years, scientists have been introducing a fungal pathogen called the maimaiga fungus (not kidding) to help control the gypsy moth population. The amount of rain we have been having has been important for the fungus to finally reach levels that are sufficiently toxic to the caterpillars to cause mass fatalities. We’ve been seeing some of that here – so hopefully relief is on the way! I only wish it had been faster, as there are areas here where the trees, especially the oaks, have lost most of their leaves. My roses really got munched (despite my efforts) and the poops were everywhere! Ick! But good news, at last!

    • sbranch says:

      Praying for mass fatalities. They are wicked little critters, coming in droves, eating everything they can. We’re on our 4th or 5th year of this! Thank you for the hope, Karen!

  87. dewena says:

    Dear Susan, I just had a scatheingly brilliant idea. I am going to play the lottery weekly. And when I win big I am going to buy Holly Oak and sell it back to you for a $1.00. Then you can open a little gift shop and sell all your goodies from watercolor checks, cups and anything your little heart desires. We could all travel there and buy your wares. I would be able to vacation on Martha’s Vineyard because I would be rich. It sounds good anyway!! LoL

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, scathingly brilliant, I could not agree more! It sounds WONDERFUL. I love those kind of daydreams. And you just never know! xoxo

  88. Arnette Webb says:

    I have a question to ask. What is the scarf covering your pitcher of lemon water called? I want to find some and don’t know what to look under. Thanks!

    • sbranch says:

      Mine are handmade pitcher covers (English people call them jug covers) I think the idea is Victorian, and they work like a charm keeping leaves and critters out of the tea or lemonade ~ here’s one of many Etsy shops that sells them.

      • Arnette Webb says:

        Thank you! I see most of them are crocheted. I’ll have to look for a pattern and crochet one myself. Thank you so much!

        • sbranch says:

          Good with pretty lace or fabric too…just hang weighty beads and there it is! I think some are done with antique doilies!

  89. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    I don’t tweet, but read yours, and am compelled to say I agree with you completely when it comes to our pitiful excuse for a president. I want to turn away, but feel like that’s irresponsible. It feels like America is being held hostage by a rude, crude, maniac who has no real interest in or appreciation for what his position represents. Thanks for listening, girlfriend. We’ll just have to keep each other from going over the edge!❤️

    • sbranch says:

      Sometimes I think about leaving Twitter because he’s there. Most of the time I can ignore him. But every so often it’s more than I can bear. Praying for us to get through this and back to where truth and honor still matter. xoxo to you Rosanne!

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