Beatrix Potter’s Birthday and I have News!

Guess what tomorrow is??? Beatrix Potter’s 151st Birthday! MUSICA 🎶 And I have news!

The Genius, Generous, Life of Beatrix Potter.

Here’s where I was on this day, July 28, last year, celebrating the 150th Birthday of Beatrix Potter with so many of YOU and the Brewster Ladies Library, on Cape Cod. What a fun day that was!

Right after that, my Girlfriends, who also happen to be my nun friends (I’ve written about them before), sent me this wonderful little thimble to celebrate. Wasn’t that the sweetest thing? They love Beatrix like I do.💞

Because not all of you are intimately familiar with the life of Beatrix, I thought I’d at least give you a very simple time-line of her life so you can get the lay of the land, so to speak.

Most of you know how crazy I am about Beatrix because I wrote the whole story of my slow discovery of the person that she was, not just an artist, not just a scientist, not just an author, not just a business woman, not just a house-lover and adorer such as we, but more, so much more, a fierce, forward-looking conservationist whose passions still reverberate today ~ she changed her part of the world, and hence, in a sense, the whole world. . . that’s the hero I tried to tell about in my book A Fine Romance, Falling in Love Love Love, with the English Countryside.

So, to celebrate today, I thought I would take you on a special tour through a brilliant book about Beatrix that was published by Penguin Books in 2006. It’s written just as if it was Beatrix’s own scrapbook, in first person. But inside it says, “This is a work of fiction based on the journals and letters of Beatrix Potter.” Not entirely fiction, but kind of, because Beatrix didn’t actually make this book herself, it just looks like she did.

Using Beatrix’s words to tell the story of  her life, the designer who compiled this informative book (who is not mentioned anywhere, but must be a kindred spirit, and girl after our own heart), filled it with Beatrix Potter artwork, mementoes, personal letters, stamps, and photos, and with words in what looks to be Beatrix’s own handwriting, with entries dated, as in a journal … and many of the things in the book, like the little photo album above, are glued-in and three-dimensional! I’m not kidding! Books like this don’t come along every day! Unless you make one yourself!

Pure charm, filled with pressed flowers and wonderful old photos, that’s Norman Warne there …

Above are glued-in “proofs” of the pictures for her first book. There’s even a real envelope that opens and inside you can pull out a perfect copy of the famous letter she wrote to Noel, her governess’s child, illustrating the story of Peter Rabbit for the first time on paper.

And on this page, an illustrated map of the Lake District unfolds … I could put ten exclamation marks after every page!!! Books aren’t usually made this way!!!!!!

Then, at the end, just when you think you’ve seen it all, and  you are already sighing because you don’t want it to end, you find an amazing surprise embedded in the inside of the back cover. See the little ribbon? “Hmmmm,” you say to yourself, “What’s that?”

At first you don’t see it, but then, with a little tug, an invisible door opens . . .

and inside is an exact copy of Peter Rabbit that Beatrix had printed herself after having been rejected by publishers. (This was a very brave thing for her to do, considering women’s “place” at the turn of the century, but only the beginning when it comes to the bravery of Miss Potter). If you ever need a hero that will help you be brave, I suggest you read the biography of Beatrix Potter by Linda Lear. Forevermore, after that, you will say to yourself, “If she can do it, so can I.”

Her first printing, in black and white to keep down costs. A totally delightful surprise! I have to say, I think I might be forced to paint inside these little line drawings!

But you can do what you want when you get your hands on this little jewel, because, to celebrate the 151st birthday of my hero, Beatrix Potter, this book, and the book where I wrote about sailing the wild and windy Atlantic, then trekking across England in order to fulfill a long-time dream to finally walk through the doors of Beatrix Potter’s house at Hill Top in the Lake District ~ will both become the property of one of YOU darling people. Just leave your name at the bottom of this post, click on the tiny word that says “comments,” and leave a few words … and in a wee bit o’ time, we’ll draw a name and see who these books get to go home with. Happy Birthday, dear Beatrix. We will never forget you! 💞

One other thing . . . you remember the picnic we had last year in Stourhead, Wiltshire, England? Of course you do! And you remember how it happened? Well, just in cases, I’ll tell you again:  When we knew we were going over to England last year, I wrote here on my blog, “Joe and I will be in the park at Stourhead, having a picnic, at 12 noon on September 18, and we would LOVE anyone who’s going to be in the neighborhood to BYO Picnic Basket and come join us and say hello!”  We had no idea what to expect. Would anyone come? Might there be seven people? Could there be fifty? No idea.

As it turned out, there were sixty of us kindred spirits spread out on the lawn on a lovely spring day, next to a 12th century stone church, in a garden designed by Capability Brown over 200 years before, with the sun weaving in and out of the clouds . . .

And we had a wonderful, joyful afternoon, sitting, laughing and talking and getting to know each other, marveling over the unlikelihood of this happening at all … it was really a thrill. Lots of people from the US, lots from England, some Americans who now live in England, and others from Europe . . . a surprise and so perfect, I still live in the glow of it. People brought things, like gorgeous quilts they’d made, or their own Petey dolls, or their children, and lots of delicious lunches … and I signed books, and we had a great day.

We took a “class picture,” and I think you can tell by the smiles what a wonderful time we were having.  “We all kept saying, we need to do this again!” Well, dear hearts, we are going to do it again . . . we’ll be taking the picture for Class of 2018 next year on May 11,  and we hope you can come, wherever you are!  But this time, we’re be having our picnic someplace else … so if you want to come . . .

You will have to drive through countryside like this . . . sorry, but you have to!

Where oh where are we going . . . ? ? ? It’s a mystery! MAS MUSICA ~ we loved playing Vera Lynn in our car while we drove through the English Countryside . . .

Past lakes with swans and and wildflowers, pulling over at a pub for an icy Peah Cid-ah . . . it’s a tough job but someone has to do it!

In May, hillsides of English Bluebells will be in bloom!

You’ll have to meander between narrow hedgerows speckled with cow parsley, watching for bunnies, rolling down your windows to hear the wood pigeons coo, “My toe huts Bet-tee … “

Past curving rock walls and gingerbread stone cottages . . . can you guess where we’re going yet? You probably can, but you probably can’t believe it! Me either!

Almost there ~ must go through bunting-decked villages where the buildings look as if they’re covered in frosting … oh darn.

The frosting makes them shine from the hill sides  . . . you’ll be stopping to get your camera out.

Because you’ll be marveling over handmade chimney tops and slate roofs like these . . .

. . . as you drive past hillsides with cows and lambs and sparkling lakes, turn off your car to hear the wind through the trees . . .

. . . and through the hedges of wild roses and rhododendrons. But, a hint:  Before you go, you’ll probably want to read this wonderful little book  . . .

For inspiration. ❤️ Squealing yet?

Because, Yes! OMG, I’m not kidding! Where we’re going to have our picnic is totally impossible, it can’t happen, but it is and it can . . .

We’re having our BYO Picnic Basket Party right here, next May 11, at Castle Cottage, where Beatrix Potter (Mrs. Heelis) and her husband William lived for 30 years! Just in front of the house, across Post Office Meadow (which will be filled with frolicking lambikins in May), is the gate to Hill Top in Near Sawrey, heavenly Lake District, beloved home of Beatrix Potter!!! That’s where we’re going, Girlfriends!

And here’s a preview ~ this photo is actually from inside Castle Cottage, sent to me by my friend Mandy, showing the wonderful view over rooftops of Near Sawrey (with Mandy’s Ollie Dog in attendance) . . . From here, you can see the famous Tower Bank Arms and the entrance to Hill Top ~ the very same view that Beatrix had. For us. Us us us us us! We get to go go go!!!

Here’s how this miracle happened,  . . . As you may remember, I was asked to speak at Beatrix’s 150th Birthday Party last year by Betsy Bray of the Beatrix Potter Society (are you a member? I love the wonderful newsletter I receive from England, and their luv-lee E-Newsletter called Pottering About) ~ that’s Betsy on the left . . . she and I have kept in touch, and a couple of weeks ago, she came to lunch and brought her friend Mandy Marshall, who just happens to LIVE in Castle Cottage (shaking head in disbelief) . . . and we started talking and our talking turned to plotting and then it turned to planning and I just heard from Mandy yesterday that she would love to have us for our picnic there (she opens the house only by special arrangement, which this is!), and Betsy wrote to say she’d be there too! So now, we’re inviting you! And if you CAN’T get over there in person, that’s okay, because we will take so many photos you will think you’ve been there! That’s a promise!

Happy Birthday Beatrix Potter!

Love you dears, leave a comment to win the books, and mark your calendars for May 11, 2018! Oh! I almost forgot, the cups! They are in LA, sort of stuck in a mire of Homeland Security (very dangerous cups) and Customs. We call, we holler, they ignore us, but it should be soon now. 💞 Bye for now! xoxo

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2,071 Responses to Beatrix Potter’s Birthday and I have News!

  1. Connie T. says:

    What a lovely picnic idea! Can I stow away in your suitcase?? I’ve loved all your books and your Beatrix Potter figurines are so adorable. Your photos are the best – they bring us absentees right into the action. Like jumping into the chalk paintings in Mary Poppins! I LOVE that Beatrix Potter interactive book! Reminds me of my Valentine’s book that I have of exact replicas of REAL 17th and 18th century letters, exactly folded as the original and in the hand writing of the writer. Written in their own language, with the English translations of the romantic letters in the back. I hope Vanna draws MY name for your drawing! Thanks for the beauty you bring to our world, Susan!

  2. Norleen in NorCal says:

    Susan, I just read your blog and I loved it all !! I have loved Beatrix potter for a long time! I have a collection of Petter Rabbit China and a child’s tea set displayed on a special cupboard in my kitchen! My youngest daughter, now an adult, ( you actually met her in Salt Lake City,UT on your book singing tour, Krista) we have this special connection with Petter Rabbit, as I read it to her as a very little child over and over again and we both loved it and still do!! I’m so excited for your trip next May!!!!! Like your last trip there I sneaked in your suitcase !! A bit crowded with the rest of the girlfriends. But so much fun!! I will look for the book you described. It sounds fabulous! I have one that is written in a similar way about Cicely Mary Barker, born in London in 1895 died 1973. A self taught artist known for her flower fairy watercolors. I have a collection of her books and was given as a gift a book written as if it were her very own scrapbook on fairies and flowers. So fun!! I am in my early 80s but still a kid at heart with many interests and projects to do!! 💕💕

  3. Kathy says:

    How did you know I was squealing? I love Miss Potter–she’s one of my heroes. I dream of visiting her home one day. Until then, will have to make do with secondhand reports.

  4. Yvonne Harvey in North Carolina says:

    Oh my! I absolutely adore this jewel of a book!! I have always loved Beatrix Potter. I even decorated my daughter’s room in the pink version of Peter Rabbit complete with comforter and sheets (she is now 35). I still have all of my daughter’s Beatrix Potter books, which my grandchildren now enjoy.

  5. Dixie says:

    Way down here at the bottom of the page, I’ll leave a wee note.
    A wonderful post, Susan. What a lively journal.
    I love Beatrix Potter too. I can’t say for sure how many times I’ve watched the movie Miss Potter. I just love it.
    Wish I was going to merry ole next year, but I am certain you will have a wonderful time for me too. 🙂
    Thank you for the opportunity to win such a fabulous books.

  6. Gail Marshall says:

    Love,Love,Love, Beatrix Potter
    My grandparents were actually from that area
    I have tried to read everything pertaining to her
    Such an inspiration. That little book sounds Devine
    I look forward to all your postings.
    My whole day brightens when I see that you have sent us all
    your wonderful blog
    I am originally from Massachusetts.
    It is always a pleasure to read and recognize
    The places you are referring to.
    Thanks for the memories

  7. Judy Matthew says:

    Enjoy your clever posts. After reading about your trip to Beatrix Potter’s home, it stirred up my interest in that famous woman. I found a book in the library, “Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature”, which was fascinating.
    Your BYO picnic next year will be a delight. I am sure you will have lots of guests.
    Judy Matthew

  8. Amy from Wisconsin says:

    Susan- You are ALWAYS such a breathe of fresh air! Thank you!

  9. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    Thank you, Thank you dear Susan.

  10. Kim Wilson says:

    To excited for words!!!! Simply wonderful!!!

  11. Nancy says:

    Hi Susan your trip to England sounds so nice! I will enjoy following you on your Blog when you are there! Have been enjoying your books and blog for many years! Hoping to get back to England someday! Would love to visit the Lake District and Beatrix Potter’s house, for now it is just a dream! Reading your books and blog brighten the day! Thanks for all you do! xoxo

  12. Deb K says:

    How exciting and such lovely books! I hope it’s my turn to be lucky!

  13. Charlotte says:

    The book is an absolute treasure, that I would especially treasure.

    Thank you.

  14. Jan says:

    Susan, your blog is such a pleasant place to visit for armchair adventures. I love interactive books; a favorite is Sabine’s notebook by Nick Bantok. I’d love to be a winner of your giveaway.

  15. Joyce Marty says:

    I can not post tryed 4 times confused in Glen Ellen

  16. Peggy Harris says:

    My birthday is also July 28. I love Beatrix Potter and would love to have books. I can’t make it to picnic, but can’t wait to see pictures. I love England too.

  17. Sandra Stephens says:

    Wish I could be there to enjoy such a wonderful picnic.
    It will be so lovely and wonderful.
    I would love to win the memory book of Beatrix Potter…it would
    be such a welcome addition to my library.
    I love reading your blog and seeing all of your adventures.

  18. Terrie Trebilcock says:

    Oh, how wonderful that you get to go back to Beatrix’s home! Looking forward to pictures.
    I don’t know whether this comment will be submitted in time; I have been out of town, taking care of my mother-in-law and her broken hip. She is doing better now, thank goodness. I wish that her memory were better, as she would love to share your newsletters!
    Terrie T

  19. Mary Shearer says:

    Susan, I just read that “Anne With an E” will definitely have a season 2! They are starting filming this fall and it will come out in 2018! I’m so happy! Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

  20. Jodie Humphrey says:

    Oh, I had forgotten how much I loved that song “When You Taught Me How to Dance”! Thank you so much for including it in your post! Happy Birthday, Beatrix Potter. Thank you for teaching us how to dance. And thank you, Susan for reminding the world how much we need this beauty in our lives.

  21. Jill Bailey says:

    Thanks for the joy of your blog!

  22. Dolores Tabor says:

    What a lovely giveaway! Thank you! What a wonderful way to peek behind the pages of her lovely stories.

  23. Ann says:

    My bags are packed……in my dreams😊

  24. Joan Piercy says:

    The journal sounds wonderful! It would be an honor to have a copy of it. And the picnic next year sounds delightful. Who knows, maybe I will get to go……Joan

  25. Amanda says:

    How fun! You would probably also like the new book Newt Scamander’s Scrapbook, it’s a scrapbook about the Harry Potter movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It’s set in 1920’s NYC and it has great Art Deco style empemera about witches and dragons. Too cute for a HP fan!

  26. Cindy B says:

    How wonderful! So wish I could be there, but at least through your blog, I’ll be there in spirit.

  27. Elizabeth M says:

    Thank you, Susan, for your delightful blog! You bring back memories of my Massachusetts childhood and an amazing family trip just a couple of years ago to Martha’s Vinyatd with my grown children, whenever I visit your blog. They fell in love with the island and often talk about making the journey together again.

    I loved Beatrix Potter’s books and artwork as a child and read them to my children. As a little girl I lived outdoors as often as possible and adored watching the little animals, like those she brought to life in her books. I remember feeling lost in the loveliness and sweetness of those tales.

    Thank you so much for sharing your talents and passion for life!

  28. Jo says:

    I just watched the Beatrix Potter movie with Renee Zellweger and loved it. I envy your trip next year, wish I could come too.

  29. Debby Rickett says:

    I just received my Martha’s Vineyard cup in the mail today. It is absolutely beautiful!!! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!!

  30. LindaB says:

    Thanks, thanks and ever thanks. You are truly beloved by all your girlfriends, and what you do for us. Not just giveaways, but beautiful pictures and inspiring words that make us all want to do better and be more creative. But,thank you for another giveaway !! I never feel sad when I don’t win ( not much anyway 😏), because we are all girlfriends and root for each other !!

  31. Jules says:

    Dear Susan,
    Monday is my birthday and the most wonderful present arrived today. Ok, ok I had to purchase it myself but, nonetheless, it did arrive in time for my birthday. The autumn mug is a dainty little jewel. Thank you! To go along with that autumn mug the weather here in central Indiana feels like fall. High today of 70 and cloudy. Ahh, perfect!

  32. Taimi Marple says:

    Let me see the lambkins at Hilltop this Spring!

  33. Sussi says:

    I’ve just returned (home is in Denmark) from a five day garden trip to the South of England, It was glorious, and guess what – I thought of you when we rode in our bus – in the “wrong” side at the very narrow roads in the country side. Thank you for your blogpost, I just love them.

  34. Lorraine says:

    My two mugs arrived today! Oh my… They exceeded my expectations. They are just lovely – even the little stickers on the boxes were cute (I noticed). I had a tough time deciding but I chose Bluebird and Autumn. They are perfect and beautiful, and a pleasure to hold in your hands. Life is good when you can drink your tea out of lovely cups made in England from fine bone china.

    Your staff must have been working lots of over time because it seems like they just posted on FB that they arrived 2 or 3 days ago – and I live near Chicago!

    Of course, I’m looking forward to the mugs for the other seasons but I will enjoy these immensely right now. Thank you for sharing your artistic abilities with us and for taking the time to research to find a great company to make your mugs. Also, please thank your staff in CA for doing such a great job wrapping, packing, and shipping. Have a great day!

    • sbranch says:

      I sent your comment to Kellee and Sheri so they can see what a good job they do. They make every package special. It pleases us no end to have found something of such good quality, to be good enough for our Girlfriends! xoxo

      • Lorraine says:

        You can definitely feel the love.

        • Lorraine says:

          Just one more thing… Have you thought about a Beatrix Potter/England mug? I think you could have another winner. And just my thought, but not so much a London theme, but the countryside. You could also squeeze in a little James Herriot too. And sheep. And picnics. And flowers. And etc… Just thinking.

          • sbranch says:

            I have, we’ve been talking about it. We can’t use her name or her copyrighted images, but there are other things that would be okay, like everything you mentioned, life in the English Countryside ~ have picnic basket, will travel.❤️

        • sbranch says:

          I’m not surprised. We’ve worked together for years and years, I adore them, they love each other, we all love our Girlfriends, and they love us back … it’s a win-win in all directions.

  35. Lila says:

    Oh, I love your blog!
    It is a retreat and a delight!

  36. Seona says:

    (Oops, sorry Susan, this message is way too long – please feel free to cull it or not publish it at all!)

    Oh Susan, I’m a bit late to the party here because we’ve been away, but I just have to say how ridiculously excited I am about a class of 2018 picnic in May, and in my childhood village no less 😄 ((you nicknamed me Baby Beatrix – my bedroom window is in your photo of Sawrey!) It was so lovely to meet you all at the fabulous Stourhead picnic, so a picnic at Castle cottage is beyond exciting – I only ever went into Castle Cottage once, when a family called the Handsome-Smiths lived there, which sounded very Lord-of-the -Manor grand to me – it probably wasn’t their name at all, but was actually a reflection of my dad’s wicked sense of humour!) I do remember that they shot Joe’s dog (from the farm opposite) for rounding up their ginea pigs – meanies! But oh, so many happy memories from Sawrey (not that one though!) I can’t wait to meet Mandy and catch up on all the local gossip! And the bluebell woods down towards the lake will look and smell divine then, what a brilliant time of year to choose, bravo! We all enjoyed the Stourhead picnic so much and met some really lovely people – my teenager is hoping to make it again too, he had such a good long chat on politics with Paul (Angus was just about to go campaigning for Hilary in Philly – ha, that worked well didn’t it!). 11th May is in our diaries, let’s hope the spring weather plays ball 🤞
    Love, Seona xx

    • sbranch says:

      Baby Beatrix! How fun it will be to have our picnic in your very own home town. Ha ha, your dad’s humor, the Handsome-Smiths! Them shooting someone’s dog must have been the talk of the town! Not so handsome after all! Yes! The bluebell woods, for all to see, and the baby lambs in Post Office Meadow! Fingers crossed for a lovely spring day! I really can’t wait! See you there!

      • Seona says:

        Can’t wait either, to be amongst such kindred spirits, in Sawrey no less, it will be fabulous. Thanks for organising it! X

        • sbranch says:

          Like BeaStock “… by the time we get to BeaStock we’ll be half a hundred strong … 🎵”

  37. Mary Jane Gruber says:

    Has anyone ever captured the essence of a field mouse better than Beatrix Potter?! Having seen many of these little darlings up close when rescuing them from my barn cats, I feel I’m a bit of an authority. And thank you to you for continuing to share your beautiful photos. Have a wonderful week.

  38. Julie says:

    What a fairytale come true! I would love to picnic at Beatrix Potter’s home! Now to figure out how to get there!

  39. Mer says:

    I just finished my first cup of tea in my Martha’s Vineyard cup delivered today. The mug is beautiful! Nice and roomy and quite light! Thank you so much! I need to hop on the ferry and get over there soon, it’s been a long time.

  40. Paula Johnson says:

    Oh, my word, Susan! How very, very exciting! The 2018 picnic is going to be on my husband, Burnell’s 81st birthday! It would be quite amazing to return to England and attend another picnic with you, Joe, and friends. I am so happy for you.

    Your pictures are gorgeous!

    This post leaves me quite delighted and excited.
    Blessings for you and Joe and all the girlfriends.

    Hugs, Paula J

  41. Shirley says:

    Love, love, love Beatrix Potter and your blog! Enter my name if it’s not too late.

  42. Linda Sanderson says:

    Thank you so much, Susan, for making every place you go home for us all!

  43. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Hope you are well and doing fine! Yippeeeeeeee, my Martha Vineyard cup was delivered on my porch this afternoon!!!!!! But, my hubby Ken now has it hiding safe inside his clothes closet until my birthday……I did not even peak in the box……So, it will be a “surprise” come January!!!! (I might just pop waiting this long!!!) Also, I just am so excited about your May 2018 trip to picnic at Beatrix Potter’s home!!! Please, please, please take bunches of photos for all of us left back home, looking on our tablets!!! Thank you Susan for your previous blog posts this summertime, I have enjoyed them so!!! It’s always my happy place to be, with a cup of tea in hand in the morning!!! Really quick, please give me any suggestions regarding setting up a sewing room, Susan. I now have my daughter’s old room to use as my sewing room!!!! I noticed that your’ s was painted white, so I have had it painted white. (Great for letting the colorful fabric, and yarns to show there true colors.) I would accept any advice you have to give!!!!! Have a wonderful weekend Susan! Take care of yourself. God Bless.

    • sbranch says:

      How fun! A sewing room! You should do it in your own style of course, but you’ll want a long table to lay out fabric … and a comfy chair, and shelves or a dresser for fabric and books, maybe even a hutch. A calendar, and a coaster for your teacup; a tiny vase for wildflowers. A quilt over a chair. Sweet curtains, a picture of your smart mom, and anything else you love. A room of your own! And don’t worry, for our trip to England, I’ll take LOTS of photos to share with my arm-chair traveling Girlfriends! xoxo

  44. Jen says:

    Dear Susan,
    Oh how I wish I could be in England! Maybe someday . . .
    And . . . I got my bluebird cup today, and I just love it!! 🙂

  45. Sarah says:

    I, too, love, love, love Beatrix! Thanks for your art, your photos, your words and all the light you put out into our world, Susan!

  46. Myky Barnard says:

    You exemplify many things that Beatrix stood for and I so enjoy your blog with many beautiful pictures and drawings! I was lucky enough to go to Hill Top back in the 80’s and will enjoy so much returning in spirit once again! Just watched Miss Potter again ~~ the story is so inspiring and the movie was well done! I would love to be the one to receive these lovely books. Thanks for all you do to bring such beauty to so many!

  47. Jackie Hovick says:

    I had the privilege of seeing the home of Beatrix Potter on a 5 week trip to England in 1985. I will never forget the charm of this cottage and seeing the actual furniture and objects that she illustrated her books with. Thank you for a trip down memory lane.

  48. Karen C. says:

    Hi Susan. Thank you for bringing us into Beatrix Potters world. I always loved Peter Rabbit, but didn’t really know anything about Beatrix. I love all your stories and am always looking for your next post. Thank you!!

    • sbranch says:

      It was the same for me, I fell in love with her little figurines, but never knew anything about her. Was a great discovery!

  49. Sylvia in Maine says:

    What a beautiful book! Even though I will only be there in spirit, I am SO excited about our trip to England next year!

  50. Charlene T. says:

    So love your post, Susan! Hoping someday I’ll get to see the lovely countryside of England, but until then you always bring it to me. Beatrix Potter is certainly a favorite of mine (and my children & grandchildren), and yes to have the journal book would be heaven! And since I have yours already I could pass it on to my granddaughter for inspiration. She is a budding artist at 9 years old and loves looking at your books when she comes to my house, especially when we have tea!

  51. Barbara Chadwick says:

    Hello Susan,
    So enjoyed reliving your wonderful memories. Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks.

  52. Marianne Wire says:

    Good morning Susan,
    I so love your blog. What a blessing! I will be noticing the small things today. Wish I could join you next May. It is my concert time with my string students. Exploring the English countryside is on my bucket list since reading of your adventures. Looking forward to sharing it virtually. Your Denver/Taos friend Marianne

  53. Rosey K says:

    What a lovely give-away! Beatrix Potter is an inspiration.

  54. Anne Hebden says:

    Yippee!! We will be in Near Sawrey from 11th to 18th May next year as it’s our tenth wedding anniversary and we have hired a little cottage in the village. I can’t tell you how excited I am that we will be picnicking with you! Looking forward to it already Susan !

  55. Pauline in Wisconsin says:

    A special blog honoring an amazing lady. What fun to be able to see her home. I love your trip plans and look forward to visiting through all your pictures. !!

  56. Susan Webb says:

    So delightful your blog is to read. Not the short brief ones from other locations. But your’s is well thought out. It makes an big dose of eyecandy for me to escape to. Our busy daily life (How much longer will you be? Are you ready yet? Where have you been? I’ve been waiting for you…) gets on hold for a few. I’d love to win. That’s a wonderful dream I won’t let my self indulge in very much, winning a prize like yours. But a girl can dream,eh? Back to reality (gotta go get my Mother who’s in hospital).Sigh. Hope to visit your blog again soon.An thanks!

    • sbranch says:

      Well, that’s nice to hear … sometimes I think mine are way too long! I like to think I’m “down time.” Which everyone needs, if they can afford to take it. Blessings for you and your mom, Susan. xoxo

  57. Patricia Hines says:

    Susan—we have several things in common: love of anything Beatrix Potter, pink English roses( mine is Eden) and Spode dishes. Mine came to me from my grandmother and she called them “pink tower” and in cranberry color. Just love reading your blog. Don’t stop!!! The Beatrix Potter Journal would be a treasure

  58. Karen Hillier says:

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

  59. Beth L. says:

    Can you even imagine 151 years from NOW a flustering, passionate, delirious gaggle of women (and men!) kerfuffling over The Susan Branch Society!!!
    …and how to CELEBRATE HER LIFE TOGETHER???? Picnics on The Vineyard! “She changed her part of the world, and hence, in a sense, the whole world.” Sound familiar???
    Whatever would Beatrix have done meeting “the Beatles” of her day??? Haha!

    • sbranch says:

      Ha ha! 😘

    • Paula Johnson says:

      I agree, Beth. Susan has a lot of the same history and talents, and shhh~in my opinion, even more charm that Beatrix* had. I have thought that someday she might have her Holly Oak back and make it into a destination where those many many people who appreciate, admire, and have been encouraged by her life can experience a taste of Susan…to be where she lived, grew, overcame heartbreak, and became a published author. Just think of that! 🙂

      *not to diminish Beatrix a bit.

      • sbranch says:

        I love that little dream!

        • Debby Rickett says:

          I have actually had that dream! I dream of Holly Oak and being there and laughing with Susan. Enjoying those lovely walks with her. I believe that little house rescued her and helped define the lovely person she is today. I truly hope one day she gets her house back and all of us who have been so encouraged and inspired by her can pic-nick on the grounds of Holly Oak and celebrate Susan (who will be there with us, of course!!)

  60. Cat says:

    I LOVE this post! Will have to enjoy the trip vicariously…health and finances are simply a nuisance! But…I WILL enjoy it, through YOU! And, guess what? My Susan Branch Santa Christmas cup arrived this morning! It is so wonderful!!! I just love it…it’s a perfect weight and size and, of course, the artwork is amazing…I want to order more! Will have to save up!! Thank you, Susan, for all that you do! Cat

  61. Flossy Stewart says:

    Please enter me in the drawing…thank you Susan…P.S. you sure do help light up my life…thank you from the bottom of my very grateful heart…

  62. Julie Marie says:

    Oh my goodness! I think this is my very favorite post evah!… but then, I say that about every one of them… love everything Beatrix Potter, and because of you, I have a nice little Peter Rabbit “corner”… I wish I had a Peter Rabbit bedroom but my little corner fits nicely!… your photos just whisk me away to England and all the beauty she holds… perhaps one day I will visit too!… thank you for always brightening my day… can hardly wait for my Autumn cup to arrive… sooo excited for Fall!… love you, xoxo… Julie Marie

  63. DeLores Johnson says:

    I am disappointed my entry was not acknowledged. I entered right away.

    DeLores Johnson

    • sbranch says:

      I’m sure it’s there DeLores, but there are almost 2,000 to look through, so it might take a while to find it! But now you won’t need to, because this one is going through for sure!

  64. Danella on the Canadian west coast says:

    Hi Susan
    I look so forward to each new post. I feel like I’m right there with you. They are so deliciously descriptive. What a wonderful picnic you’ll have! Certainly a day to look forward to. Thank you for sharing your adventures with all of us.

  65. Kate Bavelock says:

    Love Beatrix Potter and would love to learn more about her amazing life!

    • sbranch says:

      Try to read Linda Lear’s autobiography ~ it’s thorough, and gives you all the details there are!

  66. Peggy says:

    I’ve been following your blog for years. I still have a stash of the stickers you created years ago, saving them for special scrapbook pages. AND my dear husband and I are going to visit my son in England in November. (My son is in the US Air Force, serving there.) my son is going to take me to Hill Top! I’m so excited! Thank you for helping me know that’s the one thing I most want to do while we’re there.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m worried that Hill Top isn’t open in November! I know they close to clean everything and give the house a rest … Please check, I would feel sad if they are, and maybe I am wrong!!! 👍

  67. Yvonne Bumanglag says:

    Vanna pick me! Lovely post as always leaving with a smile and happy heart.

  68. Karen J says:

    What a treat your posts are!

  69. Wendy says:

    Lovely to hear that you’ll be back in Cumbria (my home county, and very much missed). If the May 11 date fits with my daughter’s exams, I must plan a trip ‘back home’. Hope you have a fabulous time. x

  70. Lisa Johnson says:

    loved my visit to Hilltop 20 years ago! I read Peter Rabbit to my son so often that by 2 years old he could recite to book from memory by just looking at the pictures. We were in a store one afternoon and there was a display of Peter Rabbit children’s china. You know the china has the words from book with each picture. He began reciting the words associated with each picture. the women in the store thought he was extra smart—and he was—and is! Also had a female corgi named “Beatrix is Potter perfect”. Can you tell i am much impressed by Beatrix Potter

  71. Susan Moseley says:

    Susan, Susan, Susan…..a HUGE thank you for all your books and blogs! Most of all, thank you for being the inspiration for me to daydream about crossing the Atlantic on the QM2…..oh, do dreams come true?….yes, with lots of plotting and planning!
    We are kindred spirits! My name is Susan too, and I had a black & white kitty, (sadly, she passed at age 17). I’m originally from England, and I’m also a wannabe author…(so many stories to share). Count me in as one of your (newest) fans! I look forward to keeping in touch with your world!

  72. Rae Ann R. says:

    Oh dear! Am I too late? I’ve had 16 guests for ten days and I’ve been off the grid and in the kitchen! The weather was perfect and all guests tell me they had a wonderful time…so it was worth it…

  73. Ann in Albany says:

    Your picnic news so exciting – a dream. . .and so is the anticipation I feel looking at a long, perfect brown box that arrived while I was on a little getaway this week. Happy dance.

  74. Lee Bowers says:

    Dear Susan, this June your book inspired a visit across the pond for a great family. Mom and Dad celebrating 50 years of marriage. Asked what she wanted to do Mom said she wanted to go to England and walk the Cotswolds…inspired by A Fine Romance by Susan Branch. Mom and Dad and children and grandchildren and me…because I suggested the book as a gift to Mom. How lucky was I. Their family became my family …….
    A great time was had by all.

  75. Kim Garner says:

    So exciting! I would love for you to host a picnic here in the US. I visited the Lake District on our last trip to England. I am not sure I would have thought to visit there if it was not for your book. The book went with me all over England. It is stuffed with pressed flowers from our travels. Maybe you have given me a trip idea for May 2018.😊

  76. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    Little things. They have sustained me during the past month, from the morning I called an ambulance for my husband, through his life-threatening illness, hospital stay, and after care. Running home for an hour on the patio to breathe in the sunshine while I grabbed some tea in my SB mug, tending my flower pots, cuddling kitty, A hospital interlude when we happened to turn on a PBS special of Andrea Bocelli singing movie love songs. We held hands and let his golden voice wash over us, like a message from God. Things are better now, though still not easy. But as “‘they” say, no one ever promised it would be easy, only that it would be worth it. I received my Autumn mug in the mail yesterday! The box is on my dresser unopened. I’m saving it for an early autumn day when I might need a little gift. My girlfriends have been wonderful with their support, and your good vibes are all around me with books, calendar, beautiful mugs. We persist, and love flows.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so happy you’re feeling support dear Rosanne, it sounds like a difficult time. But your comment is so beautiful, with all the blessing-counting you are doing, and my prayers go to you and your husband that things keep getting better. I love that you’re saving your mug for when you “need a little gift.” That’s perfect, every lift helps, and from your words, I see you have them all. Kitty kisses to you both, Susan

      • Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

        Susan, your response brought tears. Your genuine compassion shines through, and I thank you for your kind thoughts. You have a heart that is true. I have been reading novels by Elizabeth Berg, who writes beautifully about the balm of womens’ friendships and how important we are to each other. Just finished The Art of Mending, and highly recommend her books.

  77. Eileen says:

    This book looks so cool! I’ve been off of my computer for a while so I’m glad I didn’t miss getting a comment in. Thanks for the giveaway.

    • sbranch says:

      Perfect timing. Every day I think I’m going to get Vanna to draw a name, but comments keep coming in, so I’ve been waiting until everyone is signed up!

  78. Ruth E. Rupp says:

    Dear Susan, Finally got my internet working late yesterday after being down for 13 days,so didn’t see your column until now!!! Hope I get this to you in time for the drawing. The Great News is my Gorgeous Bluebird Cup arrived yesterday (bluebirds are my favorite bird), and it is soooo perfect! The second I saw it, I pictured cocoa in it with fat marshmallows floating on top. It will be setting by my favorite chair to enjoy with a little bouquet of flowers in it, which I can lift out each time I need a cocoa, coffee, or tea break. I was surprised and pleased at how it feels just like “fine china”. Can’t wait to get the other cups to complete my set, which will be so fun to use with friends and family. I am so looking forward to your (our) next trip to England and wish I could be there for the picnic, but will follow you every step of the way. Years ago I took that trip through the Lake District and adored every bit of the Beatrix Potter experience. So many wonderful memories that I enjoyed with you on your last trip and look forward to again. I have followed you for so many years, it’s easy to feel like we’re good friends. A million thanks for sharing all your talent and wonderful life with all of us. You are the sunshine in my day, even when it’s raining!! 🙂 Ruthie in Minnesota

    • sbranch says:

      So sweet Ruthie, thank you! I’m so glad you like your cup ~ and can follow along on our next adventure in the Mother country! xoxo

  79. audrey B, LaBarque Creek, MO says:

    Cool days here is the Midwest signaling an early autumn? I hope, I am ready to be done with the too hot summer days. “Don’t wish your life away,” my mother would say, but I can hardly wait to sip warm cider from my SB Autumn mug!

    • sbranch says:

      Me, too, although I love the garden, and the flurry of flowers, and the change of pace, it only all makes fall more exciting to look forward too. We’ve already tasted the change here too!

  80. Pat Hatfield says:

    Hooray!!! My tea mugs arrived! Thank you so much!!! They are lovely, and my tea has never tasted as good. I will cherish them forever…

  81. Cheryl West says:

    Thank you for more lovely photos and information about the splendid Miss Potter. Just now I am reading Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life by Marta McDowell. It is also a beautiful book full of her life story with many photos and illustrations.
    I also love your photos of Stourhead, one of my favorite places in England.

  82. Pam Ward says:

    Hello Susan,
    I am an adoring fan. Have enjoyed your art and books for years, and have read and gifted your books. So excited for the possibility to join you in England in May!! Will work to secure that time off. Thanks for your sunny contribution to my life.
    Best, Pam

  83. Chrissy says:

    I was bragging about Beatrix to my teen sons just the other day. We were discussing food, in particular mushrooms and I had to mention Beatrix was a mycologist. They were amazed that the lady who wrote that “bunny” book was a scientist. She was a fascinating woman who lived her life as she saw fit; I admire that. Thanks for sharing!

    • sbranch says:

      She painted beautiful watercolors of mushrooms … and when we were there, we found a small, about 4″, handmade pottery mushroom, copied from one of her most famous paintings, at the Armitt Museum ~ one of my treasures now. I’m so happy your kids know about her. She is a great role model.

  84. Martha says:

    Hello – The Beatrix Potter book looks lovely! I received my Martha’s Vineyard teacup yesterday — it is absolutely beautiful!!
    Martha from CT

  85. MKS Koger says:

    Reading a book called “Betsy and the Great World” by Maude Hart Lovelace that I bet you would love. Story of a starry-eyed 21 year old who heads off to Europe by ship looking for adventure and to get over a broken heart. The shipboard details from just before World War I seem right up your alley. Very cozy book that is part of a very good series. Love your 3 memoirs and love buying them as gifts for friends who are artists, Anglophiles or Californians!

  86. Lynn Moroz says:

    Thank you dear Susan for alerting us to these books. I will keep my eyes open for them. Xo

  87. Dianna Stewart says:

    Dear Susan… Wish you would actually organize a tour of all these wonderful places that we could come along with you in person.

    • sbranch says:

      Joe is unwilling to go into the travel business!!! But there’s a tour being planned by Mandy and Betsy, and I’ll get to meet everyone along the way, so that’s good.

  88. Cassandra says:

    Hoping for luck!

  89. Marjorie from PA says:

    Thanks for another delightful post! You have a wonderful gift for bringing things to life for us through your amazing illustrations and heart-felt words.
    The picnic next year sounds marvelous as does your next trip!
    Thanks for sharing your travels with us, too. I enjoy your books very much, reading them again and again.

  90. Hi Susan Branch! I have loved your art work for years, and I adore the way you :”decorate” your blog with quotes. So meaningful, and just beautiful. Beatrix Potter was so ahead of her time and I have enjoyed her books, the figurines that I have collected of her “friends” that she brought to life and so on….It must have something to do with watercolor artists as I think you and her are so very special. My life , here I am at 70, has been so much better since I found your blog a long while back.. You are a major talent, and I love, love, love, the way your heart “thinks.” The best to you always,

    • sbranch says:

      Well, you know it’s the heart and not so much the brain! 😜 But thank you so much for your lovely kind words Joanie. I’m so happy we found each other!

  91. Deb says:

    Just in case I’m not too late to enter, tell Vanna here’s the comment she should draw! I always love your blog posts and feel that I could have written them… if only I could travel to such beautiful places.

  92. Is there any more wonderful place than England? Everything Beatrix Potter takes us back to a wonderful and more peaceful time.

  93. Paige H says:

    What a delightful book, and how cool that your next big picnic will be at Hill Top! That’s something to look forward to. Love your blog as usual.

  94. Barbara in So Cal says:

    Thank you for keeping Beatrix Potter alive.

  95. Karen Shriver says:

    All of your books are such a delight and I love the recipes. Over the years I’ve always admired Beatrix Potter and her beautiful artwork of animals. I’ve just finished reading A Fine Romance for the second time. Just had to read it again after reading The Fairy Tale Girl and Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams.
    I’m hosting a Tea Party for friends in October and I’d like to make the Orange Lavender Polenta Cake shown on page 214 of A Fine Romance. Question…if baked in a 9-inch cake pan how long should it be baked to assure it’s done? Thanks again for all your wonderful books, stories and recipes.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s the same amount of time as the large one, 45 to 50 min… you’ve only halved the recipe, and also put it in a smaller pan … the thickness has stayed about the same. Be sure to test it, make sure a knife comes out clean … cake should be browned. Have a wonderful tea party!

  96. Dorothy Stapleton in California says:

    One of my early memories is sitting on my mother’s lap looking at the tiny Beatrix Potter books she would check out of the library for me. They were tiny books with all of Beatrix’s beautiful paintings, but I remember that they had less than beautiful library issue brown covers. I would love to be at her place with you in May! We’ll see…

  97. Genie from N.C. says:

    Loved to see the pages from Beatrice Potter: A Journal. I’ve often wondered at the fact that books for children and young people contain so many inspired illustrations and interesting visual things while books for adults are usually filled with, well, just words — eloquent though they may be. 🙂 Wish that — as we grow in age — the enchanted visual creativity we experience in books as children would grow by leaps and bounds along with us. Maybe that’s why the internet has so much appeal. It’s visually very creative. Your books are filled with creative embellishments that inspire too.

    • sbranch says:

      I always say I write children’s books for grownups … that’s why all the pictures and art! I never grew out of them, and I don’t think the rest of us do either! xoxo

  98. Maggie Halford says:

    I fear I may be too late. If I don’t win the drawing I will have to find some way to save for that wonderful book on Beatrix Potter. My dream to go back to England to live (I’m English) is not going to happen so I intend to surround my self and my life with all things…all things England and Beatrix is one of the most important. I’ve been to Hill Top….I want to live there. Please pick me. Love Maggie H. xoxoxo

    • sbranch says:

      You are just under the wire Maggie . . . entered! And yes, make little England in your own house and garden!

  99. Darlene Westmoreland says:

    Hi, it’s me Anne from Maine. I can still only respond in Darlene Westmoreland’s spot. (Hi, Darlene) I would positively LOVE, LOVE to win the Beatrix Potter book. Also, can someone help me so that I can post a comment under my own name and not impose on Darlene? Thanks so much. Have a lovely day!!

    • sbranch says:

      I think it might be your device … try refreshing, try coming directly to http://www., and try it on another computer and see what happens. We don’t think it’s coming from us … but we still have a couple of people experiencing this oddity! Sorry Anne! Maybe one of the other girls can help you…but no matter what, you’re entered!

  100. Kathy Fletcher says:

    Oh I am so very sad i won’t be able to attend next May- i would absolutely love it, but i know that you will post so many photo’s and make us all feel as if we are right there with you having a nice picnic- tea and wonderful company. thank you so very much for making out days special with your blog. We all love you dearly.
    Please enter me to win also…..haha.

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