No, it’s not really snowing here. In fact, it’s snowing in West Texas. Snowing in West Texas BEFORE it snows in New England. Call the weather police! But we don’t care! Let’s pretend it’s a marshmallow world out there! MUSICA!  Better go get yourself a cup of something hot to drink, keep warm, brrr. 

So beautiful. I worry that someday people will read about the four seasons in a book, see old photos of snow and falling leaves and fields of daffodils on blogs like mine, and think, “Oh how quaint!” My poor baby California is on fire right now. 😥 Please say a prayer, there is no good time to lose your home, but Christmas must be the worst. And pray for the  brave firefighters and first responders 😘 ~ that they be kept safe. The thing I know is that everyone will gather to comfort and help each other as always in times of trouble, because that’s who we are. Have you seen THIS? It’s a video of a man saving a bunny from the fires. Come back and see it later . . . it’s so wonderful it will make you cry.

 I’m sure our snow will come soon . . .  it’s cold here.

Isn’t imagination a luv-lee thing?

We’ve had a fire almost every night.

In these quiet few days before all the festivities get going . . . while we’re decorating and wrapping and sending gifts across the sea.

Our boy is stretched out . . .

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Love this photo with the early morning shadows across the kitchen while I was polishing up the gravy boats, getting things ready.

My little stack of bread baskets . . .

Joe brought in some branches with leaves from the garden . . . and I set the table …

This is how the dining room looked when we first bought the house in 1989. I was setting the table for a lobster dinner, and there’s girl kitty (the first!). Love the befores and afters!

Finally decided which dishes to go with . . . all I needed were the napkins and the table would be done . . .

Jack was helping me fold them . . .

Because our kitchen is the heart of the home, where everything happens ~ folding clothes and kitty kisses too . . .

And rolling out pie dough . . . cooking up  a storm . . . thinking of the many Thanksgivings prepared here in this kitchen, counting my blessings. Our turkey, filled with my grandma’s dressing, came out perfectly.

So here we go . . . making the house pretty for the neighborhood . . . my own personal private elf-man doing a great job.

My guy. He is amazing.💞 Not just for this, but for everything.

There are so good ways to decorate . . . in case you’re in the throes of it like we are, here are a few ideas …

H A P P Y    D E C E M B E R 

We hang up all our loved bits of collected Christmas paraphernalia!

Bits and pieces end up on the kitchen cupboard knobs . . .

And as always, the shelf on top of my stove is in full Christmas mode . . .

The little house I found at a flea market several years back . . .

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care . . . and the memories flow . . .

Remembering childhood Christmases at home with my parents and brothers and sisters brings back all the magic (although, in this photo, we still have one sister to come, here we are only seven).  My favorite Christmas memory is when the little kids would be in bed, the older boys in the family room in front of the TV, I would go into the living room, turn off all the lights except for the colored tree lights, lie on the sofa in the twinkly dark and listen to Frank Sinatra sing I’ll be Home for Christmas.🎵 I do it every year and it’s as dreamy as it’s always been.

I was reading our local paper the other day, the Martha’s Vineyard Times ~ an article about the first death from a car accident here on the Island in 1902. It happened because the speeding vehicle was allegedly going more than 15 mph! 🙀 Yes! Lock him UP! Must have been difficult, the change that took place as horses were replaced by automobiles. I’m sure many held out forever for the horse, and the car people must have been very frustrated. The island town governments jumped into action and set the new speed limit at 5 mph. (I think my car goes faster than 5 mph when it’s in neutral.) It was another world, another time.

See the Linden tree on the right? That’s the same one I wrote about in Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams ~ in this photo it’s still young, but it grew to be huge, spread like an umbrella of leafy dappled light over the town when I came here in 1982 ~ and covered with lights at this time of year.  Amazing how so very little has changed in this photo. The Times, my favorite newspaper, recently started something new I think you might like. They send out a very short daily email called “The Minute” ~ it tells about the daily doings here on the Island, has a quote of the day, and a “what’s-for-dinner” recipe. It’s free … If you’d like it to show up in your mailbox, go HERE.

So yes, we do try to slow down time a little bit during the holiday season so as not to increase its speed.

We went to the movies on the night of the super moon. I looked up through the trees on Main Street in Edgartown, and there is was, in all its glory, peeking through the clouds. So festive to be out on cold nights during the holiday season, when everyone is out and about and everything is decorated!

We had a delicious dinner at Alchemy … Edgartown was all lit up …

They make a very good Old Fashioned at Alchemy… but you know Joe makes them a little bit better ~ here’s his recipe:

And since I wrote this recipe, we have discovered THE PERFECT WILD CHERRIES for this drink. Dark, almost black, and intensely flavored, there are no other cherries for us. Absolutely forget about maraschino cherries. They’re called Fabbri Amarena and are available HERE… delicious in an Old Fashioned, and also, just as heaven over vanilla ice cream or on cheesecake or between layers of a Chocolate anything. 💋 Somebody should put these in somebody’s stocking. You’re welcome.

We went to see The Man Who Invented Christmas . . . the story of how Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol ~ so good, perfect for anyone who loves the book, or wants to know a little more about Chas Dickens, has ever tried to write a book, or is fascinated by imagination and invention. In addition, MATTHEW (from Downton) plays Charles Dickens.👌He’s never been handsomer ! Wowzer. I rest my case.


SO, other than that, here’s what I’ve REALLY been doing. Stealing hours and sometimes whole days, to paint. I discovered something I never knew before ~ Youtube has audiobooks! So I’ve been listening to Mansfield Park while I paint (that’s what you hear in this video). And dreaming of this . . .

This, my darling girls, is the view from the house we’ve rented in the Lake District for our picnic on Beatrix Potter’s lawn at Castle Cottage next May 11. Eeeek. That’s all I can say. If you are new to this blog and not sure what I’m talking about . . . then go HERE, where you can read all about it, and possibly join us, a whole bunch of kindred spirits, for a luv-lee afternoon in the historic English countryside.  BYO Picnic Basket!

And yes, the Royal Wedding is going to be sometime next May! We’ll be there! So I’m fairly sure the entire country will be decorated in bunting!!! Petey is ready to go, Mrs. Rabbit is blessing my new Castle Cottage cup; I’ll be making special name tags for everyone, too. I’ll put them on the next blog post so you can print them out. MUCH more fun when we recognize our kindred spirits!

That’s Post Office Meadow above, which Beatrix Potter owned, and it will likely be filled with baby lambs when we are there . . . and behind it, the white house, that’s Castle Cottage ~ and our picnic will take place in the garden! I can barely believe it, but I know it’s true.

Something else hard to believe. This is real, but this photo could never tell the whole amazing story because bluebells drift over every hill and dale in England in the springtime, in some places, as far as the eye can see.

So I had to include bluebells on our remembrance cup . . .

This quote tells the whole story . . . and on the bottom it says, “Memories are made of this.”

I wrote on them,”Picnic, Near Sawrey, Lake District, UK 2018″ ~ Never to be forgotten! And don’t worry if you can’t make it ~ we are taking everyone along with us, virtually . . . through pictures and videos ~ you won’t miss a detail! I will stick my camera into everyone’s picnic basket!

So, yes, you may have noticed . . . I finally received samples of the actual real cups that will be coming the beginning of January. Aren’t they gorgeous?  Bone china is such a nice thing! I photographed them all, fronts and backs so you can really see what you’ve signed up for. 📷

They came out wonderfully . . . this one I called Valentine Love . . . it’s good for husbands, boyfriends, sisters, and girlfriends, moms and dads, and everyone in between …

 I couldn’t wait to put this wonderful quote on a cup ~ because anytime is a good time to give a toast to love. On the bottom it says, “Of thee I sing…”💞

Here are the bottoms of all four cups . . .

And here’s the Winter cup (the bottom says “Not fit for man nor beast!”). Mrs Tittlemouse cozied right up to this one. I adore seeing that my Beatrix Potter figurines go so well with my cups!

There’s a snowman on the winter cup. . .

And a good wintry tea quote!

And this one is Girlfriend’s Tea … on the bottom it says, “If friends were flowers, I’d choose you!”

Also good for Valentine’s Day, with lovely words by Nancy Luce. Pay no attention that Nancy wrote that about her chickens she adored so much! Love is love! Right, Mrs. Tittlemouse? Right! (Of course she would agree, she’s almost a chicken herself! Oops, look at her face, I think she heard me say that!)
And for you who bought the cups already and are just waiting for them to arrive, don’t forget I made gift cards just in cases you wanted to give them as gifts this year . . . just click HERE and you can print out a card (like above) so they know something is coming.💞 Cups and other dishes are still up for presale right HERE.

Because guess what else, everything in this photo will be here early next week! Antique-store finds of the future! Whew, we tried so hard to make them arrive in time, and I think we did it!

For all you embroiderers . . . I’m so happy you’ve been enjoying our new kits! We sold out of Tea Party already! And there are only a few of the Ornament Kits left. We’ll be getting more I think, but in the meantime, we have two brand new kits arriving at the Studio very soon. A bunny pin cushion and a little robin to hang on your door or cupboard knob . . .

And here’s a wee gift from me to you with love, these two bookmarks . . .. . . just click HERE and print them on card stock… you can laminate them and make a sweet little stocking stuffer. And Kellee says to look for new wallpaper and other free stuff   HERE ~ it should all be up sometime this weekend! And new Winter Recipes are waiting for you HERE. We are going to keep you busy! (er!)

And one of the things I’ve already started . . . I’m writing us another book ~ it’s going to be all about our trip next spring . . . it will be another diary, loaded with watercolors and photographs, I dream it every day, this time there will be Ireland in it!  It’s all I really want to do! Because now I know I have a tiny bit of Dickens blood in me. Not the genius part I’m sorry to say, the slightly insane part.😜

Now, I want to ease your mind, because I know you’re busy, but don’t worry one minute about getting everything done ~ I found our fortune in a cookie last night and all is well:

Love you girls, Have a wonderful time, whatever you’re doing. Prayers, prayers, and more prayers for those suffering in this most wonderful time of year. Digging a bit deeper in the wallet this year, for lots of people and places are so dearly in need. Blessings on you and yours. ❌⭕️ Your Pal for Life, Anna Susana Branchburger the third.

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603 Responses to IT’S NOT SNOWING

  1. Sara says:

    Mmmmm…will definitely be trying Joe’s Old Fashioned. Have you ever tried a Brandy Old Fashioned? It’s kind of like the official drink of Wisconsin…they even have emoji’s for it. We like them sweet, topped with a bit of white soda. And you are bang on with the cherries…those are super. Have you ever tried Luxardo Marachino cherries? Supposedly they are the ORIGINAL maraschinos, which have been really cheapened over the years. The syrup is dark, thick, divine. Almost medicinal in their intensity. I’m pretty sure they cure stuff.

    • sbranch says:

      Haven’t had a Brandy Old Fashioned. You have to tell me which is better once you’ve tried Joe’s! Yes, just so happens we are awaiting a new shipment of our favorite cherry right now… and all we have in the house, barely getting by, are the Luxardo. Wait until you taste the difference! Luxardo are better than Maraschino, but don’t come close (sorry!) to Amarena, which are softer, and have much more flavor. Hard to believe, I know, but just you wait! Love that “I’m pretty sure they cure stuff!” Yes! Cures what ails you!

  2. Diane M. Ely says:

    Everything looks so cozy, and I want to wish you a wonderful Christmas and a joyous New Year!

  3. Vickie says:

    I thought about you and Joe when I heard the date for the royal wedding! Thankful that you have all your accommodations booked! Magical timing!!

  4. Pam in Michigan says:

    Your signature made me LOL! Thanks for all you do to enrich our lives in so many ways! xoxo

  5. Kay Bennett says:

    Dear Susan,
    What a welcome message from you today on this windy, hot CA day. Your blog is a respit (sp) from our fires and wind. You always share the wonderful things we can be thankful for. I feel so refreshed after sitting and quietly taking in all that you bring to us. Remembering our stay in Near Sawry is like a breath of fresh air. You brought back those wonderful memories. May you and Joe have a wonderful Merry Christmas and I’m sure your New Year will be filled with exciting and inspiring travels to our favorite part of the world! (Be sure to check out the Downton Abbey cast in a spoof of the show. It’s on FB and it’s hilarious.)
    Warmest regards,
    Kay B.

    • sbranch says:

      When I was young, I loved the Santa Ana Winds and would literally dance in the street, at night, with the wind (the song, in particular, this one wonderful night, was Deep Purple by Nino Tempo and April Stevens). But things are different now, and my prayers go out to everyone in the path of these terrible fires. And yes, that spoof is hilarious! Merry Christmas Kay! xoxo

  6. Susan says:

    I say Anna Susana Branchburger the third for world leader. And Joe for first Gentleman of the world! Imagine the beauty that would be! Not to mention world peace.

    Merry Christmas!

    • sbranch says:

      Would be great to be Queen. Would like to have wand to go with it! No hunger. 100% healthy children. Merry Christmas Susan!

  7. Vickie MacKinnon Hall says:

    Merry Christmas to you and Joe. Love receiving your newsletters, they cheer me right up. Greeting from Canada.

  8. Vicki Wilkes says:

    Immediately ordered those cherries! Over Thanksgiving I tasted an Old- Fashioned made with maple syrup…my new favorite drink!
    Yes, hard to feel merry when so many are suffering. Thank you for bringing a little light and joy into our lives just when we need it!

    • sbranch says:

      And what I give, I get back in full measure from my sweet and smart Girlfriends, kindred spirits sublime.

  9. Barbara (Jersey Girl) says:

    I don’t know which excites me more~ the thought of being able to read another of your most lovely books, or trying Joe’s Perfect Old Fashioned Recipe!!!

    And thank you, for always illustrating the true kindness of humanity, and the beauty in the simple things.

    Merry Christmas to you and Joe, and of course, Jack too!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ll need to know what you think Barbara . . . Joe has made it often, and slowly perfected it to the point that we have people knocking on our door with begging in their eyes. 😊

  10. Mary Alice Peterson says:

    As i sit here on a cold damp day in the Pacific Northwest I love seeing the pictures of winter the way it is supposed to be ..with snow. I am anxiously awaiting my “Winter” cup. I chose it because the saying on the bottom “Not fit for man nor beast” was one of my Mother’s favorite saying. Now every time I have my tea in it I will think of her. Thank you so much. May you and Joe have a wonderful holiday season and a very merry Christmas!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s such a perfect little cup for drinking hot chocolate out of . . . snow and melty marshmallows go so well together! Merry Christmas Mary Alice!

  11. Joy Hall says:

    You kitchen always looks so inviting, but especially in the winter! Such love there!

  12. Kathy Branch Spicer says:

    It’s SNOWING in Ohio! Right NOW! And I had mint hot chocolate with pastel little mini marshmallows while reading your blog. it was DEE-LIGHT-FUL!

    Merry Christmas, dear Susan!

  13. Kathie Ferko says:

    Thanks for the holiday spirited blog today…love all your homey decorations.
    Can’t wait for my armchair visit to the Lake District and Ireland next year!
    The lake area was my most favorite part of my Britain trip… loved my Scottish travels too.
    Visited in early summer but was so lovely then,too. Glad your Thanksgiving
    was a good one. Have a great rest of you holiday season. ✌️And💖
    Kathie from Limerick

    • sbranch says:

      We’re planning and plotting. It’s going to be a wonderful trip! Glad you can “come along” with us! xoxo

  14. Nancy Mosley says:

    Everything always looks so inviting and welcoming at your home! Merry Christmas Susan!

  15. Jackie Te says:

    The fires in California have upset me so much. My heart aches for all that’s lost. 🙁 🙁 🙁

    • sbranch says:

      It’s unimaginable. We know, or knew, Ventura quite well. I am going to be very sad to drive through there next time we’re out. 😢 Take care Jackie. xo

  16. Barb Mc says:

    Have you seen the previews for the Peter Rabbit movie coming out in February? I saw it the other night while watching Hallmark Christmas movies. It looks like it will be cute.

  17. Jane says:

    Thank you, thank you for giving me a few joyful moments in the middle of my day! It’s always such a treat to read— and then get lost in your lovely photos and watercolors. 💌

  18. Nancy says:

    Anna Susana Branchburger the third!!!❤️❤️❤️❤️
    I must say I approve of the “new” dining room wallpaper!!!
    Great blog post….nice break in my day!! Merry, Merry!

  19. Crystal Smith says:

    Susan, I’m wishing you a Very Merry Christmas!! I Love you and your artwork!! All the Best to you for the Future!! Keep up the good work!!

  20. Patty in SLO says:

    So many goodies in this posting! Can’t wait to try the Old Fashion recipe. And I LOVE watching you paint. Would love to see more video of how you create your beautiful paintings. Hope your snow arrives soon – we are praying for rain, and for all our state’s firefighters’ safety. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  21. Kerrie Foley says:

    Hi Sue! I took a break from my own watercolors (I’m having an art show here in my home this weekend) to catch up on your news. Don’t worry…the weatherman is calling for a wee bit of snow this weekend. Lets hope it’s enough to make a shiney sparkling cover over everything and make it look more like Christmas is coming. Our little village of Wickford is all lit up with twinkle lights and busy shoppers are bustling about. My prayers go out to southern California. I have a sister in Berkeley so she is safe but she has friends in the south. and God bless that man who rescued the bunny. What a difficult video to watch. It’s all so frightening. Let’s pray for less wind and more rain. I’m so excited about your next book. It’s the next best thing to tagging along in person. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. Give Joe a squinch and pat Jack on the head for me. Much love, Kerrie

    • sbranch says:

      I just started crying when he got that bunny. The HEART of that boy. I say, I have like 3 girlfriends I’d like to introduce him to! All squinches and pats are on the way … Love Wickford, as you know, it’s quintessential New England charm. People bustle there. They don’t hurry, they bustle. Have a wonderful Christmas. xoxo

  22. Gina Derksen says:

    Thanksgiving table swoon-worthy! Love your mix of plate patterns, one of which I have too! Also to let you know my mom & I are enjoying our Santa mugs… lovely size & shape and looks so cute with my EB collection. Thank you for letting us know about the items arriving next week, looking forward to my pre-order. Merry Christmas!

  23. Mary Parsons says:

    Dearest Anna Susana,

    May God Bless you and yours. Thank you once again for the positive thoughts and for your light that shines so bright. Merry Christmas too!

    Mary Parsons (your Long Beach girlfriend)

  24. Shelly Stone says:

    Susan- So thrilled about all the new things and especially a new book 😀. So nice in this super busy time of year to have a cup of tea and read your blog!

    • sbranch says:

      Nice to have you here … just like we’re all around the kitchen table having that cuppa together! xoxo

  25. Kelly Houlton says:

    We just got our snow a few days ago – after it rained, thundered, and hailed! Crazy weather. I hope you get snow soon and stay warm and cozy. Happy Christmas <3

  26. Marilyn Lisenbee says:

    My e-mail is changing but couldn’t figure out how to change it to continue to receive your blog.

    Please change it for me if you would.


    • sbranch says:

      Not sure what to change it to. The one I’m seeing here is marilynlisenbee332 …. is that the old one or the new?

  27. Barbara from northern California says:

    Dear Susan,
    I wholeheartedly agree with our fortune!

    Your voice has become one of the more important ones in my life. It’s smart and positive, and always reminds us to connect with things of value – and don’t forget cuteness!

    Speaking of cuteness, I saw an SUV wearing reindeer antlers, and a red nose, but what made it extra special was the owner had added curling eyelashes! I left them a note on their windshield just to say thank-you for the holiday joy. I signed it “A fan” and added a heart.

    Happy Christmas and happy all holidays to come!

  28. Bonnie says:

    May I poke in and ask if you might send a Christmas card to 5 yr. old Ryland Ward who won’t make it home for Christmas as the wounds from the church shooting are not healing as they should? He does not know his mother and 2 sisters were killed. Grandma asked us for this card favor.
    Ryland Ward
    P.O. Box 174
    Sutherland Springs TX 78161.

    I tucked a dollar in the card I sent. I remember how our children loved the coins daddy sent when he was stationed overseas.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, please poke in … I’m sure some of our girlfriends will read this and send along a card too. I’m so very sad to hear this. I would imagine that special little person is surrounded with love and good wishes, but I will add my own to them … there can never be enough. Thank you for writing Bonnie.

    • Julie V from Springfield, MO says:

      Bonnie – so sad about what took place in Texas – I will be sending precious Ryland a bit of Christmas cheer too. Would it be okay to share his story with some of my close girlfriends? I know they would be happy to send him a fun card to cheer him up. If not, I understand 🙂

      • Deb says:

        I will be sending a card to this little guy. It breaks my heart to hear the story. Thanks for providing the address. Merry Christmas to all.

  29. Hilary Lukow says:

    Enjoyed reading this in my recliner with a cup of rooibos tea and honey in front of the fire. Thank you so much for sharing, I look forward to hearing from you dear Susan. Hilary

  30. Alice Fornuto says:

    Overall it’s been a lovely day — made even more so by your missive, Susan! Merry Christmas to you and Joe and all those dear to you! Alice

  31. Hilary Lukow says:

    It is cold here too in Colorado!

  32. Bev Becker says:

    Hi Susan: I was so sorry to hear that California is again battling fires. I have a Sister-in-Law in the southern part of the state and so far has been safe from them. Will say prayers for everyone. Thank you for all your lovely thoughts for the coming Holidays and I can imagine the excitement you are going through for your coming trip. Lots to think about while getting ready to celebrate the Christmas and New Year holiday season. With Love and a Thank You – I wish you, Joe and Jack a Wonderful Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  33. LINDA L says:

    Wishing you and yours a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a Happy New Year fillrd with many blessings!!!!! Love Linda L

  34. Janet Senatore says:

    I’m in San Angelo, TX and we’ve had a few snow flurries today, but nothing is sticking. It was 82 here on Monday. Crazy weather!
    I am praying for our old homes in CA….I’m from Covina….
    Thank you for the bookmarks!

  35. Deb says:

    Our first snowfall of the season arrived today here in Michigan. I am sure it will be heading your way! Enjoyed your new blog and really excited to hear about your new book! Looking forward to reading it! Merry Christmas!

  36. Another wonderful cozy post ! Snow might be coming…colder weather here in PA and talk of snow this weekend. Just made 3 batches of dough…and when you said you were thinking of all the Thanksgivings that had been prepared in your kitchen – well, just making my mom’s sugar cookie dough I thought about her, and how she got the recipe from the woman she did housework for when she was in High School…a home economist named Mrs. Kushski – I think of them both and say a little prayer for them. We are all decorated, different this year in an apartment – but everyone here moved in here together this summer/fall…and we are slowly forming a little family. Planned a BIG pot luck dinner for next week, people are dropping off cookies and treats….everyone is decorating…we love it. Enjoy your holidays, relax ( I am taking breaks reading The Christmas Bus by Melody Carlson and using my BE AN ELF bookmark, thank you very much!) and dream of May and England. Yes, there are many bad things going on around us, but we can help, and we can enjoy the gifts we have been given. Thank you for all the gifts you share with us !

  37. Karen Lamoureux says:

    I really needed your blog today. I’ve been raising my granddaughter( my son’s daughter) for the past 8 years. Long story that I won’t get into. Her mother left when my granddaughter was 3 and didn’t have any contact with her until she was almost 8. Most of that was due to my son. Her mom returned and has been trying to establish a relationship with her. Two years ago her mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor-Stage 4. Well, yesterday her doctors told her that there is nothing more that they can do for her. Now I have to tell my granddaughter about this awful news this weekend.So seeing all of your wonderful pictures, the cups, kits, your decorated house let me escape for a while into a magical world. Thank you for this gift.

    • sbranch says:

      You are the one steady thing in her life. Steady is such a wonderful thing for a child. What a blessing she has you. All my very best, I’m so sorry you have to do this awful thing, children don’t deserve this. Big sturdy hugs of love to you, and the deepest breath of faith. xoxoxo😘

      • Karen Lamoureux says:

        Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. They mean a lot to me.I feel those hugs right now and I know they will be with me when I speak to my granddaughter later today.

    • Sending prayers to you Karen…and to your granddaughter and family, too. She is blessed to have you!

      • Karen Lamoureux says:

        Thank you, Ann for your prayers. It’s the prayers of my church family and friends like you that sustain me during these difficult times.

  38. Sally Jenks Roth says:

    Oh what a delight! I was driving home and thinking “it must be about time for a blog post” and here you are! Telepathy. Anyway, I love it, thank you so much for the joy you bring and the reminder to dig a little deeper for those who are less fortunate.
    I hope you are in England for The Wedding, my old country really does that kind of thing very well. It unites people for a few days!
    My grand-daughter will adore your bookmark, she devours books and goes back to the library for more… She would also adore your kitty, and think his feet are divine!
    Love, S

    • sbranch says:

      We were there during the Jubilee, and saw first hand what you adorable people are capable of. Of course the whole world saw it when the Olympics were in London!!! Jack’s feet are divine. I could not agree more. xoxo

  39. Nicki Anderson says:

    Thank you so much for many years of enjoyment. You’re the BEST.
    Merry Christmas !

  40. Christine says:

    Oh I love your blog today! It is all so wonderful. I love the hope of snow, the fire in the fireplace, the next trip to England, the beautiful cups and dishes. Thank you I have loved it all! Tell Karen her grandchild needs her. We raised three grandchildren, a boy and two girls. Not always easy but their mom just vanished. Such rewards we have received and now a great grand daughter! Love is never ending. I guess I especially love your love mug!!
    Thank you again!!!

  41. Trudy says:

    Thanks for the luuvly bookmarks we can print.
    Have to laugh when I read the tip of put a bow around the dogs neck and a bell for the cat –poor poor animals! 😂
    Love Ireland this is such a special country where fairytails come to life.
    Greetings Trudy from the Netherlands

  42. GHODGSON says:

    Hugs and kisses to Jack! Tuxedo cats make the family special with rooms filled with
    love and moments of laughter! Our tuxedo cat and English cocker filled the room
    and car with lots of memorable moments.
    So look forward to seeing the new dishes you created! I didn’t remember seeing Jack as part of the new China designs. Perhaps I over looked it?
    Merry Christmas!

  43. Paula Lewis says:

    Hi Susan ….once again great pictures and wonderful blog. I subscribed to The Minute and can’t wait to start receiving it! Also ordered the cherries ….you made them sound irresistible. Hope you get a dusting of white soon!

    We in SoCal are watching 100,000 acres of our beautiful state burn and are praying for those displaced and suffering losses. It was good to see the video of the rescue of the little wild rabbit…. did my heart good…thank you for posting it.

  44. Lillian Olmstead says:

    Hi Sue,
    What a nice surprise. The peace and joy you describe is how Christmas should be. Praying for those poor towns in California, I can’t even imagine what they are going through.
    Christmas wishes,
    Lillian O.

  45. Sandra says:

    What a wonderful full of preparations and good things for us all to treasure. It’s so cold here and I think we will have snow in the UK tomorrow…so time to get cosy..and get on with writing those cards…keep warm and yes let,s make magic in our homes this Christmas..thank you for inspiring us…love to you both

  46. Becky Maxwell from Atascadero, CA says:

    Thank you for a wonderful blog. It brought a smile to my face. I look forward to receiving my Winter mug in January. I hope by then we will be having winter, rain especially. I also went to the movies the night of the full moon. I saw Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney in “White Christmas”. Our local theater has been bring in classic movies every month. Christmas Eve they will be showing “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart. I cannot wait.

    You, Joe and Jack have a wonderful Christmas.

  47. Lorraine Macholz says:

    I love that your writing just takes me away!!!! Merry Christmas and may all you wish for happen!!! Thank you again!!!!

  48. Linda June says:

    I am busy, busy–but had to take time to stop and read your blog! It always puts me in a good mood and brightens my day here in the Pacific Northwest. Love all the new items you have created. Such a clever gal you are! In this day and age where the look of Pier One, Pottery Barn, and Restoration Hardware are all around us and in every magazine it seems, I love looking at your dining room and kitchen (and in the past all your house!) What is it about gray everything and clean, sleek lines? I love the Susan Branch look–all cozy and comfortable all year round.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Linda June, very sweet of you to say that! Sometimes I think they would like to “program” us … But we say noooooo! xoxo

  49. Darla Unger says:

    Thanks again for another fantastic blog absolutely Loved it! Just bought your calendar at the mall. (Last year I missed out) So I was happy to find one. Have a Wonderful Christmas season! Your place looks warm and cozy!!

  50. I was starting to get worried!! I checked and saw that your last post was on Nov. 19th and I was concerned since we had not heard from you. So GOOD to see that you are well and enjoying life, but I did miss you. As usual your decorations and cups are delightful. They always are. I made a give-away box on my blog and called it the Cozy Christmas Box. It’s your type of box. Well, I got brave and even made a video of me sharing its contents. I wanted to share it with you because I put something of yours in there and thought you’d enjoy my true, heartfelt comments about you. All good things, all good things, as Olaf would say. Have a very Merry Christmas! Here’s the link if you’d like to see it.

    • sbranch says:

      Such a generous giveaway Debbie . . . Happy Christmas to you … cozy girl xoxoxo

    • Linda Hill says:

      Oh, I signed up–what a beautiful blog and the box of good things with Susan’s recipe book–amazing!! She is truly the best don’t ya’ know?!!!

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

    good afternoon Susan and Girlfriends. brr it has been cold here, today we are having a heat wave, instead of 32 degrees we have 46 degrees. but it sure gets cold at night, very, very grateful we have a woodstove and it heats the house just fine. the cats have been curling up close to the stove in their basket and keeping warm and cozy. the chickens hate this cold weather but they sure love the extra snacks and goodies they get to help them fatten up and keep warm. been busy for the past few days breaking up the ice on the water tubs and the ducks’ pools, have to go about 2-3 times in the morning to do that and it is freezing out there. we have been watching the fires, so sad as I grew up in the area near Sepulveda that is under fire evacuation. but the hills around there are so dry this time of year.. does anyone know how these fires sparked off??? proud to say a large group of firefighters came from my area up here in Oregon, the Illinois Valley. plus a great group of wildfire specialists and firefighter came from Grayback firefighters and that is just up the road from me. those guys are the best at what they do… fighting wildfires. other firefighters went from Grants Pass and from Medford as well as from ODF ( Oregon Dept. of Forestry). these guys are really good in dealing with wildfires. hopefully they can get those fires out and over with in no time. today is the Mortal Storm showing on TCM at 3pm my time(PST) so hurry up and catch it. plus there is an interesting book out published in 2015 by a 93 year old Jewish man, Edgar Feuchtwager , called Hitler My Neighbor: Memories of a Jewish Childhood, 1929-1939. its is the memories of a young 5 year old Jewish boy who actually lived next door to Adolph Hitler when he was a rising politician, interesting reading. off to watch the movie. have a great evening everyone….. stay warm, stay comfy and stay safe. hugs…. 😀

    • sbranch says:

      I saw it Pat, and loved it just as you imagined! Thank you! All my best to you and your little critters!

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        okay as they sort of changed the schedule on me, it is now on tomorrow at 3 pm your time, 12 noon my time. off to go check on the barnyard bunch and leave some more goodies out for them… spoiled aren’t they???? LOL!!!! 😀

        • sbranch says:

          Yes they are! I saw it a couple of weeks ago Pat… but thank you for the update, I will be happy to see it again!

  52. Kathleen Schoonover says:

    Dear Susan,
    I’m so excited that you’re writing another book! And I so wish I could attend your tea party at Castle Cottage in May, but I was just there in September. My husband and I spent an afternoon at Hilltop and had tea and scones at Castle Cottage. The current resident, a lovely woman named Mandy, was so gracious and welcoming, and even let us (a small group arranged through the National Trust) walk through the room that was once Beatrix’s study. We love the wool business that Mandy operates and the lemon curd that her husband makes and sells. It was a truly magical afternoon. Needless to say, my husband is buying me your Castle Cottage mug for Christmas (he doesn’t know it yet!) I love your work and I thank you for the hours of enjoyment I’ve spent with your books. Happy Holidays! With love from Kathleen
    P.S. There’s a picture of my cat reading” A Fine Romance” on the FOSB Facebook page.

    • sbranch says:

      Mandy was here for lunch this summer! And she’s the one that invited us for our picnic! See how we’re all connected? How amazing! I’m so happy you were able to see it! I love cats who read! xoxo Thank you Kathleen!

  53. Christie Levin says:

    The timing of this blog post shouldn’t surprise me because our Pal for Life is so in tune with her girlfriends ~~ part of this post is exactly what I was working on yesterday, cross my heart. I was thinking of the things I do to get my current self in tune with my past Christmas selves (re-play/re-watch/re-read vintage Christmas music/movies/books/magazines/SB Blogs from Christmastimes past, and now my newest source, Carrie’s Christmas blog post). Yesterday I started reviewing your Christmas season blogs beginning in 2010 and I had only gotten to December 2012 (so much to re-read) when HEY PRESTO! here you have everything in a perfect December 2017 post! Thank you for reading my mind! You can probably do that because when you were sitting by yourself in the dark on your California couch in 1958, 59, 60, etc., watching the Christmas lights on your fragrant Christmas tree twinkling through the strands of tinsel, I was sitting by myself in the dark on my Seattle couch doing the exact same thing. I’ve often thought that hearts in tune can meet across the universe before they meet in person. Love, Christie

  54. Julie V from Springfield, MO says:

    Yippeee – I have been checking several times a day for your blog! Settled in with a cup of Downton Abbey Christmas tea and enjoyed every bit of what you had to say today. Signed up for “The Minute” and look forward to receiving it. The pictures of all the snow and decorating and lovely fire look so cozy! This is the first week we have had weather that is not in the 60’s so it is finally feeling like winter. I am excited to be “tagging along” on your trip next spring via the internet. How lucky that you will be there during the wedding – Jane Austen would call that “providence”! Your blog, art, books and everything are a gift that I feel blessed to receive all year long.
    Wishing you and Joe a most Blessed and Merry Christmas!

  55. Gale Harris says:

    Thanks so much for your tips on The Minute, the cherries, and the YouTube audio books! Much delight ahead!

  56. Asha says:

    Another Susan Branch book in the making! Be still my heart!💗 Thank you for this blog. Always a pleasure to visit with you, Joe & kitty. Love ya! Have a wonderful Christmas season. Ox

  57. deezie says:

    Hi Susan
    How I adore when I see you have made a new blog post. Love love love all the pictures* How sweet you and your family looked when you were so little. Its so fun looking at pictures. Did you get your tree yet Susan? I always love where you put it* Have the very best day ever***

  58. Snap Lane says:

    Your blog posts are such a delight … each a wonderful story with pictures. I just finished reading the book The Man Who Invented Christmas and I loved it. I loved it so much that I’ve bought extra copies to give to my fellow readers for Christmas. What could be more perfect than a book about Christmas?!!!!! I look forward to the new cups arriving. I think my traveling days are over, so thank you for continuing your adventures. … arm chair traveling isn’t all bad!

  59. Shannon(Pennsylvania) says:

    Oh, my, I saw the video of the guy in California saving the bunny on the news this morning. Bless him, bless him, he helps us remember that even though we’re going through extraordinarily turbulent times there are still so many good and kind and decent souls among us❤️My Friends of Gladys Taber journal arrived today. The article on the front cover was written by Gladys in 1939, and it is as relevant today as it was when she wrote it. I thought of you while I was reading it. The two of you were most certainly “cut from the same cloth”.
    I signed up for the MV newsletter, and I hopped over to Amazon for a jar of those delicious sounding cherries…what a cute jar they’re packed in!…and they’re almost sold out already. Looking forward to making Joe’s Perfect Old Fashioned with them! Hugs!

    • sbranch says:

      We were, Gladys and I, and born on the same day, April 12. You’ll LOVE your old fashioned. Those cherries are the quintessential “Cherry on top!”

  60. Heartsdesire (Judith Hogan) says:

    Your blog post today was just what I needed. Unfortunately, my ex husband and good friend passed away early Sunday morning and the family (four adult children) are still trying to adjust. I know it will take time, and even though he was sick and they knew it was coming, it was still very sad. My daughter called me at 4:.30 a.m. to tell me, and after her phone call, I walked outside and there was that fabulous big moon. Must have been a sign I thought. Usually, it is raining at this time of year here on the south coast of Vancouver Island but the sun has been shining recently and the skies were clear. Unlike the skies in southern California where the fires are burning again. That young man saving that rabbit was the best thing I’ve seen on Facebook lately. He was so eager to get that bunny away from that holocaust. I love your new mugs and will be ordering the Winter one (I already have the Love mug). Wishing there was one that said Dads.
    Hoping you get your snow soon. Your beautiful house is just made for snow. Merry Christmas to you and Joe. Looking forward to your trip to England. How lucky that there is to be a Royal wedding while you are there.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m sorry Judith … no there is no good time for this, it’s always a surprise and a loss. I’m so happy you had that amazing moon. Maybe it WAS a sign. Blessings to you and yours, we can toast to the memories. xoxoxo

  61. Ann Woleben says:

    I was beginning to worry about you, waiting each day for your latest post. Thank goodness you and Joe are okay! Even though I cannot be at Castle Cottage for the picnic, I am printing the name tag and I shall wear it on that special day. I will use my grandmother’s picnic basket – menu to be decided as I will refer to your summer cookbook. It doesn’t hurt to dream/pretend I am there in my heart. Merry Christmas and blessings~

    • sbranch says:

      We’re okay, but I paint, and he fixes things, and I hang stuff up, and he goes to the market, we make dinner, and then we do the laundry. You know . . . we’re just fine! I’m happy you’ll be having a picnic and wearing your name tag … then we’ll all be in it together, no matter where in the world we are!😘

  62. Charlene Scholey says:

    What a lovely surprise to find your blog today. I am sitting here listening to the wind howl outside and praying for all the people who have lost their homes. Such a hard time. I wish they could all read your letters and get yhe hope and joy to help them thru. Just one look at Jack folding napkins would make them laugh!😁 Have a wonderful Christmas season and keep,planning your trip. It will be here before you know it.Love to you and Joe and Jack kitty.I willl always remember meeting you in Santa Barbara or wherever near there!
    Charlene Scholey

    • sbranch says:

      It’s the planning of the trip that helps keep me happy and sane and mostly in dreamland! A definite blessing! You too Charlene, happy Christmas to you and yours!

  63. Sophie T says:

    Susan, your blog posts are always a delight. I’m looking forward to the snow to. There was some, but most of it is gone now. Hopefully we’ll see the magic again this weekend!

    Your cups are lovely. Do you know if there is a place in Canada where we can find them or is it only on your web site (trying to avoid high shipping fees…). I love your dining room and wish mine would look as cosy and classy!

    Thank you for the nice treats! I love adding your recipes to the Susan Branch Home Cooking Keepsake Recipe book I have!

    • sbranch says:

      As of now, the only place we have them close enough to you (and at least on the same continent!) is our web site. Sorry! The very highest bill we pay, by FAR, every month is shipping. Even though we charge, we don’t charge the whole amount. Hard to believe, we are in the red when it comes to that, but shipping (for the little guy, both you and us) is ridiculous! So happy you’re enjoying your Recipe book Sophie. Stay warm up there!

  64. Karen Schrimpf Saunders says:

    What a lovely post Susan. I loved it….and I am so so excited you are doing another book!!! ( I can hardly wait!!☺️). I so wish I could go to your picnic….but alas..taking a kidney out cost $94,000.🙀 (My poor insurance company.) I will be thinking of you and ‘if I win the lottery’…..(how many times has that been said!)…I will definitely put that at the top of my list!!☺️

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, but at least it was covered, thank God. And you are well, and getting better all the time. So many blessings. Merry Christmas Karen! xoxox

  65. Christine Feagin says:

    Thank you Susan! I so enjoy your posts, they make me smile and laugh. Also have read all your books and have 4 of your bone china mugs and use them daily, love them ❤️. Wishing you both a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!🎄🕊

  66. Anne says:

    Oh so sweet. Thank you as always. I mailed the Big Red Christmas book to my son and daughter-in-law and they just love reading it. They have not had a chance to try the recipes but I know they will love them. My son commented on what a good job you do “creating the setting”. Yes, you do. Thank you for all your years of inspiration; you bring such joy right through the e-mail.
    Best Wishes for a Beautiful Holiday Season.

  67. dawn ledoux says:

    Susan, you spoke too soon. I’m reading your post after watching the weather report on channel 12……snow is coming on saturday! Here we go…..have to admit i am not a winter girl. So looking forward to when you blog about spring lol! Have a wonderful Christmas.

  68. Kim DeMichele says:

    Thankyou Dear Susan for bringing the Christmas Spirit to Ohio!! I love your decorations and the lovely memories you have of Christmases past 🙂 Prayers for California…it has been such a rough year for them with all the fires. Merry Christmas to You and Joe <3 Fondly, Kim DeMichele

  69. Susie (Rocky Point, NY) says:

    Yes, prayers for CA! My heart breaks for them. Seeing your post is always so refreshing. Snow is coming our way this weekend. I do not winter well. Having you in my life makes it bearable. As long as I can stay indoors and look out at winter I’m okay. Don’t worry. I washed kitty’s blankey today and now we are ready to cozy up and watch a few good old movies over the weekend. And decorate. Perhaps bake a holiday cookie to test out. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it). So looking forward to our trip to UK in the Spring. It will be so exciting to be there during the events of the wedding. Ah love. xo

  70. Elizabeth says:

    Susan – I thought you might want to add this beautiful piece to your collection of Christmas MUSICA – “Angel’s Carol” by John Rutter, a composer of choral music who lives in England. performance album
    Best wishes –

  71. Joy Humphrey says:

    The pictures of your house in the snow are so soothing, refreshing, and peaceful. I’m from Southern California–live in Westlake Village and work in Malibu–and the fires, 4% humidity, and Santa Ana winds are so disturbing, especially since it’s December. It’s hard to enjoy the season when there’s so much loss and fear of where the fire might go next. Thank you for sharing your beautiful home with us, Susan. As someone who was planning her escape to Cape Cod over 20 years ago (but then I fell in love with a SoCal man), your blog, memoirs and cookbooks have fed my New England-starved soul.

    • sbranch says:

      I know your area well. Is Malibu Canyon okay so far? Stay safe and alert Joy, I’m sure you are totally tuned in as is all of California, and many of us out here too, praying for everyone and for a huge rainstorm. xoxo

  72. Wanda in Louisiana says:

    Merry Christmas from Louisiana! Your art is SO inspiring, been reading your blog and have most of your books! I’m a retired art teacher, and right now I’m about to finish designing my Christmas card (this is the 27th!). Would love to mail one to you, should I send to your Spring Street address? Or a P.O. ? BTW, I know you hear this a lot… but you are such a blessing! Love, Wanda

    • sbranch says:

      To the PO Box is best… Box 2463, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 … but remember, we are only little, that’s me and Joe, mail is something we try to be careful of … one time I accidentally gave the address and our dining table was loaded with unopened boxes, we lost total control, because we have the sweetest girlfriends in the world. But Joe, cardboard, bubblewrap, and peanuts, do NOT go well together. 😜

  73. Marianne in Mo. says:

    I am so saddened for So. Cal. dealing with the fires so close to Christmas. Blessings to them and to the young man who rescued the bunny! When it ran into the flames, I almost screeched aloud! But he was not giving up on that bunny, and I can’t imagine the fear when that happened. What a wonderful thing to witness.
    I wondered if you would be there for the marriage of Harry and Ms. Markle. Surely the excitement will be fun to witness in person. I am so happy for them and pray the paparazzi respect who he is and leave them some room to breathe.
    Your turkey was splendid in a visual sense! I’m sure it was yum! I *spatchcocked* my bird this year, and it was so moist, and cooked in 1-1/2 hours! Golden,crispy skin and juicy inside. If you haven’t tried this method on a bird, I highly recommend it. I now do my roasted chickens this way also. (Google it, but I learned it from ABC’s “The Chew”. )
    It’s so cold here today, after having a pleasant weekend in the ’70’s, now we are in the low ’20’s. Saw a few flurries this a.m. if I looked especially hard! We should be in the 50’s by Sunday – crazy weather all over it seems!
    I am not a bourbon lover, but those cherries sound marvelous. I’ve heard of them before, but it’s not something I think I would need to have. However, if someone *gifted* them to me, I would be so gratuitous to that person! LOL!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh, butterflying! I never heard the word “spatchcocked’ until now, but I definitely butterfly chickens sometimes! Did you remove the backbone in your turkey yourself? Or did your butcher do it? Must remember that! I like your thoughts on the cherries! xoxo

  74. mari1017 says:

    Dear Susan, This post in particular is every reason why I smile and fill with joy when a new blog post shows up! Your writing, art, creativity in the everyday dailys of our lives.♥ So newsy and yes, filled with H♥O♥P♥E Just love it all! Girlfriends cups are ordered for special friends, and the lovely butterfly teapot plate is a special gift for someone dear to my heart (can’t mention as she reads this lol) Special treasures for very special friends and family…thank you for such offerings.
    Wishing you and Joe and families a very special and Merry Christmas and the most happiest of new years in 2018! Can’t wait to wear my name tag and take tea with you all from here in Virginia…if you can dream it….;-) A heartfelt thanks for the smile today..I needed it for sure and for certain. ♥

  75. Mary Lawrence says:

    Merry Christmas beautiful lady,that makes us all better for having know you.Mary Elizabeth Marshall Lawrence

  76. Penny says:

    Merry Christmas 🎄 Susan ! I hope your enjoying this wonderful tune of year !
    Happy & Healthy New Year 💫

    • sbranch says:

      We are, how could we not? We went to a lovely church and heard our Chorus sing, and tonight it’s The Snow Queen, a live performance at our little theater. Joe is lighting fires and I am humming Christmas Carols and the smell of pine is in the house. All’s well in Smallville.

  77. Judith says:

    Oh, my head is spinning with ideas and plans after reading your blog! I can’t wait for your 2 new cross stitch kits to arrive for sale, I love them! (Any idea when they will show up?) Merry Christmas to you and yours!
    PS…that blue and white chair that Jack is enhancing is stunning!

    • sbranch says:

      I think soon, but I’m not sure…they’re finished, just need to be packaged by the manufacturer and sent to us!

  78. Deborah in Odessa says:

    Baby it is Cold outside!! West Texas . Snow in some areas .Drizzle. Grey Skies. It is good. It Snowed in 1982 here a few days before Thanksgiving. We had moved here in August.We were going to see my family in the Ozarks for the holiday break. We left and the snow was pouring down. What a memory. Never fear it will be almost normal here tomorrow. A lot to be very grateful for. I am not complaining. I feel for the ppl in California. I hate for any bad thing to happen to anyone. Thanks for the cheer. I love your decorating. I love all vintage and cozy things. ordering my winter mug… hard to choose. Take care and keep cheery…we need you.

    • sbranch says:

      We drove across West Texas last year ~ it was beautiful, we loved it, but it definitely never struck me as snow country! It was so hot we couldn’t get out of the car to wander the cute streets of Fredericksburg! Must go back! Thank you Deborah, you take care too. xoxo

  79. Kristin says:

    No Christmas ornament this year? ;( So sad………..

    • sbranch says:

      I guess not … I’m not sure why … sometimes I forget to pay attention, but I’ll check with the Girls!

  80. Connie Kaupe says:

    Currently watching the news about a fire that broke out in San Diego (my hometown) today. Thank you for the mini-break from anxiety. I can’t wait to get my Winter mug. I wish it was snowing here!

    • sbranch says:

      My girlfriend Sarah is down visiting in San Diego. It’s awful. Me too, let’s send the snow to California, and huge THICK blanket of it.

  81. Kitty Muse says:

    I’m hoping for some snow this weekend!!! I will be visiting the Vineyard tomorrow for a couple of nights to enjoy Christmas in Edgartown. When you are out and about and see 4 crazy girls wondering around you’ve found me! Merry Christmas to you and Joe!

  82. Sarah says:

    Susan, you and your beloved California home have been on my mind and in my heart. So many have lost everything. I can’t begin to imagine. I pray your family and friends are safe.
    I’m in Austin, not west TX, and we are having snow flurries! Of course it isn’t sticking, but what a surprise. I knew it was going to be cold and wet, but the weatherman never mentioned SNOW! I’m sure you are missing the pretty white lawn for December. No doubt it will snow for you. We are all snuggled in by a cozy fire, the tree lights twinkling, and our Sadie girl curled up on a black and white check throw. It all warms my heart! Thanks for posting today. Love reading your delightful messages.
    Merry Christmas to you and Joe and Jack! Hugs from Austin ~ Sarah and Sadie

    • sbranch says:

      What a nice surprise. Austin would look wonderful in the snow! Hope you get more and all get trapped in your homes just for one amazing day! xoxo Love to you and Sadie too!

  83. Sarah says:

    Can you share some photos of your Christmas tree? I’d love to see your ornaments. Thanks!

    • sbranch says:

      Haven’t you seen them from other years Sarah? We don’t change Christmas very much around this house . . . sometimes I wonder if I wear people out with it! But I’ll put them up for sure . . . because I love them!

      • Sarah says:

        I don’t think any of us would ever tire of seeing your wonderful home dressed for Christmas. We bring the same things out year after year, but isn’t that what it is all about? It tells our story! For me, it like old friends here for a visit, ornaments that get unpacked each December and repacked in January. Ha! I could even talk to them! 😘

  84. Rae Ann R. says:

    Dear Anna Susanna~Merry Merry Christmas to you and yours🌲. We do have snow in northern Michigan…I’ll try to send it east to you…thank you for your wonderful blog. I have one question~How in the world does Joe get the greenery all the way up to the peak. Of your roof? Can you somehow open the window to hang that wreath way up there? Oops~that was two questions😉.

    • sbranch says:

      Ha ha, yes, he can open the window, but also we have a very long and scary ladder and a brave helper, so due to popular demand, Joe goes at it from the inside, and this brave youngster helps from outside.

      • Rae Ann R. says:

        Your house looks absolutely beautiful and so festive ~ inside and outside…I am picturing Chevy Chase on his long ladder decorating his house in his movie “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”😬🙈😳…be careful on that ladder…I’m assuming you have ❄️❄️❄️…enjoy!

        • sbranch says:

          No snow yet. That movie was so funny. When they “let the Christmas tree go” I cried laughing. Closest we have come was the year we got the tree totally decorated. I was going to get my girlfriend down the street to come look at it, and suddenly, before I could go, within a half hour of me finishing, the tree fell completely over! Smashed some ornaments (but nothing of true value). What a nightmare! We got a photo. Funny now, but it set me back, and a setback at Christmastime is saying something!

  85. Isabel says:

    Happy Holidays to you and Joe (and Jack as well).

    Wish I was going with you to England and Ireland. I have always wanted to go there. But can’t wait for the book to go along with your travels. Your book is such a beautiful journal of your trip.

    Do you have a new bookmark with the 2018 moons and where can I get it.

    Thank you Susan for all that you do and all that you are. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    • sbranch says:

      Funny you should ask because Kellee just wrote me yesterday saying she’s going to send me the link for the 2018 Moon bookmark next week! Good timing! Merry Christmas Isabel!

  86. Gmapat says:

    Your letter is the best present ever!💚🎄❤️

    • sbranch says:

      It’s what I can do … so wonderful to connect with all of you in this way … thanks to the Internet! xoxo

  87. Mary Beth says:

    Oh, my gosh. You are just so sweet! That’s all I have to say. Thanks for this delight!

  88. Paula says:

    I get so excited when I see you have a new posting on your blog , YeAh !!! Love reading your thoughts and what you have been doing lately , I feel you truly love each new day and find joy in them !! I bet the island is so very quaint this time of year , I am all for quaintness during the most wonderful time of the year ! Have you ever spent a Christmas in England ? I would love to do that, but even a quaint small town here in the USA would be special too. Joe did a super job on decorating your front porch, I finally am getting my home to be looking more like Christmas, I love this time of year it can be overwhelming working and trying to be in the holiday spirit , work gets in the way of doing what I love to do! We had our first snow today, it was beautiful! I agree with you about the seasons getting mixed up, and all the sad things happening I feel what next ?? when I watch the news. We must be thankful everyday for it is gift!
    Hope you have another special weekend , THank you for sharing your days!
    hugs, Paula from Indiana
    p.s. what is your favorite Christmas cookie ??

    • sbranch says:

      What a difficult question!!!! Cookies! I love the chocolate-dipped coconut cookies in my Christmas book, they’re so easy to make too … and also, a perfect cookie is Annie Hall’s Butter Cookie, because you can do so much with it. Also Rachel’s Lemon Butter cookies~ that recipe is in A Fine Romance. I don’t think I’ve met many cookies that I DON’T love! And yes, let’s toast to quaintness and beauty! xoxo

  89. Becky in OK says:

    Thank you for your new blog post! Lovely as usual! Joyous Noel!!!

  90. Pam Wilson says:

    Hi Susan! I LOVED all of your beautiful Winter & Christmas preparations, cozy pictures, quotations, and thoughts! Just last week we sold our home of 30 years to our son and daughter-in-law. One of the house warming gifts we gave them was one of your Santa mugs–to be used for tea or milk for Santa! They were thrilled. I love all of the newest mugs as well. Thanks so much for making the world magical for all of us! Merry Christmas to you and Joe.

    • sbranch says:

      What perfect people to sell your home to! You go but you don’t. Who could ask for more. The history goes on. Merry Christmas to you and yours Pam!

  91. Mary says:

    Hi Susan! I have had to miss a few of your blogs and it felt good to take a few minutes to read your latest. We were a part of the Sonoma County fires. We were one of the lucky ones: we lost our work shop and my art studio and a corner of our house, but we still have a house! My heart just aches for those in So Cal. I have been feeding all the little birds in our neighborhood (there is not much left for them here) and think of you when I do. Your cheerfulness is much appreciated. Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh my Mary, wow, how close of a call was that!!! My heart aches too. But I also carry a tiny thin iron wire of anger too. My dad gave that to me, and it’s the cross I bear. Thank you for feeding the birds . . . I am sure you have an amazing bond with your neighborhood. Stay strong, because you are NOT forgotten. Blessings of giving this Christmas.😘 xoxoxoxo

  92. Antonia lutz says:

    Merry Christmas 🌲🍾and happy new year

  93. Regina Carretta says:

    Merry Christmas, dear Susan….time to huddle close, buy flowers and bring branches of pine inside and hang white lights on them…time for warm foods, warm fires and pillows for our critters to hunker down in….but time to reach out to others, to fix what’s broken, to hug close what is dear, and to continue to light candles in the darkness and to be the change we need to see in this world….again….thanking you for being our citizen in the world, who cares about peace, joy, critters, love, warmth, dignity and heart.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you back Regina, for the exact same things.🕯 Lighting candles in the darkness is something for us all. Tonight we’re walking around the corner to our little theater to see The Snow Queen performed. More wonderful people lighting candles. xoxoxo

  94. Suzette Shoulders says:

    I thought today that you might have a new blog post, Susan, and was so happy to look and find it! Your heart is so warm and loves the whole world. I just know if you had magic, you could wave your wand and make it rain in California, and make the world ‘sing in perfect harmony’! Wishing you the POWER ! And Jack can be SUPER – Kitty! Loved your new teaware designs, and oh, boy, what a difference you made to that dining room, so airy and light now! And lots of china storage, I noticed…. ‘takes one to know one’ as we used to say as kids! Christmas LOVE to you and to Joe and Jack and all the Girlfriends and everyone on Martha’s Vineyard , too! From me in central Oregon, where it was 17 F at our house this morning, and 11 F on the east side of Bend, amazing!

    • sbranch says:

      You made me cry. Just the thought of having that wand and making that happen.😥 How I wish! I always wished Superman was real. Kind of thought he was. Boy could we use one now. And yes, a tiny cape for the mustached one! Thank you Suzette! Stay warm! xoxo

  95. Jennifer says:


    Oh my I can’t tell you the glee… a new book. I love love love your work. Receiving your emails in my inbox is like a little gift I can’t wait to open. I can’t open your “letters” until I have my cup of tea and relaxing in a special place.

    • sbranch says:

      Perfect! Just what I hoped. I’m already in love with this new book, even though it’s all still in my head, and also, wrapped in adventures still to be had! Eeeek!

  96. Sally says:

    I too grew up in that area. My heart is aching for those who have lost their home and keepsakes. Being from CA means we will persevere!

    • sbranch says:

      There is no doubt in my mind. I’ve seen many California fires, and loss of homes, but I’ve never seen whole cities burn down. Loss of life, and loss of lives, devastating ~ one woman who wrote me talked about losing all the quilts she’d made over the years, everything that was her passion of sewing. Just hearing that one little thing, puts such a human picture to it. If I lost my grandma’s letters, the French cookbook she signed to me “Sue Darling,” my father’s watch . . . I can’t even imagine…Sending love xoxoxo

  97. First thing I thought of when I heard about the Royal Wedding was that you would be there! How wonderful. And, thank you for the prayers for our fires. I’m not close to them or threatened, but I can smell them and I’m constantly thinking about all the loss. Thank you for brightening our days with the bookmarks! I’m going to share some. Merry Christmas!

    • sbranch says:

      I couldn’t believe it. How very NICE of them to marry while we are there! The fires make the news for a while, but the heartbreak is just beginning ~ like Santa Rosa and Sonoma, it takes years to put things right again, and for some, who’ve lost loved ones, it’s never. Same with the nightmare shootings. My heart, I have to say, has NOT moved on. To live with this, I have to have the little room in my head to put the terrible things in. So that joy and heartbreak can live side by side. Sending love and prayers for what all is happening out there Patti! xoxo

  98. scottygrrl says:

    I adore the beautiful bookmarks – thank you so much.
    I wish you & yours a most joyous Christmas!

  99. Sherry A Winchester says:

    You always leave me with a smile on my face. What a lovely gift! Thank you, Susan! The merriest of holidays to you, Joe and Jack! I’ve whispered into Santa’s ear, and he’s put you all right at the top of his “Nice” list….Merry Christmas! :^)

  100. Michelle says:

    I think we got your snow here in Central Texas! Yes, thank you for sharing snow with us…. I don’t think I’ve seen this much snow in my hometown in 40 years! I was driving home from work in very low visibility (because of snow!! I can’t believe it!!) and Harry Connick, Jr. was singing Sleigh Ride on the radio and I was thinking “for once it doesn’t seem silly to be listening to this song or White Christmas” and it does make Christmas so much more exciting. I’m sure you will get snow soon, but I’m thankful we are able to see what it is like, especially at Christmastime. So much fun and soooo beautiful!

    I am waiting on pins and needles to hear The Wedding Date. I have my ticket to be in England with you and I can’t wait to see all the bunting and bluebells. There is so much to be excited about! The book will be fabulous, I know.

    You bring such joy to your girlfriends and you really would make a good Queen. You have such compassion and such a sweet spirit. We are all praying for the people suffering in California and for all the others in our country and all over who have lost so much this year. My prayer is that 2018 is full of blessings for those who have suffered so much. Thank you also for your post which was the perfect ending for a snowy (unbelievable!) day.

    • sbranch says:

      Topsy turvy weather, but I love that you are experiencing that beauty! It’s always felt like a miracle to me, snow falling from the sky! We will have a wonderful time Michelle! Glad you have your ticket! The time will be here before we know it. I would be a good Queen!👑 You would too. Too bad we don’t do it that way. But let’s not give up! Make it all about the land, the sea, the sky and the children. Enjoy your snow! xoxo

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