HAPPY 2018!

 Hello Lovely People! Happy 2018! I hope you aren’t worried about me! It’s been too long ~ Tick Tock! I’m sorry, but all of a sudden I have two major deadlines looming, one is this Friday. The designs for the Springtime cups are due. I’ve been working in a frenzy, but they’re done… they’re with Kellee now ~ we’ll get them in on time. (A little preview is further down.) Also, I want to design some special badges for our Picnic at Castle Cottage. And, believe it or not, the 2019 Calendars are almost due! Which I’ll get back to doing after I finally say HAPPY NEW YEAR to you!  MUSICA (Girlfriend Requested😘)

We had such a wonderful snow on Christmas . . . it was perfect, thick and quiet, and like a fairytale.

A winter wonderland . . .

And just right . . . in an uncertain world, one thing mankind has always been able to trust, the one thing that never disappoints, the seasons will change. You can set your clock to it.

I love how snow blows and drifts and piles up and makes everything more interesting.

Early morning, walking through our pantry, I saw the view of our barn from the window and ran for the camera.

And of course, there’s Joe, as viewed through snow flowers… Joe, who makes it all possible. He loves shoveling snow! I don’t know why, but he does!

We’ve had fires almost every day…

On New Year’s we went to my girlfriend Lowely’s house two-doors-over for dinner ~ and afterward we played Pictionary! I bought the game about twenty years ago at a yard sale, but we’d never gotten around to playing it. It was so fun! We laughed ourselves silly! This is Joe showing off his depiction of the movie, Tarzan! I would have said HangMan, but luckily there were other people playing besides me! I drew Beauty and the Beast ~ but despite excellent “pretty-girl” drawing (including bow in hair and small crown), no one got “Beauty” ~ and despite excellent depiction of beastly beast, no one got that either! 😜 I need practice! But how would you draw “Beauty?” Inquiring minds need to know!I need all the help I can get!

This is the New Year’s “Wolf” moon, early Jan 1, just setting, from my kitchen porch ~ what a gorgeous moon we had, right? Memorable. By the 3rd, our rising moon was still huge and had turned yellow. Which reminds me, I have something for you for the New Year! Our Full Moon Bookmark with dates and Native American names for all the full moons in 2018. Just click HERE, print it out, fold in half, glue sides together (laminate if you like), and  Don’t forget to make your wish on every moon!

Most of our decorations are all packed up and back in the attic, waiting for next year. Sad to say goodbye, but they’re a big part of what makes Christmas so different and special from any other time of year!

We still have our lights. We leave them up out back, we light them in the summer too. I took this photo from the dining room window ~ you can see through the porch windows, through the windows over my kitchen sink, all the way to the barn door with the wreath on it! Three sets of windows to the barn. I don’t know why but I like this!

I like this too. 💞Jack is in love with his Christmas kitty toy! He’s ecstatic about this feathery thing!

Those eyes! That mustache! What a baby. Several of you have asked for a Jack Cup ~ I just designed one! I’ll show you soon! Yes, I can tell you true, that is the softest belly in the world.

And now, time is rushing on, soon it will be Valentine’s Day, which is fine with me, I love my heart bunting and especially love something sweet to look forward to . . .And you know me, I think Valentine’s Day was invented for women 💞, it’s as close to the tooth fairy as a grown up person can get! So, perfect timing, because a whole bunch of Valentines just arrived from England! The cups are in!

And for our UK Girlfriends, we found a retailer in England to carry them ~ no more terrible shipping costs! If the new cups aren’t HERE yet, they will be very soon. They still have a few of the older designs.I hope some of you that preordered have received yours already? Kellee, Sheri, and Alfredo been working late at the Studio to get them out ~ I hope you Love them! This will be our first dated collection ~ I’ve always liked things with dates on them ~ all the cups coming from 2018 on will have the year on the bottom. So in the year 2083, people can look at their cups, say wow, old, and wish they could talk ~ just like I do with every old thing I have!

Sunrise is coming earlier and days are getting longer, HOORAY! Each day a step toward spring, spring, SPRING, only 68 days to go! Yesterday, shockingly, we had a rare 50-degree day! We went for a walk for the first time in weeks! Just beautiful out at the water, the seagulls white against the bright blue sky, drifting on the wind off the water, wheeling away with long cries. . . they were celebrating just like us!

Before we know it snow flowers will turn to the real thing!  This might be a form of denial, but isn’t it all so lovely?  The pure magic gift of the changing seasons always gives us something wonderful to look forward to!

I have no problem getting out my Spring photos for a little pre-celebration! Daffodils, Freesia, spring rain, and cherry blossoms! That little blue bottle in the window is the one Joe found in the hole he dug when he was planting our Dogwood tree. You should have seen my face when he brought it in ~ just like Jack with his Christmas toy! It’s the little things! 🌸

I was looking for some bergamot seeds on line the other day, and found the most inspiring website that put me completely in the garden-prep mood! It’s British (and unfortunately, they don’t sell to America), but it’s such inspiring reading that it doesn’t matter! It’s a web store for Heritage Seeds, where Brits can buy the oldest varieties of flower 🌺, herb, and vegetable seeds to make their own 15th (16th, 17th, etc.) century gardens! You can go here to see it: http://www.thomasetty.co.uk/seeds/index.html  Some of the lovely old descriptions will fill you with ideas for your own garden: Such as this for MEADOWSWEET: ‘..the floures boiled in wine & drunke, do make the heart merrie. The leaves & floures far excell all other strowing herbes, for the smell thereof makes the heart merrie.’ 💞 Who doesn’t love a “Merrie Heart” ~ I want to run right out and get me some of those seeds!

Yup, soon it will be time for this! Lamb Cake! Go HERE if you’d like to see how this guy was made.

So you see? January is wonderful! The month of New Beginnings. All you need is a little imagination! (Help! Turn up the heater, get my shawl, warm my slippers, bring me tea!)

Our temperatures have risen, but for a couple of days last week it didn’t get over two degrees. Brrr! But I discovered something excellent about the cold ~ cut flowers last longer! That’s Stock in that little jar (I have a thing for tiny jars 👏), Joe brought a bouquet home from the supermarket ~ I didn’t have the heart to tell him this is basically a two-day flower and not worth the money we spend on it, despite how delicious it smells. Well, we’re going on a week now and look at that flower! Fresh as new! In the window, close to the cold, they thrive!
I have much to do before it’s really spring ~ I can seriously use all the “not-spring” days I can get … . Calendars need to be finished by the first week of February. I think I may have already showed you September, but just in case you missed it . . . 

I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying painting new art for them…

This is my happy place!

Okay, I promised a preview of the new spring cups I’m working on. This is only a glued-together paper mockup, not perfect, but it gives you a fairly good idea. The colors of the pansies will be more like the colors in the paint box. They will be gorgeous on that bone china! Want to see the other side?

Here you go! And those little wildflowers above will go all the way around the bottom.

The handle will look like this except I think it might be in better focus! I adore pansies, such a happy, tender little flower. L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables) wrote: Nobody can keep on being angry if she looks into the heart of a pansy for a little while. 

The “Jack” cup isn’t quite done yet, I’ll show you the other side soon. Here he is, peeking through the books with a ponytail band in his mouth. So “him.” These new cup designs won’t arrive to our Studio until April . . . but soon there will be a new WILLARD where I’ll show the other two designs, the new “Spring” cup, and the “English Countryside” ~ by then they should be ready to go up for presale. I’ll also have a link so you can print out your badge for the Picnic ~ (and BTW, if you are wondering what a WILLARD is, it’s my free Newsletter. Click HERE to read old issues, find out why it’s called Willard, and sign up to get your own💞). WILLARD will also have a new giveaway. Lots to look forward to!

Made this last night, a double batch of Macaroni and Cheese. We have a friend who had surgery, so we brought half to him and we kept the other half. My mom’s recipe. The Best. Comfort food for the ages.

So easy. Whoever invented pre-shredded cheese deserves an award! The recipe is in Heart of the Home, and seriously takes about ten minutes to make! Twenty-five minutes later, you are in heaven.Here are the rest of Joe’s flowers, I just wish I could send you the fragrance, I close my eyes and put my face right in the middle … it smells like a flower store in the spring. The added benefit during this extreme cold when the furnace is blasting and the fire is roaring and the macaroni and cheese is bubbling in the oven … is the pitcher of water these flowers are in. It helps to put moisture in the air so that when you reach for your kitty, or kiss your dearest other, you don’t shock them! So your lips don’t chap and peel off your face. If you don’t like using a humidifier, do what we do. Besides bowls of flowers, we dampen towels (I use the spray thing in my kitchen sink) and hang them in the rooms we use most, the bedroom and the TV room. And I drink water all day, starting with a big glass every morning before my tea, cold water topped off with 100% unsweetened cranberry juice ~ and another glass just before bed. That’s it, winter tip of the day!

Have you seen The Darkest Hour? We just saw it. It’s the story of Winston Churchill’s first month as Prime Minister. SO GOOD, SO SO GOOD! You’ll love it. History, wonderful acting, gorgeous visuals, and no violence. Look how pretty “Clemmie” Churchill is. I would like the whole outfit. Maybe not the head net, maybe not the fur-body, but for sure the rest of it.

V for Victory. I won’t give anything away . . . just go see it!

I came home and Googled Churchill’s wife, Clementine, wonderfully played by Kristin Scott Thomas, because, for one thing, I was curious to see if she really wore those darling curls as shown in the movie . . .

And those scarves, and her other interesting head gear. And she did!

So off I go, off to make new Calendars. Love you Girls, I hope you are all well and fine and doing everything you can to make your dreams come true.That’s what I’m working on! All my very best for a wonderful, peaceful, creative 2018 ~ “To see a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.” Love, from your Pal for Life. We share this planet, isn’t that amazing? Born at the right time.💞 XOXO

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819 Responses to HAPPY 2018!

  1. Jerri Ellen Wheeler says:

    Happy Belated New Year! Soon it will be February…the month of love and romance. I just received my “Willard” in North Carolina today. Thank you so much…I always look forward to hearing from you. I would love to be with you and the girlfriends on May 11th–my birthday. Since that’s a big trip for me, I might be able to see you in Charleston instead. I live 3 hours north and love to visit Charleston. Seeing you there would be the “icing on the cake” for me.

    Jerri Ellen

  2. Inez Schlueter says:

    I have just read your blog,about Stravithie. Love it. Also I got my Willard, today. I love my Winter cup, one of my favorite seasons. I also want to order the cup with the English Countryside. Your trip sounds amazing. Can’t wait to read all about it, and see your pictures. I can travel with you, and enjoy my armchair vacation.

  3. Ann says:

    Just finish reading Willard this thursday morn. You mentioned sherry dressing and reminded me I still have a bottle of De Soto sherry vinegar waiting for me in the fridge. All I need is a shallot or two which I can get at the St. Clement’s church open air market this afternoon here in Makiki. After Vic Damone’s musica I manage to get on the soundtrack of Somewhere in Time. Susan you are an absolute wizard reminding your girlfriends some of the best things in life are free (or the cost of a shallot!) from across the Pacific pond, Aloha!

  4. Mary Julienne says:

    I love everything about your blog and Willard! Kindred spirits is how I feel when I read and enjoy Days, my monthly calendar, of course Susan Branch and all of my other books as well. I cannot wait to view your trip through your blog and enjoy the beautiful countryside! Thank you!

  5. Karen says:

    Just read Willard and of course your blog..so much fun to read and pretend I am are there! I enjoyed the MUSICA – “Love Affair to Remember” one of my favorite movies and Vic Damone – what a dreamy voice – a friend of mine met him a few years ago in West Palm Beach, I think he gave her an autographed CD – maybe he had retired to that area…Also love, love, love the heart puddle and the heart shaped oyster – it was meant to be! Loved hearing Frank Sinatra too..after “Imagination” played, “I’ll Be Seeing You” played. – My 92 year old mother wants me to play that at her memorial service one day – but she still has a lot of life left if her! Take care.

  6. Kitty DeMento says:

    Amazing, comforting blog!
    Thank you too, for the Willard.
    You’re amazing!

  7. Diane Stowe says:

    Both cups are beautiful!

  8. Barbara says:

    Please enter my name in the drawing.

  9. Shirley Wells says:

    When I visited Scotland 30+ years ago, I immediately felt like I was home. Sigh. (And this was long before the Outlander time travels! Why didn’t I write those books?? Ha!)

  10. Margaret Hurley says:

    Your blog and email transports me to another mood – happy, hopeful and ready to marvel at the world that is around me.

    • HveHope says:

      Yes, Margaret! I marvel at Susan’s ability to see the beauty around her and totally agree with you that reading her blog, books and Willards “transports me to another mood – happy, hopeful and ready to marvel at the world that is around me.” Certainly couldn’t have said it better myself. 😉
      :), J

  11. Sue G says:

    Love all that you do, Susan Branch!!!
    You make my day(s) extra special…thank you!
    Until next time…
    Love to you, Joe and Jack

  12. Freddie says:

    I was excited to get my New willard. I always love your pictures and writings. I love your trip plans . I wish I was going. It is my dream trip. Hope you have a great trip, can wait to read about it.

  13. Michelle says:

    Dearest Susan
    Your blog posts and Willard (and your books too) are such a gift to me. I am taking care of my mom who has cancer and dementia, but for just a little while I can sit down with a cup of tea and am taken away to the Isle of Dreams or the shores of the British Isles. Thank you !
    Forever grateful, Michelle

    • sbranch says:

      Wishing you a huge heart-full of peace in this very tough and worrisome time. xoxo Blessings on you and your mom Michelle.

    • HveHope says:

      I (and my husband) took care of my mother who had dementia for almost 5 years in our home (as well as our newborn, 3 y/o and 6 y/o) and well remember ‘the long sorrow’ of those years – so I wanted you to know that I’m praying for you quite sincerely and with much love.

  14. Cape Codder says:

    Just went on the Cunard site to see if we could book a cabin for the cruise in March. Yea..only inside available but that might be okay. Our Spring schedule is up in the air due to health issues but might be possible. Went to the Lake District last spring, stayed in Ambleside and followed your adventures – we were lucky, no rain all week!
    Started journaling with a friend and have given her your calendar at Christmas for inspiration.
    Her husband passed at Thanksgiving and I have yet to mail the 2018 one.Think the time is right now that she is beginning a new life . . or might it be too difficult to record the rather sad events, selling the house,moving, etc? Advice needed Girlfriends.

    • sbranch says:

      Everyone is so different and grieving is important ~ but the other side of that is how important it is to look forward and begin to find new joy, because life is for the living. I know because I had to do that with my dad.

  15. Norma says:

    Thank you for the interesting moon bookmark. I never heard of a worm moon or pink moon; I must know more.

    • sbranch says:

      Native Americans poetically named their moons. There are more than one name for the same moon because of the different tribes.

  16. Wanda says:

    Your emails always make me smile and happy to be alive. You have such a gift for spreading happiness and love.

  17. Paula says:

    Being an armchair traveler, I cannot wait to accompany you on your voyage and visit to Ireland and England! Willard was a treat. Thank you Susan for all your hard work.

  18. Gail Betzig says:

    Love your Happy 2018 Willard and Blog! Thank you!!! Would love to win a teacup…it’s cold here in Buffalo, NY!!!!

  19. Denise Trembicki says:

    Oh I enjoyed the Scotland stuff, so fun and magical! Thanks

  20. Denise Trembicki says:

    Oh I just read the post above mine, I’m dealing with the same and yes, indeed, these books and posts give us respite from a very tough time, so hard to see your loved ones suffer.

  21. Rosemary Monk--Near Boston says:

    Hello m’dear,
    I didn’t get your blog for some reason, but searched around and found it so I could say hello. Got your Willard and loved it. I had already made full moon bookmarks for my daughter and myself, they’re so great. So much want to see Scotland and Ireland, maybe next year. I’ll be with you in spirit, drooling over all your posts and pics and artwork. My winter cup and the Sit and stay cup arrived a week or so ago; I’ve loved using them. And now you’ll do spring and summer! Oh yay! Must keep this short, long day and my bed is calling. Can’t wait to read more. As always, sending multi hugs and kisses, Rosemary

  22. Rhonda D. says:

    Oh my, Susan…a very belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Hope you had a wonderful holiday season. I’m just coming out of the fog after months of things that needed my attention. Almost feel as though I stepped off the planet for awhile. Helped my daughter look after her new baby, year end to finish by December, Christmas to look after, my iPad locked up on me over the holidays, and to top it all off, a dang mouse got in my house and cupboards while I wasn’t home. I now have about 3 or 4 blogs to enjoy getting caught up on, and this is the weekend…this is my Susan Branch weekend. Yay! Looking forward to settling in with a cuppa tea and your blog.

    I must tell you about our very blessed Christmas. We spent Christmas with my daughter and her family in Halifax. So I got to do so many fun things with my 3 beautiful granddaughters. Christmas Day we headed for Herman’s Island, an hour down the coast and right on the ocean, to spend time with my son-in-law’s family. We had snow and misersble weather on Christmas Day, but it warmed up enough mid afternoon so we could travel. I noticed how very windy it was as we were driving. We arrived there at 4:40pm and the power went out at 5:45pm. But, the turkey was cooked and the veggies had just come off the stove. We rounded up every candle we could find to put on the dining room table and enjoyed a lovely old-fashioned candlelit Christmas dinner. After dinner, we moved all the candles to the coffee table in the living room and sang Christmas carols while they played guitars and mandolins. Then to the cottage next door where there was a propane fireplace for a bit of heat and light to finish off the evening. I had made Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins to take with me, so breakfast was served the next day. They cooked bacon and eggs, Bubble and Squeak, outside on a little cooker for lunch. It was delish. Unfortunately, the power outage lingered on for several days and we cut our stay short, but it was one Christmas I’ll always remember. Looking forward to a new year filled with all the amazing things you will have in store for us Susan. God bless you and Joe and Jack and all the girlfriends in 2018! ❤️

    • Rhonda D. says:

      And, oh yes, I gave my son-in-law’s parents a copy of your book “Christmas Memories” for a Christmas gift and they loved it. So now they have a great place to record all the memories of this most blessed Christmas of 2017.

      • sbranch says:

        I’ve seen lots of those books filled in with all five years of Christmas! (Girlfriends bring them to booksignings for show and tell.) What treasures they become!

    • sbranch says:

      What perfect timing for the power to go off. food all done, house fragrant, light the candles and have a toast to your very good luck!

      • Rhonda D. says:

        Susan, I forgot to tell you that my son-in-law’s brother and his wife are actors. In December, they did a production of “A Christmas Carol,” in which their 10 year old daughter made her acting debut. She played many parts, including Tiny Tim, and she was fantastic. We went to see the play and it was just awesome. So there will be photos and write-ups of this going into the new “Christmas Memories” book. We noticed you have a Charles Dickens quote included on one of the pages of this book and we were tickled pink. A perfect fit for this family this Christmas.

    • HveHope says:

      When I looked up ‘Bubble and Squeak’ (what an incredibly darling name for a dish!), I found out that it is similar to ‘Stamppot, from the Netherlands’ which my Dutch mother used to make when I was a child! I haven’t thought of her ‘stamppot’ (which my father, also being Dutch, loved as well!) in probably 25 years! What lovely memories you have given – thank you Rhonda D. 🙂


  23. Marilyn Ghere says:

    Thank you so much for another little time of beauty and joys–especially the joy of Jack !!

  24. Terry says:

    Your trip sounds positively dreamy…have a wonderful time!

  25. Vicky Montani says:

    Susan thanks so much for sending Willard! I love your art work! You know I love your work! I relate to it and it just warms me so!! Have a blast on your trip, wish I could go! We will be starting to save for a 2019 trip to northern Italy!! 😊 I have to order another cup or two I broke my Winter cup just within a week if getting it! 😢 But I think it’ll hold cold drinks I hope! Thank you and carry on. I’ll be following you Journey to England. ❤️❤️❤️

  26. Diana Hartman says:

    I am sooo jealous. I have always wanted to visit England and Ireland. It would be very hard to return. You bring us so much joy I hope you have a joyful trip. Thank you for the January Willard. Also, love the new cups.

  27. Della says:

    I think you should create night light mini lamp shades using your tea cups designs! You know, (the kind that spin around when the bulb gets warm).

  28. Hi Susan…I’m enjoying my rainy sunday morning reading your Willard. Sometimes I get teary reading it, I don’t know why…everything you write about is just so heartwarming and I relate to it all. Oh and that Jack just does me in! What a character and the most purrrr-fect subject for a mug (and what a mug he has)! I can’t wait to get mine. I see that you have a shiny brand new set of Shmincke watercolors…oh the joy! I bought my first set in art school at the request of my illustration professor (over 30 years ago!). Best advice ever! Such vibrant colors and they do not fade. I hope you and Joe have a wonderful trip to Europe…can’t wait to read all about it! Blessings and Bon Voyage to you both! Your Jersey girlfriend, MaryLou

    • sbranch says:

      That makes me so happy to hear, Mary Lou! Where have I been all my life, these are my first! Love hearing your “review” ~ I’m saving them for the trip, haven’t used them yet!

      • Here’s another tid-bit for you Susan…if you don’t already know…Crescent watercolor board. I’ve always used Arches watercolor paper and board, however, much to my dismay…they have stopped making the board. My art store guy told me to try Crescent. It’s very thick, but oh my…I’m in heaven! I just started my next painting with it. Wonderful surface to work on! YAY!! Hugs to you xoxo
        P.S…I was watching some of your videos on You Tube today and saw Jack…what a puppy dog he is! hearts!!

  29. Sophie says:

    Susan, you are such an inspiration! I’m literally obsessed! Life feels so good when you find kindred spirits. I’m hooked 🙂 lots of love xxx

  30. Julie Pohl says:

    Small world indeed! Always such a connection with all you bring! Having driven from Edinburgh to St. Andrews in 2013 and just recently watched Dash’s exit and the arrival of the new puppy. Don’t forget the Lord M news…could he please have a miraculous recovery?

    • sbranch says:

      I kind of look at Wikipedia as I go along, just to see how history and the series are matching up. And they do pretty well. So. I won’t say another word.

  31. Susan Wiste says:

    I love this blog and your illustrations. We are going to Scotland again in the fall and I am intrigued by your report on the Fife coast. Thank you!

  32. Ann says:

    Susan, I’m looking forward to following you and Joe on your journey.

    I’ve been receiving Williard but missed it this go round and wondered if there were others that missed it too. I looked for the current one on your blog but it’s not yet posted.

    Would love to be able to read it. Thanks

  33. Jennifer H says:

    I love following along on your adventures. You make me feel as if everything is right with the world.
    Thank you!

  34. Karen says:

    Susan, as a long-distance grandmother, I am always looking for little extras to send to my grandchildren. Frank is 5 and a half (the half is important!) — he and his little sister, Lillie, are dear to me. I printed the Full Moon bookmark for him and the little lamb name tag for Lillie. Thank you! It will be a surprise from me — and you, too!

  35. Beth says:

    Susan, do you know about Perennial Pleasures, up here in No. Hardwick, Vermont? The owner, Rachel, is a specialist in historical gardens, and they have thousands of varieties of traditional plants, and medicinal ones. perennialpleasures.net. They have a lovely garden to wander around in, and in the summer, a delicious cream tea!

  36. HveHope says:

    Susan, I loved what you said to “Michelle January 26, 2018 at 10:23 am”: “Wishing you a huge heart-full of peace in this very tough and worrisome time” — LOVELY!
    As well as what you said to “Cape Codder January 26, 2018 at 11:10 am”: “Everyone is so different and grieving is important ~ but the other side of that is how important it is to look forward and begin to find new joy, because life is for the living.” — SO TRUE!
    And, finally, I agree with Margaret Hurley and “marvel at [your] ability to see the beauty around [you] and totally agree that reading [your] blog, books and Willards “transports me to another mood – happy, hopeful and ready to marvel at the world that is around me.” 😉

  37. Linda Tiller says:

    NO WILLARD YET? Where oh where has my Willard gone? I got the wonderful Willard in October, but I have not received the latest Willard…and my e-mail address has not ever changed? I was so looking forward to it. I watched all of A Place to Call Home! It was wonderful!

  38. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Catching up with you all whilst watching the moon turn red! Love the blog, the beautiful pictures, fantastic words……wonderful way to start my day!!! I’ll be looking forward to being an armchair traveler, and joining your picnic! Thank you so much for all you do Dear Susan!! Running out for a closer look at the moon! Hugs to alll! xoxo

  39. gwen Ferguson says:

    I have signed up for Willard several times. I got the last one but not the one from last Friday. Could you send it please?


    • sbranch says:

      I’ll put it in the next post! Someone told me they put in their address book and that set Willard free! Try that!

  40. Cheryl Young says:

    I thoroughly enjoy your view of the world. It reminds one to focus on the lovely things in life and cultivate an attitude of gratitude, along with a healthy dash of childlike wonder.

  41. Barb says:

    on a chilly winter’s night in beautiful Ohio…I am warmed just by reading every page, enjoying every photo, poem, music:), kitty photos! A feast for the eyes, thank you, thank you!!

  42. Barb says:

    Oh dear, Susan, how COULD I forget to thank you for the bookmark! Will be making those tomorrow, to tuck into my children’s Valentines… SO grateful to you for sharing:) Bless you!
    Thanks, Barb

  43. Zudie Zink says:

    I love that, “Love is the law”, what a world we would have if all tried to obey it.

  44. Elizabeth Smith says:

    LOVE more kitty photos of Jack. I have my own precious cats but include Jack as one of my own by proxy. I ordered the Jack in the Books cup and can’t wait for it to arrive. We have not had much snow here as of yet so am enjoying the New England coast in the snow photos. Since seeing your shadow photos I have started a collection of shadows also. Thanks for giving me the gift of appreciation for shadows, heart shaped found objects, spring gardens, and all things English. Thanks for sharing all your gifts and talents.

    • sbranch says:

      I have cats by proxy too! Especially when I travel! I would like to go to a rent-a-kitty hotel, but so far I don’t think they exist!

  45. Lynne Burke says:

    LOVE your pictures of Jack!
    And now, wonder of wonders, because I read “A Fine Romance” and have pestered my husband unmercifully ever since, WE ARE GOING TO ENGLAND JUNE 10!!!!!
    (Was that ever a run on sentence, or what?!?!?)

    Anyway, a mug and a signed copy of your book would be a splendid send off. I would ask for Jack (since my daughter just married and took our cat with her….sigh) but I am pretty sure he is off limits!

  46. Mary Webb says:

    Just catching up with you after the holidays.
    Such a joy to look at your creativity and enjoy the Cape from a distance (CO).
    Have a blessed New Year as you plan your next adventure…and I anxiously await a new book!

  47. Amy says:

    Did you see The Republic Tea? Sign up for tea 101 and learn how to appreciate tea like your favorite Downtown Abbey character. It made me think of you and all the girlfriends who enjoyed the show.

  48. Jane Ward says:

    I just discovered your website and blog. I really am enjoying it

  49. Bengi Vanderbur says:

    Happy New Year to you, just read my Willard and your blog, now longing to do a similar Anglophile tour in Springtime. Love all your blogs and remarks, relate to them so much. Ireland is dear to my heart, have taken 3 trips there. The bed and breakfast experience there is so charming, and will create lasting memories, much like your Scottish castle stay! If you are near Bantry, you must stop in at Seamount Inn, Mrs. Julia McCarthy will treat you to scones, her homemade strawberry jam, and a view over the bay that will take your breath away. It is one of my favorite memories of Ireland. It is remote, secluded, but you’ll have a room that looks like Laura Ashley designed it. Also, if you’re in Galway, a friend of mine performs in a show called Trad On The Prom, and is a lovely person [Irish], other things I could recommend if you’d like. At the top of my bucket list is to follow the itinerary of your trip thru England last year. Stay warm and cozy and dream more and more ! I love the winter cup and the English countryside cup in the very mostest way. Have fun making your plans for Springtime !! My best to you, Bengi
    Killarney area: Ross Castle Lodge is a treat, with the little room at the top being my favorite. Loch Lein Country House has a gorgeous view over the lake and is a wonderful place, but book early for this one.
    Don’t bypass Kenmare, as it is full of quaint, colorful shops ! Just had to add this !! 🙂

  50. Shirley Hewlett says:

    Dear Susan,
    I got to meet you in Arroyo Grande at the quilt challenge . it was so much fun
    and the food was so delicious. We have much in common. I was raised near
    Sioux City. I went back many summers as my Mom lived to be 98 and it was such a pleasure to visit with her and to cook things that she liked. I was an elementary teacher and collected Beatrix Potter ceramics and books that I still
    have. I will be 90 years old in October and am glad to have my Mom’s good genes!
    I gave one of my quilting friends your heart of the home cookbook and she loves it like I do. I loved reading your books and have quite a collection of your calendars. You signed your name on my birthday and I hang it up each year for Halloween! Thank you for your blog. My hubby and I will celebrate our 69th anniversary in June. We are taking a cruise through France and will visit Normandy. He is a WWII vet and has always wanted to go there. We will be
    in Paris for four days also. Best wishes to you and Joe as you travel to England.

    • sbranch says:

      I loved that quilt challenge day at the farmstand, wasn’t it wonderful? Do you remember the menu? I made the food, and I remember it was really good, but I forget what I made! Oh ~ I love your sentimental journey to France for your anniversary 💞 ~ how lucky you are to be able to do that! I will love hearing from you when you get home. Blessings and safe travel to you both.

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