Time for VANNA to go to work!

Hello dear ones! How are you this fine day? I’m good. Time for Vanna to go to work! Lots more to tell you . . . but first, MUSICA! 🎵 And then, more good news!First off, I want to make sure everyone got their WILLARD?  Sometimes he takes a detour into spam files … if you are signed up but didn’t get it, you might check your spam file and see if he’s there. And, if you’re having trouble, a new suggestion from one of our brilliant Girlfriends: put into your address book! It worked for her. It’s like a “welcome home” when Willard tries to enter your email box. And last but not least, here’s a link to the newest newsletter! And now, shall we get right to it? The hardest part of every giveaway is choosing the winner. I’m SO GLAD it’s Vanna’s job ~ she is the responsible one, not me. 😜 It’s not my fault! But I wish this was loaves and fishes and everyone could win! Cup-half-full, cup-half-full, at least there will be two winners, and with all my heart, I hope it’s you. Because you deserve it, leaving all those gorgeous comments! Thank you!

So here we go, Vanna is here, perched on the edge of my art table, pink-cheeked with red lipstick perfectly applied, wearing a costume of lime green leotard with yellow-polka-dots, and her yellow daisy-topped bathing cap, perfect for swimming in paper, with just one tiny curl of her red hair peeking out. Poised to leap! Toes curled! Her knees bend and Up Up Up she goes (good thing we have high ceilings) and then, a perfect jackknife in the air, she’s DOWN! GONE, twirling and whirling dervishly amidst thousands of precious names . . . slips of paper are blowing all over my studio like confetti, and suddenly, breathless, she’s up! She’s just handed me the names of our two winners! 👍 And so it is: Behind door #1 there’s a signed (personalized if you like) copy of my hand-painted A Fine Romance (which, btw, if you already have it, makes a very good Valentine present❤️), AND, in addition, my new and very adorable England cup coming in April. Okay, I’m reading, I’m reading . . . . . and so, wasting not another minute, the winner of this luv-lee prize is, ding-ding-ding. . .L Y N N   B A R L O W !!!  (hint: the Lynn Barlow whose website ends in cox.net)Hi Lynn, Congratulations, you now have all the essentials of happiness: something to do: drink tea. Something to love: love cup. Something to give: give book. Something to hope for: you got what you hoped for! 💞

And for our second winner: Behind door #2, my new Home Sweet Home embroidery kit, 

. . . AND my new Spring cup, also coming in April! Here we go once again. The winner is

A B B I E   B E C K
 (hint: the one whose middle name starts with an M)

Congratulations, Abbie! I hope we’ve made your day! I’ll email you both so you can give me your address! Makes me so happy. Only a little thing, a giveaway, but at least it’s something to show my great appreciation for all that you do, not only in the lovely comments you leave, but in the lives you lead. Amazing people, Girlfriends, one and all. And here’s another little Valentine thing I thought you might like, because it’s . . . so YOU!

A Valentine Bookmark you can print on card stock, cut out and laminate if you like, and give to yourself and to everyone you love! Just click HERE.So, what else?  I’ve been working like crazy on the new calendars . . . I thought you might like a preview of the 2019 wall calendar! This is January! You see why I love doing this, it’s like a Calgon moment, totally taken away while planning each page, thinking, “how can I make this month special, what would the Girlfriends like?”  I put a video of my Studio “in action” on Instagram yesterday, in case you’d like to tour the mess! I have to get everything done before we sail away early next month! 🚢 Not only the four 2019 calendars, but the summer cups too because we won’t be home until next July! I’m thinking about designing a Royal Wedding cup for the Summer collection. What do you think of that? If I have time before we go, I would love to do it! So romantic. And speaking of cups. . .
FYI to our British Girlfriends, Nursery Thyme has finally received the winter cup collection at their shop in luv-lee Devizes, or, you can find it in their online store HERE. They can deliver to England, Scotland, Wales, and to Northern Ireland.

Yesterday it poured snow, but today the sky is bright blue, the sun is shining, and this morning was filled with a wonderful sunrise that spread golden light all through our house.

Even on my crown! Very inspiring when it comes to dreams. A quiet joy. When the world was all in candle light and lamplight, I imagine people lived in shadows like this much more than we do now. Wavering shadows from flickering flames. 

Something else, coming soon! New Castle Cottage kits, art printed on fabric, requires finishing and just a bit of embroidery embellishment. Everything happening at once since I’m trying to run out the door!

But so cute. The tiny company we’re working with to make these kits is called the Posy Collection ~ only two people, three counting Posy’s husband (which of course we DO) ~ we love each other already ~ they are such go-getters!

Posy just came home to Texas from their first show at the National Needlearts Association and sent me a photo! She’s so excited! Makes me love working with them. Nothing like a bit of positivity in this little world of ours!💞

You know Joe and I are sailing into Charleston, South Carolina on the Queen Victoria? 😲 We are! Parking right downtown in the historic district on March 11 (that’s like tomorrow!). At 6 pm that night, we’ll be meeting whichever of you Girlfriends that can make it at the Barnes and Noble Bookstore in Westwood Plaza. Read more about it HERE, and try to come if you can. 💞 Bring everyone! We can say Bon Voyage to each other because the next day we leave to sail across the wild Atlantic!

I’m calling it a spa boat this time. We’ll be on it for two weeks, and I plan to take advantage of the trappedness of it and arrive well slept, well fed, and well exercised! After racing to get ready to go, it will come as a shock to come to a full screeching stop at the gangplank! All the normal things I think about and worry about at home, I have to suddenly give up and learn to think about other things! Ommmm!Petey is beside himself. He LOVES hanging out in England.

If you feel like getting in the mood for going back in time along with us, watch the movie Mrs. Miniver. It’s a lovely movie on every single level, including history . . . but the house!!! That’s the killer. See the kitty on the floor? Need I say more? This is their dining room. 

You see the fireplace on the right? Then if you look through to the chintz-covered chair in the living room, you see another fireplace. Heaven. And the stairs to the bedrooms are on the left. I loved how, in the old days, they would put curtains, not just at windows, but also at the entry way to rooms ~ perhaps, at one time, before heating, to keep drafts out. Isn’t it cozy?The stairs. The grandfather clock. Just lovely. Not sure why the hose and buckets are on the floor, but I love the plants on the left, and the plates on the stairs, all so cozy and real. These old movies are what taught me what I wanted in life. Mostly, old houses, curtains, candles, lamps, wallpaper, tablecloths, and family. Wonderful old movies like this one helped me to find my dreams.💞    Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon and the Mrs. Miniver Rose. You’ll love it.

So, off we go, Oh, Girlfriends of Mine 💞 . . . back to work! Wishing you all the most wonderful of days. Count your blessings, we are all so very lucky. I’ll see you later! XO In case you see something like this: Gotta be ready! 😘

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375 Responses to Time for VANNA to go to work!

  1. Karen Williams says:

    Congrats to those lucky ladies!
    You are such a generous person, Susan and we all just love the pictures you take, the pictures you draw and paint and the pictures you conjure up in our minds! You are awesome! So full of energy you put me to shame!
    Lol 😂
    Can’t wait to see you aboard the Queen Victoria – hope the passage is a smooth one and you arrive blissfully rested, fit and healthy, ready to see some more of England and Ireland!
    Must get hold of Mrs. Miniver…haven’t seen it in years! Aren’t the black and white films just beautiful?
    Loving the bookmark and can’t wait to see the picnic badges!
    Karen in Cambridgeshire UK 🇬🇧

    • sbranch says:

      The picnic badges were in the Willard . . . did you get that Karen? If not, HERE it is . . . and thank you for the wishes for smooth sailing . . . we stay south this time, I think it might be spring out in the Atlantic.

  2. Pat W. says:

    Susan….you are just amazing! All that is on your plate (or platter) and you find time to do a blog & Willard for all your girlfriends. You give us all such a treasured gift…your comments & photos of everything when you are traveling & I for one am looking forward to this trip via Susan Branch. Thank you. Enjoy every minute & have a wonderful time.

  3. Julee Collins says:

    What a wonderful treat to find your blog in my inbox; I wish I had come to it much sooner in my long years of being your ardent fan. AND….what a wonderful treat to consider myself one of your Girlfriends. I’m hoping my granddaughter, who’s been a fan since she was very young, introduced to you by her Granny (of course) has or will soon have found time, perhaps with her toddler on her lap!) to join the ranks…..and thus I’m giving you fans in perpetuity…. I, too, am so excited for your trip, for you, and for all of us traveling along with you. And you ARE going to Wales this time? A week, spent in almost complete solitude, at a retreat center there, some years ago, was surely a foretaste of Heaven! Thanks in advance for taking us along; I know you will have such fun, and therefore, so will we. Being on the Queen Victoria will be a whole new experience for me — having only spent 1 night aboard the Queen Mary, perm. docked at Long Beach (& so busy trying to imagine we were at sea that I forgot to sleep). Thanks for being you, and sharing yourself with us! Love, Julee

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, thank you for your amazing gift, I could not be prouder! 😘 Yes, Wales. I’m almost more excited for that than anything. almost. And already know we won’t be there long enough! I slept on the Queen Mary too . . . to was a trip back in time! Thank you Julie!

  4. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Congratulations to all the winners!! Your new mugs are all coming out to be so beautiful. I am using my fall mug even though we are seeing the first signs of
    Spring popping out down here in Florida. Your mugs are a perfect size and quite elegant! And I am excited to see each and every one of them. My next issue will be which one I want to order next. Me thinks I might wait until you are finished with the upcoming trip. We might have an extra unexpected special moment, together as GFs tagging along via your blog, that will end up in a cup that MUST be had!

  5. sylvia in seattle says:

    I have so enjoyed the comments with memories of WWII days shared by the girlfriends who lived through it in Britain. Another great movie about those days called Hope and Glory is a memoir of the author as a young boy. Such a great movie, hope you have seen it. It’s sweet and funny all about his family in that time. I think I’m going to have to plug in my DVD of Mrs. Miniver tonight – seems I’d have lots of company 🙂 And thanks to the person who mentioned the sequel to it. I have sent for the DVD. It really is a kind of mental therapy to revisit those times.

  6. Susie (Rocky Point, NY) says:

    Congrats to the lucky winners. Like said above in another post, we are all winners thanks to you, SB. I’m all set to go with you, Joe and Petey on the trip.Virtually of course, but I’ll be there! Wouldn’t miss it for the world.

  7. Karen Ruth Ullom says:

    Oh Susan, I’d give most anything to still be living in Charleston, SC so I could see you for your book signing. I dearly LOVE Charleston and hope you have time to go sight-seeing; however, know that’s probably close to impossible when the ships have a schedule to keep. I’ve lived all over the USA and Charleston is right up there at the top of my Favorite City List. I know you will receive a wonderful welcome there!!

    • sbranch says:

      We’ll have almost a whole day there. And right downtown! Yay! I’ve been before, but it’s been a long time, and I loved it!

  8. Deb says:

    Thanks for another lovely post. I loved the pics of the house in Mrs. Miniver. I’ve just discovered the blog “Hooked on Houses”. It’s pics and fun facts about all kinds of houses– and even has a section on movie houses. Although it doesn’t have the Mrs. M house, I bet you’d love it. I can’t wait to join along on your upcoming ramblings! Thanks for including us in so much of your special life. You always brighten my day.

  9. Wendy Louise says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you so much for the Valentines bookmark, I will make some copies and give them to my girlfriends and sisters, they will love them! Congratulations to the winners of your give away, they must be so excited! I am so looking forward to your summer mug, I adore the Autumn mug and the Winter mug I am drinking tea out of right now. How exciting to be getting ready for another trip and for us to see all the beauty you are seeking. I am wishing you a beautiful trip and all the love you find along the way. Give that cutie Jack some extra squeezes and snuggles for me. Happy painting, I know it is!!! Cheers, Wendy-Louise

  10. Lynne Barlow says:

    Oh! My! My heart stopped and filled with JOY, only to be dashed with disappointment. I’m the wrong Lynn(e) Barlow! 😂😂😂 I’d say it was cruel, but know you don’t have that in you. I’m no quitter. I’ll keep trying as long as you keep writing thes uplifting, cheerful and beautiful posts. BTW, I ordered some cups when they were first available, but was hoping that one would magically appear by good fortune. I have to share my cups with my sweet Baboo. He loves the ones with the big handles. He has hands like bear paws🤩

    • sbranch says:

      I try so hard to identify the person! This isn’t the first time it’s happened! Sorry Lynne, so close and yet so far! Love to you and the sweet Baboo. xoxo

    • Lynn Barlow says:

      Hello Lynne, I’ve just now (Feb 18) noticed your message to Susan and had to do a double-take when I saw “my” name spelled with an “e” at the end! As the lucky winner of A FINE ROMANCE book & mug, I wish you the very best of luck next time Vanna draws a name. We share a name and friendship through Susan’s lovely posts.

  11. Mrs, Mary Elizabeth Lawrence aka MiMi says:

    Have a wonderful time on your transatlantic trip. Don’t forget your Kate Spade cruise ship coin purse. I have carried mine on two different cruises and it has been a hit every time. I also have a whale one and the waiter will say look everybody a whale and everyone looks out the dinning room window. Then he will make it float by the table, such a joy he was. I look so forward to your 2019 calendars and love using them, especially the large desk one. Have a lovely Valentines. Mary Elizabeth in Gloucester,Va.

  12. Mary-Agnes Bornhoeft says:

    Love, love, love 💘 the idea of a royal wedding cup! And please, while you’re at it, how about a royal baby 🚼 cup as well?

  13. Carrie says:

    Just stopped in to say hi: Hi!!! And Mwah!!! Can’t wait until your little feet “Walk upon England’s {mountains} green”…. xo

    • sbranch says:

      Mwah, dear, right back to you. Patience is not my middle name. Lucky I have things to do otherwise I would be a wildcat!

  14. Mia Sophia says:

    Oh Susan…I just know you will have another wonderful time in England! Are you going to be gone for four months?!? I wish I could join you at the Beatrix Potter event and/or the May wedding, which will be on my Birthday, May 19!!! I would love for you to do a teacup! It is all so exciting!

    One of these days I will get to England! Unfortunately, we need a boring,but necessary, new roof for our house this year, which will be quite costly. So, I will be looking forward to your photos and journaling for all the highlights!

    Hugs and Bon Voyage!

    • sbranch says:

      Roofs are necessary things. But yes, SO boring. I used to have a rule (before I became a grown up): if I can’t eat it or wear it, I don’t need it! I still feel that way (the rule excluded dishes, dish towels, flowered sheets, tiny vases, Beatrix Potter figurines and books of course) … hot water heaters and roofs are really hard to write checks for!

  15. Paula says:


    The England cottage mug is lovely, and I the adorable little Castle Cottage pillow ! My daughter is moving into her first home, her first castle which is more like a cottage, the pillow would be just what she needs for a door knob !!
    I have seen those old movies, but they sound like a must watch, and the picture of the stairway is beautiful!! Reminds me of the beautiful stairway at Bilthwold(?) did I spell that right) The mansion we visited in R.I. last Sept. tho it wasn’t as grand at the mansion in Newport it was actually a favorite on my list.
    As girlfriends as we all are, how about a SusanBranch girlfriend club CHARM?
    My friend Lori and I was talking about your charm bracelet and we noticed how the charms hook to the bracelet is a different kind of hook ring, Does your jeweler to that??
    Well, it won’t be long now until you sail away how exciting, and for such a good long vacation / holiday !! My vacations this year will probably be to Indianapolis to help my daughter make her house a charming cottage home !
    Have a joyful week! xoxo
    Hugs, Paula

    • sbranch says:

      I did do a Girlfriends charm! And yes, there was a man who worked at the jewelry store downtown and he’s the one that put it all together for me. Have fun cozy-ing up your daughter’s house, that would be a vacation for me too!

      • Paula says:

        Thank You Susan for your kind words,
        Your trip back over to the UK is so exciting, I am looking forward to seeing all your pictures, thank you for keeping us all posted !! Its been since 2008 that I took my daughter to London, and I would really really love to see the countryside like you travel ! You and Joe have a safe trip!

  16. Ginny Evans says:

    Hi Susan! Houses just like those on Mrs. Minerva are what informed my house dreams too! Then when I grew up all those houses were too old to be practical or not there anymore. They still exist in my mind and heart though. I kept my 1960’s Ethan Allan “dream” catalog with the colonial furnishings for decades, before finally giving it up. I still dream of my kitchen with blue gingham curtains, hand embroidered tea towels and linoleum floors. Miss those days! Seeing your kitchen takes me there.

    • sbranch says:

      Makes me so happy to hear it. Those houses (with the slamming screen doors) are all over New England and the Midwest … there are a few in California, and I imagine quite a lot in the South. I didn’t see them when I was young, except on Ozzie and Harriet, so I had to run away!

      • Ginny Evans says:

        Ha, ha!! I ran away too. My hubby and I fled California and went north, to be where it was GREEN, then moved all around this great country and Canada. Did you ever discover Ideal’s magazines? They also informed my dreams of home and living in the east. I finally did live there and it was heaven. That’s why when we had to pack up our wonderful life and move to Texas, I was heartbroken and that is why I say that you and your house, and vibe, “saved” me. Because I can remember and FEEL it through your words, books and pictures. Well, and clearly God cut some of us out of the same cloth, because we also love all things UK and can’t go there often enough.
        I love being part of this loosely knit friend group. Thank you for being willing to share and include us all.
        Blessings friend!

        • sbranch says:

          Absolutely my pleasure, love it as much as you, thank you Ginny! Ideal sounds familiar, maybe in the way-back machine!

  17. Linda Ishmael says:

    Love, love Mrs. Miniver!!! Bucket and hose could have been items they may have needed handy in case of booming which did happen to that beautiful home!!! Foreshadowing maybe!!! Have a great trip!! I’ll be waiting for any little tid bit you can throw across the ocean.

    • Jennie Lou says:

      Hi Linda & Sue,
      Bucket of sand & a shovel, bucket of water & hose in case house was bombed. If you look at other films from the war years carefully, you will see these details too. same with blackout curtains. Love Mrs. Miniver, everyone should see the film “Dunkirk” for more on where Mr. M. went off when she was dealing with her unexpected visitor.

      • sbranch says:

        I can’t see Dunkirk, even though it’s my favorite story from the war, I hear it’s very hard to look at. But I love reading about it!

  18. Laura Brown says:

    Congrats to girlfriends who won! Would enjoy meeting with you and others in Charleston, hoping to work out details. Have an amazing trip back to Europe from all your armchair tourist friends. Love, love, love Mrs. Miniver – May we live in peace and thank God for those willing to defend it if necessary.

    • Laura Brown says:

      Have ordered your beautiful, last set of mugs and am looking forward to their arrival in April. Now I find myself checking my email, the blog and the shopping tab on your website in anticipation of the mug you’re creating for the 4th if July! I love how you give us treats to look forward to! Jack an Petey have become like online family to us thru your blog. Have a rescue dachund who fills the Jack roll on our home. She is so fun and playful and entertaining! Our of curiosity, went online and entered ‘sailor doll’ and found ‘Sweet William’ (like the flower) or ‘Willie’ who looks like Petey’s distant cousin! We’ve decided to adopt him and take photos of him on our little travels for our grandchildren (ages 7, 5 and 2). Look out Elf on the Shelf, here comes Sweet Willie! Thank you for stirring our imaginations and encouraging us to play!

  19. Mary jo in michigan says:

    Hi Susan stumbled on your old post re favorite movies highly recommend “about time” starring domnal Gleason and Rachel mcadams — lovely message — set in Cornwall — makes me happy — hope it does the same for you — appreciate your blog as always

  20. Kristen Shaw says:

    I so look forward to “traveling with you” by sea! I’m guessing there might be another wonderful book about your adventures as a result(?) Thank you so much for all the time and thought you put into your blog and newsletters. It is pure pleasure to sit down at the end of a busy day and luxuriate in the beautiful artwork, the inspirational quotes, and your friendly banter. Truly a real treat! I’ll have to check out that movie-I love the old black and whites, too!

  21. Priscilla from Brooklyn NY says:

    Hi Susan, Thanks so much for the wonderful blog and congratulations to the winners. I think a Royal Wedding cup would be perfect. Also thank you for the Valentine bookmark and lifting our spirits! Happy Valentine’s Day!

    • FayE in CA! says:

      Susan, there are two types of “fan clubs” out here in SB cupland…Royalty fans and Summer fans. Make two cups like you did for Spring with both the Spring and Mother’s Day cups. It would be nice to finish off the seasonal cup collection with an 11 ounce Summer one!

      Hmmmm, let’s see…camping, beaching under umbrellas, suitcases and packed car, ice cream stand, lemonade pitcher on picnic table, field of sunflowers, you walking your bike (with basket full of flowers) in downtown Vineyard Haven holding ice cream cone…seagulls on the handle! (Joe could join you on this cup.) A summer cup has many ways to surprise us with your art. Yep, you guessed it, I am one of the Summer cup fans.😍 🔆 🏄 🚣

      Thanks for the new blog and give-a-way. Congrats to the ecstatic winners. Mark your calendar, ladies…to commemorate your LUCKY day‼️✏️✔️🎈💥🍸☺️

      The RESOLVE page for the January calendar is terrific. Thanks for all of your dedicated, fun…but time-consuming work while keeping the Girlfriends’ delight in mind as you plan each page. 💗

      By the way, Girlfriends, do you remember voting to give Susan permission to be gone until JULY?? We ARE a gracious group! I know we will be traveling with her and enjoying every moment through photos and all, BUT! OH MY, she will be on the ship for FOREVER this time…do you recall how NOT GOOD the WiFi was on her last crossing? Get out your SB books and get ready to re-read them because she will seem SO FAR AWAY. JULY…wow!

      Truly, SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO happy for Susan and Joe. The trips are such FAB ways to do research for new books! They “need to be” (literally, “need to be” as a couple) without this family of Girlfriends sitting in her study, their living room, stealing snacks/meals in the kitchen, crowding their morning walks, picking her flowers…ALL OF THE TIME. 👀 👀 👀

      AND! Let’s not forget the vacation that Jack needs. I am surprised that he has any fur left with all of the loving hands petting him non-stop. 🐱💋

      Keep checking off that packing list Susan. Time to shock more taxi drivers with your bazillion suitcases, etc., that need to fit into the trunk, front seat…(on the roof?!!).

      Here we go, Girlfriends…we are, indeed, lucky to be invited to share their newest journey…a “honeymoon” for two with thousands watching. HA! (How can it not be considered a “honeymoon” for Susan and Joe…their life’s love affair is stronger than ever and they are magic together wherever they are.)

      Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. 💟💜❤️ 🌸🌺🌼

      • sbranch says:

        That’s so sweet FayE! And we think of it as a honeymoon too! How could we not? I’m SO happy to have you with me. This time, I think I may have figured out ~ the wifi on the ship will NOT easily let me do any sort of “real” post, but I do think I could quickly put up one photo a day! I am going to try. I think it’s the “long time” I’m on there that makes it not work. So many posts, all ready to go, suddenly went away! I pushed my luck. This time I’ll try to be quick!

  22. susan mcmillan says:


    Have a WONDERFUL time! I can’t wait to live vicariously through you. Point out any wild life you see. I am sure you will though.
    I just love EVERYTHING SUSAN BRANCH, especially your gratitude book. I enjoyed reading it on a recent trip to Colorado to see my daughter and granddaughter.

    Safe Travels,
    Much Love,
    Susan M

  23. Lb says:

    I gave you a beautiful mug in SLO, with kittys on it,, before you ever did your mugs, glad I
    Gave you the idea to do mugs.

  24. Sandra says:

    Have a wonderful journey across to the Uk….enjoy the joys of being on the sea..and the cosiness of your cabin too…loved all the pictures and your lovely cheering words…your letters make my day….many days….
    Journeys are full of surprises and special folk who you have yet to meet…I hope they are all as special as you and Joe.
    Many blessings and enjoy all that food and sea air…

  25. Caroline says:

    Thank you for the beautiful blog so full of wonder. I had to take a picture of Resolve in modern times…. I sent it to my daughter Anna (aka snowflake girl) who is very homesick in her 2nd semester at college. This kid is so HYGGE:) She made a fort to study in last semester during finals. Bless all hearts! Have a blessed day! Caroline

    • sbranch says:

      You give her strength Caroline. It’s so hard to be 20, looking back, my 20s were unfathonable. I was 8 years old in a big person’s body and didn’t know it.

  26. Karen Duenas says:

    January 2019 looks beautiful. I love the quotes you have chosen.A hopeful way to start off the New Year. Thank you as always for filling the white spaces with so much love , thoughtfulness , and your amazing art

  27. Peggy B says:

    Thank you, Susan, for so generously sharing your stories and your art. I look forward to updates in the blog, and I love Willard. I’m a scrapbooker. I stocked up on your stickers when they were still available. How I wish there would be more!

    For your reading pleasure, I recommend the book _The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society_ by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows. It tells the story of the people of Guernsey, in a series of letters, and the impact the German occupation had on their lives. It is charming, and a whole side of the war I was unaware of. You’ll love it!

  28. Angie Q says:

    So much fun! We just watched Miss Potter, the movie with, OH, I can’t remember their names! But it was such a wonderful movie about Beatrix Potter. Loved it! And we shall love reading about your exciting travels. Since I am on the wrong coast, I shall say BON VOYAGE from Washington!

  29. Kelly from Walnut Creek, Ca. says:

    Just received a new issue of ‘Daphne’s Diary’ magazine (originated from the UK) and thought of you, have you heard of this magazine? There is a website with more information. I think you might enjoy it. Have found that more than a few UK 🇬🇧 magazines are becoming favorites in recent months. The other one is called ‘Baked from Scratch’ – wonderful🍰🥣🥧 recipes with beautiful photos and illustrations.

    Just thought you might be interested Susan. Have you ever thought of creating a magazine? You certainly have the creativity and talent to do so.

    Best always,


    • sbranch says:

      My blog has to be my magazine! I would imagine a magazine (at least for me) would be a full time job! Love magazines, but all that creativity disappears off the face of the earth too early for my comfort. Books last better. xoxo

  30. Amanda in Seattle says:

    What a fun post, especially the Mrs. Miniver pitch 🙂 I’m very dear friends with Walter Pidgeon’s granddaughters, Pam and Pat, and love hearing their stories of grandpa! It’s an added pleasure watching his movies, because I can see him in them 🙂 Cheers!

  31. Congratulations to the winners – what a treat for them. Thank you for the treat of a Valentine Bookmark…can’t wait to print mine. I have been FIGHTING with my printer so it better work for this treat! LOVE Mrs, Minever…the house, the story, the courage of those people. And Random Harvest….I see others have noted it is on TV soon. We had to buy a copy so I can get my fix of Greer Garson whenever I wish. I adore that cottage they shared….love the fireplace, and the door…and wish I could stay in the Inn they stay at when they first arrive in the countryside. I imagine you and Joe staying in cozy places like that when you are in England. And yes, enjoy the ride across the ocean….nothing to do but enjoy. That is why as much as I LOVE my home, I love travel….there is nothing staring at you saying “do this, fix that, sew that, I should iron those napkins….” it is such a pleasure to just relax and be. I really love the way you said that watching those old movies is how you learned how you wanted to live! Me, too! I think that is why we appreciate so much the homes we have created. Did you ever read the book Blue Willow by Doris Gates? The story of a girl who has a blue willow plate, the only nice thing she has, and as an itinerant field worker she holds onto it and dreams about when she will have a home ? I loved it as a child and no surprise I have a set (collected from relatives, Goodwill, and thrift shops) of Blue Willow now and LOVE to set the table for Sunday Supper with it….it defines cozy! Even though we moved to an apartment home and downsized and got rid of a lot of things I did not let go of my Blue Willow. It says home. Will be thinking of you as you travel and following along….enjoy the anticipation, the packing, the trip, and LIFE! You do it better than anyone! Safe travels !

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Ann, love that you kept the Blue Willow. Yes! The escape! For me, ecstasy of so much beauty, the discovery behind each bend in the road, the unknowingness of it all. I love it.

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

    Good morning and hello Susan and Girlfriends. I would love the idea of a royal wedding cup, and since there will be 2 royal weddings this year why not. I have to admit Prince Harry’s wedding has been a long time coming and I am so happy he is finally getting married. they deserve to be happy together, and lets not forget a royal birth as well.. Prince George and Princess will be getting a new baby brother or sister soon, in April and of course we want the details on that as well. we will be getting our hatchlings soon, early next week an the nursery is ready and waiting for them. we have reinforced that fence all around and put rocks around the edge so no digging and any holes were filled with gravel, any critter thinking about digging in that is going to have pretty sore paws. I do not wish a repeat of last October, for one thing I cannot afford a loss like that, and because of who owned the dogs… that obnoxious neighbor of ours. hopefully by summer he will be gone. its a gray and cool day here, and I have piles of laundry to get done. oh yeah guess what else our obnoxious neighbor has been up to, try stealing firewood from his neighbors and tapping into our electric power … what a creep!! congrats to the winners. and with that royal wedding cup how about a royal birth cup as well???? have a great day today and loads of fun. stay warm and comfy and stay safe. hugs everyone…. 😀

    • sbranch says:

      Spring is going to be all babies and flowers and love in England!

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        our postal carrier is already getting excited about delivering boxes full of little peeps here, she can’t wait to see them. I already let her know that she is helping me get them out to the nursery and under the sunlamps as quickly as possible as they can’t be exposed too long to the cold, and will need to get under the lamps and in the warm barn as soon as possible. one other trick I learned is to put a teaspoon of sugar into the warm water in their water bottles for the first 2-3 days, something about them needing the sucrose after being hatched. at any rate the nursery is ready, the woodstove is ready and we are ready for the new arrivals. it is going to be a busy spring and summer here. think the royals would mind if we named one chick after princess charlotte ??? and maybe one after prince George and whatever the new baby is, one chick will have that name as well. hugs….. 😀

        • sbranch says:

          Isn’t it funny? Everyone involved in any way with the baby chicks gets excited. I was just standing in line at the PO when they came in and was totally delighted to hear the peeping! Have fun! By the time we get back, they’ll all be royal teenagers.

  33. Ruth Klunder says:

    Hi, Susan…..Yeah, only four weeks and three days until you will be in Charleston. We plan to stay over in town there so we can see the QUEEN V arrive and dock. And then to the book signing at 6;00 PM. I have my lamb name tags all printed and cut out, and even my dear husband will be there too!! I am excited, but I know that you have lots to do, and that might make you stressed. So, I’ll think of you each day until then and hope that you will accomplish all that you intend to do. xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      SO happy Ruth, now I know for sure we won’t be there alone! If you can (if it’s near you), take pictures of the ship arriving! I wish I could be in two places, on board, then watching it come in!

  34. Missouri Girlfriend says:

    Lovely post! Sorry I did not win but you made me feel good even though I didn’t win!
    Your trip sounds wonderful. How lovely! Have a good time with all the last minute preparations. It IS part of the fun of the trip itself.
    I love your new product lines: tea cups, plates, etc. They make wonderful gifts for two of my fellow Susan Branch followers!!

  35. Debbie on Cape Cod says:

    Yahoo, Peter Rabbit movie coming out this spring. It looks wonderful! Can’t wait.

  36. Jules says:

    Oh, I’ll have to check out Mrs. Miniver. One of my favorite movies is You Can’t Take It With You from the late 1930s starring James Stewart and Lionel Barrymore. The movie is hilarious but has quite a message about the things that are important in life. Hint: they’re not things, but people. Thanks, Susan, for your uplifting post!

  37. Kristin says:

    Mrs. Minniver is one of my all-time favorites! I’ve watched it several times. The sadness of the movie really hit me hard the first time I watched it. I will enjoy traveling with you. Thanks so much for including us all! Many years ago a needlework company made several of my paintings into cross stitch kits. It was so much fun to see them in that form. Especially since I am worthless with a needle and thread!

  38. Maureen Wheeler says:


  39. Merci says:

    Another wonderful trip across the Pond, do totally enjoy! A Royal Wedding cup would be wonderful!

  40. Marilyn Young says:

    Wow, so many great posts from all your friends! Mine will be short! Wishing you a wonderful trip across and a lovely time while you are there. Safe journey back home and we’ll all be waiting to see pictures and hear about your daily escapades, I know I will for sure!

  41. Sherry Johnson says:

    Hi Susan, Loved this posting. For those interested in British life during WWII, may I recommend “Nella Last’s War”, “Nella Last’s Peace” and “Nella Last in the 1950’s”. These books (paperback from Amazon) are taken from the true life diary of Housewife, 49. This was a journal project undertaken during the war to record the life of any citizens who chose to participate. Annominity was guaranteed at that time. These books were published much later. I enjoy all this British. And I love your art and outlook on life. Your rays of sunshine are always welcome in my life.

  42. Laura from Portland, OR says:

    I was wondering…maybe you could put a drawing of Vanna in one of your calendars for 2019…you always describe her as so lovely and I’d like to hang out with her one month….

    • sbranch says:

      I know, I love hanging out with her, such a colorful personality. But I hate to limit her possibilities by painting her . . .I like her to be what everyone’s imaginations say she is. I’ve thought about it, I could do her . . . maybe someday.

      • Laura from Portland, OR says:

        Oh, thanks…that makes sense…let her have her sensibilities!!

      • FayE in CA! says:

        Yes, Vanna does love living in our imaginations. She is well-respected and loved.
        She avoids the horrendous work week that eats up our lives because she is taken care of by Susan and therefore needs only work on an as-needed basis. Her contracts are quite lucrative! She wants for nothing and new outfits “just appear” via Susan’s designer skills.

        She loves planning her entrances for us. Her being is small, but her ego is GROWING. We want to keep her sweet, humble, charming and efficient! We do not want her turning into a demanding, spoiled starlet.

        IF Vanna came out to us…goodness, truth be known, she is worth a thousand photos and words. To do her justice she would need to be the subject of a small fashion book! How in the world could she and Susan pick just one pose/one outfit for a calendar? Her wardrobe is vast and so darn sparkly/twirly/foo-fooey…ever-changing! Her shoes alone could be the envy of Red Carpet stars.

        She and Susan would need to seek a TOP copyright attorney because once Vanna was out and amongst us, well…designers could rip-off her mixy-matchy-multi-patterned outfits. Olympic divers would start copying whirling dives to add pa-ZAZZ for Olympic viewers. Sequins and glitter would be out of stock for years!! Tights would be Vanna knock-offs, but on chubby little baby legs, as well as quick, running and growing toddlers’ legs!

        Don’t forget Vanna’s closet devoted to headpieces! Every little girl would want to have one, two or three for their Fancy Nancy wardrobes….and the tutus, OH MY.

        Bottom line: To do Vanna justice, Susan, you would have to quit your current job and devote your time to a copyrighted Vanna label for all of the above…and below!

        The publisher would have a tight timeline. The Vanna tea party dishes would sell out. Vanna sheets for little girls would bring tears when it came time to wash them. The Vanna music box would be #1 on birthday and Christmas lists. Let’s not forget the Vanna line of birthday party supplies…from tableware to cupcake toppers. Vanna stationery so little hands can learn the politeness/kindness of handwritten thank-you notes. Do you see the blizzard of ideas and work required to do Vanna justice?

        AND!, of course, Vanna would have to be willing and perfectly discreet, but honest, with you, Susan. How are you going to write the bookS on her adventures if she doesn’t share all of her adventures with you? OH MY…did I hear Vanna say that she would like to star in a movie for her fans???

        I know that Vanna has been observing the Susan Branch lifestyle and work ethic for decades. Would she be willing to give up her current lucrative, on-call contract? She has seen the blood, sweat and tears of Susan. Vanna is well-studied and may not wish to push her current fame into the stratosphere.

        Seems like Vanna is content to let our imaginations run wild…taking our own self-guided tours through her seclusive, yet satisfying life. Ultimately, we take the pressure off of Susan and create our own Vanna wardrobe, scenes and working days with Susan!!!

        Imaginations are the BEST playgrounds ever. We know that as lucky children of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. We are so lucky to keep those free-wheeling, fun times close at heart so that we know how to turn on the imagination at any time! Thank you 40’s 50’s and 60’s!!! Thank you, Vanna, for letting Susan introduce you to the Girlfriends…you are Susan’s generosity partner! We can’t wait for your next appearance…OH, Vanna-Vanna! Vanna from Savannah who lives in a cabana eating a banana! 🎼 🎶 🎶 🎶

        xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo 💋 to all of us because we deserve some love and hugs!

        PS: You know, one time I could have sworn that I heard Vanna swish by my name in her sea of names. The split-second made me so tingly. I wondered, anticipated…and waited! ❤️❤️❤️

  43. Lee from Tustin, CA says:

    I just finished re-reading “Isle of Dreams” and have to ask a question. When you moved to your current home did Agnes’s bird feeder from Holly Oak stay there or come with you? Just wondered.
    I was excited to see your excitement over “Mrs. Miniver.” I loved that movie I also loved Greer Garson who played Mrs. Miniver. Imagine my pleasure when I was privileged to meet her. In my early twenties (1978) I worked at a recording studio in Hollywood as the receptionist. We specialized in voice over recording for radio dramas and advertising. One of our clients was the Salvation Army and Ms. Garson was their honorary spokesperson that year. I was so excited the day she came into record some promo ads! She was as lovely as ever, but more than that, she was a gracious and kind as she was beautiful! She was pleasant and easy to talk to and had the most beautiful voice and accent. I heard a few months later that her husband was ill and later, when she called the studio to speak to our director, I was bold enough to extend my wishes for his recovery. She was once again gracious and thanked me for my good wishes. What a wonderfully talented actress and outstanding human being! She’s also exceptional in “Pride and Prejudice.”
    Have a wonderful trip! P.S. I didn’t receive the recent WILLARD.

    • sbranch says:

      I didn’t take it. It belonged to the house. It was soooooo old and lichen-covered, it was not long for the world. How fun for you to meet Greer Garson, what a good job! On the Willard, there are some things to try (plus the link to the Willard) in the first paragraph of this post. Hope it helps!

  44. Penny Harrison from Oceanside, CA says:

    add me to the list of those who say love the idea of a wedding cup! and the list of best movies is great! I have bookmarked it! just watched Sabrina / Audrey Hepburn – Humphrey Bogart is yummy!
    Happy Valentine’s Day! <3

  45. Shelley S says:

    Hi Susan!

    “Mrs. Miniver!” Just read the synopsis online and now I understand my 87 year old father’s comment when I told him we enjoyed the recent film Dunkirk. That was his response. Now I have to find it.

    The cups are lovely. You are so talented.

    I hope you do another book on your travels to the UK. Although my gr gr grandparents immigrated from there, ( two pairs–England and Ireland) the only way I may ever get to “see” it is through your eyes, camera and postings. So, thanks so much for those.

    Enjoy the cruise south.


    P.S. I am so amazed at the stone walls I see in photographs and films that are all over England! I read where many are over 600 years old! Pictures please!

  46. Jenny says:

    Hello! Did you know there is a Peter Rabbit movie coming out this year? Just saw a preview online. Thought of you…..!

  47. Bev Brewer says:

    Hi to Susan and Joe—just adore post after post and love being taken far away from all the divisive and combative news. I wanted to tell you how great the photo of Joe was in Edinburgh as he was strolling through the picturesque city. It should be on the cover of a travel magazine—you composed it perfectly with the city street descending behind him. He looked like a suave and debonair world traveler and the city was beautifully photographed as a backdrop. You have always been a “photog-extraordinaire” and this photo is especially noteworthy. Love to you both from Bev

  48. AngieTink says:

    #Congratz To The Very #LuckyGirlies #Lynn 🙂 & #Abbie 🙂 #WellDone #Vanna!!! 😉 Tis Six~More~Weeks Of #Winter But Alas….(Poor~Me) For The 1st~Time In #Months Our~Florida~Temps Have Reached 80~Degrees #Today!!!!!!! #OhNO!!!! Yikes!……Looks Like #SpringTime In #Florida Has #Sprung Please Send #SNOW 🙂 #PrettyPlease 🙂 Thank~You For A Truly #DelightfulBlogPost Sweetest~Sue! Hugzzz & Love & Kitty~Kisses! xoxo #Poof! 🙂 😉 🙂

  49. ~ Del Gato Gordo Y Descarado ~ says:

    Are YOU kiddin’?
    I’m a winner each time I get a fresh serving of this blog!
    !Woo-hoo & Oh Happy Day! Many thanks for the great music, many laughs, pictures that tell a story and the over abundance of goodness- you are a jewel…thank you for everything, sharing your beautiful gifts of an artist and a writer/author.
    As always you are appreciated and well loved.

  50. Amy D says:

    I would love a royal wedding mug–a William and Catherine mug!!!! We SURELY must have their mug first!! Thanks, Sue!!

  51. Limner says:

    The moment I read about the hoses and buckets, “In case there’s a fire!” popped into my head. There’d be sand in one bucket and the empty was for water. Include the hose. 🙂 Where there were fireplaces there were often fires.

    All the useless bits of information picked up from reading-reading-reading isn’t in my head for nothing. 🙂 Besides, don’t you remember the fire scene in Downton Abbey? They were ordered to go find the sand buckets . . . Lady Edith was saved. I still wonder why she didn’t smell all that smoke.

    Hope this helps.

    Congrats to the winner!

    • sbranch says:

      Plus they were being bombed! Which actually happens later on, that gorgeous living room is shattered.

  52. Cindy Tuning says:

    Oh, “Mrs. Miniver” !! I’ve had it on my DVR for 3 yrs and just watched it again Sunday. One of my favorite movies for all the same reasons as you. The bedroom is my favorite in that house with its fireplace and criss cross Priscilla curtains. Also the bit in it about Dunkirk. It just moved me how they all just pulled together, no hesitation and no questions asked. Can’t wait to set sail !!

  53. Marsha MacLean says:

    Dear Susan,
    It is so great to think of your life time on board ship as a spa-cation! I know this is something you’re so thrilled about, and so are we! Your book is what inspired Linda and me to go last summer on our vacation through England, Scotland, Denmark and Holland! Since we won’t be able to redo that again for a while, your blog is really going to help us get past that feeling of homesickness for it all!
    Thanks for tucking us into your suitcase!
    So sweet!

  54. Ruth Klunder says:

    Hi, Susan, It’s me again, talking more about Charleston. Yes, we would be honored to be the unofficial ‘official’ photographers of the QUEEN as she arrives in the Charleston harbor. We will snap away, print, record, and chronicle ‘the event’ the best we can. We will send everything to you when you are back home in July!!!!!! I’m so excited for you… ( you’d think I was going on the trip!!) See you soon at the book signing.xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      I think my excitement is running over and through the streets all the way to your house! Thank you! I will love the view of the ship arriving, can’t even imagine right now!

  55. I too loved the house in Mrs Miniver. I was a young girl when it came out and went to see it with my grandmother. Just saw it again on TCM. Another house that had a great impact on me was the one in Father of the Bride with Elizabeth Taylor. So enjoy all your writings! My daughter loves you too! She and I took a trip to Martha’s Vineyard this past summer to see your little house. We found it but didn’t bother the people living there. Also walked by where you live now. Such a great house and so you! We loved Martha’s Vineyard. When will you be back to Kansas City to visit Rainyday Books. My favorite bookstore! Have a fun trip!!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh! Loved that house, it was perfect. So was the inlaws-to-be living room. Loved that too. Just a good neighborhood apparently! I’m watching National Velvet right now, sobbing off and on, Elizabeth Taylor was truly something. In fact, the Pi just won! Love Rainy Day too, the nicest people!

  56. Kitty DeMento says:

    Hi Susan!
    My other guru, SBB- did you know she mentioned you in her book Peace and Plenty?Amazing!!!
    Stay cozy!!!

  57. Susie C says:

    Dear Susan –
    We are so lucky you share your trips with us! Photos, quotes, tidbits of information all feel as if we are with you too. May you and Joe make wonderful memories to remember as you both drink a cuppa tea, wonder at all you saw, and give Jack the love he missed while you were away.

    Peace & Blessings

  58. Julie V from Springfield, MO says:

    Thanks for another lovely blog! Please, please, please do a cup for the royal wedding – that was me begging if you didn’t notice. Can’t wait for your trip to start next month so I can be an arm chair traveler along for your adventure. Thanks for the Valentines Day bookmark – it will go great with the heart-shaped shortbread cookies that I plan to give my four besties. Congrats to the winners – always feel like it is one of my girlfriends too.
    Stay warm

  59. Annette Saul says:

    It’s OFFICIAL!!! I have my ticket, as of today, for England to be able to join you at Castle Cottage, Hilltop Farm in the Lake District on 11 May 2018!!! My US friend (also huge fan of yours) would not come with me (as she already had a big trip planned). So I almost decided not to go, but my amazing husband said, “no, you must go!!” I called my British friend and she said she will go with me and best thing is I’ll have the added bonus of visiting with her for 2 weeks!! Do I need to sign up for anything for the time there or let anyone know that I’ll be there or is it just show up if you can? I’m beyond excited as our family has visited the Lake District before but didn’t spend enough time there!!!

    • sbranch says:

      SO happy for you! We’ll have the nicest day together! You don’t need to sign up, just show up, park in the Hill Top Parking lot (or car park, as they refer to it), bring a picnic and something to sit on and that’s it! 12 noon. Spring time in England, who could ask for more?

  60. Regina Carretta says:

    Good morning, Susan…..you inspired my “deep research” about Scotland and Ireland as we prep for our May trip….I will be in St. Andrews Scotland for a few days, as my friend will visit her niece…hmmmm I wondered….what is a village day trip from St. Andrews? Well – East Neuk, the Fife Coast, 9 miles from St. Andrews…..the interwebs research found the village of Crail….and a pottery shop….I have been communicating with one of the potter/owners – they watch “Grey’s Anatomy” which is set in Seattle! Already made a connection, arranging a visit to this fishing village, peace in the world, person to person connecting – Crailpottery.com/…. thanks for teaching us “deep research” whether you knew you were doing that or not! 🙂 Love, pouring over maps of Edinburgh, Regina in Seattle

  61. FayE in CA! says:

    I’m sure that she admires all of Nature’s animals, but she HAS to be a devoted cat lover!!! Important question: How are you getting your tonnage (AKA your luggage) to Florida⁇⁇⁇ Surely not by plane unless you have sold enough cups/dishes this year to pay for the extra-extra-EXTRA baggage fees! Is the A Fine Romance van heading south then parked until July?

  62. Lori C. says:

    Congrats to the lucky winners! Oh, Susan, what’s not to love about Mrs. Miniver? I cry every time I watch it. And I think the buckets were there for wartime emergency (fire) – I think one bucket has a hand pump attached to it. ??

  63. Mary Kathryn Christiansen says:

    Oh, your adorable kitty! I do worry about him, when you and Joe will be gone for so long. Think of his joy when you return!I wish there were a way he could safely go along. Your cups are so, so beautiful. I adore a pretty, shapely tea cup. When you mentioned Posy, at first I thought you meant a gorgeous blog I read, “Posie Gets Cozy.” She does the most amazing handwork. So many women do! Those door knob pillows are delightful. Safe travels to you both!

  64. Sara C. says:

    Would you please, please, please write a homemaking book?? With your wonderful pictures and quotes and all the loveliness that you do? It would be wonderful!!☺

  65. Pam Butterick says:

    Can’t believe I’m just seeing this now, on Valentine’s Day. Cultivate optimism! YES. a Royal Wedding Cup! Yes! 👰🏻🤵🤴🏼👸🏻 Mrs. Miniver! Yes. My mom’s favorite movie. Must watch it again. How I wish she was here, so we could could bake together, share hot drinks in my beautiful cups, and sip and eat together while we snugged under throws and watched Greer Garson. She would choose the Royal Wedding cup! I would let her. 😍 Or, the Castle Cottage cup. 🏡. Anything British for her (and me)! My day is made😍🇬🇧❤️ And I thank you.

  66. Allegra Bridges says:

    Hi Susan, Mrs.Miniver is one of my all time favorite cozy movies. And I love everything Walter Pidgeon. As I remember, they had a leaky roof, hence the buckets and pails. Thank you for your wonderful blog, and Bon Voyage.

  67. Gert~Iowa says:

    Susan…first congratulations to those two lovely ladies who won your wondrous gifts. I know they will love them! (Also, I love the music going on in the background of my computer.) You are so busy…having your calendars done for 2019!!!! Wow!!! But I understand you just have to keep going and going..until you don’t…and then you will be sailing away across the pond! Ahhh, I can not wait either!!! Please, be safe and enjoy your kitty time before you head out on your (our) trip.


  68. Amara Grace in Phoenix says:

    There are actual Peter Rabbit things to cook & decorate with @ Williams Sonoma online for Easter right now. Just sayin’, I thought you’d want to know.
    So, have the time of your lives on your trip, and I’ll be vicariously tagging along… thanks for letting me & all!
    I hope you’ll travel again through AZ & Grace a bookstore, and that I know about it ahead of time this time… I’d like to shake your lovely & brilliant hand. I appreciate you & your work so very much.
    Blessings to all

  69. Debbie Boerger says:

    So many comments to catch up with!! I love reading what everyone is doing. Also helps to learn how other women get over heartbreak, most with the help of their girlfriends.
    We’ve had a sad, worried week here in Florida. My dear, dear daughter, Tom Terrific’s Amazing daughter that I’ve known and loved since she was 16, had a blow last weekend. Her long, long-time boy friend broke up with her. They dated when she was in high-school, both went on with their lives, both ended up here on the Gulf Coast of Florida and re-kindled the romance about 10 years ago. Valentine’s Day was extremely tough for her, as she had an abscess in one ear, and many conferences with parents of her students. We’d made plans to be with her, but she wanted to be by herself. Having been though the same pain when husband #1 walked out on me while I was in the hospital having some surgery, I know that awful feeling. And, as you wrote so well in your book, sometimes you just have to let the tears and snot fly. It’s very hard when you have to drag yourself in to your classroom and try to keep it together for the good of the little ones at school. I would hang on until I turned into my driveway, and then I’d let it rip. Cry til the old eyes were practically closed. That’s all I could advise her to do.
    I had excellent women friends as does Kris. That’s what women do!

    On travel away from home for lengthy periods….We were lucky to have friends and family stay with our pets. Actually, my Ex kept our little mini dog for a couple of trips, our daughter lived in our house on another. We were gone for 3 to 4 months on the camper journeys. When you know your little Fur Person is well cared for and well loved, it makes it so much easier to enjoy the trip.

    Mrs. Miniver is one of my All-Time favs. On the 2013 trip to the South of England, Tom and I went to many places that had important ties to “the War”. We stood in an empty pill box on the South Coast right where Churchill, Eisenhower, Montgomery and I think DeGaul, stood looking out. We toured the “secret tunnels in the chalk cliffs beneath Dover Castle. We spent time in Poole talking to locals who remembered the tragic loss of about 800 soldiers in a training run-up to DDay that went horribly wrong. We rode the commuter train up from Virginia Woolfe’s home to tour Churchill’s quarters deep bellow White Hall. Did you know that Virginia, Leonard and some of the Bloomsbury people over from Charleston, were straffed by a low flying German fighter while enjoying cocktails in the garden?
    On my first 2 trips to Old Blighty, in 1977 and 1982, we had beautiful older veterans come sit with us in the pubs, buy drinks and tell us their stories. I’m so thankful I kept a good diary on those trips. We were the children of the Yanks who fought beside them. They were long over the run up to DDAy, when it was….The Yanks are over here, over sexed and over paid. We visited Biggin Hill, and of course Chartwell a few times in Kent.

    Really looking forward to the 2 days we’ll spend at the DDay, WWII museum in New Orleans in April. If I can’t be in England with you, I can still celebrate the long and deep love affair with Her. Then we’ll hop on The City of New Orleans and chug up to Chicago for a week. Of course I’ll be following you, as will several thousand others.

    Thank you for all the hours you spend in your studio, writing the blogs and book we love. You have given so much to so many, and we are Grateful!!!!

    Mucho Love,
    Debbie in Tampa….almost out of the “boot”.

    • sbranch says:

      Always love reading your letters Debbie. Please give your daughter a big hug from me. You have lots of fun plans on the horizon!

  70. Debbie Boerger says:

    This is for Pat Addison in Oregon.

    We live in Maine, for 6 months every year. I discovered that pouring tons of Cayenne pepper unto the soil where you Don’t want digging from dogs or skunks really keeps them away. I use bone meal on the peonies every couple of years, and that drew skunks and dogs. I also make a paste and smear it on my bird feeders and mix it into the seeds. Bears hate it, as do the squirrels. But it does not hurt or harm birds, including chickens. My neighbors who always had chickens, asked us to share our peppers with them. They would crumble the dried peppers into the feed. Something about better eggs????
    Of course you have to keep adding it. I found the giant containers of Cayenne at Sam’s.

    Debbie in Tampa

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

      thank you Debbie for the pepper tip, our problem is with the neighbor, who keeps on stacking his trash all along his fence and not disposing of it but leaving it out for the critters to get into and then just wander over to our side of the fence. we need to stop that and that should cut down the critter problem. thanks for the help. hugs…. 😀

  71. Anne L says:

    Love it! so excited to come along with you to England, Ireland and Wales! Can’t wait Susan!! I must have missed something in the blogs, I haven’t seen Girl Kitty in a while. Is she ok? I hope she is and she is just shy..
    I really enjoyed Willard this month. Thanks!!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I think you did, Girl Kitty went to kitty heaven (same place I’m going) in August 2016. She was a good one. I have my grandma’s knit nap-blanket on my lap right now (under the computer) … Jack is under it on my left, completely schmooshed up against my leg. Life is good.

  72. Donna Fleishman says:

    Have a wonderful trip, Susan and Joe. I hope you plan on writing another journal of your adventures. I have all three of your most current books and display them proudly on my coffee table between a set of rose colored, vintage bookends. You truly are an inspiration. I’m so sad that I can’t purchase your beautiful mugs, but I love your creations. Best wishes, and I hope to meet you in person some day. Hopefully, you will have more book signings at Titcombs on the cape. Sincerely, Donna

  73. Debra Stevenson says:

    Hey Susan — The reason the bucket and hose are in the foyer at the Minivers house is because it was during the war and they would have civil defense drills when you would practice what to do if a bomb fell – everyone had to be prepared with buckets, hoses, shovels and flashlights to run out the door at a moment’s notice. The air raid warden would periodically come round and you would open the front door so he could see that your equipment was handy in the hallway.

  74. Debra Sewell says:

    Wonderful Willard. I would love to be in a drawing but usually miss them. You give away beautiful things and sharing your life with us is very generous . We are all ready to board the ship across the sea. Bags ready, and holding our breaths for your trip to start

  75. Maria Maberto in Long Beach, CA says:

    Oh, please, please, please make that adorable little vase! And many more of the cute tea cups.
    And here is a very strange request, but I’m so, so curious. Any chance you could just give us a diagram of what your MV floor plan is? I know, I know…weird. But I see the pictures of the outside and wonder what the floorplan looks like.

    • sbranch says:

      One of these days! Until I get to it, look at old posts, there are lots of photos of the inside of the house and it doesn’t take long to get the lay of the land. It’s like a long trailer, the living room goes from side to side of the house.

  76. Lisa Gallagher says:

    Just spent…oh I don’t know HOW long on this site. I am OVERWHELMED. I teach little children in the morning so I have to force myself to leave SOON and go to sleep so I can function…but I am in awe of SO much beauty, quotes and optimism at every click. And the best part, the kitties (I have 3!)- where would we be without them?
    I just want to say THANK YOU. Long ago when my grown boys were just babies, I added your stickers to my scrapbooks. That time has passed but as luck would have it a girlfriend recommended your 3 books to me this winter and I recognized the author’s name immediately! I have SO enjoyed the books and now the blog. My husband just ordered the 30th anniversary edition of Heart of the Home for me too and I am gifting another of your little books to my very good friend who first told me about the novels in the first place. Thank you for all the goodies hidden in this site. I will be back often to enjoy the chance to step away from my day and find this “happy place”! Plus the music…big band music and old movies always remind me of my 95 year old grandmother. Just two of the many good things she introduced me to.
    Best wishes for your upcoming trip – Ireland is so BEAUTIFUL. As are the people who live there – we had to go back twice.:) Enjoy and thanks again for everything!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Lisa, thank you so much, not only for your kind words, but for the inspiration I know you’re putting out there every day for the lucky children who got you for a teacher. I’m so happy you enjoyed the blog, come back again soon! xoxo

  77. kathiellen says:

    Dear Susan,
    I don’t text, twitter, instagram or face book, however I do read your twitters on my trusted little iPad ( my only connection to the world other than snail mail ) it is February 27th and I just read that it is your Mother’s Birthaday!! Happy Happy Birthday to her, the Queen of your Heart!❤️ I Love her sweet dancing boots!…and the picture that you twittered!! You look so much like your Mom! She gave you so many precious gifts that you share with the world! What an honor you are to her! God Bless Her!! xo

  78. Doreen Taylor says:

    In 2002 we visited Banbary Cross and it all came back to me. My dad used to let us ride up and down on his foot while saying: “Ride a cock horse to Banbary Cross; see a fine lady on a white horse; with rings and her fingers and bells on her toes; she shall have music wherever she goes.” And here it was–the huge statue of the horse with the jingle etched all around the base of the statue. My dad was from Yorkshire; my mom from Lancashire. I yearn to go back, especially to the Cotswolds and The Lake District. Loved your Romance book…

  79. Toni from Sylvania OH says:

    Hi Susan…days sure are FLYING by, eh? Very soon you will be saying good-bye good old MV and hello to the beautiful Queen Victoria!!! How exciting;-))
    (I can hardly wait to get on the boat…yippee!) love and prayers, Toni xoxoxo

  80. Ellen Botts says:

    Friday afternoon: Stay warm and dry. Thinking of you and all MVers. Ellen

  81. Toni from Sylvania OH says:

    Susan…just saw yuour weather and it is NOT good! Say warm and cozy in your sweet house and if you have power…just watch an old movie…and have some tea…cuddle dear Jack and I’ll say some prayers for your weather to improve. love and prayers, Toni M. xoxox

  82. Wendy Olson says:

    Wishing you and Joe a safe journey – as you embark on your next adventure! I will be thinking of you two enjoying England! Having been born in Cheshire, the north of England, I am already envying your time there……I, along with many others, will be following every footstep you share with us! I do hope you are staying safe and warm during Riley – quite a nasty storm. Take care – enjoy your trip and I will be awaiting your posts!
    p.s. I traveled to England with my parents to visit family in August, 1960 on the Queen Elizabeth and came home on the Queen Mary (she is docked permanently in Long Beach!)……what a wonderful trip and 2 months of travel in England – ENJOY!!

  83. Toni from Sylvania OH says:

    Dear Susan and Joe…PLEASE let us know that you are OK!!!
    love and prayers always, Toni xoxoxo

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