Oh yes, we have our winners! And here comes Thanksgiving! But first, let’s go for a walk along the shore! It’s the sweet and delicious antidote to modern times!

All you need is some flat sand and a sharp stick! November by the sea!

XOXOMUSICA for my Earth Angels, the ones I adore . . .💞

We followed our nose through the woods to one of the old fishing shacks out at the water’s edge that belongs to our friends where we stop to say hello ~ most of the little cottages out there are closed for the season, but our friends stay late, kindly providing us with luv-lee morning smells of coffee and woodsmoke on the wind.

Through the golden woods and drifting leaves we go, to the water and back.

In every place I’ve ever lived I’ve gone searching for “my walk” ~ I need to walk everyday for peace of mind and joy of life.  I had a special walk when I lived in California, and when I moved here in 1982, I found this wonderful dirt road that ends at the water and have walked it ever since. In 1987, it got even better, because that’s when Joe joined me. We know every rock out there.  Him: “Hey, was that rock there yesterday?” Me: “I don’t think so!” We call this kind of stimulating conversation, “Morning Science” and I wrote about it in my Autumn Book.

As we wander along the shore, we find all kinds of beach glass, edges tumbled smooth by the sea, in many colors and shapes, even heart-shaped glass, and lots of heart-shaped rocks too. We’re always thrilled ~ we show each other, “Hey, look at THIS one!” Claiming how different it is from ANY OTHER we’ve EVER found 💞 . . . but this ⬆ wins, I found it last week, it’s my very first angel’s wing.

Sometimes, when we’re out there, I think of something I want to remember, or I see something I want to tell you about ~ I have a pen, but no paper to write on, so seashells come in very handy.

Just a part of the collection! Searching for rocks, shells, and glass with the sound of waves rolling in, the cry of gulls, crunching the leaves underfoot, wind rustling through the trees, wrapped in jackets and scarves, hats and gloves, breathing cold, clean air, is a perfect way to start the day.  So is knitting with just the sound of needles clicking and furnace blowing. Laying on the floor, stretching out your body in all directions, very good too, especially if your petty pet does it with you. Also, wooden-spoon noise against bread bowl as stirring commences. All the perfect antidotes to modern times.I usually like to surprise you as you turn your calendar pages . . . but with the holidays coming, I thought you might enjoy this . . . it’s the January page for the new 2019 calendar reminding us
. . . and it’s in the peace and quiet that dreams are born.

Such a clear, clean, blue-sky day, perfect for washing the Peter Rabbit Room curtains and drying them on the line . . . the things we do to make a house a home.

Every day I do at least one little something to get us ready for the holidays.

Cleaning the votive candle holders . . . freezing them first to make it easy to remove the bits stuck at the bottom.

And sorting napkins . . . all of these were found in yard sales or antique stores, some match and some don’t but all are heavy, old-fashioned, starched linen . . .  as big as small tablecloths so when people come to my table, they smooth their napkins on their lap and feel like they’re five years old. 💞 Perfect for the holidays.

I’ve been looking at photos from other holidays to see what I’ve done before, thinking about how to decorate this time, inspiring myself! This red tablecloth is actually a vintage blanket.

This setting is a little more casual and homey . . . with plaid napkins and purple Johnson Brothers WindsorWare, a really good color for Thanksgiving ~ it goes with everything!

This one, even though it’s all mix and match dishes (two Vernon Kilns patterns, “Mayflower” and “Chintz”) is still a bit more formal and elegant, and even has bread plates (Johnson Brothers “Garden Bouquet”). Everything on this table, and in all my tablesettings, comes from yard sales or antique stores. I’m a huge recycler of other people’s stuff. Have been haunting second-hand stores since I was in my early 20s ~ this represents years of slow-speed collecting. Old stuff has a soul, and my house likes it too . . . these old things, along with wonderful old music, let me go back in time and live in a world that doesn’t exist anymore. When you’re a grown up, you’re totally in charge in your own house and can have it (or at least a certain corner of it!) just the way you like it! This all came from being addicted to old black and white movies when I was young. I thank my mother every day for introduction to movies that came out before I was even born. They taught me everything I “know.”

Love the orange flowers . . . the table cloth is a vintage bedspread. Wonderful because, like the red blanket, I don’t have to iron it! Wash and dry in machines and voila!

Flowers, mis-matched chairs, old bowls . . . lots of candles on the table . . . all ready for what really counts, what’s on the chairs!

I found this plate that teaches a child where the spoon and fork go! And remind myself too,  because I always forget, does the water glass go inside the wine glass or out? But luckily my Girl Scout Handbook taught me, so I painted this: Planning the food too . . . although we sort of keep to our traditions. Can’t wait for this wonderful cranberry sauce! And the amazing Christmas Jam you can make from the leftovers (the recipe is up there under “The next day”) ~ so good I always make extra!

To bring back memories, serve your favorite foods you had growing up at your family’s Thanksgiving dinner . . . or make new memories:  serve what you always wished you could have! Joe and I have had every kind of Thanksgiving, at our house, or at others, with lots of guests, or all by ourselves. One of my favorite memories was a time we were alone, we weren’t sad, we reveled in the peacefulness, we lit the fire and kept dinner very simple, stuffed a chicken with my Grandma’s Stuffing, and roasted it with carrots and onions, made gravy, and served it with mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce while Little Women played on the TV for background noise. We had hot apple crisp with vanilla ice cream in tiny casseroles for dessert and read in front of the fire until bedtime. 

Here we are last year. Love Joe’s tie.Speaking of manners, the other day I found this little blurb about manners-free Black Friday. I might not have written this quite as harshly but I couldn’t agree more with his message:
Black Friday has apparently been around for a long time, they even (irritatingly) give it the hallowed name of “tradition” as we are pounded with ads and commercials . . .  although it really didn’t start sinking into my consciousness until around fifteen years ago, and when it did, I thought, really? The day after Thanksgiving? 🎃 When we are all full of gratitude and contentment and feeling blessed by all that we have? They want us to drag all our relatives and our children, the day after Thanksgiving, to a seriously soul-less place like Best Buy or Walmart to celebrate consumerism? Way too much “modern times” for me. I hope I’m not offending anyone. Because if you have managed to find heart in this event, then, that’s what you should do! To me, it’s a whole different thing to take everyone shopping on a small-town street, outdoors, where there are bell-ringers, pine wreaths, and lights, everyone enjoying life in the slow lane ~ supporting the small businesses that give our towns character, buying wreaths from your local Girl’s and Boy’s Club, smiling at strangers, having lunch in a too-warm restaurant, piling colorful scarves and mittens on the chair next to you, eating a warm cider donut, and licking crunchy sugar off your fingers. All that gentleness seems to me to be what the holidays are about. So, if you feel that way too, let’s turn Black Friday Green! GREEN FRIDAY!

I LOVE it already!

Work off Thanksgiving calories, on Green Friday take the whole family for a walk, hug a tree. Remember the first Thanksgiving was held in the woods. It’s the organic place to be. And so green.

When you come back, make tea. Green tea.

Fix a healthy green salad . . . play MUSICA or watch an old movie (nap with kitty is perfect for this moment) . . .

If you live in snow country, see if you can find someone to take you for a sleigh ride!

Bring turkey sandwiches, a blanket, and thermos of hot cider.

No snow? Maybe everyone would like to go outside and help you plant bulbs, so you’ll have a surprise in the spring. Or do it for the lady down the street. Or, make. . . and hot chocolate, let everyone help, toast them in the fireplace. Or, none of the above, these are just ideas, for something that honors ourselves, our families, our neighbors, and our world. And check HERE to see what you might do to help victims of the devastating California fires who’ve lost EVERYTHING just two weeks before Thanksgiving. Their homes and animals, so many have died, and our hero firefighters who’ve lost their own homes while trying to trying to save others. We can’t fix this nightmare, but we can help. We can let them know the nation is behind them. Be sure to do this in front of your children and grandchildren, let them help and know who you are and why you do the things you do. If you’re a teacher, have your class write letters to another school in the affected area. Pages of crayon hearts in every color would be perfect.

The night of our very first Green Friday will be extra special because we’ll be watched over by the full Frost Moon.  Make a wish for your family, and say a prayer for the world. MUSICA

So, just to remind you how small this world is . . . you remember in the last post when I wrote about finding a box full of my Grandma’s things and especially, her high school diploma from Central High in Sioux City, Iowa in 1927? WELL! I opened up my email a couple of days later and found a note from one of our Girlfriends, Linda Wilson, who was writing to tell me that her dad graduated from the same school as my grandma the year before she did, in 1926! Linda had her dad’s year book, which I had never seen . . . and she sent me a picture of my Grandma’s class . . . and there she is, second row, far right, eighteen years old, my Grandma, Florence Orr, in high school. A photo I’ve never seen before. Another piece of the puzzle. Thank you Linda, for thinking of me! So very kind of you! 

And here we are, finally, you patient people! Ready for our drawing for the first chapter of ENCHANTED? Me too . . . and Vanna has already come and gone! She, of course, has a LUNCH date at the Yacht Club, and sashayed out of here, dressed to the nines, all in pink with a pink fluffy shrug jacket and short leopard boots, completely inappropriate (I love her but she is a nut!) on this cold fall day, her silver-pink fingernails flashing, diamonds sparkling on her pinky, as she handed me five names, the five winning names! So HERE WE GO! Ooops, some aren’t showing last names, so I’ll give hints as to who everyone is! Here we go!

 Mary Lou Shipman, who recently got a new fridge 👏

Linda Freymark, who lives in Idaho 👏

Gert, from Iowa! 👏

Samantha D., who will honeymoon in the UK next year 👏

Hyacinth Sarah, from Texas 👏

C  O  N  G  R  A  T U  L  A  T  I  O  N  S !!!!!!Soon all five of you will find an email in your box . . . write me back and give me your address and your little book will go right off to you!

And for the rest of you . . . Cake! But, I’m sorry,  you have to make it yourself! Throw some flour around and count your blessings, it’s good for what ails you. And please, try not to drink the sauce. 

Hope you LOVE it. One other bit o’ biz … WordPress, who hosts this blog, seems to have changed their format. It no longer says “waiting for moderation” when you post a comment. Your comment just disappears and it looks like maybe it didn’t go. But it does go. I wish they would let you know, but I have zero power over them! I didn’t even know they’d changed it until these last couple of weeks. So sorry for mixups! But at least your comments are going through!

I have lots more to tell you ~ but it’s time for our walk! We haven’t gone yet, wanted to get this up first! Just a quick note . . . it was a luv-lee book-talk across the water in West Falmouth last Saturday ~ met so many wonderful girlfriends . . . moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, sisters, aunties, best friends, and kids too . . . loved reading to and meeting everyone. As the librarian said, “The nicest people come to your book signings.” And that’s the truth! They do!



All the money raised from the tickets went to support the Library, so thank all of you who were able to come! Another bit of interesting info: I think Mandy, at Castle Cottage, might be putting together another tour of the Lake District next fall 2019. I will be so jealous of whoever goes because I will be here finishing up the new book. But if you are interested in joining Mandy on the best tour ever, you can contact her at [email protected]. And, I still need to tell you about the movie! But that will have to wait for next installment!  Happy getting ready for Thanksgiving everyone! Keep in touch! XOXO

This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

513 Responses to MODERN TIMES

  1. Willemien says:

    Congratulations to the winners!
    Thank you Susan for the information of the not apearing line: ‘your comment is waiting for moderation’, haha, I was worried. Love those dishes, so romantic flowers on them, I bought some english dinner plates at the fleamarket from the church last october, they’ll look nice at the dinner table for Christmas. For now we’re having a great autumn it’s getting colder here, so the leaves are saying their final goodbeye. We’ve got the Christmas lights up a tree ( I don’t mind if no one else has them on already, it’s so cosy, in the livingroom candlelight. I’m baking kruidnootjes(kind of spiced cookies) with the kids, tomorrow Sinterklaas is coming to The Netherlands! the kids dress up and get little presents or sweets. Having your music, Doris Day love her song: Dream a little dream of me, on the background. Now I’ll have to go, put dinner( nice winterkost:winter food a stamppot: stew) on the table for my husband, he’s outside all day building the barn with help of his brother today.

    Lots of love from Willemien

    • sbranch says:

      Loving your Dutch words, even though I’ve never heard of this, never eaten one, who wouldn’t want a “kruidnootjes?” 😋 It just sounds so CUTE! Hugs to you Willemien. xoxoxo Kiss Sinterklaas for me!

    • kathiellen says:

      Hello Willemein!
      Would you please share your recipe for the kruidnootjes? ( and the English prouounciation? I love baking tried and true ethnic recipes! Thank you!

      • Barbara A Case says:

        May we ask about the curtains from the Peter Rabbit room…….Where might we find those?

        • sbranch says:

          Hi Barbara, I bought those curtains so long ago, from a company that’s gone out of business … Country Curtains. But there must be someone out there making something like them. I’d google!

  2. Lori says:

    Congratulations to the winners. However, we are ALL winners when you gift us with such a fun post. Wishing you a fabulous Thanksgiving! I will be making your cranberry sauce/jam and may give the cake a try.

  3. Bridget B. in Tn. says:

    Susan, the blog is inspiring as always! Thanks for the pictures of your table settings. Those of us with ” a dish problem” go crazy over those !😸 I love your Windsor Ware and finally scored a few precious pieces. And I also love my Rose Chintz. Seriously, you are always a bright spot in my day. It is so nice to read comments from all the girlfriends, we are like a family now. Clearly we all need to be uplifted with all the sad news. Wishing you, Joe, Jack and other loved ones a wonderful Thanksgiving !

  4. Kay Bennett says:

    Dear Susan,
    I love the walks you and Joe take. They sound so beautiful and peaceful. Thanks for taking us along. I love to walk in our Central Park here in Huntington Beach. Feeding the squirrels, as I walk, is so fun. I make a little sound and they come running for a peanut.
    I have a wish for your comment section. I know we are all passionate about our political views, however, this is not the place to express them. Your blog is like a refuge and a quiet place to share with each other. Once politics is brought in, it brings out our differences. I hope we can all step away and leave our political opinions “on the doorstep.”
    Wishing you and Joe a wonderful, peaceful Thanksgiving! We can all be thankful to be living in the most wonderful country in the world. ❣️

    • sbranch says:

      I think it’s hard to control with all the passions of the day, but I know what you mean. It’s been very rough, although I honestly see it getting better in most of the social media I’m on. I am thinking about leaving Facebook. They are scaring me. Not because ads or anything political shows up there, but because I understand they take your list of friends, mostly kindred spirits with lots in common, figures out who we are, and then takes all THEIR friends lists, and uses them to give us propaganda. I don’t want to be used as a conduit for my Girlfriends. I’m going to ask them first, I asked Twitter the other day and most said they wouldn’t mind. What do you think? Wishing you a luv-lee Thanksgiving and Christmas, dear Kay! Prayers and tears for our hurting California. xoxoxo

      • Judith says:

        Kay, may I respectfully say that we need to be able to talk about our differences. If not, we become so polarized we can’t talk at all! It’s not a matter of who’s right and who’s wrong, just being able to discuss so we have a truer picture of our whole world. I’m thankful today that we have protected freedom of speech. Happy Thanksgiving 🍁🦃🍽

        • sbranch says:

          I agree, I learn something new every day. Mostly how alike we are. 🤗 Happy Thanksgiving Judith!

          • Tawni Urrutia says:

            I would like to add that on the rare occasion that political issues are brought up on this lovely, ADD FREE,(thank you a million)blog it’s good. Because it does invite discussions and respectful dialogue and consideration. And if Susan only spoke of all things sunny and perfect she would be one dimensional. Might as well be a blog from Betty Crocker or the Pilsbury Doughboy, or Sue Ann Niven’s, all totally fabulous characters. The thing I love about you Susan is you are real. Living in the real world, and still finding it glorious and special and worth celebrating in ways big and small. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for that shared grace!

          • sbranch says:

            I know, aren’t ads awful! I know they pay the rent, but they hurt my eyes! I don’t like it, can’t do it to my Girlfriends! Money, the bane of our existence. Gotta have it, but it rules the world these days! LOL, Sue Ann Niven! 🤣 Ha ha ha … We all live in the same world, to ignore things that are happening to all of us would mean I’m not real, and I AM! xoxoxo Thank you Tawni!

  5. Care Woodard says:

    Wonderful post! So happy for the winners, donated to the LAFD, and got some goose bumps about the girlfriend who found and sent you a picture of your grandma! Oh my the goodness in the world!! We celebrate green friday every year and didn’t even know it! with a hike and buying our Christmas tree from our friend who owns our town hardware store. This year will be extra special, thinking of you all celebrating too! kindred hearts making quite a gorgeous, brilliant and cozy blanket covering the whole world. Your words unite all our hearts and you are now writing cliff hangers!!! Movie!!! Can’t wait to hear:) Have an absolutely beautiful Thanksgiving Susan, Joe and everyone!

    • sbranch says:

      Should probably call it Hygge Friday, because that’s what it sounds like everyone will be doing, burrowing in and getting cozy. Happy Thanksgiving dear Care! xoxo

  6. Pam Butterick says:

    So lovely and loving! Kindly, constructive, hopeful, inspiring. 😘😘😘🍁🦃🎎

  7. Jena says:

    Brrr. November snow has been pretty brutal in last 24 hours, but also so pretty.
    Thanks for the inspiration.
    Stay warm.

  8. Susie (Rocky Point, NY) says:

    One of these days I will look and see my name selected as a winner and I will fall flat on the floor from shock. But until then, congratulations to all the winners. I loved the little hints you placed by their names. This was a chock full post. I enjoy taking that walk to the water with you. Then to see all your table settings. Right up my alley. Mix matched everything. Recycled homes. That is how my home is too. I want my goodies to be part of an ‘open house estate sale’ when my time is up on earth so everyone can come find a little treasure here and there that they just have to have. Share the joy. Have a lovely Thanksgiving Susan and Joe and all the Girlfriends across the land and sea. xo

  9. Julie Marie says:

    Hi Susan!… first off, congrats to all the winners!… lucky ducks!… this is my favorite post ever… but then, I think I say that about all of yours… oh!… and I have your Lenox tea strainer you showed!… I was lucky enough to have the winning bid on it on ebay several years ago and I treasure it… love Thanksgiving and the day after… also love all the ways you describe to enjoy a peaceful, relaxing and quiet day filled with blessings (away from big box stores and malls!)… I just may take a peek at your on line shop though while I sip my tea!… also love yours and Joe’s morning science… My Jack and I do something similar on our daily nature walks over to the old barn and the creek… we try to spot as many different birds as we can… so much fun!… sending love and Happy Thanksgiving week wishes, xoxo Julie Marie PS My calendar came today and I peeked at ALL the months!!!

    • sbranch says:

      You have the tea strainer! That is one of my all-time favorite things I ever designed. And so few of them made! Good get! XOXOXO You can peek at the calendar, because you’ll likely forget most of it by the time you get there! 😃

  10. Debbie says:

    Susan I couldn’t help thinking of you this weekend when a friend recommended I watch the series Larkrise to Candelford. Its the most wonderful bbc series which I am now watching on Prime. It is a coming of age story of a young country girl who makes her way to the nearest market town to work in a rural post office. It is so charming and the perfect escape from the days news. I am limiting myself to one episode at a time so I can take my time and savor every bit. I think you and the girlfriends would really enjoy it if you haven’t already fallen in love with it.
    Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    • sbranch says:

      I think I may have seen a little, but probably I read it. I’m going to watch!!! Sounds perfect for book writing/painting!

    • Lynda Mortensen says:

      Larkrise to Candleford may be “my one weakness” lol! It makes me very, very homesick though!

  11. Anne in Maine says:

    It’s snowing outside and is bitterly cold here in Maine but reading your blog makes me feel warm and toasty inside! Love, love the angel wing sea glass. That is amazing!! I’ve never found anything like that. Such a treasure! The whole blog is just wonderful. Definitely going to make the cranberry cake. Looks yummy. I just told my husband that we have to make our way to the Cape to attend one of your readings. OR… could come here to Maine. hint hint Can’t wait for the new book and to hear news about the movie. A blessed and Happy Thanksgiving to you, Joe and Jack. Anne

    P.S. Joe’s tie is fabulous!!

    • sbranch says:

      I felt the same way about the angel wing . . . it even had that tiny shiny part where it was clearly hooked to the angel! I know she can easily grow a new one so I didn’t worry and just scooped it up! Maybe I’ll get to Maine with the new book! We do love it up there! xoxo

  12. Maureen Abramson says:

    Thanksgiving blessings to you and Joe! I love getting to read your blog. I love so much in it as it reminds me of the things I really love and tend to forget in this busy world. I have so many of your books-I thought I had them all or almost all, but not quite. And I love them all. I even bought some online that were used as they are out of print. I find peace in your art and I think I’m looking for the secret you hold of doing what you love. But until I find that secret, I will enjoy all the love and friendship, art and food and home that you share in your blogs and books. Hubby is having a big surgery next week and we’re hoping he’s home for Thanksgiving. Planning on a quiet dinner for just the two of us, using some of your yummy recipes for the side dishes. MMMM…. And congratulations to the winners of the first chapter-lucky ducks indeed! 🙂 Peace.

    • sbranch says:

      Best of everything for you and your husband, Maureen ~ always scary, but you’re planning wonderful Thanksgiving! Thank you for kind words. I wrote a lot about that subject in Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams, of finding dreams, finding self. I looked for that secret with every determined bone in my body a long time ago, and I did find it and tried to share ~ everyone’s different, but I think it has pieces that would work for everyone … if you haven’t already read it. xoxoxo

      • Maureen Abramson says:

        Thanks so much for your reply Susan, it’s very kind. I do have Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams and have read it. Time to re-read it. That will be good reading for me this week to keep my spirits up. Thank you again. Happy Thanksgiving. Maureen

  13. Angie says:

    I am disappointed, NO JACK! Haha
    Happy Thanksgiving to you, Jack and Joe as well.

  14. Linda Hanson says:

    Hi Susan!

    Yay to “Green Friday!” I’m for it all the way!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and Joe!

  15. Gretchen says:

    You inspire me to walk in all kinds of weather. I love to walk when the weather is lovely. I come up with the best ideas, words, and thoughts for my writing projects while walking. My problem is I’m a reluctant walker during the less than pleasant days. Too hot, too cold, rainy are all reasons I give myself for not going on my walk. Recently, we had an ice storm in the Midwest. About a month and a half ago, it was close to 90 degrees. Crazy weather! I loved your video of walking by the ocean. You and Joe inspire me to bundle up and get going. You inspire me in so, many ways. You are an expert on hygge. Thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      We go in temperatures down to 28 degree F weather as long as it isn’t icy, we just wrap up, cover head, face, every single square inch of skin except eyeballs. We are very beautiful out there! We look like we might be going to rob a liquor store or something! In ice, forget it! Heat and humidity is horrible too …only bearable if we get out early. Can handle a little rain, a little snow, I have an umbrella that is so little it fits in my jacket pocket, just in case! Thank you dear Gretchen! I say it almost every time we’re on a walk, “this is the best part of my day!” xoxo

  16. Linda Freymark says:

    Dear Susan and Vanna, I am one of the 5 winners of your last giveaway! Just a short note to THANK YOU! I emailed you my address, but I’m not sure if I did it correctly. I’m new at the computer, email, etc. You are NEVER too old to learn…but I’m a slow learner I guess! Just hope it reaches you and again a huge thank you!!! Love and hugs across the miles, Linda.

    • sbranch says:

      Linda!!! So happy for you! You did it perfectly, I signed your book this morning and off it will go! Thank you for being here! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. xoxo

  17. Kathryn says:

    We’ve been doing Green Friday for years, but now we know its name! That’s our day for collecting greens in our woods and getting started on filling window boxes and making kissing balls. Years ago, when my older daughter (now 32) was a toddler, she inspired our tradition of making gingerbread people on Green Friday, and we have been doing it ever since. No shopping…don’t even get the car out. Wonderful dinner of leftovers. Music, and if we’re lucky, like it looks like we’ll be this year, a beautiful scene of snow-covered trees and woods for our nightly after-dinner walk. Heaven! Thank you for your blog, which I really enjoy regularly, but only occasionally post a comment.

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t think I’ve gotten one single person who says she goes to Black Friday! Now I wonder if it’s all some sort of a media dream??? Love your Green Friday, truly green. Nice to hear from you Kathryn!

  18. Linda says:

    Love the post ! Again thank u for all the reminders of the beautiful
    Simple things in life ! Walks – nature – planning a special meal and dishes ! 🍽
    Luv the Girl Scout place setting reminder and child’s plate ! So sweet💞
    Makes me want to go antiquing in nj or pa w my mom and sisters ! Happy thanksgiving planning! ❤️🏡🥣looking forward to
    Your new 📚 book!

  19. Angela B. says:

    Dear Susan,
    You get my full support for Green Friday. Since my son was 2 (he is now 15) we have stayed home the day after Thanksgiving and celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season. We bake gingerbread houses, decorate them with anything we can find in the cupboard, my husband rolls out sugar cookie dough and we pull out all of the Christmas cookie cutters and go to town. This tradition has evolved over the years. It started with my son and his two cousins, then my husband decided it was too much fun to miss so he started taking time off work to join in. We’ve had my friend and her two daughters join us one year, another year we took our gingerbread houses to our neighbor’s daughter who was recovering from ankle surgery and decorated them at their house, another year my in-laws were visiting from Washington state and they joined in the holiday fun. This year we are looking forward to baking, decorating and singing holiday tunes (this fun tradition wouldn’t be complete with out holiday music 🎶) with new friends of ours that we’ve met through my son’s rowing association. As I get older (and hopefully wiser) I see the real value in the time we spend with our family and our friends making precious memories together and it is my belief that is the best gift to have and to share.

  20. Susan Raisch says:

    I feel the same way about Black Friday but do like Shop Small Saturday, which is what you described–walking down the street supporting small businesses that give our towns character! My parents were small business owners so they are close to my heart. Happy Thanksgiving! xo

  21. Melanie Miller says:

    I love Green Friday and REI’s “Opt-Outside” campaign…so much better than consumer frenzy.
    Please post your Winter/Holiday desktop backgrounds soon and Happy Thanksgiving, Susan!

  22. Jennie Lou says:

    Hello from the chilly Pacific Northwest, where we are having some lovely fog-in-the-morning-sun-just-before-sundown days before the rain comes upon us for Thanksgiving (and this year, we are truly thankful for the rain and pray some of it heads south to our neighbors in California!) Once more, we are praying that our neighborhood fire fighters, who left last week to assist, make it home for the holidays, bless them all and the generosity of their families who let them go.
    The seashell that passed for paper on your walk would be right at home with the bits of driftwood that once came in handy as I wandered down the sand of the beach at Fort Worden State Park more than thirty years ago. Taken by the need to write (poetry), I gathered some bits and sat on the shore scribbling away. When my companions caught up with me, they laughed at having to help carry the driftwood back to our car. Over the years, these long-time friends have seen me write on anything handy: paper plates at picnics, the back of my hand (so it wouldn’t rub off), brown paper grocery bags, the ceiling in the attic… it is a given that at Christmas, many blank books find their way under my tree, why they are never near when I need them, I don’t know.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and Joe and all the girlfriends. Enjoy the Parade!

  23. Larkin Myers says:

    I tend to get myself so bogged down in my to-do list for work, for my kids, for our house, the constant news cycle…and then I am reminded by your blog that it’s ok to take a breath, to enjoy, to indulge. Thank you! I needed this today.

  24. Christine L says:

    I love the walk you and Joe take to the water every day. When I saw the pictures and “moving pictures!” of the walk at the ocean and I saw all the rocks at the sea edge I was dying!!!! All I could think of was how badly I wanted to search for sea glass in those rocks!!!! I live out here on the west coast and Santa Cruz is 40 minutes from my house and I LOVE to sea glass hunt. I don’t get to do it nearly enough so on your next walk….I wish you a bunch of sea glass finds!!

  25. Ginette Wheeler says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thanks for the lovely words last post, my mother is recovering and scheduled to see her doctor tomorrow after she sneakily called on her own Friday and cancelled the original! Not only have I had to take her car away, I’ve threatened her phone is next, lol! We have our good days and not so good days but we go on.

    I’m off work for 10 days after Thanksgiving and your post has given me so much inspiration I can hardly wait! I’m going to start like you, doing a few things now so when I’m ready to drag the tree out I’ll be able to enjoy decorating it! It’ll be a quiet Thanksgiving this year much like you and Joe have done, our son ofcourse will be present but the meal will be simple and I’m looking forward to the peace. Hubby wants to hang the outside Christmas lights and the weather should be lovely so we’ll be out overdoing it as usual.

    The treasures you collect and kindly share in photos are my treasures I squirrel away on my pinterest page to view again and again to relive the inspiration and joy I feel. THANK YOU Susan, you give so much! XOXO

  26. Reneelynn says:

    I volunteer in a little thrift shop. You would not believe the beautiful vintage dishes , Nick nacks , linens and quilts that come in!! Such fun places to leisurely shop for one of a kind treasurers for gifts. I too love the things of my mother and grandmother’s time and cherish the memories that go with them. Wishing one and all a thankful Thanksgiving!

    • sbranch says:

      It allows you to be original with your decorating in what becomes more and more a cookie-cutter world! Thank you Reneelynn!

  27. Lynne Barlow says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Susan!

  28. Lynn Braha says:

    Susan, thank you so much for your lovely blog! It always makes me happy! On your last cruise to England you bought circular needles for knitting and you weren’t sure how you would like them, I was just wondering how you found them? I love them myself.

    • sbranch says:

      I didn’t get far enough with them to know. But EVERYONE has said how much they love them, so I’m sure I will too!

  29. Chris says:

    Hi Susan,
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and Joe! I just made your Cookie Cutter Ginger Crisps, from your Autumn cookbook. They are delicious! Probably the best cookie cutter recipe that I’ve ever made. I used giant Maple leaf cutters which I’m planning to use as place cards for Thanksgiving and I’ll write the names on them with royal icing.
    You always cheer me up when there is too much awful stuff going on in the world. I live in CA and I have seen first hand how Red Cross Volunteers have helped so many victims of the fires. They are also a great organization to donate to.
    Thanks for caring and being such a positive influence on so many people!

    • sbranch says:

      Perfect! Thank you for the kind words ~ have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Chris!

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      I’ll just “ditto” Chris’s message. Even though I keep the Talking Heads to a minimum, the horror is unavoidable. Yes, we need to give to folks like Red Cross. I’ve seen what they do first hand.
      Reading Susan’s blogs is better than taking a pill 🙂
      Debbie in Tampa

  30. ANITA TAYLOR says:

    Oh my!! I completely agree with your thoughts on black Friday. I HATE it, I have NEVER gone nor do I plan to. The whole concept over shadows a blessed day that we give thanks for all we have …. family, home, food and love. I, like you would much rather shop in my neighbor hood shops for one of a kind, original gifts. Love your blog, keep the warm memories, recipes and your gentle art work coming! Happy Thanksgiving.

  31. Tawni Urrutia says:

    Dear Sweet Susan,
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and Joe and all of those you love! I certainly count you and your books and blog as one of my many blessings. From the first moment I opened The Heart of the Home 30 years ago, you’ve inspired me with joy and generosity.
    I went to MV this past September. I would’ve never thought of going there were it not for you. A few years ago at Christmas time you posted the most charming picture of a snow globe painted on the window of Rainy Day. I was so captivated by the charm that radiated off that picture. Well I was there! In person! So excited and so happy. The whole island was incredible. The one thing I didn’t expect, SKUNKS! We went on a couple of night walks and saw a few ambling along. Then one morning I saw one prancing around on the front lawn of the house we rented. And she was sooo stinkin cute! With bangs and everything. Just like Flower from Bambi!
    So there it is , from books, to blogs, to bangs on a skunk, you’ve brought so much GOOD to
    me! I am so very grateful! Continued blessings to you Sweet Susan!
    Tawni Urrutia in Lodi, Ca

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, we have skunks! The smell of a skunk is kind of a harbinger of spring around here! The story is that there were NO skunks until the 1940s when someone brought a pair over that had their skunk-ki-fiers removed. But then they had babies, fully intact, and a local folk-tale was born. xoxoxo

  32. Carolyn Rector says:

    Lovely post! I’m with you, never been one to join in Black Friday, just the thought makes me want to steer clear of the stores. Lucky winners, but I’ll read the book when it comes out, I’ll have to buy it to keep up te tradition of keeping up with Susan Branch! Love, love this blog, it’s so comforting. Thank you for sharing your life with us. I am going to try those recipes, yet. Just bought the new anniversay original cookbook.

  33. Julie Deppe says:

    Thank you Susan for a great visit! It always feels like a ‘real visit’ when I read your blog. Happy Thanksgiving to you and many blessings!
    You are a blessing to me!

  34. Nor Azlina Lop says:

    Dear Susan, I have nothing to say but thank you very much for a fun and lovely post. Always looking forward to the next ones. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Joe. Stay warm this fall. Here is me sending lots of warmth and sunshine from sunny Malaysia. Take care and thanks for sharing all sorts of loveliness with us.

    • sbranch says:

      Here is me sending you a little icy air (and big hug) from chilly Martha’s Vineyard, MA, USA! Happy Thanksgiving, Nor.

  35. Debbie Boerger says:

    Susan, that’s a flicker. It’s a member of the woodpecker family. It’s one of the many birds that we now see so few of. Is that a no-no, ending a sentence with a preposition? He, he.
    Joy to you and yours, as well as all the Girlfriends.
    Debbie in Tampa….

    • sbranch says:

      I got it Debbie, thank you. Beautiful big ole bird. Never saw one before and there she was putting her gigantic self onto that tiny little feeder post! She even stuck around so I could go get my camera. Haven’t seen her since!

  36. Linda Pintarell says:

    LOVED this blog; so much info…a little mind-boggling to somehow arrange it all so I won’t forget. I actually started a little Susan Branch notebook to take notes. My utmost thanks for info on how to help the people in California after the fire. I am a fire survivor…lost my house in the 2003 Cedar fire in San Diego. You were so kind to me then; and what got me through it was our community support. It was amazing and you can’t get through it without the support…so thank you.
    Happy Holidays to all the girlfriends.

    • sbranch says:

      I remember, Linda. That was awful! I’m sure the support they are getting from their community, and now with social media, there’s support from the whole world. It’s a great thing. We never know when next it will be us. xoxoxo

  37. Cheryl Walsh says:

    I don’t belong to twitter-so I couldn’t post the bird ID question on your account-knowing that you read everything here….the bird on your feeder is a Flicker- they are usually in pairs- the male has a large red patch on his chest. They love my sunflower seeds-but they are woodpeckers-so bugs are their thing!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! :o)

  38. dixie lee says:

    I heard you were wonderful and some of my friends went to last year’s book signing on the Cape, and I have some of your magnets. BUT – I never knew you had a blog! AND- you were a GIRL SCOUT! AND – Green Friday is the best idea ever. Thanks!

  39. susanb says:

    Good Morning,
    I can’t believe I have been so busy, I missed entering my name in the give-away for the Enchanted chapter! Thank goodness, if I can be patient, a hard skill sometimes, I will be able to enjoy the loveliness of your new book in the not too distant future. I loved spending time with you reading the last 2 posts. It’s early morning Thanksgiving Eve and soon I will be buzzing around humming to myself, chopping, mixing, sautéing, and enjoying the smells of one of the most fantastic holidays ever, a tradition making day. Speaking of traditions, I just started a family tradition that I hope will live on for the ages in my family. My lovely daughter turned 18 yesterday and for her bday I gave her an emerald ring that I received as a gift from my mom when I turned 18. I wrote her a lovely letter to go along with it. I was hoping she would love it, and not think I was corny. You never know what an 18 year old may be feeling. And guess what??? She loved it!!! She was so thankful and excited. She shared with me that she had hoped inside that someday she would get to experience the excitement of receiving a family heirloom, like in a historical novel!!! I didn’t even know that was a secret hope of hers, and here it happened for her because of love, and family. It was amazing to give her the gift and see memory seeds being planted for the future. Life is truly beautiful and a wonderful gift. Have a stupendous Thanksgiving making memories that someday, someone in the future will find in a memory box while treasure hunting!

    • sbranch says:

      How wonderful, the ring for your daughter, and she loved it!!! Just a beautiful story, you’ll never forget! Happy Thanksgiving Susan! xoxo

  40. mary spring says:

    …good morning Susan.. I know that I am late for the party…I just wanted to thank you for such a wonderful post and to wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving !! I also wanted to congratulate the winners of your giveaway; how special to receive the first chapter of your new book !!( darn it , Vanna !! I wanted you to pick me !!! oh well, ‘still happy for the winners ).. I’ve had my hands full with taking care of my youngest grandbaby as my daughter had to go back to work up at the hospital in Providence..’so you can imagine, as my daughter also has to work on Thanksgiving day, I will be giving thanks with my youngest joy !!thank you, again, Susan and Joe ..have a splendid holiday..with love..

  41. mary spring says:

    ..p.s..I recently got your Christmas Memories keepsake book…oh, I just love it and will cherish it, filling it up with special memories and traditions !! thank you !!

  42. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    Thanksgiving blessings to you and Joe and to all those suffering from the fires and other challenges of life. We have been through our own challenges this year but give thanks each day that after 44 years we are still here together, our children and grandchildren thrive, and that we can still laugh and love. BTW your cranberry recipes, like all your recipes, are delicious. The tea cake is absolute perfection! Thank you for all the years of inspiration and positivity.❤️🌈❤️

  43. Janine says:

    What a lovely post. Thank you. Made me smile. Now to go back to preparing for the holydays!

  44. Ginny Evans says:

    I agree — we are ALL winners because we get to read your homey-cozy-wonderfully uplifting post! You take me back…thanks, Susan! And I love the photos. I probably say this every time, but your blogs fills my mind and heart with everything I love. We are all such kindred spirits! I hope hearing from us brings you joy, too.

    Can’t wait for your new book and in the meantime, I will be enjoying all the “little things.” I loved how you pointed out that we can make our homes whatever we want we want them to be, with our collections and personal touches–somehow we don’t always give ourselves permission to “play.”

    Thanksgiving blessings to you and Joe. Wish I could invite you both over for a big piece of the delicious and cutely made pumpkin pie I whipped up from scratch today 😀 You know, “If there’s Libby Libby Libby on the label label label” it’s going to be GOOD!

    With love!

  45. Mellie says:

    I enjoyed your blog post as always. I especially love your holiday posts and love the Green Friday ideas. I am taking it easy today and going to the library for Christmas books and stories, which I am especially excited about. One of my daughters in law is out Black Friday shopping today and texted that the stores are practically empty. It looks like online Black Friday shopping is taking the place of shopping in the stores.

  46. Patricia Edde says:

    Hi Susan,
    It’s been awhile since I wrote last, although I have read your posts and took much joy from them. I still have been missing my sweet Sam very much and had found it harder to be much involved with anything, but then Sam led me to a heart-warmer. I had taken 2 weeks off from volunteering at the Humane Society and then the very day I went back, there were 2 kittens that had just been found that morning. I said I would foster one as I wasn’t ready to have a dog with me yet. I chose Olive (renamed Olivia aka Livvie, aka Liv – sorry Aunt Olive but she just needed a bit softer name), a white sweetie with apricot markings and khaki green eyes. Mind you I have never had a cat before but figured “what the heck”. Needless to say, being an inveterate animal lover, I officially adopted her one week later. She has the run of the house and I do mean “run” of the house. I am her own personal Santa Claus and have bestowed toy upon toy on her. I just put together a scratching post for her and that, for a person with 10 and 1/2 thumbs, indicates the depth of my love for her. I have explained to/warned her that a dog will eventually be joining our family when I am ready – I don’t think she was listening. I know that Sam found her for me because he knew how lonely I was. I thank him every day for her, and he will lead me to my next sweet companion when he knows that I am ready. God bless our animals and all those who have passed on because of the Camp and Malibu fires, and bless also the people who lost everything and the fire departments who tried to help them all.
    I have to say that I was a bit, ok, a lot envious when I saw the beautiful Fall colors that you still had. Here, in beautiful downtown Decorah, Iowa, Fall has managed to pass us by (except for maybe 2-3 days and a few colorful trees). We are spending a lot of days in the 20’s-30’s with many sunless days and 2″ of snow a few days before Thanksgiving. Not that I’m complaining, well actually I am but, with climate change moving into high gear, everyone is going to have great changes over the years. It will get much worse unless the government starts implementing some very serious changes and excuse me for one moment Kay, but when we have a leader who, although he finally has acknowledged that climate change exists (after piles of research papers warning of the upcoming devastation , shoved in his, excuse me, placed on his desk) he says that it will turn around, yes, you read that right, turn around on its own. I wonder what university he went to in order to make that statement. OK, nuff said.
    I’m keeping my fingers crossed that mom Decorah and UM (unidentified male) will nest in one of the trees here. I think, if I read it right, the Raptor Resource Project has seen them already. I still miss Dad Decorah but he is flying high and free on the other side.
    As always, I do go on but there is much to report on. One last thing before I go, for the first time in years I had 7 friends over to celebrate Thanksgiving. We did a potluck and I set the table with 2 different styles of dishes, mixed wineglasses and assorted utensils but I think it looked nice on a table that usually seats 4, at least I saved on heating as we created our own warmth sitting so close together. I need to follow your example and start hitting the 2nd hand and antique stores as I have 4 cloth napkins and that is all. Something to do during these, dark early, days. Happy everything to you, Joe and Jack from me and Olivia.
    Soar the thermals!

    • sbranch says:

      The closer everyone sits to each other, the cozier and more shared secrets and laughter there is. People in a ballroom, spread five feet from each other, are never having fun!

  47. Rochelle says:

    We hiked at “Fiery Gizzard” in Tennessee. Loved the waterfall and her name!

  48. Lynda Mortensen says:

    I totally agree about Black Friday…the name even sounds forboding doesn’t it? What is even more disturbing is that it has now become a thing in my native England…and we don’t even celebrate Thanksgiving over there! What on earth is the world coming to? Nope, not for me. Give me a nice fire, some snuggly slipper socks and cheesy holiday movies on the tv. Add some turkey sandwiches, a glass of wine and 3 warm kitties and a lovely husband to snuggle with and I’ll take that over the chaos outside any day.

  49. Teresa Goodfellow says:

    I never did “match up” with a pen pal. Is there still a list floating around? I would love to do that!

  50. Rene Marie Foust says:

    yay! So many wonderful things to look forward to; a book, a movie and Christmas. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and I hope your Christmas is full of love and laughter.

  51. Gina Derksen says:

    Merry Christmas Susan! Thinking of you!
    This afternoon I hosted our quilting ladies, known as the Brown Bird Bee.
    I made and served your beautiful cranberry tea cake, displayed on my old red plaid pedestal plate. Served on small square Johnson Bros. Merry Christmas plates, coffee in assorted Christmas EB mugs, my kitchen buffet table topped with antique pink/white quilt. And, since you are a tablescape person too…. there was also a potted plant of winter berries and a white wire basket of clementines. So pretty and inspired by the mix & match tables you always post. Love from VA

  52. Cecelia says:

    Your Grandma was a pretty lady! And this was when no one wore makeup for these school pictures.
    I’m getting into the Christmasy decorative mood too!

  53. Congratulations to all of the winners! Only you can make not winning a beautiful experience – that’s why I love your blog! (My cookbook stand in my kitchen always has one of your book displayed – I change it for every season. I just put your Christmas book out. YAY!) I am ready for the holiday season. Happy holidays Susan and Joe!!

  54. Patti from Pleasanton, CA says:

    Hi Susan!
    Have you seen the Hallmark movie “A Godwink Christmas” ?
    It appears to have been, at least partially, filmed on Nantucket & Martha’s Vineyard.
    We recognized the lighthouse, Edgartown, Tisbury & the Community Hall (?) across the street from your home. 😊 We were wondering if the carousel in the movie is the Flying Horse?
    Love your blogs & experiencing wonderful adventures thru your travels.
    Merry Christmas! ♥️

    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t seen it, but I did hear it was filmed in Connecticut ~ not sure if there were shots from here or not! But the people were real and so was their lovely Charlotte Inn, where I worked for a very short time when I first came to the Island. I hope I get to see it!

  55. Donna Wilder from the historic hamlet of Stony Brook, Long Island! says:

    Sometimes when life gets hard, I think of you. I imagine you in your cozy kitchen making tea at sunrise and looking out with wonder at the world beyond your window. The birds at the feeder, the last leaf holding tight to its branch, snow fall!!! You make me remember what’s important in life and where true happiness can be found. It’s never in the big things, always small. Forget the saying “think big” you remind us to, “think small” Thank you for your inspiration! On those tough days, it’s my motivation to get out of bed, put on the tea kettle and look out my own kitchen window with wonder!

  56. SYLVIA WATKINS says:

    I have to sign on to Twitter I guess. Just saw your tweet about seeing Bohemian Rhapsody. Saw it a month ago and LOVED it. Want to see it again. Too much going on right now. Glad you got to see it. Off to bake Christmas cookies now.

  57. diana from Ancaster says:

    Love Love LOVE this post!!!
    Thank you!

Comments are closed.