FRosTED WINdow PAnes . . .🎵

Hello!!! Yes, it’s getting frosty around here, icy mornings, but no snow for us yet! That’s okay, we make our own here on Christmas Island!  MUSICA

Making magic with shiny glass things, snowy things, lacy things, and glitter things ~ sparkly  star bobeche candles, paper-cut scherenschnitte trees, snowflakes and angel chimes. And my favorite pure white Swedish candles. And Christmas musica!

Before the tree, before anything, my favorite place to decorate is the sideboard in our dining room. This wonderful old thing was in the house when we bought it. I think it’s been here forever . . . too heavy to move!

I tied the snowflakes to the lace on the runner.

And voila, I’m singing Snow, Snow Snow 🎵  with Bing . . .  Holiday Inn was on TV and I was in my wee winter wonderland!

More decorating, out with the regular stuff, in with the red!

Little Christmas chocolate bars . . .

And wrapping presents no matter how small!

I don’t have linoleum, I scuff across the wood floor in my lambie slippers waiting for the kettle to boil. It’s almost the same thing.

Yup, time to oil the table again. Here it is, soaking in mineral oil I slathered on with a pastry brush. I kept waiting for Jack to jump up, but somehow he senses the danger! Note the letters J O Y in the window? Note the E? Yup, Joe’s handiwork! He cut it out of cardboard and added it. I love it so much it stays forever.

I’ve been cleaning and organizing . . . it’s about as good as it gets, clean as a whistle ~ only job now is to stand and stare lovingly.

My love in action! Time to get the tree and some roping!

Went to the farmstand down the street called Eden . . . look how cute the wreaths are. Love the one shaped like a tree, especially the base, like a trunk! Cute!

But this is what Joe makes! He finds all the holly and boxwood and pine in our backyard and makes my very favorite wreaths . . . I get to add the birds and pears.

Here’s his little workshop!

Our tree is up and decorated!

We usually have a table where the tree goes, which we love because it means we can eat in front of the fire . . . usually we take it out, but this time we decided to keep it for present wrapping! (And eating in front of the fire!)

XOXAs we put the tree up we traced back all the old ornaments . . . such memories!

This doesn’t go on the tree, it hangs in the “wood room” (handily named because it’s a completely paneled room that my girlfriend Lowely calls “the snug”), it’s Joe’s red-felt stocking, the one his family used for their pets’ Christmas presents, which is why there are many cross-outs . . . I recognize all the names from Joe’s “God Bless Mommy and Daddy . . .” prayer ~ they’re all included on this stocking: “Susie, Nosey, Inky, Puddikins, Sammy, Georgia, and Trisket.” Mas MUSICA?

The ornaments have all the memories attached . . . ornaments that were at Holly Oak too!

And this is our house, way back when . . . It was built in 1849. There was some sort of Victorian tower added on at one time, you can just barely see it there. Rather an interesting mix of architectural styles . . . it’s long gone, and no diary has been found to tell me what they must have been thinking! That doesn’t stop me from imagining. Look there’s our barn too . . . And the people who lived here grouped on the front porch. I’ve always wondered about their Christmases, if they put their tree in the bay window like we do. My studio is in a room off the living room ~ it used to be called the Music Room . . . maybe they put it there. 🎄

This is a souvenir of Christmas 2005 at our house in California . . . I guess we were short on paper because anyone who wanted to say anything, as we were all running in and out, left their message here! Notes are from my brother Chuck and his wife Judy, my niece Heidi, Joe, me, my mom, my sister Shelly, my brother Brad. Not easy to get serendipitous interaction of family members on a piece of paper . . . snatched up and kept forever.  We remind me of The Waltons! 💞

Here are the first four of us . . . Me, in the back, my brother Jim on the left, then Stephen, and the baby is Chuck. Who we called “Butterball” … who soon would be trained by moi to answer a knock on the wall by climbing out of his crib and toddling in to sleep with me! Wouldn’t you? Such a doll!

Me, and my four brothers, Jim, Chuck, Brad (looking at camera), Steve, and on the right, my girlfriend (because I needed one and always had one from the beginning of time) Janie Nielson who lived in the house across the street, and who’s mother was a piano teacher and played the Skaters Waltz while Janie and I “skated” across her polished wood floors in our socks.

This is my mom, with her brothers Bob and Dick. Look how my mom holds that doll. She loves it. She was getting ready for US!

Here’s us again, Stephen, Jim, and me (I look like my mom!) . . . And I think that might be my Ginny doll!  It’s the day after Christmas and we are decked out in our Christmas finery. Look at Jim’s Bowie knife, and his boots!!! Fancy! My Grandma took me shopping for those red shoes, and afterwards we had a chocolate eclair in a doily-studded bakery with red booths.

See what a Christmas tree can do to you if you are listening?

I like it when it’s not in focus!

My Christmas gift to myself is meditation. I worry that the world is NOT so in love as I’d like it to be. In my meditation, it IS ~ because I “think on these things.” I dream of a better tomorrow and see it happening, all my childhood dreams come true. A little like Teletubby Land. Or like the English Countryside. (Same thing.) The quiet morning when no one is up is my time to count my blessings. Nothing is ever perfect ~ as you know, real life has troubles and worries for all of us, but when I count my blessings, it’s easy to know that many people in this crazy world would be ecstatic to have what we have. And another someone would be thrilled to have what they have. And when you realize this, the only thing you can say is, Thank you. Meditation, walks to the water, my boyfriend for life, Jack, family, friends, luv-lee memories, home, cooking something, books, a hot bubble bath with an ice-cold bottle of water to drink, keeping my diary, watching The Bishop’s Wife, my paint brush, the little things that make a red letter day.

Whatever is true . . .

(I needed to find flannel jammies for my mom WITH pockets and I did and I’m so happy, it had to go into the diary!) On the right is a place card saved from a dinner party we went to the other night. Book of memories.

Whatever is praiseworthy . . .

Whatever is admirable . . .

Whatever is right . . .

Whatever is excellent . . .

Whatever is pure (love) . . . 💞Oh, the power, to make home sweet home just the way you like it. Four walls, with heat! And clean sheets! So lucky. 

Tomorrow night my girlfriends are coming over for a Secret Santa party in front of the fire . . . I mixed our names and drew one for each of us . . . we are gifting either something that we own that we’d like to give to our person, OR, we can spend up to $20. 👏

Now, some things to share . . . For our UK Girlfriends, I’ve been informed that there are a few cups left of several designs, including the two above (which we are totally sold out of at the studio) ~ check HERE to see the designs. So sorry, they only ship within the UK. And these will be the last they will be carrying. But here are two bookmarks for all of you ~ you can print them out on heavy paper, laminate them if you like ~ they make cute stocking stuffers! For Prayer for the Little Home, click HERE.  For the 2019 Full Moon bookmark (lists all the full moons for 2019), click HERE.from me. 💞🎄 xoxo

And guess what else?

Yes! while I was writing this post, a big package was delivered to my kitchen porch.

The samples are here! Of course I had to stop and take a quick look. 

I’m thrilled at the way they turned out. The photos above were taken of my mockups, but the ones below . . .

. . . are the real thing! Look how cute! I’ll never get this posted if I stop and take pictures of all of them right now. But I will, first thing in the morning, and I’ll send them to Kellee and she’ll put everything up for presale tomorrow. The ones that arrived today are just for approval, the real things will arrive at our Studio early January … a January/Valentine surprise!

These two looked so cute together I had to take a picture of them! The ornament is surprisingly lightweight! I’ll put it on our Christmas tree, but in real life it will hang in my kitchen! Or, MAYBE, it should be my Secret Santa Gift!?  The little vases you wanted, “Courage” and the others, are just adorable. I’m so excited!

Well, anyway, too much wonderfulness ~ it’s that time of year, and here ⬆️, never forget, the gifts that truly matter . . . time for the little things in life.

This is our lovely view from our dining room windows. The other day, in a major feat of engineering, they closed off our street, brought in a huge crane, and removed the spire and the “bell box” from this lovely old building for repairs. It was a huge operation, we bundled up and ran out there with our cameras . . . I’ll show you next time. We’re going to miss the bell that rings on Sundays, but when they put it back, probably in a year, it’s going to be even better and start playing the hymns and the songs, like Que Sera Sera, that it used to play.  

Wishing you the most peaceful of holidays! Happy Christmas dear Girlfriends, Merry Hanukkah, Feliz Navidad, Cheery Boxing Day, Joyeux Noël, Jolly Winter Solstice, Festive Kwanzaa, and Vrolijk Kerstfeest. And More! Big world out there! Blessings to you and yours from us and ours!

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488 Responses to FRosTED WINdow PAnes . . .🎵

  1. Peg Ackerman says:

    Dear Sue! Loved your blog post today! So Christmasy! I’m going to send you an email so watch for it! Miss you terribly! xoxoxoxoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Peg! Love hearing from you . . . I’ll go read my emails soon as I read the rest of the comments. Love you!

  2. Patricia Alvino says:

    Enjoyed today’s post more than any Hallmark movie. Thank you Susan for reminding us what Christmas is all about. Family and friends reaching out to make the World a better place. A very Merry Christmas to you, Joe and Jack.

  3. Jo'L says:

    Needed your cranberry sauce recipe, got that AND this new post that hasn’t reached my inbox yet! How lucky can I get. Thanks for taking time to breathe new life into mine by filling beauty into the day this way. Working toward my Christmas “House Beautiful” and you have inspired once again. Happy Holidays, you choose, or celebrate all.

  4. Julie Marie says:

    Hi Susan… sooo many happy happy things in this post!… love your snowflakes hanging from your lacy runner… love the vintage Santa photo… love the photo of you and Joe at Holly Oak… I think it’s at Holly Oak?… with the snowman?… well… love everything!… so excited for your new pieces to come out, I will definitely pre~order mine… Christmas in Martha’s Vineyard must be so magical!… wishing you, Joe and Jack a very Merry Christmas!… oh!… and can you tell me please what kind of little journal and what kind of pen you use?… I go through journals like crazy… and need some new ones… I love that you write even little things, which of course are really the big things… like you found your mama jammies with pockets… so sweet… love you, xoxo Julie Marie

    • sbranch says:

      It snowed the first Thanksgiving in our new house, the one we have now, a very rare occasion, and so we made a snowman! I was so thrilled to be able to fulfill that desire for jammie pockets!!! I still am. She will love them. They are pure white flannel with red polka dots and pockets in the pants AND the top! She will look adorable in them. These days I’m loving the leather-covered journals from Leatherology . . . mine has a heart on it and is refillable!

      • Julie Marie says:

        That photo of you and Joe with your snowman is priceless! Your mama’s jammies sound cute and cozy. Thank you for the info on the journal, I’ll google them. We’re in the midst of a blizzard here in Utah… I’m sipping tea out of my pumpkin head mug… it’s too cute to put away just because it’s winter! Xo

  5. Joan of Cape Cod says:

    The snowflakes suspended from lace have inspired me! I showed the picture to my husband and he agreed snowflakes like that would look great hanging from our fireplace mantel. It’s a grey stone fireplace. I can picture how perfect the snowflakes will look against that grey stone. Thank you for the inspiration and the wonderful Christmasy blog posting. Merry Christmas !

  6. Paula Lewis says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, Joe and Jack. I love it when you post pictures of your childhood. It is like looking at my own family album. Since we are the same age the clothing and back ground looks just like mine in Long Beach, CA! Once again a heartwarming blog…

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve noticed pictures like that in my friend’s homes and I always feel like I belong in them! Glad you enjoyed it Paula!

  7. Janet Conn says:

    Just two words….Thank You! Wishing you, Joe and Jack the Merriest Christmas.

  8. deezie says:

    Oh Susan how I loved this blog post. Loved every single thing you said and the photos were fabulous as always. Loved the one with the snowman with you and Joe, how fun that is. You sure do have the sweet same face as when you were little. I get up early also, between 3 and 4am. Its my favorite time of the day, so so quiet and I can have my tea and enjoy the quiet and see the pink sky before the sun comes up. Love your tree, love that Joe makes wreaths. Merry Christmas to you and Joe and have fun with your girlfriends tomorrow night

    • sbranch says:

      Now it was last night, and it was lovely … good cheer and counting our blessings of longtime friendship. Thank you Deezie, happy quiet mornings, always good to hear from you! xoxo

  9. Sylvia =(^.^)= says:

    Your home looks so festive and merry! As always thank you for sharing pictures.

  10. I adored the long break from Christmas-ing to read your blog. Thank you! Merry, Merry Christmas and I am going to share the book marks with everyone! XO from Sunny Southern California!

  11. Karen Mikell says:

    Always find myself smiling when I read your blog and listen to the MUSICA. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all on Christmas Island! (watched two old movies, black & white, this past Sunday – Jane Eyre and My Cousin Rachel – oh my, how I love old movies!!) Take care, stay warm!!

  12. Nancy J Kelley says:

    What an enchanting glimpse into your lovely and festive home, Susan! Warmest wishes for a wonderful Christmas and a new year filled with all your favorite things!

  13. Ann R says:

    Susan, Thanks for the Christmas Cheer. You are much more ambitious at decorating than I. Just mailed my mainland packages, finishing up my Christmas cards and looking at my boxes of Christmas decorations! HA!

    Mele Kalikimaka and Hau’oli Makahiki Hou

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year (translation for the Malahinis!)

  14. Ann Woleben says:

    Everything looks lovely for Christmas in your home, especially with the new drapes and paint. Like you, I am up early every morning. I tiptoe to my little room across from our bedroom to read my devotions, have prayer time and meditate on what I have read, adding praises and thanks for blessings too numerous to list here. I, too, dream of peace for our world. Perhaps one day… Sending good Christmas wishes to you, Joe and Jack and hope for peace in the New Year.

  15. Hi Susan, and thank you for the lovely Christmasy post! Oh, what a fairyland your home is! I will come visit again tomorrow, via this post, if that’s alright, and I will bring us some freshly baked flaky biscuits and jam, or maybe some apple cinnamon scones? This is something I shall meditate on, and it will be divine!

    I loved your old photos, such sweet memories you have, and thanks for sharing those! I especially love the picture of you and Joe by the snowman, such a tender picture of love!

    I also LOVE looking at the tree while squinting, through my eyelashes, to make it all blurry!

    I wish you and Joe the merriest of Christmases, full of peace, lovely baked goods, a crackling fire, softly falling snow, and memories made. Nancy

    • sbranch says:

      I will be waiting!!! Flaky anything with Jam is my cup of tea! Meditate away, and I will be right there with you! All those lovely sweet wishes have made a turn around our house, and are now heading back your way. xoxoxo

  16. Julie Eden says:

    I am Jewish so I love to see other people’s Christmas decorations…You have a beautiful tree and other wonderful gems around the house. And I loved seeing the photos from when you were young. Love the idea of knocking on the wall and getting your brother to climb out of his crib and come sleep with you!! That is priceless. Thanks for sharing and hope you continue to have a wonderful holiday season. We here in western PA have had some littles snows and so, although much ha melted, we have reminders here and there…Colder than usual too. And Winter has not yet arrived…

    • sbranch says:

      When I was little I adored a series of books called All of a Kind Family . . . about a Jewish immigrant family who lived in New York at the turn of the century. Precious books filled with the things that matter, family life and all the little things in life. I remember stories about Penny Candy, and how the mother in the story made housekeeping fun for her children by hiding pennies around the house! It’s also where I learned about Hanukkah, the lighting of candles, latkes, and the dreidel ~ all so magical for me as a child. I hope your Hanukkah was lovely … just last night we got our first dusting of snow. Wonderful to wake up to! Blessings on you and yours. xoxo

  17. Kathleen Hinson says:

    Hello, Susan! You brightened my evening. I purchased an ornament for each of my three kids every Christmas and just passed their boxes on to them this year, now that they have families of their own. I don’t know if my two sons really care about them, but my husband suggested to me that perhaps someday a great-great grandchild will inherit one and treasure it as I do the memories. I do know that they all mean so much to my daughter, so that warms my heart too! We made a driving trip to Plymouth and many other small, adorable towns in October so I could work on my family history and (hopefully) Mayflower ancestor. I was so sad we didn’t have time to see Martha’s Vineyard again. It must be lovely at Christmas!! Have a wonderful holiday season!

    • sbranch says:

      It is quite beautiful here. And the amazing part is, the sun just came up, and we were dusted with snow last night, our first vision of the white this year! Perfect! I think your sons will love their ornaments, especially as time goes by, and then their children someday too! There’s a little bird in a cage that was on my parents tree that made my eyes light up every year ~ I’ve never forgotten it . . . silver beads strung together with thin wire in the shape of a bird cage with a little fuchsia-colored bird inside. Last time I saw it, it was a little crushed, bent, not its old self. Lost in the melee of life in a house with eight children. But I’ll never forget it. When we were in England, I found a bird in a cage and now it’s on my tree for the memory. xoxoxo

  18. Cathy says:

    Merry Christmas Susan and Joe! Thank you for the bookmarks, the moon bookmark is always a favorite! And for some reason my grandson, who will be 2 years old at the beginning of March, has a fascination for the moon! His first word was moon and he knows where the moon is in every picture book we have, it is so sweet! I even printed out two big crescent moons and put one on the door of my China cabinet and one on my front window. Love to hear his little voice going “moon, moon”! 🌜🎄❤️

  19. judi says:

    Good to hear from you. Love your Christmas touches that make the season wrap warmly around one. I was so excited a few days ago to find 2 boxes of perfect candles for my Swedish candle chime😘👏❣️. Your new lace and flowered curtains are beautiful! God Jul xo judi

  20. angela says:

    Hi Susan,
    The piece in your dining room is indeed a beauty! And speaking of beauty, I love the new rugs in your kitchen! Where did you find them? I am all for cheery these gray days. Have a wonderful Christmas!

    Hugs, Angela

  21. Chris K in Wisconsin says:

    I loved my Ginny doll so much!! I remember using boxes, and other bits and bobs to make little things for her and to set up a sort of house just for her. (She was too big for my tin doll house.) And the tinsel…one piece at a time. My mother watching over us. I think she would move ornaments and pieces of tinsel to be “just right” until the day we took the tree down.

    My daughter just closed on her very first “on her own” house 3 weeks ago. It is a little 1200 sq foot house with a large basement. Built in 1953. Wonderful floors and closets with little built in features. She just ordered her dream kitchen to be installed. The sweet bookmark will be in the Michele Obama book she asked for this Christmas. Just perfect!! She also has been dreaming of the 2 black and white kitties she wants to get when the construction is complete. So exciting to watch dreams come true.

    I hope you and Joe and precious Jack have a wonderful and happy Holiday season. Your house looks so happy! Enjoy every moment!! ♡

    • sbranch says:

      Her house sounds like Holly Oak! I’m so happy for her, and for you! Such a thrill, her own house! And kitties too. Give her a hug for me. And Merry Christmas one and all! xoxoxo

  22. Anne Miller says:

    Merry Christmas, Susan, aka Miss Beautiful Light. “Let us not tire of preaching love; it is the force that will overcome the world.” St. Oscar Romero

  23. Paula says:

    So wonderful reading your words, and I love seeing all your pictures!! I’m so behind on getting ready for Christmas no tree, no decorations and very few gifts. I love this time of year, but I am wondering where my old self went this year,feeling alittle sad??! Maybe I need to live on Christmas Island too!!?!!
    I love your little ornament and I hope to order one! I sure am liking the calendars for 2019 !!

    Wishing you a Merry Christmas, and blessings in the New Year!

    • sbranch says:

      Take a bubble bath with your book. And don’t worry about any of the rest of it. Make apple crisp and be done with it. Sending love . . . no rules! xoxoxo

  24. Nancy says:

    Lovely, beautiful, inspiring…….Merry Christmas to you, Joe, & Jack!

  25. Betty Burton says:

    My daughter, Grace, is home from the Netherlands for a few days. She is helping me with all 30 dozen cookies. As I make the dough, she sits and writes the recipe and tips on my special Susan Branch Recipe Cards. She has time to then go home to her “boyfriend for life” and make the cookies for his family.

  26. Barb says:

    Thank you for all the beautiful pictures and the full moon bookmark. In case you are up late on Christmas Eve, be sure to check out the NORAD Santa Tracker” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener nofollow”> I follow him every year until I can’t stay awake. Have a wonderful Christmas, you and Joe and Jack.

  27. Christine says:

    Beautiful post! Have been waiting to see your Christmas one! Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

  28. Love your cheery post, Susan! Your house looks extra beautiful decorated for Christmas. Thank you for the bookmarks. I print the full moon one out on cardstock every year – one of my faves! And I love the prayer for the little home one, too…I’m going to print one out for myself and my mom.

    Merry Christmas and blessings of good health, peace, and love for the new year to you, Joe and Jack.


  29. Janice Henkel says:

    I have the same framed picture of a man that looks like Santa Claus. I can’t read the artist’s name. Can you? I have a matching picture of a woman with gray hair & a red scarf around her head with the artist named Sydney Bell. They look like a pair, yet the male version seems to have a longer artist’s name. Can you make it out?? (from Victoria, BC)

    • sbranch says:

      Mine doesn’t have a name at all, unless that white scribble in the middle at the bottom is a name? I found it in an antique store, it looked old, the back is ripped and the wire hanger is funky, but something tells me it was made to look like an old oil painting, but perhaps it’s new ~ you and I aren’t the only people that have them. I still love it. He sets a nice tone!

  30. Cyndi in NC says:

    I love to see your home decorated for Christmas each year. This was not disappointing in the least. It’s my favorite time of the year. Happiest of Christmases to all.

  31. Lee Gordon says:

    Susan, it is so nice to see all your wintry and Christmasy decorations! The sideboard is absolutely lovely (reminds me of “Snow, Snow, Snow” from “White Christmas”) and I can’t tell you how much I love your white living room furniture! My two and a half year old grandson would decimate it so I will just have to dream for later! I used to love laying on my back and scooting my head under the tree, looking up through the branches and imagining some far off winter wonderland! The Bible verse is one of my favorites. I used it often when teaching my sons about how to respond to those who treated them badly or when some wrong had been done to them. Paul the apostle, the author, was being held in prison when he wrote this to his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ whom he loved dearly. In the next verse he asks them and us to put these things into practice and that the God of peace will be with us! May we all know and practice the peace that comes from God’s great love for us through the child born on that first Christmas morn! Love to you and those you love!

    • sbranch says:

      Beautifully said, Lee 💞 . . . thank you! I have been under the tree, with the camera, doing that very thing you spoke of, looking up through the branches. The camera didn’t quite get the magic, you really have to BE there! xoxo

  32. Sally Jenks Roth says:

    Gorgeous, gorgeous; thank you, thank you, Susan!!
    In some cultures they repeat words for emphasis. Your post deserves emphasis, it’s really special and puts me in the Christmas mood. Absolutely as deee-light-ful as ever and more so.
    Happy Christmas to you and Joe plus your handsome kitty. Be safe and warm and filled with joy, peace and love in the New Year xx

  33. Chris H says:

    What a beautiful post! Lots to mull over, listen to (Musica), watch ( The Bishop’s Wife and all the other Christmas movies that I love to go through), pre-order and print out.!!
    Thank you for all the wonderful photos, quotes and memories and especially for the time and effort you put in to every blog post, simply to bless us as the world wide web of girlfriends 🙂

  34. Penny says:

    It’s s WONDERFUL LIFE Susan Branch ❤️ ! Thank you for sharing your lovely home with us ! You always inspire me -even in the toughest of times to continue to see the good in all things 💫. Meditation is absolutely helpful to us & our wellbeing. I have fallen out of my practice & need to get back to it . Something to make a resolution to do in 2019 .
    Have the most magical Christmas 🎄 & everything good & lovely for your New Year 🥂✨

    • sbranch says:

      It’s so surprising to me how you don’t necessarily “feel” anything after meditating the first time, but then as the weeks go by, everything just gets better!!! xoxoxo

  35. Julie from MO says:

    It’s a true miracle from God…..the way that you write, paint, create, and weave these Willard blog letters. Every mm of space, adorned with tiny bits of Joy! I forward them to my bestie Melody, my sister, Amy and my sweet Mom….. and they love love and
    adore them as much as I do. Can I just say? Your mom as a child hugging that doll is precious, as were you!! Both of you, sooo PRECIOUS AND BEAUTIFUL. Too much sweetness to bottle. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas..and also, to Joe. Please tell him his wreaths are amazing. We have holly, boxwood, and spruce in our little yard..Hmmm I am inspired.((( Hugs)))

  36. Suzanne Erskine says:

    What a lovely, lovely post! Thank you so much! Wishing you and yours a Very Merry Christmas!

  37. Ruth Winkler says:

    Dear Susan, Like every other gal who wrote, I add my thanks for sharing your beautiful home and happy heart and your darling Jack and romantic Joe. I, too, cannot wait to see my all time favorite black and white movie, Loretta Young, Cary Grant and David Niven in The Bishop’s Wife. Plus the wonderful two others, Jean Shepherd’s A Christmas Story and It’s a Wonderful Life. Love your decorations and photos. Love also the two white cut out paper lambs on your tree.
    Thank you for this delightful Email visit with you. Merry Christmas!

  38. Karen Saunders says:

    What a lovely post!!!❤️❤️❤️❤️ So many of us share your opinion and feelings. Childhood memories are such a treasure. My first live was and is horses!!! And I soooo wanted a pair of cowboy boots….but my mom said they would make my toes pointed😝….when in fact I just think they couldn’t afford them. (I still want cowboy boots and another horse☺️)!!!
    So excited for your new book…..hurry please!!!😍

  39. Candice in Ohio says:

    Wonderful holiday blog! Your sideboard and tree are lovely! I am going to decorate a small pencil tree with all of my British ornaments that my cousins have sent me over the years. I may even try to make a Union Jack garland! I have never spent a Christmas with my family in the UK. It is the one thing that I MUST do. Perhaps next year? All of my Mother’s family is there, I only have one Aunt still living in the UK and one here in the States. But I have quite a group of 1st, 2nd and 3rd cousins which I stay in close contact with.
    Love the new items that will be coming up for pre-sale! They are just adorable! I like to think they are sort of like English Mottoware/Torquay pottery, which I collect. To You, Joe and Jack:
    Happy Christmas and all the very Best for the coming New Year! XOXO

    • sbranch says:

      You’re right! You should go! Next year, put it on the calendar. What a wonderful time you would have. Happy to hear from you Candice … Merry Merry!

  40. Yvonne says:

    I was just begining to wonder what happen to you. Glad your a ok . Merry Christmas Susan Joe and Jack. Happy New Year 2019.

  41. Cindy Johnson says:

    Merry Christmas to you and yours!! I was excited for the holidays this year, started decorating early and then was laid off my job until at least the end of January so I had to change my plans to go home. So I am feeling down but this beautiful post has inspired me to make the best of it. It reminded me that something magical always happens at Christmas. Thank you & God Bless

    • sbranch says:

      Just give yourself some time in all of the wildness. It’s a big help for cheer-factor. Too much giving sometimes, and not enough taking. Makes us cranky! xoxoxo

  42. Pamela says:

    Merry Holidays dear Susan!
    That was like a warm hug all wrapped up in a bow. Your writing lifts my spirit and reminds me of all that is good in life. Just beautiful! Nostalgic. . . the tree ornament video. . . it really is a story of your life.
    I watched Holiday Inn with you the other night and I am still singing the songs in my head. . . Bing had the charming voice and Fred swept me off my feet with his dancing. Who to choose?!? A happy ending for all.
    I am so grateful for you and Joe and Jack and your home sweet vineyard home, especially for the winter season.
    Love and Magic is yours*~*~*~*~*~*~

  43. Carol Ybarrondo says:

    I always squinted my eyes to find the dark spots also! Too funny! A fun thing happened this year though, for my birthday along with ornaments from two of my Granddaughters, they gave me “Holiday Specs”! Paper glasses with special lenses, kinda like 3-D glasses but with different lenses. When you look through them they blur the tree lights into stars, snowflakes, fluttering angels or what ever design you pick. They were at our local Hallmark store, but here is the website
    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you, Susan, Joe & Jack and all the Girlfriends whose messages I love reading along with your Blog!

  44. Delcia R. says:

    Just in time–your post that is! It’s the last crazy busy week of school and I’d like to “do the house” in Christmas, but I wouldn’t miss the tutoring and listening to the kids practice for the Christmas service every day in the gym near my table in the foyer. The school tree is lit there and it’s just the perfect spot for all the busyness going on. So after Friday it’s time to drag out all the boxes and bins. I noticed the Irish crocheted runner that you tied the snowflakes onto–lovely! Your family photos remind me of ours many years ago–memories and nostalgia are so comforting and grounding. It IS the simple things we should cherish. Many blessings to you and yours this Christmas and New Year! 🎄❄️

    I must tell you that our daughter’s Maine coon mix kitten is NUTS over those hair bands just like your Jack. Little Poppy will have three on the floor and then is all ready to jump up on the bathroom counter to get more. “Uh, uh, no Poppy, you have enough!” says her mom and so she abandons the idea–but she’ll always give it another try. Poppy also jumps in the shower to visit and enjoys the water–little goofball!

    • sbranch says:

      Jack loves the shower too, especially when I get out and there are still little drips coming from the faucet … He gets in there and makes himself sneeze with the water, I watch him to make sure he won’t drown himself! Love to Poppy from Jack! xoxo And to you from me!

  45. Stephanie C says:

    Hi Susan, I see so many comments about FB and Twitter/Instagram, I’m sure that I miss out on so much by not being “connected”, but I choose to be disconnected. That is just not me. But I have followed you since the late 80’s and love your old snail mail letters, I have every one in a box covered with your Christmas wrap. Your home looks lovely. Merry Christmas to you and yours.


  46. Betsy Brunette (Fishers, IN) says:

    It’s always like opening a gift when we open your blog. You are so kind to share your home with us and it inspires all of us to remember those little things. Your angel chimes caught me off-guard and brought tears to my eyes as this was a family tradition all my life. I must find mine now and find a spot for them. We moved from our “big house” and I no longer have all of the perfect little niches to put such items. Seeing the sun setting on the spire of the church was lovely too. Imagine how wonderful it will be when it is restored! I took one of your fan’s suggestions on music and am now playing it on my Echo….the same songs but with a different sound.

    Thanks for your hospitality to all of us. May you and JOeY enjoy the best of Christmases!

  47. Debra sewell says:

    Fabulous new Willard! Every one is like opening a big gift. Photos are so wonderful. Your home is so inviting. My two fav places are next to the fireplace and where that table is next to the windows so One can sit and gaze out. thank you..merry christmas christmas. Debra

  48. Ashley says:

    Oh Susan Branch!!!! I wish you would write every day and take pictures and make little videos. I love all the little glimpses into your world. You inspire me!! The old pictures are wonderful….I love the little heart ornament!!! I love everything!

    • sbranch says:

      I need to work for the almighty dollar 😏, or believe be, I would love to do this full time! Love having you here, makes my day! xoxo

  49. Nancy Mosley says:

    So many lovely things. I love the church that you get to enjoy from your window. The pictures from your childhood are so neat and sweet. Joe does a great job on wreaths. Oh I especially thought the little stocking for all their pets was adorable. Hanging the snowflakes from the runner on the buffet was so pretty. I also liked the paper trees in front on the mirror. I need to do something like that. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  50. Linda Lepage says:

    Always, ALWAYS a special treat to visit with you! So wonderful to learn the history of our homes! Each year as I decorate for Christmas, I too love to reminisce the little histories of the decorations. I have watched The Bishop’s wife and several versions of A Christmas Carol next is It’s A Wonderful Life. And the musica is always playing!!!
    Happy Christmas to you, Joe and Jack!!!
    Linda in PA

  51. Bonnie Porro says:

    Hi Sue,

    The doll you were holding in the picture looks like my Toni Doll. I got her when I was about 5 and have loved her ever since. My mother and grandmother made her a complete wardrobe which I still have, minus one of her roller skates. She resides in a red and blue trunk and I bring her out to display in her Dale Evens cowgirl outfit every Christmas.
    Today I am spending the day making Annie Halls Butter Cookies. I love to make them like a linzer Cookie with a hole in the one and raspberry jam between the two cookies. Then drizzle a little vanilla frosting over them. People love them and look for them every Christmas. Over the years I have probably made thousands of them.
    Hope you & Joe have a very Merry Christmas.

    • sbranch says:

      Could be, I definitely got the permanents and had the paper dolls. The straw hat is what makes me think it’s Ginny. How lucky you are to still have your doll and all those wonderful homemade clothes. I had lots of little sisters . . . when I left home, I believe my dolls became their victims! Delicious cookie and yours sound double good! Merry Christmas Bonnie!

  52. Janine W. says:

    Thank you for sharing your Christmas spirit with us. And a special thanks for the book marks. Your inspiration is contagious! Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  53. Lori York says:

    The photo of the two of you together speaks volumes about your relationship. Every woman should be loved and protected in the the way that Joe honors you.

    • sbranch says:

      There’s a very old-fashioned word I can use for Joe … he’s courtly. He told me when we met that he has never “felt his age.” Meaning he always felt older. He didn’t actually catch up to himself until he turned sixty!

  54. Judy says:

    Dear Susan,

    So much enjoyment comes to all of us from your posts. Thank you for the virtual meditative experience!! As I read each reply to your post, I find myself taking slow breaths, feeling all of these good thoughts, the positive nature of each one, even during sad times for some. It is your gift to the world. Thank you.
    On December 1st, I so happily used my Winter mug for the first time since receiveing it last January, squirreled away until then, anticipating using it. On the 5th of December, I tripped over our beloved Golden Retriever, aka Velcro dog, since he MUST sit as close to where we are as possible and the mug went flying out of my hands. My new mug, broken to bits! Sadness. But when I saw they are sold out, I remembered my sister’s newest mantra: “Want what you have, don’t want what you don’t have!” So I looked in my cabinet full of other Susan Branch mugs and see what a lucky a lucky woman I am, these, just one of my many life happinesses!
    Merry Christmas to you and Joe!

    • sbranch says:

      Awww, I WISH I had an extra Winter cup lurking about that I could give you! But you have the perfect remedy, blessing-counting takes all sadness away and replaces it with joy. And THAT is your gift to the world. Merry Christmas dear Judy. xoxoxo

    • FayE in CA! says:

      Sorry about the mug disaster…I know how I would feel if I watched helplessly while something I loved fell to the floor. Guess it would be good news that it wasn’t me hitting the ground‼️ 😏

      I just have to comment about your Golden Retriever’s AKA, Velcro dog…SOOOOO funny and PERFECT!!! I have always referred to my FABulous, smothered-in-love cat, Grayson, as a GR type of dog because he sticks to me like glue…follows me around the house…stays with me until I get up to go to bed then follows me to the bedroom. I never thought of Velcro cat, but I guess he is. I just refer to him as “Puppy” because he seems more dog than the stereotypical independent/indifferent cat. So lucky that he is in our lives. 😻 I love that our furries’ antics open us up to endearing nicknames. Thanks for the descriptive “Velcro dog”…it will definitely stick in my head and make me smile when it comes to mind.

      Peaceful, holiday greetings to all of the girlfriends in Susan Branch Land. Fingers crossed that we can enjoy a less worrisome and stressful new year. Lucky us, because this blog will continue to give us moments to share warmth, joy and home together thanks to Susan., Joe and Velcro cat, Jack.
      🎄🎀🎁 ❤️❤️❤️

  55. Susan K. says:

    Beautiful, just beautiful Susan and Joe ! You can feel the love of your holiday spirits. I can just imagine once the music of friends and family fill the air as well… Merry Christmas and a wonderful and bright new year to you both.

  56. Susan Dial says:

    I look forward to receiving these posts all month long, it’s like having coffee with a dear old friend. Can you please tell me where you found the mini Christmas chocolates? They are adorable and I have searched the internet with no success. (P.S. I just received your 2019 calendar and I absolutely love it).

    • sbranch says:

      I’m sorry … I’m not sure because Lowely brought them to me as a gift. I THINK you could look at Trader Joe’s … I know she was there that day! Thank you for the calendar compliment! xoxoxo

  57. Cynthy Black says:

    This is like stepping back in time to my childhood! So filled with the magic of Christmas in every way. Thank you for sharing what is “virtuous, lovely…of good report and praiseworthy!” The world cries out for more of this goodness. I can’t help but think of the words to “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” when you talked about the church’s steeple being refurbished. “The wrong shall fail, the right prevail with peace on earth, goodwill toward men.” Thank you again, Merry Christmas!

  58. Beverlee Moreno-Ring says:

    Oh Susan.. that blog was the perfect heart opener (we do heart opener poses in yoga but you opened my heart with your words and photos.) Love that picture of you and Joe and the snowman.. You can feel the love in that one for sure. And all the family pics. So reminiscent of my own family’s black and white images. My parents had a “challenging” marriage and my Mom had some tough personal issues.. but they pulled it together and we always had a wonderful Christmas. Thank you for all you do to bring love, joy, beauty, friendship, and hope to the world.. A very happy Christmas to you and Joe and your family and friends.

    • sbranch says:

      I do heart-opener exercises during meditation, too! Can’t quite get enough of that! Merry Christmas Beverlee!

  59. Thea says:

    I love your Be An Elf art piece. Have a lovely Christmas! xo t

  60. VirginiaB says:

    Oh, dear. Did my post not go thru yesterday? I don’t see it here. Sent it abt 4:30pm on Dec. 11. Hope you see it. Maybe Vanna took it as a bit of Christmas merriment!

  61. Allyson says:

    Merry Christmas!! Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season!! Loved seeing your decorations 🙂

  62. Deb in Wales says:

    Hello Susan ~ how lovely the scherenschnitte is! I love how you tied in the snowflakes to the sideboard that belongs to the house! It makes you wonder how long it has been there and oh! what tales it could tell. It has been many years since I last did scherenschnitte, but found my special scissors just the other day.

    Do you know {well, you will now} that holly with berries on is almost as scarce as hens teeth in my corner of Wales this year? At all the florists there’s plenty of green holly branches, but very few berries indeed, and it’s the same story, the berries just didn’t happen this year!

    When I was a child, we would stretch out the holly by painting the ivy berries red! It looked very effective, and everyone thought we had very unusual holly!

    I am not “doing” Christmas this year, and it’s actually quite a relief not to feel compelled, but have really loved seeing your tree and decorations going up. Thank you.

    I am, however, putting up a rooted tree in a big pot in the garden and decorating it for the birds instead.

    Nadolig Llawen!
    ~~~Waving~~~From Across the Pond~~~Deb in Wales xoxo

  63. Tina Lemke says:

    Oh my dear Susan! I have to ask. How do you keep Jack from pulling the snowflakes? He has to be one of the most well behaved cats EVER! I also have to know what the teeny tiny present is? (after the giftee opens it of course) When I read about you meditating, it reminded me of an angel that I have hanging from my rear view mirror. It says “Count your blessings and share them.” That is so you! In every post, you share so much with all of us and as far as I’ve seen/read, it’s all been blessings! Thank you so much! BTW – your back door looks better than my front door….grrr. But you do always inspire me! Merry Christmas to you, JOeY and Jack!

  64. Care Woodard says:

    As you joyfully say,”EEKK!” I just ordered the butter dish and many sets of the tiny vases! So excited to be able to pass those along to friends in need and of course one for my own kitchen window sill:) The other thing I would order a million of, well OK a hundred 🙂 is you leading all us girlfriends through a mediation! I am wonderful at my outside morning meditation:) but WOW I just might need some help in the evenings when there are so many 20 year olds living with me and my beloved husband. You have a blessed and merriest Christmas!

  65. Margie says:

    Your decorations are charming and beautiful. Love the pale pink walls in the dining room. Now I think we should set up our tree with all our memories too. There is snow for now outside for now, but for Christmas? Merry Christmas to you, Joe and Jack.

  66. Judy Roper-Smith says:

    What a lovely Christmas post. Everything is so beautiful. I love all the little vases and dishes. Have most of the cups (except the ones I gave as gifts).
    Really wish I had the Santa cup. Is there anyway to order from England to the states????

    Hope you and Joe have a Merry Christmas!!! (and Jack of course)

  67. Mary in OR says:

    This entire post is simply a lovely painting of Christmas joy. I especially enjoyed all the glints of light that spoke to me personally (angel chimes, Ginny dolls and Phillipians✨). Have a wonderful season. Thanks for contributing to mine. ✨

  68. Maureen Abramson says:

    I so love getting the email for your blog. Yesterday was so challenging for me and this was so refreshing to read when I came home. I’m just now getting time to send a note. I love the way you decorate and always enjoy the fun and creative decor. It’s so welcoming and gives a sense of peace. I love all the Christmas items and red and white decorating is my favorite. I love, love, love the sideboard. It’s utterly charming. I have a set of the Angel Chimes that I will be putting up soon. The first set of Angel Chimes I owned, I purchased as a young girl, maybe when I was 12 or so, in Solvang, CA., not too far from SLO, CA. My great aunt (in law) was from Denmark and her brother and his wife retired there, so my parents would take her up there from LA to visit them along with me and my sister. I have a needlepoint from Solvang as well that I completed as a young girl too. And what about Joe’s wreath? It’s so beautiful and the different plants, textures and colors, make it so attractive and welcoming. Thank you for sharing these glimpses into your world and for sharing your gift of bringing beauty into our world. Dostoevsky said, which was repeated many times by Dorothy Day, “The world will be saved by beauty”.

    Merry Christmas to you and Joe, and to Jack as well! Blessings and peace in the coming new year. Stay warm. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I hope today is a better day for you Maureen! Thank you for all your thoughtful words. I’ve always loved Solvang! Of course they would sell Angel Chimes there! Blessings on you and yours for a very Merry Christmas. xoxo

  69. Dixie says:

    Your decorations are lovely. And,O, I love the wonderful old sideboard decked to perfection.
    Christmas blessings to you and Joe and Jack.

  70. Darla says:

    Great idea on having a table by the fireplace! I usually have a tray. Where did you get such a old picture of your house, It should be or probably already is framed. Thanks again for the blog… good and cozy reading.

  71. Patty says:

    Merry Christmas to you, Susan! I love the picture of you and Joe in the snow! Thanks for all the inspiration and good will you give!

  72. Kathy Hughes says:

    Beautiful memory-filled post! Love your tree and other decor. The snowflakes are so lovely and delicate on the buffet. Very happy you shared the pictures of Christmas through the years — reminded me of when my three siblings and I were little. Such happy times growing up in a small town in SC. Love the quotes, little poems and the beautiful Bible verse! The great little bookmarks to print are a real treat, too. Thank you! Merry Christmas to you and Joe.

  73. Suzanne says:

    Susan, your posts are truly gifts from
    the heart, lovingly crafted and filled
    with such goodness. One of my favorite
    quotes, from William Shakespeare, reminds
    me of you: “How far that little candle throws
    its beams.” Thank you for sharing your light
    and your gifts in a world that increasingly
    feels dark. Keep shining, and Merry Christmas
    to you and yours!

    xo Suzanne

    • sbranch says:

      Oh, so sweet Suzanne, thank you. Yes, we’re all just little candles in the wind, doing our best. Thank you so much. Merry Christmas! xoxo

  74. Barbara Anne says:

    Merry Christmas to you, Joe, and your family near and far!

    Your decorations are delightful and the quotation is so true – they’re all tied with heartstrings as are many of ours, some of which are from my Grandma’s tree. Our older son said my living room looks like a grandmother’s home. True! I have my Grandma’s couch and two chairs, all of which have been reupholstered. Heartstrings tied to so many (too many?) things!

    Peace and joy to everyone!

  75. Lynne Barlow says:

    Thanks, Susan. I needed this. I’ve been in a Grinchy mood and couldn’t snap out of it. I believe my 2019 resolution will be to get back to daily meditation. In my heart I’m as grateful as you are, but lose track due to “external influences.” ( you know who I mean😖) Merry Christmas, peaceful solstice and wishing you health and happiness in 2019.

    • sbranch says:

      I do know what you mean. Meditation is the way out of it, I’m convinced! Blessings on your and yours Lynne, pray for a peaceful 2019. xoxo

  76. Elizabeth says:

    It has been awhile since I read how you and Joe found each other…and how old you were then…but it is an encouragement, that even if a person is not real young anymore, still a good mate might be found!! You are so fortunate, the both of you!! My “boyfriend/hubby for life” turned 69 today…we are trying to enjoy each and every day!! Thanks for all the ideas and things you share…

  77. Bonnie Kroll says:

    Your blog brings me such joy and happy memories. We stay in VH for a few weeks every Oct. Your morning walk through the woods out to the beach is our favorite walk,too. Like you I loved my Ginny doll, but I agree with the Bonnie above that the doll in your photo is Toni. (Remember how awful those permanents smelled? ) Ginny was a much smaller doll, I recall. And your house’s “music room” — my grandmother’s old house had a small room off of the living room that was always called the music room. That was one of the biggest mysteries of my childhood since nothing musical ever happened in there! Wishing you a joyous Christmas!

    • sbranch says:

      I wasn’t sure, but loving that everyone is recognizing Toni! I only remember having Ginny, among others, but since I did love the Toni paperdolls, it wouldn’t surprise me if I had a Toni doll too. My mom LOVED dolls, so I got lots of them. Betsy Wetsy too. And my personal favorite, because my mom made her an entire wardrobe including a Brownie outfit, was Teri Lee. When you think of the time before TV and radio, it’s easy to understand the concept of Music Room! Happy Christmas Bonnie! xoxo

  78. Pamela C. Betz says:

    Dear Susan–Thank you for bringing the Christmas spirit into my porch/studio.
    My Golden, Lily is curled up beside me and seems to know I am happy.

    Merry Christmas

  79. Lani says:

    Thank you for your charming and important post. I went on twitter in the early am as I sipped my coffee and was so excited to read on your twitter that you had a new post. I;m afraid the person in the White House is stripping me of my soul. I read twitter and the Washington Post and each morning hope that we finally got him. That is just plain not healthy. So… you put me in a reset. Got out my gratitude journal and made my three grateful statements and promise to do each morning. Thank you Susan. I am a very lucky wife, mother, and grandmother and that is what I need to remember.
    Fondly, Lanio

  80. Kathleen Williams, San Diego, CA says:

    I just finished breathing in your lovely posting. Oh, how you write (and illustrate/paint) like an angel. It’s a treat for my soul. And at this stressful time of year, time spent with you, girlfriend, brings a calmness over me that I can’t explain. I just know that I love it …what a gift to all of us “girlfriends” that you spend this time with us, that you share your thoughts, dreams and decorating. Your sideboard is beautiful, love the snow flakes. I’m going to seal your idea. I’m trying to mix it up a little this year around my house … something different. I want the Santa with his pipe picture. You better put a guard on it….smile! Ho Ho Ho. JOeY…. so cute that guy of your dreams. I fell in love your work many years ago(in the 90’s) when I found in a book store, around this time of year, your “Christmas Joy” book. I even picked up several copiers for gifts that year. I read it every year just to get in the mood. And the rest is history. May the joy that you bring to others be return a million times back to you. God Bless … Merry Christmas Girlfriend.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you dear Kathleen, such beautiful sweet words. Blessings on you and yours for a Happy Christmas and a wonderful 2019!

  81. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    Darling Susan, thank you for the beautiful images of this cozy season, and I am so excited to finally get to order the sweet Courage mini vase, and other stuff besides, and that ornament! Perfection! The grandkids, Kaitlyn 11 and Jake 5, arrive next week for a four day visit leading up to Christmas, so we will wait to get our tree when they are here. They love going to the farm market to choose a tree (the warm donuts don’t hurt). Cookie decorating, games, Jammie’s, popcorn and movies, and champagne with my daughter. BTW I don’t know if you like Michael Buble at all, but I recently heard his version of La Vie En Rose (a duet actually) and it is charming, and so romantic. I love to sit in my little parlor and knit and listen to music. A lovely way to spend a dark afternoon. Happy, happy Christmas from our cozy home to yours.❤️🎄❤️

    • sbranch says:

      All the fun stuff! Listening to Michael Buble sing his duet right now! And the woman with the long name starting with Cecile is singing in French now . . . I’m in heaven. Isn’t Youtube wonderful!? Thank you and Happy Christmas Rosanne!

  82. Amy from Salem says:

    Dearest Susan, may your Christmas be Merry and your New Year filled with the magic of moments that become fondest memories. Thank you for sharing yourself, your beautiful home and most precious of all your loving soul . Wishing you fresh falling snow and clear starry nights with a good book, cup of tea, with your honey before a toasty fire. And last but not least my prayer this year is for everyone to experience peace on earth.

    • sbranch says:

      Beautiful Amy, that is my exact prayer. A return to values and principals of truth, integrity, accountability, discipline, reliability, kind-heartedness, and tradition. 💞

  83. Megan says:

    Happy holidays to you and Joe. You two really know the meaning of Christmas cheer. May 2019 bring peace and love to you… and to the world!

  84. Jennifer J Lauri says:

    Love, love, love your wonderful decorations. I really do try to make my home special for Christmas and this year my mantle is perfect. The tree, however is not. It’s misshapen and the star on top refuses to stay straight. But that’s what makes it slightly imperfect and wonderful! Thanks for sharing your home with us <3

    • sbranch says:

      There is something to be said for a little crooked tree! xoxo

    • FayE in CA! says:

      Our daughter has a VERY crooked tree this year. Daddy and 8 year old picked it out. They have been relieved of the job…forever! HA. It actually has a star that won’t stay straight, too!!

      The crooked tree turns out to be annoyingly fun and dubbed a Grinch tree which is perfect because our 8 year old granddaughter played Max in the play The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. The 5 evenings to the plays, new Grinch movie AND Grinchy tree set the theme for their December…and ours, too, as we flew to MA to enjoy the delight.

      The Grinch tree is a quirk, but our daughter stated that it is coming down on the 26th…if not the eve of 25th!! She declared that it is an embarrassing state of affairs!!! SO, would she be sad if Grinch actually stole the tree? I actually think so.

      Cheers to stars that shine bright even when they aren’t perfect.❤️❤️❤️

  85. Marguerite says:

    I lost my home in the Camp Fire on November 8th. My little dog, Bella, and I are living in a tiny trailer. When I opened your lovely Christmas e-mail, saw your photos and read your words, suddenly Christmas arrived–even after our sad loss. Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Marguerite, I guess you know how everyone feels about you and your neighbors in California. We are all so sad for your loss. What a shock that must have been and probably still is. I am so happy you have Bella. Sending all my love for healing and peace on Earth, good will toward everyone. XOXOXO Susan

  86. Wendy Olson, Tustin, CA. says:

    Oh how I loved reading this! I don’t know how you do it, but each time I read your latest happenings it gives me such an uplift. Your photos are just beautiful and your writings are so much fun to read……I love all your new items, I want one of each! I have 3 very special girlfriends and we exchange gifts every Christmas – this year they are getting your sweet heart shaped dish, “If friends were flowers, I’d pick you”! Anyway, Happy Christmas to you and Joe! And all best wishes for a happy and healthy 2019!

    • sbranch says:

      Nice simple little thing, useful, and it says it all! You can tell who I’m thinking of when I design these things! Happy Christmas Wendy! xoxo Hugs to you and your girlfriends!

  87. Sherry Morrison says:

    Thank you for this beautiful post, Susan.
    Merry Christmas!

  88. Carol Maurer -Kennewick WA says:

    A Merry Christmas and happy New Year to you, Joe and Jack!!

  89. Heidi Carrens says:

    I have an antique tiger oak sideboard that i bought at a flea market for my first apartment when i was in my 20s. I decorate it every christmas with my vintage german pinecone elves/gnomes.

    White Christmas is my favorite Christmas movie. When Rosemary Clooney comes out in that black dress i die. And can Vera Ellen’s waist be any tinier? My Shiny Brite ornaments remind me of my dad and all the ornaments we bought together at flea markets and antique shops. I get nostalgic and weepy but they are nice memories.

  90. Kathleen S Williams says:

    Merry Christmas, Susan. Thanks for giving joy to us!

  91. Kathleen S Williams says:

    Merry Christmas, Susan. Thanks for giving joy to us!

  92. Karen says:


    Thank you for always sending positive energy our way! Your blog IS my meditation because it creates a space where I only focus on the beautiful thoughts and images you send. It’s so important to be reminded that there is still beauty, truth, and loveliness (luv-leeness?) all around.

    Wishing you a beautiful and blessed holiday.

  93. Sheri Bodi says:

    Susan, your cozy Christmas house makes me feel at home just seeing the pictures! I love your Christmas tree–it reminds me of the trees I grew up with and have always had in my home with all the special ornaments:) Blessings to you, Joe and your family this Christmas Season. Oh, I made your cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving and it is now my new recipe-easy and delicious!!

    • sbranch says:

      Did you have any left over? Because if you mix it half-and-half with orange marmalade you’ll have something divine for your toast or biscuits! Even worth making from scratch (I mean the cranberry sauce), just for the “Christmas Jam.” I’m just about to do it for our household!

  94. Anne in Maine says:

    Happy Christmas dear Susan to you, Joe and Jack! Your side board is absolutely fabulous! Such a treasure! And to think it came with the house! Even more wonderful. Love your Christmas tree. Ours is the same. The ornaments tell the story of our life. Such a special joy to stop and reminisce as each ornament is placed on the tree. Also love your story about your red shoes. Each of us has memories similar to that that we hold dear in our heart. Part of what makes our lives so absolutely fabulous. Blessings to you and yours and a Happy and Healthy 2019!

  95. Merry Christmas to you and joe – Enjoy this holiday season!

  96. Jennifer says:

    Hi Susan!
    I was wondering- How come my library only carries one of your books? Why aren’t any of your other books at my local library? I would love, love, love to read all of your books, but I just can’t swing the extra cost to buy books right now, so was hoping to find them at the library; but no such luck!
    Thanks so much!

    • sbranch says:

      Sometimes you have to ask for them. Usually they will bring them in! Try that!

      • Jennifer says:

        I didn’t know that! Thank you!! I will be calling tomorrow! Merry Christmas and Happiest New Year to you and all these beautiful “Girlfriends” ! xoxo

  97. Ginny Evans says:

    Merry Christmas Susan and Joe! Thank you for the gift of all you do, enriching so many lives and steering us in the praiseworthy, excellent, right, true, admirable and pure direction 🙂 Love your reminder to stop and spend time focusing on God’s truths. Love your beautiful decorations and old fashioned home!! (The dinning room turned out perfectly!) You are so kind to open your home and let us all come in and visit. Love that Joe actually likes to make wreaths!! So special.

    I, too, loved the All in the Family books and even read them to my children, years later. Did you also read The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew?

    Isn’t it wonderful that we can all choose to live in our memories of a simpler, kinder time. We can make our homes what we like and you, dear friend, help us all do that so well.

    Merriest of Christmases, God bless you!
    Ginny Evans

  98. Helen says:

    Happy holidays to you as well!

  99. Andrea McVety says:

    How pretty your house looks this year! Love your tree. I am sitting by mine, way past my bedtime! I also love turning it on early in the morning and having my coffee sitting by it. This time of year can become overwhelming with so much to get done, it is nice to grab those moments to meditate, breath, pray. Instant stress reliever. Today my best friend of of 41 years and her two daughters met for High Tea at my favorite tea house hear in RI, “Trinity Confections”. I LOVE the fact her daughters love spending time with us! We had the “Paris” tea, pretty china cups, and darling tea cozies. Ginger Carrot soup, ham with carmelized onion quiche and salad, and a beautiful tiered tray with delicious tea sandwiches, pumpkin scones, linzer cookies, truffles, gingerbread, homemade caramels and chocolate cheese cake cupcakes with peppermint frosting. Beautiful music was playing. We all agree, this is always our most relaxing thing we do for ourselves for the holiday season. As if that didn’t top my day, I found your new Blog and savored every picture and word. Thank you for making our world less scary and making me feel secure in what matters and what we can control. Good night sweetheart. My kitties Lincoln and Hogan are chasing each other, they are excited Mom stayed up late. Merry Christmas. xo

    • sbranch says:

      What a wonderful tea party Andrea! Ginger Carrot Soup sounds so good, I think I might have to go make some! Merry Christmas to you, Lincoln and Hogan, xoxoxo

      • Bev Brewer says:

        When I worked for the English Rose Tea Room in Carefree, AZ, Paris tea was our most requested tea to serve and also was our top seller in the gift shop. We were always running out of stock even though Jo (Joanne, lovely owner) ordered the maximum amount every time she placed an order. The aroma is heavenly and the taste superb. Always will remember you and Joe coming there for a visit and also the beautiful tea party in Prescott. There is a quote about a different drink category that I am reminded of when I think of special tastes: “Champagne? Oh, come quickly, for I am drinking stars! “Dom Perignon

        • sbranch says:

          I love that quote, the perfect words for the perfect moment! Is Paris Tea a flavor or a way of serving it?

          • Bev Brewer says:

            Hi Susan—Paris tea is a flavor made by Harney and Sons. You may not remember, but I gave you a small tin of it when you and Joe came to the Tea Room. You were in AZ visiting your wonderful Dad and his wife at that time and you graciously drove to Carefree to visit us. I think I will go make a cup—sounds good!

          • sbranch says:

            I didn’t remember, but I probably drank it up in a millisecond as we were driving across the country! Thank you! I will have to look for more! xoxo

  100. Pam says:

    A very happy Christmas Sue and Joe. I haven’t been following your blog for a while as it’s been a topsy turvy year. However, I couldn’t not send you Christmas greetings and hopefully 2019 will be more settled. xx

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