SURVIVED 2018, Hello-Whatever-Comes-Next ~ 2019!

WE DID IT! The luv-lee days of 2018 have come and gone, and we survived! And now? Now, MUSICA! Off to 1928, Together! And I promised you a Christmas in this old house of creativity! So here we go!

It was Christmas number 168 for this old house. You can hear the echoes of Christmas past ~ time for us to add another layer. Blessed to be

And then, for frosting on the Happy Cake, we had a house full of darling English People! Saying things like clingfilm, vile, hang-on-there, jolly, and ghastly, with their cute little English accents. All my favorite words! That’s my darling friend Rachel (in the middle), her mum, Diana, and her husband Paul … they came over the sea to help us celebrate.

Here we are, on Christmas morning, opening our presents in front of the fire . . . books, shortbread in red English-phone-booth tin, scarves, and socks! ‘Twas Merry Merry! We crossed hands and snapped our tiny snappers! See them, Joe’s got one, everyone has one.

A happy mess when it was over!!! Cups overflowing!

Jack watched over it all! The adult in the room!

We’d been looking forward to having them with us since we said “so-long” to them in England last June . . . We knew we didn’t have to say good bye, because they’d be coming for Christmas . . . that made leaving England so much easier! Which it never really is!

So, I wanted to have everything ready when they got here so all we had to do was cook, eat and play! Adoring being home for Christmas. Nesting like crazy.

Made my grandma’s frosted Molassas Cookies, the cookies she boxed up and sent to us every year. And since the kitchen table was covered in wrapping paper, I discovered that an ironing board is not just for drying bread (for Thanksgiving turkey dressing), or even ironing! It can be like a moveable counter ~ so lightweight, and perfect for cookie-cooling duty!  Made croutons and spiced Pecans and apple crisp, and bread pudding too, which we fried in butter for breakfast.

I also printed out a few memories of my long sweet friendship with Rachel and her darling family ~ to put on the fridge, like a little open photo album. Reminding us . . .

And Joe was busy too, making luv-lee wreaths and garlands with spicy pine, holly, and boxwood from our garden.

🎶Wherever we go, whatever we do, we’re gonna go through it together . . . 🎵

A man and his barn . . .

A woman and her cups. I got the dishes washed . . . we were having sixteen for Christmas dinner, so I prepared accordingly, sorted napkins, washed glasses,polished silverware.

. . . Wrapped presents . . .

And hung stockings by chimney with care . . .

Washed the candles sticks and gave them new candles . . .

And finally, all the way from England, after a one-night glitch where a storm prevented them from getting over on the ferry, they arrived! I put Ray and Paul, in the front bedroom, and Ray’s mom, Diana had the Peter Rabbit Room. And basically, in a nutshell, we poured the wine and began to eat! 

And to make up for it, we walked out to the pond . . .

then went to lunch in Oak Bluffs. Very balanced. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to see Ray again. I’m going to tell the whole impossible story about how we became friends in my new book, in Enchanted!

We all climbed into the Fine Romance van and went on an Island tour, up to Menemsha (the little fishing village you saw in Jaws), where we stopped at a food truck to pick up little paper bags of hot French fries . . .

. . . then to Alley’s General Store for Coffee, then to the Red Barn Art Gallery for culture. There was also Christmas shopping in Edgartown, and two Christmas parties, down the street to Lowely’s one night, then over the lawn to Martha’s the next.

Walking out back to Martha’s under the full moon. Looked like this . . .

Felt like this.

We also managed to squeeze in a couple of old movies . . . after dinner one night we rushed to our chairs for a wonderful evening of Love Actually.

So much fun! 🎉

Before they came, Joe made a new leaf for the table so we could fit all our Christmas dinner guests at one table. But when he put it in, the table was so long, it sagged in the middle. So the two “engineers” as they called themselves, spent Christmas Eve in table fortification . . . you can see them in process here. It was just the beginning. They glued all the wobbly chairs too! Mas MUSICA?

While they did that, we watched The Bishop’s Wife. There we were, minding our own business, mooshed into the sofa, quiet, teary-eyed, watching lovely old black-and -white movie, with Cary Grant, the ice-skating angel, about Christmas and miracles. Joe and Paul were going in and out to the barn for tools and other manly pursuits, we ignored them, made silent eye-roll-girl-nod at the Empire State Building they were constructing under the dining table.  Then Paul walks into our teary silence, and says, “Look at you, nest of . . . ”  he’s thinking what to call us, I’m thinking, “bluebirds?” then he finishes, “vipers.” Ha! Vipers? And this photo above was our reaction, us being vipers! Speaking for the least viper-like group of people I know! So funny. Only Paul. This is one of the many things I love about English people, command of language. 🇬🇧

Then Paul, expert ironer, ironed the tablecloth . . . it had a very thick piece of flannel under it, so what better place to iron than on the table!

This is Paul, the last time he was here, doing his ironing in the pantry!

Paul set the table  . . . while Joe put the roast in the oven . . . Our two guys love Christmas as much as we do!

Ray and I feel SO LUCKY that our guys liked each other so much! Makes for very nice hanging-out! 💞

I did the centerpiece, then Paul took over!

We set up a side table for the food (and lookout post for Jack) . . . Rachel brought presents for EVERYONE at the table! Over the years our friends have gotten to know them . . .

Ray put a gift on every chair! So thoughtful. She wrapped sixteen gifts! It was such a fun way to begin the dinner!

W h a t e v e r ,  said Jack. Only interesting thing about gifts, as far as he’s concerned, is the ribbon. He’d rather eat flowers. Not allowed either. 💞

Years back, one of our girlfriends made me the MOST charming set of place cards as a gift. They escaped their original box, so I don’t remember who sent them to me, but this was the year I pulled them out. So adorable, all different, handmade, glittered and painted, and there were exactly sixteen! (Hope whoever made them is seeing them ~ I loved them so much!)

Joe made pink and juicy roast beef with delicious gravy and horseradish sauce and salmon too. I made cream-cheese mashed-potatoes and a Pumpkin Cheesecake. Ray made roasted root vegetables and cauliflower in cheese sauce (asking for recipe, so good, will share!). Paul cut little crosses in the bottoms of the Brussels sprouts, steamed and served drizzled with balsamic syrup. Lowely brought a beautiful spinach salad scattered with pomegranate seeds, another friend brought creamed onions . . . Ray also made her famous Brownies. A Christmas feast!

And here we go! Anna and Peggy went first!

It was Diana’s first trip to the Island. Isn’t she cute? Everyone loved her! Joe put light-necklaces on the chairs . . . I said, “Good Job, Joe!”💞

Paul lit a fire, and manned the bar, poured the wine, Joe opened oysters . . .

And when everything was ready and the candles were lit, off went the lights . . .

We put my camera on a tripod to take our official Christmas photo. Beloved faces, names of friends you’ve heard me mention, Martha and Gerry, the Schwiers, Lowely and John, their children, nieces, and brothers, our luv-lee English People, and at the far end, me and Joe …

Feeling  grateful that somehow out of this entire world, we had found each other. We’d all come a long way to do it!

I had to detach myself for a moment, pull back as interested bystander, to see the flickering candles, the trees and twinkling lights, the smiles, how pretty it was, the sounds of laugher, of cutlery on china, to realize once again, how lucky we are, and how fleeting the moments. Another Christmas. Maybe our best ever.  After dinner Martha played the ukulele and we all sang Christmas carols in only tree and fire-light.

Something I’ve heard from many, it was our best ever! And then, it was time for goodbye. 😩  I moped around for days. Took naps. Did laundry.

Got out my calendar and moved Birthdays and Anniversaries from 2018 to 2019.

Washed the tablecloth and Christmas linens and dried them outside. Deep sighs of missing our friends. No one calling me a viper. No one asking for clingfilm. 😪

Walking made it better  . . .

So I decided to visit iPhoto and remind myself about 2018. The only time I’ve ever gone to a book signing by ship! Here we are docked right downtown Charleston, South Carolina . . . walking back to ship after saying hello to Girlfriends . . . just before Anchors Aweigh!

I was reminded about dreams come true, how we re-visited Hill Top, the precious cottage Beatrix Potter left for the world to enjoy.

We got to walk and walk and walk through the beautiful English Countryside. And the Wales Countryside, and the Irish Countryside. Heavenly.

Was this only last May?

The morning I was the only one up walking through a perfect English Village ~ Lower Slaughter in the Cotswolds, where a river runs through it.

And then home again . . . the moon followed us all the way across the sea.

Our ship sneaking into town on little cat feet . . . writing in my diary that London was 1,500 years old when New York was founded. 

Heart swelling with pride . . . curious as if I’d never seen it before. What a gift!

 Home, to delight in the familiar.

The familiar.

Decorations away, table back to normal size. Lights off the house, ornaments wrapped and back to the attic.

Making seedy toast, because I like crunch. I bought all different seeds in small amounts in the bulk section of our market . . . and mixed them together in a jar . . . I chose seeds from THIS LIST … read about their health benefits!

I sprinkle them on my buttered toast for extra vitamins and crunch! They’re good on anything, on fish, casseroles, rice, roasted veggies.

Standing at the kitchen sink, eating my toast, watching the woodpeckers at the feeders. Wondering where the snow is!

We’ve seen none of this yet, we miss it! This is New England and snow is a requirement!  (Knock on wood, be careful what you wish for!)

Beginning again. It’s 2019. Stuff to do!!! I have a book to write! I get to spend the winter dipping my brush into watercolors, painting borders and lambs, scratching my pen across paper, and choosing the best photos to tell my story. New Calendars for 2020 are due soon. I’m laying the first one out on the back of my sofa (above) . . . January, February, March . . .

I’m designing a photo wall-calendar for 2020 … in addition to my normal painted wall calendar. It’s called A Year in the English Countryside. Choosing the photos has been so much fun ~ I’ve never done a photo calendar before! Very exciting.

HAPPY NEW YEAR dear ones . . . and, “Don’t be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it, you can make it so.” 💞 Belva Davis

And last of all . . . Our New Year’s Eve … we walked over to Lowely’s house and spent it with a small group of our oldest and dearest. Lowely made a delicious dinner, I made an angel food cake, we played Pictionary (hideous game, I chose “Bambi” … no one understood my drawing of a fawn. Next year I make the categories!) So before you watch this video, turn down the sound, save your ears . . . we sing! 😘  Note rings around candles, so everyone’s New Year wishes come true.


There’s no place like home… 💞 P.S. I’m going to design us a new cup. What should be on it??? xoxoxo

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552 Responses to SURVIVED 2018, Hello-Whatever-Comes-Next ~ 2019!

  1. Betsy Brunette (Fishers, IN) says:

    You now have so many ideas for a new cup that I think you will have to consider making a new SET of cups! So many fun ideas.

    The YouTube video from NYE was a brilliant thing to do for us girlfriends. Felt like we were right there with you and you succeeded in giving me cheers and tears. Why is it that we don’t ALL do that kind of thing more often??

    What precious moments you created and shared with the friends from England. I look forward to hearing about how that friendship developed. And Joe gets a big hand for thinking of the lighted necklaces for everyone around the table to wear. I loved the moment when the lights went off and only candlelight and necklaces glowed. That idea is going to be a part of our dinner next Christmas.

    Here in the Fishers, IN area, we have not had the snow either. My shovel is ready and waiting and I’m sure we will get our portion sometime soon. This morning the winds are howling since the past few days have been in the 50’s but today we are below 20.

    Much love to you and your huge circle of GIRLFRIENDS!!

    • sbranch says:

      I love your name so much. You would be the next door neighbor in the Dick and Jane books! Jane’s best friend, and lucky Dick’s girlfriend (if he played his cards right). You are so right, reminding ourselves of our togetherness needs to happen more often than just New Year’s Eve! Eating by candlelight, firelight, was the way it was done for 99% of human history! I’m sure there was a big backlash when electricity came in, from folks like me, who don’t like drones!!! Happy 2019 Betsy! So nice to hear from you!

  2. Ginette Wheeler says:

    Susan, Wow! Two beautiful posts in a week!! I drooled over each picture and every word, I love the holidays and loved that you would share yours. I feel I know so many of your friends it’s as lovely to see them as it is my own, lol! You’ve had a wonderful year and so much to do in 2019 which we all wait in anticipation like vipers on a comfy couch. Keep up the good works, it fills our hearts to hear from you. XOXO

    • sbranch says:

      Ha ha ha, I do love my vipers! Fills my heart to hear from you too, Ginette . . . All my very best in 2019!

  3. Judy from KC says:

    Such a cozy Christmas! I love the idea of turning down the lights and singing the carols with the Christmas tree lights and fire going. Those are moments to cherish ! Your table was lovely and welcoming ! Rachel and her Mom look soo much alike ! Classic beauties !
    I like the little touches that you bring like the photos on the frig, what a great idea!
    There’s so much more to mention ,but just know I love your blog, so inspiring!
    So cool the guys pitched in to help too! The table project..huge success so great everyone at one table! So where are you traveling to this year? Looking forward to it!

    • sbranch says:

      Staying home and writing a new book, which is all about traveling! So I will have my cake and eat it too! Thank you Judy! xoxo

  4. Jill Baer says:

    Susan I so enjoyed this. My mom passed away in August and I am finding I am reluctant to put away Christmas. It seems like when I do she is truly gone…I have a beautiful Christmas mug collection. i bought one of your beautiful cups to add to it this year and the first time I used it it slipped from my hands, hit the granite countertop and broke into a dozen pieces….I was so sad. Your cups are beautiful and I am sure your next will be just as lovely. I have used your calendars for years. Your desk pad one is on my desk, your wall calendar is on the door in my craft room. Happy New Year!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh, those little last steps of foreverness, all so awful to take. I still have voice mail of my dad on my phone, and I will never let it go, but when I listen to it now, his voice is dimmer to me. 😥 I’m so sorry to hear about your cup! Granite doesn’t have much “give” does it! There will be more where that one came from. Sending love xoxoxoxo

  5. Lori says:

    Thank you for sharing your Christmas with us and happy New Year! I think a cup to honor old black and white movies.

  6. Trudy says:

    Happy New Year to you all and many blessings for this year.
    How great to see your lovely friends from England at your home.
    That was a very big table you had for the Christmas dinner!
    Happy to hear you will make a new mug -perhaps something for Easter?
    Love the pictures of Jack -he is such a wonderful boy!
    Have a great day
    Greetings Trudy from Holland

  7. Sandi from the Cape says:

    Happy New Year to you Joe and Jack! Such wonderful pictures, thank you for sharing! Here’s to making many more memories and friendships this year! Cheers!

  8. SUSAN K. says:

    Susan, so beautiful and so blessed……and Rachel for Christmas ,too !
    You are not only “Queen” of Heart of the Home ….but also the “Queen” of Heart of Family and Friends. Thank you for always sharing with us ….where your heart lives.

  9. Ann Woleben says:

    Savored every bit of this post! Warm, inviting, magical~ I would love to see a rendering of your home and picket fence garden on the new cup. It embodies the hearts of you, Joe and Jack. {I commented yesterday as well, but my comment did not show up – not sure what happened.}

    • sbranch says:

      WordPress, the people who host this blog, changed their format and no longer tell you “waiting for moderation” as they used to. Now they put it right through to me with no waiting. I’m sure your other comment is here, I’ll find it. Got lots of them right now … 188 to go! Happy New Year Ann!

    • Tawni says:

      Ann, I think you get a big, gold star for the idea of Susan’s House of Creativity for the next mug! 🌟🥰

  10. Cheryl Craven says:

    Susan, thank you for sharing your beautiful holiday memories and photos!! How wonderful your friends could visit from England and jump right into the fray!! All of it made me smile! Happy New Year to you and Joe and Jack!!

  11. Autumn says:

    Thank you for the delightful Christmas story! I love your dining room so much, it is so full of light and romance. Have a Happy New Year- I hope your year is full of enchantment and creativity!

  12. Ann says:

    A Very Happy New Year Susan and Joe.
    WOW! What a wonderful fun-filled, memory making Christmas you and your guests had, thank you so much for sharing it with us. Loved the picture of Joe and Paul rising to the challenge of creating an extended and stable table for the occasion. May 2019 be filled with blessings in abundance for you and Joe and all the charming guests who shared your table. Putting up your new calendar on 1st January is always a red letter day and I will look forward to making space for two next year.
    Loads of love to you both from Ann (and Alan) in Chester xxxx

  13. Margie says:

    Happy New Year🎈Susan and Joe. Love your table cloth and cozy dining room with the candlelight against your freshly painted pinkish-walls. The lengthening of the table is a marvel, Joe. The decorations are just lovely on the top, Susan. My new S.B. Calendar has been filled with birthdays and anniversaries too! We watched ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE and I laughed and cried in all the same places for the umpteenth time on Christmas Day!

  14. Terry says:

    Hi Susan!
    Happy New Year! What a wonderful post! Thank you! I love the Christmas light necklaces. I am definitely going to get those next year!

  15. Lynette Strohbach says:

    Happy New Year Susan aNd family! I loved the post and it looks like you had a wonderful holiday season. As for a suggestion for a new mug, how about something that you have painted in the new book “Enchanted” that’s coming out? Maybe an Irish cottage or town scene, even a countryside painting. I have your other cottage mug and I absolutely love it. Its the only mug I use when I paint! It would be fun to be able to buy a mug and book that correspond with each other. Great gift idea too! All the best!

    • sbranch says:

      I have to say, I’m really biased toward that same cup! I choose it first every time. I think maybe a home sweet home with a cottage, because there’s no place like home! Cup/Book synchronicity sounds wonderful too!

  16. Patty in Redlands says:

    Thank you for another beautiful post, Susan! I’m so glad you could share Christmas with people who are special to you. Isn’t that always our best gift? And I loved the cozy fire with the twinkling lights, the dining room table extension, the holiday necklaces and special gifts on the dining room table chairs. Long ago I bought this inspiring book, Christmas from the Heart of the Home, and since I’ve incorporated many of that wise Susan Branch’s ideas into our traditions. Our kids and grandkids have never missed a holiday here, and I think part of that miracle is due to the philosophy and practices I gleaned from my Christmas/everyday guru. So a toast to you, Teacher of What’s Really Important! 🥂
    Happy New Year!

    • sbranch says:

      😲😭🤗😘 xoxoxo Clearly you are doing everything perfectly. Laying your love out for everyone to see! xoxo

  17. Donna says:

    Lovely! I felt like I was there. You and Joe have a special way of making everyone feel welcome!!!

  18. What a blissful Christmas you had with your sweet English friends! Such wonderful photos…thank you! The whole season was wonderful…I’m always sad to see it end. It takes a few days to get used to a new year, however…new beginnings are always a great thing to look forward to! Oh…and I love how Jack is a part of things, including the table tops (hee hee). This goes on in my family also…we have all had cats on the table at one time or an other. A few summers ago I fostered a cat named Harmony. She spent 4 months lying across my dining room table underneath the ceiling fan. No need to tell dinner guests, a good wipe down with a damp cloth beforehand does the trick! It’s a big secret, don’t tell anyone…it’s just between you and me 😉

    • sbranch says:

      That’s right! Just between us! It’s like anyone thinks we can control a kitty! Throw a net over him! Besides we love them too much to take one speck of joy out of their minuscule little worlds!

  19. Gina says:

    Happy New Year Susan and Joe! I loved this whole post, smiled all the way through it. The part that really resonated with me was when you said you pulled back as an interested bystander. My two boys live out of town, one 4 hours away, one 8 hours. Thankfully, my daughter lives 10 minutes away. Anyway, when everyone is able to be home and we are all around the dining table eating and talking over each other, I do the same thing, pull back and enjoy the wonderful moments and noise of everyone HOME again. I cherish that the most!
    Thanks again for sharing with all us lucky girlfriends!

  20. Ruth Elder says:

    Your video of you and your dear friends singing in the New Year made me tear up. THIS is what life is about: kindness, love, friendship, creativity, support. The rest is just noise. Happy New Year and thank you so much for the gifts of your blog posts. They really are the medicine my soul needs.

  21. Jeanie Crutchfield says:

    How can I get on your email list? I use to be and for some reason don’t think I am now. I loved the little gift of the full moons you made for us and miss it this year. Love to read your blogs. Have a great year.

    • sbranch says:

      I sent your comment to Kellee, Jeanie, and asked her to get you on the list … but if it doesn’t happen (because sometimes they won’t let us do someone else) I will try to put the HOW TO SIGN UP part on my next Blog! I put the Full Moon gift on the blog maybe 3 posts ago … scroll back and you’ll find it.

  22. Lisa A Hay says:

    Loved every bit of this! 🙂 For the cup my hubby, Rick, has requested a Father’s Day cup! I think it’s a great idea. We have the Mother’s Day cup and he was feeling left out. You could maybe draw your Dad’s hands on it….. Think on it! Love all your inspiration and got all Rick’s kids and the daughter in law loving you too! Also our Aunt Ginny and Aunt Joanie love your books! I give SB to everyone this time of year!

    • sbranch says:

      I think it’s a great idea too! Tell him ✔️. XOXO Love to Ginny and Joanie and Rick and EVERYONE, and especially YOU!💞

  23. Eileen Mullinax says:

    Eileen here from Atlanta Georgia,
    I do love Martha’s Vinyard. My late husband and I sailed there from New Port several times, We would anchor at Vineyard Haven and go to the local Fish Shop and enjoy a Lobster. After reading one of your newsletters last fall, I rented a house on the island for the month of July and loved being on the island long enough to visit all the places you talk about in your newsletters. I also enjoyed hearing about living there in the winter when it is snowing. I think I would like to spend some time there in the winter with my cat Linus, a good fire going and having good books to read.
    I also enjoyed reading about your and Joe’s time in England. I have been there and would like to return, rent a car drive through the countryside and visit the villages that you wrote about. Think I will do that in 2019. Happy New Year to you and looking forward to your 2019 newsletters.

  24. Patricia Wehner says:

    Oh goodness your blogs light up my life, and this one was so wonderfully sparkly!!!!!! A new mug!!!! I think you should draw a picture of your gracious house on one side, and your precious tiny cottage where it all started, on the other. Happily ever after!!!!! ❤️

  25. Patricia Wehner says:

    Oh my goodness your blogs light up my life, and this one was extra sparkly! A new mug! I think you should draw your gracious house on one side and your precious cottage, where it all began, on the other. Happily ever after! ❤️

  26. Sally Jenks Roth says:

    Sadly, my reply to your blog disappeared after I clicked “Post” so I don’t know where it went! I’m not going to repeat it but just say a big THANK YOU for this post. I adore preparations for Christmas and loved all your photos and comments.
    Blessings for 2019 to you and Joe

    • sbranch says:

      WordPress hosts this blog, and for some Cur-Azee reason they decided to remove the words previously used, “Waiting for Moderation.” which means your comment just goes directly through, but instead look like they disappear. Thank you Sally, I’m sure as I scroll down I will come upon your first comment! Happy 2019!

      • Chris Wells Knickerbocker, Tx says:

        Don’t you just love updates?! They are usually completely unexpected, it changes everything, and really it almost always seems like change for the sake of change. It doesn’t improve anything, certainly not from our end!! Maybe I am just getting old and grumpy, but I fight every update on my IPad and hold out as long as possible. But the IPad wins and sneaks in the update, leaving me to figure out how to use it all over again! Harrumph!
        I got myself a new labeler, and I was carefully reading all the instructions, when my granddaughter picked it up and started printing the most amazing labels with graphics. I said how did you know how to do that…and she said, “old people are just afraid to press buttons!!”😂

        • sbranch says:

          I have an update waiting right now, pestering me 10 times a day. I keep telling it, NO, I DON’T WANT IT and click away from it, but slowly it will wreck my computer reaction time, until one day, it sneaks it in when I’m not looking . . . and I do what you do, relearn everything. The worst for me was when they went from iPhoto to Photo. NOTHING was where it was before. If updates made things better I might not mind! You are lucky to have a granddaughter in the vicinity! Joe and I look at each other ~ we don’t know! Happy day Chris! xoxo

  27. Laura says:

    2019 will be a great year! Happy New Year to you! 🥳

  28. Merci Schon says:

    Dear Susan and Joe,
    Happy New Year! So much going on, and excitement in the air for all of us! “Enchanted” – OMGosh, I can hardly wait! As for a new cup – you just named it! There’s no place like home, that would be lovely! Continued love, happiness and success!

  29. Angie Quantrell says:

    Beautiful celebrations! Sounds like so much fun, love, laughter, light! Happy 2019!

  30. Lori Hamilton says:

    No long post, just a suggestion/answer to your cup question……..let’s see…..some pretty pink flowers, maybe a black and white lamb or two (or Scottish “coo!”) and light blue or bright yellow words of joy and wisdom. Maybe from an Irish person. Or English. Whatever you do it will be marvelous!
    Happy 2019!

  31. Peg Ackerman says:

    A new cup? Maybe a ‘Cup for All Seasons’?!! One that can be used year-round?! Or, maybe a cup that is good for all beverages….tea, cocoa, coffee, wine, soup? Whatever you dream up ~ it is sure to be a hit! Absolutely loved your post…I could feel the love that was shared in your home! Miss you, girlfriend! xoxo peg

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Peg!!! We use the bigger ones for almost everything, stew, soup, tea . . . but for us, the smaller ones are for coffee and hot chocolate! I like the idea of a Home Sweet Home cup, that seems to work for all! Sending new year’s LOVE to you and Charlie! xoxoxo

  32. Bonnie Jean Campbell says:

    I am late to comment, but was wonderfully blessed by reading your post and feeling like I was sitting around the table as well. A wonderful Christmas time and it was beautifully decorated and warm and welcoming. I love all of the pictures and quotes and your notes. Your posts are always a bright spot in the midst of my emails. Blessings for you in the New Year.

  33. Jane says:

    I have never seen the tradition of putting your ring on the candle. Can you explain where that came from. Always nice to hear about a new to me tradition. Thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      My girlfriends and I began doing it in the 90s with our birthday cakes. I Googled it, just to see if anyone else had ever made it into a tradition … but never found anything. As far as I know, it’s all ours, be we are now sharing it with YOU!

  34. MARCIA says:

    a Happy Birthday !! cup
    a baby cup, gender neutral

  35. Kim says:

    Happy 2019! I enjoyed seeing your Christmas and NYE celebrations. I would love for you to do an all blue and white cup. Anything with bunnies. Another Valentine’s Day cup would be nice. I would like to have sets of holiday cups. Ones that match color and theme. They are worth every penny but it is hard to be able to afford a large set like you showed on your table. Doing holidays series would allow us to collect them through the years. I am excited to see what you choose next. I loved the earlier idea that was posted about a Nantucket basket overflowing with flowers! ❤️Kim

  36. Colleen Myers says:

    My previous post disappeared also, just wanted you to know this post was a true gift after a somewhat difficult holiday season. Filled my Heart ❤️.
    “The ornaments of a house are the friends that frequent it.” Emerson
    Happiest of New Years to you and all you love.

  37. Jill says:

    I love the thought and effort you put into all of your parties. Making your table long enough for everyone is a brilliant idea! As others have mentioned, I would love to be a friend that is included when you throw a party, large or small. Maybe we could all take it in turns to visit and enjoy your warmth and kindness.
    The new curtains look beautiful. Not like a sudden addition but as if they had always belonged to the room.
    The suggestion of a cup with a Home Sweet Home theme is perfect!
    Merry 2019 to you, Joe, and Jack!

  38. peggy adams says:

    I am changing my email address from [email protected] to

    [email protected]

    Is this the proper place to request this?

    • sbranch says:

      In the column on the right of the blog is a place to sign up to receive emails from the blog. You should sign up with your new address there.

  39. Regina Carretta says:

    Loverly loverly all the celebrating that’s fit to print! Thank you…..
    I follow your friend, Carrie in Oxford, in her twitter and blog – she mentioned how she was binging on Franny Cradock Cooks for Christmas, on Youtube BBC

    :// oh my Susan – it is so awful, but joyful, as her cooking style is rather haphazard and strange – divinely strange…let us know if you know of Franny *looks like video’s were from 1975….so many giggles, so you know it is good for us!
    Thanks again for all of it, Susan!! Including that critter, Jack!

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

    Good morning Susan and Girlfriends, Happy new year to all. what a lovely post, reminds me of family Christmases long ago. and yes we survived 2018, here is hoping 2019 will be gentler, kinder and peaceful. hmmm why not try shamrocks and leprechauns for St. Patrick’s day or Easter bunnies and chicks for Easter??? maybe a beautiful turkey and some beautiful foliage for Thanksgiving???? just a few thoughts. the new kittens are doing fine, full of mischief and spit and vinegar. the older cats are getting into the wrestling matches and we now have older cats chasing kittens round and round and then it reverses and its kittens chasing the older cats round and round. its cold and wet out today, good day for enjoying the fire and getting soup into the crock pot for supper, maybe clam chowder and sausage for dinner, something easy and simple for a change. well I have to refill the water container n the henhouse for the birds and refill the feed container while I am out there, plus haul up some more firewood for the woodstove and go check the mail box. have a wonderful day, stay warm and comfy. hugs…. 😀

  41. Doris Taylor says:

    Happy New Year, Susan, from Prince Edward Island! You have many fans here in Atlantic Canada, including my 83 yr old Mom and my 3 sisters and I. Mom buys us your calendar every year for Christmas. If you want a new adventure, come see us! I’ll treat you to a lovely lobster dinner!
    Doris Ruth Taylor

    • sbranch says:

      You don’t know how much I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to do that someday! Thank you Doris, hello to the girls! xoxo

  42. Jennifer from Kentucky says:

    Hi Susan. Was just talking to my sister and best friend about your blog. I do love that in this crazy, technological, busy world that you are able to show and embody a time of long ago when just the simple things mattered–friends, family, laughter, a shared meal and time to recognize our blessings. I have always tried to teach my children the importance of the simple things in life. Thank you for helping me do that.

    Both my sister and I have all of your cups, and I have also started my daughter her own set. We are thrilled about new mug(s). We would love a mug with the beautiful ocean with seagulls, pelicans and of course shells and seaglass. We love the ocean and don’t get to see it nearly as much as we would like. A visit to your neck of the woods is on our girls trip bucket list. Also, a beautiful St. Patrick’s Day mug with shamrocks and rainbows would be beautiful as would an Easter mug with bunnies and baskets and Easter treats.

    So sorry to ramble. I am in awe of your artistic talents and always wait anxiously for your newest treasures.

    Thank you and God bless you.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you dear Jennifer, for all your lovely suggestions and kind words! Hello to your sister . . . and to your daughter, and happy 2019 to you all!

  43. Anna Marie says:

    Happy New Year!!!! I love this treat of an update to your blog. I take a good moment to look through the last year to remember how wonderful the past year was. On word to 2019!!!!

  44. Anna says:

    Happy New Year in 2019 to you, Joe and Jack! Thank you for the lovely, lovely Christmas of you enjoyed! I do want to try your crunchy, seedy toast topping! Yummy and nutritious.

  45. Lucia France-Bryant says:

    Thanks again, Susan, for a wonderful year of you!

  46. Cate says:

    Second time I am responding here, I do not see my previous response from yesterday. I will try again. I said – Happy New Year! As for the cup, how about a painting of Beatrix Potter with Hill Top in the background? We all love her, thanks to you, and I think that would be a lovely tribute. Maybe they will even sell them at Hill Top?!?!

  47. Larry R. Kilner ( Kilner Jar) says:

    We too had Brit’s for Christmas, or rather our friends did, but our friends now. We spent three weeks in the Cotswolds the year before last and that is where they reside. They live in a tiny village near Broadway. My wife and I loved the Slaughters both upper and lower. We spent three weeks operating out of Stow. What a beautiful country England is! Here’s wishing you and Joe the happiest of New Years.

  48. Carla says:

    Finally! I will be getting my Winter mug. You may not remember but perhaps 4-6 weeks ago I posted on your Twitter page my dilemma in searching for a Winter cup to buy. All the cups in the USA have been sold out. I wrote to the shop in England and was told they would not post to the USA, not even to south west Ireland where I know someone. You then posted that if anyone wants this mug that is where it can be found- but, yet again the shop would only post to England. Time goes on, and I become acquaintances with someone good and kind in England. I asked her today if I could buy the Winter mug and have it shipped to her, and would she then ship it to me. Immediately she wrote me back with an overwhelming- of course, and bought the mug!!! Now, only 1 remains at the shop, or anywhere, to be bought- for that matter. Even though I had given up, somewhere within my heart in a small place I felt that one of these cups would find it’s way to me. This person, is such a lovely, talented, and kind-woman.

    • sbranch says:

      As my mother always said, “Where there’s a will there’s a way!” You are proof positive. I love your stick-to-itivness! Good for you Carla! xoxo Happy New Year, and here’s to the kindness of friends!

  49. Barb Urbank says:

    I love this blog entry with all the pictures and details of your Christmas with your English friends and the lovely dinner. What a cozy time, your home was beautifully decorated and the table looked perfect, even with the renovations necessary to make room for everyone. Easy to see a good time was had by all. I love the ones with the lights out and everyone wearing those light necklaces and singing! What a time to remember forever! As for a new mug, I liked someone’s idea of a breakfast mug. It would always be in, we all eat breakfast everyday and think of all the tasty breakfast foods you could put on it.

  50. Laura DeGraw says:

    Thank you so much for such a wonderful gift after a long day at work! I finally sat down to check my mail and discovered your update. Your home and holiday looked amazing….I especially loved the table and all the twinkling lights. I have decided this year that I’m keeping my tree up until February. I put snowflakes and icicles all over and with the white lights it looks pretty. But more importantly it brightens up the gray days. I think a Snowman mug or Easter bunny mug would be really cute. Whatever you do it will be lovely. I hope you(we) get some snow soon. Happy healthy New Year to you and Joe and Jack!

  51. Ruth Butters says:

    Hi Susan,
    Love your blog what a memorable way to end 2018! Thanks for sharing🎉🎄🥳
    For a new mug, I love the idea of your home on your special island and include the Christmas plate verse “God in his wisdom” and a tiny Jack in the window of your house🐾
    Love to you all!

  52. Freddie Ann says:

    So enjoyed this. The funny thing is you mentioned the ironing board for your cookies, which I thought was pretty smart. Then I thought I would start reading your archives over my lunch hour and the oldest one has your ironing board with bread drying. I had no idea that an ironing board was so handy. HA

  53. Cheryl E Brown says:

    Loved your Christmas stories and the New Year cake. Spending the holidays with family and friends is the very best.

    We have a Christmas Eve tradition of every year picking a different country or region as our theme. We cook foods from that area and decorate the dining room table with symbols that have meaning in that country. We’ve done, Portugal (home of my maternal ancestors), Japan, Hawaii, France, England, New Orleans, and Mexico. This year we did Thailand. On Christmas Eve everyone puts the name of a country they want to be the theme for the following year in a bowl and one of us picks the winner. Next year its India. Should be interesting. Happy New Year!

  54. Lee Gordon says:

    Susan, I so loved this post and enjoyed every part of it! I am so glad you had your heart’s dear friend and family with you! There is nothing better than being with people you love so deeply and don’t mind walking around with in your robe or PJs. Your decorations and home looked so warm and inviting and how lovely it must have been to be at your table with such good food and excellent company! Grandma’s cookies looked delicious (I LOVE milk and cookies!). I gave MANY of your calendars as Christmas gifts (of course, since I’m in it!) and everyone was thrilled to receive them! Our Christmas day was great, as all three of our sons came and spent most of the day…very unusual! It was such a joy to see our two year old grandson really enjoy the holiday and of course we loved every minute of it. I hope you get the snow you are missing. We had rain last week and have two more storms on their way in this next week. It’s so nice not to have summer all year long! Wishing you the best with lots of love!

  55. Dianne Blauvelt says:

    Hi Susan!
    I can’t believe it–this is my second comment in less than 24 hours. I posted a comment earlier on your “Kitty Love” blog. I just wanted to chime in about suggestions for a new cup. I was thinking of a “There’s No Place Like Home” or a “Home Sweet Home Cup.” So cozy! I love all the cups I have purchased and I think either one of these ideas (or both) would be a great addition to any collect-ion. What do you think? And, yes, we made it through 2018! I think 2019 may very well go down in the history books.

  56. Pam Butterick says:

    For a thousand reasons or more I loved this. ❤️🎄❤️🍷🏡🎶🎉❤️ On Christmas Day, while our rack of lamb and potatoes gratin roasted, and before I put together our spinach and pomegranate seed and bacon salad, 😊, (because we had prime rib two days earlier with family) we made a fire in the fireplace, enjoyed adult beverages and watched The Bishop’s Wife. For us, all by ourselves, it was perfection. Well, ok, a little snow would have been the white frosting on the cake. 😊 Thank you for sharing all of these past days. I felt like I lived them with you and LOVED experiencing that!

  57. Kathy Hughes says:

    What a wonderful post! You always make me feel so happy and inspired. I loved meeting you and Joe in Charleston, SC—a special memory! So glad you all had such enjoyable Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. One of my 9-year-old granddaughter’s gift requests was another Susan Branch wall calendar, the third year in a row! She loves you, too! I hope 2019 is filled with joy and good health. Can’t wait for your new book to be published. Happy New Year!

  58. Cindy B. says:

    Have you thought of a book cup? All your favorites lined up like along a shelf? Or maybe a LIBRARY cup? All the favorite things from the libraries of our childhoods? There’s my two cents!

  59. Sarah says:

    I’m late arriving for this most wonderful review of your Christmas. It was a perfect holiday indeed! We didn’t have a large group, just four of us for Christmas Eve dinner, but it was perfect as well. Christmas is “love in action!” Thank you for sharing snippets of yours, sweet friends. Your home is total charm any time, but dressed for Christmas adds yet more magic. Glad Joe is handy. Everyone needs a man who can shore up a table before a big dinner!
    Question about your silver….what is the pattern? Is this a family heirloom? It is gorgeous! And you tree was gorgeous too. I love a big, full tree sitting in a window. Merry, Merry for the year ahead. 2019 is going to be spectacular. It’s the Year of the Pig! Happy New Year, Susan! Eagerly awaiting Enchanted! Thanks again for my special gift of “the first chapter.”

    • sbranch says:

      I have such a mish-mash of silver patterns … some from both of our families, lots from antique stores or yard sales . . . we are hunter gatherers! Merry Merry Sarah! xoxo

  60. Kathleen says:

    Thank you for such a thoughtful post, so lovely with your artwork, sentiments and quotes interspersed…I really like the CLamb New Years quote! I have thoughts about your next mug, I think you could do one to celebrate a new child that could be appropriate for a birthed or adopted child. Again, thank you for sharing a peek into the coziness of your home in this most wondrous of seasons, the birth of Christ…and “every man’s birthday”!

  61. Karen Lotito says:

    Happy New Year to you and Joe and all your friends! May 2019 bring you peace, joy and love and, most of all, good health! Everything is plain Winter again been slowly putting the decorations away and putting out some Winter decorations to brighten things up. It was back
    to work and all it’s craziness and back to more regular routines. Been watching the birds and the screech owl in his box in our front yard and listening for his cousins, the great-horned owls hooting in the early morning. Stay warm and cozy! Love, Karen ❤️

  62. Janet K Hellmann says:

    Wow, what a nice Willard this is. It made my day. When I saw the photo of your ship sailing under the Verrazzano Bridge, which connects my Island to Brooklyn, I thought how close, yet so far. I’m hoping someday I can actually meet you in person at one of your book signings . Perhaps Staten Island will be on your “go to” list someday. We sure would love to host you. Happy New Year to you and Joe and Jack.
    Janet H
    Staten Island, NY

  63. Kathy R. says:

    Your posts just take me away. Will you make a 2020 diary for us? A weekly one? That might be the thing of dreams. I went with Kate Spade this year. Was hoping for a SB. Happy New Year!

  64. Sandra says:

    Thank you so much Susan for wonderful memories of your Christmas..everything looked so beautiful..the lovely pink China,,,the awesome lights everyone wore..and happy faces..perfect.
    And yes we did survive the last year through so many things happening in our world…but we have the love of the everyday..the beauty of surroundings and precious treasures and friends..we are so blessed.
    Any mug design would be lovely..but I agree a Happy Birthday one…Cats…birdhouses I adore..
    Much love from the Uk.
    Sandra from Birmingham

  65. Mary Murray says:

    383 happy comments, add me and make it 384! Thank you for sharing your friends and your lovely holidays, traditions, and home. You constantly remind us of what’s important…family, friends, time together, the simple things, laughter. My 3 dearest friends and I have begun a Blue Willow Society…we each have our first seniors graduating high school, and with that comes excitement as well as sadness…where did the years go? For Christmas I gifted each of us with a Blue Willow teacup and saucer…so when we’re all feeling a bit blue, we have a cup of tea in our teacups and know that two other friends are feeling the same way. I think it’s time to buy the girlfriends charm for each of us…thanks for all you do to keep encouraging the world to be a happy place!

    • sbranch says:

      What a sweet and connective tradition for your girlfriends. Congratulations on the success of your children 😩 but you’ve done your job well, and it’s not over yet! xoxo

  66. Samantha ( Nova Scotia) says:

    It’s been so busy with the holidays. I’m finally catching up with your blog. So much reading! I love it.What comfort, beauty and warmth I find here. I love your Christmas posts. Reminds me what is important. Your calenders are beautiful. I finally found my kindred spirit friend at age 39…and I was just telling her to read “FairyTale Girl” and go from there. Lol! Peace, love and Happy New Year to you and Joe!

  67. Joy Pence in Ohioj says:

    Happy New Year dear Susan. I was watching a Christmas Hallmark movie (can’t remember the name of it), and part of it was in Edgartown at Past & Presents. What a charming little town you have. I imagine that Christmas time is magical there. The town I live in is very small and so we have no quaint shops to go into.
    But Christmas magic is everywhere, we just need to look for it.

    Enjoy your winter writing you new book!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, it was about the Island ~ about a hotel here called the Charlotte Inn, and the people who own it!

  68. Marilyn says:

    Your celebrations make me want to do a “do over”. Your home with all the color against the white creaminess is most wonderful.

  69. Patty Farrin says:

    Dear Susan,
    Happy New Year!! Thank you for sharing your holidays and all of the simple pleasures that the holidays bring! It’s like Norman Rockwell, Currier & Ives and Hallmark all rolled into one beautiful life! My suggestion for a cup would be a picture of you and Joe on the cup so we could all have tea with you whenever we wanted to! Another suggestion would be a cup with your kitchen stove and tea kettle singing away!! Whatever you decide, I know it will be wonderful! Blessings!

  70. Janie Phillips says:

    Happy New Year, Sue!

    I loved seeing Rachel, Paul, and Diana with you for Christmas and I was honored to see some familiar things among your decorations :). It looked like you had a perfect Christmas. I hope 2019 brings you so many red letter days that it becomes a red letter YEAR! Sending love always,


  71. I have to comment again on this post because I’m still laughing about your mention of the wonderful English term “clingfilm”. It triggered a memory from when I was 15 and my closest cousin, Stephanie was spending some summer vacation days at my house. An English woman who lived nearby in my neighborhood asked if I wouldn’t mind babysitting her two sons for a few hours. I thought this was odd because her eldest son was only a year younger than myself… but, hey, I was always willing to earn a few bucks. I brought Steph along with me and when we arrived at her house the boys were in the backyard playing with their friends. I thought to myself “Great, this will be easy, we really won’t be babysitting at all”. Then the woman asked a loaded question…”Do you do pressing?”. Stephanie and I just looked at each other and I replied “Um, I don’t know…pressing??”. That’s when she brought us into the room where the ironing board and stack of clothes were. She then proceeded to run down the list of other chores that we were expected to do while she was out….clean the bathroom, kitchen, etc. I was raised to obey my elders. Stephanie and I proceeded to laugh our way through “kind of” cleaning and “pressing” cloths while her kids had fun in the backyard! All I can say is that my mother was MAD when she found out and I never had to “babysit” for that woman again. LOL!! Stephanie and I still have a great laugh about that to this day.

    • sbranch says:

      I had the same thing happen! Was 14, summer job, babysitting (I thought). Went there and this woman turned me into a maid. I had to serve them lunch on the patio, but eat by myself in the kitchen. Very weird. I was obedient too. It was okay, but then she wanted me to clean the oven! I never cleaned an oven in my life! But I did it! Later they went out and while they were gone I sewed on the labels for their kids clothes to go to summer camp! Quite a day! I never went again!

  72. Darla says:

    That was the Best blog ever!! Thanks for taking the time to write it!! What a great idea on the ironing board. Your house couldn’t of looked more like Christmas. Thanks again

  73. Jan Davidson says:

    Just love your post. A cup with your beautiful garden on it would be lovely. Also thought you would like to know that my brother in law ask his wife to marry him with a note inside of a snapdragon. I just thought that was so special! Also a strawberry 🍓 cup would be so much fun with strawberry shortcake recipe on it. I’m looking forward to Valentine’s Day coming up. Have a very wonderful 2019!!!

  74. Lynne Pickens says:

    No pictures of crowns from the Christmas crackers? That’s one of the funniest parts of Christmas dinner in my family. Those crowns don’t look great on everyone, but we wear them for a while.

    Do you still have those beautiful Christmas mugs ?

  75. Beth from Iowa says:

    Dear Susan,

    Thanks so much for the beautiful posts – it’s snowing here!!!👏🥳 I knew I could share this important info here! Snow plow just went by – they are as excited as I am!

  76. Gina Derksen says:

    Thank you for sharing your Christmas doings & photos! Love seeing your dishes, tablescapes, happy English friends. I am on the lookout for a pair of bobeche, vintage pointy kind, for my niece’s wedding. So romantic. A fellow SF Valley girl, looking forward to snow tonight in N. Virginia … a new grand baby quilt to complete, new Christmas books to read. Thankful for God’s blessings. Unbelievable Pictionary story…Your sweet animal drawings are so obvious to me!

  77. Dianne says:

    Happy New Year, Susan and Joe! I hope it’s your best ever. Looking forward to each of your posts this year–they’re so encouraging and inspiring. God bless each of your endeavors in these coming months!

  78. Claudia says:

    This is my first opportunity to actually read one of your posts since November 8. That morning as I got up and enjoyed my first cup of coffee in one of my JohnsonBrothers English china cups, our world changed forever. The Camp (i.e. PG&E Camp) Fire erupted at 6:30 a.m. across a huge canyon from our home in Paradise. No stranger to fires, nor evacuation, I began the drill…I awoke my 85 yr. old mother, called my youngest daughter…calmly went about packing enough for a week or so. Within minutes, our yard was filling with smoke, from a fire MILES away. I received an emergency alert on my cell at 7:23 ALL RESIDENTS EVACUATE NOW. All? I was incredulous. 57,000 people? As I took our few bags to the car and loaded up our Springer Spaniel, it sounded like bombs going off close by. The winds began to pick up and I decided to leave all behind and GO. Within an hour our neighborhood and the local hospital nearby burned. By the afternoon, most of our beautiful little town was erased from the earth. In the next few days, 14,000+ homes were incinerated, including 3 in our family, and today the number of dead stands around 85.
    So, by the grace of God, I and my family survived 2018 as well. My Rose Chintz china, and all of my English china collected over 45 years, my Susan branch books, cups, fabrics, quilts, as well as a beautiful home full of carefully collected furniture and love-ables are now just a memory.
    I don’t write to make you feel sad for me. I have loved this little group of kindred spirits for many years. I write to encourage you to realize the blessing of being able to make a beautiful home. Do not take “HOME” for granted. It takes a lifetime to assemble, fill with precious memories and the physical “home” can be gone in a flash. Things, are just things…in most cases replaceable ( not all😞) But survival to me is a much different thing this year than my usual ‘just making it through. My story, and that of my people of Paradise, CA, will be stories of survival. After 31 years being a part of the community, I intend to collect them for posterity. God bless you all in 2019.

    • sbranch says:

      I think of you and your neighbors every day Claudia. It’s a heartbreaking loss. My niece was in Paradise. But she’s young, didn’t own a thing, and got out with her friend and herself, our most valuable possessions. I’m sending you a little something from my Studio. Can’t have you going around with no SB Books! Blessings on you and yours. You have everything, of course, and I know you know that. XOXOXOXOXOXO

    • Chris H says:

      Many hugs from across the ocean Claudia. Here in Australia we’re far too familiar with bushfires/wildfires as well. So thankful that you and your family are safe but the loss of your home and all your precious ‘things’ is such a difficult thing to come to terms with. I know that ‘things are just things’ as you say, but my goodness, there is much grief in the loss of everything that says home, peace and security. May God bless you and your loved ones as you rebuild your lives and your home xx

    • Lee Gordon says:

      Claudia, you are in my prayers…from one of the girlfriends!

    • Judith Adams says:

      Claudia, I often wonder how the people of your little town are doing. Wonderful idea to collect their (and your) stories. Good luck to you all. ♥

  79. Beverlee Moreno-Ring says:

    Beautiful blog… finally got to enjoy it on a bigger screen. I am so looking forward to hearing the story of how you and Ray met. Girlfriends are the best! Love your seedy toast idea! Your Grandma’s frosted molasses cookies look wonderful.. Going to check the cookbook for the recipe. Hmmm what should be on the cup? Hmmmmm.. How about your beautiful home and the path you walk to get there, and things you love.. clothes on the line, walks on the beach sea glass, Joe, Jack.. would be a busy cup but something like that :-).

  80. Jennifer J Lauri says:

    A very happy and healthy to you and Joe! I also was blessed with a lovely Christmas visit with my Mom Ruth and brother Brian in Vermont for a few days . Hubby Joe and I ventured up north, seeing the ground change from green/brown to frosty winter white. But the best part were the smiles that greeted us when we walked into my Mom’s fairyland: Christmas tree all aglow, fire in the fireplace, homemade goodies on the sideboard hutch and, yes, presents waiting to be opened. Everything you do kicks off a spark in my Mom to decorate and make festive her beautiful country home. Thank you for that and also for helping me do the same!

  81. Cyndi in NC says:

    I enjoyed your Christmas decorations as well as the visit by Rachel, Diana and Paul. So lucky to have friends that you love so much come for Christmas. Ours was kind of a hussel and bussel, going to Virginia Beach and back to North Carolina. Our daughter moved to VA and finally found and apartment. We took her furniture to VA and came back to NC for Christmas Eve with our other daughter. We had a great lunch then the two hour drive to our house. But it didn’t look much like my normal Christmas. My decorations are in a Mobile Mini storage unit as we had damage in our partial basement. I was here when it was loaded and all my decorations ended up in the back! So except for the things that were upstairs or easily reached in the unit it was pretty bare. But Christmas isn’t just decorations and it was the forefront in my mind. I thanked God for us not having more damage then we did and prayed for those that lost everything and all those in between. We often lose sight of what the season is for, the birth of out Savior. I’m so happy you had a great Christmas, hugs to all the girlfriends.

  82. Ruth Winkler says:

    Dear Susan, I cannot tell you how happy your Christmas message made me and my daughter, too. I love how you decorate, I love the same old classic movies like The Bishop’s Wife also. Your tree was lovely, the dining room festivities, your dear friends with necklaces of Christmas lights, the yummy foods you served, the fire in the fireplace, and dear Jack taking it all in stride. Thank you for telling us all about it. We look forward to your new book.

  83. sandra says:

    What a fabulous Christmas you had with your friends from England! It all looked marvellous – the sort of Christmas that I only dream about!

  84. Judy Quinn says:

    Since I moved to NC we became detached BUT I have found you and need to be put back on your list. Your Christmas reminded me of the past and I loved every moment and pucture. Happy New Year my friend.xxxx

    • sbranch says:

      You can sign up for the blog in the right hand corner of the main page, there’s a place, you’ll see it. Just click there! xoxo

  85. Mary Bussiere says:

    Susan –

    When will your next book be published? I am anxiously awaiting another Susan Branch book! They are like little treasure chests just waiting to be opened!


  86. Kim says:

    Happy new year Susan ,Joe and Jack, thank you for sharing your Merry Christmas with us “Beautiful” people and home! I love home. I buy your desk calendar every year I give one to my daughter for Christmas and myself. Last year I noticed every month you gave the name of each full moon,I loved it and looked each one up on google:) I have a moon party supper on that day. We hunt for moon eggs ( Easter eggs with tea lights inside) outside when dusk. Susan B’s $1.00 coins are moon money, gifts anything to do with the moon, a craft, and food pertaining to that moons month like thr strawberry moon I served strawberry shortcake,strawberry spritzers;pizzas(round and red/pink sauce); etc…My family looks forward to our getting together. Thank you Susan! My hope is someday you would design a Moon Cup. XO

  87. Kim says:

    I forgot to say thank you for all your blog posts with thoughts, comments,photos about the moon. Also you can buy Moon Cheese at the grocery store. It comes in many flavors and each piece looks like a little moon:)

  88. Karen Saunders says:

    Oh my GOSH!!!!! I was surprised to see my little placecards on your table!!!! I’m so happy you used and liked them!!! You have such a great life and it just makes me happy when I read about it!!!😘❤️❤️❤️

  89. Karen Saunders says:

    Well forgive me if I am repeating myself (can’t find my comment!!!) Just wanted to tell you how lovely your Christmas celebration looked!!! Those were my placecards and I’m so pleased you liked and used them!!! (I also gave you the funny little pumpkin man sitting atop a box) You have such a lovely life!!! It just makes me happy when I read your blog. Blessed indeed!!! Happy New Year🎉😅

    • sbranch says:

      I’m putting your comments up, just so you know they all came through. WordPress changed it’s format and no longer tells everyone their comment is “waiting for moderation” … they look like they just disappear. But they’re here! Thank you again Karen, I saved all those placards, because I know those people will all come to dinner again, and I will be ready! Yes! That darling pumpkin! You’re so creative! xoxo

  90. Gert~Iowa says:

    My dear Susan, it sure looks like you had a wonderful..and blessed Christmas! Everything was so festive …right down to the lighted necklaces ! Those had to be so fun!! Tell Joe and Paul they did an amazing job on that table! (There were time that we could have used them to expand our table when we had extra guests..ha!!) It was so nice to see Rachel and Paul again. But really lovely to see/meet her Mum! What a beautiful lady!
    “Happy New Year” to you, Joe and Jack….of course!!
    PS: I think something happened to my last post. (On my end) But if not…this may be a repeat!!

    • sbranch says:

      I was rushing to get one of next year’s calendars done and didn’t take time to read comments this last couple of days, which is my favorite thing, so I’m late, but I’m here! I bet your other comment will be at the bottom of this pile I’m looking at right now . . . Always wonderful to hear from you!

  91. susan stillwell says:

    Susan, it all looks so pretty and homey. Happy New Year to you and I want to thank you so very much for your kind surprise. It made me smile and it was so very thoughtful of you and I will treasure your gifts and will never forget your kindness….……..Thank you, Susan

  92. Candice from OH says:

    I started reading this blog and my computer was not loading the photos….I had to see the photos! So I have waited a few days and now they are all there and I can read it and see all the loveliness of your holidays with the “English people.”
    I wondered too where the crowns were from the Christmas crackers. We have photos of our family wearing the paper crowns, through the years! They are definitely a British Christmas tradition.
    I am going to visit Fresh Market and I am sure they have all of the seeds on the list and use them like you do, I love crunchy, seedy toast too.
    I am so excited about the photo calendar you are creating. Hmmm, new cup name my suggestion is a “tea” themed cup.
    We had our first major snow yesterday receiving about 6 inches and now the bitter cold sets in. All area schools are on 2 hour delays for tomorrow.
    I know this is belated but I must wish you New Year Blessings! Hugs!

    • sbranch says:

      Sometimes, when it’s all so exciting, I forget to pick up the camera! Happens all the time. I kick myself later for what I missed, but then I also feel good about experiencing the moment ~ so it’s a win-win! Happy New Year Candice!

  93. Karen says:

    Happy New Year to you and Joe. Thank you for sharing all the beautiful memory making moments

  94. mary spring says:

    …good morning !! ..’just returning to westerly after celebrating an incredible and memorable Christmas and New Year’s holiday… I have a lot to catch up on !!.. ‘need to slow down and really enjoy these last couple of heart felt posts..’just wanted to input on your next design for a about including : there is no place like home or home is where your heart is..’still waiting for a glorious snowfall !! daughter says there is nothing like a New England snow !!!..’can’t wait !!…with love and a lot of faith and hope…as always…

  95. Karen Saunders❤️ says:

    Welllll……my comments just seem to disappear!!! I was so excited to see you used my placecards!!! It’s odd, don’t you think they matched the number of people you had??? Your Christmas just looked lovely. So many people feel good about sharing your life with you!! I am happy to be one of them!!!

    • sbranch says:

      It was YOU Karen, I’m so sorry, I wanted to thank you in the blog, but I managed to misplace the card that came with these adorable things. It was so much fun figuring out which of my friends got the dog (Paul), or the Santa with the chimney (Joe)! The perfect number and perfect handmade loveliness to make a perfect Christmas table! Thank you . . . and truly wonderful gift. xoxo

      • Karen Saunders❤️ says:

        Just curious….what was yours and how did you pick them???

        • sbranch says:

          Mine was the holly … I chose them mostly by connecting them to the people. There was only one dog so I gave it to Paul because I knew Rachel would want him to have it, otherwise I would have given it to her! Lowely got the reindeer because it was so quirky and cute, I knew she’d like it. Gerry got the drum because he’s our musician, Joe got the Santa because he’s our Santa, and so on . . . ❤️

    • Lee Gordon says:

      Karen, your placecards were darling! I’m a card maker, so I can appreciate them! Sweet gift!

  96. Pam says:

    A moon cup with Jack on it too of course. What perfection!

  97. Tanya says:

    Hi Susan:)
    Thanks for sharing your heart warming Christmas:)
    How about painting one of your most favorite english villages, w/ all the charming details for your new cup? Could be a nice companion to your new English countryside photo calendar:)
    Happy New year!

  98. Chris H says:

    What a beautiful funfilled Christmas post. I would have loved to see a photo of the hidden construction underneath that tablecloth!!! The engineers obviously did a good job 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I never got under there. I think Rachel has a photo … but she’s off on another adventure now and hasn’t had time to look. If she comes up with it, I’ll be sure to show it!

  99. Nancy Williamson-- Indiana says:

    You have a Beatrix Potter room ! I am so jealous. You see, I have 6 grandchildren and read Beatrix to their parents. When babies were due I offered to do the nursery in Beatrix Potter and pay for all of it if they would just let me do it in Beatrix Potter. Nary a taker. So sad. I have always loved her.
    Loved your Christmas post as I do always love your posts
    Happy 2019

    • sbranch says:

      Give the parent of the grandchildren the biography of Beatrix Potter to read because the PERSON she is, not just the artist, is the best sort of amazing role model there is in this world. Maybe if they knew. xoxo It’s okay, from what I hear, kids are crazy, but grandchildren are always smarter.

  100. Andrea J from NJ says:

    Hello Susan:(Joe&Girlfriends too)
    Happy healthy 2019🍾🎉
    Thanks for always taking me along on a warm, cozy holiday adventure. I do so enjoy the ride.Perhaps once I retire from teaching after 42years of Kindergarten, 1st & 4th grades my husband Rick & I will spend Christm as son the Vineyard. We’re there every Aug. for the Grand Illumination which we dearly love. I’m so enjoying my desk as& pocket calendars.
    I simply loved the light necklaces which Joe so thoughtfully placed on each chair. I think celebrating any holiday with good friends, family delicious food & special sweets & treats makes for the absolute perfect gatherings
    Thank you for bringing and sharing your wonderful holiday spirit with us all
    Living in London years ago brought back lovely memories of great times shared with dear family and friends just as yours. Thanks for those memories.
    So looking forward to your next book of adventures! Hopefully a mug too. I have several of them & love using each one. I think a cottage or Beatrice Potter one would be just darling.
    Well cheers to you & yours.
    Andrea from NJ

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