Hello all, Welcome! I hope you all got your WILLARD (if you didn’t, don’t worry, you will, it’s going out today but it takes three days for them all to go). I wanted to have everything ready for you when you got here, so yes, in the vernacular of the day, I’ve been “tidying up!” I have lots to show you, but let’s start with the little things that make life sweet with background MUSICA perfect to energize us for the job ahead . . . I love this time of year! Time has slowed down, a lovely long January is gone . . . our Island outside my window is cold blue sky, leafless trees, old houses, quiet and colorless (except for the cardinals, our flying Valentines), and in complete healing-mode from the Summer onslaught. No cars going by, no one on our walk in the morning but us. 😁

 If you read my last post, you’ll see my sideboard looks very different than it did over Christmas! I’ve been putting my house back together. It was fun decorating with all the holiday stuff 🎄, I was a little sad to see it go, but then felt huge relief to have it all gone! It’s usually around the 5th of January, when suddenly all the sparkly, pine-needly things I LOVED in December, begin to drive me crazy. The wreaths on the kitchen doors block the light and drop needles every time we go in or out, then leave a Hansel and Gretel pine-needle trail from the kitchen to the studio. Time to say goodbye to the old year, and hello to the new. The tree came down (we don’t drag it through the house because then vacuuming takes forever ~ Joe takes the branches off to keep the mess confined, and tosses everything out the window!), ornaments were boxed up, bows and ribbons are back in the attic, dusty mistletoe is gone from the doorways, my house is peaceful and quiet with only the sound of wood falling to ash in the fireplace, joy is sparked to the nth degree! So, in case you can’t tell, we’ve been watching Tidying Up with Marie Condo. Have you seen it?  It’s about a woman who loves to organize, she wrote a book about it, I think more than one, and now has a show on Netflix where she comes to people’s homes and teaches them how to de-clutter their things. Watching someone else clean is inspiring ~ and it’s catching! It makes you want to jump up and get organized ! My eyes suddenly see the chaos around us. How can we live this way!!! If you need help getting going I highly recommend it. Even Joe’s gotten into it and that’s saying something!She has all sorts of tips ~ she teaches people how to fold things into tiny packages (something I will never do because I choose speed over neatness), and file them on their sides in boxes in drawers to make them more visible. Which was thrilling to see, because it meant I was doing something right!!  I’ve always done Joe’s shirts that way (except for the tiny-package folding!) . . .

. . . filed them in a row so he can see the logos and know what he’s getting into without unfolding. It’s not perfect or tiny, but Joe loves it!I don’t know if it was Marie, or if it was because it was January, but as I was cleaning up the Christmas things, suddenly I couldn’t stand to see boxes or bags parked conveniently next to a wall, did not care for piles of books anywhere but in the bookcases, didn’t want to see folded market bags piled on my little red kitchen chair, or any little bits and pieces dropped here and there that added up to clutter. 🚫 I needed clean walls I could walk up to like a starving man needs a ham sandwich. I couldn’t even work until I got this house under control! I did it! Everything’s in its place (well, not everything!) with sunshiny face . . .  now it’s February (rabbit-rabbit💛) and I’m back to work! Of course, now my studio is a complete mess because as you know creating is not neat, but the rest of the house is heaven. All my best intentions fulfilled, lightheartedness returned!

Most of my table tops have barely anything on them! It won’t last long, but right now I see this and go “Ommmmmm.”

Candlesticks & votives, glass, wood and brass, are sorted and put away, Christmas books are back in the hutch, tablecloth and napkins are starched and ironed, on hangers, in the front closet, floors are swept and vacuumed, we’re dusted and ready for the next event. I think of my house sort of like a movie set . . . once Christmas is put away, everything is organized, I leave it smooth and plainly cozy until the next season or event, then I change the throw pillows, add flowers, bunnies, bunting, garden books, and voila! It’s spring!

There’s a big difference between clutter, and decorated. I do not see these shelves as cluttered! I think it’s because everything up there gets used on a fairly regular basis. I could never be a minimalist and hide everything away. Serious minimalism looks heartless to me. Life is too short not to set out my Beatrix Potter figurines, hang my teacups on hooks, fold cute dishtowels over the handles of my stove, or put a paper calendar on the wall in my kitchen. Real life is not going to allow me to hide away our family photos, or baskets of rosy apples, or old quilts just for some crazy fashion that will change in an hour anyway!

I wrote about it in my Girlfriends Book. How when I was 11 or 12 I would try and get my girlfriends to play, “Let’s go home and decorate our bedrooms.” A game I mostly ended up playing all by myself! I still redecorate the way I wrote about here . . . and put back one “joy bringer” at a time.

Marie suggested that as we sort, we shouldn’t be looking for things we want to throw out, instead we should look for things we want to keep! It does make it easier! Gather everything into a pile, keep just the things you love and get rid of the rest!  She sees organizing as a spiritual endeavor … believing there’s a divine spirit in everything. It feels like that to me. A sort of gratitude for all we’ve been given. It reminds me of  a quote I put in my Autumn book by Joe Friday (respected elder of the Alaskan Yup’ik Eskimos) . . . who’s gone now but should should be remembered for this lovely thing:

So glad to the wood. Everything is related. Touch one thing, you touch it all. I say thank you as I oil my wooden cutting board, imagining the people who made it, remembering all that chopping for all those dinner parties, as I oil the wooden handles on my old pots and pans,

and my wooden cooking spoons (my dad made the one with my name on it 💞 ). I want them to last forever. I starch and iron my curtains, shine my windows, make my stove sparkle with plain hot water, refold my old quilts, and dust my bookcases. Because things we use every day have character. Makes me happy.These things aren’t just merchandise, part of a throw-away world. They’re gifts. When my Grandma died, the only thing I asked for, since I had always gotten her very best when she was alive, was the old wooden spoon she used to scramble her eggs and mix her cookie dough. Because that spoon had her in it. That spoon and my grandma had cross-pollinated their DNA, while alone in the kitchen, beating brown sugar, butter, and walnuts, a long time ago.

It’s why I love old things and that includes this old house of creativity filled with kindly ghosts of the past. As I was tidying up, it was easy to know which of our things “sparked joy” as Marie says, and which ones made me sing out, 🎵 Yaaaard Saaaale 🎶 as I packed up boxes to go. Our busy lives and this modern world do not naturally provide us with the peace and sustenance we need to grow, space for creating, a gentleness for our families. But we can make it for ourselves. We have all the power. As the Chinese proverb says, “Outside noisy, inside empty.”One more thing, in case you find yourself in a cleaning-emergency on a day when deep tidying and tiny folding is not going to be possible, with possibly just ten minutes to clean your house for guests, here’s what you do:

So, in-between the tidying up, what have I been doing in my studio? Lots. I guess I should say, “we.” We’ve been busy!

Here’s the other half of “we,” my partner-in-crime who plunks his righteous self down in the middle of my art table any time he wants and gives me this look.  Like, “What?” Requires belly rub, many kisses. Petty pet of my dreams.

I made a soft little embroidered doll of Jack. Put his heart on the outside. Gave him a little quilt all his own. He’s only 6″ tall (extremely gentle, for children) ~ he and his quilt will come in a sewing/embroidery kit. We’ll have the kit in the web store soon, so some little child out there, maybe yours, can put Jack to bed someday. ♥️

And a quick update, for all of you who pre-ordered and are waiting patiently for your little vases, butter dishes, tea bag holders, and all the others, we are being told to expect them soon. I keep asking, when, when, when, they keep saying soon, soon, soon 😜 . . . so have faith and know the SECOND they arrive, yours will be first to go!! We won’t forget! Soothing MUSICA to make you forget. 🎵 And this:

And, despite kitty distraction in the Studio, new cups are on the way! At the end of the last post I asked everyone what cups they’d like to see and did the best I could to make you happy! So here we go: Four new cups, Fine Bone China, made in England, coming late March! This one, the large 16 oz, is “Bella Luna!” For all you moon-watchers like me! 💛

Every time you use it you can wish on a shooting star! I never painted a shooting star before!

The moon and constellations in a sea of stars . . .

And here is brand new Cup #Two, “Home Sweet Home” . . . this is for you who love the smaller, 11 oz. size, a bunting-draped celebration of  . . .

Here’s the side, says it all.

Here is the other side…. a little house of my own . . .

And here is the cute handle! These are only paper mockups, I promise the real things will look much better!

And #3, You all asked, so Yes! A great big 16 oz. Birthday Cup! Because everyone has a birthday and what would be a better celebration than “Having your cake and eating it too?”

There is singing . . .

. . . balloons, a hat, and suggestions for fun!

And another perky handle! Happy Birthday Girlfriends! 🎈

And one more large, 16 oz. cup, due to popular demand, it’s the “English Corgi” cup . . .

With the perfect T.S. Eliot quote surrounded by blue forget-me-nots:An empire of imagination!

And the side . . . complete with Union Jacks, lamb and castle.

And would not be complete without an English rose on the handle.🌹

And, extra exciting news, guess what? For the first time, the actual BBC website is going to carry one of my cups, this one! For their print catalog and web store! And also my book, A Fine Romance, Falling in Love with the English Countryside!  So honored! Secretly extra-thrilled as it is one step closer in my diabolical plan to get to the National Trust. Would love for them to carry my book someday. At least now we’re in the same neighborhood! 🇬🇧 👍

They’re already in production in England, and up for Pre-sale now… as you know, I try to make sure there’s enough for everyone, it helps so much when you pre-order, that way, when I give the factory final numbers, I’m fairly sure everyone who wants one will get one! I usually add on some extra for those who forget, but sooner or later they’re gone. So if you have a special birthday coming in September, be sure to think about it now!Movie News: I keep promising you an update on the “movie” ~ the project in the works to get my book Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams onto the big (or even little) screen  … and every time I think I will just blab what I know, the person working to make it happen sweetly warns me not to!!! 🎬 Grrrr. So all I can say is that it’s still a possibility. Which is better than saying it isn’t!  Seems so easy! Movie about starting over, woman and three cats in darling cottage in woods? What could be better? Just say Yes!Okay, back to the drawing board, 🎨 but before I go . . . I was thinking, what would be a really special giveaway for today? I thought of the perfect thing, then another idea popped up, then another, I didn’t know which to do! I finally gave up and decided to do all three! It’s almost Valentine’s Day! 💖 All you have to do to enter is leave a comment at the bottom of this post (click at the tiny word “comment”), and you’ll be automatically entered for all three gifts! In a few days, Vanna, our resident “Random Number Generator” will draw the names of three lucky winners and I’ll announce them here. So, here’s giveaway number one, very rare . . .

A brand new copy of Girlfriends Forever! When I find out the winner’s name, I’ll personalize it before I send it. They’ve been out of print for a long time, but during my “Tidying Up” phase, I found a small pile of these books in the back of a closet! Buried treasure! And timely, because what could be better for a Girlfriend’s Valentine than a book about best friends! You may have one, but perhaps a special Valentine girlfriend of yours doesn’t! So anyway, this one’s for YOU, and Sheri put the others in our web store for however long they last!

And then I was walking by my newly decorated stove shelf, and was suddenly reminded of this timeless Valentine . . . charming old words I found carved on a stone on a dovecote in England.

Here’s a closer view! Giveaway #2, Love Stays! 

And, last but not least, this luv-lee 16 oz, fine bone china cup that asks, “Have I told you lately that I love you?” Is there a better Valentine Message? This one will be going out to some lucky winner in honor of our Girlfriend Dee Lamphear and her husband Brad 💞, to celebrate their forever love and happy marriage.💖

This is the back . . . it says it all, cup-wise, winter-wise and love-wise.

So don’t forget to leave a comment! Remember, you have much better chance of winning here than if you played the lottery!💖

Last but not least, here’s a delicious recipe to help keep your house warm . . . I wish I could send out smells from my computer, so when you opened my page on a freezing cold morning you’d find the cozy smell of baking biscuits. That’s how you would know it’s me. I wish someone would invent that. Unfortunately, under the circumstances, you’ll have to make them for yourself!

Make them in heart-shaped pans and they’re the perfect Valentine gift.

Cut them in half, toast them, add orange marmalade or yummy Christmas Jam and bring them to a lucky Valentine near you. For more Valentine’s ideas, plus a link to get a Valentine Bookmark, go HERE. If you haven’t signed up to receive my Blog in your mailbox, and you’d like that, or you’d like to surprise your mom, sister, grandma, or best friend, please go HERE.Winter is king of intimate delights, Enjoy the quiet, light the candles, make a fire, pull on toasty socks, feed the birds, eat hot biscuits. Life is good. Have a wonderful day Girlfriends, kindred spirits. Bake and stay warm! More surprises in the next blog! 

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2,579 Responses to TIDYING UP

  1. Robin says:

    I love reading your blog and then looking forward to the next one. Thank you!

  2. Koreena Ralston says:

    Your artwork and blog make me so happy. To all the ladies on here, “Happy Galentine’s day!!”. Nothing in the world is better than sitting around with girlfriends, drinking tea, and just talking about our lives. There is something both empowering and calming about being with a group of wonderful ladies. I hope everyone here has a wonderful, warm day <3

  3. Leslee Cato says:

    A few years ago I gave my best friend since 1st grade a copy of “Girlfriends Forever”. I pasted in photos I had reprinted from our childhood together. She loved it!

  4. Sheila M Weakley says:

    Oh, love, love, LOVE all the cups!! I have a vision of all of them lined up in a glass front cabinet that belonged to my grandmother! She had her salt and pepper shaker collection in it, I have a lot of those, too, packed in boxes yet. I definitely need to be bitten by the “declutter bug”!

  5. Sharon from Calgary, Alberta says:

    The biscuits look delicious. Perfect for a cold winter day.

    Happy Valentines Day!!

  6. Evelyn Brendle says:

    I just had the opportunity to tidy-up for our daughter who has produced grandbaby # 5 for us! I spent almost 3 weeks in MI. helping to care for her and family ( hubby, 2 other children, a cat, and fish tank). It was hard work, and I did a lot of reorganizing cabinets & drawers to make things easier for my daughter after I went home. What a blessing I received making life a little easier for someone else in their time of need. So, sometimes tidying-up can mean helping in someone else’s home.

  7. Holly Jo Martin says:

    Happy Valentines Day SB & Joe & Jack! I saved this to read closer to the special day since it is my one and only Valentine Letter. Thank you for this, it is a sweet delight to my soul. I love Susan Branch Land!

  8. Bambi says:

    Happy Valentines Day! 💘

  9. Paula Abay says:

    Thanks for the give away! Such loveliness all together! I hope one day you’ll do a 16oz size cup with cardinals on it. They’re my favorite birds. 😊

  10. Gina D. says:

    So happy to see you are doing a festive England/queen mug! Love the house one too! How about a quilt one someday? The mugs are taking over here at my house as they ALL seem to ‘spark joy!’ I keep moving them around. Sometimes they are stacked on the top shelf of my baker’s rack, sometimes they are on a 3-tiered black iron wire server, or they are on a white metal oval tray. And I have a section of under-cabinet cup hooks. They always look so cute and inviting. Pretty sure it’s your fault I love dishes. I have all my blue ones on a plate rack at the moment, anticipating a new grandson in a few weeks! 👶🏻❤️

  11. Mary Anne says:

    I would love to be lucky enough to win your sweepstakes (either one) would be delightful to cheer up a friend! Way to Go Susan, I have also gotten the “cleaning bug itch” – my hubby even called his mother to ask her what she thought was going on with me! 🙂 LOL! I would like to create more memories with my family and friends instead of always organizing all our/my stuff!

  12. Michelle Baltrusch says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you Susan, Joe, Jack and all the girl friends 🥰🍷🎶

  13. Arlene Koktavy says:

    Thanks for all the happiness and beauty you bring to everybody. I would love to win the drawing. Arlene

  14. Samantha says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day, dear Susan! ❤️
    Your post is so refreshing…isn’t it amazing how tidying up can lift our spirits so! That and counting the days until departing for my enchanting journey across the pond! 🇬🇧
    June will be here before we know it! 🐑🌺

  15. Nancy McCArty says:

    I recently found a copy of the Girlfriends Forever book at the Goodwill!! What a find!! Love the new BIRTHDAY MUG!!
    Susan, Thanks for being YOU!!

  16. Susan Green says:

    Absolutely love the new “Happy Birthday” cup! It’s beautiful!!!

  17. Mary Moskwiak says:

    Happy Valentines Day! Love you blog!

  18. Laura Roy says:

    Lovely post as always, Susan! 🍃💕🍃 Love to you, Joe, and Jack!

  19. Suzi Havey in snowy WA says:

    Dear Susan,

    Love your new cups. The Corgi one is darling. Can’t agree with the “Kondo Kapers” because your books, blogs and recipes give me so much joy and endless ideas,I can’t part with any of my lovely tea things, seasonal dishes and precious old linens. So I won’t mind winning another joy filled item to add to my “klutter”. Hugs and Valentine love to you, Joe and Jack.

  20. Linda Forbes says:

    I soooooo love seeing a new blog in my e-mailed! Thank you Susan! You are beloved!

  21. Laura says:

    Thank you for helping to lighten the dreariness of winter in the NE US and our political situation. I can’t keep up with your beautiful home and cooking but I certainly enjoy following along!

  22. Sharon says:

    Congratulations on the BBC finally waking up to the glory that is Susan Branch and her brilliance! National Trust cannot be far behind – good luck! Your new mug designs are fun. I begin to suspect that you do not sleep …
    Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your sweetie!

  23. Harmony Allen says:

    Hi Susan,
    I check in every now and again. I truly love to wait until you have a whole bunch of new blog entries and then I binge on them! Such fun:)
    Happy Valentine’s Day sweet friend!

  24. Kathleen Dillie says:

    Signed up to receive your email newsletter. Love this post about tidying up. I’ve been working on my craft area for a couple of weeks now (with a little bit of crafting worked in there, as well) and I’m beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

  25. Gail McG. says:

    Just have to let you know how much I love your blog and what a bright spot you are on Twitter each and every day! You are a gem!

  26. Happy Valentines Day to Susan and all our girlfriends:)

  27. Wendy says:

    I love to tidy up too! I feel so much better organized when things are neat and tidy!
    Thank you for your inspiration😊

  28. Hilary Jones says:

    Absolutely love your blog! Thank you for sharing your beautiful art with all of us. Happy Valentines Day!🌹🌸❤️

  29. Movie news?! So excited to hear this. Also, I’m thrilled that you turned down Hallmark. At Apple Farm this past October, your description of what they wanted to twist your story into gave me the collywobbles! I hope that whatever production company you are possibly working with loves and respects your work the way we do. Thank you for inspiring beauty, joy, and gratitude. I plan on ordering your English mug for my co-teacher and Anglophile.

  30. Diana Hall says:

    Oh Susan, you HAVE been very busy!!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE all the new cups….especially the Bella Luna one, as BLUE is my signature color!!! LOL. Thank you for all you do and love to come and slow down, get away from it all and relish all the wonderfulness found in your blogs/Willards and just reading all the beautiful comments from the lovely people! Enjoying these last days of winter, as February is my birthday month and I LOVE to make it last, even though most people want it over with in a hurry, but I think it is the best month of all! Love and lots of cozy fireplace naps to you and yours!!!

  31. Dear Susan,
    You always brighten my day. I’ve loved your art for a long time (almost 30 years, I think). Thank you!

  32. Eleanor Botts says:

    So many books to read! I seldom re-read books – but – Susan Branch and Gladys Taber books are the exception. Both of you offer a respite from the world. Thank you! Ellen B.

  33. Carol Wakefield says:

    Happy Valentines Day! You always fill me with such joy! If I’m ever down in the dumps (as my grandmother would say) you never fail to lift me up. Thank you for this precious gift. I am rereading Isle of Dreams, a special treat during this long frigid winter, and was wondering if you’d consider making a print out of your winter fireplace painting from chapter 11. It personifies hearth and home and all that is cozy and peaceful. I would love to have it hanging in my home. Just a thought. Thank you again for sharing your joyful spirit with all of us.

  34. Julie Windschitl says:

    I’ve gotten many girlfriends books for girlfriends, which means I am very fortunate!

  35. Norma Lewis says:

    Reading this on a cool Valentine’s morning makes me smile! Helps to start the day off with a smile.

  36. Patsy says:

    Susan, your blog posts bring me so much joy each time I read them. Thank you for brightening our world. 😍

  37. I enjoyed this. I Marie Kondoed the entire house a couple of weeks ago but clutter has been creeping back in. Darn that love of shopping.

  38. Cora Maldonado says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

  39. Karen says:

    I’m going to have to make tea biscuits now!

  40. Bonnie B says:

    I love reading your blog posts! Been tidying up recently myself. It’s a constant battle. But with a house of 12 nothing stays tidy for long. Maybe in the far future when its just hubby and I. For now, I’ll just enjoy the makers of the mess. 😉

  41. Hanneke Beck says:

    I just discovered your blog today…Valentines Day! I have three of your lovely cookbooks…have loved your work since the eighties. Haven’t seen much until a post today on fb. WOW! Delighted and so happy, your work puts a smile on my face. So excited to see some of your other books. You’re a Valentine blessing…have a beautiful day.

  42. Jessica says:

    As always, I love reading your blog, it’s like seeing all of the stuff in my head displayed in a much more organized and informative manner. Thank you for all of your creativity and positivity and sensibility. I hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day.❤️💕❤️💕❤️💕❤️

  43. Sue Wemett says:

    I love winter coziness. I don’t love colds/respiratory infections. Loved this blog & I’ve been trying to find time to watch the tidying up show on Netflix. Happy Valentine’s Day to you & your sweet hubby, & to everyone!

  44. Debbie Boerger says:

    Dear Sue, Hope you and Joe are having a warm, mushy…as in smooches and hugs…Valentine’s Day! I’m dittoing everything the Girlfriends have said. Oh, please, please don’t let Big Pharma learn of the Susan Branch healing medicine!!

    The Lovely Tom and I are celebrating the completion of his radiation treatments. Best of all, with no side effects. For any of the husbands and lovers, it’s a relatively new treatment that uses tiny gold beads as targets. The radiation is controlled by a huge robotic arm, actually made in Germany for the production of BMW autos. There is a center in Boston, San Francisco and here in Tampa, probably many more that I don’t know about. Now that that’s done, I’m having my hand surgery. Let’s get this done, so that I can be ready to dig and plant when we return to my beloved Maine. I fear damage to rhododendron and hostas in particular, and a number of other perennials due to the lack of snow cover and the extreme low temperatures.

    I came upon a site on line that said Home Fires wasn’t totally dropped. They have not announced the next season. Hope, hope.

    May you enjoy this day with your sweetie,
    Debbie in Tampa, chilly Tampa this morning!!!

  45. jeanne says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Susan,
    I just love your beautiful, gracious, peaceful words and watercolor artwork. You bring such joy to my soul. Thank you for sharing your amazing talents. Here is some Valentine Musica for you – my husband and I love this song and have made it “our” song. youtu.be/J789GId1kaY

  46. Debbie Schwalbe says:

    I’ve been trying to sign up for your email blog but have been unable to do so using the link provided. I’ve also started receiving spam group text messaging and I’m unable to block the sender after going to the website that was
    provided in your newsletter. Any suggestions?

  47. Deb Gage says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day Sue and Joe!
    I’m so happy to read your homey post today. I love escaping for a few minutes into your world & feeling inspired to add something new to mine. Today, it will be the lemon pepper biscuits! I’ve been snow/iced in for almost 2 weeks and am feeling the cabin fever set in. I’ll bake today & hope that will distract me for a while. The splendor and freshness of the snow was amazingly beautiful for the first week but now it’s melted, rained on, frozen over, and just plain gray and cold. Even the animals are feeling gray. I’ve spent time quilting, making doll clothes, shoveling snow, but now it’s definitely time for a treat! So, thank you! Treats for everyone today!
    Oh, I can’t wait for these new cups! I just love them all!

    And Jack – I’ll always love Jack.

    Happy day to all the girlfriends!
    From your snowed in & bored girlfriend

  48. Nicole says:

    Happy Valentines Day to my favorite butterfly of joy and happiness! You inspire me and make me smile everyday! Thank you, Susan!

  49. Jane Dunham says:

    Have to order Moon cup. Reminds me of Aunt Mary who always had a moon calendar in her kitchen. Say Hello to Aunt Mary when I see the moon. She has been gone too long… Jane

  50. Lori from WA state says:

    Happy Valentines Day, Susan! Reading your blog posts warm my heart especially on this snowy, windy day. You know how to say “cozy” in so many ways. God bless. Lori

  51. Anna Robinson says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Susan! Always look forward to reading your blog updates. We are all such kindred spirits. Did my spring cleaning for Chinese New Year and we are all ready for Spring to come. Hope you are enjoying the day!

  52. Beth Wilson says:

    Hope you are having a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

  53. Sandy Hernandez says:

    Enjoy keeping up with all the “happenings” on M.V. !! You, my dear, have all your ducks in a row !! Keep up “Keeping up” with life and blessings are soon to follow. Attitude is everything and a positive one is essential !

  54. Jean O'Hara says:

    I love reading your blogs and looking at all of your great pictures!
    Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Joe!

  55. Judy Kruse says:

    Oh how FUN your give-aways are! Thanks!

  56. Carolyn Nunn says:

    Thanks for the organizing tips—I need them. My craft room probably looks like your studio!! Love the new mugs……..the tea biscuits sound wonderful!!

  57. Suzanne Maven says:

    Susan, you have no idea how happy your blog makes me!! You are so generous to let us into your beautiful, lovely home….you inspire me with your wonderful ideas. We share the same taste….I see bowls in your kitchen cabinet just like ones I’ve had for years.
    Thank you for all you do. I pray the movie gets made!
    Happy Valentine’s Day! 😍

  58. Gina Miller says:

    Just ate a dish of bread pudding with my Valentine. It’s his favorite treat. Thanks for the inspirations, Susan Branch!

  59. Sara Elledge says:

    Hi Susan, I too, have been tidying up these past two months. Doesn’t it feel good to go through everything and sort and organize?!

    Must share that my husband and I have been married 36 years and our song is Van Morrison’s Have I told you lately that I love you. We were thrilled to see him in concert in August in San Francisco and hear him sing it then. I’m loving your new cup that include those words on it.

    Thank you for always spreading happiness in the world. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Joe.

  60. Sage says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day! Your posts, pictures and sentiments are like a cozy hug on this cold and windy winter night. Just what I needed… and maybe some tea in one of your charming mugs! Sweet dreams.

  61. Julie from Michigan says:

    Love your new cups! Beautiful job!

  62. Jamie says:

    Hope I’m not too late for the drawing! Took your lemon pepper tea biscuits to my sewing club’s Valentine’s Day tea party…they were scrumptious!

    • sbranch says:

      Love hearing that! And you’re right on time! Might just give everyone the weekend to sign up . . . I’m dying to do the drawing, but want to make sure everyone has a chance!

      • Jamie says:

        Our sewing club is a group of six dear girlfriends. We’ve been together over 30 years, raising our children together, sharing stories of family, celebrations and sorrows, and solving the world’s problems! We haven’t actually done any sewing together in years, but it will always be “sewing club”❣️

  63. Edythe Feazel says:

    Thank you posting these cozy musings. Love that you touch on all the womanly things in my heart

  64. CAROLE HINES says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours! Love the new cups.Especially the Corgi. I bought a stuffed Corgi when I was in England last year & it looks so real sitting on my couch in the living room. Her name is Markel!

  65. Sharon in So. Calif says:

    Hope I’m not to late, Love the post, so many new beautiful things! I want to wish you & Joe a very Happy Anniversary and Valentines Day!! I love how Joe takes down the tree, why didn’t I think of that, lol. I always have a trail of needles to the door! Sending love and kisses from RAINY So. Calif, can you believe it!

  66. Marianne from Peoria says:

    LOVE your wonderful blog!!

  67. Nancy says:

    I so love your blog and products. Hope I still have a chance for the drawing. I have many of your books.

  68. Pascale31 says:

    Hello I m a french girl (Toulouse )I love to read your blog and see yours photos

  69. Hi, Susan – just chiming in here to say it’s a lovely post and to put my name in the pot 🙂 Thanks for all you do!

  70. Rosie says:

    I’m up in San Jose, not far from your place. The rain is coming down in buckets and it’s getting cold. Reading your blog with all your cozy words and pictures – just perfect!
    Would love to win – it would be divine!

  71. Teri says:

    You’re always so generous. I always love your posts. Happy February!!!

  72. Debbie Smith says:

    I always enjoy visiting here! I especially like all your thoughts on the difference between clutter and decorated. Your thoughts balance Marie Condo’s just perfectly. I read her book and it did help a lot as we were getting ready to move and needed to downsize our belongings. But I love your perspective, well said! 🙂 My daughter was reading with me and we both were saying, Yeeeah! as we read and agreed with you. 😀 There’s just special things that are keepers and “not just merchandise”.
    Love the Bella Luna mug too! My daughter just finished reading a book called Moon Gardening by John Harris (UK) and now I’m going to read it before it’s time to get the garden planted. She really enjoyed it and learned some very interesting techniques to help our garden along (this will be only our 2nd year gardening). Anytime I see a full moon I find myself quoting the children’s rhyme I learned reading to my own children when they were little…I see the moon and the moon sees me. God bless the moon and God bless me. 🙂
    God bless you too!

  73. June Cleaveland says:

    First visit to your site. Many thanks

  74. Michelle Smock says:

    Hi, Susan,

    Love your posts and I love your Girlfriends book. I actually have a copy but I’m leaving a comment to enter a chance to win it for my sister. She starting over and could use all the good wishes and inspiration she can get!

    Keep up the great work!

    Michelle Smock

  75. Mikel Wagner says:

    I am so excited for the kitty doll! I’ve been waiting for him! Also, I love, love, love the moon cup. I’m going to buy it for myself for my birthday. 🙂

  76. Sandy Smith says:

    Thank you for sharing your talents with us.

  77. Jeanne says:

    Good Morning, Susan…
    I just love this song ~ Van Morrison – Have I Told You Lately – YouTube
    AND I just love your “Have I Told You Lately” cup,
    AND I just love your beautiful watercolors, your gracious and peaceful words, the cheerful bird chirping on your blog, MUSICA, and all you do.
    Thank you for sharing your lovely gifts and talents with all your kindred spirits

  78. Jeanne says:

    Sorry…I think I just left two comments:-(! Technology is only as smart as the operator.

  79. Joy Cunningham says:

    Hi Susan!
    I Love your new cup designs and have preordered the 11oz. Home Sweet Home in honor of moving back to Vancouver, WA. We purchased a lovely little townhouse that’s just perfect for the two of us. Looking forward to Spring and all the joy it brings. Hope you and Joe had a wonderful Valentine’s Day. ❤️

  80. Debbie Boerger says:

    I’m haunting the SB blog, looking toward to new one, but I’m still absorbing this one and all the posts.

    I didn’t order my Johnnie’s Seeds or MOFGA catalogues this year, so my buddy in Maine is ordering for me. Soooo excited, even if things will be a bit punky looking, they will recover. Got a call from our tree man saying he’d done the work I ordered, chipped the debris and blew it where we wanted it to go. He is amazing. He thought my saying I wanted my favorite spruce “tidied up” in my drawl hilarious. He a registered Arborist, and he steers me in the right direction for the future of this property. He, of course, sees how the woods will be in 50 years.

    I’ll bet many of you read Rosamunde Pilcher’s The Shell Seekers. How I missed it, I can’t understand. Except it came out when I’d gone back to school to get another education degree and was busy trying to be the oldest one in all my classes. She just died, and Carrie posted it on her blog. It is now right up there with my very favorite books. Hated to finish it.

    Looking forward to seeing pics from the party tonight!!
    Mucho Love.
    Debbie in Tampa

    • sbranch says:

      I LOVE the combination of YOU and your Maine “buddy.” What a wonderful world you are making together! Thank you! xoxoxo

    • Elaine in Toronto says:

      Debbie, you must read Rosamunde Pilcher’s last book “Winter Solstice” published in 2004, if you haven’t already. It’s my very favourite of all her books. I’ve read it at least half-a-dozen times. I’m sorry to hear she has passed away. Her son Robin is also an author. Hugs, Elaine

  81. Laurel Boyda says:

    You have inspired me to start my spring cleaning early. Your lovely home is such an inspiration!

  82. Tamara A Crandall says:

    I am just catching up on willard and getting on your email list. Thank you for all you do to make my world a happier place. girlfriends book is my very favorite book of yours.

  83. Barbara K. says:

    Susan, as always, I love reading your blog and seeing what’s next but I don’t think I’m a fan of Marie Condo. I work full time (and part time) and never heard of her until a few weeks ago when a friend of mine left a post about her on Facebook saying she suggests you have no more than 30 books in your home at any time. Is she out of her mind? That would NEVER work for me! LOL! I also remember my older aunties referring to messy houses as being “lived in” and isn’t that what we’re all after? I love seeing all of your pretty displays and hope she won’t inspire you to de-clutter too much:) Have a lovely weekend.

    • sbranch says:

      I know!!! I totally ignored that part. I choose which things to ignore so I never run the risk of becoming fanatic! 😜Don’t ever worry about me! I’m with you all the way!

  84. Sandy says:

    Happy Valentines Day (still celebrating around here; and my birthday all month (23rd))!! Love your blog; love Willard and happy to see them combined also (but love the history of Willard)!! I agree with you and Barbara K regarding ignoring some parts (in this case Kondo on books!) .

    • sbranch says:

      Will never take the history and story of Willard from my Blog, and all the past issues are there too. Thank you Sandy! Happy Birthday! xoxoxo

  85. Carole says:

    One word: Dreamy! All of it. Every single bit!

  86. I just love your blogs! I also got your Cookbook in the mail. It is wonderful! I am planning a visit to Martha’s Vineyard September 6-12. I hope to be able to see you there. Are you doing any events around those dates? Looking forward to reading more blogs.

    Mary Kay from Pennsylvania

  87. Judi Davis says:

    Your new cups are so cute! Just darling. Thank you for making them!

  88. Patricia says:

    I love your mug designs, Susan. Especially the Bella Luna and Home Sweet Home. In fact, the Home Sweet Home makes a perfect housewarming gift for friends. And I have always been a fan of Irish poet Padraic Colum and was so happy to see his verse on the mug.

  89. Brenda says:

    Hello Susan,

    What a wonderful year you and Joe just finished up “in style”! I just loved the sparkly Christmas party you gave for your friends….so special with the overhead lights turned off, and nothing but Christmas tree lights, Christmas bulb necklaces, table candles and lights….. and all your happy voices, singing Christmas Carols…magical! I know they will keep the visions and feelings they shared at your home deeply in their hearts forever. Thank you for sharing the photos of the occasion with your ‘blog girlfriends’.

    NOW! Onto the fresh and new! …new start, new subjects, new clean and shine!

    I love books so much, and we had so many, that my first order of business was gathering up sooo MANY of those ‘space-takers’ to give to others. I hope they will love them, too! Now I have room for ‘the give-away book’…..”just sayin'” ! ha ha

    Seriously, though, I do have an idea re: your wonderful books: Since everyone loves you and Joe so much, maybe everyone would like a beautiful little book about your Wedding!! What lovely illustrations you could paint for it!

    All the best in the new year…..

  90. A delightful update on a day when the temps are climbing, the sun is shining (HELLO!) and all’s right with the world.

  91. Shelley Boardman says:

    Your posts bring me so much joy…thank you!❤️

  92. Phyllis Patton says:

    I have loved getting your Willards, but totally understand linking them into your Blog. IF we already are getting your blog, do we need to re-sign up for it? Sorry, just a bit confused. Love your inspiration to begin somewhere in tidying up, but so glad you don’t say remove the lovely old quilts and pictures of our families and ancestors. Susan, the lovely scherenschnittes that decorated your side board at Christmas and again at Valentines Day in your home, did you cut them yourself or did you purchase them in England? Would you ever consider adding them to your shop? I loved them dearly. Thanks so much for the inspiration in the middle of a snowy winter!

    • sbranch says:

      If you’re already getting the Blog, you don’t have to re-sign. I’m sorry for the confusion! Most of the folks on Willard were not getting the Blog. I do have the Scherenschnitte trees in my web store . . . I loved them so much, I had them made for everyone! If you don’t see them there now, write to [email protected]/~susanbs3/susanbranch/ because I don’t think we’re sold out. I know we’ll have them for next Christmas too.

  93. Maureen Abramson says:

    Congratulations to all the winners-so lucky! 🙂

    I posted a comment earlier today but don’t see it so I wanted to post another, please forgive me as I had seen the pillows and calendar in your web store and love them. Are they kits or ready made? I just came across this new post and love that it shows some of the photos for the calendar. Need to pre-order that for sure. And can’t wait for the embroidered Jack pillow and sampler blanket. Really looking forward to that. So many things in the web store I love. Thank you for bringing so much creativity and beauty to our world. Blessings to you.

    Maureen (from California)

    • sbranch says:

      They’re ready made, not kits! Thank you Maureen, I bet your other comment is here, just saw this one, but I’ll look for the other one as I scroll down!

  94. Beverly Neuman says:

    I am trying to order the Corgi cup but can’t seem to facilitate that. Can you help me
    accomplish it?

  95. Colleen Cessna says:

    I just love reading your emails, they always brighten my day thank you so much for always cheering me up.

  96. Marianne Henderson says:

    I love the Abraham Lincoln quote “When I do Good, I feel Good. When I do bad, I feel bad. And that’s my religion.” I have added to that with “When I eat good, I feel good and when I eat bad, I feel bad” Also, “When I look good, I feel Good, and when I look bad, I feel bad” Love all your beautiful illustrations. When I look at your Blog, I most definitely always feel good.

  97. Robin Whitaker says:

    Such a happy blogpost with beautiful photos and yummy recipes. One day I will make it back to Martha’s Vineyard from snow Truckee, CA and maybe you or Joe will be in the yard and I can say Hi once again.

  98. Ellen Chrisman says:

    I loved this blog! So uplifting during the winter when we all need a boost! I have as many of your beautiful paper products as I can find, use your notepads, calendars (I even save them every year to go back through and enjoy) and I noticed the other day that they are made in South Korea. My granddaughter is going there for a few months with her boyfriend who is Korean, to meet his family and enjoy his home. Is there an outlet store where they make these beautiful things or only a studio? I would make sure she went if it was someplace that allowed visitors.

    • sbranch says:

      The manufacturer is actually an American company . . . they have the printing done in South Korea, but there is nothing retail about it. It’s a huge printer is all. I hope your granddaughter has a WONDERFUL time. xoxo

  99. Donna says:

    Hi, Susan!
    I have been away from your blogs for a while due to life’s changes, but here I am back and enjoying every minute! Thank you for bringing into my home the simple pleasures of life…a MUCH needed reminder to slow down and enjoy whatever the day brings!

  100. Laurie Ann Mitchell says:

    Susan, I spent a lot of time going through your blog this evening. We lived in Fairfield CT and and sold our house there. We also had a house on Cape
    Cod and lived there for a long time. We moved to CA about two years because we had 3 out of 4 children in CA. I love so many of the things you design and sell. I have made a list of things that I would like to order. I am not sure how to order them and was wondering if you could give me advice on how to order them.
    I would like to order 1 Valentine Love Cup, 1Bella Luna/Stars and Moon, 1 Make a Wish Birthday Cake, and 1 Home Sweet Home. Please let me know how order them and how and how to pay for them. Sincerely Laurie Miitchell We live in Castaic/Santa Clarita area. You can also tell me how to pay for the items. Thanks so much.

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