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. Brenda W. says:

    Your biscuits look amazing and I can’t wait to try the recipe. I’m going to make them then sit down and read my Willard. Good reading, good food!

  2. Jeni says:

    This is my first winter in the south(moved from Minnesota last fall) and all I can say is that it is so very different. I haven’t decided if I like it yet. I do know I love not being in the bitter cold, or driving in the snow, but a winter without *any snow is just not normal! And you’re so right, it does give one the time to do things one doesn’t often get the opportunity to do in the warmer months. I guess I’ll have to get used to doing those things in the very warm months in summer…maybe.

    In the mean time, I’ll slip back here from time-to-time and live vicariously through you and your wintry Vermont 🙂

  3. Susan, thank you for the chance to win. Love your blog and Willard.
    Have a blessed day.

  4. Cathy Good says:

    Love your cheery posts and illustrations. Now I feel like tidying up! I have watched it on Netflix and got some good ideas. Now I just need to use them and tidy up! Lol

  5. I love you Susan Branch! ❤️❤️❤️

  6. Deb says:

    You are an inspiration! Time for me to go tidy up and order a mug! ❤️

  7. Diedra Lanphear says:

    Dear Susan,
    It was great to get home from Germany to a new blog post! They always bring me comfort and joy. Thank you for the dedication you made to Brad and I and our love – that was really lovely and we appreciate it! Your home looks clean and neat and bright for the new year and inspires me to do the same in my home. Thanks again for getting in touch, that was very special to me.
    Love, Dee

  8. Kelly Acker says:

    Good morning Sue!
    It is always so wonderful to wake up to your new blog 🙂

  9. Naomi A Jones says:

    Hi Susan!

    Can I request a blog topic? For all the girlfriends? I am 35 years old next month and I am struggling to determine if I should keep trying to hold onto my princess beauty (and weight) or lean into a queenly phase of life?? Vanity, vanity, yes! Society talks about getting fit, ditching sugar and wheat, etc. Where’s the balance? I need to know, from one girlfriend to another. What should I expect as I age and what should I really be focusing on and what is futile and should just be given up??? So perplexing!

    • sbranch says:

      You are a mind reader Naomi! That is the subject of my next blog … healthy balance. Thirty five . . . you should feel young because you are young. Your major growing years are still in front of you. That’s advice from the other side! xoxo See you next blog!

  10. Judy Bartholow says:

    Reading your post makes this bitterly cold ( the HIGH temperature for today is below zero!) bearable!

  11. Darlene Messina says:

    Hi Susan. Is it me or a technical problem? I tried to re-sign up for Willards and the link doesn’t take me anywhere to fill out my email information. Can you help?

    • sbranch says:

      What you should do is go to bottom of Post, click where it says HERE … and sign up as shown. Let me know if this works.

    • Darlene Messina says:

      Hi again, Susan, I was not able to subscribe using my phone but tried on my tablet with success. Thank goodness! I don’t want to miss a single “issue”. I have all if your original hard copy Willards and love them!

  12. Kathy says:

    Thank you for your beautifully illustrated visual instruction on how to sign up for the blogs it worked I did it! I so enjoyed your letters and look forward to receiving your blogs. On a sad note, I tried to purchase the book ‘Girlfriends Forever’ and it was already out of stock. My daughters and I had the opportunity to read it at a friends house and we could never find a copy to purchase. Is it possible I could be entered into the drawing for it. One of my daughters was so so inspired she painted the front cover image on a plate and has been dabbling in painting ever since as it brings her so much joy. Thank you, 😊💌 🎨 🤞🏼

  13. Anita Morrison says:

    Thank you for this joy-filled blog to brighten a cold winter morning here in Chicago! I’m enjoying my morning coffee in my Love mug! I, too, have been doing some tidying up. Two bags of clothing ready to donate to the church! Happy Valentine’s Day Susan! ❤️❤️❤️

  14. Trahlyta Bullard Miller says:

    Home today with the “sniffles”; not sure if it’s allergies or a cold. I rarely get colds, but our weather has been bizarre recently! I think it may be a bodily protest of this weather! In any case, your post is quite inspiring for a bit of clearing out and organizing today as well as a reminder to order a few of your new English mugs for special friends. I love them all, and the English corgi mug is my favorite! Again, thank you for your inspiration! ❤️🇬🇧📚🌹

  15. Daniela says:

    I’m a newbie! Just found your site as recommended from a friend. Enjoyed tremendously. Thanks so much for the lovely blog, was a great escape moment today.

  16. Dayna says:

    Your new blog post & Willard is just what I needed this week. ❤️ Thanks Susan

  17. Mary MT says:

    Every time I see your work, in any form, it brings me back to the time (many years ago) when I first saw your work. Since then I read through your books every season and look forward to the calendars. They always make me think of the warm and happy things in life! Thank you!

  18. Deb Smith says:

    I absolutely LOVE your Happy Birthday cup! I am going to treat myself to one for my birthday…..and my BFF needs one, too, for sure. We both saw you in Illinois when you were on your tour, and it is such a special memory. We feel like you are part of our circle of friends, because we know you so well through your books. Hoping your movie dream becomes a reality. Your story inspires 🙂

  19. Peggy Ott says:

    Susan a wonderful giveaway. So much fun! Love your blog always! I do just what you tell us to do, get the cup of coffee or tea, something sweet and come back for a great read! Thanks for always sharing!

  20. Carol Pollina says:

    Between you and Maria Kongo I am truly inspired to get things done ! Love you Susan.

  21. I just love your new mugs! The sweet, little, bunting trim is so joyful.💕🤸‍♂️

  22. Peggy says:

    Thank you so much for this! What a wonderful way to start my Friday! When shopping for calendars for this year, I saw yours and snatched it right up. That led me to look you up on Facebook; and now I’ve discovered your blog. Though it has been some years since I collected your books, it is wonderful to be following you again. Thank you for sharing your many talents!

  23. Karen Cox says:

    Reading your blogs always just make my day! Reinforces that all of the time I spend “playing at playing house” is worth it, if for no one else but me! Thank you for all you do!

  24. Diane says:

    Amazingly, my husband, too, has joined me in the magic of tidying up. It’s a great way to winter. But your amplification on the differences between decorations and clutter are spot on.

  25. Stephanie L. Franklin says:

    So very excited to get my first Willard this morning! Been reading “Fairy Tale Girl” and think it’s absolutely fab-u-lous! Thank you, Susan. You’re such an inspiration to me.

  26. Joyce says:

    Thanks for updated blog…it had been a long stretch, of course, cold dark Winter didn’t help…gosh I miss looking forward to Downton Abbey Sunday’s when we watched it unfold each week with great anticipation. Would like an update of your book in the next installation.
    Happy 💕 Day!

  27. susan leary says:

    Thank you Susan for making my birthday,February 7 extra special. We have a blue 79VW convertible in our garage in Falmouth. Next time you are in town let me know and we’ll go for a spin.

  28. Cindy Hayhurst says:

    Hope it’s not too late for the drawing. I didn’t see an announcement Fromm Vanna. I’m in FL for a month with my dear hubby, but your post makes me wish I was home in the cold north. Always love to hear from you, Dear Susan.

  29. Anita Jahner says:

    This post was such a lovely start to my day. I’m still working on Marie Kondo’ing my home as I have trouble letting go of things, and I have sooo many things. The new mugs are gorgeous! The Corgi is my favorite, with the Little House close behind. Oh, and Bella Luna… ok, I love them all! Now I’m off to read my Willard!

  30. Anita Jahner says:

    This post was such a lovely start to my day. I’m still working on Marie Kondo’ing my home as I have trouble letting go of things, and I have sooo many things. The new mugs are gorgeous! The Corgi is my favorite, with the Little House close behind. Oh, and Bella Luna… ok, I love them all! Now I’m off to read my Willard!

    (I hope this wasn’t a duplicate. Got a little “you already posted this” message when I tried the first time, but I don’t see the post so trying again to be sure…)

  31. Linda Robbins says:

    Love your new post. This Spring my girlfriend and I are planning to spend a day in Martha’s Vineyard while staying with my brother in Jamestown, RI. Can’t wait! To add to the great post, I received a wonderful robot vacuum for Christmas. I am sitting right now typing to you and vacuuming at the same time!! What a great gift!!

  32. Arjo de Maat says:

    Dear susan, today the willard also arrived in the netherlands! Thankyou! As an England lover I am sooo looking forward to the new book Enchanted! Last year we made a little cruise around Scotland, Ireland and England ; very beautiful! Do you know the tvserie ; Lark rise to Candleford? Lark Rise to Candleford is a British television costume drama series, adapted by the BBC from Flora Thompson’s trilogy of semi-autobiographical novels about the English countryside, published between 1939 and 1943. I am sure you will like it! Its on dvd.
    Greetings from the netherlands; looking forward to Spring….

  33. Pam Stevens says:

    Cheers and Valentine hugs for my FAVORITE FRIEND that I don’t actually know. However…..Kindred Spirits know no boundaries.

  34. Mindy says:

    I feel the same way about the holiday season……..I can’t wait to decorate for them, but in January, I can’t wait to take the decorations down and clean 🤣❤️ It is a good feeling to start new at the new year.

  35. Darylene says:

    Luvlee post! Just what I needed to get me through the -1 below temp here in South Dakota. Brrrr…

  36. Charlotte Schindler says:

    I loved the quote: “Less is a bore” by Robert Venturi. More my style than Mies
    quote: “Less is more”.

    Thanks for the give away.

  37. Yvonne Sullivan says:

    Well Susan so nice to hear from you I’ve been busy like you cleaning washing bedding dresser scarves sorting playing puzzles .Luvv new tea cup designs.Been cleaning drawers put all Christmas away got out spring .My Easter flowers are coming updecor.My …

  38. Connie Hill says:

    Hi Susan, I had all of your books including the girlfriends one. Loved everyone of them!
    I was one of the victims of the Camp Fire in Paradise Ca. So I no longer have your books but was happy to see your blog today. Would like a free copy of the girlfriends book to give to a special friend that has helped me cope through this time. Love this blog! Was signed up for Willard’s, hope I signed up for blog the right way?

    • sbranch says:

      I’m sure you did, Connie. Just wanted to send you love. I had a niece renting in Paradise during the fire, she made it out, but what a horror. I’m so sorry for all that you’ve lost. Sending you prayers for strength. xoxoxoxo

  39. Patti H says:

    I just finished tidying up my clothes (folding camisoles Marie Condo way-they do “stand up” if you fold them correctly) and kitchen cabinets and oiling my chubby chihuahua cutting board and wooden utensils. After promising myself a cup of your tea and a visit to your blog, I straightened my bookshelves too. Lo and behold, we must be of the same mindset; reading about you cleaning, folding Joe’s shirts and oiling wooden handles made me smile.

  40. Susan, you never cease to amaze and inspire… a very Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Joe!

  41. Ronna says:

    Susan, your blogs and Willard are quintessential coziness. Thank you for the care you share to inspire all us Girlfriends to make the best of the little moments (the moments that really are the most life-sustaining). These in-between times of early February, when the daylight increases a little more each day and yet you can still bundle up inside with a favorite hot cuppa, are my favorite. Plus, I get a week of celebrations each year with my birthday on the 13th, Valentine’s on the 14th, and my mother’s birthday on the 17th!

    Best wishes to you for a lovely month, and please give an extra chin scratch to Jack for me. xoxo

  42. Jan Ash says:

    Everything about this post made me happy and “sparked joy!”
    Thank you for sharing with all of us, you made my day.

  43. chris Consentino says:

    aaaaah….you always seem to “visit” @ JUST the right time!! what a gift you are! soooo, i’m “kind of” going to tidy up. we’ll see how far I get prior to fatigue pulling me to couch. a very dear friend sent me a quote…the BEST labor-saving device of today is….tomorrow!!!! haha. how VERY deee-lightful!! have you ever heard that one before?? sad to say…I’ve embodied the art of procrastination all my life! not good. THANK YOU for re-tweet of AOC @ cong. hearing!! WOW!! says it all, doesn’t it?? have a great day & again, THANK YOU…for being you! xo

  44. Bren C. says:

    Hi Susan! I have been an avid SB follower since 1986 and learned how to make our house a home through you! I continue to love everything that is Susan Branch and my kids have chosen your cookbooks as things they want when I pass because I use them so much! Thank you so much for the joy and inspiration. You are truly magical.

  45. Alison says:

    Lovely to have just received your Willard and gone on to read your blog. I have been suffering a cold lately and your lovely words and pictures have helped to cheer me up. I would love to be in the draw to win your gorgeous book. The days of having valentine’s are gone for me as I am newly single after 30 years of marriage – but this has been a blessing and my new chapter has been wonderful and exciting.

  46. Alison Wood says:

    Always keeping my ears open for movie news – so exciting.

    You should be in the National Trust shops and what about at the shop at the Jane Austen museum in Chawton, are you there? You so should be because you mention them 🙂

    Love to enter the giveaway too! Thank you.

  47. Mary Hewitt says:

    Susan your blog (and Willard) always make me so warm and happy. I have started to learn to watercolor and LOVE to see your pictures of your setup. I have so many questions about how to do it? My best friend went to England last June (we were very sorry to miss the meet up) and she brought me Union Jack bunting for each of our cottages because, like you, I feel bunting makes everything more festive–and it did!! We went to Hilltop and I felt that magic there as well. I will order the corgi mug in honor of my sweet departed Queen Wilhelmina doggie. She was mean, but she LOVED me 🙂 Thank you for sharing with us!

  48. Kathy Eriksen says:

    Always so enjoy reading your blogs. I really wish while digging in your closet your had found a few more Winter (now sold out) cups in the back. Still kicking myself for not getting that one. Could use it this weekend since Portland, Oregon seems to be in the path of cold and snow.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m sorry we don’t have more of them! I got lots extra, but you never know when people will fall in love with something like they did the winter cup! Stay warm Kathy!

  49. jeannine t leonard says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  50. sharon taylor says:

    Hi Susan, Loved this blog on tidying up and being introduced to Marie Condo. I am going to fold and put my husbands polo type shirts like that in the drawer to make it easier for him to find and not take out one he doesn’t want and then just leaves it for me to refold. How true the JOY of getting ready for Christmas and then actually the JOY of a clean slate in January to start the year. Just one note of caution re: Jack. As a cat aficionado (at least that’s what I like to think I am). As much as Jack likes to chase rubber bands beware he doesn’t eat them because they may not pass through his system. There is something in a rubber band that cat’s love the smell of and that’s why they will chew them or eat them. We don’t want anything to happen to that very sweet boy. Happy Valentines Day, Sharon

    • sbranch says:

      I call them rubber bands but they’re really the thicker, covered ponytail bands . . . he’s chased them for years but isn’t interested in them as chew toy. Thank you for the warning because it can be very dangerous when kitties eat rubber bands!

  51. Susan, You bring a smile to my face with every blog! Love, love, love!!
    Thank you !

  52. JILL E PETTIS says:

    Thank you for making a moon cup! Can’t wait.

  53. Lovely post, as always. 🙂

    I hadn’t realized Girlfriends Forever was out of print. I’ve given several away as birthday gifts to dear friends over the years (one of them all the way to Copenhagen), and now regret not having the foresight to save one for myself! I mean, I’ve intended to several times, but it’s one of those books I just can’t manage to keep on hand – some occasion or life event comes up, and I think “this would be perfect!”, and off it goes… (Your “A Fine Romance” and Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” are the same – several copies come and gone, lol)…

    At any rate, thanks for the generous giveaway, and thanks for the adorable pic of Jack, and for the biscuit recipe too – it sounds delicious. 🙂

    Happy Creating!
    ♥ Carolee

  54. Diane Zatkovich says:

    My Dad always sang out “Home Sweet Home”! when he pulled into the driveway of his
    home. How I wish I could hear that from him one more time. I plan on ordering your
    lovely Home Sweet Home mug, then I can think of this lovely memory every time I have tea.

    I am a “newby” but now I get to look forward to reading all the older blogs! What fun!

  55. Rebecca Wright says:

    Lovely blog post. I have been organizing my closet so I loved that you have been tidying up as well. Strength in numbers. I am watching Marie Kondo and YouTube videos for inspiration. What did we do before YouTube and your Blog to keep us motivated!

  56. kimberley says:

    I’ve been “Marie Kondoing” since watching the show and re-reading her books. First tidy up in a few years, lots of emotions bubbling up, but facing the demons head on.

  57. Joyce Price says:

    I really like the poem! Thanks for sharing it!

  58. Barbara Urbank says:

    Hi Susan! I love the new mugs, especially the moon and birthday ones! We have been clearing things out and cleaning closets here too. It’s amazing what you accumulate in thirty odd years! Must quit holding onto things I never use! On another note, I think it is a great idea to have Willard on the blog. I always look forward to them both!

  59. Linda C. says:

    Happy New Year Joe & Susan : )

    So glad Everyone at the Studio appears to be feeling well again and ready to take on this brand new year we have All been given . . .

    Happy February,
    Liinda C. of So Cal

  60. Jean Mooney says:

    Hello Susan
    I would love to be the winner of your book “Girlfriends Forever ”
    You must have a blooming big cupboard.
    Best wishes

  61. Pam says:

    Loved your post as always! I know you’ll keep creating & being inspirational. Thanks for being a “virtual” forever friend….. just love Jack & his antics – such a special kitty!!

  62. LindaB says:

    Thank you for the blog post, Willard and a chance to win something lovely !! Been a rough few weeks, thanks for perking me up. I think these cups might be my favorite so far ! I’ll be ordering them soon !! ❤️❤️

  63. mari1017 says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Susan ♥ Ha! I’m right in the middle of after Christmas declutter. Moved, unpacked, holidays, now to clean, pick my favorites, and let new friends or local thrift shops enjoy what I know I will not be using or enjoying. Love all the new items, especially the Birthday Cup…yeah! Will you keep them in stock by any chance, or are they a limited edition also? Just asking 🙂 Now freshen up my coffee and on to Willard…been missing catching up with him! xoxo mari

  64. Susan Durrschmidt says:

    Love seeing all your sparkling, organized ways around the home and always, Jack. Happy Valentine’s Day sweetie. xo

  65. Julie C Begg says:

    POsted my comment but I can’t find it! Boo Hoo, what did I do wrong? Thank you, Susan, for making it easier to find you. I lost you somewhere a bit ago! I’ve watched Marie too. I can’t understand her, but she has such a sweet voice.

  66. Carolyn Rector says:

    Thanks for the opportunity to enter your drawing. Always love a new blog post, your home always looks lovely and inspirational to me. Love to find a new blog post in the morning, a nice surprise. Now, to tackle that cluttered kitchen table…

  67. Jessica Lothridge says:

    Hi Susan, Lovely to hear from you again! Your posts are as fun as they are soothing in a hectic day. Wishing you all the joy you bring to us, your girlfriends!


  68. I hope I have filled out the information for your blog correctly. Enjoy your newsletter and like all the beautiful items you design.

  69. Carol Leatherman says:

    Marie Kondo – yes, I am in the middle of the life-changing magic of tidying up in my home – stuff was just choking me, and I have boxes for charity and boxes of stuff to sell. And yes, I love that she is asking you to only hang on to what you love – not look for things to get rid of –
    Aloha from Maui!

  70. Christine Norris says:

    I bought Girlfriends Forever for one of my very best friends, and I have been looking for a copy for myself ever since. So, I would love to win this lovely treasure!

  71. Nancy Bivona says:

    What a wonderful way to relax in the afternoon….reading your blog
    with a cup of hot chocolate….simply divine!

    Thank you for always making me smile!

  72. Cecilia Dennings says:

    I just love everything you say and do. Hope a movie does happen! Would love to win a gift from you. Thank you for the happiness and joy you bring to so many of us!

  73. Jacqueline Elliott says:

    What a great afternoon I’ve had reading your blog and now Willard. It’s been a busy week caring for my husband who had hip surgery, but today he’s feeling very well and I am taking a break on the porch with a cup of tea, enjoying this warm North Carolina day. Thank you, Susan

  74. mimilulu says:

    Loved this post, so much to share. I’ve been a fan for a very long time but rarely reply and leave a comment. So today I am! Must start saving all coins/change in order to buy all the new cups!! Thanks for being you. :}

  75. Jocelyn Luciano says:

    Happy Valentines Day lovely!🥰❤️
    Thank you for the generous giveaway! Love you to the moon and back!❤️

  76. Michele says:

    Lovely blog~ enjoyed sharing the “simple-but-deep” Chinese proverb with my equally wise (and tidy) Chinese friend, Stephanie 🙂 I want to make the biscuit recipe, but we’re in the middle of Snow-meggedon east of Seattle (and, not being an area that usually gets snow, our little town doesn’t own a plow; we just all stay home!) and don’t have cream cheese on hand at the moment. Next week!
    Thanks for offering the wonderful give-away. ~michele

  77. Shauna says:

    I’m in Roma, having the time of my life, eating pasta cacio e Pepe and cioccolatta gelato until my eyeballs pop out, but I LOVE reading about back home, too! See you next week, my American friends! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  78. Linda Hartman says:

    Dear Susan: you continue to make the world a better place. Bless you for the kindnesses, traditions, travels, and advice you share via your words and art. Fingers crossed that you might seal the movie deal very soon.

  79. Ashley Pickrell says:

    I love the Home Sweet Home cup! It’s so sweet, perfect for the cupboard in my little home. 🙂

  80. Pat Landale says:

    How pleasant to read your blog. I had to smile, I had just come back from the library with a book titled Spark Joy, by Marie Kondo all about the life changing magic of tidying up, then in your blog just what you have been doing. That being said you are a joy and give so much pleasure with your books,(which I have everyone) also the yearly calendar that I always receive for Christmas, however Sue I did notice that you have the Chinese New Year as the bear, am I wrong in thinking it is the Pig for 2019.
    Willard is another post that I enjoy. It does sound like you are a very busy happy person, with Joe as your L-O-V-E Happy Valentines Day

  81. Libby Massey says:

    Hi Susan, love when you show up in my mailbox.
    ❤️ Happy Valentines to you and Joe!


  82. Sharon moellendick says:

    Love to read your blog. Enjoy hearing about your travels.

  83. Kim Schaefer says:

    Love seeing the blog after receiving an email about Willard. Thanks!

  84. Sandy Jackson says:

    I love everything you do & have learned so much from your blogs! Now I’m teaching my young grandson all about the different moons. He is fascinated with the moon! I’m celebrating my 70th birthday on the Island. I went once before & never forgot how beautiful & quaint it is. We’ll be there the beginning of July! Thanks for sharing your life with so many loyal girlfriends & a sprinkling of men.

  85. Dianne Panio says:

    Oh, Susan! You have done it again. The new mugs you have created are truly lovely. Thank you for sharing your kind, gentle and cheerful spirit with us through your art and your words.

  86. Cindy Davis says:

    Thank you for what you do. I so enjoy your blog, books, recipes, art, mugs, etc. You have been blessed with talent and it is wonderful that you share it with all of us!

  87. Susan Oursland says:

    I love how you embrace and enjoy femininity so much! It’s a delight to take care of home, family and be creative all the while. Taking joy in creating ordered prettiness is a refreshing ordinary practice that you inspire. Thank you from one Susan to another!

  88. Donna Valentine says:

    Hi Susan! Happy Valentine’s Day!!!! Your new cups are beautiful….I especially like the starry night and moon one, with the shooting star!!! So creative! I like your room re-decorating ideas too! Now to just get started! Our snowy weather here makes one just want to sit by the fire and be cozy!!!! Hope you are having a wonderful winter in cozy Martha’s Vineyard….take good care! Donna from Montana

  89. Barbara Kuzdzal says:

    Today was a perfect day to open your blog and Willard. I got my new stove delivered. My old one in my holiday home has been working with a mind of its own for awhile, and it was time to say Thank you and let it go. The first thing I’ll do is try your recipe. I can’t wait to see those little hearts and share with my daughter’s family. Your blog and Willard were a joy,as always. Thank you!

  90. Deb says:

    Susan, you bring such a delight to the day when I see your email in the inbox! As I click the link & put on the ‘musica’ my lips spread to a wide grin from ear to ear while I read, my shoulders drop, and any stresses of the day just fade away. Thank you!

  91. Norma Lewis says:

    I always enjoy reading your blog. The new cups are wonderful!

  92. Kathy K. says:

    Susan, thank you for sharing your “Sense and Sensibilities” with us. My sister, daughter and I always text each other as soon as one of us sees the new blog and it never disappoints. Big fans! Keep it coming, gal!

  93. Lisa says:

    Your blog makes me so happy!

  94. Chris Marteinsson says:

    Dear Susan,
    You have brightened my life since I discovered your books at our local library in Kelowna B.C. I was 28 years old. I now live in Salmon Arm, B.C. and can still access your books there as well as the ones I now own. I will be 70 this year and still love your books, your recipes, your blog and you. Many thanks for your inspiration.

    • sbranch says:

      I had a friend in Kelowna, she may still be there, Jeannie Bird, and her husband Tim. Nice to hear from you Chris!

  95. Christine says:

    I love your blog and Willard newsletter. Good idea combining the two. I must have missed the opportunity to comment about your bone china mugs and cups. I tried ordering the 11 oz summer mug, for some reason it did not take, then I called and left one message. Next thing I knew they were sold out. I was wondering if you would ever consider doing another? I have four of your mugs now and use my favorite bluebird one every morning. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us!

  96. Wendy DeBoard says:

    Oh, I do hope Isle of Dreams becomes a show/movie! That book was my first introduction to your world and I loved it so much!!

  97. Karen Bowerman says:

    Recovering from nasal surgery and so enjoyed catching up on your winter activities. My kitty girl, Itzy, is sleeping in a box on my desktop … and is snoring! Lol 🙂 I got energetic yesterday and rearranged my living room furniture. Anxious for Spring to arrive and now I can see out my windows more easily. Browsed through your online store and ordered a few items as well 🙂

  98. Elizabeth Forbes says:

    You are just SO much fun!!! Sheri, hello from a fellow 5-cities gal! I CANNOT get over the fact that I know someone who gets to “hangout” with the most wonderful, famous Susan Branch! I dream of meeting you, Susan! Thanks for being you!

  99. Christine says:

    Yay for special girlfriend valentines!

  100. E. Harney and John Gaudio says:

    I need those luv-lee mugs. Thank you!

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