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. Fiona Bryant says:

    What a lovely surprise to receive a Willard after a long time without. Very happy to sign up to the blog.

    I relate exactly to you regarding eventually becoming annoyed by the Christmas decorations etc. There comes a point where I just have to have the normal house back again. But there is not much sorting or tidying happening here during January, when the long hot and humid days make for lazy summer holidays – beaches, cricket on the tv, and barbecues. In February, when school goes back, we do tend to get into a “get organised” mindset but when it is 35 degrees (celsius) it is hard to get motivated.

    We have the Kondo fad happening here as well. I am a bit bemused, as I know that if I pulled out everything in one go, that would be the end of it. The stuff would stay on the floor for months, because I couldn’t face the hours of work required. I’ve been following FlyLady for years, and I much prefer the “little and often” approach.

    Anyway, I am excited to be getting your blog more frequently, as it always lifts my heart.

    • sbranch says:

      On the other side of the world, always amazing to hear your seasons . . . we are freezing here on the northeast coast of America and there is not getting out for any lazy days. We run to get back in as fast as we can! Nice to hear from you, here comes fall!

  2. becky pappenheim says:

    Love love love the recipe, snow storm on way tonite, seems like perfect time to make muffins!!!!

  3. Bridget Czapiewski says:

    I always feel so warm and cozy and inspired after checking in on your blog. I recently heard about Marie Kondo and have been trying to “Kondo-up” as much as I can. Started with putting away the Christmas decorations-if they didn’t bring me joy I packed them up to bring someone else a little joy.
    Thank you for all the beauty you put into this world!
    Btw, my son gave me a great book for Christmas called “Fab Four Mania: A Beatles Obsession and the Concert of a Lifetime” by Carol Tyler. I’ve been a fan since I was about 6 or 7 and I know you MET them!!!! (OMG!)

    • sbranch says:

      I know, I think the same thing! 😂

      • Bridget Czapiewski says:

        I also just recently bought the complete Ed Sullivan Shows when the Beatles appeared. It shows each show on which they appeared. It’s the whole show, even the commercials! I found it in the Acorn catalog. I might be in a time warp! Can’t get the smile off my face. So satisfying…taking it one show at a time to make it last.

  4. Rita V says:

    I love everything about your blog and about Willard. It’s so comforting, and so inviting. Thank you.

  5. Theresa Kane says:

    I just love reading your blog. It makes me feel like I am sitting there with you. I am a bird lover and will, now and forever, think of Cardinals as winter Valentines!

  6. christine stafford says:

    Always look forward to reading your blog, such a treat! Love your artwork, especially with your calendars and mugs!

  7. Katherine Arends says:

    Love the new mugs! Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Joe! ❤

  8. Cynthia Gardner says:

    I too am loving Marie Kondo right now! I also would LOVE a Girlfriends book! Oh Vanna, please pick me!!!

  9. Genan Kirby says:

    So very excited about these gifties. I own one of the Girlfriend Books from the time they hit the market. So excited.

  10. Phyllis Schmitz says:

    The Lemon Pepper Tea Biscuits look so good and I will be
    making them soon. Thanks for recipe and nice blog.

  11. Wendy in MN says:

    Dear Susan,
    You “spark joy” for me but I would like to say thank you as well as keep you as a girlfriend. I hope that doesn’t break the tidying rules.
    I always look forward to your writings, photos and watercolor work. I enjoy dabbling around with watercolors (not near your caliber 😊) and would love to learn how you do letters that change color. Do you ever do tutorial videos?
    Thanks for have such a nice giveaway! It warms my heart even though it’s 21 below tonight.
    Seek peace,

    • sbranch says:

      Every so often I put a painting video on my blog, just a little one, or a photo . . . you just paint the letters the colors you want them to be! Thank you Wendy!

  12. Kristel says:

    Oh how I love the new mugs, especially the moon and stars mug. Sadly we lost our dog Luna two days after this past Christmas but it’s comforting to think of my “moon” doggie being up there amongst the stars. ❤

  13. Meg R. - South Carolina says:

    I too take down Christmas decorations in January, the day after Epiphany. Family comes for dinner for Epiphany that includes King’s cake (spice cake with coins baked in) for dessert. The daughters all get a gift of a “Susan Branch” calendar wrapped in gold paper.
    After everything is cleaned and dusted, the Valentine’s decorations come out and once again my home is transformed again with things I love. Thank you for sharing the simple things in life even in this chaotic world.

  14. Terri W. says:

    You spark joy with every post, Susan!

    I’ve been enjoying Marie Kondo and getting some tidying up inspiration. I told a friend that I needed to “Marie Kondo” my craft room, and she replied that I would find many things that sparked joy there! That’s totally the problem, but a much better problem than nothing that sparks joy, right? 😍




    happy valentine’s day a little early

  17. Marilyn Sellers says:

    So happy to find the blog and catch up on what’s new in the Willard World! And fun to hear how you have begun to prepare not only your home, but your work in the studio for 2019. The give-a-ways are exciting and know whom ever receives one of them will thoroughly enjoy their present!

  18. Marilyn Sellers says:

    Was happy to find the latest edition of “Willard” and catch up on what is new and exciting with Susan Branch. It is fun to see what is in the works for 2019. The give-a-ways are very beautiful. I am sure that whomever happens to receive one of them will treasure the gift. Thank you

  19. Mary Meyers says:

    I’ve just discovered you and your books! What a joy! Thank you!

  20. Linda Hull says:

    Love the Quick Clean tips!! Never know when someone is going to drop in! Always be prepared, and now I can be! I have been a bit remiss in removing some of my seasonal decorations. Now I am motivated to clean up and put all away for another day! Thank you for inspiring and motivating is such a charming way!

  21. Rebecca Rathel says:

    Oh, but I love the “Home Sweet Home” cup.

    Thank you for the opportunity to enter the giveaway.

  22. Yvonne Sullivan says:

    Hey Susan so I decided to try your idea ofiling my wooden spoons and cutting board.I used paper towel and olive oil they look great thank you

  23. Yvonne Sullivan says:

    Hey Susan so I decided to try your idea ofiling my wooden spoons and cutting board.I used paper towel and olive oil they look great thank you.I don’t know why I’ve never thought of that I usually just scrub with dish soap don’t put put wood in dishwasher.I know some scrub with lemon and salt.Love your receipes and of course love your kitty 💕🐱Hey to Joe

  24. Lou Ann Gieringer says:

    Susan it always makes it a happier day when I read your blog. Sending a smile your way.

  25. Patty Volner says:

    thanks Susan for the inspiration on tidying up, I needed that! ~patty

  26. Amy Wasson says:

    I love reading your blog, and enjoy all of the beautiful photos and illustrations.

  27. Marcie A Hack says:

    Love everything in your store. I really love the new mug-Bella Luna.

  28. Barbara Elias says:

    Thank you for all your artwork and inspiration. I met you in 2009 at the Quilt Show in Ontario, Ca. I purchased many Books as gifts and Calendars. I still purchase many items from dear Barbara Cheatley in Clairemont, Ca.♥️Barbara Elias

  29. Christine Morgan says:

    Love the new mugs. Love having tea in the morning from my Susan Branch mugs—-deciding each day which one to use. Warms my heart.

  30. Gayle says:

    Just had a big snowstorm here in Utah, even schools closed, which never happens. Perfect weather for staying in and enjoying time with you.

  31. Judith Adams says:

    Hm, just realized I didn’t get a Willard…have they all gone out? I had to change my email address last year due to a hack, maybe I haven’t updated it with you. Shall sign up again…getting 2 Willards would be better than 1, or none! Since it has been snowing in Seattle I’m baking every day, and your little lemon pepper tea biscuits are delicious! Especially toasted, drenched in butter and jam 🙂 I’m enjoying the sparkly white snow for you!

  32. Teresa Rivera says:

    Have been a huge fan of yours from the beginning Susan Branch – your talent and creativity is amazing! Meeting you in person one day is on my bucket list. Wishing you a happy and love filled Valentine’s Day 🙂

  33. Denise Harclerode says:

    Susan, I always enjoy your art and writings…they have a way of making my heart sing!Thanks for the blog and Willard…great idea to merge them!

  34. Gretchen says:

    You have such a gift with words and pictures. When I read, “Paint the town a hot baby girl bubble gum pink,” I thought what better way to describe celebration. You manage to create magic and beauty in a few words that evoke beautiful images and feelings in hearts and minds. Bless you for sprinkling beauty on grey, dark, February days.

    • sbranch says:

      What a nice thing to say! How I love my Girlfriends. Love reading these comments, I come away knowing I have the dearest friends in the world. Love that everyone gets to meet everyone this way! Kindred spirits!

  35. MARY V. says:

    I love what you’ve done, past. present and to come. Such joy, peace and it keeps us all going to make our homes and families, content. how things should be. We have it all right. Blessings!!!!!

  36. June Poh says:

    Enjoyed your blog. You are a talented person!

  37. Gloria says:

    Happy Valentine Day Susan!

  38. grace thorne says:

    the new cups are simply adorable! alas i can only “paint” with fabric so you are definitely my alter ego!

  39. kimberley says:

    I cant seem to “do” the new Willard. I clicked on the feeds button, but there was no option to subscribe by email, only to add the feed to my favourites.

  40. Shelley says:

    I was so happy to see Willard in my mailbox. The Love cup so the sweetest. You are so talented! Thank you for sharing your love of life.

  41. Ginny Wagner says:

    Thank you so much for brightening my early morning on a cold blustery day. I always look forward to your next posting. I have 2 cups and want one of each of the new ones. Oh dear, how to choose. Thanks, Mary.

  42. Marie says:

    Tidying is very addictive once you start with a plan. Love the new cups.

  43. Sharan says:

    Thank you for the new post Susan! I too have been tidying up. I love the simplicity of January for doing this. And the sweetness of February for inspiration! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  44. Laura Parsons says:

    I love reading your blog Susan.

  45. Tammy Lyons says:

    This is my first visit to your blog . A lovely gentle domesticity sister on another blog highly recommended your blog to me. I am so glad I came by for a visit. I shall be back and signing up to follow you. Love your beautiful writings and home. I will be trying your recipe as well. They look delicious. Also thank you for a chance to enter your beautiful and lovely Giveaways.

  46. A Southwest Missouri Girlfriend says:

    Happy early Valentine’s Day!!
    Love all the new cup designs! Bravo!
    Bella Luna and Home Sweet Home are my favorite. (I LOVE the 11 oz. size. It doesn’t aggravate the osteoarthritis in my hands.)
    You are so creative and you inspire us so much. At present I am at my computer hutch next to the windows watching the birds and looking around the room to see what I could do to de-clutter. 🙂
    Thank God for Susan, who inspires and delights all of us out here in the world.
    a Southwest Missouri Girlfriend

  47. Shanna says:

    It’s always a joy to find a new Susan post! Luv-lee once again!

  48. Ferol Snead says:

    Dear Susan, Bless you allowing so many into your creative, heavenly, Jack & Joe, Beatrix Potter beloved life! I can only imagine having my own chair at your Valentine’s dinner table! Amore!

  49. Amy from Wisconsin says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you once again of your beautiful INSPIRATION!
    We have been in a “deep freeze” here in Wisconsin, “cabin fever” starting to set in, not a lot of snow (in our part of the state) that sticks around to play in- soooo time to really “Tidy Up”!
    Forever grateful that I fell in love with your artwork and recipes in Country Living magazine so many years ago and that you continue to create all of your beautiful books and “accessories”!
    Enjoy the quite….

  50. Sherry Case says:

    Hi Susan
    I love your 3 new mugs! Especially the corgi mug😊
    And you have inspired me to start some serious cleaning embracing some of the Marie Kondo methods. Thanks.
    Happy Valentine’s Day.

  51. Karen Bowermam says:

    Read your blog while home recovering from nasal surgery. My kitty girl, Itzy, is sleeping in a box by my side. Got ambitious and rearranged my living room furniture. Now when spring arrives I will be able to see out my window much more clearly. Also did a bit of browsing in your store and just couldn’t get by without putting a few pieces in my shopping cart… LOL.

  52. Kristin Gjertsen says:

    I always enjoy reading your updates! Your beautiful “English” curtains inspired me to make new rose covered floral curtains for my bedroom and hang lace under-curtains for that old fashioned cottage feel. Thank you for sharing your projects, art, decorating, recipes, and the joy you find in the simple, homey things of life.

  53. Rose Sombar says:

    Just love your work which I share with my friend of 53 years. We are devoted fans!

  54. Looking forward to my new mug!!! Ordering one for a friend, too!

  55. Melanie from Illinois says:

    Happy Winter!

  56. I woke up to a cold morning here in Seminole, Texas but reading your Willard warmed my soul and made me optimistic. Happy Day to you and Happy Valentines.

  57. Kim says:

    I love the new mugs! I’m so excited about your new book. This will give me another reason to go back myself. Happy Valentine’s Day! Kim

  58. Mary Weir says:

    As always, I so enjoyed “catching up” with you and your lovely holidays.
    I’m loving my 2019 calendar! I write the newsletter for the middle school where I work and my principal likes to begin it with a positive quote each week — thank you for the inspiration that I often get from your calendar and blog for great thoughts from great thinkers and writers to share.
    I have my fingers crossed about the movie!
    Hope you’ve enjoyed the falling of (a reasonable amount of) snow by now! Wishing you a blessed and creative 2019. Thanks for making us all the beneficiaries of your creativity and vision.

  59. Diann says:

    It was wonderful to get Willard news! The new cups are gorgeous!
    Happy Valentine’s Day❤

  60. Darla says:

    That was Funny when you told about wanting to play the game decorating bedrooms it reminded me when I was young and my mom would have to yell up the stairs and tell me not to scrap my bedroom floor because I would rearrange my bedroom many mornings before school.

  61. Pam Mauch says:

    Reading your blog, listening to “Musica” (now I must find that movie featuring Glenn Miller Orchestra & John Payne), and having my morning cuppa & cinnamon biscuits is a relaxing way to began a Saturday morning. Thank you, Susan💜🎶

  62. Pammy says:

    The new mugs are adorable, especially the corgi! Gah! So cute. Would love to win the love bird mug though! Stay warm! ❤️

  63. Jeanne Martin says:

    New subscriber today. Thank you for motivating me to get the last of the holiday boxes away from the dining room walls and into the basement.

  64. Kathy Kulper says:

    Love love 💕 love reading the Blog! And combining it with WILLARD… brilliant! ❣️Blessings from the CENTRAL COAST… your ‘other’ home!❤️🥰

  65. Cynthia says:

    Love your new mugs ! When you chooses a mug for your tea, it’s good to have a variety to go with your mood!

  66. Donna Campbell says:

    Such a delightful start to my day, reading your words and soaking up all of the
    pictures. Thank you for making our corner of the world a little brighter by what you do! I look forward to it always.

  67. Maureen M says:

    How exciting it must be to create such wonderful and useful art. You are one lucky girl!

  68. Sarah Trayer says:

    💞🌷💞 Happy 💞 Valentine’s 💞 Day 💞🌷💞 Susan 💞🌷💞. Thanks for the encouragement to tidy up💞🌷💞

  69. Jean says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day Susan and Joe! ❤️ You’ve come a long way since Willard arrived by snail mail with little surprises like stickers. I was cooking with my children then and now I’m a Granny! I love the mugs! I’ll cross my fingers and cheer for the winner.

  70. Theresa says:

    I have already put out your Swedish valentine hearts. Thank you for all the ways you spark joy in our lives. 😉

  71. Sylvia in NH says:

    I love the new cups!! In the process of decluttering before another move. It’s amazing how fast “stuff” intrudes and accumulates. =(^.^)=

  72. Betsy Cronin says:

    Delightful new mugs!!! A MOVIE????? ❤️❤️

  73. Sari says:

    As always, such a timely and beautiful post. Thank you for that. And also for the chance to enter your draw.

  74. Suzanne says:

    ♥ How I hope “Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams” is made into a movie!
    I had read Marie Kondo’s “Spark Joy” and “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and just finished binged watching her news series on Netflix, but I have to say this blog post inspires me even more. Still waiting for Willard – can’t wait to read! Oh what a blessing you are in all seasons!
    Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Joe.

  75. Shawna says:

    I ❤️ English Corgis! 🇬🇧

  76. Roseanne Hall says:

    Dearest Susan.. I can read your blog all.day.long! You are so inspiring and take me to places and all things that I love! Wishing you nothing but blue skies and sunshine!! 🥰❤️💙☀️💫🌈🍳☕️🥧🍰🥂🍷

  77. Thanks for this fun post!! I enjoys your blog so much as obviously so many others do! So positive and helpful!!😊💕

  78. Joyce Ruley says:

    Such joy to read your blog on a rainy, cold TX day!

  79. lori ann says:

    my heart is so happy to be here! this is a lot for me to say. finding myself unexpectedly alone and having to start over now at 60. but being here, your words and heartwarming paintings and photos are the things to help anyone smile and remember that all is well, and more, it’s wonderful! thank you lovely susan, you are surely one of earths angels. xoxo
    {and the generous giveaway! crossing all my fingers!} ♡

  80. Mary Pat says:

    Your blog always makes my day! Thank you and thank you some more XXOO Mary

  81. Terri says:

    Your art, blog, body of work, all bring joy! Simply lovely.Thank you!!

  82. Mary Dyer says:

    Thank you, Susan. Your aporoach to tidying up and what sparks joy is like mine. I just can’t do modern minimalist. I need quikts, photos, my favorite cups, hubs soecial cuos, etc. Happy ❤ Day to you and Joe.

  83. Cindy says:

    Everything you do is sunshine!!! You make my heart smile!! ‘luv u 🙂

  84. Cathy says:

    My grandpa’s name was Willard, too!

  85. Mary Ann Nichelini says:

    Happy Valentines Day to you and Joe. Love the blog! Take care.
    Mary Ann

  86. I wish you lived closer. I would love to invite you for tea.
    Love love love (sorry, no happy vintage musica) to find your blogs, and Willards, now joined together in holy readery- in my email.
    I paint. Maybe some time we can paint together.
    Wishing you the happiness your words and watercolor brings to others.
    And thank you for entering me into your drawing. If I win or lose, still,
    love you!

  87. Monica Wilson says:

    Hi Susan! Oh what fun it would be to win the three special gifts! I love all three of them, but especially was taken with the second, because it has the word I came away with from a recent retreat – “new”. The Valentine poem has “new” twice! I also have to tell you I just made your Cranberry Orange Cake for a gathering of my book club and it was such a hit! So yummy! I am going to make it again for a dessert next week for our dinner group Corks and Forks! I know you say it is for breakfast or brunch, but I think it makes a delicious dessert too. And the cranberries are red for Valentine’s Day!

  88. Mercedes González says:

    I feel so inspired by your post. I am a long way from you ( northen Spain )but I feel as if you were near.Thank you Susan.

  89. Megan says:

    Getting organised is great. Makes you feel all set to do things in the new year. I wish we had some of your cool and quiet, it’s very busy here in the heat of summer lots of people still on holidays and having fun in the sun! Roll on autumn I say.

  90. Dawn Grisham says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day Susan! I always find your blog inspiring and comforting. Have a wonderful 2019! ❤️❤️❤️

  91. Virginia says:

    Luv the recent Willard! I needed the extra nudge to tidy up. Thanks for this chance to win one of your awesome prizes……

  92. Carol Herzig says:

    I love your blog and Willard. I was so enamored by your story “Isle of Dreams”. My family and I go to MV every summer for a week and we love it. I usually go again in the fall. My dream is to someday live there. However I don’t think that will happen. It is a truly special place. You help to make my dream more real every time I read your blog. I hope i can be a winner of some of your special giveaways.
    Thanks for being just who you are.
    Carol Herzig from Ct.

  93. Kaila St. Louis says:

    I am a new subscriber to your blog and I love ❤️ it so much! It is like a letter from home for me. My mother was an avid letter writer and I miss her homey notes. I too love sending letters, as well as receiving them of course! So often when you tell about yourself, you could be describing me. Thanks so much for sharing joy!

  94. Lynda Van Wyk says:

    Dear Susan, thank you for the cozy letter! I am snowbound today, not a regular thing for us in the great Pacific Northwest, so I am making the most of it! Tea in my SB Christmas mug and my little dog curled up in the comfy chair. I have been wanting to share this little story with you, now’s the time! In October, my hubby and I were on a road trip from WA down the coast to California. He booked us a room at the Apple Farm in SLO. I was excited, because that is where my dad did his basic training about 68 years ago! We got all checked in to our cozy room, enjoyed the complimentary wine tasting, and as we were heading downtown for the farmer’s market, we stopped into the cute gift shop. OMG!! A beautiful display of all things Susan Branch!! I was so excited, the shop girl got excited too. She said, “Oh! are you here to see her??”… see her? what? Well, we were a couple of days early, and your event was sold out, but MAN!! It was still exciting. I purchased a few treasures for me and my fellow fan and we went on down to the farmer’s market, which was FABULOUS! Maybe next time I will plan better! Anyway, thank you for your story and your art and everything. Your Kindred Spirit Friend, Lynda

  95. Mary says:

    A very long time ago,1996, I met you at the Captain Linnell House in Orleans. You were promoting a book. I just moved to Cape. We all sat at a round table and you treated all of us like “Girlfriends” You were amazing then and more amazing now! I remember buying the Girlfriend book for a friend and I had to buy one for me too! Well, we are supposed to be our own best friend….right?🛀❤️🎨😻💕

  96. Fran Williams says:

    I was so happy to receive your mail today!!! I recently became a great-grandmother and was looking in my collection of writing paper and note cards but could not find the perfect one. I so wish you would offer note cards and writing paper for us incurable romantics. I want to write to my granddaughter and her little daughter so the notes can become keepsakes for them. Please consider my request, I am sure others would love them.

    • sbranch says:

      We do have some cards in my web-store. There’s also a book, a guided “story of my life” that you could fill in … beautiful gift to hand down. Congratulations, new baby girl!

  97. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Hello Susan! I haven’t been around for awhile because your site just wouldn’t let me post a comment, so I am trying again to see if it works. Here goes…

  98. Annette says:

    Thank you, Susan, for the inspiration and beauty of your artwork! What a Blessing! Every year I have your blotter calendar affixed to the wall of my work cubicle. I can’t help but smile each time I look at the calendar. I am not saddened by the passage of time; I am gladdened by time’s beauty.

  99. Dana Roller says:

    Can’t wait to see your night lights. I am rereading your Fairy Tale Girl. Love all your designs, books and especially politics.

  100. Patricia Craddock says:

    Thanks for the lovely Valentine’s post.

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