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. Susan S. Stanislawski says:

    Hi Susan, Your new mugs are gorgeous!!!🌷 ~ Love the idea, when redecorating, of thinking, what makes me happy, instead of what should I give away!!! Happy Valentines Day!!!💕

  2. Jo Donaghy says:

    I love the new mugs Susan. I just signed up for the new blog/Willard, Happy Valentine’s day.

  3. sydney gines says:

    Beautiful encouragement to tidy-up particularly while we are fresh into a new year and winter is upon us. I love January and February. I love the slower pace of the “outside” hustle and bustle. I love Valentines all month long. Ha! My husband asks me nearly everyday, “Have I told you, today, that I love you”. Very close to what your beautiful mug says. Thanks for your good words and inspiration. Makes me smile.

  4. Sue in Houston says:

    I loved the cleaning tips! I had two rounds of company recently — overnight type — and there’s nothing like company to inspire a cleaning frenzy! Company is gone now, so I need to dig into my closets and hiding places to find everything that I finally gave up on and simply stashed. I read somewhere several years ago that the wonderful thing about being untidy is that you’re always making exciting discoveries. How true, how true!

  5. Lynn Barlow says:

    Dear Susan, my mother’s birthday was January 5 and we always had our Christmas decorations up until the next day, and every year she would always talk about how her parents left the tree up for her birthday–memories! As for decluttering, I read Marie Kondo’s book last year and since then have had intermittent bursts of tidying up. Much of what I feel is clutter I’ve given to a friend here in my Arizona town who owns rental cabins in Maine. In summer she will load up her van and drive to Maine, where all clutter (dishes, glassware, pans, decorations) will find happy new homes. Happy 2019 to you & Joe & Jack!

  6. Thomasine Guberski says:

    Thank you for the Ideas about a quick clean. Happy Valentines Day

  7. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh my gosh! I thought I had left a message earlier, but must have gotten distracted somehow!! Probably looking at all my clutter…ha! No, the house is back to ‘normal’ after putting all my Christmas decorations away. I’m like so many others. I LOVE them during the season, but soon am ready to pack them away for another year. I’ve changed my throw pillows and have a few Valentines Day items out. Soon however, they will be put away too. Not sure why, (since I’m Irish) I don’t have a lot of St. Patrick’s day things to put out. But…then ‘spring’ will be on it’s way. Hard to believe how fast this winter has been flying by.
    I love all your new cups. I’m still using my ‘winter’ one. And think of you each day when I use it!!!
    So glad Jack is such a good helper.. Pet him and love on him for me.

  8. Mary Hennessey says:

    I love every single thing you create and share with us ….I hope you will go on forever!!! You offer us hope, gentleness,humor,kindness and all good possibilities!! Thankyou !!

  9. Susan Erickson says:

    Thank you for making my Winter a little brighter with your cheery voice.

  10. Carla says:

    The biscuit recipe sounds heavenly!

    Found your blog after you mentioned Willard on Instagram and followed the breadcrumb trail to your blog. :). So glad I did as now I’ll be getting you in my inbox again, as I did years ago. It was a joy to read, especially with the musical background to accompany it.


  11. Millie Ray says:

    I was so happy to see the Willard in my email. Enjoyed your new Blog and seeing all the beautiful cups, I love the Home Sweet Home one. They are all to die for .

  12. Debbie Noyola says:

    I hope it let’s me comment. I don’t think it does with the hangout app. But if it does, good luck to everyone.

  13. Debbie Noyola says:

    Good luck to everyone.

  14. Relyn Lawson says:

    I had been missing Willard, so glad it led me here.

  15. Donna Fleishman says:

    I so needed to read your blog. I’ve been quite sad. I had to say good-bye to my 12 1/2 year old collie, friend, Molly on Jan. 23, 2019. She was an angel on earth and now is one in doggy heaven. What a beautiful soul. She stuck by me through stage 0 breast cancer 6 years ago. Miss her. Heart aches to see her again but helps to know she is at peace. Your blog always warms my heart. When is your new book coming out? I have all 3 of your latest on my coffee table. Love your writing, your illustrations. Long time forever fan! Enjoy your lovely home on Martha’s Vineyard. Donna

    • sbranch says:

      Awww I’m so sad for how much you are missing Molly. It’s awful when our little friends leave us. xoxoxo

  16. Dianne says:

    Just finished watching all 4 seasons of Poldark while recuperating from surgery, and I’m in love with the Cornish coast. I’m hoping to rent a cottage near the coastal path in Cornwall for mid-September. Wouldn’t your Corgi mug be a wonderful souvenir for my girlfriends and I? I can think of nothing better. I must order them while they are still available. (I absolutely love, love, love the mug!!!). I treasure my Castle Cottage mug and fondly remember my trip to the Lake District every time I drink tea from it. I am currently reading Washington, a Life and watching TURN on DVD. (I unfortunately missed it when it was on T.V.). Both are quite good and fill me with patriotic pride. My ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War (at Mommouth, actually), and I have a new found respect for the sacrifices that they, and everyone else, made. I hope that you and Joe have a wonderful Valentine’s Day. Stay warm.. and enjoy the sound of those crackling logs

    • sbranch says:

      I LOVED TURN … will watch it again someday. Reading about Washington made the entire war and all the people in it so much more human… not history, but real people. I hope you get to take your trip, we loved Cornwall!

  17. Anne Davis says:

    So glad to receive Willard. My first time! Love, love ,love your creativity!
    Thank you for sharing.

  18. Karen Sankey says:

    I fell in love with you when I read “Martha’s Vineyard: Isle of Dreams” — still my favorite book, as I identified with you so much. We are close in age and though our paths to the Vineyard were different, I also fell in love with it at a young age. I am lucky enough to now own a house there where my husband and I live 6-7 months of the year. Someday I would love to meet you!

  19. Sharon, Oregon says:

    I already left a comment but forgot to ask you if you are doing away with Willard’s name? If so can’t you add it to your blog heading…:)

  20. Cindy Costanzo says:

    Your mugs are beautiful! Thank you for sharing all your lovely things. ☺️

  21. Debbie S. says:

    I’m excited to try your recipe for tea biscuits. Love your fun blog to get me through these cold days!

  22. KarenLana says:

    I love your books and blog posts and Willard’s. I feel incredibly uplifted and calm after reading and enjoying your artwork! I recently purchased Isle of Dreams to go with a Fine Romance and have been savoring the photos, paintings and recipes. I’m grateful for Agnes and her little cottage that nurtured you and I’m always touched by how you honor her memory and the keepsakes from her past. Your story is so encouraging and I love that you care and share with us the wisdom and quotes you’ve gleaned throughout your life. Whenever I feel a need for a hug, I pull out one of your books or skim through your blog. I’m so grateful for you! =)

  23. Cheri says:

    What a lucky day for me! I just found your blog due to a post on POOFING THE PILLOWS facebook page. What a sweet, sweet blog you have…and your art work is simply divine!!! (I don’t often use that word:) I needed a pick-me-up this week and your blog is doing it for me. Now I’m off to read more. Thank you for sharing your many talents with all the world.

  24. Barbara J Spahr says:

    It’s cold in Colorado, and we need a cup for warm tea.

  25. Jennifer Bowles says:

    Reading your blog and enjoying your sweet artwork is SUCH a wonderful treat! I have sent links to friends and family who are down and need a little pick-me-up. You are SO appreciated! I fall far short of the mark where the domestic arts are concerned in spite of spending 20 years at home caring for my children, but I so enjoy dreaming about improving my craft in that area. Your words and photos are very inspiring for those of us who are ‘domestically challenged.’

  26. Camille Gerbyshak says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day!! 💗💗

  27. Janet Johnson says:

    Such a breath of fresh air to see a Willard! I am so excited that the movie is still a possibility. ALL the new mugs are so awesome – I love the little cottage so much – I collect thatched roof cottages. I also love the “Love Stays” sweetie and the Corgi.

    I have been watching Marie Kondo as well and she really is inspiring. My problem is I do love so many keepsakes of mine, especially handmade things from my kids. They DO bring me joy and there is not enough room for all of it! What does one do?! But I have cleaned out a good bit since watching her. She is so sweet!

    Now you keep working on that next book, you hear?! I can’t wait! Thanks for being there to brighten the day.

  28. Love your Blog! I have watched Marie ” Tidying Up”. Very helpful. Trying to motivated, but I’ll get there. Need to gain some more strength after my surgery last month. I love biscuits and scones and tea, of course. Your cups are tempting me. I love the yellow cottage. It’s kind of like my house, a pale yellow with a blue door and blue shutters. Just might have to get that one!

    Reading all these wonderful stories in your Blog makes me Happy and my heart is filled with Joy.

    Thank you so much, Susan.

    Love, Susan

    • sbranch says:

      It does the same for me, makes me so happy to read all this beauty! Feel better and take it easy, not to hurry yourself into wellness . . . xoxo

  29. Carrie says:

    Such a joy to take a moment and catch up with you after busy holiday. Loved the cleaning/organizing tips. May you have the most lovely Valentines Day with your Joe.

  30. Brigitte S. says:

    Susan, I love reading your blog and Willard letters. I appreciate the way you inspire me in the care and keeping of my home and family. I was so excited to see the Birthday cup! I want to order one for my daughter’s birthday – she will love it! Thank you for this generous giveaway. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Joe.

  31. Lynne L from Mount Hermon, CA says:

    Your blog posts are always a welcome reprieve from my cra-zy life! :oP Thank you for helping me remember what’s important! Life is beautiful!

  32. Julie Narcisso says:

    I totally agree with you that a total minimalist is heartless. I love a home that lets you look into the owner’s soul the minute you walk in!!! 💟 A glimpse into your home via email always makes me smile. 😍
    Your giveaway is most generous and I love all 3 gifts!!! 😍💞😘

  33. Absolutely love, Love, LOVE the new cups! Will be placing my pre-order Monday for sure and already know who gets which! Love making up gift boxes with them and try to include your heart-shaped tea spoon, treat to munch with tea or cocoa, and a pretty napkin to round it out! Love your ideas…..

  34. Debbie says:

    So happy to have your blog to read tonight. So much to love and smile about – the photos, artwork, writing, sharing, and cheeriness. Thank you so much. Happy Valentine’s Day❤️❤️❤️

  35. Kathy says:

    Hi Susan,
    It is always inspiring to read your blog and see what is happening in your part of the world. Thanks for the tidying up nudge.

  36. Beverly ONeil says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Susan. Loving your Home Sweet Home cup, fingers crossed. Looking forward to receiving my preordered vases and dishes soon. Recipe looks delicious and I will be try making it later this week.

  37. Deborah Hatt says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day, dear Susan. Thank you for writing all your lovely Willards over the years, which have always been a source of blessing and smiles, even on my darkest days. Thank you for promising more blessings in the future, via your blogs, which are always a sensory delight. God Bless YOU, Sue – for bringing what joy, kindness, and warmth as you can in this often sad and troubled world. May your tribe increase.

  38. Patty Shoop says:

    I’m so excited to be getting Willard! I’ve been a fan for 25 years. You look like you could be one of my sisters literally.

  39. Kelley says:

    I Love You Susan! You inspire me.
    : )

  40. Darlene says:

    Love to read everything you post! Hope you have a lovely Valentine’s Day!

  41. Jan Akright says:

    I love hearts ❤️ and everything Susan Branch! You are amazing, Susan. Thank you so much for sharing your talent with us. ❤️

  42. Ruth Winkler says:

    Dear Susan, Tomorrow we will start in earnest to remove our Christmas tree. A depressing job. We put it up Christmas week and go at least a month more. Cold and windy here in VT. Wish I had the ingredients for those little biscuits. Next shopping tree, for sure!

  43. Kerri Fabry says:

    Love to find a new note from you! So fun to do a little clean up and decorating to pick us up as we expect more snow! Love the little Jack craft, I got my darling granddaughter her first little sewing machine for Christmas. She loves to bake and help Grammy with anything. I treasure my collection of your books and my teacup. Enjoying all the comments from all of us who adore you and your work! Can’t wait for the new book!!

  44. Elizabeth says:

    Continuing our little chat on oiling our wooden spoons…came across this article too…mineral oil might be something to further investigate…I know we need something that won’t go rancid…but maybe using a product made from petroleum is questionable too? Here is the article: richsoil.com/wooden-spoon-care.jsp ….just a thought….I am not the best of housekeeper but I am picky about what happens with our food etc. And of course, if we always cleaned them up right away, it might be easier on them? Heh…well, sometimes that tain’t always possible in this crazy busy world.

  45. De Hunold says:

    Vanna darling…I’m over here! Pick me sweetie!!

  46. Alison says:

    Hello Susan.
    You have inspired me to de clutter so when it comes time for Spring Cleaning I’ll be a head of the game. Love your new cups. Definitely will pre order mine. Stay warm. .

  47. Sandi Rapczynski says:

    Loved the new Willard! And the new cup designs! In all the years since your first book came out you never disappoint! I love everything you do! Happy February!

  48. DeAnna Passmore says:

    Good morning friends! I ADORE watching Marie! Thank you for the blog post Susan- just what I needed to sit down to with my first cup of tea. I just met with my girlfriends for a catch up session- it had been too long! Nothing like getting together with girlfriends! Hello to Joe and Happy Valentines Day to Jack! Love the mugs!

  49. Lorraine M. says:

    I just love this latest post. Makes me appreciate slowing down and really enjoying home.

  50. Margo Petrus says:

    I love receiving your Willard and am inspired whenever it arrives…have read all your books and admire not only the words but your gorgeous watercolors!! I too am an artist so appreciation for your work is a given!…I live in Iowa and you might quess that we have had bitter bitter cold and lots of snow this year…perfect for cozying up with a mug of cocoa, a warm quilt and a good book!…hubby and our Australian Blue Heeler join in as well!…thank you for all you do to bring joy, warmth and inspiration to us all!!!!

  51. Janice says:

    Winter is always my time to clean out and organize. Some ideas work for years, some don’t 🤔…but keeping clutter to a minimum helps immensely! Unfortunately I have several areas in my house that “hold” things that I can’t figure out where they belong. Still working on that one! Maybe 2019 will be my year to figure it out! Thanks for always inspiring!

  52. Kristen says:

    You continue to be an inspiration ♥️ Thank you, Susan!

  53. Anne Erickson says:

    Hi Susan,
    Your writing enriches my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  54. Mary Ellen Day says:

    THANK YOU, Susan, for your BIG DOSE of cheerfulness and inspiration! As I try to declutter (after inheriting all of my mom and dad’s stuff from their old center hall colonial in Connecticut), I find the advice to “look for things we want to keep” very instructive…especially when I get “stuck”. It always makes me feel good if I can find a special home (with a friend or neighbor) for a prized possession. As for books – which I find very hard to part with – I give them to the library for their shelves or their ongoing book sale. Lastly, I just wanted to say that I also use hot washcloths for cleaning…no streaks and the mirrors sparkle! I LOVE your blog. Thank you! Mary Ellen

  55. Jeanne K says:

    I first found you when I was making my daughters baby book. Your stickers and papers were perfect with her Beatrix Potter albums and room theme. I’ve stalked your page for the (almost) 18 years since. I love the whimsy and breezy feel of cozy cottages and girlfriends laughter I get every time I visit your website. Plus your fondness for Beatrix parallels mine and I enjoy following your travels. Thank you for sharing your talents with us.

  56. Barb S says:

    Thank you so very much for creating this joyful beautiful world for us to visit and being a bright light for kindness and beauty. I think I will have to reread A Fine Romance to help me through the waiting time before Enchanted comes out. 😉

  57. Victoria Kidd says:

    This newsletter reminded me that we seem to be anxious for the hustle of Christmas to be over and then when it is, we quickly bore of winter. Your approach in thought and deed is to go with the slower pace of winter and savor the opportunity to tidy up or go full out Kondo on the house. It can be a lovely time of self reflection and planning. Thank you for slowing me down a bit.
    Oh…and your bio book has been wonderful for me. I am about to divorce and your brave girl story is helping…a lot.

  58. Lorraine says:

    I’m not sure if it’s Marie Kondo or winter, but I’ve been on a mission to clean and declutter too. I have a long way to go but I’m actually enjoying the process. I read Marie Kondo’s book a while ago and recently watched the Netflix series. The series was so oddly calming that I couldn’t get into it soon enough.

    I believe Ms. Kondo is practicing an aspect of Shinto religion which believes all objects should be loved and respected for their contributions in your life. It is part of their belief that objects can develop souls over time. That’s why it is important to thank an item even when it is no longer of use to you. Of course, it’s a lot more complicated than that, but it is rewarding and fills your house with more love when you can see, use, and appreciate everything with love and ease. I always thank my house for keeping me warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and dry from snow and rain. I also thank my car for running so efficiently. I could go on and on. But I can tell my belongings feel appreciated – even when they are old and worn out. Thank you for a lovely calming post.

  59. Lorraine says:

    I didn’t see that my comment went through – please disregard if it did. Great blog post!

  60. I. Schlueter says:

    I’m so happy to read your blog, it’s like having my morning coffee across the table, and we’re just talking about our day,and what’s going on. And love the new cups. Happy Winter.

  61. Mich Lueken says:

    Reading Willard and your Blog absolutely make my day !!!
    Love your new cups. One of these days I will have a Susan Branch cup.
    You inspire me to find my creative spark again ❤
    Thank you for all you do !

  62. Susan Long says:

    It was wonderful to get your email reminding me of a Willard post. I signed up again to receive your blog/Willard posts via email. It is a cold February Sunday here in the Northeast. Fifteen degrees this morning. I hung my cut out valentine heart garland across the large kitchen window, made myself a cup of tea, and settled in to read your blog. I just saw the Marie Kondo on Netflix and put it on our watchlist. I sure could use some decluttering! In January we moved our Christmas tree out to the deck and decorated it for the birds. It has been such a pleasure watching the birds enjoy the homemade treats during this cold weather. I too have a tuxedo cat, presented to me as a kitty rescued from the local pound as a Valentine’s day gift. He is so mischievious and beautiful! His name, of course, is Valentine, although sometimes my husband and I call him Valentino because he is so loving and gallant. I love all your books and have several of them, plus a teacup. Thank you for the lovely inspiration!!

  63. karen friedrich says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the new mugs!!!

  64. Amanda Davis says:

    Greetings Dear Susan!

    Such a lovely blog post! I was swept up in the first wave of minimalism when, after graduating college, I met “The Minimalists” and became obsessed with purging. Unfortunately, I went absolutely overboard and gave away things I regret (such as childhood dresses my grandmother handmade for me). You’re absolutely right: minimalism can be heartless. I love Marie Kondo’s approach that you should really think about each item you have with gratitude and not just dump everything off at the Good Will for the mere sake of it. When you give everything away, you are truly left with nothing (no matter what the most die-hard minimalists claim). Anyway, I love that the one thing you wanted to keep from your grandmother was her spoon. It made me think about the fact that one of my most cherished items from my grandmother is her comb. She had the most beautiful blonde hair and always kept it in the most fashionable style until her untimely death. Each time I use it, I am grateful for her and the incredible impact she had on my life. One of my favorite memories is when I went on a Shirley Temple kick at 8 years old and she patiently pin-curled my hair and watched all Shirley’s movies with me on repeat to capture the words to my favorite songs where I could sing them (this was before Google)! Your blog always lifts my spirits when I’m feeling down and I am so thankful for you! Excited for the new mugs- especially love the constellation one. It is just dreamy!
    Sending all my love from Alabama,

    • sbranch says:

      To be free of beloved things just so you don’t have them is really not a good enough reason! I adored Shirley Temple, know most of her songs because of my mom, and still love it when one of the old films comes on TV. Nice to hear from you Amanda!

  65. Jay says:

    Such an inspirational read. Thank you. Blessings.x

  66. Heidi G says:

    I loved reading your new blog whilst (ooh, look at that word!) drinking coffee from your Love cup❤️ Reading about organizing and making things sparkle was somewhat inspiring, not gonna lie. We have had snow storms that just don’t happen very often here in the Pacific Northwest, I can’t stop looking at it from the comfort of our cozy house with two cats to cuddle. It’s been hard to make myself do any of the things I know I should be doing! I’ll keep thinking about it for now, lol!

  67. Joy Pence in Ohio says:

    I agree that we must be very careful what we get rid of, if it has the least bit of sentimental value, it has value, maybe not when we are young, but as we get older, those memories are much more important. My sweet momma passed away this past September, now anything that has a memory of her is important to me.

    I love that you have your grandmother’s spoon, I have my grandma’s old cracker tin. I store my tea bags in it, so I think of her often when I reach inside it.

  68. Janel M Gillihan says:

    Hello, Susan. This is my first comment, but I have been a longtime fan. I have all of your books, First Editions going all the way back to Heart of the Home published by Little Brown. I feel you are a kindred spirit, and we are about the same age. I have really enjoyed following your adventures traveling by train, boat & car. I live in Bend, Oregon, but my dream is to someday tour New England, and especially Martha’s Vineyard.

  69. Mary Shearer says:

    Nice to read your fun blog on a dreary Ohio day. Love the new mugs – especially Bella Luna! To stand outside on a clear, cold winter’s night and stare up at the sky – there is just nothing like it! I love how you captured it! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  70. Norma Odell says:

    Another enjoyable blog. Thank you.

  71. Janet Conn says:

    Happy Valentine’s day. The mugs are beautiful! Thanks for a beautiful blog post and a chance at a give-a-way.

  72. Christine says:

    Hi Susan- I like all your new mugs! Especially the moon one! I started watching Marie Kondo now too. She definitely has some good tips for cleaning/organizing things around my house that I need to work on. Happy Valentines Day, coming soon, to you and Joe!

  73. Happy Valentine’s Month, Susan.
    Thank you for brightening up my Sunday (today) and LIFE in general.
    The new cups and everything are darling … just like you.
    Am off to organize and put away some stuff. Thank you for inspiring me always.

  74. Dori DeLuca says:

    So many wonderful gifts! Choose me! Choose me!

  75. Janet Harkins says:

    Thank you Susan, aka Kindred Spirit, for always brightening my day, especially on dreary, cold rainy days! It’s about time to re-read A Fine Romance!

  76. Sue Salmon says:

    Sometimes I look around and see clutter, but most times I see the things I love, each with a special memory. But I do try to keep the surfaces clear enough that I can dust without causing too much upset! Love the cozy feeling that reading your blog gives me – thank you.

  77. Stacey says:

    Hi Susan,
    Always enjoy what you create, very inspiring…everyday! Thank you!

  78. Colleen Coffman says:

    It is always such a delight to receive your Willard. I didn’t know about your blog so I am beside myself with excitement to spend the afternoon investigating every nook & cranny of it. Thank you so much for the lovelies you share. They are a blessing.

  79. Stacey says:

    Hi Susan,
    Always enjoy what you create, very inspiring… every day! Thank you!

  80. Joan Rosenberg says:

    So many giggles as I read this post!! I am in the process of getting my house, where I have lived for 20 years with loving hubby, 3 kids, a black and white tuxedo kitty and a beautiful, sweet golden retriever, ready to put on the market. As I pack my beloved belongings to make my house completely impersonal, I am weeding out what doesn’t make my heart go pitter patter. Christmas china YES…Aunt Marilyn’s china…NO!! Beautiful pink depression glass… YES… Waterford crystal…maybe not. BTW, I have been collecting pink glass for 35 years but never knew there were glasses with pink AND green until I saw them in one of your books. As a result of seeing them in your book, I own a set of 6 lovely little glasses, pink with a green base. Definitely a YES!! Going to the next house. Thanks for you Blog!!!!

  81. Caroline says:

    I’ve just started following your blog (came over from Instagram) and I love it! My mom introduced me to your books, but I don’t think she’s aware that you have a blog so I will be sending it to her 🙂

  82. Elizabeth S.🥀 says:

    I can’t wait to order a mug as a gift
    for my M♡m! She will love the surprise! Thank you for the day brighteners!!🌹

  83. Shirley says:

    Decluttering is so freeing to the mind…and home. Thanks for giving me the urge to get started again! Love the new cups especially “Home Sweet Home”. That’s where my heart will always be. Another beautiful post!

  84. Mary Derrick says:

    Love reading your blog, and I agree with everything else that has been said here.

  85. Jasmine says:

    Just got the Willard and signed up for blog posts in my inbox. Yay!

    I’ve been resisting Marie Kondo for years because I’m not a minimalist (I’m more of a maximalist!), but I really enjoyed the Netflix series and loved her approach to tidying. I love how you’ve freshened up your home. Inspires me to put some work in on line too. A tidy, fresh home really does feel like heaven. 🙂

  86. Karen Funk says:

    Any one of the gifts you have to give away would be a treasure. Thank you for the chance to win one of them!

  87. Nina says:

    Hi Susan! Thanks for another wonderful blog. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  88. Tiina Johnston says:

    I did it too got rid of 10 bags and my husband too ! Did all the closets too . Felt so good .

  89. Bridget B. in Tn. says:

    Susan, I’m not on twitter but I loved, loved Mary R.’s suggestion today for your next book !!! Hope you will consider it.😸 Bridget

  90. Debbie Piascik says:

    Hi dear Sue ~

    As I write, I’m looking into my dining room, filled to the brim with the contents of my kitchen. We decided to give our very old, heart of OUR home, a much needed upgrade and facelift. In another week or so, I’ll have to move things back and have plans to only bring back the things I love.

    My Susan Branch books, prints and cups definitely make the cut. Each one brings me JOY and a sense of contentment. Not only because they’re beautiful and unique works of art but because I feel like I am a friend of the creative, happy, wonderful person who made them! And that means the world to me!

    God bless you for the always-positive, always-gracious way you continue to inspire and connect us to each other.

    Happy early Valentines Day! Go. Be. Love.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Debbie, you are so sweet, thank you! I’m excited for you…emptying the whole thing out is such an opportunity! You are going to LOVE your new kitchen!!! Off. To. Be. Love. 💞

  91. Lois Robinson says:

    Thanks for another entertaining read. Here in the Philadelphia area we’re but after reading your blog with my evening tea, I’m feeling very cozy.
    Seems to be the year to clean out and refresh! Several of my friends and me are doing it making us feel relieved to be free of some items. Being careful not to get rid of the important things like your Grandmother’s spoon.
    Looking forward to more blogs, music & recipes.

  92. Annette Carrozzo says:

    Hello from California! Every month I really look forward to your sweet words and pictures of your lovely life there. Our Murrieta Ladies bookclub read Marie Hondo’s first book and loved it. I’ve been purging ever since!

  93. Julia Griffin says:

    No matter how dark the world around us in these crazy, nasty times, your website and posts always lift my spirits, Susan. Thank you for sharing your art, your insights, your wonderfully positive and thoughtful view of the world, and that special place that is the Vineyard.

  94. MJ says:

    Hi Susan,
    I wished I had read your post earlier as I had company this afternoon. All the main parts of the home are now de-cluttered. I hope I can keep it that way, at least for a little while. I always enjoy your posts.

  95. Dena E says:

    your new mugs are so nice…I especially like the Bella Luna mug.
    Bella, Bella.
    Enjoy your blog and Willards.
    Happy Monday….

  96. Judy Young says:

    I’m finishing up a three day weekend and I LOVED this post. 2,350 comments of which I plan to read every one. But I will have to come back another night because I need to go to bed! I have ordered the Corgi Mug, just love it! This will be my 8th cup! My husband loves them just as much as I do, they are part of our morning coffee ritual and we so look forward to picking which one we will use today. He has his favorite, and I change it up sometimes. Happy Valentine’s Day to all the Girlfriends out there! And a very special Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Joe. Susan, you make me happy!!

  97. Kim Edwards says:

    You were a breath of fresh air today. Thank you! Three months of the year I live abroad, sharing life with 35 college students. We have been doing this for 35 years.While I love the chance to experience life in Tuscany and occasional days in Bourton-on-the-Water, I miss being surrounded by pieces of home. It makes me feel horribly materialistic, and ungrateful for the blessings I have, but sometimes I just want to sit down to “my” mug, and look out “my” window. So, today I pre-ordered your “Home Sweet Home” mug, and will be carrying it in my luggage each Spring to be reminded of the beautiful life I have waiting for me in Alabama. Thank you again!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s a long time, making for a ton of lifetime memories, and so much excitement! But I understand that sometimes the urge for home and quiet is the strongest of all. Taking a bit of it with you, Kim, brilliant!

  98. Michele Woloszyn says:

    I just finished enjoying myself to the ” max ” reading your blog. Happy Valentines Day! and Thank you so much for sharring your thoughts, ideas, and talent. God Bless! Sincerely,

  99. Anne says:

    Thank you, Susan, for a lovely giveaway. Thank you for making our world more beautiful in many ways. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  100. Glenda says:

    ❤️❤️❤️❤️ I love it all! happy Valentines Day!

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