I promised you “a surprise” in my last post (about a hundred years ago, oh my goodness, I’m so late)! MUSICA (nice old Frank)🎶 I don’t usually start things off with a photo of me, but I had to make an exception to add oomph to my explanation for why I’ve been away so long! In the photo, I’m dressed and on my way to give a talk at Island Writes, but you may notice something not quite right.

Yeah, why is she wearing that black glove? What an odd-looking glove. Hey, that’s not a glove! No. It. Is. Not. It is a (stupid) cast for a broken wrist. A broken right wrist. The hand that does everything. So anyway, I broke it a little over a month ago while packing up things for the yard sale. Tripped over bags, hand-to-floor, caught myself, the end. Which also ended the infamous yard sale for this year. Ended almost everything, because I had no idea what all this hand did until I lost it. Besides typing, writing, and painting, it opens cat food cans, washes hair, signs books, holds a freaking fork, puts on earrings, uses scissors, deadheads roses, DRIVES, and chops onions. Hello. At first I couldn’t do any of it, I gave my brain a new kind of workout by practicing writing with my left hand, but one-by-one I’ve been getting things back. And Look Ma, I’m typing! I think I MIGHT get the brace off Sept. 14, my Doctor keeps little secrets to himself, I’ve learned, but I am hoping! It wasn’t a bad break, no surgery; I glowed like a 7 year old when he called me a “good patient.” It’s the little things in life. Yes, physical therapy will follow, but I’ve been doing exercises to keep my arms strong, so I hope normalcy returns soon. Thank goodness for Joe! He’s been taking such good care of me!

But I promised you surprises, and you’re going to get surprises! 🌸 Our Courage Charm has arrived . . . isn’t it wonderful? Gold with a streak of pink that goes all the way around. Pink, the color of nurturing, for yourself, and for others. The color of love.💝

It comes on its own little card . . . the charm is engraved with the words “Courage, Dear Heart . . .”💞

Thought you’d like to see my bracelet . . . I think I have them all so far!

And this? This is not for sale! This surprise of all four-seasons of my cups (which are all sold-out and no longer available anywhere on earth), is for the lucky person whose name gets drawn by Vanna in the next post! I told you I would have surprises! Just leave a comment, and you’ll be entered! It can be for you, or maybe you’ll want to take it apart and make four Christmas 🎄 presents out of it! Leave a comment!’Tis almost the season! Here comes

And this? This is for everyone! A brand new bookmark for all my Anglophile, Corgie-adoring, Queen-admiring girlfriends and the people they love! Just click HERE, print it on card-stock, have it laminated if you like . . . it makes a very sweet stocking stuffer or book-gift accountrement.(In case you’re new here, the bookmark is tucked into a copy of my book A Fine Romance, Falling in Love with the English Countryside.)

And what else? Oh yes, for everyone that preordered and waited so patiently, I’m thrilled to tell you the new cups are scheduled to arrive in California TOMORROW, on Thursday! And yes, I ordered extra so we would have some to last through Christmas, just in cases.The heart cup is another Courage item. The world is so wild these days, we need as much of this as we can get. And there’s another secret about this cup . . .💞

I didn’t design it! I designed a red cup with hearts on it which Joe thought was a little boring, and said, “Why don’t you make it look like champagne?” I said, naturally, “What are you talking about?” He tried to tell me, but I couldn’t picture it, was running out to lunch with girlfriends, and said, willy-nilly, over my shoulder, “Draw me a picture!” Because I know Joe is an artist even though he never does it. But I didn’t expect THIS. Champagne bubbles made into hearts. Of course I fell in love with it. My boy is a genius! 

Very appropriately, this is Joe’s first cup ~ Champagne Hearts! He will very likely never do another one, not sure I can figure out how I tricked him into this one!🙃

I designed the bottom and the handle, so it was a group effort. From the Heart of our Home.💖 You’ll have them by the end of next week!👏

This one too! The Martha’s Vineyard cup, arriving at the Studio tomorrow, and in case you’re coming to the Island, it’s already available in the shop that carries my things here ~ which, by the way, has changed their name to Vineyard Arts Gallery, it’s still in the same place in downtown Vineyard Haven, and Robin still runs it. And one more by-the-way . . . another reason for you to leave a comment ➡️ Yes! I’ll be sending some lucky person their very own Martha’s Vineyard cup too! It’s an Autumn extravaganza!

This too! Leave a comment to win this Pumpkinhead cup! So far that makes three lucky winners and you only need to leave one comment to be entered for everything! Why you may ask? Because I can! (Writing now, from day after I published this post: Reading the lovely comments ~ can’t answer so many with bad hand, but reading 🤗, loving, sometimes tears, THANK YOU.💞 This is why. We are the world!) I detect a need for cheer and doing my best in this little world of ours, to make some of it for my Girlfriends! And, to make it more fun, the winner of this Pumpkinhead cup will also get a box of my Inspiration Notecards.

Hope you love them!

Jack also wanted me to let you know, in his own unique way (by draping himself on the thing I’m trying to photograph), that the 2020 calendars have arrived! If you preordered, you should have them!

Other good news, our teapot plates are back in stock! We’ve gotten lots of requests ~ sooo happy they’re finally here!

Great for holiday cookies, as a little serving dish and. . .

also looks great hanging on a wall!

And brand NEW, two night lights!

Blue dots on a scalloped porcelain shade!

And little flowers too!

You can read about them HERE.

I have soooo much more to tell you, but this is my first day back at typing and I’ve just been made a wee bit painfully aware, it’s time to stop! I’m only half done! Wah! Guess I will join Jack doing what we do best!

Still eating yummy whole food! 

Have devolved to one-finger typing, left-hand ~ but one last thing, I’m reading this helpful book I think you might like.

Interesting book that reminds us of our lovely humanity . . .

We need to remember in our crazy world . . . also, from me to you💞, want to remind:

Don’t forget to leave a comment (one word is fine!) to be entered for Surprise GiveAways! And sign up HERE to have this blog delivered to your email box!

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4,646 Responses to A SURPRISE

  1. Mary D. says:

    I hope your wrist heals quickly. Thinking of you.

  2. Linda Marburger says:

    Oh my!! I’m so sorry about your wrist! I pray it is healing up wonderfully quickly and well! I am heading to New England on October 2nd. It will be my first trip back east since 1981! Going to make it to Boston at the end but, unfortunately, not to Martha’s Vineyard. Hoping to do that in the next two years. I think I may have to pull out Isle of Dreams and read it in preparation for New England and Fall (I have read it about 4 times in the past two years!). I love the story of your first fall and Christmas… I laugh out loud every time when I get to the story of the white puffy coat! Haha!!

    Blessings sweet lady!

  3. Tamara says:

    Hi Susan ❤️

  4. Carol Le Blanc says:

    4551 comments, wow❣️

  5. Kim says:

    Feel better soon.

  6. Cheree Hull says:

    Just stumbled across this blog–have been a fan for years (ever since a friend gave me Christmas From the Heart of the Home–and several recipes have become great family favorites!). Hopefully the brace is off and therapy is doing its trick. God does have a way of making us slow down sometimes!

  7. Constance Howard says:

    Your Blog is my happy haven go to place; and I am so looking forward to your next book !
    I would love to have your beautiful cup collection and would share with my large family.
    Hugs, Constance

  8. Helen Nordseth says:

    It looks like I am very late to this party……..the comments are amazing!!!! Hoping the Physical Therapy and your hard work are doing their magic. What an oasis of comfort you are to us in these chaotic times…..A safe place to remember what really counts.

  9. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    Darling Susan. So long since I have commented, as I live in my bubble, taking care of my bed bound husband. It is my time in life not only to speak of love but to live it. The love is what keeps me going almost two years in. That and my kitty, books, music, knitting, family, friends. You are the fourth girlfriend to suffer a broken wrist! Hard! As always, your creations are divine! Hugs.❤️

    • sbranch says:

      Something in the air . . . I know about four people, all ages, who’ve broken something in the last 3 months! So nice to hear from you Rosanne. Your turn to be the guardian angel, but I’m sure it’s hard. I hope you get a little help every so often, give yourself a break. Blessings on you both. All those wonderful little things in life that you have going for you! xoxoxoxo

      • Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

        Thank you, Susan. You are very kind. Yes, my turn to be guardian, though i’m not so sure about the Angel part.😊Must tell you that our hospice friends facilitated an overnight to the beach for our 45th anniversary last month. It was perfect.❤️BTW I treated myself to your champagne hearts cup. It seems made just for me!😊

        • sbranch says:

          Lovely! Those hospice people are pure heaven aren’t they? That cup WAS made for you! Kindred spirits! xoxoxo

  10. Anne Rowe says:

    WHEEEE….! Fall!🍁🍂🍁

  11. Susie (Rocky Point, New York) says:

    I just went into full panic mode: I could not remember if I left my comment and sure did not want to miss being in a SB giveaway. Loved your post so much especially lil Jack all snuggled up and cozy. xo

  12. Lori Minch says:

    So sorry to hear about your wrist. Hopefully you will be cast-free soon. The Pumpkinhead mug is so cute. It reminds me of a poem my mother taught me to recite when trick-or-treating, if asked to provide a trick: “Pumpkin man, pumpkin man, catch a brownie if you can. Yes I will, yes I will, if the brownie will stand still.”

  13. Colleen M says:

    Those night lights are darling!

  14. Lori Fernandi says:

    Hope to be a winner! Love my pumpkin mug🎃🎃

  15. Angela K says:

    I loved the night lights!!

  16. Janice Hall says:

    So sorry you broke your poor little wrist. I broke my wrist last year, left hand, and I’m a lefty. No painting for me either, which was painful all by itself. Hope you get back to all your wonderful talents soon. Janice

  17. Oh, I just love those seasonal mugs! Thanks, Susan for all your deLIGHTful creations!

  18. Jim Comar says:

    I have always enjoyed your books and posts of “Willard” and although the majority of your fans are probably women I wish you would include “romantic” man in your posts instead of always your girlfriends. I’m sure that there are many manly men that love your writings, musica, and paintings. I know that I sure do!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      When my dad used to leave comments here, we all decided to make him an honorary Girlfriend, which he really liked. But perhaps that is because after all he was my dad! I do love men who leave sweet comments like yours, you are very much welcome here, I just have a hard time knowing what to call you! You can’t be Boyfriends, like Girlfriends. So what should we call you? Girlfriends and Best Men? I don’t know . . . But I love hearing from you, never feel unwelcome! xoxo

  19. Leonora Gaede says:

    I so hope your hand is better immediately! Sending healing thoughts.

  20. Cathy Good says:

    So excited about Fall coming! Cozy clothes and cooler weather!

  21. Holly Field says:

    Thank goodness your break didn’t require surgery! As one who has had falls ,& hand surgery, I send sympathy & best wishes for a speedy recovery!
    What a wonderful give away!!

  22. Lori Partridge says:

    Sweet little Jack looking so cozy, nothing is crazy is his little world.

  23. Jan Hermes says:

    I could not be left out of this momentous tally of over 4,500 comments! Amazing, Susan…but then you have a gift for giving of yourself and talents that brightens so many of our daily lives and fills our hearts with inspiration. Thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      Amazing to me too . . . by far the most ever. I keep thinking I’ll get Vanna in here, draw our winners, but then more and more people leave comments . . . I don’t want to cut anyone off. Plus it gives me more wrist-healing time! Thanks for being here Jan!

  24. Stephanie Pendleton says:

    Happy Healing!
    Steph XX

  25. The year our daughter was engaged I bought your scrapbook cookbook and filled it with family recipies and photos of us for her to use in her new home. All these year, two children, and many meals later we still love that book every time we pull it from the shelf. It was the three ring binder hard cover version. Any chance it will be made again? Your stories and books have warmed my heart, Thankyou for sharing your beautiful life.

    • sbranch says:

      Well, the company that made that is long gone . . . but if a miracle happens and I’m approached to make them from another manufacturer, I will do it for sure! Thank you for reminding me! xoxo

  26. Mary Jane says:

    Dear Sweet Susan,

    Sending you wishes for continued healing and strength. You inspire with your good humor and optimism. Isn’t it amazing how we learn to adapt?

    Have a happy day!
    Mare Jane

  27. Laura from Indiana says:

    So late in reading this. I always love to sit down and slow down with you! Hope your wrist continues to strengthen, Susan!

  28. Janet Markley says:

    These magic days of fall are so fleeting!

  29. B. Nelson says:

    Such great giveaways! Love!

  30. Christine Le Gate says:

    So great to have you back! I broke my right arm too but had to have surgery to boot and really know what it is like ’cause I’m right handed too. I’m on the mend and I’m glad to hear you are too. Wow, so many beautiful new things. Hope my name gets picked!

  31. Bebe says:

    Is it too late to leave a comment?
    If not I am IN.
    If so, every post is a surprise and a gift on itself.

    • sbranch says:

      You’re IN!

      • Dolores Sowa says:

        So very sorry to hear about your broken wrist. Hope it heals soon and perfectly.
        I love my Martha Vineyard cup and would really love to have the pumpkin head cup. That (pumpkinhead) was my daughter’s nickname when she was little and she loves you as much as I do. She has been sick for the last four years and is limited in her activities…..so she really enjoyed your books!

  32. Barbie says:

    I have long been an admirer of your work, Susan. I have a tiny notebook published in 1999. It has a darling round table with a tea tray on top. It stands in a darling basket with a few other treasured items on my secretary desk.

    I’m so sorry about your injury and hope you have complete recovery.

    Thank you for your wonderful inspirational to find joy in the “little things”.

  33. Bonnie Schoening says:

    I really don’t know if I’ve already commented so – just in case – I’m commenting again , cause I love your stuff ❤️❤️❤️

  34. Tonya says:

    Hi Susan, my daughter Grace and I love your books and blog. We are sorry to hear about your wrist, ouch. It does affect everything we do. Blessings.

  35. Linda says:

    Sorry to hear about your wrist and hope you return to writing soon. A couple of years ago I was gathering eggs from our chickens and was attacked by the rooster, fell backwards, and broke my right wrist ( an embarrassing story I had to share when asked what happened). I went through the same struggle at first because it was my writing hand and I was working on my PhD but things got better. It is in these little “happenings” that we slow down and reflect on what actually matters. Take care!

  36. Pam J. says:

    Healthy healing to you! Thank you for continuing to bring joy to all of us!

  37. Marla Ezell says:

    Dear Susan – I’m new to your ‘blog’ party – but certainly not new to knowing of you and your special talents! Take good care and may you heal well and enjoy the season change into fall. Thank you for bringing sunshine to us all!

  38. Lydia Alejandro says:

    This is my 3rd time posting comment, praying
    To get in the drawing. How would I know?
    I want to say how sorry I am that you have been
    In pain from broken wrist. You poor little lamb.
    I wish I could help you doing dishes, sweeping floors, something!
    I send get well wishes to you!
    Lydia Alejandro

  39. Dori says:

    So sorry to hear about your ‘accident’. I hope it heals well and thumbs up for Physical Therapy!
    I’m so hoping to win you collection of mugs as I want to sent the Heart mug to my daughter’s sister-in-law in Scotland where she is battling Metastatic Breast Cancer (3rd time around) and the ‘Courage, Dear Heart’ would be so perfect for her.

  40. Joy Cunningham says:

    Thank you for typing this lovely blog page even when it hurts you to do so.We love you for all you do for all of us. xoxo

  41. Tami Sabbe says:

    Sue! I hope you are on the mend asap!! Sooner if possible!

  42. J. says:

    Hope your hand heals quickly~

  43. Pam says:

    Ah, it’s all lovely. I’m sorry about your wrist!

  44. Rori Jensen says:

    Love this post and I love surprises! It’s time for me to order my 2020 SB calendar! Happy Autumn!

  45. Christy in SoTex says:

    Oh my, Susan! So sorry about your wrist. I hope that by now you have had your cast removed and are on the PT road to full recovery.

    My teapot plate (given to my by my bestie!) is on my stove and is my utensil rest. It makes me smile every time I see it. Your calendar is behind me on the wall at work and people are constantly commenting on how lovely it is. Then I have to gush on ad nauseum about you and your art and your books and your story. I just want everyone to love you and what you do and stand for just as much as I do.

    Happy fall to you, Joe and adorable Jack.

  46. Pam Gunn says:

    Have a wonderful trip.

  47. Cathy Jo Cole says:

    Dear Susan,
    I hope your arm/wrist is much better!
    I have “known” you for many years and I am so so happy when I get your notes on my computer. I have many of your books and I love them all so much. Although fall is next Monday i have already put your Fall book out in my kitchen!
    Hope all is well up there, we are on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina and had a serious storm come thru here when the last hurricane Dorian went thru thru the Bahamas. I have been praying for them. We had alot of strong wind and rain and branches and trees come down on the island but we are all ok thank God. Hope there will be no more hurricanes this season!

    Thank you so much for sending notes to me!
    Love, Cathy

  48. Kim says:

    Wishing you a speedy recovery in time to frolic in all the fall leaves!

  49. Sandra Lindsey says:

    So glad your wrist has healed…..just in time for your fun trip! Glad the calendars are ready. I have given one to my sister for Christmas for the last several years.
    We both look forward to your blogs.

  50. Hollis says:

    Glorious Autumn!

  51. question you show the pumpkin head cup in the blog … but i do not see it in the shop.. do you still have some…i got one as gift last year but it got broken in the box
    or maybe i can get from another source??


  52. Sandra Bush says:

    Love your posts❤️

  53. Brittany says:

    Yippee! This giveaway looks marvelous. I hope I am not too late.. I am just catching up on your recent blog posts now! 💖

  54. Aileen C. says:

    So good to know you are doing well! Can see how much love you put into everything you do!

  55. Carol says:

    recently I watched quite a few episodes of ‘ROBESON DESIGN’S’ on interior decorating youtube, in my opinion she’s the ultimate designer, I’ve never seen better
    but the interesting thing is after watching I felt totally overwhelmed and defeated, so back to my #1 fav. Susan and all is well again,
    I’m going to bake a cake for overseas visitors and everything is as it should be, thank you Susan

    • sbranch says:

      Overwhelmed and defeated! Nooooo! If it’s not fun, then what are we doing? Little vase, one flower, a good start, go from there. xoxoxoxoxo

  56. Kris Knarr says:

    Love your quotes, art work and up-beat messages! You inspire creativity! Thank you!

  57. kathleen roberts says:

    My daughter lives in a 1864 cottage that she calls the “mermaid Cottage’. I would love it if you would design a mermaid tea mug that I could buy for her. Just food for thought..HAHAHA! as if you don’t have enough creative ideas of your own! Thanks for every inspiration! xxoo[

  58. Kathleen says:

    Love all your newly designed items!
    Have a fun trip with your pals from England. Wish I were along for the ride in your suitcase! 🙂

  59. Cheryl says:

    Rereading your lovely book about the English Countryside. I will be privileged to visit the Cotswolds with my sketching girlfriends next June.

  60. Lucia Donahower says:

    Dear Susan
    I’m so sorry to hear about your wrist! I have been traveling and have not been reading my mail.
    I love all the cups and thank you for the book mark.
    I will try to catch up on all of your posts.
    I almost forgot, I love the champagne hearts cup that Joe help design!
    Thank you for your beautiful post.

  61. Christine Reddick says:

    I just love reading your blog. It’s such a fun read! Always puts me in the mood for the

  62. Christine Reddick says:

    I just love reading your blog! It always inspires me to decorate for the season!

  63. Paula Snider says:

    My friend Rita and I were staying in a cute condo in Chatham that had your book, Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams in it. I picked it up and took it to bed with me one night and read some. I loved it. The next morning, I told Rita about it and she looked at it. We both fell in love with it 💕 and decided to go to Martha’s Vineyard in search of the book, mug, and you, if possible. Because this box only allows so many words, I have to be brief. We googled the Vineyard Haven Art Gallery, which you said had your creations, and each time, the Sculpin Gallery came up in Edgartown, so we hopped #13 bus and headed there. We arrived only to discover it was not what we were looking for. We told someone what/who we were looking for and were told you live in Vintage Haven. So, we hopped on bus #1, direct route to Vintage Haven, and our quest continued. (There is more to the adventure, but not enough room to tell you.). We were in a race with the clock because our boat left at 6 and it was now 3!!! After 300 or more stops to pick people up or let people off, we arrived in Vintage Haven and found your treasures. We were ecstatic. Earlier in the week, when we first arrived in Cape Cod, we had said we wanted to find a treasure to take back home to Tulsa, Oklahoma with us. We had purchased things, but there’s a special feeling that goes with finding a treasure, and that had not yet happened. We each bought 2 of your books, a mug and a postcard. We had found our treasure!!!!! We asked about meeting you and the the lady in the store told us you had left that morning on vacation. Maybe next time. You have inspired us, and that is such a nice feeling. I am thinking I will have to redecorate my house. 🌻🌺🍁🌞🌛. BIG HUGS to you!

  64. Linda Stanley says:

    Hope that you mend quickly and back to your busy life. I love all the cups and wish I could win one. Enjoying your blog each time about your whole food eating.

  65. Nancy says:

    The cups are lovely! Enjoy your travels and your friends!

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