Brown, the color of nature and quiet, of tea and warm blankets, linen and wool and brown corduroy, thick socks, and fireplaces . . . of fairy tales and real things like wood, chocolate, and old violins, of fertile soil and plowed fields, it’s roots, it’s rustic, it’s natural, it’s texture, it’s perfect for winter. Brown is the color of cozy, the sense of belonging and protection and that’s what I hope you feel as we dip our brush into the wonderful and delicious color of BROWN. MUSICA!I have to start with this gorgeous Walter Langley 19th century painting! In her lap, pictures of house and garden, a bow in her hair, and she’s wearing an apron with a fringe of tiny pleats at the bottom over her cozy dress, the browniest brown I’ve ever seen. A girl after my own heart. I had so much fun doing RED last month, I thought, now is the time for BROWN! I keep my photos in labeled files for every subject imaginable, from “sunsets,” and “graveyards,” to “moons,” and “Girlfriends,” (to name a few) and by color too ~ I’ve always thought brown sounds boring, but as you’re about to see, and I know you’ll agree, it’s NOT. It’s luscious! It’s the color of coziness. My dad sent me the cups that make coffee hearts. I love being able to use photos that don’t necessarily fit in another “story” ~ but when the only criteria is color, a whole new world opens! So here we go!
Cozy suitcases, probably handmade. Where have they been? Paris, for sure! I hope they went via ship to England to see the English Countryside! Might have belonged to Sam Clemens. Who knows? Not one of them on wheels, and even empty, they weigh a ton. Tough traveling in the good old days. Except the owner of these most likely had baggage handlers! And what charm!
I tinged the pages brown in A Fine Romance, to make it more cozy so it will make you want to hug it at the end and go ahhhhh. These two pages have lots of brown, so nice for the eyes!
Little brown house in the woods.
Little brown squirrel, also in the woods and slightly frosted.
Most beautiful gentle brown creatures. Here for us. How did we get so lucky?
Beauty, ruffled in the winter wind.
The real Orchard House, home of Louisa May Alcott. I hope everyone was able to see the new Little Women . . . we LOVED it … just heaven! (You can click there and see our visit to the house.)
The Alcott family’s piano. Little Women was very autobiographical . . . the piano belonged to Louisa’s real sister, Elizabeth, who, like Beth, died young, at only 22. I’m glad to the wood! Especially glad to my grandma’s cookie-stirring wooden spoon.
Yes, lovely. Please don’t hate me cuz I’m beautiful😌 . . . this is how it is when we walk in 30º weather! Not a lot of skin showing! Very cozy and very brown!
Love finding wonderful things.
Plain, deep breaths of salt air . . .
Our old legs are still taking us! Out to the brown. Joe’s practically invisible!
I decided this was brown. Not gray.
Wonderful old house . . . built to last forever.
“The little old kitchen had quieted down from the bustle and confusion of mid-day, and now, with its afternoon manners on, presented a holiday aspect that as the principal room in the brown house, it was eminently proper it should have.” Margaret Sidney
This carving was on a chest in a museum in Plymouth. Carved by someone a very long time ago. And there we were, still connecting with it and the person that made it. Some things do last forever. Little homemade handmade things.
This old book too, in the same museum.
Old brown bricks help the fire spread its warmth in our 1849 house. Then go in, and turn on the stove and make . . .
Or some other wonderful thing . . .
Pancakes! The coziest!
These are old family recipes, in my mom’s handwriting, my grandma’s, and my great grandmother’s. Prized possessions I take very good care of. These things can so easily be lost to history, but if, in the future, these disappear, God forbid, they will never actually go away, because I have pictures!
I think these are gingerbread, but it’s been so long, I’m not sure WHAT they are. But they are brown and cute!
Some of those old recipes went into my books!
Not sure how long it’s been since you made a homemade pie crust, but I can’t recommend it more. Do something brown!
Or make an Orange Marmalade Cake! Mmmmm! Teatime!
Or Gingerbread cake with lemon sauce . . .
Most delicious old-fashioned Pineapple Upside Down Cake, so brown and cozy!
Or just buttered toast . . .
I have always loved to paint baskets. This old one is to carry pies to picnics. Pre-Tupperware.
This was my first Man-Kitty, I got him in Holly Oak. Cat in a basket!
And this is elegant Margot in our garden decked in brown…
And this is her little brown dog. And ⬇️ here’s one of those photos I never put up because I can never think of a reason why! But it’s nicely brown!
Here’s another photo I can never think of a reason to show! But, remember in Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams, when I went on an airplane to Vermont with Cliff and wore the “perfect flyer-girl outfit?” This is it! It also had a calf length narrow leather skirt to go with it, but I gave it away a long time ago. This jacket just went to my niece Heidi a couple of months ago. But I took a picture of it, so I have it forever! And she was thrilled and so was I!
My basket of old letters . . .
Kept on the back porch for a quick getaway in case of emergency.😁
One of those golden-brown and cozy Cotswold towns . . .
Someone made this path with only brown rocks.
English pubs, because they are meant to be cozy, with old wood and old books, are almost all brown.
We took a little cruise on this wonderful old boat on Lake Windemere on a rainy day!
Wooden chairs . . . and a guy named Jack!
Plain and brown. Some of my old baskets.
These hats and bags were hanging on the inside of the front door of Holly Oak, so I painted them around, I think, 1988 . . .
Four-poster beds . . . such beautiful old wood to whom I am very glad.
Had to take a picture of it.
Was making Halloween placecards with rubber stamps and burnt edges.
A ticking clock has memories and gives a room depth.
Says it all . . .
Old wood barn in a New England snowstorm.
For this female cardinal sitting on the wisteria outside my kitchen window, I was torn, “brown” or “orange?” So I did both!
Brown for sure. This guy pulled our sleigh through the snow.
On our walk. This is a puddle and you are seeing two things, leaves under the water, and the reflection of trees above!
Not totally brown, but you know what this means? It means a personal red (Brown!) letter day! A Fine Romance has just gone into 7th printing!!! Since we publish it ourselves, some day we’ll have to stop reprinting it, but right now, in the nicest word-of-mouth way, this little book keeps-on-keeping-on. Thank you Girlfriends for liking it and making it the little engine that could.💞
And THIS is what’s on the chair in our kitchen right now… They’re having a two-for-one sale at our cleaners, so that’s where I’m going next! Having a meeting this afternoon with Kellee and Sheri, about NEW things, and everything 2020! I hope you all enjoyed the wee Brown-Out today. You know I’ve been sick, got all kinds of flu and cough and cold after Christmas, Joe too. We are practically MADE of soup and toasted brown bread now! But it worked, we’re feeling much better! Painting again with old movies. Loving PBS Sunday, first with Howard’s End (in three parts) and afterwards, Sanditon. Both just perfection! I’m sure you’d enjoy them too. Our weather doesn’t know what to do with itself. One day it’s 50º, then we have a blizzard that melts the next day, and today, it’s bright blue skies, sunshine and 20º! January! But we are safe in our cozy brown house. Sending love, and lots of creative juice! Love You!
I finally got a chance to sit down and read about BROWN. I loved everything!! But when I got to the photo/recipe for gingerbread with lemon sauce my mind was flooded with memories of childhood. It was probably my favorite dessert my Mom made for us back then (early 1950s). Well, she made pies a lot, but gingerbread with warm lemon sauce was spectacular. Thanks for the post that jogged some sweet memories of our home…a little house in Topeka, Kansas. Mom, Dad, brother Jim, sisters Queenie, Princess, and Cookie and me (Bitsy) along with our cocker spaniel Inky Dinky Doo. New Years blessings to you and Joe!
The little house in Topeka! 🏡😘
I’m the only one of my family left now. Makes those memories extra special!
Wonderful family nicknames…you must have grown up in a very loving home, Jeannette. Lucky you! I presume that you have nicknamed your children, too. Cheers.
Ah Susan, how we appreciate you and this way of communicating with us. Words and photos. But it is like a true visit with a friend. We live in these photos, and rest in the simplicity of the things you say always with life and hope and joy, and loveliness. I love that you are not perfect, but your life does have a touch of exceptional goodness because of the attitude that you live with. And, you share with us that we can do the same. Your art, your books, but sharing your life and your home has been an incredible gift. And, sharing the things you enjoy and love, also hit a cord of harmony with us so many times. May you and Joe always be in God’s bath of blessings.
Not perfect because, you know, human, but exceptional goodness is everywhere and I feel so blessed! Thank you so much Jane.💞
‘Tis Debbie from Tampa….again! Maybe too much Debbie for one blog? I was re-reading this wonderful SB Blog, the lovely comments, and it went straight to my heart. Then it went to my stomach, drooling for the Easy Peesy Cheese Cake. I used to make dozens just like those, except with the calamonden (small round citrus, thin skin, halfway between an orange and a lemon) juice and curls of slightly sweetened peel. I’d squeeze the juice into ice trays, then pop the cubes into baggies for later use. We had a wonderful tree behind our house, plus a lovely orange tree that we coaxed over the years to give the sweetest juice. The new owners whacked down the trees!!! Ah well. Guess having a very small swimming pool jammed back there was more important to them.
Funny how the Universe works….I just heard from a daughter of friends who have died. She went to high school with my very bestest Tampa friend’s middle daughter. This middle daughter lives in England, both of her children were born in Edinburgh, is a “Don” at Leicester University. Her local friend bought my Little Brown Mouse, the very first car I bought in Florida. It was a very small Honda, and it was very brown. I got it for a reduced price, I think because nobody wanted “her”. I loved her, and she got great gas mileage. I commuted about 40 to 50 miles to my teaching job. Anyway, it remains a mystery how serendipity works. Everything That Rises Must Converge, Flannery O’Connor.
You, Dear Lady, are the Gift that keeps on giving,
Debbie in Tampa
All lovely! I never heard of a calmonden! Something very interesting! 💖💖💖💖
I just heard about and tasted calmonden for the first time ever last Sunday. My friend has a tree and gave me some!
Hi Debbie from Tampa!
I was reading your comment on Susan Branch’s blog the other day and was struck about your mention of calamondins. It brought back so many memories to me of how my mother always used to make Calamondin Pie for my son and I for years. I had never heard of the fruit until I moved here to St. Petersburg. A neighbor of hers had a calamondin tree and offered the fruit to my mom since she never used them. Gosh! How your comment brought back so many memories for my son and I. It is so nice to be able to connect with you through this blog to let you know how your one little comment brought back so many heart smiles to my son and me!
What a way to lose yourself on a cold, wintry Saturday afternoon! This blog was so warming & touched all the senses. What a wonderful spirit, Susan has. Thank you for treating us to the visuals in a new light that we take for granted. Keep up the wonderful visual awareness; we love it!
Thank you Barbara!
Thank you Susan for proving that brown is a much underrated color! Would we have the word “cozy” without the color brown? Nope. And may I ask – where did you get the broom pictured on your porch? I’d like one just like that for Crone Cottage.
Broom needs to be in a place called Crone Cottage! 🤣 I think we got it at the Christmas Tree Shop … it smelled like cinnamon so we tried to put it next to the fireplace, but Jack liked it waaaay too much, so it had to go outside!
Thank you — Jack has good taste! I’ll check the Christmas Tree Shop website for it.
thankful you and Joe are feeling better!
Love, love love, this post! Brown is at the top of list of favorite colors for me.
Many years ago I had a brown pants suit( in the day) it was made from a heavy flannel type fabric. I loved that pants suit. Wish I still had it.
Recently was going thru old recipes and cook books and found a page I had torn from a 1990 Country Living Magazine for Cranberry Bread! Done by Susan Branch. Somehow, I have manage to misplaced it, I willfind it again soon.
Oh yes, all those years ago! Love the sound of your brown suit, anything flannel-type is my cup of tea! xoxo
Down in the dumps for the past week and where did I need to turn? Inward and you are my inward too❤ BROWN! I love wood and old things and old clocks and tea. All cooking must have brown to taste good. I love fond! BUT NEVER did i know I loved brown, until now! Such comfort in this blog for my soul today. Inspiration and love. YOU are for me, SB! Thank u. Off to use the inspiration. Xoxo
INWARD!🌟 The magic spot! Happy Monday Charissa!
thought of your love of brown…
great studio-Cocoa Brown tortoise shell pattern soft cotton assorted denim jackets-
“One chocolate brown coat for me is worth twenty black ones.”
I wanted to sit inside that cozy pub with its shelves of books in Plymouth with lunch, and a good novel, my idea of a perfect afternoon. And that picture of the puddle, with leaved beneath and the tree reflections – what beauty. Feel better, the flu/cold/whatever held on to me for 8 weeks, finally feeling back to my healthy self. Love how our bodies eventually heal what ails us with time, nourishment and peace in our hearts.
I’m better now, but that was definitely a cling-on! Each day more spring in my step! Glad to hear you are better too Julie! xoxo
Such a delightful post Susan. I love all the brown! So many wonderful things are brown that we take for granted if we aren’t looking for them. The color themed posts are really fun, hope you continue with them. Thanks for brightening up my day. Stay Cozy!
Hi Susan… I hope your holidays were wonderful and that you, Joe and Jack are having a splendid 2020 so far (aside from the flu..I am so sorry). I tried to comment a few times in the past few months, however, I was not seeing a comment section here. Probably a tech glitch. I am starting off the year with some big changes, for one, at 54 years old I had to have a complete hysterectomy. On January 22, I gave birth, by c-section, to a 10 pound, bouncing, baby fibroid (and twin ovaries). Yikes, needless to say I have plenty of time for the next 6 weeks to veg on the couch. In order to avoid noticing the dust bunny build-up and agitating the clean freak in me, I am burying my head in books. I am actually reading Fairy Tale Girl at night and M.V. Isle of Dreams during the day. I haven’t read them in a while and oh, what a pleasure it is to pick them up again. I have to be careful though… there were 2 times this morning that I thought I may have to call 911. Once was when I sneezed and the second was during the dune-buggy date fiasco in Isle of Dreams. If I end up in the ER with busted sutures it’s on you! (kidding of course…a good laugh is always worth it 🙂 I have some exciting news that I am so happy to share with you. There is a publisher in London that is showing some interest in my book “The Cats and Dogs of Ocean Grove”. That is all I will say, it feels so good to say it, especially to the woman who has been a great inspiration to me. Keep your fingers crossed for little ole moi 🙂 I will see this as a year of great healing, new adventures, head in the clouds and out of the news. All the best to you and Joe! Kisses to Jack too, of course! Love, MaryLou xoxoxo
Fingers are crossed Marylou! Congratulations on the possibility, I hope it comes true! and get well soon! xoxox
I grew up in a brown house. Not the outside, mind, just the inside. Wooden floors, wooden cabinets, wooden furniture. I hated it! And now, older and wiser, my own house is a brown house. Not the outside, just inside: brown cupboards and floors, brown furniture and kitchen cabinet doors. I’m madly in love with brown, from the garden soil to the tea in my cup. Thank you for this lovely tribute and reminder of all good things Brown xo
Hi Susan! I’ve been a fan of yours since I was 11 (in 1992!), and I’ve been wanting to share with you for forever two of my favorite books that I know you will ADORE. One is called: “The Gentle Art of Domesticity: Stitching, Baking, Nature, Art & the Comforts of Home” by Jane Brocket and the other is called “England In Particular” by Sue Clifford and Angela King (they started an incredible organization in England called Common Ground that I think you will also love). Thank you for all you’ve written and all you do! It’s all so inspiring and wonderful.
Just love, love, love these Blogs….The rolling pin in the picture (brown with green handles) is an exact replica of my grandmothers that I have. When I use it, I love to think about all the loved ones (no longer with us) that have had their hands on it over the years.
Susan, I am a librarian who reads everything you write! I just received a new book for the children’s department and thought of you immediately. Please obtain it. You will be thrilled with it. Title: Saving the Countryside-The story of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit. Words:Linda E. Marshall. Paintings: Ilaria Urbinati It is a large book and every page is a watercolor that is spectacular. The book is just beautiful. And although for children, us adults will get as much , if not more pleasure out of it. Always thinking of you. Trisha
Oh how I wish I’d written this! What a wonderful book! Thank you so much Trisha!
That was a lot of eye candy! Thank you, Susan.
BROWN is everywhere in my life..my eyes, (which Have turned green now??) But out of 7 others I was the only one that had brown, my hair,my skin tones. Desks, chairs, tables and 2 Sled Beds, and a player piano, Candle sticks and Bookcases, leather sofas. pictures frames, dirt in my garden, pine cones galore and even my first car was a brown Pinto, named it Merlin..I paid cash for it and it was MINE to do what I wanted and I put my brown bike, named it Lancelot, in the back and took it to the beach and rode for many happy miles. My wedding dress was an off white with a brown cape, a gift from my mom and sister who made it for me…I was and still am a Camelot nut. My favorite drink…Root Beer Float and my first date with my husband to be took me out to dinner.. and he ordered a drink and I did too YES. a Root Beer Float.
Brown has always been my accent color…it goes with everything. But as I re- read this, I guess it is also Another Color I use along with the Greens and Reds in my home. I LOVE IT Thanks for another very interesting and happy post…Love, Susan P
🟤 it is brown ….but wait so isn’t cocoa and chocolate kisses and the deep brown bark on the maple trees. Dear Susan, it was a lovely walk through your world today. I even love the brown of some mud puddles…not to step in,mind you,although that squishy sound I think is brown,too.
Thank you. barbara
Finally today I am getting to read your blog. My brother has been ill with the flu and hospitalized for 12 days as it set into pneumonia and oh my goodness, has he been ill! He finally got to come home yesterday. We are so thankful! So glad you and Joe are feeling better.
Loved, loved, loved this post! From the music of Les Brown, to the Walter Langley painting, Old Orchard House, the pineapple upside down cake (I have your iron skillet recipe cut from Country Living magazine that is so delicious and fun to make) and on to the little boat on Windermere Lake ( got to go there myself after reading of it from another of your blog posts) you have made my day. I will forever think of brown with fondness!
Question for you. I love the painting above the Margaret Sidney quote. Can you tell me who the artist is? You have used it in a post before and I think it is so lovely.
Thank you so much!
Do you have a book that encapsulates your wisdom on growing older? I value the bits and bobs scattered throughout your works on living a full life and have gladly made some of January 2019’s wellness recipes and notes on foods to fight inflammation part of my meal plan but, as a woman of a certain age, would love a book full of your wisdom focused on this stage of life.
Wouldn’t that be fun? I’d love to do it!
Susan, To steal a song title, “Nobody Does It Better” than you! Others, including myself, can type lots of pretty words, but that is just a small portion of your Blogs. Each and every one is like a familiar chapter in the lives of all of us, or Dreams of Possibilities I can’t imagine the time it must take to do the “layouts”, involving your wonderful paintings, photos, recipes, quotes and poems and everything else that ties it together.
Is it easier now that you have files? Even with the files, You are the Spirit that gives it all life and you send it out with Love. Plus, we know that you read our comments. I’m slowly working my way through the old ones, as do love the wisdom of the Girlfriends in addition to yours.
The Brown adventure led me to get down latest in my long line of Romertopff clay pots. When I put the Clay Cookery paperback on the counter in my “Cockpit” the chunk of pages with Beef Shanks Piedmontese fell out. Never had beef shanks, to my knowledge. Tom and I loved the food in Northern Italy, because it was the perfect blend of Italian and German. After almost a month in Bavaria, we were craving some Garlic!!! Anyway, this recipe is fairly labor intensive, but it got major approval from Tom and me. It cooks about 2 1/2 hours, but the steam began to curl out at about 45 minutes. And it got more and more intense.
While we ate and between groans of pleasure, we laughed remembering our 1988 trip to Germany. Tom retired in 1988, bought a mini camper, I took a year’s leave from teaching, and we boogied around the Eastern US, including Maine. On the way back to Tampa, took a Space Available flight out of Dover AF Base. I couldn’t wait to “show” Tom England, and there were flights from Dover to a couple of bases there. So, I crammed very few clothes into a duffel bag, per directions from the USAF, and packed my tote to carry on. I had my English guide books, my little bottle of gin, some tonic and a slice of lime. Ho, Ho, Ho, ready to rock and roll on the way across the Pond. We waited for 2 days, going back and forth from quarters to the departure area, getting almost no sleep. No flights out to England, so Tom convinced me that we could go to Germany, where it would be easier to hop back to England. So, we sat on the duffels with all the other, shall we say, Well Seasoned military retirees. We became friendly with a guy who lived in Ramstein, who’s wife worked on the base.
Finally, we had a flight leaving at 3 AM, Tom checked to see if it had actual air plane type seats for the long flight. We were assured it did. All of us were herded into a line, officers first, and escorted by armed soldiers!! and dogs to the plane. A Gigantic thing I could not imagine getting off the tarmac into the air. The next surprise was we had to climb an almost vertical ladder up to the door, which was right next to the cockpit window. As soon as I made it into the opening, I could see the pilots, who were all of 15 years old, or so it seemed. I looked down the plane to the back. It was rigged with 4 very long rows, 2 facing each other. I tried to turn around and said, let me off! Tom, calmly shouted over the roar of the engines, Our bags are loaded on a pallet in the tail section, and we have 10 people behind us on the ladder. We’re first, Pick a seat.
They were not seats, just 2 metal bars with webbing, an oxygen mask banging your head. I figured my back would be toast! The inside of the fuselage looked like something out of “Alien”. No windows, conduits all over, cold as the devil. I’d been told to wear several pair of socks. After we wedged ourselves in, Not just knee to knee, but one of your knees, one of the person across, then your other knee, and so on.
Ear plugs were passed out, as no noise dampening existed, hands raised for our “meal” peanut butter and jelly sand, or hot meal. Never, ever get a hot meal on such a flight..gag! Water in a tank connected to the Toilet Pallet in front??? Raised hands to vote lights on or lights off. We were all exhausted, so it was lights off. NO reading, no listening to music, cold, sardines packed into a steel tube, being flown by teen aged boys. Ack!! Half way across I got up to get water, and I peeked into the cockpit. Another ACK, nobody was visible, just the two empty seats! Susan, you would have died of cardiac arrest. I couldn’t even get assurance from Tom, and we could not hear. The pilots needed sleep for the several hours we circled Frankfort waiting to land in the middle of the night…Took over 9 hours….But it cost $10.00.
We had no arrangements for Germany, but the guy we met earlier took to onboard a fabulous bus to Ramstein, and got us a room. He came to get us the next day, helped us rent a teeeny tiny car, get maps, guide books, German phrase book, and great recommendations for things to see.!! And Tom got to visit the place his earliest ancestors lived, Rotenburg ab der Tauber.
Whew! Looks as though I did another Stream of Consciousness Story.
Debbie in Tampa
I just love your blog, Susan. I have a beautiful little brown secretary desk that we found a few years ago in an antique store (1940’s) and it is filled with things that mean so much to me. Photos of loved ones, human and pets, trinkets and gifts. I love to sit here and read your stories while listening to the music you so kindly provide us. I also like to save up a few of your stories and read several at once. Today, I read December and Januarys. I love the way you see the world and delight in the simple pleasures of life. Thank you for making our world a little brighter, redder and browner. 😉💕
This will be short….I promise. Please just ignore my last extremely long winded “comment”….more like a small book! I need a cattle prod to stop me when I get rolling.
I adore the color of your studio walls with the clean, white shelves and woodwork.
With so very much appreciation for all that you give to the world’
Debbie in Tampa
I ordered the little book of the first Willards you wrote. In it, you mentioned how the Autobiography of Mark Twain made you cry all the way through it. I decided I needed to read it. Well, when I went to order it, I realized there are lots of different ones to choose from; volume I, volume II, volume III and the authentic original volume, etc. I want to make sure I read the one you are talking about. Can you help me?
Yes! I loved The Autobiography of Mark Twain edited by Charles Neider. There’s also a newer version, it’s a much longer, two-volume autobiography edited by Harriet Smith which wasn’t out when I read this one. It supposedly has things in it that were left out of the one I read because Mark Twain wouldn’t allow publication of these things until 100 years after he was gone. So perhaps you’d like that one, although I can’t speak for it personally. Either way, they’re both written by Mark Twain, and I’m sure you’ll LOVE it!
Thank you so much, Susan. Can’t wait to get my hands on one of them.
So glad to hear that you and Joe are feeling better. The flu has been so bad this year. Our school district and surrounding ones have had to shut down because it is so widely spread. Stay warm and take care!!
So sorry to hear of colds and flu and stuff! No fun. We are recovering from the flu here. Hot tea and honey are the morning routine as we hydrate and try to find the road to recovery. Lots of Netflix and Prime time too. Just finished the Mystery in Paris series with such beautiful costumes and settings. A twist to the plot in every mystery. Featuring many brave and smart heroines.
Time for another cuppa!
Thinking of you and your Joe, getting over the wintry grippe, cuddled up in browns, venturing out to capture bits of the day to cherish near the fire. I look up from my keyboard and see brown everywhere: shelves filled with books, an old pump organ, pressed-back oak chairs, my Father’s old guitar, my hoard of old Hull Brown-drip dishes, a bow of raffia around a vase of last-summer’s flowers. I haven’t tried my hand at translating our favorite, old gingerbread cake to the necessarily new gluten-free version, but the memories that come back to me from your blog make me want to experiment a little. A warm square of gingerbread and a little earthenware jug of warm, fragrant lemon sauce sound a perfect way to end the week. Nestle down, Spring, she will come.
Hi to Susan and Joe—I have been enjoying your recent posts and certainly savor them. Your post highlighting brown reminds me of a beautiful, intricate marquetry picture my Dad made many years ago when I was a little girl. He meticulously cut tiny pieces of wood of all different patterns and grains in varying shades of brown and created a detailed picture of a stately English home. This included miniscule strips of wood for window pane edges. I believe he must have used Xacto knives for the detailed cutting or a similar tool for small projects. This was done when we were stationed in England in the 50’s and I have treasured it ever since. He must have polished it after completion to bring out the beautiful sheen of the various wood choices and the remarkable grains that catch the light. Brown is a showstopper! Love to you both from Bev
I just read “brown” and so enjoyed it. It made me think of my 3 year old picture where I wore the prettiest brown taffeta dress.
Your posts always make me smile. Thank you. MJ
Thank you Susan..what a wonderful letter to us…
Love the link to colours it makes you think the colour for every month..February must be red..or pink..but March…a difficult one..
I shall be looking now for all the brown things surrounding me in the house and in the garden..
Lovely to see pictures of you Uk trip too..wonderful
Happy days..keep warm ..love painting and being cosy..the best word
Love and blessings
Sandra form birmingham
Hi Susan, I have a little story I think might bring a smile to your face and a warmness within your heart.
Many years ago….I came to your blog and met some of the nicest women. One of the was Karen Peterson. I’m not sure if you remember her but Rosie had you autograph a napkin for her and so did Joe during one of your book signings. Well anyway… Karen and I became good friends after meeting here on your blog. We’d chat on the phone, send messages by snail mail, buy little gifts for each other and became such good friends.
If you remember me, you will remember my husband was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor back five years ago.( I shared that on your blog). Karen would get up in the middle of the night and check on me online. (Richard was unable to sleep because of the steroids he was on) . She’d bake cookies and mail them to him. (which he loved) Then when he passed, Karen was always just a phone call away. She’d cry with me and provided me with such loving emotional support.
Well, about eight months later, Karen herself was diagnosed with the exact same thing. She passed three years ago today. Karen would share with her husband Gregory that if he need any emotional support or had questions to call me. Gregory knew who I was because of Karen telling him what was going on. I’d call and talk to Karen while she was on her cancer journey. Gregory would call every so often just to talk, share his grief and we’d cry and share memories together. We did this for several years until around 8 months ago when we started talking more often to each other. Then one day he said something and it caught me by surprise. I said “Greg…are you flirting with me?” He responded with “Yes…I think I am!” and that is when it all started happening. We are now currently engaged to be married. He proposed to me on Jan. 21st. of this year. We are looking forward to marrying in the near future.
So…needless to say…we have both found happiness again. Something both of us thought we’d never find. Especially between him and I since I live in Florida
and he in Wisconsin!!!! This my friend is all because of your blog! If I hadn’t met Karen here…Greg and I wouldn’t have ever met each other. It goes to prove…becoming friends and maintaining that friendship has really nothing to do with physically meeting… it has to do with the connections of hearts… the hearts of kindred spirits. I look forward to continuing my loving friendships with the others I’ve met here like Rosie, and Georgie, Cynthia to name a few. Our ability to share in the joy of finding happiness because of this blog has not gone unnoticed. We’ve formed friendships that will last as long as our earthly journeys do. I would share with you the picture of the napkin you and Joe signed for Karen, but I don’t think this page will allow me to upload it. It’s in a frame hanging in the bedroom. It’s a reminder to me how so many different women found and share a wonderful friendship….all because our kindred spirits met here…beginning with you! You tie to altogether for us. One beautiful sisterhood! EMC! <3 ~ Doreen ~
Oh Doreen, tears are running down my cheeks for your happy ending/beginning to such a very sad, brave, amazing story. Yes, I was planning to mention Karen in my next blog, and now I want to see if I can add your love story to the post? Our beautiful sisterhood, for which I am so grateful, will love it, and not everyone reads the comment section. Do you mind if I include it? Karen was very special to me too, and to many on Twitter. “Connections of hearts” 💞 Kindred spirits. Thank you sooo much, going to read it to Joe! xoxoxo
Sure Susan..that would be fine. If you have an email that I can email some pictures to you I will do that. I have the picture of the napkin in the frame that I would love to send you to post too. I can also send a picture or two of my ring and of Greg and I if you would like. I have a picture of a card or two that Karen sent to me while she was alive. Greg was able to point out some of the little gifts she had sent to me when he came to my home, without me even having to tell him where they came from. It’s very moving….she and I had so much in common…Greg tells me it’s easy for him because he knew Karen well and if she loved it…I would love it! I know this might sounds strange to you but I never met her in person. When I’m up at Greg’s visiting ( I’ll be living up there come the middle of May) I feel so close to her. It’s like she’s around me. I feel so connected. I loved the fact that I could put a wreath on her grave for Christmas and a heart wreath for Valentine’s Day…so even after death, our sisterhood is shared. I don’t mind if you refer to this response but this message here is really in response to you and sharing my heart. I don’t mind at all about posting my first message to you. I wasn’t sure if you’d remember all of this since it was a while ago. Richard will be gone 5 years come May. Hard to believe. It’s hard for others to understand if they don’t take the time to develop these friendships. I look at it as a wonderful gift I found here on your site. Karen and I shared so much, stories, laughter, tears, jokes and opinions…hahaha! We were connected by more than a screen and keys on a computer….across all those miles our hearts became old friends. I understand it’s hard for you to get to know everyone and keep up with what is going on…But I truly felt connected here with you and the others that follow you and know both Karen and I. So my sweet online sisters…we really have no idea how we impact the lives of others when we allow ourselves to connect as kindred spirits. Greg and I are planning on marrying on May 9th (Shhhh….don’t tell that is a secret!!!) Maybe someday in the future when I’m up at my log cabin in NY we can take a trip to Martha’s Vineyard and do lunch. Who know’s. I did want you to know though that your blog was instrumental in Greg and I being able to find each other and fall in love. When you lose a spouse Susan, you lose a part of yourself. It dies with them. You lose the feeling of life being normal. Because of you….Greg and I have found normal again. Our lives are filled with love for each other…and what is best of all….is we both love Karen. I have to admit…I think that sweet girl had so much to do with making this all happen. So, thank you from both Greg and I for being who you are and for creating this blog where so many women from different parts of the world ( Rosie in England for instance) become unconditional friends here on this earthly world and beyond. The bond will always be there between us because of you! Ok….now I’m crying like a baby…my nose is running and my cheeks are wet…but I’m sure Karen is in Heaven smiling down on the two of us as we recognize the wonderful sisterhood you have created for all of us. Thank you again. Please say hi to Joe for me!
~ Doreen ~
I have no doubt about it! I was thinking as I was reading your letter that Karen chose you! From some knowing place inside. It’s a lovely story. I’m so happy for you. Terrible loss turned somehow, against all odds, to love💖. Thank you again for sharing it. It’s good for us to know that miracles happen. xoxoxo
<3 Yes they do….Thank you for taking the time to respond. I know my messages were long but I really wanted to share it with you. I thought it might bring a smile to your face. Hopefully, our story is one that will warm the hearts of many of the members of the "Sisterhood"!
Have a blessed day!
~ Doreen ~ xoxoxo
I know it will, I just put it up Doreen, thank you so much for sharing! I’m sure the Sisterhood already knows? But if not, this will be a good way to announce it!😄🌟
Hope you and Joe are well on your road to recovery, seems to be the time of year for those nasty bugs. I loved this post! Sometimes we don’t think about the color of things. As I sat with a cup of tea at my desk to read Brown, I looked up at my Godmother’s great grandfather’s battered civil war journal, and the cover is a tattered brown and I treasure it.
Take care, and thanks for getting posts out just when we all need a cup of tea and a break from this crazy world.
Are there pictures of your wedding with Joe? Did you write about this wedding somewhere?
Thank you for describing your new house and the details of the Holly Oak house. You made the little cottage so charming. But you made it sound like you might not be able to keep the big house. Is it secure now? Hope so. It is lovely.
Not yet, saving it for the book about HOME. I’m sure we won’t retire in this big house. It’s perfect for dinner parties and guests who come to stay, but already getting too big for us now, and lots to take care of. Plus no downstairs bedrooms. Must be practical! It’s secure, and we’ve taken extra good care for whoever the lucky family is that gets it next.
I don’t often comment, but I love your blog. It’s definitely the loveliest and most creative of all the blogs I read. Your photos are just breathtaking! I love a deep, rich brown.
I am just getting a chance to read this. I 💙 brown, because it reminds me of nature and I can mix so many other colors with it❤️,
We are on the road again 🚙. Duty calls ⚓️, and I am Arnie’s personal chef. He has to keep that blood sugar in check.
I love the wooden things and the 🧺 baskets, as well as your watercolors of them! Besides the home with hearts ♥️, I love your hat and basket drawings from way back. I would think to myself, Who is this artist? Who knew we would become friends. Speaking of friends, Doreen’s comment really touched me. There are good guys in Wisconsin, just saying 😉.
Arnie has Peterson relatives.
I too have made blog girlfriends here and hope to someday meet some of them.
Stay well! OXOX
Wha-a-at? All that brown and now brown skin? No brown-sugar babies? 😀 This has to be one of my favorite posts. You’re a dear!
Dear Susan, love your blog read often! But I wanted to tell you about a show we found on Netflix it’s called The Repair Shop ,and it’s saving England’s treasures of the past , it’s from England and I know you and Joe would just love it ! Let me know if you found it ,it’s a series so you can watch as much as you like on a snowy winter’s evening ! Hope you love as much as we do!
I re-read the 4/15 blog about the Orchard House.
I loved seeing that place a few years ago.
About the blue bottle Joe dug up in your yard – MY husband found a brown one in our yard while digging last year! We just moved to this “new” OLD (1927) home. The bottle is on my kitchen sink window! Love it! Tiny vase!!!!
I so look forward to your blog. I loved the Langley painting. She looks like me at that age along with the wistfulness. I would absolutely love one of your mugs!
This blog totally changed the way I feel about brown
I remember now why I like Brown😍😍😍
Looking forward to your BBC TV show recommendation.
We find we need closed caption on when watching British
shows because while they do speak English, they have a lot
of slang or verbiage that we don’t always understand. Reading
helps…..and you can only turn the volume up so much……Lol
LOL, we do that too!
Happy Valentines Day! Beautiful mugs!
Your books and artwork bring joy! So fun to see. And even more fun was seeing your little corner of the world on Martha’s Vineyard. Such a quaint little island! So wonderful! Thanks for all of your creations!
You make brown magical! Thank you!❤️
My Mother always purchased two of your wall calendars every year, one for her & one for me. I lost my mother to lung cancer November of 2016. I now buy just one wall calendar. I miss my mother so much & miss our little traditions. She would always call me and ask if I’d seen Susan Branch’s newest blog post and how cute it was! She loved your video from a while back dancing around your kitchen and playing Johnny Mathis’ “Marshmallow World”! I can always look at your calendar or go through your blog and smile a little, thinking of her. She would love your tea cups, they are so cheery!
A perfect picture of words! Love you Sarah . . . a great big hug for you. xoxoxo
The story about Doreen and Karen was lovely. And I love all your illustrations — and the breadth of your interests.
Susan! Oh how I have missed visiting your blog! This was my first visit in 2020 and I am already feeling much better about everything! But I must say, I’ve been getting my “Girlfriend Susan” fix with my 2020 Wall Calendar, A Year in the English Countryside ! I love enjoying you and England and things wonderful via the calendar.
I’m hoping to get picked for the tea cups. I promise I would put them to great use with my girlfriends.
You always bring a smile to me with your blog and make me hungry. Last year I started taking watercolor lessons. I now have a greater appreciation of all the hard work you put into your projects. Thank you for sharing your gift.
Thank you back Diane, hope you’re having fun with it!
Your artwork makes my heart sing! I am so glad to have found this site. We all need some beauty in our day. 💕
Thank you, Susan. Bless you! I am grateful to and for you.
Love the mugs ❤️ Thanks for thinking of us lefties!
I love your blog and website and think the heart cup and coaster you posted on your Instagram are just the cutest! Especially for this time of year as Valentine’s Day is around the corner. What great friends you have to gift the coaster😊 Today is a snowy, icy cozy day at home so I am spending time browsing your website and blog to get some inspiration! Thank you for all of the beauty and creativity you put into the world. It’s amazing!
I love every one of your works. I wish there was a font to use for us that have awful handwriting! I would love even just one of your mugs!
I really, really love this! Brown is the best.
You are the best Susan!❤️
Sending you lots of LOVE!💕
Oh how I love reading your posts (and books, and anything you do)! They are so refreshing and inspiring, especially in the middle of winter. Really enjoying your wall calendar, as we do every year. It was the first thing we hung on the wall when we moved! Hope you are having a delightful start to the year ❤️
Oh, how I love reading your posts (and books, and everything you do)! They are so refreshing, especially in the middle of winter. Really enjoying your wall calendar, as we do every year. It was the first thing we hung on the wall when we moved! Hope you are having a delightful start to 2020 ❤️
You’re so talented! I always look forward to your new posts, products and posts. LOVE the mugs.
I always have such a happy feeling to see a new post! I’d love to win a cup! Hearts are my very favorite. Thank you for such lovely art.
Happy Valentines Day! We’ve been enjoying your blog for many years. Thanks for sharing.
Hello Susan! I’m thinking of you today. My dear Aunt Cindi, only three years older than I, but still my aunt, had to fly off to far away California to visit her sister. She was scared I wasn’t flying with her and I would not be there to hold her hand. Made me think of you and your flights in fear. I’m hoping I will a little valentine, one to keep and one to share! Thanks for the giveaway, and a wonderful post!
Awww, poor Cindi!❤️
I just love all things Susan Branch. I so look forward to your blog especially the pictures and of course the recipes. I have all your books but love singly out different recipes for different times. I really enjoyed the live story connected with your blog. Happy Feb. and happy Valentines!❤️❤️❤️❤️
I bought the Heart of the Home in 1990 at the Wenham Tea House (the oldest continuously operated tea room in the country), Wenham, MA. My youngest turned 30 today and I remember nursing her and savoring every page, the artwork, the lettering, the recipes…it was like reading a favorite book which I never wanted to end. It didn’t, my bookcase is graced with all of your books. A Fine Romance traveled to England with us last summer as we stayed in five different locations via an app called Trusted Housesitters and cared for furry friends, homes, and gardens for three months. Susan, we went to every place in Windermere and Grasmere you detailed. My son is recently engaged to a lovely Brit and I am starting her on her own Susan Branch collection. Thank you for years of kinship and enjoyment!💞
Thank you so much Debbie! I’d never heard of the Wenham Tea House … just wrote it down to include in our travels one day! I think having petty pets in the houses you stay in England would be a huge bonus!!! Love the whole idea of it! xoxo
❤️ loved reading this!!
I was telling someone yesterday I had a pile of brown construction paper, students rarely use brown! However, your article made me fall in love with brown. It is lovely in wheat bread, tree trunks, lovely wood tables. I also love your heart mugs. Susan, your blog is lovely! Thank you for sharing beauty! Reading it made my day.
I am new to your blog and I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for posting! AND I love your mugs!!
I am new to your blog and I really enjoyed reading it. THANKS for posting. I also love your mugs!!
Susan, your writing, beautiful books, calendars and their illustrations bring hope, encouragement and love. When I read your books I feel like I have sat down with a friend. I am starting my daughter in law with her own copies. I tote your books everywhere, especially to a waters edge, on a bench with a cup of coffee ahhhhhhhh!❤️
So sweet Madeline! xoxo
It’s always a joy to read your Willard ❤️ while enjoying a cuppa tea.
Oh My Gosh/Goodness! I love this post so much! The broom, You! SB as a young gal! That Cheesecake, Inspiration across the nation! That Spoon!! Swoon! All of it!! My heart stared at Karen for so long not believing this beautiful gal is gone! Her darling Kitty Valentine. I’m pledging to say YES, anytime a friend wants to get together everytime if time allows. because time is so limited. SO incredibly happy for Doreen and Greg!!! xoxoxoxo