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 . . .

Or Spiced Pecans!

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.😁

English Pub!

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!

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652 Responses to BROWN

  1. Gail Young says:

    So much fun to read, it’s like having tea with a friend! Your tribute to brown was lovely! And I reread about your birthday adventure to Orchard House, hoping to see Little Women soon. Thank you for sharing ❤️

  2. Judy Shears says:

    I just kept looking over, Susan, hoping this latest “story-time” with Susan wouldn’t end. I love every morsel of your creations. Kisses and hugs from Florida!

  3. Denise Reese says:

    Susan, thank you! I love brown. My mom always tells the story, that as a toddler, whenever she took me clothes shopping, I invariably chose brown dresses.

  4. Colleen says:

    You always have the nicest way with words, Susan. Brown is very “under appreciated”, I think. I remember my mom making me a a brown outfit when I was a kid and I thought it was beautiful! Little did I know then, but brown actually looks good on me with my red hair! How nice it would be to share a cup of tea and toasted bread and stroll along your laneways with both you and Joe. I’m quite sure we would have many laughs together. Thanks for this post. It sure brightened my day!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Colleen! ❌⭕️

      • Deborah Ferguson says:

        We could share a cup of tea and toasted bread~Susan have you thought about some kind of “watch party”? Is there a way we could use the internet to sit at our computers and see each other and talk? It would just be the best thing ever!(besides being your neighbor)
        Much love to you always,
        Debbie in California

  5. Cindy Johnson says:

    My mom is 88 years old and has Dementia. We had a Tender moment the other day. We were talking and she remembered an older man coming to do some work at her house. He walked into the front door, looked around and declared “Yo folks sure do like brown!” And they did—brown couch, wood tables, brown leather chairs and tan grass cloth wallpaper. And today my home is a cozy brown. Loved your pictures and happy to see a blog today. Glad you are feeling better.

  6. susan leary says:

    Susan, thank you for looking at colors from an artist’s perception. As a kindergarten teacher, one of my very first lessons of the school year, is to teach my children, that no one is white or black. Rather we use multi-cultural crayons that I call skin colors. The wonderful names for shades of brown are Mahogany, Sepia, and Burnt Sienna. The children love their new names.

    • sbranch says:

      Almond, coffee, caramel, toffee, chocolate too . . . Love it Susan!

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      Oh, Susan Leary, I used to do somewhat the same all those years ago when I taught in Mississippi. My “children” were just beautiful, but in those days, late 60’s, they didn’t always see themselves that way. Every day when I left the various classrooms, where I’d feel all warm and happy, though exhausted, and drive over to the other side of the town, I was taught again the reasons why those children had difficulty feeling themselves to be beautiful and worthwhile.
      Thank you for being a super teacher…:-)

  7. Sally Jenks Roth says:

    Susan, thank you again! I never was a great lover of brown but, as you say, it’s the colour of wood (which I love) and so much more that I like (such as coffee, tea and chocolate). What a cozy post, delightful in every way, as usual. So, a new way to look at it.
    Keep feeling better, and warm, and painting, and blogging. You are SO much appreciated, and inspiration to all of us with an ability to find joy in almost everything.

  8. Sylvia in Seattle says:

    Ohhh, I want to make those Brownies . . . and come to think of it aren’t young Girl Scouts called Brownies? So much fun contemplating the color brown. I’ve had to rethink Brown now. How Now Brown Cow. Favorite poem read to me when I was very young was “I love the cow all brown and white, who gives me milk with all her might”, Robert Louise Stevenson. I think that’s how it went. And of course, Freddie Mercury’s eyes! My kids got me all Freddie Mercury swag for Christmas since I’ve been obsessed with him all year. What fun! Oh and Theo James in Sanditon! Had to Google his name to place where I had seen that intense face before. The erstwhile Mr. Pamuk. What a looker he is! We had some snow here for a while. That was fun too. Now back to RAIN RAIN RAIN. I don’t mind since we did get some snow. So glad you took time off to get better. But, so appreciate that you are back 🙂 YAY

  9. Nicole Dube says:

    Wait just a minute!!! You said you are safe in your cozy brown house? But…your house is white!! Does that mean you bought Holly Oak??? In your heart (and ours) it will always be yours anyway!! Hope you and Joe have seen the last of Winter bugs for a long while!
    Love from Canada ❤️

  10. Linda Pulliam says:

    Love your blog! We were lucky enough to live in Portsmouth, New Hampshire when we were younger! That is where I was first introduced to your work by a dear friend. We took advantage of living in such a beautiful part of country and traveled throughout New England. Thank you for the shared memories. I for one have always loved the color brown.

  11. Ellie says:

    Thank you for giving me hope.

  12. Lynette Strohbach says:

    Thanks Susan for the brown ideas to get through winter. My favorite brown is dirt! I went to the Como Park Conservatory last week, to be surrounded by plants with greenery and blossoms, and to smell and feel the dirt. (You can tell I’m a gardener). Also dirt has a natural chemical in it that is an anti-depressant, so if you rub your hands in it, it will make you feel better. No wonder gardening is so relaxing and fun! I had the sickness crud and was injured from a fall on the ice at the same time, that was miserable but all is well now. Enjoy winter!

    • sbranch says:

      I LOVE the smell of dirt. Thawing earth in spring is dreamy! Glad to hear you are better Lynette! xoxo

  13. Nanci says:

    I had a brown pinwale corduroy dress I made when I was in high school that I dearly loved. Wished I’d saved it to look at. I too love brown. Funny but there’s been several things written now about how young people don’t want brown furniture. I love mine…it’s a perfect neutral in decorating. Any designer will tell you that. Thanks for the lovely quotes and pictures

  14. Ellette Day says:

    What a wonderful post! Thank you! I just saw the new “Little Women” movie yesterday with two girlfriends and during the movie I commented on how much I loved her old leather bags that she was carrying when she went to NYC and lo’ and behold you have a photo with old suitcases. Your blog post reminds me a lot of the scenes in that wonderful movie. Am anxious to go see it again!

  15. Kate says:

    God bless you, Susan, for even making brown seem lovely. I live in a big, brown house with a brown dog and have a little brown shop behind my house where I make quilts, some of them brown. Brown is beautiful! Thank you for a wonderful post;

  16. Warwickshirelass says:

    Oh, what a wonderful post! Brown has long been a favourite colour of mine. It reminds me of shiny conkers (horse chestnut fruits) and school shoes polished up, rich gravy in a beef pie and the bed of a stream where I used to play as a kid.
    And incidentally, the brown rocks path is called in England a ‘cobblestone path’. Very old, hardwearing and found all over the United Kingdom.
    So pleased to hear you and Joe are feeling better. Keep warm and cosy!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s where I got that picture. I’ve seen paths called cobblestone (here) before, but the rocks are much larger, close together . . . this was different. Very pretty! Thank you! xoxo

  17. Patricia Edde says:

    Hi Susan,
    It’s been awhile but I’ve been laid low just like you and Joe but my absence was due to a fractured shoulder (thank you so much Iowa black ice) in mid November and then a total reverse shoulder replacement 9 days later. I just got out of the sling last week and now see the PT twice a week for who knows how long. I tried emailing you with my left hand but it didn’t go too well. As you well know, breaks and fractures sure do have a way of making a person humble. I don’t know about you, but asking for help never came easy but I had no choice this time and my friends were amazing – they shopped, picked up prescriptions, cooked and drove me around and when they couldn’t there was always the taxi (although they did draw the line at cooking for me – go figure). Thank goodness that Decorah is sooooooooooooooo small. I see the surgeon on the 3rd and I hope he gives me permission to drive.

    I loved “Little Women”! Saiorse Ronan is not only beautiful but a great actress to boot. I want to see “1917” and “Knives Out” but I better get a move on because they leave this week.

    Well the caucus is almost upon us and most of the candidates have come to our little Northeastern town to speak. Wednesday we’ll see Andrew Yang. Who knows how it will all turn out but, as important as it most certainly is, it is also very time consuming and draining so I’m looking forward to when our part is over and we can turn it over to the other states. I hope America chooses well.

    My arm is starting to ache a bit so instead of my usual tome, I’ll have to leave it at a half of one. So happy to hear that both of you are recovering and I will keep my eyes peeled (pealed? or is that only what bells do?) for Spring.
    Much love to the 3 of you,

    • sbranch says:

      Oh so sorry to hear about your shoulder! Yes, humble, and irritated, and W A I T I N G to get well! How sweet your friends have been! Fingers crossed for the 3rd! Joe saw 1917 last night, but I didn’t go. I find WWI Unbearable. Joe thinks every 12 year old should have to see that movie and then there would never be war again. I’m not so sure it’s that easy! I thought somewhat the same thing with Schindler’s List. That every child should see it. It’s a world changing movie. Best thing Steven Spielberg ever did. Feel better soon Patricia! XOXOXO

      • Heidi says:

        I love your posts. I savor them like a piece of delicious chocolate, eaten very slowly (which of course is brown!). I, too, think Schindler’s List should be required watching. Difficult to watch, but not as difficult as the evil it depicts. Also, I am a follower of yours on Twitter and very much appreciate your sensibilities.

  18. Karen says:

    Hi Susan. Glad to hear that you and Joe practice EXCELLENT self-care when ill and that you are on the mend! Best to you both. Karen

  19. Rosemary Lang says:

    Dear Susan,
    Your blogs are always a gift! Thankyou for spending so much of your time to warm our hearts. Glad you are both starting to feel better.
    My friend in North Carolina requires an occasional shipment from me of B&M brown bread. She misses and it cant find it there.

  20. Wendy-Louise says:

    Thank you Dear Susan! Love this beautiful brown post! Brown is a gorgeous color and I am so happy you and Joe are better and cozy in your magical home. xoxo Wendy- Louise

  21. Penny Cooper says:

    So glad you & Joe have recovered from colds & flu -it’s been a really bad flu season . Love the wonderful pictures of everything brown ! Thanks for sharing your gingerbread & lemon sauce -sounds yummy. I love the lemon meringue pie picture- can you share that one as well ? Definitely want to try the pie crusts recipe. I loved the LITTLE WOMEN movie – took my grandchildren & my 14 year old grand daughter took home the copy of the book I have offered her to read ( for years ) finally !

    • sbranch says:

      Hooray! Will start her on a lifetime path 🙏 I hope, right along side of you! I made that pie for a friend’s birthday, but I don’t have a recipe in my book . . . I think I just got out my old Joy of Cooking!

  22. Sylvia in Seattle says:

    Oh Oh, I got it wrong! It goes: The Friendly Cow all Red and White, but never mind in my mind’s eye I was seeing a brown and white cow like my Aunt Florence had in her barn when I was a kid. RLS poems so great.

  23. Kathryn L Cartier says:

    Wonderful post 😀 So happy to hear from you .

  24. Bethany Kohl says:

    Such a sweet delight. What color is next?

  25. Joyce Dupont says:

    So love the browns. So many shades. I love the browns in all the places of a daily walk, or just glancing around the room.
    Enjoyed reading all the comments also.

  26. Linda Chudej says:

    I want to share a funny “brown” story with everyone. When our two girls were growing up our home was a tribute to my favorite colors, brown & cream. I love anything from Colonial America (lots of brown then!) so my decorating choices inevitably led to rural colonial America choices. Our youngest daughter when she was 14 declared that when she grew up & had a house of her own nothing was going to be brown because brown was boring! She’s 45 now & has that home of her own & guess what…..her soft, comfy cozy couch & chair are brown. 🙂

  27. Sandra Garber says:

    Loved this so much. I noticed the Polish Pottery pie plate in one of the pictures. I collect Polish Pottery and find the casserole dishes to be the best for baking.

  28. Francie Goodrich says:

    Really loved this blog! Everything in it made me long for a cozy winter day- but CA does have it’s lovely times too! (Jacaranda trees in June!) The Heard Museum in Phoenix has a wonderful show of beautiful, old brown baskets made by Native American women.

  29. It is so lovely to read your emails.

  30. Meg Reilly says:

    Glad you are feeling better. Southern Massachusetts winters are definitely brown which means it is a little warmer (the ocean effect)

  31. Kyra Franz says:

    Such a beautiful brown escape! Thank you, Susan.

  32. CHeryl Craven says:

    I’m have not been fond of brown for a long time….but you have cha ged my mind!! I just wasn’t t looking properly! Wonderful post….thank you!!

  33. Lillian Olmstead says:

    Dear Sue,
    So glad to hear that you are better. You were missed. I love the new blog and wonderful, warming brown. Keep eating soup, the worlds miracle cure.
    Lillian O. XOXO

  34. Francie says:

    My late husband Don used to call me his “brown eyed lady” after the song, and because he said I had big brown eyes, and brown hair. His favorite desserts were brownies and chocolate cake. Four out of five of our children had brown hair. So I guess I love brown also.
    I wish I could take cool photos like you. amazing.

  35. Judy in Oregon says:

    Love your brown post. I am a person that doesn’t necessarily like brown except someone pointed out to me one day when I expressed it that chocolate was brown. Well I had to rethink that and then you mentioned coffee which is true and I drink it every day. But after reading your post I see there are too many other things that are brown that I do like. So I have to conclude that I really do like brown.

  36. Tami says:

    Oh my, thank you so much for this cozy post. I agree, I do feel like we just sat in front of the fire and shared a cup of tea.

  37. Mary E says:

    Glad to hear you and Joe are on the mend. Loved the color Brown revelry. I honestly hadn’t thought about it and it makes me very happy. I just had two dishtowels on Etsy made for my BFF that has hand written recipes I received from her mother and grandmother (which I still make to this day). Brown potatoes and chocolate, 2 more delightful brown things. Lave and warmth to you both!!

  38. Peg Parrish says:

    Loved this gorgeous brown missive and found so many things that brought back memories! I saw the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in your pile of old recipes and a letter from someone care of General Delivery. I have lived in a couple of places where I received mail by General Delivery!! Seems like a lifetime ago. You have baskets like mine and I need to start giving some away. Just last week, we had B&M Brown Bread with our baked beans for dinner. I love it!! But I do not love hearing that you and Joe were ill and I am so glad that you are doing better. I was worried when we didn’t hear from you but thought you were just busy with holiday fun. Please take good care, the flu has been really bad this year even if you have had a flu shot. I loved all of the brown photos and will now go and see what beautiful hues of brown I can find in my world. XOXO

  39. Cathy says:

    So glad to get your blog today! I was wondering if you were sick. So glad you are both better. Enjoyed this blog! Brown has been my least favorite color. Thanks for opening my eyes! I have never stopped to think about how many of my favorite things are brown! Congratulations on the 7th printing of A Fine Romance. I just gave a copy to some friends of mine. They, of course, loved it!

  40. Jane says:

    I have been “haunting” your blog page, just to make sure I had not overlooked an email alerting me to a new posting, so I was delighted to find in my inbox the happy news that a new blog was up. Pure bliss, as always!

  41. Margaret Matlock says:

    Years ago my Mother made me a brown taffeta dress which probably was called Russet. Since my favorite color is blue it was disappointing that my sister got a blue one. But low and behold I always got complimented when I wore it.Guess Mother knew best!
    I am hoping to see “Little Women soon. My favorite book. I loved the original film with June Allison, Elisabeth Taylor, Margaret O’Brien and Janet Leigh. Love your posts!

  42. Marybeth Rogers says:

    I always feel cozy and warm when I settle in to one of your blog posts. I look forward to them.
    Thank you.

  43. Grace says:

    Oh I so enjoy your posts. I have never given much thought to the color Brown until now…..

  44. audrey B, LaBarque Creek, MO says:

    Dear Susan, I love your photo tribute to brown! Brown is my fella’s favorite color… and people snicker when they hear that, as if it’s a bad thing. But if you knew him, you would understand. Brown is steady, not flashy, solid, humble, patiently waiting, not begging to be noticed, but holding so much of life together. Freezing cold here in the Midwest, icy winds blowing. Two loaves of pumpkin bread fresh from the oven, cooling on the counter, oven door propped open lending a bit of warmth to the kitchen. Cold winter’s night, warm glow of brown.

  45. Ann says:

    Brown…so cozy! Glad you and Joe are feeling better. Same here…soup and more soup and naps and fires and finally feeling better. Still eating soup and made home made noodles to go with the soup yesterday. So excited to hear what you are planning for 2020 !

  46. Mary Ann in Mid-Missouri says:

    I am so glad to hear you and Joe are feeling better. I’ve been worried, and I must confess, longing for a blog post. Once I read that you were sick, I was so desperate for something from you that I reread The Fairy Tale Girl and Isle of Dreams, then I started looking at all the cookbooks again. It was the perfect way to spend some bitter cold days, wrapped up in my afghan, with a kitty or two in my lap. Today, we were told we might get a few snow flakes this afternoon, but it wouldn’t amount to anything. Instead, it was 17* and snowed hard all morning. The roads were a mess. I stayed in all day, but my two granddaughters came to spend the day with me. What fun!

    • sbranch says:

      I feel sorry for weather guys these days, trying to keep up with it! Sounds like you made it fun . . . Nice to be well again Mary Ann, thank you!

  47. Anne in Maine says:

    Loved Brown!!! I never really thought about what a warm, cozy color brown is. Perhaps that is why I unknowingly gravitate to earth tones and dark wood in my home. This blog truly did warm me from the very tips of my toes to the top of my head. Thank you! I was wondering where you have been. So sorry to hear that you and Joe were sick. Happy to hear you’re feeling better! The heart cup your dad gave you is so precious in more ways than one.
    Stay well!!!

  48. Kathy Blue says:

    So glad the flu and cold is leaving your house – – hope some good bone broth is still on the menu, I believe in it!! Love the “browns” in the world, thanks for bringing them to the light for us. Enjoy the cocoon season, cozy is wonderful in January and February!
    Kathy Blue

  49. Suzie D says:

    Such a wonderful thoughtful post. I enjoyed every word and every picture. Thank you for reminding us of how very beautiful brown is.

  50. Vickie in Olympia says:

    Once I had my colors “done.” I was told brown was not in my palette. Umm.. at the time I had brown hair and still have the brown eyes…so I still wear brown. It makes ME feel cozy and nothing is as warm as a brown wool sweater, as lovely as a brown horse, or as polished as a brown leather jacket. Thanks for lovely letter to appreciating an under-appreciated color. After all if it wasn’t for brown, would red, blue, orange or yellow be so bright?

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

    Glad to hear you and Joe are feeling much better. Everyone has been down and out with everything this year. I even spent 5 days in the hospital to celebrate the new year. I went in on New Year’s Eve. What is that saying? Life happens when we are busy making other plans. Your post on “Brown” was very calming. I especially loved seeing those suitcases and wonderings of who they belonged to and where did they travel? Seeing Jack always makes my day.

  52. Susan Eyerman says:

    I really liked brown when I was young but never admitted it. Still love it and use it as accents. “Brown” food – crusty bread, muffins, stuffing, yum. Enjoyed this post so much.

  53. Anne Steirer from Riverside CA says:

    Reading your blog cheers me every time and reading all your books helped me sail through chemo exhaustion with flying colors! A sweet brown memory is from a an 8th grade girl when I was teaching years ago. When I wore a brown and black tiny checked rick rack trimmed gingham dress she said, “Oh, Miss Benson, it makes me so happy when you wear that dress!” That made me happy too! All my Susan Branch things are very important to me and my friends always know what to gift me!

    • sbranch says:

      How darling! Kids say the darnedest things! I remember having my favorite dresses on teachers . . . I hope I told them! I hope your health is good, Anne! xoxoxo

  54. Joyce Shellhammer says:

    I really enjoyed this post. So many wonderful things are brown. I never liked brown as a younger person but it seems as I have aged I find the beauty in it and so many things I never appreciated. This was such a wonderful post. Thank you so much for brightening up my day.

  55. Betsy Whitehead says:

    Thanks for the dose of beauty and creativity on a winter’s day!

  56. Was wondering where you’ve been, Susan…I’m so sorry that you and Joe have been sick! I never was much of a fan of brown, but now I’m going to look at that color in a new light. And I’d never say no to coffee or a brownie. 😉

    Your posts are such a delight; I feel like I’m chatting with a friend over tea. And I did indeed embrace The Fairytale Girl, A Fine Romance, and Martha’s Vineyard to my chest when I was reading them. Some of my most treasured and loved books! Didn’t you say you were writing a fourth one in this series? Do you have any idea when it will be published?


    • sbranch says:

      With the broken wrist and this ridiculous flu I’m set back on ENCHANTED, plus I got creative inspiration while watching Dickens movie this Christmas and started thinking about writing a Christmas Story that’s been on my mind forever. So I’m doing it! So there will be something coming in August. And I’ll get back to my England book as soon as I finish the Christmas story! Thank you Melanie!

  57. Kathi in OR says:

    So funny, I was just thinking yesterday that it’s been awhile since I’ve heard from you, and here was your newsletter in my email in box. I’m sorry to hear you and Joe have been sick, but am glad you are feeling better now! Thank you for sharing all the warm & cozy browns… the perfect color for this time of year!

  58. Leslie Susan says:

    I love all your wonderful brown things…from wildlife to warm wool,
    hardwood to hairbows, memories to munchies…I haven’t had brown bread since I was a kid! January is the perfect time for new old things. Happy pre-spring!

  59. Liz Girolamo says:

    Haahaa….I just bought a brown pair of Nursing scrubs- a color you rarely see in scrubs. So this was like a thumbs up for my decision. Going to do more to honor Brown for this season. Then Green will have to take over sometime around March. Look forward to trying the orange marmalade bread and the pineapple upside down cake too. You make everything so nice and cozy, Susan. Your Willards are like a refuge. Thx.

  60. Wendy from Alberta says:

    I have never really liked the colour brown but I am now seeing it in a different light. As you pointed out it is the colour of some of my favourite things like chocolate, coffee and especially brownies!! It has been so cold and snowy up here in Canada that I would love to see a little “brown” in our landscape instead of all the white, right about now. I’m glad you and Joe are feeling better and enjoying the coziness of winter! ❄️☃️

  61. Robin White says:

    Loved this tribute to brown! Really perked up my day! Thank you so very much, Susan.

  62. Sophie T says:

    And I thought I didn’t like brown… but I do love coffee, chocolate and trees… And your lovely pictures do show that it is a comforting color (especially in this very cold weather we are having). Thank you for this lovely post!

  63. A designer said she didn’t care for brown because it was “blah”. My heart sank. It’s one of my favorite colors and when paired with black, utterly sophisticated! This was a wonderful post, thoroughly enjoyable; hope you’re over the epizootics and well on your road to wholeness.

  64. Linda says:

    Hi Susan, I loved your “brown” post. So many things brought back memories. Specially the photo of the old suitcases. I am blessed to have the one that my grandpa took with him for a six week trip to Europe in 1958. It is a special treasure to me. Brown in our house also includes a hutch and pie safe made by the Amish, and my grandma’s very old desk. I love the old wood! Thank you so much for sharing and making my day.

  65. Dewena says:

    How did we (your readers) get so lucky? I loved your brown post with all the beautiful photographs and words reminding us of the beauty of brown! I’d better love brown–this 1935 cottage is full of old V-groove pine boards, walls and ceilings. Like a brown cashmere shawl around my shoulders. I love your four poster bedposts that look like they’ve had decades of careful polishing. And that incredible octagonal glass dish your pineapple upside down cake is in!

    You even make being sick sound cozy but I’m glad you’re feeling better.

  66. Susan Edwards says:

    The brown actually warmed my heart on this cold and dreary day. Thank you Susan

  67. MJ in MI says:

    Hi Susan – so glad you’re feeling better — I was worried about you! Missed your positive perspective ☀️ and love your fun take on the humble color brown. It really is one of the coziest colors around. Here’s to simple pleasures and continued good health.

  68. Sara J. Harrison says:

    Wow, this blog is an absolute feast for the eyes! I too love all shades of brown, so warm & comforting, I just got back from spending Christmas & New Years in England with my daughter & family, such old & natural beauty there, especially in the Costwolds! Would you believe Jan. 1st. the daffodils were up & some in bloom! I am really enjoying your British calendar this yr. & awaiting me when I arrived home was your lovely Tea Tin I ordered. We have had a rather mild winter here in Southern Ontario until this weekend when we received a quantity of snow & the bitter cold to go with it, it will be awhile until we see spring here! Thanks again for your inspiring blog, love them all!

  69. Sheryl Ross says:

    I love your blogs and books. I reread summer cookbook yesterday. I always make the crostinis and Pims cups all year long for company. I have a 659 sq ft apt. that I ❤️. I wish it was a house. It has everything I need. I have 2 house mantras I say every day from your books. Hoping! Thank you for your inspirations.

    • sbranch says:

      A little house, that’s all we need. (Unless we have a large husband who thinks he would shrivel and die in a little house.🙃)

  70. Lynn says:

    I love reading your blog!

  71. Carol on the Farm in Iowa says:

    Winter finally came to us in N. W. Iowa. We had blizzard conditions Friday and Saturday. It is always kind of fun to be”snowed in”. We never are though, since we have the tractor and loader. Hubby scoops the snow from our lane and then we have huge piles all over. So I cooked up a lot of cozy comfort food, worked on my current quilt project and napped.
    Before we know it it will be spring.
    I enjoyed your post! Keep on!

  72. Kitty DeMento says:

    So good to receive your lovely Blog Susan- hope you’re much better soon!!!
    Stay cozy!!!
    With gratitude
    Kitty D

  73. Tana says:


  74. Emily from the Berkshires says:

    Thank you for such a delightful ode to brown. I have always been drawn to the richness of earth tones and brown especially. It really is the color of cozy! We loved Little Women, too. It was such a beautiful and faithful adaptation. Definitely one to own (when the time comes) and revisit again and again. I did not know about the Howard’s End miniseries. I will have to look into that. Your photo of B&M brown bread made me smile and think of my dear grandfather. He loved the stuff, but I have yet to try it. I saw a recipe for it once in the King Arthur Flour catalog. I will have to order the mold and give it a try!

    • sbranch says:

      Buy the can! You cut off both ends and push the bread out of the can. It’s very old-fashioned and delicious.

  75. Cynthia Jane Mrva says:

    I so much enjoyed your “Colours” (love the English spelling) of brown blog. I never really thought about it, but, yes! Brown is such a cozy color. I have a collection of brown crocks and old brown pottery jugs I like to display on my antique brown wardrobe. My grandfather (born in 1896) used to play chords on the piano with his crooked fingers and sing to me..”Ha ha ha, you and me, little brown jug do I love thee.”
    I have a question for you. I love the quotes and poems you use, so fittingly, with various illustrations and stories. How do you keep track of them and find just the right line and verse you are looking for? Do you have a file system? I think a little book just with your quotes and poems organized by topic would be wonderful! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      For this I have a hard copy file system. My art from every book and calendar is scanned and numbered and in 9 large binders under labels like Tea, Courage, Mother, Christmas, Critters . . . it goes on and on and I add to it almost daily. So if I need something about the Earth or Love, or Winter or Fairy Tales, I know just where to look! I agree about the word colours. I stop myself because I’m not British, but I think our spelling is much too flat, and the word colour, of all words, should not be flat! Maybe I’ll just do it anyway! xoxo

  76. Kim E. says:

    As I read your lovely “brown” blog, I am listening to a wonderful brown Great Horned Owl hooting in the trees behind my house. Looking for a mate no doubt to join him on this cold Wisconsin night. Brown is so rich and cozy and certainly one of those colors you can rely on to bring you comfort in any shade! Thank you for the warm thoughts I will take to my dreams tonight.

  77. Mary Brehm says:

    Hi Susan! We just got back from our long weekend getaway in Portland, Maine! What fun we had. Winding our way up route one and stopping at any antique shops we could find from Kennebunk and northword! I opened up my phone when we were in the car coming home and saw You tweeted about your new brown post!! Wouldn’t you know it, I just left a shop with a beautiful set of Stafordshire “Clarice Cliff” brown transfer ware. There were twelve plates at 4.00 each. Plus additional berry bowls and bread plates. I hemmed and hawed and talked myself out of them. 15 minutes later i read your tweet and was like….I’TS A SIGN!!!
    I should have gotten those brown dishes. Everyone in the car burst out laughing at me! Oh well…I’ll chalk them up to the ones that got away. Thank you for another lovely post. You inspire as usual. Glad you and Joe are feeling better.
    Love, Me

    • sbranch says:

      $4.00 a plate for Clarice Cliff? OMG. Well, you’re going to dream about that one! 🤣 Love to you Mary! xoxoxo

  78. Sharon in Philly says:

    hi susan

    Brown! Were you every a Brownie?

  79. Rosemary North of Boston says:

    Hello Sue,
    Thank you for a lovely post, with lovely pictures and wonderful thoughts and words. Just binge-read your three memoir books, I do it once a year to ground myself in beauty. Hope you and Joe are on the mend. Will look forward to your next post, they always make my day.

  80. Ruth Winkler says:

    Dear Susan, I missed seeing your blog and tonight your brown blog appeared. Yeay! I, too, love brown. Had a lovely brown suit when I worked as secretary in Town Hall. I also chose a cocktail dress way back when in a lovely brown shade. I think it is nicer than the little black dress syndrome. You stay well now and oh, those brownies are beckoning me to make some!
    Loved all your photos.

  81. Paulette Clayton says:

    Your lovely post reminded me tbat several years ago we painted our gray brick house a delicious dark chocolate brown. My husband and I did the job ourselves. It took days to complete, but I never tired of painting with that beautiful color. Every time I opened a new can of paint, it looked good enough to drink.

  82. Lorrie says:

    My mouth always curves up in a smile when I see a post from you. Such a lovely way to spend a few minutes in the day, visiting via blogland. Today’s contemplation of Brown is delightful. Such a warm, cozy colour – and it’s also the colour of CHOCOLATE!
    I love gingerbread and lemon sauce- it’s a classic! Haven’t seen the new Little Women movie yet, but I hope to soon.
    Glad you and Joe are feeling better.

  83. Barbara A Case says:

    Have really missed you… glad you are both feeling better..take care…don’t over do !! Love from Indiana !!!

  84. Sarah says:

    Susan, this is charming as only you can do! I have to say I’m a fan of brown. Our wedding china has a brown and gold rim, our wedding crystal – brown. We have a set of Christofle silverware that is brown enamel, oak hardwood floors – brown, beautiful old pieces of furniture in brown wood with wonderful patina, antique English bamboo pieces, a collection of antique tea caddies – all brown, and of course my treasured tortoise shell boxes. I’m sure this list isn’t complete. Yes, I’m a fan of brown. Congratulations on the 7th printing. Glad you and Joe are better!
    Hugs from Austin ~ Sarah and Sadie

  85. Nancy says:

    I can’t imagine that anyone could not love brown. It is such a calm color.

  86. Kim McAlister says:

    Reading your blog is like having tea with your friends you’ve known since granger school. To focus on lovely things, friends, happy memories, to pay tribute to a simpler time…this is why I love your work. Susan, you are a blessing! May you receive at least as much joy as you give.

  87. Hazel Steeves says:

    Your gingerbread and lemon sauce has been a family favorite for years. Yum.

  88. Marge says:

    Lovely blog! Glad you and Joe are better!

  89. Eileen says:

    Oh, how I loved Orchard House! I grew up in Lexington, Mass; went to high school in Concord. My favorite author is Louisa May Alcott. I read Little Women about every 2 yrs. I have been in Orchard House sooo many times. I can move through each room and upstairs if I close my eyes. B+M Brown Bread, another memory. My parents home-made Brown beans on top…

  90. Margaret Harke says:

    I have never appreciated brown as much as I do now. Thank you, Susan!

  91. Dayna says:

    What a cozy little blog post packed full of comfort! Glad you’re feeling better.

  92. Christine Morgan says:

    So glad to see your post tonight. The past week or so have been very stressful for our family and I was so in need of your gentle words. This post about the “warm” color of brown was so peaceful and enjoyable to read. So glad you are feeling better. Seems like everyone has something right now. Thank you for being there.

  93. Linda Hill says:

    Appreciating brown takes getting older I do believe.
    This has to be one of my very favorite posts of yours and I have read them all for years now………almost since you started I believe. Remember I won all the fabric you made? I was shocked at the price it cost you to ship it and remember feeling guilty!!
    Praying that you and Joe get well real soon–what a bummer to have all that sickness .
    Linda from Idaho where it has been a very mild winter–I am feeding 9 homeless stray cats (trapped 9 with local rescue group & neutered but they release right back to my yard!!!)–had a cedar cat house (all insulated & finished–4 stories w/insulated opening window) built to shelter them –it is huge!! HA! It was my Christmas present to me & them!!!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s the gift of aging, seeing things with more detailed eyes. Foods I didn’t like when I was young, like blue cheese, suddenly yummy! Bird song, wind in trees, smell of the sea, all such gifts! You are shocked at me paying for shipping, but YOU built a 4-story insulated shelter for homeless kitties?🤣 I love you Linda! The world needs more of you! xoxoxo

  94. Sherry Reis says:

    Hi Susan, Your brown photos just warmed my heart. Our home is a cozy brown as well. With Light Cocoa walls, leather sofa, soft cushy chairs, cherry wood, and oak and a reddish brown brick fireplace that is so nice to light on a cold night. I must try the gingerbread and brownies soon. Glad you and Joe are feeling better, we had flu shots and luckily no colds so far. I saw Howard’s End on PBS for the first time on Sunday night and it was amazing, so we’ll written and acted. Hope to see Little Women soon and plan to reread the book again too. So thankful for your wonderful blog and your beautiful watercolor paintings throughout. Blessings …Sherry

  95. Patty says:

    Dear Susan,
    When I was a little girl, my Grandmother would make me gingerbread paper dolls for the Christmas tree out of brown paper bags. She would fold them and when she was finished cutting, the gingerbread dolls were all holding hands! Another wonderful childhood “brown” memory was going to Woolworth’s and having a root beer float at the soda fountain! Thank you for this wonderful post and happy to hear that you are both feeling better!!

    • sbranch says:

      My family drink … root beer floats. Was our most special summer treat, via my dad who LOVED them! xoxo

  96. PJ says:

    What a lovely start to my day (as I drink my brown coffee)! Thank you for the inspiration.

  97. Brown used to be a favorite color when my hair was brown. Now my hair is white so I can inject any color with my clothing but have happy memories of brown! So sorry to hear you had the crud. It’s been rampant here in the schools. Spring can’t be far away!

    • Vicki South of Arroyo says:

      Yep, I know what THAT was! I had dark brunette hair…rich, lustrous, shiny brown with a bit of wave…but, of course, when a young woman, I hated it, and wanted to have blonde, straight, long, surfer-girl hair for my SoCalif beachy lifestyle. I have a photo of me as a young adult in the late 1970s with my pretty brown hair, a white cotton blouse that was more formal than what we called a ‘peasant blouse’ back in the day (but with eyelet and a drawstring waist), and it fit over the nicest A-line, nut-brown/medium-brown gabardine skirt. It was a good ‘brown’ look! Over the years when the hair went gray/white, it was a whole new ballgame of ‘what to wear’ (and I still don’t think I’ve got it figured out yet!).

      • sbranch says:

        Ha ha, lifelong conundrum. Having my “colors done” was a life saver for me. All earth colors, which I’ve learned to embrace after I fought back for a couple of years!

        • Vicki South of Arroyo says:

          Oh, I forgot about getting colors done! It was such a new thing…wasn’t it the late 1970s..?…all the rage at the time but very helpful. I’d TOTALLY forgotten this! We went to a gal who had a whole set-up with fabrics in her garage; had a consultation, and she’d drape the fabrics over us and make an opinion. Seems sort of primitive now (although I think she had some good credentials). I was a jewel-tone person (a “Winter”..??..), per this ‘expert’ and my friend was “Spring”. The only soft color that looked good on me was pale lemon yellow. I was to stick to solid colors as much as possible rather than prints & plaids although she said I did ‘paisley’ well(!). And I do remember that the gal said turquoise looks good on anybody at any age. What a fun memory.

          I just saw the woman, last week, who I went with, to see the ‘color lady’ back in the day, so I’m gonna call her right now and say, “Remember when we got our colors done?!” We’ve been friends for 45 years. How great to have our Girlfriends from such a long time ago and to be able to recall a memory like this one! Makes me feel humble and grateful and happy.

          • sbranch says:

            It’s back … read HERE . . . It changed my life! This time they give you a book so you have your colors with you, you don’t have to remember what they are! The gal that did the colors for us has moved away, I think she’s in North Carolina now. But you can probably find someone near you! Take your old friend with you! 😄

  98. Debra Sewell says:

    Loved it. Loved the brown theme. Please do another color themed post, or even a partial post with color theme. I love brown. One year in high school (in early 60s) I sewed all my skirts and dresses with shades and patterns of brown. The next school year I made skirts and dresses with green theme. Stay warm..ahh fireplace and tea beautiful

  99. Meghan Brooks says:

    Thank God for so many colors and Susan Branch! <3

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