Hello darlings, wow, how the world has changed since we last met! Go make a cup of tea, something that soothes, come back, cuddle up in front of the fire ~ tomorrow is the luv-lee first day of Spring 🌸 . . . Let’s celebrate! Take a deep breath, turn on the MUSICA and let’s talk!In honor of Spring, I was going to give you YELLOW today, the color of sunshine and hope . . . but then I Googled: What is the color of calm, and found out it’s BLUE. So we’ll save Yellow for next time and go for Calm. Which goes so well with a crackling fire, and slippers stuffing across the carpet.💙 Are you ready? Let’s Go!

Look at our sky! Lambs tails!No leaves on the trees yet, but coming soon: sun on our faces, leaves and blossoms and flowers and warm dirt to play in.We haven’t been out of the house for a week, except for our walk, thank God, so lucky, we have a walk to go on. But we’re doing our part to flatten the curve! 

Even putting these blue photos up makes me insta-happy, I can feel the relaxation setting in. You know, we’re going to come out of this better than ever!💙 We’ve been going so fast. Hardly any time for the little things. Guardian angels having trouble keeping up.

This old blue quilt was handmade, tiny little stitches. by someone who stayed home for a very long time. Most things worth having are done that way.💙

Blue and white hand towels, so pretty in the bathroom, but they require ironing! Which is an easy and rather calming thing to do if you’re home, and there’s a good movie on TV.

This is a photo I found a long time ago, but have never had a reason to put up until now . . . see what being calm brings us? A doll house! Look at that little bed! And the rug!

A drive around New England (back in the good old days) brought us this beautiful blue house!🚙

A blue book! And a good project while waiting for the daffodils to bloom! We just got a new shipment of them!

A sweet blue dishtowel, for cleaning out the glass cupboard . . . such a perfect time for all the at-home projects we’ve been promising ourselves to do but never take the time.💙

Unexpected, unwanted, unplanned for change, very much like what happened to me all those years ago, can be painful (as I know you know) ~ you think you might not survive, but after a while, a new sort of creativity takes over. When we get small and our hearts turn to home.💙 We’re scared, like everyone else, that we won’t be able to stay in business. Most of what we do is on-line, but people are saving their money right now and we forgot to sell Susan Branch Hand Sanitizer! For us, like for everyone, it’s going to be one day at a time. One thing good about Martha’s Vineyard being seasonal is that every year when the tourist season ends and everyone goes home, the island has a chance to heal from the summer onslaught. The beaches are quiet, no footprints, no more beer cans in the woods, the roads are empty. It’s a breath of fresh air. But our earth never gets a rest in this fast and crazy world. She’s been rode hard and put away wet. Money matters more than our girl, our God-given gift. She’s resting now, cars and planes and many factories, the world over, have stopped emitting. We have a time-out. Maybe we can rethink what matters to us.💞We pass one house every day on the dirt road where we walk. Very industrious young people live there, from what we can see, they have a home business selling firewood, and sometimes, it seems, they sell trees. There’s a baby that lives there, and a dog. (They are part of our Morning Science, as we divine from what we see, what they do.) We know their dog is going to run toward us and bark his face off, but he won’t bite. He’s part chicken.🐶

And they always holler a hello, and we always do too. Well, yesterday the man was driving out in his truck, stopped, rolled down his window and said, “How are you two doing? Do you need anything? Because I have seven deer in my freezer and 23 tuna fish!!!” (Exclamation points are mine.) “And you are welcome to anything you’d like. I have a huge garden in the summer, and all the seeds you might want and I’d love to give you some if you like!” It was the longest conversation we’d ever had with him. So kind.💞The kindness of strangers is everywhere these days. People are serenading each other from high rise buildings! It’s going to be hard for every one, and much harder for some than for others, but we’re linking arms with each other and the rest of the world and we’re going to come out of this better than we went in, more connected for our shared hardships, and shared prayers, our shared GRATITUDE. Works of art and beauty will come from this.💙And we can start small, because as far as I’m concerned this delicious-smelling cake is a work of art and a thing of beauty. It also says love. In the old days when our society was totally home-centric, you wanted peanut butter cookies, you made them. It’s a good way to be. You want a Milk Cake? You can make it (Click there or go to p. 90 of A Fine Romance). And you deserve it! In these times of trouble we must all watch our diet.💙

And it’s time to decorate for spring! Perfect! #StayHome, nurk, and flatten the curve.💙So, a few “normal” things going on here . . . We did a new printing of A Fine Romance . . . the 7th! It shipped last week, the little engine that could . . .

. . . working its way around the world via word of mouth, sister to sister, friend to friend, wife to husband . . . little joy-book of the English Countryside makes me so proud.💙 I have to say thank YOU for liking it! All my life I’d done cookbooks, this was such a departure my publisher would not take a chance on it. So we had to do it ourselves. I was so scared!💘  And because we were asked, and because we do listen, we have two new friendship notecards in our web store.❤️

What else? Well, I’m ALMOST done with the 2021 calendars! Only the blotter left to go. I’ve had so much fun designing them this year. It was the hardest thing choosing the photos for the new photo calendar. I want to surprise you so I won’t show you what I chose, but I’ll show you a few that got away!

This one didn’t make it!!! I know, shocking. But, a secret, I put a little photo of Jack on every single month.👏 He insisted. Me-me-me! BTW he, for one, is thrilled with the coronavirus, loves that we are staying home at his total beck and call, says things like, “THIS is more like it!”😻

This one didn’t make it either . . . I was afraid the shadows were too strong and it wouldn’t print well. But I do love my billowing man-shirts!Normally I don’t actually care (as you’ve probably noticed) if a photo is a little out of focus if it’s pretty ~ but I sort of do when it comes to a wall-calendar.

And this . . . I love it, tried to squish it in, but no.

And this one didn’t make it. If this one didn’t make it, imagine the ones that did!🌸


And believe it or not, not this one either!

Or, this one . . .

And this is my very favorite out-of-focus, but . . . no. I promise I chose some good ones ~ here’s a preview of the cover!

And because my calendar publisher is worried what kind of year he is going to have, I thought I should put up the two wall calendars for presale right now. He’s placing his order soon, and I want to make sure we have at least enough for our Blog Girlfriends. We should have them in by July! I hate to suggest you think Christmas right now . . . but it’s a strange world we’re in.And here’s ⬆️ a sneak peak of the April page! See Jack? I snuck him in everywhere!And now, the cover of the 2021 Wall Calendar:
And a sneak peek . . .of the November page~which reminds me of this photo:

which hangs on our fridge right now . . .

Days are getting longer now . . . shadows are coming earlier! The world is hunkering down. Sharing their favorite series to watch, favorite books, favorite movies . . .There’s a wonderful website with virtual tours of the most amazing museums in the world. We might as well come out of this thing a little smarter. Remember when Martha Stewart went to prison and came out wearing a cute poncho she knit herself? Making lemonade out of lemons! Let’s do it!🍋Back to work I go darling Girlfriends. Happy Spring! Remember the secret of having it all is believing that you do.🌸 Best of luck, take care, God bless you.💞

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733 Responses to FIRESIDE CHAT

  1. Linda says:

    Dear Susan,

    Life will prevail this interruption, and hopefully, we all will have a renewed perspective on our real purpose here. Thank you for your lovely blog which always sheds light on our lives. Your spirit and art lifts us all!

    Happy Spring,

    • Pam Taylor says:

      Thank you, Linda, you have written what we have all been thinking. And thank you too, Susan, for your inspiration and good cheer in these difficult times.

      Pam from Wonderful Warwickshire

      • sbranch says:

        We’re all in it together, and if we’re lucky, we’ll come out of this better than ever.💞

  2. Laura Brown says:

    Blue’s not blue when it makes you glad
    The calming moments of blue we’ve had
    Skipping right on into Spring
    These blues are such a happy thing!

    The puffy lambs tails in the sky
    Forget-we-not the flowers – sigh
    Quilts, towels and home of blue, too
    Susan you chase away the blues!

  3. Dianne says:

    Another absolutely lovely, much needed, post. Like a breath of fresh air. I love the color blue- and I love clouds. The “man-shirts” on the line– If I close my eyes, I can smell the fresh air. And the picture of the stove on your 2021 calendar– I just want to turn this computer off and bake something!! Buy first, I must finish my comment. Although I was house-bound (much of the time) for several weeks following foot surgery, I am trying to do my part by staying at home as much as possible. It is difficult at times, but necessary. An occasional trip to the grocery store greets one with empty shelves for the most part (unless one arrives just after the trucks do). For some reason, toilet tissue is impossible to find. I can’t quite figure that one out!! I was disappointed to see that the May event was cancelled, although I do understand the reason behind it. I will be away much of September (in England), and I’m so afraid that I will miss this much anticipated event. And, if I’m truthful, I was so looking forward to a glimpse of your new book in addition to seeing you and Joe. I was unable to attend the last event where you gave out chapters, as I was working. Maybe, if I’m very lucky, you’ll have the “first chapter” in a future raffle-and maybe I’ll be the winner. If not, I will just have to “patiently” (or impatiently) wait until the new book is published. It will, I know, be worth the wait. I have just finished reading A fine Romance for the –th time (I’ve lost count), as I plan my trip across the Pond. It is such a good read- it warms the heart. We have so much to be thankful for, and it’s all there- on every page. Yes, it is the little things. P.S. I love your grandma’s prayer. Stay safe and be well- you, Joe, Jack, and all your girlfriends. Now, what should I bake??

    • sbranch says:

      We’ll figure it out! XOXOX

    • carol beeton says:

      The toilet paper ‘thing’ is across the globe.
      I know in Canada our minister of health warned us to stock up with the basics in case we are quarantined, she included toilet paper in the basics list. and, oh dear the rest is history, of course once the frenzy started, it took off.and hasn’t stopped.

  4. Lynne Barlow says:

    Well, goodness! If this wasn’t just what I needed! What a lovely post. In Eureka Springs Arkansas we are experiencing torrential rains and Highwinds. This was certainly the bright spot in my day. I will share with all my shut in friends. Thank you so much❤️😘

  5. Cheryl says:

    Thank you Susan. Beautiful cheery blog. I needed that. Hugs and more hugs.

  6. Dianne says:

    Susan, you expressed exactly what I’m feeling these days. I believe God doesn’t waste anything and that blessings will come from this unprecedented worldwide event. I hope it makes us kinder, more compassionate and patient with each other and more apt to look out for one another even after this passes. We’re all in this together, frail human beings that can get ill and injured, and each need to do our part to get everyone through it. Take care of yourselves and the people in your little corner of the world. Thanks for your inspiration and encouragement, Susan. God bless!

  7. Tara S Baker says:

    Hi Susan,

    I will be preordering both calendars and when the blotter is available I’ll be ordering that too!
    Such different days – I am a 4th grade teacher and am currently learning all of this online stuff to ‘teach’ online. I’d much rather my kiddos in front of me. But I’m learning that being an arms length from the tea kettle is a goooood thing! And so is wearing slippers instead of teacher shoes all day.

    Take care of yourselves please,

    • sbranch says:

      I second that emotion! Teapot! It’s so lucky you can stay in touch with your kids through this. It will help them feel slightly more normal! It’s probably a little like camping for them, a completely new environment! Stay healthy!

  8. Sylvia in Seattle says:

    Love all the blues, especially the Forget-me-nots and that darling doll house. Always wanted one. Might be a good time to make one!
    Mind how you go everyone!

  9. Ann Y. says:

    What a wonderful post – Thank you ! As crazy as this time is, you hit the nail on the head with the idea that it is time to slow down and enjoy what we have! As a little girl I just loved “playing house” – and now I get to putter around and play real house! No more quick meals to get out the door to some activity…good, old fashioned food… and tea. We must go out – my darling husband is still on the mend so we go for blood tests, doctor visits, and hospital tests. EEEK…not a great time to be in a hospital or hospital waiting rooms. A procedure scheduled for next week and I asked the doctor “should we be doing this now ???” His reply, yes, it is necessary…and then what he said next made me tear up. “Don’t worry, I will be taking care and being careful. I chose to do this job, I consider caring for people my duty. Yes, I am frightened for me and my family and my co-workers…but this is my duty, to help…and I will be here”. Honest…I could not help but tear up! And as you said…friends and neighbors coming out all over to help others….maybe this kindness and love is what we need and will continue when life is back to normal. Praying that this kindness and love will be the new normal. Take care of you and Joe and the kitties…be healthy. Blessings!

  10. Lynda says:

    Hi Susan,
    Yes, crazy times right now. A little scary, especially of the uncertainty. I am working from home right now which is new for me. Trying to get into a routine and finding myself with lots of time as most everyone else too. I just finished the James Herriot series All Creatures. Loved it! I have now started reading “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen. I have also been watching some TCM. Saw the 3 Faces of Eve the other day. I had never seen it. Wonderful acting! I am very thankful I have a job that I can work from home. I feel very bad for all of those that have lost jobs and are struggling. Hopefully, this will be over in a few weeks if we all stay home and practice “social distancing”. My prayers go out to all of those around the world affected by this virus.
    Thank you for putting some calm into our day. Stay safe!

  11. Patricia Walker says:

    Your timing of your post is wonderful during these stressful times. Thank you so much for your uplifting words. You remind me of my days when I lived in Maine for 10 years, but now I live in Treasure Coast Florida in a small town called Fort Pierce. We may be feeling summer temps here now, but love the cool nights and reading your post warms my heart. The world seems such a scary place when you are alone in your home. But I’m lucky to have friends I can stay in touch with through texting and old fashioned phone and messenger with FB for my German family. And I also have my 2 kittens boy and girl, Nectar and HoneyBell. They can’t quite figure out why I’m here all the time, but they sure enjoy lap time and closeness while on my laptop. We’ll all do our part and hopefully every little bit will help and make positive changes in our world!

  12. Idelsy Rebozo says:

    Thank you for this post! It was much needed!

  13. Marlana Sendra says:

    Thank you, for your inspirational message! You are a breath of fresh air when we all need it most! Stay healthy and enjoy the new promises of SPRING!
    God bless you and your loved ones.🙏

  14. Linda Flathers says:

    Hi Susan!
    So very refreshing! I am so tired of turning on any news and hearing all the dire reports- so depressing! Your post brightened my day as I knew that it would, and I thank you, along with many others, for bringing sunshine and beautiful calming blue into our day. Hopefully, those will be the images in my brain tonight when falling asleep. Keep inspiring!
    With love,

  15. Ericka says:

    I knew a post was due with all of “this” going on. The library I work at is closed and only a few of us managers are coming in to do work – strange being there while it’s so empty, but a little exhilarating too, like I have it all to myself. It’s my birthday on the 20th and it feels a little strange not to be spending it as I would have, but this post reminded me how much I love to decorate for the seasons, so I’ll be enjoying swapping out the heavy and dark for the light. Glad you’re doing well!

  16. Janet Conn says:

    Thank you for such a beautiful post. You have always provided calm and love through your posts. We need it now more than ever. I told my daughter the other day that I think we will have a new normal and speed after this. I said I believe I will be living a much slower life. I have seen online and on some news shows that people all over are starting to put their Christmas lights back up. Such a simple, yet joyful action. I placed a string in my living room window this afternoon. I shaped the string into a heart shape. Maybe this is something we girlfriends can do all over as a sign of peace, calm and love. Please take good care of yourself, Joe and Jack. Much love.

  17. Julie (Omaha) says:

    You’re balm for my soul. Sincerely. Thank you.

  18. Linda W. says:

    Such a lovely cheery blog in this time of uneasiness. Lovely pictures too.
    I hope everyone is well and taking time to enjoy your families. I wish all heath peace and brighter days ahead.

  19. Jennie Lou says:

    Thank you for helping us stay in touch during our own “Time of cholera”, the replies to your ‘blue but not blue” post have been so comforting on a day that was otherwise jangled and edgy. (suggestion: social distancing from the endless newsfeed…). This morning, I heard my darling husband washing his hands and singing the happy Birthday song under his breath! Too dear! I spent the day looking up fun birthdays and for the duration I am going to add one every day to my outgoing emails. Today, for instance, is the birthday of Ruth Pointer, of the Pointer Sisters. So, now we have someone to sing Happy Birthday to! Two of the Pointer Sister hits: “Yes, We Can Can!” and “Slow Hand”.

  20. Melissa Myers says:

    Dear Susan,
    I really needed this, thank you. I am struggling a bit at the moment and need all of the calm that I can find. Blessings to you all and be well.

    Kindest regards,

    P.S. Thank you for for doing your part and practicing social distancing. I wish more would.

  21. Deb K says:

    Thank you for another wonderful post with so much blue to lift us up and remind us there will be blue skies ahead and smooth sailing after this very bumpy road we are currently on. Feels crazy to think my husband and I are in that 65 and older group that is more vulnerable and me just finishing chemo, again, so just a tad immune compromised, but we are being careful, eating well, getting our sleep and getting fresh air. I am more concerned about my 89 year old mother who is now at that age of fragility where you can’t help worrying. But as my next door neighbor currently home with her 8 year old says we all needed to hit the pause button and be reminded to enjoy being still and staying home. Sometimes bad things do give us some good. Love seeing the 2021 calendars as I am a long time fan and owner of too many to count. Always on my Christmas list. So good to see Jack who must be so happy you are home and going nowhere anytime soon. My boy is so very happy to be spending so much more cuddle time on the couch with his mom and a cat butler to take him out in the yard in his jacket and leash to explore everything now that spring has sprung. So many flowers are blooming in my yard, gives me so much pleasure to see. Stay healthy and happy and productive during this time.

  22. Ruth Frank says:

    Love Susie’s suggestion that “You Light Up My Life.” And you do! Thank you for affirming normalcy, creativity, the natural rhythms of life lived simply! Stay well!

  23. Amanda says:

    Dearest Susan, Joe and Jack, stay safe and well dearhearts, much love, Amanda South Staffs UK XXx

  24. Amy from Salem says:

    So good to hear from you dear Susan. I loved your calm post. It was also nice to read the girlfriends reply with suggestions and hints. Today is the first day of Spring and my best friend and I had tea together, BY PHONE. It was a lovely afternoon here in Salem so I set mine up on my porch. Her phone cord wouldn’t stretch out to her balcony so she set her tea up in her living room and we sipped, nibble, laughed and solved all the world’s problems from our homes. We had actually planned to have tea at her home the first day of each new season (this was actually my Christmas gift from her). We talked for an hour and twenty-eight minutes. It was almost as much fun as being together but of course we were flattering the curve by staying home. Sharing and finding ways to have some fun is important. Happy Spring 🐣 Hugs

  25. Melissa Webber, Kirkwood, MO says:


    I started my day with the Corrs version of “When the Stars Go Blue”. So the theme today is Blue. The universe is constantly telling me to slow down and take care of yourself. My friend commented her soul was waiting for this time. And I keep going back to that Kitty O’Meara’s post – rereading it as an affirmation or prayer. Thanks for your nurturing blog highlighting the calm and coziness of home. Blue Skies are ahead. May we batten down the hatches, light a candle and sip a cup of tea to weather this storm until then.
    Savor the moments as we heal. With love and kindness, Melissa

  26. Marnie- in the snowy foothills of the Canadian 🇨🇦Rockies says:

    Hello Susan,
    You and my Granddaughter, Suzanna, age 7, are on the same wavelength. Today, she sent my husband and I an e-card, which she had made herself. It was composed of all things calm, including a sloth. Perfect.🤣 Slothful is good right now, if isolation is your world.
    Thank you for the calming reinforcement. 💙 A beautiful blue blog.

  27. Rita Aders says:

    Dear Susan,

    This came across my path this week. As I read it I felt a calm.
    It was written by a Catholic priest.

    O Lord, how good it is for us to be Thy guests! How fine it
    is for us in Thy world. The fields are fragrant, the mountains
    rise high up into the sky, and the golden rays of sun and the
    light clouds are reflected in the water. All nature mysteriously
    speaks about Thee, all is filled with Thy mercy and all carries
    the seal of Thy love. Blessed be the earth which, with her
    short-lasting beauty, awakens the yearning for the eternal
    homeland in Thy kingdom, where in everlasting beauty
    resounds the song: Alleluia!

    Thou broughtest me into this life as if into a wonderful
    garden. I see the sky deep and blue, the birds as they chirp
    in flight; I listen to the soothing rustle of trees and the
    sonorous sound of waters; my mouth is enjoying fragrant
    and succulent fruits. How wonderful it is in Thy world and
    how joyous it is to be Thy guest!
    1. Glory to Thee for the feast of life!
    2. Glory to Thee for the scents of lilies of the valley and
    3. Glory to Thee for the abundance and multiplicity of
    earthly fruits.
    4. Glory to Thee for the glistening of morning dew.
    5. Glory to Thee for the joyous smile of dawn with which
    Thou dost waken me.
    6. Glory to Thee for eternal life and the kingdom of
    7. Glory to Thee, O God, in ages!

    • Kedra Sugg says:

      Thank you! Having lost a dear friend right as this began, I’m clinging to writings like this (I offer you Psalm 91) . Feels good to share.

  28. WILLEMIEN says:

    Hi Susan,
    Love your post, I’m at home with 4 kids, they are doing their homework for school, I ‘m being their teacher, I have to check if all of their assignments are correctly made, and send an email to their teacher, and so on… pff. Meanwhile its sunny outside, Spring is coming! 🙂 daffodills tulips( my orange ones are blooming) Our King Willem Alexander is speaking tonight on tv. I hope we’re not gonna have a lock down( then we not allowed to go outside only the necessary shopping) And its so sad the elderly people in the nursing homes aren’t allowed to get visitors, I have an old aunt, who’s nearly blind, and her daughter visits her every day in the nursing home, but she can’t now, I sure hope it isnt going to last too long this nasty virus.Yesterday my mother came for a visit, she brought a big pan snert(pan of pea soup) and a appeltaart:) ( applepie) she was also worried that she might not be able to visit us the coming weeks. Lots of love Willemien

    • sbranch says:

      Very much like what’s going on here. And yes, despite it all, spring is coming! Take good care of yourself. xoxoxo

  29. Janet Conn says:

    Thank you for the beautiful, calming post. I saw on twitter where someone’s mother said, “I wish people would put their Christmas lights back up as there is so much darkness right now.” I put two strings of lights back up in our windows yesterday and shaped each one into a heart. I thought I would share this with the girlfriends as this could be a sign of hope and love. I wish the best for you, Joe and Jack.

  30. Kathie Bee says:

    I knew you would have a wonderful pick us up. Loved the young guy story offering food and seeds. He was raised right. Kudos to his parents. And the lights that are heart shaped. Excellent idea. Keep safe and cuddle your kitties and dogs.

  31. Dear Sue…..for the first time ever your e-mail come directly to me and not through my junk file which I get hundreds of junk mail everyday…. so I delete en-masse. I try to glance first before hitting that “delete all” button and sometimes I’m lucky and catch you. But this morning there you were… first to pop up in my in box….Odd things happen in crazy times. Im still lying in bed down here in Atlanta as I binge watch old episodes of St. Elsewhere every night. Thank you HULU for my favorite show of all time. I have 119 episodes to go. No place to go today, no rush, self quarantined with a 70 year old husband who 7 weeks ago had cancer surgery. I do sneak out in the past two weeks for the quest to find that one pound package of ground chuck for meatballs…How come when you can’t get something you immediately crave it. Dying for spaghetti and meatballs. Your post is starting my day with a new outlook. Time goes fast when your almost 70. I move too fast….Im slowing down today.
    I do have to run across town to p.u. a prescription from the docs office, something that can’t be sent in the mail. I think I will take my 130 pound Great Pyrenees Buster with me as he never gets to ride in my VW Bug. He’s sure to fill up the whole back seat. He’s still unsure of me since someone found him wandering homeless on our local town square here in Marietta. I went to”visit” him when seeing a post that he was at the local county shelter. Filthy, smelly and very sad eyes. I won him a week later. What a prize. He’s so grateful to have a home and love and hugs and food! Monty our other Pyr welcomed him with open paws. so yes he deserves a nice car ride today. When I get home I think I will polish my copper pots and then maybe paint a little.
    You inspired me to slow down and take advantage of this time to stay home and enjoy the small things in life. I think I might even write a new blog post. I will be sure to mention you as my inspiration…. One thing I just realized today after these two weeks….no more robo calls or odd calls from strange countries all day long…..where no one is on the line. I’m enjoying the quiet. Not having to jump up 10 times a day to no one on the other end. Why they stopped I don’t know I’m just happy they did…..Happy Spring…..I hope your calm spreads around the world. Sue.

    • sbranch says:

      Making me cry about Buster. Poor baby. I’m so glad you have him!!!! Take care, love that spaghetti and meatballs. xoxo

  32. Thank you so much for this! I’m going to sit down today with a cup of tea and some cinnamon toast and just read through your posts – so cozy and inspiring! Also picking up watercolor again! Do you know about Bluprint that used to be Craftsy? Zillions of creative classes, about $9 a month. I’m starting the beginner watercolor class today, also copying your paintings for inspiration! And, though it’s dark and drizzly, I’ll go walking with my dog Renny at the Schoodic section of Acadia National Park, twenty minutes from my door! Have a lovely day!

  33. Karen M. says:

    Thanks Susan.. I’m listening to Musica and re-reading the latest blog. I told my friend Betty I am going to read Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams(for like the umpteenth time) to calm my nerves. Without Betty, I might not have gotten to “know” you because she found your book at the library a few years ago and recommended it to me. Fast forward to present day…. I’m social distancing and cleaning out my messy miscellaneous utensil drawer ( peelers, wine openers, graters, spoons etc.) Prayers for all.


    I just finished making my 3 week to-do list of projects around the house and basement when I read your blog. So fitting with perfect timing. Blue is my favorite color and you definitely did calm me down with all the wonderful pictures. I love the quilts blowing in the breeze. I can practically inhale all of that fresh salt air of the Vineyard.
    Enjoy your Spring as I will. I hope to see you at the book signing in May. I am bringing my Mom, your newest fan.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s been canceled Gina, until September, I’m so sorry to tell you . . . I’ll put it in the next blog, but you can see on our Events page. I hope we can meet up then, would love to see you both!

  35. Susan K. says:

    Thanks Susan for keeping all of us in your thoughts. ❤️❤️ You , Joe and little Jack are in ours as well. I’m so grateful when your blog arrives 😊 It puts us all in our happy place”MV” I suppose to be on the island this week to visit one of my most dearest friends…..but I choose to postpone it until fall in hope things will get better 🙏🏻🙏🏻. Keep healthy and safe 💕 Susan K. Westfield MA

  36. Kindred Kate says:

    Hi Susan, your blue theme did change my feeling blue to feeling calmer. I love your attitude-so full of hope and cheer with wonderful ideas to keep oneself busy and happy while trying to distract oneself from reality. The phrase “stuck at home” is now something to look forward to, thanks to you. Walking, baking, making art, gardening, finishing undone home projects, reading and watching old movies… You always turn lemons into lemonade, Susan. I am forwarding this blog to all my girlfriends who are so tired and stressed while watching the latest news. It will certainly brighten their day. I would also like to share something I’ve been thinking about lately.
    I think God is trying to tell us something… He is sending earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, fires and drought and now THIS. He’s saying, “Please take care of the Paradise I have given you; quit ruining it, and quit being so damn greedy already. I will stop all this if YOU do.”

  37. Debbie Boerger says:

    Greetings, Dear Lady,
    We are going up early to Maine. 3-26. This will allow for starting of seeds, planting of lettuces and greens, etc. Yea! Neighbor is giving Tom one of their older bikes with lots of gears, so he can ride the trails when the soupy mud dries up. Until then, we’ll walk the roads and trails and not be bothered by black flies and mosquitoes…or bears. Too early for all of them. I’m a Happy Camper to get my wonderful man out of this awful heat and crowds.
    Mucho Love,
    Debbie in Transition to Maine

    • sbranch says:

      Be very very careful along the road… I know you will … but gas station bathrooms? Fast food places, just be very aware. Wrap yourselves up, cover everything, drink lots of water. It will be heaven when you arrive. xoxoxo

  38. Barbara A Case says:

    Always a happy day when you show up in my mailbox !! I find it difficult to stay positive when the world seems to be coming apart! Trying to control my thoughts in a positive manner sometimes takes all the effort I have! ….but something that says “Susan’s Blog” gets a big smile every time….thank you ! Luv Barbara in Indiana!

  39. Kate says:

    I wish everyone good health and to be well, but I am rather enjoying this timeout God is giving us. People are turning to one another, helping in any way they can. Perfect strangers are offering things on Facebook for people who need them. I believe when we do come out on the other side of this, we will all look back and think it really wasn’t so bad that we had to spend a few days with our families without all the outside annoyances that are usually there. God bless to all of you here on Susan’s page and if you are not sick, enjoy yourselves and if you are sick, prayers for your quick recovery.

  40. Helen "MAGGIE" Giltmier says:

    I was so excited to see your blog today< I knew it would bring joy to my heart and of course it did!I pray God has a plan that we can not even imagine; but I know that He is good and loving, and we are His hands and feet here on earth. I see goodness in the midst of all this concern and fearfulness, there is so much we can all do for one another and our world, Pray!!!
    Call each other just to check on one another, words of encouragement and love, play music, love on our pets, love each other, watch old funny movies, read a good book by the fire, make some popcorn, play a board game, and my favorite….make something wonderful that warms the heart and says I love you so, create something, take a nap and smile, smile, smile, maybe sing out our windows to each other, be still and listen to the little birds and the love doves cooing. God is watching over us, He is calling to us, He is saying, Be Still and Know thatI am God and I Love You Always. Thank you for your kindness and beauty that you share. Hi to Joe and Jack, and all you love. I'm going to snuggle with my little "Smokey"! Maggie

  41. Alice Moline says:

    Lovely, lovely, lovely as usual. Thank you for all of the visuals, both in pictures and words.

    I do have a question……… the picture of your kitchen with the ironing board up, what is the brand and color name of the blue paint on the walls???

    Thanks so much

  42. Donna Wilder says:

    I knew you would shine a beautiful light on this very dark time. Your insights almost made me feel like the universe said, “Enough!” Enough of the divisiveness, the tribalism, the onslaught of every damaging influence on our beloved Mother Nature. Sometimes when the balance has tipped so dramatically we get a real dose of reality, the reality that we are all in this together. We are neither a party or a race, a religion or a nationality, we are all just little earthlings spinning through space. And we need each other to survive. Thank you for your words of wisdom. I feel so blessed to be spinning with you!

    • sbranch says:

      I so agree. God looked down at His gorgeous creation and saw us stealing its bounty and taking it for granted. He saw us putting money before the health of the earth. He saw His people shuttled into camps. He saw the unequal spread of wealth (from a place with SO MUCH abundance). He saw us going faster than His Guardian Angels could travel. He shook his burly head, and said, “Everybody! Go to your rooms and don’t come out until I tell you!” So now we get small and pray. And choose well what really matters when he lets us out. ❌❌⭕️⭕️

  43. Becky says:

    Thank you Susan for being the calm in the storm!❤️

  44. Debbie Boerger says:

    I totally neglected to say, I have a plane reservation on South West….if they are still flying then. I talked to an actual person about their disinfecting routine, we will wear masks, surgical gloves, wipe down our space and just sit. I was a bit sneaky when I booked…on my credit card so Mr. T would not see…Business Class. Reasons are first to board, front 3 rows. Rows have fewer seats, more roomy, and more space in overhead bins. South West allows 2 ginormous checked bag, and 2 carry ons. We will wear our masks, surgical gloves, wipe everything down with Lysol wipes, and just pray. Talked to Hilton properties (we stay at Hampton Inns on the drive to Maine and back), and the agent said they are closing down properties, and can’t guarantee anything. And who knows whats lurking in those rooms and the toilets on the way.
    Lovely next door neighbor convinced me that Tom was safer up there out in the woods than here with the crowds and heat. She will stock the fridge before we arrive. They are lending Tom Paul’s older bike with lots of gears, we have a rack, and can go riding on nearly empty, but fabulously beautiful roads. When the trails firm up after mud season, we can ride the Carriage trails and roads in Acadia. I’m So Excited. No black flies, no ‘skeeters, and too early for bears. Now to find a home for all the frozen food we stocked in here.

    Please stay safe, you and Joe and Jack! You, dear one, are the best medicine for all, including for those feeling isolated by all this. You have given so many good suggestions for the Corona Blues.

    Mucho Love,
    A happy Debbie

    • sbranch says:

      If anyone can do this, you can Debbie. I have a suggestion. I wonder perhaps if you explained your situation to the airlines, they would help you isolate, keep you from standing in any lines, and help you get home safely. My prayers are with you, as always. xoxoxo🙏💝❌⭕️

  45. Erica C says:

    Hi Susan and Girlfriends! Hope all are staying safe and well. Sounds like a lot of us are looking for good old movies to watch and good old books to read. I’d like to recommend “…And Ladies of the Club” by Helen Hooven Santmyer. Some of you may remember it as a bestseller from the ’80’s. It draws the reader into a small Ohio town of the late 1800’s and the lives of the women and families who live there. No matter how fast you read, it takes some time to get through almost 1200 pages! If you need a break from today’s news (and don’t we all) give it a look.
    Lovingkindness to all.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh thank you! Yes, anything to give us a break is a wonderful thing! xoxoxo

    • Jennie Lou says:

      Thank you, Erica, for reminding us about “…And Ladies of the Club” bu Helen Hooven Santmyer! Somewhere in our ‘house of books’ is a copy I read when it came out (I was a new bride when I read it, cozied up in the big chair across the small basement apartment from my dear.). Now is the perfect time to slow down, unplug and make a cup of tea and visit those girlfriends once again.

  46. Donna Hrehor says:

    Susan, I LOVE the cover of your photo calendar!!! What an uplifting post. Every time I read anything you write, I just feel better afterwards. Thank you again for being you! Big cyber hug!!! Donna (Idaho)

  47. Jennifer Hamilton Calvert says:

    My sister Brenda and I exchange emails every morning to know we’re alive and kickin’. I’d told her she needed to read the new Susan Branch Blog to feel better about life in these troubling times. Here is her reply to me:

    Sent: Fri, Mar 20, 2020 9:47 am
    Subject: UP










    • sbranch says:

      Oh my Jennifer, I am in tears. I have a little file of letters and messages I’ve kept for years, all of which are SO NICE, so loving, they all made me cry, and this one has just joined this little gleaming file of love. You need to tell Brenda how touched I was to read her beautiful words ~ she’s a wonderful writer, and she put them together in a very touching way. You two sisters are very lucky to have each other. Thank you both, please take good care. And Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I do think those first years in that little house changed me in a way I could never express. I hope our time now, isolated as we are, will help change the world and help us to find more love.🙏💞 With Love, your custard pudding. 💝

      • Hello Custard Pudding!

        It blew me away that my hasty comment is now in your “little gleaming file of love.” I am deeply honored. Isle of Dreams lives on my bedside table because it is a wonderful instruction book to which I keep returning for joy, wisdom, understanding, and self-soothing. Isle of Dreams is a true classic! I see I misspelled entelechy! (An important old word I learned from a human potential expert. )
        With blessings and great love,

        P.S. ~ Dearest Susan: Both of us (“Bren and Jen”) treasure your response. And I second Brenda’s sentiments! This stressed world certainly needs your healing vibe. May your life-enhancing flow of creativity continue.

      • Reply Brenda says,)

        Hello Custard Pudding!

        It blew me away that my hasty comment is now in your “little gleaming file of love.” I am deeply honored. Isle of Dreams lives on my bedside table because it is a wonderful instruction book to which I keep returning for joy, wisdom, understanding, and self-soothing. Isle of Dreams is a true classic! I see I misspelled entelechy. (It’s an important old word I learned from a human potential expert.

        With blessings and great love,


        P.S. ~ Dearest Susan: Both of us (“Bren and Jen”) treasure your response. And I I second Brenda’s sentiments! This stressed world certainly needs your healing vibe. May your life-enhancing flow of creativity continue.



        • sbranch says:

          You two are so lucky to be sisters! I had to look up entelechy ~ new to me! What a nice word! Now I’m trying to think of how to use it myself! Just darling of you both! 💞 Take good care . . . come back often and stay forever!

  48. Francine Ramsey says:

    Good Morning Susan,

    I have been awake since 3:00 am and since I badly need an uplifting distraction, I thought this might be a good time to read your “blue” blog and some of the girlfriend comments too. It’s comforting to know that you might also be awake out there on Martha’s Vineyard working on your 2021 calendars.

    I come by my sleeplessness honestly. On Valentine’s Day this year, my family got the call that my nephew (34) had died of an overdose. We had anticipated this call would come given that he had fought his addiction for years, but nevertheless we all had hope that he would overcome it. Instead, we were shocked, saddened and filled with sorrow for the young son and daughter that he left behind. Ten days later, February 24, my husband and I got the call that his son, my stepson (26), had chosen to take his own life. Our hearts have been heavy-laden with pain, grief and sorrow ever since.

    We both continue to experience waves of tears and sadness. I went for a long walk last Saturday since it was a beautiful, warm Spring day. As I walked, I talked to God and cried. I was so sad and yet, in that beautiful day I saw a glimmer of hope in the warmth of the sun, the color of the sky and the fresh clean scent of the air. I asked, “Why couldn’t he see it (hope) too?” I thought about how every morning since he and his sister came into my life, I have prayed that they would make good choices and decisions for themselves. I asked, “Why did he make the choice that he did?” Of course, there are no answers, and accepting that fact is what is so difficult. My husband suffers even more than I do, but together we are managing to get through each hour of each day. My stepdaughter has returned to CA and is struggling to manage her own grief. I haven’t even begun to grieve for my nephew since my stepson is foremost in my heart and mind which explains my sleeplessness.

    Although this is an overwhelmingly sad time for us, we are blessed by the love and prayers of our family and friends. If not for them, we would not be able to bear this burden of grief alone. And now we must concern ourselves with the Coronavirus and distance ourselves from the very people who are helping us through this horrible nightmare. I await the peace that surpasses all understanding, knowing that through faith and prayer we will one day have joy in our hearts again.

    Your blog provided just the pick-me-up that I needed this morning. I especially like the blue and white hand towels, and I’ve decided to treat myself by pre-ordering your This Old House calendar. I may even surprise my husband by making your Milk Cake since we both could use some comfort food. Thank you for always providing hope in your blog and for allowing me to comment on my own “blueness”.

    Love to you, Joe & Jack,


    • sbranch says:

      Dearest Franny, I’m so sorry for your loss. Too much, way too much, all at the same time. Being small with walks and cake baking are so good for you. Blessings on you and your husband, prayers for a sense of peace in your hearts.🙏

  49. Di W Word says:

    Thanks, Sue!! Love from Di and Happy the Corgi

  50. Candace Kautzer says:

    Thank you for this post. I just got to read it. Just what I needed right now. I am a supermarket cashier and to say it’s been a crazy week is an understatement. I’ve done this job for years through all kinds of storms and emergencies and this has been the craziest. I’m nervous because of my age (67) and my lungs (COPD), so I have to be extra careful. Luckily, I am on vacation this week, so I can rest a bit. I need it! Cooking, cleaning and reading on the menu for this week! Thanks again. And please be kind to the people still working through this,we’re doing the best we can. 😘

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Candace, I’m glad you wrote … I posted this on Twitter yesterday: “Everyone praying for our brave medical workers, but also remember grocery store workers, trapped behind counter, waiting on hundreds a day. When you go to market, go early or late, wear gloves, cover mouth & nose, stand BACK, say thank you from bottom of heart.”💞💞💞

      I’m so glad you’re off this week. I wish and hope there is someone who can be there for you when your vacation is over, COPD is not a thing to mess with. Thank you so much, blessings on you and your family. Stay safe.

  51. Karen Fouts says:

    Always a breath of fresh air & never more welcome! Spring is here with so many lovely reminders that there is life after long winters – whether of the seasons or of the heart. God is still in control & we will come through this time with new perspective of what’s truly important in our lives. Thank you, Susan, for a ray of sunshine in my inbox today!

  52. Nora Cavic says:

    I sooooooooooo needed this right now, as I am sure others have shared. This blog made me both tear up and smile. I, too, filled all my little vases with flowers the other day. And have cooked and baked more in this last week than I have (as a fairly newly single woman!) within the last year!!
    Thank you for this.
    Be well, both of you. xoxo

  53. Anthea Milton says:

    Great message this blog, As I have been getting stressed I have made sure that last thing before I sleep I read “A fine Romance”, the pictures of the daffodils, lambs, cottages and Pubs calm me down. I come from around the Bath area and many of the pictures showed the places we would take our children to for picnics etc. As I havent seen them or my grandbabies for weeks it helps me to cope.
    The fact that we in WA have been having a small spell of warm weather and the bulbs are coming up, has also helped and I have felt so sorry for people, like my daughter who are in balcony less apartments where the roof gardens have been closed and their only option for fresh air is to go outside and risk exposure to the virus. As others have said this might make people reexamine their lives, most people have gone so far off eating nutrient dense foods that its no wonder that immune function doesnt fight off germs, hopefully they will go back to the “old” way of eating, good wholesome food, no GMOs and chemicals, no exploitation by the food industry and taking responsibilityfor our own health. Good can come out of all this if we let it. Keep well and safe over on MV and lets look forward to summer and cuddles with our grand babies.

    • sbranch says:

      Your wishes are my wishes Anthea. Tulips and daffodils make things so much easier. My prayers for city dwellers.💞

  54. MER says:

    Dear Susan,
    I saved this last blog post for late last night when I got into my bed of freshly washed sheets with Dahlia’s paws resting on my arm while she purred contentedly. I don’t know which was more uplifting, your words or those of all the kindred spirits out there from all over. It’s comforting to know we really are ALL in this together. Thank you for sharing your world and thank you to everyone out there for sharing yours as well. I spent the afternoon ironing about 90 vintage hankies (then I found another large cache in my closet!) as well as various other linen towels, napkins, tablecloths, doilies, runners, and other fascinating pieces. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for so long and will have lots more time to iron in the coming weeks. It passed the time and filled me with a sense of satisfaction. It also kept my mind stress free. I found myself pulling out lots of blue pieces and neatly stacking them in piles as well as sorting the many other colors and types. I put some out and about in the house and in a glass front cupboard. At least they aren’t jammed in a bin any more! Hurray for ad free Pandora, a birthday gift from my son. I listened all the while I ironed. Hoping for some more warm weather to get back outside and do more yard cleanup. I also run a home for wayward hydrangeas 😉 so pruning is a time consuming task with around 70 plants of various types and colors. They’re budding already, can’t wait! I wish you and all the kindred spirits out there clean, lovingly decorated homes, delicious and creative meals, orderly gardens, and most of all, good health ☺️ Thank you all for the encouraging and uplifting words and thank you Susan for inspiring us! Sending love to all from Cape Cod♥️🤗

    • sbranch says:

      Nothing like homey things to give us that sense of well-being. You can’t worry too much when there’s a pie in the oven filling the house with eau de safety. Thank you for your kind wishes for all our Kindred Spirits. We do have the best here don’t we!!! Everyone please stay safe!

  55. cathleen R corell says:

    thank you for your post. so unfortunately I can buy anything I lost my job …… praying for all the nurses, drs….. police officers. pray that this will go soon.

    • sbranch says:

      That’s okay. We’re all in this together. Last night the Senate passed a bill that will send money to everyone to help us get through this. Prayers for all. xoxoxo

  56. Cat Wheelr says:

    You always take me to a place that calms me and inspires me. And I thank you for that. I relate to you in many ways. Thank you for your inspiration.

  57. Judy in Ohio says:

    Thank you so much, dear friend.
    May God bless you always and always.


  58. Jen Pen says:

    Thank you for the art, words and love.

    • sbranch says:

      You are so welcome . . . I’ve not been reading comments yet this morning, but I just checked in, and will come back soon, love reading them! xoxoxo

  59. Jen Pen says:

    Sorry if this is a repost.
    Thanks for the art, words and love.

  60. Kristin Gjertsen says:

    Susan, thank you for the lovely post! I have been wishing that you would do one for the past few weeks as we transitioned to more time at home amid the virus outbreak. You inspired me to get to find meaningful ways to keep busy and cheerful. We made sourdough starter and are baking bread daily, set up the patio area and picnic table, are taking daily walks and bike rides (living in a Norman Rockwell world with families on their porches or driveways, kids playing in the sprinklers (each in their own yard), dogs enjoying all the extra time with their owners, and the daffodils, snowdrops, and cherry trees in bloom). I am working on sewing projects too. I made a blue and white pillow with antique lace trim for my bed and am about to commence work on a blue and white duvet cover for my down blanket. Please post again when you can. Your words and paintings create a warm and wonderful atmosphere of a cozy, happy home.

    • sbranch says:

      Love the Norman Rockwell reference. I’ve always wished to live in one of his paintings! Especially the Four Freedoms! Love that Thanksgiving table!

  61. Wendi Unrein says:

    Sigh…. somehow I lost getting your blog but am grateful for my bfriend Jen who alerted me! I’ve been in the throes of pneumonia for the past two weeks (not from virus) and am so grateful for being given the gift of artistry as I hardly ever get bored! Yet your blog blessed me greatly as I love “the blues” and for a moment felt the rush of warm breezes with a whiff of spring blossoms…. sadly I stare at my new fenced in garden that is overrun with weeds from last years torrential rains. I was so looking forward to tackling my new garden that I dreamed of and so enjoyed pics of your thriving one! Pneumonia now has challenged me again as April is coming close. And I don’t know how I will be able to tackle this again. Faith is my forever friend with patience holding its hand. Help me Lord!

    I so loved the white and blue linens as I collect ones similar! And that cat, that glorious cat, brings me smiles at every picture! My black Henry is my baby but I must admit there is something wonderful about a black and white mix and I may have to seek one out! Oh how I love your sweet spirit Susan, so needed right now. I agree with your words about slowing down, so wonderfully true. We all must be teachers, encouragers who understand this. It is a very special gift to our spirit!

    • sbranch says:

      I hope you are feeling better Wendi! I have another friend fighting pneumonia right now, also nothing to do with this virus, but it just wears her OUT. Don’t worry about your garden, or anything, just admire the buds and know this too shall pass. xoxoxo

  62. Jill says:

    One thing that I know is that my very talented 19 year old son, who is a musician, has been home more than ever and we hear lots of music coming from his room. He says he’s having a really productive time and recording lots of music. He discovered his acoustic guitar has a pick up that let’s him record on his computer. So, I believe what you said is true and God will do good in this horrible situation.

  63. Cathy says:

    Thank you for sharing the picture of the blue miniature bedroom. I almost wanted to cry. I felt like I could make any little world of my dreams in there.

    • sbranch says:

      Wasn’t it sweet. Something about tiny things does the same for me. A little world of our dreams . . . 💖

  64. Connie T. says:

    I love your posts always, though I hadn’t read any for awhile. Got into books and TCM and Hallmark movies, I guess. Anyway, this post was a much needed rest from the news and the gloom everywhere. One thing puzzles me – you used the word “nurk” in this post and I have no idea what it means! Urban dictionary had a definition that I KNOW is not what you meant! Please enlighten me on the meaning. Thanks!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s a sister-family-girlfriend word I made up which means puttering around… nurking. “What’cha been doing today? Oh nothing, just nurking around.” Must have come from lurking. Nice to see you Connie!

  65. CJ Love says:

    I agree. Once all this is past us, we may look back and see that good came out of this hard time.

  66. Marianne says:

    Thank for sharing your part of the world all these years. Hunkered inside here in Taos. My new Bordoddle puppy “Arie” is great company. Bob, my husband will retire in 5 days and come to join me from his Denver location. I spent the week decorating our Taos adobe for Spring. The carrot/bunny cutout I purchased from you years ago adorns the old maple hutch
    Your blog and photos brightened my evening. Stay safe and healthy!
    By the way a Bordoddle is a poodle/border collie mix

    • sbranch says:

      What better joy than a new puppy and all the time in the world to be with it? Happy retirement to Bob, and to you! xoxo

  67. Linda says:

    Susan, beauteous! The fresh air, the beautiful blue… magic. You continue to nourish my spirit. Thank-you

    Linda d

  68. Christine Morgan says:

    Thank you for the post. Always enjoy reading your words. Getting a head start on spring cleaning and cleaning out the flower beds(when the weather permits). I believe we will come through this. Take care.

    • sbranch says:

      I think if it had to happen, NOW is the perfect time. Spring, the season of Hope, will be all around us soon. I would hate if we were doing this at Christmas . . . although, I won’t be surprised if we are! By then we’d be SO creative with this, like pros, we’d manage to make it more spiritual and joyful than ever.💝

  69. Lynnette says:

    Love your blog!!! I was planning on trying to buy tickets to your event at the Duxbury senior center in May, but I’m wondering if that is still on? My sister, daughter, and I have already made our hotel reservation and bought our airfare from Texas to come. It won’t be a problem to cancel them all but I wanted to double check to see if you were still planning on the event taking place. Thanks!

    • sbranch says:

      No, I’m so sorry, they had to cancel it. Of course, like everything else. We will try again in September, depending on what happens. I hope we can do it!

  70. Peggy says:

    Thank you and please keep your comforting posts coming.

  71. jeanie says:

    I’ve saved your dose of sunshine for a day when I really needed it and this is one.

    Stay well and keep bringing the light.

  72. Sue Morris says:

    How your lovely blog full of the hope of spring has brightened a rainy day in Maryland. My forsythia wreath is on the door, matching the bush blooming in the yard nearby. I’ve planted spring flowers–crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths, and tulips. I’ve trimmed around the peony spikes that are starting to come up in their usual space. I’ve ironed and hung the white lace curtains and put tiny spring flowers in tiny vases in the window sill over my kitchen sink. Spring will come and hopefully the virus will go. All in good time. Like you, we are enjoying the time at home, trying new recipes, and enjoying our daily walk. I’ve just re-read your book about your wonderful trip to England. What a delight! And a happy respite from the anxiety that is finding its way into all our lives. Thank you!

  73. Sharon Watson says:

    hi susan

    look up and just sing “Blue skies smilin at me”. Keeping positive one day at a

    • sbranch says:

      Exactly right! Yesterday was a dear friend’s birthday … could NOT let it go by. It’s around 40 degrees here, so we called them, told them to bundle up and meet us in their yard in a half hour ~ went over, sat in garden in hats, gloves, scarves, coats, in chairs 6′ apart, visited for an hour, watching the birds flying out of the woods to the bird feeder. No coffee, no food, no nothing, just us. It was perfect!

  74. Inez Schlueter says:

    I always look forward to your blogs, always makes me happy. I wish all , everywhere on this planet to be well, and pray for those who are not. I do agree, this is a time, to look around and see all the gifts we have been given, and hopefully, when this passes, we continue,to slow down,reach out,and be kinder. Hope you and Joe and kitty, are all well.

  75. Jane Grayson says:

    Hi Susan,

    Thank you for your blog posts! Your words and pictures calm me and soothe my soul. I hope that you’ll be able to find time for more!

    Sending love & prayers,

    Jane (England)

    • sbranch says:

      Me too, right now I’m still trying to finish the calendars . . . almost there, but other deadlines are waiting, I feel like I should post every day during this thing! I wish I could … ❌⭕️

  76. Cathy from Golden CO says:

    SO happy to read your encouraging and positive words! Love your pretty “forget me nots” – & love the Susan Branch camaraderie!

  77. Suzanne says:

    Hi Susan,
    I just read this post from you Oh did I need it. Strange and scary things are going on in the world. A time to count our blessings, you being on my list. Keeping busy with all my unfinished projects (UFO’s) Might even attempt making your picnic quilt to enjoy when it is safe again. Thank you so much for your blog It always makes my day

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, do it, we all need to come out of this thing with something very very positive. Thank you Suzanne!

  78. Susan J. Richardson says:

    Thank you for all of the effort and love and wisdom you put in your blog. I wish there was some way to bottle your whimsy, wisdom and wonder in a bottle and spritz the world with it. Bottled Susan, a magical elixir. Better than any fairy dust. Blessings to you and Joe and, of course, Jack. Susan/Clarksville, MO

    • sbranch says:

      Doll.💖 xoxo Take care.

    • Rachel says:

      Susan R., what a wonderful idea…..”Susan, a Magical Elixir…Better Than Fairy Dust.” Course, it might cost $1,000’s per bottle. But, knowing her, she would make it so that every one of us could afford some, even if it was a small bottle. AND, that would help keep her little business solvent during this trying time. I do so hope she is able to remain afloat. I adore everything she makes…still have some of her first stickers and papers for scrap booking, even a piece of wrapping paper with teapots on it. I hope everyone is taking the virus seriously and is staying safe. Rachel Scott

      • sbranch says:

        Oh Rachel, you are SO sweet, as ever and forever . . . we are doing our best. If the girls can’t get to work, that would be a problem, but so far at least Sheri can come in, she lives only about a mile from the studio … which is out in the country, and no one there but her. But they may soon not want anyone to drive at all … so we shall see. Love you Rachel, take good care, the world still needs us!

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      Agree…Bottled Susan! Just loaded with whimsy, wisdom and wonder! You said it well, Susan Richardson.

  79. Kathy Aso says:

    I want to thank you for helping us get through this world crisis. I know I can safely speak for all our other girlfriends around the world that you are helping us get through each day through your blogs(archives, too) and your books. It has given me the opportunity to revisit everything you have shared with us. I am either quilting, reading your books or blogs. Thank you soooo much for filling our world with flowers, serenity, and beauty!!!! Take care!!!

    • sbranch says:

      One great thing, if this had to happen, at least the “cure” was to “Stay Home.” Not stay on the freeway, or stay at the Post Office. Stay Home. Has a very wonderful ring to it.

  80. Rose Ann Bacher-Giallombardo says:

    “Happy Spring” to you Susan, you are a JOY to everyone who reads your blogs.
    Thank you for helping us cope w/the Coronavirus outbreak. We will all get through this difficult time in our lives w/ prayer, hope & love.
    “When God closes a door, He always opens a window”
    Peace to all,
    Rose Ann

    • sbranch says:

      I totally agree, for the first time in a long time, we have something very obviously in common with every person on earth, we know how we feel! It’s bringing us together. And we’ve needed that so badly. 💔💝 xoxo

  81. Vicki South of Arroyo says:

    I’m worried about your mail-order business, Susan. I happen to love it. I can’t remember, did you have it in The Recession (2007-8?) or even your brick & mortar at that time? It just killed a few small shops (where I live) back then, when the economy tanked the other time; the gal with the tea shop; another with an antique store. I feel badly for a gal who opened up a greeting-card/gift-items store just a couple of weeks before all this virus-mess hit; her business depends upon walk-in shoppers, and nobody’s walking in now.

    You give us SO much here, for free on the blog, every month; it’s the least I can do, even if I just order one thing from your online store. Can’t get out to shop anyway, and I need to be able to get some gifts right now, even if all I can do is leave something on somebody’s porch instead of having a birthday party. (I get hit around this time of year with multiple birthdays, anniversaries, all at the same time … and babies still come right on time at 9 months even though baby showers as a group celebration are of course, sadly, postponed.)

    I’m thinking you’ve figured out the physical distancing for your customer service reps at the Central Coast ordering center and that they’re still coming into work and do orders, although it’s tough for employers to figure things out! (Not everybody can work from home.) I hope the mail truck is coming to your store, so that your team doesn’t have to physically go to the post office counter to send out the packages. (I remember seeing your photos when you’d be doing a big book shipment, how the mail truck would drive right up to load at what I guess is your barn or garage there in AG.) It’s so much xtra stuff to have to think about and strategize/modify, darn it. (Anyway, I want those Susan Branch 2021 calendars!!)

    I can’t do as much as I’d like to help people whose jobs might be altered or gone, but I did pay three service providers a month in advance; thought it could help them. (Small things I could manage, like the guy who cuts the grass at my house the past 18 years. I’m in my parents’ home; he was pre-me; I feel I owe it to him, as he’s always so reliable for us and does a good job; I want to be reliable for him, too. He might not be getting any new customers right now.)

    • Vicki South of Arroyo says:

      A small PS: Saw your Twitter about the idea of making puzzles. It doesn’t matter what image, what photo, what illustration, of ANYthing you’ve ever given us (it all pleases the eye!); yes, just score it to make puzzle pieces. What a terrific new thing! Lambies in a pasture, a quilt, Jack, your birdfeeders on a snowy day, your garden with the little picket fence around it, a MV scene at the shore; just go back thru all your stuff and even these blog posts, 10,000 ideas right there!

      My parents (and I) have done all kinds of puzzles over the years, spreading out the pieces on the card table or dining room table, of town scenes, boat scenes, pastoral countryside, animals, floral centerpieces, underwater scenes with coral and fishies; birds splashing in a birdbath; tropical flowers; ROSES, antique dollies, pretty china with cups and plates; cartoon characters; TOO NUMEROUS to mention!!

      Puzzles are a great family or communal activity; I would deliver, as a volunteer driver, Meals-On-Wheels for homebound elderly and convalescing people who’d be working on puzzles together in an activity room, having fun chatting and doing (they’d even frame some of the finished puzzles and hang them on a wall; I think you can buy, inexpensively online or maybe in art-supply stores, the glue and backing if you want to do this kind of project); my great-aunt and uncle would spend hours by the window at their little table in the living room, fire roaring in the fireplace on a cloudy day, never more cozy and companionable inside their house; my whole life with them, there were always puzzle pieces on that table, a puzzle-in-progress at any given time.

      Puzzles engage children, too. One of the very first things I can EVER remember playing with as a very-small child are my wooden puzzles with the big blocky-wood pieces to pick up and put in their spot to make a picture in my puzzle tray. I’m sure it must teach kids good hand-eye coordination, no?! It’s how I learned where each state was located in the U.S.; a puzzle map, where you have to place each state puzzle piece in the various regions like Midwest, Northeast, etc.

      Again, something people can do together but also solo as they please. Puzzles are for any age, just like board games. It sort of reminds me of paint-by-number; still allowing you to feel creative, and that feeling of accomplishment when you finish the last puzzle piece or the last number with the rest of your paint. They’re originals in their own way; makes you feel good!

  82. Much needed cheer. Relieves the stress and worry. We must have hope all the while remembering it’s all in Gods hands….

  83. Kelly Reid Machnov says:

    Good morning Susan, Joe & Jack,

    Thank you for this lovely blog entry. 💙💙💙

    You certainly picked up my spirits and I am certain many Girlfriends as well.

    Just used a Susan Christmas Gift certificate to buy the sailboat mug online! But having said that please tell Sherri and Kellie to take their time in terms of filling the order…would much rather think of them ‘staying at home safe & sound’. Just wanted to do my little part to keep Susan up and healthy during this time.

    Thank you Susan for all that you do to brighten our days.

    Stay safe and as my lovely Mom always said ‘Be good!’

    With love from Walnut Creek, California💙💙💙

    – Kelly

    • sbranch says:

      Yay Kelly, I love that cup! Our Studio is so far out in the country and we have a little “goat barn” where the shipping is done, Sheri can be there shipping, while Kellee is in another building on the computer . . . it’s about as safe as something could be. 💞

      • Vicki South of Arroyo says:

        When I put in my Susan Branch store order a couple of days ago (another one today), I had an email exchange with Sheri. I don’t know Kellee but I’ve had many questions for Sheri over the years and she is A Jewel even when I’ve probably been a pest to her at times when she’s very busy. The BEST service and responsiveness to a customer. I could tell in the email message that she feels upbeat and positive, safe and happy to be working.

        I can’t get enough Susan Branch cups. I selfishly glop onto them for myself but I’ve also given them as gifts. At first, they sat on my shelf as art; but the pull was great to use them for purposes intended. They greet me every single morning and every single evening at a time when I NEED MY CUP OF HOT TEA. (Never more than now.) Any other mugs or cups I had in my cupboard have since been donated to the rescue mission because Susan Branch cups have spoiled me forever. They feel good on the mouth; not clunky and ‘thick’ and heavy (I have arthritic hands, so I appreciate that they’re lightweight but VERY durable as well); a friend of mine prefers the smaller cup size, but I gravitate toward the larger-size (although I have both and love both) as it holds a lot of liquid (cocoa, too & coffee of course [major/former coffee drinker here who’s had to learn to limit it, but I do indulge in decaf!); however, I use them for ‘everything’… I eat soup out of my SB cups; my breakfast cereal. A yogurt parfait. Steamed veggies. (The cups seem to have also replaced my bowls!) Don’t laugh, but my dog has picked up on the sound of my spoon clinking on the porcelain. She runs to me, “It’s Susan Branch Time!” because she knows she gets to lick the spoon and cup when I’m finished (I’m lucky to have a dishwasher; everything gets sanitized; although, sue me, I kiss my dog [that sweet spot on the top of her dear little head!]).

        • sbranch says:

          I’m so happy you’re liking your cups Vicki … me too … same way as you! And thank you for the kind words about Sheri … she IS a jewel, they both are, I’m so proud of them and lucky to have them. Sue me too, I kiss Jack every day, some twenty-hundred times, same spot.xoxo

  84. Cindy Maulin says:

    Dear Susan….
    Someone said, “ I cannot wait to return to normal” and someone even wiser said, “ I don’t want to return to normal. I want to EVOLVE… emerge from this smarter , stronger and more human than ever before”. What better time for rebirth than springtime… a time for growth and faith and new life and hope. This is a time to draw together. For many reasons, society has been recently fractured…..aided by own thoughts, deeds and words. Now, we need each other….isolation doesn’t distance us… binds us together. We are in this together … help your neighbor, help someone you don’t even know. Keep the faith and keep praying. My best to you and Joe and Jack and to all those you love.

    • sbranch says:

      I think if we are allowed out of our rooms too soon we will have learned nothing… my prayer is we learn to respect and love, and fight for the survival of this overwrought planet … Every word dear Cindy, thank you so much, just beautiful. “Isolation doesn’t distance us, it binds us together.” One world.👏 💞💞💞

    • Dianne says:

      Thank you Cindy for your beautiful words. I agree that we should not hope to get back to normal- at least not to our previous normal. We need to emerge with a new normal in mind- with our connectedness as human beings at the heart of the matter. We are in this together and, actually, if we think about it we are always in this together. Our actions affect those around us whether we realize it at the tme or not

  85. Regina Carretta says:

    Susan – you may have already seen this….a friend sent it this morning….I thought of you – I think it is just impossibly beautiful:

    I think to take it in, in small bits, to appreciate the sentiment of gifts of art, while we are in our homes unable to view in person…..just lovely…..
    love and peace,
    Regina, Seattle

  86. Amy from Wisconsin says:

    Dear Susan,
    Grateful for yet another beautiful, much needed blog post.
    I do believe we all have been moving much too fast and our dear earth was way overdue for a much needed break.
    I too live in a climate of 4 seasons. By April I am more than ready to throw open the windows, put on the screens and let the fresh country roll in and bless every nook and cranny of our home.
    Thank you for all these precious reminders.

  87. Nicky says:

    Thank you, Susan. I needed this today.

  88. Judy Huska says:

    Wonderful post dear Susan. During these times it’s important to offer each other comfort and you do that! I pray that you and Joe stay well and continue to bless us with your talent and wit.

  89. Debbie Boerger says:

    Vicki South of Arroyo has an excellent idea for all who can afford to do it. Pay our service providers several months in advance! Thanks, Vicki.

    Our neighbor invited us to come over for therapeutic firepit time. We may go, as all our clothes and coats will be pre-corona. They have a bi-weekly Cocktails and Conversation at their place, and have moved it outside. He said the dog doesn’t get Social Distancing, so they spray her down with Clorox every few minutes……He may or may not be kidding…Wry New England Humah!!!

    We made it back “home” to Maine just in time. Governor has asked Snow Birds to wait to come back from Florida. Paper today assured us that Troopers would not be pulling over cars with Florida tags for Deportation. Hmmmmmm. Imagine that very real prospect in the lives of millions of people who keep this nations’s food production going. Just sayin’…….

    Love to you, Susan, Joe and Jack, as well as to all of your followers,
    Debbie in Maine, looking at the sun on the mud flats of low tide!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I know, it was a terrible idea. I’m glad you’re quarantining yourselves. We have lots of New Yorkers coming onto the island to their second homes and there’s fear connected to it. We only have 3 beds in our hospital, but so far so good. I think people are really pulled-in around here. Joe and I have been isolated for almost 3 weeks now so at least we know we’re not carriers! Take good care Debbie, I’m SO relieved to hear you made it back safe and sound. 👏

  90. Dianne says:

    Thinking of you and Joe as my phone keeps giving me alerts about the Vineyard. The island is so small. I hope the situation doesn’t get out of hand. These are scary times- at times- and reading and re-reading your blogs helps keep me centered. You and Joe – and all your girlfriends- are in my prayers. Please stay well- and stay safe. It is going “to take a village” to get us through this, but I’m confident that we will. We are once again focusing on our connectedness as human being, and I’m confident that we will emerge as “better” persons when the dust settles

    • sbranch says:

      I think (pushy, as oldest of 8 always is) you might want to rethink that alert. We may be too alert already (unless you are a first responder of course). Don’t let IT get YOU. Let YOU get IT. You see? I love your words, and agree with every one of them. It’s been lovely to see people be so caring. ❤️ God bless us one and all. xoxoxo

  91. Sharon says:


    You spoke about ironing that’s my favorite thing to do. True it’s relaxing, calming, and it takes me places where I don’t normally travel. My favorite things to iron are my pillowcases and night clothes. When going to sleep at night you feel as if you’ve stepped outside on a beautiful sunny airy day and doesn’t things look so fresh and smell good.

    • sbranch says:

      Ironing is sort of like meditation. Smoothing, getting into the corners, ommmmmm. We dried our sheets on the line for the first time this spring, made our bed, and I know just what you mean, it’s a thrill to go to sleep at night!

      • Dianne says:

        I love the comments about ironing. I, too, have always found pleasure in the task. I never thought of it as meditation, but you are right. You kind of get lost in your thoughts as you make everything nice and smooth

  92. Lori W Hamilton says:

    Dear Susan,

    Blue being my favorite color, I think this may be (if I could decide!) my favorite blog ever! If you ever take up interior design, I’ll be first in line to hire you! Hee.
    I’ve kinda’ been “isolated” for a while due to a bone marrow transplant so this shutdown isn’t as new for me as for others, but it does get wearing after a while. SO your blog was especially needed – thank you!!
    All FOSB, please be careful and stay home, using your creativity to stay entertained and productive! We’re in this together and God has given us an opportunity to rest, de-stress and enjoy loved ones so let’s make the best of it!
    Love to all!

    • sbranch says:

      I feel like my blog is a sort of virtual interior design “business” ~ at least for people who like old houses, and take off the word “business!” Not sure if you’ve seen THIS, but it’s more of the same! We are staying home. We know we aren’t just doing it for ourselves, we do not want to be any part of overwhelming our poor little hospital and our neighbors who make up the staff that works there. I’m practicing meditation faithfully . . . it’s so helpful, because it’s an odd and fearful time, and those awful numbers are scary. I’m so happy you had your transplant before this all happened, and now you are home doing what you should be doing. We’ll all come out of this better people. We were getting a bit too spoiled. xoxoxoxox

  93. Alice says:

    Love the picture of the dollhouse room! I just HAD to show you this inside of this Dollhouse. It looks so much like your home!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Can you imagine the tiny little fingers that set up the displays? Someone is in there changing things around, they must use tweezers! Picket fences! I’ve always loved dollhouses. I had a friend who remodeled her living room and a staircase to the second floor. They included in the plans, a platform at the bottom of the stairs just for her very large dollhouse to be up, waist-high, so she could play with it anytime she wanted. I LOVED going over there!

  94. Marilyn J Ghere says:

    Favorites from your always-appreciated blog: the quilt, photo of the dollhouse, the goblets that are similar to some that my parents received as a wedding gift and the fact that you love the memoir, “All Creatures Great and Small.” James Herriot’s series: definitely my favorite books !! I have read, watched or listened to “All Creatures” numerous times.

    • sbranch says:

      I never thought I would fall in love with a vet, out in the muck, attending to cows, but I definitely did … Pure charm. We went to his vet practice when we were in Yorkshire, the street was so beautiful, the church where he was married.

  95. Sharon says:

    Hi Susan

    I’ve spread the news among my friends about your Mugs! Many of them didn’t know of your blog but they went on your site and did some shopping. They loved the mugs too. So they all ordered. I’ll keep sharing your beautiful artwork
    to everyone I touch from my MUG to their MUG. Have a beautiful day!

  96. Kelly Reid Machnov says:

    Dearest Susan,
    Just wanted to thank you for your lovely mugs. Each night I find a quiet spot and pour myself a lovely hot cup of English Breakfast tea in one of your mugs. During this critical time, your creativity and artistry lend themselves to peace and comfort for those of us that follow you and cherish your many talents.

    We are a strong country and we will come through this but for now I hope your many ‘Girlfriends’ find a moment of peace and quiet and reflection. I pray for all the people around the world.

    Thank you Susan.♥️🌷♥️

    • sbranch says:

      I agree Kelly, we will come through this stronger. Was talking to my British friend Rachel the other day … she was comparing it to WWII … England was at war for Years, bombs dropping out of the sky, almost as invisible as this virus and much more damaging … and yet they made it through. Some of them living in houses that had shaken off their foundations. Some losing everything. How they went to sleep at night is beyond me. I hate to say we are lucky, but if we all do our part and stay home, we will save lives. Love hearing from you, stay healthy!💖

      • Kelly Reid Machnov says:

        I just had a similar conversation with a dear friend about our parents and their parents and everything they survived during the Depression and WWII. We all come from very sturdy stock with a deep fortitude that is a part of us born from our own family histories. We can get through this and will have learned a great deal about life and each other.

        Thank you dear friend for the love & joy you put out there to all of us each and everyday. You make a difference.

        Stay safe, and ‘be good’!



  97. Karen Lawson says:

    Dearest Susan, I love you to pieces. I wish you were my Friend, Neighbor, Big sister, anything. In a way, you of course already are. Everything you post warms my heart and makes me smile, and cry. I don’t know exactly why I am right now. But that’s. ok. I adore your photo of Jack and him looking up with those gorgeous eyes. Your love for that kitty is precious. Also, love your pic of the Dollhouse!!

  98. barbara lassiter says:

    Everyone has said what I would say to you about this wonderful post. I will say I’m thankful for the good and positive I see coming from this. I know it is so frightening for some and such a hardship for others, but people are stepping up and helping their neighbors and caring for one another in ways we haven’t seen in a while. My husband and I are in our early 80’s (can it be) and my husband has Parkinson’s disease. Our neighbors come by to see if we need anything (from a respectful distance) or call on the phone to give me their cell phone number and to chat. Our children and their families are here and keep tabs on us to find out if we are okay and and we are fortunate. Since the library is closed, I’ve been reading the old books on the closet shelf in the attic bedroom….The Best of James Herriot( beautiful edition with color photos of Yorkshire) and now I’m reading Greyfriars Bobby, which was also on that shelf. Who knows what else I may find? It is a time to stop, take a breath, count our blessings, help others as the opportunity presents itself and be thankful for each other and pray for this world in which we live….God’s gift to us! Be safe, be healthy and well and let us remember to love our neighbor as our self.

  99. Juli says:

    Of course and as usual I love this!
    I just wanted to quickly say a friend recently told me she had read one of your books! I said well I have all 3 (of the story books) and all your cookbooks and a couple of other books as well if you’d like to borrow any. She said yes please so I put the other 2 story books and 2 cookbooks in a bag for her to pick up. She told me tonight she’d purchased 4 books for friends and to support Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver (which she does anyway but especially during this time) where I met you at your book signing for The Fairy Tale Girl 🙂
    Thank you and hugs and love to all the girlfriends and boyfriends! Take care, be well & safe and thank you to all those working with and for the public right now!! We love you all!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you so much Juli! Nothing is better than word of mouth when it comes to books! You’re a doll. Tell your friend thank you too . . . and everybody stay safe! xoxo

  100. Jenette says:

    Good morning! Have you considered republishing your “Days” journal. I still have my old ones – and just LOVE them!!❤️ Journaling and capturing things we are grateful for each day has become very popular and has tremendous proven scientific benefits. Your book is just so lovely. Several of my friends and I speak about it often and so so wish you would print it again. Is there any possibility?

    • sbranch says:

      I have thought about it, we’d love to do it . . . and maybe we will someday. Publishing a book is MIGHTILY expensive, we do what we can, but we’re pretty small around here . . . need to make sure we could sell them all. I love that book, would be fun to see it out there again! I’ll try! Thank you Jenette!

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