Home in the Time of Pandemic

Hi Everyone! It’s time to stop and put the kettle on! Get yourself a cup of something and come back so we can catch up. As always and forever, home is what you make it. And that’s true even and especially in the time of Pandemic! We’re living through a very sad time for so many, our friends, and neighbors that we love. So let’s put on a little MUSICA, and sing along, and for the lucky of us, all that is not so good, becomes a blessing.❤️ 

If you like this song, go tell your remote that you want to see the old movie Without Reservations with John Wayne and Claudette Colbert! Have you seen it? Sometimes I feel like I’ve seen every good old movie ever made . . . and then something like this comes along and surprises me and makes me wonder what else they’re hiding! The stars spend lots of time on the train (you get to see lots of 1946 scenery) ~ you’re listening to the theme song now ~ how could it not be darling? It’s free on TMC.

We took off our storm windows yesterday. The doors are open now, the sun is shining, it’s about 68º, the wisteria’s in bloom, so are the lilacs, and the sea breeze is blowing fragrance through all our rooms. Sleeping is heaven! We’ve waited months for this! Do you believe that purple? Mrs. Bowditch, the woman who lived here before us, planted that maybe 50 years ago and I thank her every spring.

Why does fresh laundry flapping in the wind make everyone so happy? I don’t know, but it’s true. I think because we’re in love withAnd we know it when we see it, smell it, hear it . . . There’s no place like home.

Have I ever shown you my kitty graveyard? Where Girl Kitty (in fact, two Girl Kitties), Bill and Man Kitty are buried? The history of my world. 

 Every spring I go out and move the debris off their graves and sweep them. Sweet little corner of my garden.💞

Days get longer, sun rises earlier, casting long shadows through the morning windows . . . Makes me run to get the camera.Everything I need is here.

The sun through the leaves makes these shadows move and dance like sea water with the sun shining on it. Gotta take a picture! 

It is so quiet on the island . . . Notice how our walk hasn’t been “prettified?” It is as it always was. Woods and dirt roads, potholes and all. Just the way we like it. New spring leaves, wild blueberries, beach roses, and the sea.

I thought you’d like a little ocean view this morning.


We’ll never forget this Memorial Day . . . it’s never been this quiet. No one came! Except of course for these guys. The ferry went back and forth to the Mainland but stayed mostly empty. We are all so grateful that people are choosing to stay home. It’s strange and we miss them and the excitement they bring, but we’re just not ready for it yet.😷 When all this is over, we will happily welcome them back with open arms.💞

We hung our flag as we always do . . . Everyone did, the island has gone back in time to how it was before it was discovered! Very quiet. We’re still coping with the virus. We get a new case almost every day, our curve, small as it is, hasn’t flattened. No stores are open, no restaurants either. The Island has always been a little cut off from the real world, but now more than ever. Actually it’s a lot like it is in the winter, when we have it all to ourselves, only the sun is shining! So we do what we do in the winter, entertain ourselves! Only now, we can do it outside. Usually my friends are working and we don’t have much time for fun in the sun!   


It was my dear friend Lowely’s Birthday . . . so we decided to try having a party . . . we miss each other!🎉 We’re all extremely virus-aware, none of us go ANYWHERE, except maybe every three weeks to get food, fully masked and gloved! We want this thing to end as FAST as possible, so we do our part by staying home. We’re the lucky ones. So many MUST go out, I’m sure many of our girlfriends too, are needed to keep everything running and to take care of the sick. I join with the whole world when I say, on bended knee, thank you for what you are doing.💞 

For Lowely, I asked everyone to bring something with a candle in it, even the birthday girl had to bring her own “cake,” and this was hers, a beautiful triple-cream cheese! Isn’t it cute? A true “cheesecake!” Notice she put her ring on her candle? We all put our rings on what we brought (mine was a Honey Crisp apple with a candle stuck in it) so we could join in on Lowely’s wish, and blow out our candles when she did.

This is how we normally do it . . . the birthday girl (OR boy!) blows out the candles and we all get our wish.

I miss doing what I would do for a NORMAL birthday party . . . setting the table, and making actual food too!

This is the view from our upstairs window. I learned a lot. I learned that a circle seems right and looks good, but when a person is in her chair, the person straight across is THIRTY FEET away. That’s a little too much social-distancing. More distancing than social. Hard to hear anyone from 30 feet! Next time I’ll do two rows, with ten feet between them and stagger the chairs. This would work at a park or a meadow too … if everyone brought their own chairs, their own masks, their own food. The smaller the group probably the better. I’m looking forward to lots of one-on-one this summer.So something awful happened. I accidentally whacked my very first cup, called Little Things, on the kitchen faucet and chipped it. Joe tried to sand it down and save it, but the first time I poured water into it, a crack appeared, and it sprung a leak. It was the end of that cup and, here’s the hard part: it was my only one!😱 I LOVED this cup (I saved it, might put a plant in it or some pencils).

It was like an old friend, being my first and all. And “Little Things!” The one on the left is paper, my first mock up. I went around for the last two weeks moaning. Then yesterday . . .

I said to myself, who is in charge here? And made the executive decision to RE-ORDER it. Now, of course they won’t let me order just one ~ they have a minimum order requirement. And I started thinking that because it was the first, maybe someone else wants one? I told Twitter I was reordering it, and from their reaction I realized perhaps my cup had sacrificed itself for the greater good.😇 With one life to give for her fellow girlfriends. So Little Things will arrive in our Studio in August and is up for preorder now. Because this is a re-order, I only got the minimum, which I think should be enough, I hope. This time I’m keeping two. Taking no chances.✔️

Then I noticed one of my other favorites, my Bluebird cup, and realized, eeek, I only have one.😳 Way too precarious a situation. So I ordered that one too . . . 

I remember painting for it . . .

 And then it came in and I loved it. And it will do the same in August, and I will love it just as much. And all because of the self-sacrifice of Little Things.💞 If you missed either of these the first time, we are getting a second chance!

And last but not least, a little preview of my new Christmas book due this August or September, depending on when I get it done. I have a deadline! When I’m not walking in the morning, or hanging clothes on the line, this is what I’m doing. Writing, painting, drawing, erasing, and re-drawing. Thank GOD in heaven for erasers.

Am I having fun or what? Painting jammies!

I have never painted Nipper before . . . he was our childhood dog. I can still hear my brother calling, “Here Nip!” before going out on his paper route. Isn’t he the PERFECT 1950s family dog? Sweetest boy in the world. I loved painting him. I never realized how feathery his paws were, or how long his ears were. You get to know people when you paint them.💞DamPanic or no DamPanic, my dreams never change.💖

Bye for now dear ones. Back to work I go! I hope you are safe and sound🙏, getting some fresh air, and enjoying this one amazing life we were gifted with. Learn the words to that song, sing it around the house ~ singing makes your heart lighter.😘  Me and Millie. Jack would have loved Millie.💞 

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669 Responses to Home in the Time of Pandemic

  1. I am on my fifth volume of your Christmas Memories book. That’s 15 years of holiday memories, all in one place! The kids’ scrawling signatures from when they were small (in college now), so many pictures of dear folks not here anymore, and the trees from every year. Some years, I pack the books up and take them to my family holiday gatherings so everyone can join me on Memory Lane. It’s fun to watch them all remembering. I look forward to your new Christmas book, and I must say I have two blank copies of Christmas Memories just waited to be filled. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      JUST what I hoped would happen with that book! What a family treasure!!!👏

    • Linda says:

      You have me beat by one book — I have one more year on my fourth, and it is the highlight of the pre- and post-holiday season for me. We get them out every year and laugh about crazy hairdos, and former houses and spouses or whatever. There is SO much I would have forgotten if I hadn’t kept these journals and I’m so glad all those details weren’t lost – esp. when I realize all the people who aren’t with us anymore. As I said when I posted this on my Insta account, these are the first things I would grab in a fire (after making sure all the humans and pets were safe first)…..
      Makes me happy to think other volumes, chockful of friends and family warmth, are floating around there, too.

  2. Marie Manson says:

    Hi Susan, have just finished reading your blog, thank you I live in New Zealand , we are now on level 2 of our lockdown, so have been able to go out for the first time in eight weeks, oh the bliss. I look forward to your blogs , they lift me up, I have two of your wonderful calendars, Heart of the Home and a Year in the English Countryside, that my darling daughter gave me for Christmas, Please look after yourself and stay safe, Marie

  3. Debbie Boerger says:

    This is for Christie Levin….who posted on May 27. Christie, I am a Mainer by choice and by heart. Louise Dickinson Rich also spent time in Corea, a tiny fishing village “down” in Hancock County, where we live. She wrote a lovely book, The Peninsula, about Corea and the Schoodic Peninsula. It includes Winter Harbor, Summer Harbor, Birch Harbor, Prospect Harbor, Prospect Harbor, Bunker’s Harbor and, last and probably least…Wonsqueak Harbor. The whole thing is part of Gouldsboro Township. We have Townships as they do in England and New England as a rule.
    I just got off the phone with our friend Sandy (Sanday) Phippen, who is a well known Maine writer. His book, Kitchen Boy, is written about his summer working in an old summer hotel in Summer Harbor. He actually lived with Louise for a short while that summer in the 50’s. That book is named as one of the 100 most important books written by and about Maine. He’s written over 20.
    Years before Tom and I bought this little piece of Maine, Tom spotted one of Sandy’s books in a small book store in Thomaston, Maine. The Police Know Everything….based on true or sorta true stories featuring his family. That did cause a bit of difficulty with said family, but they got over that. And I should know, cause we were led by fate to rent a camp on the absolutely gorgeous Donnell Pond. Sandy’s uncle and his wife owned the camp next door. Over the course of 3 seasons of our staying there while we, on our own, worked clearing the future road and footprint of our house. And the summer we actually built the house, I finally met that uncle’s daughter, now one of my very closest friends. Over 24 years, we were totally “adopted” by that wonderful family, included in every 4th of July and other family gatherings. Of course many, including the Anne’s wonderful father, several cousins, aunts and uncles we also loved have died. I didn’t have warm, fuzzy memories of my family for the most part, and I think I co-opted this family. If you are interested, they are among the very first English settlers in this part of the state. So many generations in the little churchyard. Often we make our friends tell again the hilarious stories, which are true. One of the cousins called us “Framily”.
    When your heart leads you to a place your soul has yearned to be, listen. Wonderful Things happen……Right?

    Here is one of my favorite quoted from Louise Rich…”.Mainiacs away from Maine are truly displaced persons, only half alive, only half aware of their immediate surroundings. Their inner attention is always preoccupied and pre-empted by the tiny pinpoint on the face of the globe called Down East. They try to live Not in such a manner that they will eventually be welcomed to Paradise, but only that someday they can go Home to Maine.” While not born here, I’m Home.

    • Christie Levin says:

      Hi Debbie, Thank you for connecting about Louise Rich ~ you two are kindred Mainers! I haven’t read “The Peninsula”, but will now.
      Thank you, too, for introducing Sandy Phippen ~ I’ll look for “Kitchen Boy” as I very much enjoyed LR’s stories about lending a hand at the Middle Dam hotel. How super for you to hear first-person reminices from you friend about his time at Forest Lodge (or Pine Point)!
      I am now reading “Only Parent” ~ she sure knows how to make me laugh. She also knew how to share those golden moments that touched her deeply while creating a bridge for her readers to those places andtime. I feel an extra connection because she was born the same year as my grandmother, and Ralph was about my grandfather’s age. They loved the woods and wild places so much that in 1923 they were married in hiking gear and spent their honeymoon backpacking several miles to set up camp and fish on the Deshutes River in Oregon (and had such a good time, they continued to camp, hike and fish for the next 48 years).
      I have experienced what you are talking about ‘When your heart leads you to a place your soul has yearned to be, listen. Wonderful Things Happen’ So Very Right! Cheers to you, Debbie, and to wonderful Maine!

      • Debbie Boerger says:

        As I age, 75, I am almost accustomed to finding threads that tie us together. Your grandparents, for example..their comparable ages to Louise and Ralph, and the fact that they loved the woods, hiking and camping on the Deshutes River in Oregon. They must have been quite a couple!! Tom was stationed with the Coast Guard in Coos Bay Oregon, in the summer of 68, and his daughter, now my precious step daughter, was born just across the state line in North Bend, Washington, in 69. He introduced me to the fabulous North Pacific. We both retired young and spent many years camping out there and all over the US and Southern Canada. On one of the meandering camping trips of 4 months around US and Canada, we met a young man on Widby Island, Washington. He had served in the 1st Gulf War. During that week we chatted often. We learned he loved exploring the US by living and working for a period of time in different places. On Widby, he was the campground host. He was so witty and clever. He planted geraniums in his combat boots, made totem poles of things collected from the shore below the cliff, and painted rocks white with black polka dots…labeling them, “The Rare White Lady Bug Crossing”. When he learned we had a home in Down East Maine, he told us he’d spent a couple of years on the Schoodic Peninsula. He knew it well, including Corea. He had worked as a handy man and helped older people with chores. He said he’d met LR when she came to visit someone there. This would have been in the early 80’s I think. Not sure. He knew several other authors and artists there, and asked us about some of the noted “Characters”, how they were faring. I often think of him and wonder if he found what he sought.
        As for Oregon, we have been back at least 4 times, and explored as many rivers as possible. One of Tom’s brother’s lives in Portland, and they have a vacation home in Bend, which is amazing. All of the Cascades are other worldy for a gal from the Mississippi Delta. We had a family reunion there some years ago, and walked along the Dechutes, I think. Love the volcanoes. Wow is all I can say. Isn’t it a “small” world?
        You must visit Maine. Debbie

        • Candi Runyon says:

          A big hello to all you Mainers from a Pacific North-westerner! I am a short ferry ride from Whidbey Island, in Sequim, WA, on the Olympic Peninsula. We’ve been to Whidbey many times and love the ferries. If ever there were a place I’d love to visit – indeed calls my name – it’s the north east, both Maine and Martha’s Vineyard and her ferries. One day I’ll get there!

          Thank you Susan, for another warm and wonderful post. Every time I read them I want to go fluff up my home and garden! In my very first “married woman” home, I had the same stove as yours. No other since has cooked as well as that one!

          We have just entered Phase 2 in our county. May everyone stay safe and well!

  4. Rene Marie Foust says:

    Little Things is my favorite of all of the mugs too. I just ordered one for a special friend’s birthday gift, she will love it too. Sorry you broke your cup but it has given us all a happy ending. have a great day

  5. Rose Ann Bacher-Giallombardo says:

    Thank You Susan for this very charming post. You help us to see fresh, hopeful & welcome thoughts trough your eyes & into our hearts.
    Peace to you, Joe & Jack.

  6. Julia Waterbury says:

    I think because Jack is a chaser Millie would be in trouble and need to be protected in order to get any rest…I was drinking out of that very cup today… I whacked Another cup… not one of yours, a souvenir from a visit to Bouchart (?)Gardens I wish I could replace… made me so sad…glued together but never drink out of it, because I’m sure it would leak too. Beautiful colored flowers.
    You looked like you would have had fun at your birthday party… think I would have had the game “pick up chair and change” every so often but maintaining six to ten feet… a version of musical chairs! Tee-he, Love, Julie

  7. Cindy says:

    Do tell of the tradition of the rings on the candle!

    • sbranch says:

      Just something we’ve done since the 1990s … Once I wondered if anyone else did this so I googled and found nothing about it … I think we might have made this up! I love it so much, I thought others would too, so I sort of spread it around the best I can. When the birthday person makes her wish, if our rings are on the cake, we get to make a wish too.💞

  8. Kathy O says:

    Great blog post as always. Gives me a lift every time. Stay well!

  9. Tania says:

    Love love love the photo of you and Jack.

  10. Marlana says:

    Dear Susan,
    I just can’t wait til you post something! So nice to see your lovely images and read your positive words. Hope you and Joe stay safe. We are in Los Angeles County near Long Beach, Ca. We are still wearing masks and only shopping for essentials. Praying life on this planet will soon be healed. Take care.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s a very hard time Marlana, thank you for doing your part to make it better. xoxoxo

  11. JoanS says:

    Ahhh, the wisteria, it is gorgeous and I can close my eyes and enjoy the fragrance.

    Very happy to hear the bluebird cup is back, I missed out last go around. I placed my order,
    Got a confirmation, then a note there is a problem with my order. I left a message yesterday and hope I hear back soon, I don’t want to miss out again. Is someone checking daily?
    Thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      You can write [email protected]/~susanbs3/susanbranch/. She’s not there everyday, but she’s very good and I’m sure she will get back to you soon. Write her if you need help!

      • Vicki South of Arroyo says:

        Sheri is amazing. I feel like I bend her ear far too much. She ALWAYS gets back to me with friendly and helpful customer service.

        (Latest, WHEN/please how soon [!!!] in the SB store for more postcards with the darling girl-in-the-face-mask illustration; genius idea, like how fun to slip somebody a quick, ‘how are you doing?/just checking in’ note-by-mail with such a timely subject! I’d asked that question by email this past week and Sheri answered me really promptly, at like 7:30pm and I was thinking, gosh, this girl has a LONG work day. But sounds like you’re letting staff flex their hours in this weird, weird time of Covid. Anyway, yes, I’m a happy customer who can indeed vouch that Sheri is very good!)

        • sbranch says:

          She is heaven, this is true! Makes me soooo happy to have such wonderful people at my side!

  12. Kat Fry says:

    Well hey there Sweet Sue 🙋‍♀️
    Lovely blog! As always. Just finished rereading “A Fine Romance”. I giggle, snort and cry all through it. Every time. You are our “La Vie En Rose”. Love n hugs

  13. Salve Stamatelaky says:

    Today, May 28, 2020, I read your pretty post and watched your birthday video and would like to say that today, I was introduced to Sr Emmanuel!, many thanks!

  14. Sue says:

    I just order your beautiful bluebird cup for my friend Maureen, who loves bluebirds. She has had such a hard few months. Her husband had to enter a nursing home in December with Alzheimer’s disease, and it has been so difficult for her not to see him. She’ll love this mug and it gives me great pleasure to be able to get it for her!

    • sbranch says:

      Awwww, my girlfriends are the most wonderful. Hugs to you Sue. xoxo🎁

    • Judy Young says:

      I just ordered the bluebird cup too. Missed it on the first go round. It is such a pretty and peaceful mug. I too am craving peace lately. I also had to put my husband in a nursing home. He has Parkinsons and Dementia. I took care of him for as long as I could at home. It is so hard not to be able to visit him there because of Covid-19. Things may change this month though they say so looking forward to that. Thank you Susan for everything you do. When is Enchanted going to be available? I haven’t seen it mentioned in awhile. Did I miss something?

      • sbranch says:

        Not sure, did you know I broke my wrist last year? Yes, and that basically put Enchanted on the back burner . . . by the time my hand was well enough to paint again, it was Christmas. Then Joe and I got a nice month-long flu! When we woke up from that, I had the 2021 calendars to design. I wanted something to come out this year . . . so I decided to stop everything and write my Christmas Story! After that, I’ll bring Enchanted to the front burner again! Dementia is a very mean thing. I’m so sorry Judy. This virus is getting to be as mental as it is physical. Stay safe, sending love. xoxoxo

        • susan says:

          Dear Sue and Joe
          Have you both thought of being tested for the coronavirus antibody the virus was in the states earlier than we thought… I have been wondering if anyone that seemed to have an unusually long case of what they thought was the flu last winter may have actually had the coronavirus. Sue

          • sbranch says:

            Next time we have to get a blood test we will ask for that too. We do think we had it . . . what we experienced in January was either that or the weirdest flu we ever had. Lasted over a month! But I heard the antivirus test is not reliable? Maybe it’s better now. Thank you Susan!

        • Judy Young says:

          I guess I had forgotten that you broke your wrist! Of course that would impact what you were able to do. I do remember something about having to cancel the garage sale you were going to have. Being from England I am so looking forward to reading Enchanted, so I am happy that you are able to start work on it again in the new year. I love your blog and everything you do!!! Don’t ever stop!

  15. Joan Rosenberg says:

    As always, a wonderful treat to open email and find your blog waiting. Inspired by you, I started using beautiful etched champagne flutes for my glass of chardonnay each evening. My Great-aunt Fran left them to me. They make me feel elegant!!! My daughters are not interested in vintage glasses, so why not use them!!!

    My next door neighbor is a teacher and is struggling with the stress of online teaching AND elderly parents in lock-down. I wanted to cheer her so made your Poppy Seed Cake. She is also a fan of yours, LOVED the cake. It is sooo perfect with coffee or tea!!

    Thank you!!

    • sbranch says:

      Beautiful use of gorgeous glass! SO kind of you to reach out to your neighbor. That must have touched her soul, it touches mine. 💞

  16. Judy in Oregon says:

    I think we are all getting the idea that there are ways of getting together and still social distancing. For my birthday I got together with 4 of my friends and we ordered take out, brought our own chairs and drove to a nearby mall parking lot and sat in the empty spots and talked. It was so great to see everyone which we hadn’t done since the end of February. Yesterday we got together for another birthday at someones house outside like you and your friends and had take out again. I love that picture of you and Jack!

  17. Elizabeth Back In Upstate NY says:

    Thanks for being a bright spot in the world. I’m writing this with the kitchen window open and the neighbors’ lilacs are wafting in. Although I don’t like the reason for it, this quieter season has been balm to my nesting soul. I’ve had a lot more time for creative pursuits, reading ( I finished the Outlander series, you would love it I think), and just plain solitude and peace. I adore the photo of you and Jack. My “testosterone herd”, as my vet sister-in-law refers to them (5 boy cats), and Miss Rennie Pixie the tuxedo girl, have been such a comfort during this time. Someone is always in my lap or curled up on the bed when I’m sleeping. Looking forward to the new Christmas book and especially to the Scottish book. Keep well.

    • sbranch says:

      I know JUST how you feel. Jack has been a balm to my soul during this time. I read some of the Outlander series, and I very much DID love it!!! My girlfriend Elizabeth and I read the first one at the same time and called each other everyday to talk about it in our really bad fake Scottish accents.😻

  18. Mich says:

    Your blog’s Always make my day !!
    I really needed a “pick me up” today after having such a long and trying day at work.
    Thank you Susan so very much for taking the time to write these lovely blog posts. You, Joe and Jack stay well.

  19. Ginny Evans says:

    Thanks for “stopping in!” Love the shadows and walk to the ocean. You were right, I did need to see the sea 🙂 While I sympathize about the chipped cup, I thought your idea of holding pencils/pens or other things was brilliant. Because you will see it at different times than for drinking. You will be surrounding yourself with you dear cups and seeing them everywhere. I don’t think I’ll ever use a basic mason jar for my paint brushes again!

  20. Mary Brown says:

    I thought I was the only one that buried my fur babies in my garden! Heartwarming to see that you do too! I grieved when we moved 3 years ago because I was leaving my little ones. Love your cups and you are right that singing lifts spirits. I will teach my little granddaughter the words to that song over the phone. My sewing group has made 1,000 face masks for seniors. I am motivated to do what I can since my children are ER docs. Thanks for the pick-me-up!

    • sbranch says:

      Ohhhh, love the gift of you teaching her the words, she will sing it for a lifetime! Thank you for your mask-making endeavors. And thank you for your children, our heroes. XOXOXO 💝

  21. Sally says:

    Ordered my little things cup. I’m so excited! I had left all my cups (bluebird, winter, jack, and cottages) in my office and I don’t know when (if) I’ll be back to get them, so I’m really looking forward to my little things cup. Yay! Makes me think of all the little things in life to be grateful for. Thank you for bringing it back. Long distance hug!

  22. Pam says:

    Love the birthday party details and especially the rings around each candle….heartwarming!

  23. Genie says:

    Whenever I feel sad or discouraged I visit here. ThaNk you my darling girlfriend.

  24. Judy Lincicum says:

    Oh, Susan! This was another favorite post! I love talking about being HOME and seeing how it is with others. I almost burst out in tears when I was your picture of the birthday cake and all the candles with the sweet rings around them. I felt so bad that you and your girlfriends could not celebrate this way again. Sad! But the fact that you are getting together with the social distancing any way, was very brave and corageous of you. In my town, Phoenix, AZ, we have relaxed quite a bit and the restaurants have begun to open. Our COVID numbers are quite low now and we are getting brave also. Thank you for this post, it was very encouraging.

    • sbranch says:

      I can’t wait till I can say that about the island! We didn’t have a new case yesterday, but we had two the day before!

  25. Sharon, So Oregon says:

    Oh my…this is so weird. I bought the bluebird cup 3 three years ago. Then I also bought the garden one but the bluebird was my favorite. About a year ago I noticed it had a crack down the side. I was kinda devastated! Well I hadn’t used the garden one for a while cause it was stained. I read somewhere to clean with Polident so I bought some and I soaked it tonight and now it’s clean as a whistle. (baking soda didn’t work). So I was going to use it in the morning. I then read your blog and lo and behold the bluebird will be available. Am I excited or what! So you just got an order from me. Thank you! Thank you! This is my cup story…

    PS I set the bluebird on its side, in my garden as an ornament, with pebbles spilling out.

  26. Lori W Hamilton says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thanks for reissuing the “Little Things” cup. I hadn’t ever seen it and I love it! I just ordered mine as an early birthday present for myself – my bday’s in July – so looking forward to it in August or thereabouts.
    Take care!

  27. Kimberlee⚘ says:

    Happy Spring🌼

    I just finished another round of your trilogy📚 and I have to say, it has never brought me as much comfort as it did this time. It truly was a “balm” for all of the craziness and uncertainty that has been swirling around us these last months❤🙏😇

    I needed something calming, connecting, FUNNY, yet ♡real♡ and your books check every one of those boxes for me PLUS. SO grateful for all you have shared with us. You bring me comfort🏡❤

    Please take good care of you and yours. Sending happy days and soft breezes your way🌬🌈🌤

    Looking forward to BOTH of the re-releases too btw! YaaaaaaaaaY☕

  28. Patty WALKER says:

    Hi Susan,
    I look forward to receiving your blog. It is so refreshing and giving a lift to the spirit in this time of Covid-19! I lived in Camden Maine for 10 years before moving to the warmer state of Florida. However, I do miss Maine and all New England. You remind me of the lilacs I miss so much. Also, I hope to have one of your cups like little things on my self some day! For now I love seeing all your products that are so precious! Keep writing the blog ….You are doing your part to keep all our Spirits lifted and helping with our well being!

  29. Gert says:

    Good morning Susan…as always I love your post ! And finally am putting up my comment.
    Your party looked like so much fun! My girlfriend and I did that too.
    I am so sorry to see that chip on your beautiful cup! I fear that everyday when I wash mine, but thank goodness I haven’t chipped one yet. I try to be oh! so very careful…but I know it can happen. BUT I am so glad you have reordered some of your cups! I’ve always wanted the bird one…so I immediately preordered it!!! Yeah!! I do love the birds !! As I read your quote “near the sea we forget to count the days”..I thought ….I read that quote every morning when I have my cup of coffee..,and it takes me virtually to your island and walk along with you to the virtual sea😊. There are a lot of virtual things going on right now…along with ZOOM and Video Chat, which brings us (My family) together in our homes. We hope to continue this even after this pandemic is over. The nice thing is…we can be next door or thousand miles away and still be as close as one can see!
    Love your drawings and paintings. You are so gifted. I cannot wait for this new book to be published!
    You and Joe (& Jack of course) stay safe and well.

    • sbranch says:

      Doesn’t ZOOM work well? It’s amazing. A new tool. I haven’t used Video Chat yet ~ do you like one better over the other? Yay, so glad you got the bird cup, it really is a beautiful one if I do say so myself! 😅 You too dear Gert, stay well! xoxo

      • Gert~Iowa says:

        They both work well! And actually about the same. Zoom however only lasts for 30 minutes (free). But video chat lasts forever. Ha And when my Georgia girls and I get on…we need the “forever”..ha ha! (That’s my daughter and 2 adult granddaughters)

        • sbranch says:

          Verrrry interesting! Didn’t know that. Love your forever talks. Love to all of you!

  30. Care Woodard says:

    Dearest Susan, How is your Mom doing? I keep everyone in my dock prayers every morning. You are such a good big sister!! I am one of four. I love them all and love when we are together, but there is one sister who is tougher, I guess she is a teacher of mine. She and her family are Trump supporters and I can sense how hard it is for me to spend time with her and also sense that if I can heal this, it would help heal the divide in the whole country. She told our Mom that she should be watching Fox news for a true news source. I meditate on our common source, our common dreams, and love of our children, before and after I see her. I have a sweet picture of the two of us when we were little in my bedroom. Do you and all the girlfriends have any other words of wisdom?
    ALSO PS!!! Love that you are reordering some of the first mugs:) You know what lengths I went to to save my favorite mug, Falling in Love with the English country side. I glued it to the bottom of my favorite pan with milk!! And when it finally came off (Thanks to girlfriend Rachel!!) I tried to boil it in milk twice more to no avail!!! Now it holds a little mint plant:) Let me know if we can reorder that one too!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Love that we are in your prayers Care! Thank you. Very hard these days. Horrible we’ve been divided this way. Didn’t used to be this way. Thank goodness we didn’t know a Democrat from a Republican when we were young, we’d never have gotten married! My blog is visited by girlfriends on both sides . . . that’s what it’s so good that we don’t talk politics here, I LOVE it that whatever we are, we have SO much in common. We all love our country! I’ll keep you in mind for cup reordering!

      • Care Woodard says:

        So true Dear Susan, I will continue to look into everyone’s eyes and love them, for deep down we all are the same.

        • sbranch says:

          If only everyone knew that . . . we all want the same things the world over: Work we feel good about, a home that’s safe and warm with maybe a patch of green around it, healthy food and air, a future for our children, care for our parents, respect. How they’ve managed to do this to us I will never understand. Sending love to you and yours dear Care.

  31. Susan Leary says:

    Susan, Do you know if your Mrs. Bowditch or her relatives ever lived in Jamaica Plain Ma.? Our home in J.P. is built on part of the Bowditch estate. Our property is very close to the Arnold Arboretum and our Mrs. Bowditch “borrowed” seedlings from the park. Susan from Falmouth

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t really know. I feel like they did have connections off island. I met her only once, and she was in a care home by that time. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised since my Mrs. Bowditch was always getting seeds from different places, even China!

      • Debbie Boerger says:

        There was a summer home of a family of Bowditch’s in Hancock, Maine, next to that of dear friends. I’m told they are numerous in New England. Also, that is the name of long known text book on navigation that my Tom used while at the Coast Guard Academy. Love that name, as it makes me think of the old sea faring history. Interesting about the seeds and the Arnold Arboretum. Debbie in Maine

  32. Cynthia says:

    Thank you, for your latest blog – I really look forward to reading them! Thank you for offering your mugs again too! I was disappointed in not being able to get the bluebird mug when it was first offered and am thrilled to be able to pre-order a mug now. Your photos of Jack are always so cute and this latest photo is especially sweet. Thank you for sharing with us!

  33. Amy says:

    So great to have this catch up post from you, Susan! I sent the little quote with Jack’s sweet likeness to my daughter just now. Her cat really did follow her everywhere when she was a little girl.
    I love those wisteria flowers! Wow!!

  34. Beth Barnat says:

    Thanks for another cheery newsletter. Our childhood dog was also named Nipper. My dad worked for RCA and their mascot dog was named Nipper. I don’t know if that’s why we called him Nipper.

  35. Joan says:

    Wow. Enjoyed your blog and all the informative comments. Thanks everyone. Joan

  36. I was just thinking about you today–your posts are always so soothing to my mental state 🙂 Lo and behold, when I came to check my feed reader this morning, there was a new post from you. Thank you for the breath of fresh air. I am so jealous of your 68 degrees. It is already 90 and humid here (central Florida) and the days of opening the house up are done until maybe December.

    • sbranch says:

      We get so much more humidity than we did when I first moved here. But it usually doesn’t take totally over until July. My least favorite weather condition! Happy to see you here Kathy!

  37. Patti Fitzgerald from Skippack, PA says:

    As always, dear Susan, so much love and inspiration packed into one blog! It already feels like Christmas, with a new Christmas story on its way, and the promise of my new mug arriving in August (my birthday month! )! I’m glad that’s the mug that you broke, because that’s the one that I wanted! 😂 Funny how things work out sometimes!
    My hubby loves John Wayne movies, so I’ll have to pass along your suggestion to him – – we can watch it together! We have been nesting at home, doing jigsaw puzzles, cleaning out closets, reading, taking long walks. . . . treasuring this time I have to RELAX. Praying that you and Joe and Jack continue to stay safe and healthy! xoxoxo

  38. Phyllis Skalko says:

    Susan Loved hearing your voice during the Party Tour. Since I have not had the pleasure of meeting you or attending any of your book tours it was nice to match the voice to the words. Every Blog brings such joy and hope to my world and such beauty…Thank you for sharing what you see

    p.s. Ordered both cups “Just in Case”

  39. Francie from Michigan says:

    Oh How I look forward to your blogs! It’s so lonely this last few months, my husband thought it would be fun to move up to the lake and retire, and I did get my dream home ( cape cod with a country porch by the lake). But then he passed away six months later. So here I am, alone. But my five kids all keep me company on the phone. I look forward to the day when I can actually hug them.
    I bought my first SB cup, the cottage one. It’s so beautiful I’m afraid to use it, I have it in my little china cup cabinet. I’m thinking of buying the one you brought back, it’s also cute.
    I have a question about your home ( so beautiful) but in one picture it looks small from the street view, but then the back looks huge! how does that happen? Is the side of the house actually the front? LOL, don’t know why this is concerning me, must be the covid brain. I love your books and your drawings, my daughter is a art teacher and bought your Grandmother book for my MIL to fill out. She also loves your work. can’t wait for your Christmas book to come out.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s a lonely time … I’m so sorry Francie . . . we are people who need people! Our house is like a long trailer! The front is narrow, just the staircase and my studio in width … it fattens a little bit for living room and dining room, and narrows down again in the back for the kitchen. Lots of houses here were built that way … likely they just kept adding on to the back. We rarely use the front door. Say hello to your artist daughter for me! How great she’s teaching. Tell her to watch for the kids that are good at drawing their thumbs! xoxo

      • Francie from Michigan says:

        So excited to get a reply from you. How do you do it? so many people write. I also love your home decor, your antique stove, lace curtains, Beatrice Potter statues ( I love her also, and visiting England and her farm is on my bucket list). Your home reminds me of the home I grew up in. even saw the wall phone. we had one the same color. I also decorate with antique’s and pottery and jugs. I put a star by the recipes I tried in your heart of the home cookbook, and someday I’m going to hand it down to my granddaughter to cherish like I do. Stay safe and healthy! with your Joe.xoxo francie

  40. Lynda Hristovski says:

    Love the picture of you and kitty! So glad you are re-offering the Little Things mugs as I missed those the first time around.

  41. Deb E. says:

    We had a similar cracking situation at our house last week, only it was the cup with the corgi on it. My husband bumped it and it cracked about 2 inches, but is still usable. Just to be safe, I reordered it and it just arrived today. As for the bluebird cup, I broke mine when rearranging a couple months ago. I had an extra, but just gave it to a friend for her birthday last month. (By the way, she loved it and told me it reminded her of her dad who loved birds and passed away a few years ago.) So, the bluebird cup has been reordered! Thanks for giving me the opportunity.

  42. Susie Durrschmidt says:

    Hi Susan! What a delight to see your post today. Sorry your “Little Things” got chipped but loved hearing that you could make an Executive Decision and make new cups! Yipee! Little Things was my very first SB cup and is my treasured favorite so far. I just reordered another, just in case of an emergency. Oh my goodness it would be tragic! My dream is to be able to have a chance to get a Jack in the Books cup. Jack is such a darling kitty.

  43. Hello Susan!
    It’s Twitter MosshollowSusan here, the one with Daisy the sheep. Thank you for your post! I’m almost caught up on your blog. I’m in Spring of 2017 (a most difficult time to be sure), and I think I started reading your blog around summer of that year. I had wanted to travel that summer and couldn’t due to a lot of work around our Aromas farm (we’re both public school teachers in San Jose, CA and catch up on farm work during our breaks). So I found “Falling in Love…” at the bookstore and realized that I had been buying your stickers since the mid 90s! I never knew you wrote books, so the English Countryside was my first experience with your writing. You kept referring to your “Blog and Twitter Girlfriends” so I went on a quest to learn more about you.
    I had the delight to meet you and other Blog Girlfriends at Apple Farm in October in 2018 (?) the time/space continuum seems lost on me now. We can call it in the Before time.
    Anyway, I was curious if you have watched the Hulu show Mrs. America about 2nd wave feminism during the 70s. You mentioned that era in your Fairytale book and how it was a challenging time for women from all backgrounds. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the show. Margo Martindale’s portrayal of Bella Abzjug is powerful, and she gave a heartbreaking interview on Vanity Fair’s Still Watching podcast about how she didn’t become a feminist until she started working on the show, and Martindale is in her 60s. She broke down and shared how she never considered how much work went into the ERA (which kills me that it still hasn’t passed) and equality for women during the era.
    If you’ve seen the show, what did you think?
    If you haven’t, I HIGHLY suggest you and Joe watch it.
    Thank you again for all of kindness, love of the little things, and for your upcoming book. I look forward to giving your Christmas book as a gift to my mom. She had 5 kids spanning 3 decades, so our Christmases were a rousing good time as I’m sure yours were.
    Hugs and love,
    Susan Shirley

    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t seen it, and I come from a place of unlove for Phyllis Schlafly (having watched her in action), but all my girlfriends are saying watch it, so I’m going to ~ maybe I will learn something. It means I have to break my rule of NO MORE STREAMERS ~ and get HULU…. Grrr. Everyone of these things has something I’m dying to watch, we already pay for 3, BESIDES normal TV, and good programming keeps roping me into more! Whatever happened to the antenna on the roof? 😜 Nice to hear from you, Susan ~ say hello to Daisy for me!❤️

      • Susan,
        I hear you on the bane of existence that is adding YET ANOTHER subscription. I’m up to our Direct TV account, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, and Disney+.
        Save me.
        From myself!
        As for the antennae on the roof, I remember we had an old tv set, we’re talking 1960s massive wooden-framed job, when I was growing up, and in order to get the image to stabilize, we had to whack it (Fonzie style) on the top in just the right place. We ended up keeping one of my little brother’s plastic toy whales on it in order to literally “whale” on the tv.
        Good times.
        I was born in ’74, and my parents in ’41 and ’44 so hearing your tales of your childhood very much reminds me of my parents.
        Your writing and blog help me understand them better and think of them as people, not just parents.

        Side question, is there any way of finding out if you or someone else has replied to a comment in your blog? I scroll through and scroll through the hundreds and sometimes thousands of comments willingly, but wondered if I’m missing something easier.
        Anyway, if you don’t end up getting Hulu (which is worth it for Handmaid’s Tale alone) then I totally understand. You can probably rent Mrs. America in the next year or so. But considering you lived through that era, and Phyllis (shudder), then you know what was happening.

        See you on Twitter and in the revolution we are having right now.
        I’m glad you’re on the decent side of history.
        Hugs to you (if you’re a hugger) and if not, I send you the high sign from The Little Rascals.
        It’s how my siblings and I would say hello to each other, and I taught my students the same.

        • sbranch says:

          I can’t save you. I have no power. They keep dragging us in by putting something WONDERFUL on a streaming site that we don’t have. It’s a trick. 😅 I have to get HULU and it just makes me mad at them! Yes, Phyllis. She was something. I haven’t seen it, so I only judge on what I THINK I know from those times, and I never appreciate those who divide us, or keep us down, for money. So I don’t think much of her no matter how difficult her struggles or how successful she was! To find comments: On my mac laptop, I hit Command F, and a little search window opens up in the upper right-hand corner … if that doesn’t work for you, Google your question. They have all the answers! Thank you Susan! xoxoxo💝

  44. Christina Edwards says:

    Hi Susan!~ Just wanted to thank you for including the colorized version of your family in your post!!!! What a joyful time to remember and preserve in a painting. Each smile you captured is so heart warming..(boy is your family cute! ) But I must say my favorite rendering is of Nipper, even if he isn’t wearing Christmas jammies. I know you don’t make clothes anymore but, xmas wrapping paper in your candy canes might be nice.
    Hope you are enjoying this glorious spring. My gardenias have bloomed and I find myself singing to them. It’s the least I can do. My whole house smells like a flower garden. Be well. Lots of Love, Nina

    • sbranch says:

      Nipper is my favorite too! Isn’t that funny? I don’t know why I haven’t painted him before!

      • Vicki South of Arroyo says:

        I was instantly in love with Nipper; he’s got personality. He needs to be on the next cup!

        • sbranch says:

          I’m having fun with him. Just discovering that maybe his black and whiteness is the reason all my animals have been black and white!😂

  45. Linda Dolhay says:

    Susan, such a wonderful letter to us. For us. First the Wisteria is simply beauteous. I dream of Lilacs but since I can’t see, smell those here, Wisteria is my back-up. I can’t imagine what all that Wisteria smells like at once, sitting near the window , or ! Sitting on the steps. Good grief. Growing upon Mich our yard was loaded with Lilacs and that was a dream for me. Your letter brought that all back, I could almost smell those guys! We have our Mimosa out now. And they are delightful as well as exotically pretty. Our Crepe Myrtles are starting to come out and all the colors they have around town make our weekly drives more enjoyable. I have seen some Wisteria however, it usually is in a wild place, beautifully unattended.
    I’m so happy when I see your kitchen, you, Joe, and Jack. Thanks for sharing
    Best wishes, Linda D

    • sbranch says:

      Pretty heaven fragrance floating through the upstairs windows. It’s like a tiny season all its own. People here have full hedges of lilac, if you can imagine. I didn’t have it growing up, so I am a very appreciative audience!

  46. Janet Retzke says:

    I am so excited to be able to order the “little things” cup. It is so colorful and makes me happy just to look at it. Thank you. It will perk me up, drinking my coffee out of it each morning.

  47. Linda V Casey says:

    Susan, you are indeed a valentine to the world.Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us.

  48. Joan from upstate NY says:

    I loved seeing your Wisteria. Mine is getting ready to blossom and I can’t wait. I can look down on it from an upstairs window. We had Wisteria Weekend when I was in college.
    Some friends have been getting together but at a safe distance and with our masks on. Our COVID numbers are dropping and we are opening slowly in this part of the state.

    Stay safe.

  49. Donna Wilder says:

    I’m so sorry about your chipped cup! My friend, Cathi and I are always on the look out for interesting things at yard sales. Once we find that treasure we’ll hold it up for each other to see and both shout out, “Put a plant in it!” We have plants in vintage potato ricers, old colanders, inserts from the old coffee percolators! All these things even have built in drainage!! So, in the vein of container creativity we say about your treasured cup, “PUT A PLANT IN IT!”

    PS: My family were among the missing visitors hoping to visit Martha’s Vineyard this Memorial Day! I had another planter of herbs for you picked out in my mind just waiting I’m sure at Morning Glory Farms! We were going to drop it on your porch again and run for our lives! Haha! Would never want to impose on your privacy just a token of appreciation for all you do to make everyone’s life so much more sweeter! Stay safe and sound!

    • sbranch says:

      Well then I’m guessing you did that last year? Because that pot of herbs is the happiest healthiest thing in our garden, so now it’s on the porch!!! Lived happily through the winter!! xoxo

      • Donna Wilder says:

        I’m so happy to hear that!!!! I put an extra dose of good vibes in that pot of herbs for you last year and now I know it worked!!! It makes my day to know you’ll be using all that goodness in one of your delicious recipes! Enjoy and stay healthy, Susan! xo

        • sbranch says:

          Oh it’s beautiful, really so fluffy and happy with the weather here right now! Thank you again Donna. xoxoxo

  50. Debbie Boerger says:

    Spring has finally Sprung here on the shores of Hog Bay, Maine. The crab apple is in full bloom, deep magenta blossoms, the old common lilac is likewise. The newer 2 French lilacs are budding, but not blooming yet. They lean toward each other over our path to the road. Peonies with buds, but I think another week. Apple trees just clouds of white/pinkish blooms and Hallelula! Full of bees, for the first time in a few years.

    Unfortunately, Our house has been invaded by wasps, yellow jackets and even a few bald faced hornets. Not sure how they are getting in. Called an exterminator, but he kept not keeping appointments, so I’m looking for another. This is a Big problem, as waspy things…not bees…make me screech and run. I’ve always been the gal to remove snakes, bats, spiders and, any amphibians. But Lordy, don’t let the wasps near me. The other day, there were 2 yellow jackets under my dressing table…where my actual bare toes had been. I screeched and Tom came to the rescue. Taking the bodies to the toilet, he found a live one crawling around inside the bowl…where I was just about to sit.
    I’m so creeped out, I don’t think I can sleep up in my bed. Certainly won’t lie in the tub until I’m sure they are banished.

    Oh, well, take the lovely with the scary. Thank you, Susan for the Twitter posts. Humpty is in full Donald Duck mode, quacking wildly and running in ever tightening circles. Maybe, just maybe……We’ll survive him.

    Mucho love to you,
    Debbie in Maine

    • sbranch says:

      The attic. I bet they’re up there. Eeeek. Tell that exterminator this is an EMERGENCY!! Crab Apple is maybe my favorite of all. I never thought they had a fair name . . . there is nothing crab about them. Delicate red-to-pink baby blossoms that look like pure love! Here’s to the circle! xoxo

      • Debbie Boerger says:

        Exterminator has come, seen and conquered the wasps. One was inside our woodstove yesterday, but Tom conquered him, too. Still jump at any rustling sound.
        Oh, the lilacs smell so wonderful, and the French ones will bloom when the old suringa is done, and will join the peonies.
        Had so much fun with the lily of the valley in the teeeny bottles.

        • sbranch says:

          Good Girl! Hooray. Aren’t those exterminators miracle workers? And spring . . . oh my. We have ROSES!!! In the kitchen, from the garden, as of yesterday! Give a big hug to Tom! What a great guy he must be ~ I know because of all your sweet comments.💞

  51. nancy in Vancouver WA says:

    Hi Susan, will this new Christmas book be available this coming Christmas? I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will be. It’s going to be delightful!! Also, are there any future plans to bring back the out of print cookbooks? I’d love to gift them to my daughters.

    Love this blog post, thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes! It’s going to be done for this Christmas! I’m very excited about it! Which cookbook would you be interested in? xoxo

      • nancy in Vancouver, WA says:

        Thank you for the response. I would actually be interested in all the remaining cookbooks but my initial interest is in the Christmas cookbook. It’s packed with SO MUCH of everything Christmas. I have one copy from when it was first released. We are a Christmas loving family, your books are so delightful and full of magic. I would like for each of my daughters to have a copy of their own. I’ll be putting in my order for 4 copies of the new Christmas book the second pre order is available!

  52. Therese says:

    Hello Care Woodard!
    I grieve about the rift that political differences are causing in my family also.
    I LOVE, love, love your practice of remembering (re-membering) your family before all the dislocation and fear-wounding tore you apart. Thank you for sharing it. I’m going to incorporate it into my practice too. I think your own wisdom is serving you well! I really appreciate it.

  53. Charlotte says:

    Tears came at the very beginning of your blog. Seeing the graves of your beloved kitties did me in!. We lost our beloved, Lily Elizabeth, on May 4th.
    She had turned 16 on May 1st. She has been our baby girl, our comfort and source of so much joy since we adopted her at 6 months old from a No Kill shelter. She was my comfort 2 years ago when we lost our only child to heroin overdose. We buried her in our flower bed under our bedroom window between a dwarf lilac, heirloom purple iris, and a pink rose bush. My hubby made a beautiful crosses a marker. She can watch the birds at the feeder, her favorite pastime.

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      Tears on my face right now. I’m so sorry. Can’t even begin to imagine losing a child. I think having to leave the graves of my 2 beloved critters, 2 different homes, were among the hardest “leavings” I’ve had to do. Hope you get another kitty from a No Kill shelter.
      Debbie in Maine

  54. Tara Dollins says:

    Loving your post. I may have missed but what pattern are your dishes? Thanks

  55. Joyce Nichols says:

    I am so happy to receive your email when it arrives. It’s like a letter from a friend living in a different world. Thank you for positivity. By the way my lily of the valley were from some planted in my parents’ yard back in the early 60’s. I have taken a few and started them at each house where we lived. My daughter has some in her yard. I also look forward to enjoying them each year and bring some inside and share with my neighbor.

  56. Cindy says:

    Hi Susan, I loved your picture of Nipper! One of my childhood neighborhood best friends had a dog named Nipper, too. Her name was Rosemary Nix so her Nipper we always called “Nipper Nix”. The picture took me straight back in time! And what a great time the 50s were to be a kid! Thank you💗

  57. Linda says:

    So sorry you cracked your cup, but I applaud your decision to reorder! I adore the picture of you and sweet boy Jack! That is proof undeniable of the bond between a cat and his person!💕

    • sbranch says:

      I lean my head down and he puts his forehead against mine. A little trick he taught me.

      • Debbie Boerger says:

        It is, Linda. A vet and several friends told me that doing a forehead bump is a cat’s way of saying…You Are Mine.
        Debbie in Maine

  58. Kisha says:

    So glad you could reuse your broken cup for a plant or pencils. And extra glad that you could reorder a new one. Is there any possibility of the Santa cup coming back? I really love that cup as it reminds me of a light-up Santa face we used to have on our front door as a kid, unfortunately, I missed out on getting one. I treasure my Santa bookmark that you had for print. I use it in my Gladys Taber books.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m thinking about bringing Santa back too . . . I keep thinking and saying, we need a little extra Christmas this year.

      • FayE in CA! says:

        If you want a little extra Christmas this year…now’s the time to let Mrs. Claus join the cup party. Mrs. (Susan) Claus would definitely bring a lot of cheer to our kitchens. She deserves recognition! Paint some trays of holiday cookies on your stove art and let Mrs. Claus offer up a tray of her famous cookies for Santa’s homecoming. Mrs. Claus and your stove on a cup…heaven. Wouldn’t the cup make a darling gift filled with bright cellophane and wee candies or cookies?

        Now…for a less fanciful acknowledgement of our daily, collective, “disrupted” lives! Girlfriends have woken with heavier hearts for way too many weeks. Fingers crossed that our USA’s policy-makers rise to the calls for righteous, governmental/institutional and heart changes. I’m hopeful that we are witnessing a tipping-point time for the future of our collective humanity…that the peaceful marchers who have laid bare their sad, frustrated hearts for leaders to finally get it…justice FOR ALL I hope that our leaders at all levels don’t continue to turn a blind eye and listen with deaf ears! This is our leaders’ moment, regardless of party affiliation, to come together to formulate plans for a better, prouder future. This is their time to turn the page to our future. This is their time to look us in our faces and say, “We will fix our institutions because we care about America.”

        So many societal/political shifts came through the chants of our masses while putting their feet to the pavement. I hope that the legislative houses, both local and federal, are finally forced to do the right thing to move justice forward. No more empty promises…let this be the decade that abolishes decadeS of undercover, hateful prejudice!!! Oh, to live long enough to feel that breath of unified fresh air…

        FINALLY, a true UNITED States with justice for all. Now that would be a Christmas to celebrate with peace and joy…the little extra that we could welcome and protect. I’ll toast the new beginnings in my new SB Mrs. Claus cup!!!

        Peace, safety and health to the homes of Girlfriends far and wide. We dream together. We make homes together. We tend families together. We struggle together. Hopefully, we will be rejoicing together soon when Covid-19 and social unrest exits our daily consciousness…when our hearts can resume to beat together with joyful awakenings. 2020 has kicked us in our guts!

        Thank you, Susan, for a Blog that wraps us all in each others’ arms…unified for the good, better and best for each of us.

        xoxoxoxo with much hope for all.

        • sbranch says:

          Didn’t you always know something good will come from this dam panic? I just PRAY the virus leaves these good people alone. LOOK at all the marchers! Everyone of them marching for something bigger than themselves … all over the world, in solidarity for goodness and right. We do dream together. I’m so proud. Love the Mrs. Claus cup idea. I don’t think I will have time to get it done before this Christmas … the book is where I live every day right now! Lovely to hear from you Nancy!💞

          • FayE in CA! says:

            Squeezy hugs and a few smacker-roos, too! SO appreciative that you are a sweet blossom that blooms for all of us year ’round. Lucky us to be able to breathe in your shared fragrance of life!

            I apologize to anyone who thought my posting was too political. I truly hesitated to hit the Post Comment button, but know that all of us are hoping for a better season in USA. We all hurt. I care about our collective desire for the hurts to heal, love to spread, and change to be genuine and self-sustaining through all of us.

            The seeds that have been planted these past two weeks are beginning to sprout with strong roots. Just hope our elected officials will fertilize our seeds and tend the growth with genuine care and desire for a garden full of diversity with leaves that tangle together in renewed, sunnier decades.

            Cheers to all who are spreading seeds of love…the breeze will help them find good soil to protect us all from more hate.

            NOW! Let’s hear a chant for a Mrs. Claus cup…

            Spread love…
            WE WANT MRS. CLAUS!!
            Spread joy…
            WE NEED MRS. CLAUS!!
            Repeat in unison…raise your banners…march for Mrs. Claus.

            (Hoping that Mrs. Claus will partner with Susan as soon as their calendars can coincide for design and contract details…two BUSY women!)

          • sbranch says:

            Nancy, FayE, I actually have written a fairy tale about Mrs. Claus … I wish I could fit it on a cup!

        • Debbie Boerger says:

          Thank you FayE. Well said. Debbie in Maine

          • FayE in CA! says:

            Thanks, Debbie.

            Susan, if your fairy tale isn’t a LONG tale, perhaps it could be sold in your store in a similar format as the Willards “book”! I feel cozy just thinking about your Mrs. Claus fairy tale!! I would definitely buy it. If it is super short and sweet, it could be sold with the cup for an add-on cost.

            Fireplace is crackling and I am holding a very warm Mrs. Claus cup and guess what? I am also reading your fairy tale! Happy-happy.

            Santa says, “Ho Ho HO!” What does Mrs. Claus say??? “HONORED to be on a SB cup!” Seriously, what DOES Mrs. Claus say??? I bet she speaks in your fairy tale so we might “hear” her speak one day.

      • Vicki South of Arroyo says:

        Yes, yes, yes; I missed getting the Santa cup and I was JUST thinking the same thing, to please ask if you could bring him back. I remember you said he was a depiction of Joe, and we all love Joe here!

        (I think we’ll need a little extra of a lot of stuff if what the experts are saying is gonna happen with the continuation of the virus and more hunkering down in Fall/Winter. I was already thinking today that I’ll want to be making a lot of pumpkin recipes; things with apples. All the squashes. More baking; more casseroles in the oven [whereas we’ve been so hot already in SoCalif … temps in 90s and even got to 101 degrees a few days back … that hot food {and a hot oven} is the last thing I’m wanting]. I refuse to look ahead at Labor Day and onward of the ensuing months except in the warmest, most cozy way; COZY, not Covid; won’t let this mean virus steal the joy of harvest moons, autumn colors, that little chill back in the air, cranberries and holidays, my warmest blankie and a Susan Branch cup of cocoa.)

        • sbranch says:

          I love that you’re already living and loving the fall! But before you leave summer, stop for a moment and make Gazpacho . . . if you haven’t already, you are in for the summer treat of treats! HERE’s the recipe! So healthy!😘

          • Vicki South of Arroyo says:

            Okay, you got it! Thanks for the link; I often review and return to your recipes but I haven’t tried or do I know much about gazpacho.

            One thing I definitely AM savoring with early summer now is the bounty from the veggie garden already; have been enjoying zucchini in sauces and the tomato plants are about to burst with red wonderfulness. Lots of heirlooms and of course all organic gardening. We’ve got yellow squash, cucumbers of a couple varieties; beets, carrots, radishes, curly kale, peppers and eggplant, lettuces, green beans, onions … all coming right along, much boosted by indeed the hot summer sun (which wilts me but grows THEM as long as we keep a garden hose at the ready since they get thirsty!).

  59. So happy your cup is getting it’s second life. What a happy day full of positive thoughts from your blog. Something happy to look forward to each month.

  60. Mary Brehm says:

    Good Morning Dear Sue. It’s June 1st. Such a strange time isn’t it? I hope you are well. I am very excited for the cups! also for the christmas book. I loved your painting of you and your siblings on christmas morning. I can’t decide which i like better…the line drawing or the watercolor. They both have their charm. I am heading out to my garden in a bit. It’s kind of chilly…only 48 so far. I have been transplanting daylilys. Today I am planting tomatoes and beans. Oh yes…sweet pea update…They are doing ok. very slow to start…it has been a long journey since i started the seeds on April 7th! They are still only about 6 inches high. I poke at them, stare at them, and talk to them but it’s taking for ever! I will keep you posted…You will be the first one to get a picture on twitter if and when they finally bloom! I am expecting a delivery of 4 yards of mulch today… I’m so excited! It makes my garden pop and makes everything look so tidy. I’m waiting for those darn helicopters to stop falling from the trees before I spread it though….they make a huge mess. The chipmunks love them though. We are being overrun by hippies this year! They are so cute but so gosh darn naughty and descructive. They tunneled under one of my rose bushes and killed it! grrrrr
    Oh! one more thing. I bought my hubby some hummingbird swings for his birthday. We put them out and they are actually using them! So fun and cute! I will send a picture if I’m lucky enough to get one. Love and hugs to you ~Mary

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Mary! Love hearing about your garden! I can’t wait to see your sweet peas in bloom. Just think, soon you will have that amazing fragrance right at your fingertips! 🍃

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      Hi Mary, I did not know about humming bird swings! Just another reason to read all the Comments. My lovely Tom will enjoy making a few. Thanks to you!
      Debbie in Maine

  61. Suzanne says:

    Hi Susan, Could you PLEEZE bring back the WINTER MUG?? Somehow I missed it, never ordered it and I think it was one the prettiest mugs that you made. I have the Santa mug which I love too but after Christmas I put it away and the winter mug is perfect until Spring. I’m here in New England and I really need a proper “winter mug” to use until I take out the bluebird mug. Thanks so much!

  62. Kathy H says:

    As always it is wonderful to read a new post from you. I look forward to your new Christmas book. It will be a lovely gift for my granddaughters. And I’m wondering about your new British travel book. When will we be able to see it?
    Enjoy these beautiful days.

    • sbranch says:

      I broke my wrist last year and what a set back that was for the travel book. Cant’ say when right now, but I’ll be working on it after my Christmas story is finished. xoxo

  63. Sylvia in Seattle says:

    Loved the painting of you and your siblings in jammies AND Nipper the dog. Doing my best to remain calm in spite of all the madness downtown here in Seattle. Lived here all my life and worked jobs and shopped in the areas effected. So Sad. I live North of all the chaos, but can see out my front windows the hill between myself and downtown. I can see the tippy top of the Space Needle AND “the Mountain” on a clear day. Hard to absorb the current local news; impossible to shut it out. But your cheery blog always offers calming relief to all that. My goodness, that Wisteria is spectacular. I use my Susan cups everyday. I smile at the creative uses of broken cups described. So far mine are intact 🙂 Here’s hoping for peace of mind and calm for the people who are rightly angry about Mr. Floyd. Bad karma is upon us. That is how I see it. Heaven HELP US ALL. RIP George Floyd and all the others who suffered as he did. I see them sprouting wings . . . Sorry to be so emotional here. Have to let it out sometimes.

    • sbranch says:

      Think of it this way . . . Millions of good-hearted people, fair-minded good people, idealistic, positive people, are marching all over the world to make things right. I’ve never seen such a display of the power of goodness. Evil fights it, but we pray and support and celebrate what is good. God protect everyone from the virus. Stay safe dear Sylvia. 💞

      • Sylvia in Seattle says:

        Having to put a mask on my face to grocery shop is turning me into a hard core agoraphobic. I end up eating strange dinners to avoid the experience. Not fun. I do wear one though, don’t worry.

  64. Nicole says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you for your blog posts! I can feel my spirits lift as I read them. I have had your three books for a couple of years and was waiting for the “right” time to read them. Well, I started The Fairy Tale Girl the week we started lock down and just finished A Fine Romance. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your books! Thank you so much for sharing your amazing story and giving inspiration and hope to us all. I savored every word. Sigh…of happiness.

    • sbranch says:

      How nice to hear that Nicole! Thank you so much. ❌⭕️

      • Vicki South of Arroyo says:

        I so relate to what Nicole just said and I thought I’d left a comment before about this, so I hope I’m not repeating (and, if so, my apologies [did Covid Confinement get to my brain?!]), but it’s about sharing the love: I know a gal soon to be age 70 who doesn’t buy online (including books) and she’s only been going to the library for books [loves to read; is relaxing I think for her; she still works part-time from home, so needs the decompressing from the job]). Bottom line: She was about to run out of library books to read under Covid shelter-in-place, some numbers of weeks back.

        (She doesn’t have any kind of a real home library [yet] as she lost everything in the wildfires here; house burned to the ground; she’d lived there 40 years; so, also no safety net of her old fave books that she could’ve read a second time in the Covid shutdown. Libraries of course closed; and, prior to ‘re-opening’, she hadn’t obviously gone anywhere where books were being sold [nothing being open for business; just a quick trip to the grocery store every 2-3 weeks but that was it for her]. Was getting a bit [self-stated] antsy with running low on anything to read, and she’s alone but for her little dog; hasn’t hugged a human for three months. I just worry for her, you know?)

        So, I had a light-bulb moment and had Sheri ship out your Susan-trilogy (along with Cliff’s book for contrast/addition “to the story”), and my friend was so happy to get the shipment directly to her house. (Effortless for her.) We talk on the phone each week and she always tells me (since receiving the four books) how nice the books look on her bookshelf and how glad she was to get them. I feel like I maybe got them to her at just the right time for it; was a happy thing all around. (It made me feel good in a bad time; like at least ONE empowering thing I could do for somebody else when I’ve otherwise sometimes felt like I have no control over anything with this whole coronavirus mess, closeted away [‘self-isolating’] from the outside world in my little abode due to too many co-morbidities for virus complications.)

        (Of course, now, bookshops are beginning to open again in SoCalif. I guess so anyway; I dunno; I’m one who doesn’t leave the house to even know! Maybe libraries soon. [And I just pray everyone can keep safe.] Regardless, my friend now has some ‘permanent’ [keepsake!] books to still keep immersed in over the weeks [which are ‘Susan Branch Reading Therapy’ with gorgeous artwork; funny, interesting and heartwarming stories; uplifting; perfect for waiting out Covid]. I’m determined to help her continue to build back up her home stash of books. She did buy a Betty Crocker cookbook to replace the time-honored one she’d previously owned, so I will likely be getting more SB books for her down the road as I know she’ll like a lot of your recipes, too, as she’s a good cook and, even last Sunday, was making a decadent dessert which had my mouth watering. Sounded like Covid Comfort Cake.)

        Sorry to say my friend was heretofore unfamiliar with your work. But that’s all changed now; and she really likes your art! I knew it would be right up her alley.

        • sbranch says:

          Aren’t you a doll Vicki, a guardian angel! Your friend must have been so surprised! A dear and thoughtful thing to do. Sending love! xoxoxo

          • Vicki South of Arroyo says:

            Well, she’s my friend (my ‘family’), thru thick & thin. We met when I was 19 and she was a young newlywed with husband fresh out of college (USC), so we’ve known each other from the early 1970s, and it’s the typical ‘girlfriend’ tapestry of all we’ve been thru over the years, with break-ups/divorce, vacations together, the joys and heartbreaks; successes & failures of work/career & ‘Life’, deaths of our aging parents, how we’re coping in an epidemic; plans in these retirement-era years, etc. (God Bless our dear, longtime gal-pals.)

            I hope I didn’t sound like some do-gooder by writing that comment about the trilogy. The gift is in the giving and it probably made me feel the more good of the two of us (although she was just ‘tickled’ to get the books). But I couldn’t think of more PERFECT books than yours because it’s all ‘our time’ (hers and mine and yours); same age group, similar ‘living’ (baby-boomer chronicles; trip down memory lane); and we are SO familiar with the environs of San Luis/Central Coast et al (her family used to camp at Pismo/Pismo Dunes a thousand years ago); and we were both born in L.A. like you. But they are indeed books to treasure with the scrapbook-effect and hand-lettering; real keepers, beautiful ‘handmade’ books. Just wanted to let you know the appreciation of what you’ve given us, Susan!

  65. Sharon, Calgary, AB Canada says:

    Thank you for a lovely post. You are a beam of light in these dark days. The birdie and little things mugs are ordered. Speaking of mugs, would there be a Mrs. Claus mug in the future? I have a friend who collects anything Mrs. Claus and she would love that mug (as would I). I am sure you probably here this often, but your staff are wonderful people. So kind and thoughtful!! A big thank you to them.

    • sbranch says:

      Tipping point for Mrs. Claus! We need one!👏 My staff are the BEST… 💝 Thank you!

  66. Mamey says:

    YAY!! I got my preorder in for the mug!! I was thrilled as I had missed this one. I have a fine collection going! Thank you so much for a new post. We need it soooooo bad right now.

  67. Marie McGovern says:

    Hi Susan, about that puzzle idea, love it, but how about this one. When I was in London last November I bought a Peter Rabbit colouring book at the Victoria and Albert museum shop. And boy am I glad I did. By January I’d finished it with water-colours, listening to audiobooks and using my collection of Beatrix Potter figurines for the right colours. Right away sent away for another copy of the same book, priceless while self isolating. Now I’m thinking wouldn’t a colouring book of Susan Branch’s gorgeous paintings be fun. Could you reproduce them in black and white? Love your world, Marie

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve thought about that too . . . time is my only problem! And only two hands . . . need more of both! xoxo

      • Debbie Boerger says:

        Great idea! In our weekly newspaper, The Ellsworth American, there is an adult (!) coloring book. Of course, it can be for anyone. I have heard in recent years that more and more adults are “coloring” for spiritual and relaxation reasons.

        • Elaine in Toronto says:

          Another option might be a calendar we could colour. Just think, a new colouring adventure each month. Wouldn’t that be fun! Marie and I have been friends for over 30 years and along with our friend Paula are great fans of everything Susan. Debbie, I left a message for you after you left your first comment for Susan. Wondering if you had seen it.
          Hugs everyone, Elaine

  68. Ellen Marie says:

    Idea for your puzzle: your garden with lots of color and yard with colorful quilts and Jack!
    Or…all your colorful mugs.
    I always enjoy your blogs. This one was much needed as the dampanic continues.
    I especially liked the photo of you and Jack and the quote of course! Where do you find these
    quotes…especially this one. I remember reading some of the color fairy tale books so long ago.
    Thank you for being in my life, dear Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      I get lots of quotes when I’m reading . . . I’ve also collected quote books after I found one in the first little house I lived in here on the island ~ I read it like a book and wanted more. I call them “distilled genius” ~ everything that’s ever needed to be said, has been said, by someone who knows . . . from the beginning of time. All there to teach us.👏

  69. Linda Flathers says:

    Hi Susan,
    It is always like sunshine finding your note in the mailbox, especially after a hard week. I love hearing about all the things that you are doing and seeing the gorgeous pictures. Love that square plate in your picture- so cute! Thank you, as always, for brightening the day!

  70. Katy Welty says:

    So I love this post as I love all of them….but I need to update you on your “Reasons to Go On Living” print that I framed and put in the crisis room of the mental health agency where I work. And I did not put it on the wall, I put it on a desk facing the chair that our people sit in when they need crisis counselor, so they can read it. (oh my gosh I’m getting tears writing this.) And your print has been bravely essential since people in crisis still need care even in quarantine situations. But it gets wiped down twice a day.

    Love it and love you and Joe and your kitty and sending love from me, my bunnies (wish I could post a picture), my staff and especially from all our people who need crisis services in Northern Arizona and get to read your print when they’re in a dark place.


    • sbranch says:

      Oh Katy, how sweet of you to tell me . . . it puts tears in MY eyes too. Take care of yourself, YOU are the essential one.💝

  71. Jaclyn Krueger says:

    Guess you “under-guesstimated” the “Little Things” mug as I just went to order and they are sold out! Darn! any chance a second order may go in since you ordered the minimum and others wanted?

    • sbranch says:

      That is shocking! Okay, I will ask if it’s too late to add more cups to our order!!

  72. Lisa Battis says:

    Dear Susan,
    I discovered your desk calendars two years ago and I just love them! I have peepers where I live, in the spring, and just love that you call them tinklepinks! I cut out that part of last year’s calendar and have it on a shelf where I can see it every day. I recently discovered Isle of Dreams and I am so enjoying it! I love that you felt a kindred soul connection to Agnes. I used to go over to the island for work for many years and I had many a lonesome lunch at the Black Dog Tavern. I live in Plymouth and so much of what you experienced when you first moved to the Vineyard was so familiar to me. I can’t wait to read your other two books. I just ordered the special edition of your first cookbook. Thank you Susan!! Oh, and I just ordered your bluebird cup too. I see so many others here who enjoy your beautiful work. Be Well! Lisa

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Lisa! I think if I was to live in any other New England town it would be Plymouth! SO much history in that pretty town! Thank you for saying hello! Have a wonderful day!

      • Lisa Battis says:

        Thank you Susan!! Got my signed edition of Heart of the Home yesterday, and since tomorrow’s my b-day, I’m considering it a very special birthday gift. It came so quickly! I can’t wait to savor every page. Having read Isle of Dreams (actually I’m still slowly reading it, because I don’t want it to end) I feel like I was some how with you on the journey of writing the book! Thanks again : )

  73. Peggy Smith says:

    Hi Susan, I love to read your blog. The photos, inspirational words and art work
    are beautiful. I love the 2020 English wall calendar and was wondering if you would do another one? You must have hundreds of photos from your trip. I love
    all things British as Im sure so many others do too. Looking forward to your next blog. Its like a mini vacation! Peggy

    • sbranch says:

      Maybe I will someday . . . I did another photo calendar for this year, and it’s all about my home here on the island … with all those kinds of photos. Yes, more England would be wonderful!

  74. Bev Brewer says:

    Dear Susan and Joe—When you mentioned watching older movies and the background scenery of the time of filming, I enjoy that, too. It is so interesting to take a look back at the way things were. I recently watched Vertigo and in the story, Jimmy Stewart drives around the streets of San Francisco following Kim Novak. He passes so many beautiful buildings and vintage (now) cars of the day. The cars were really solid-looking and attractive. So many of today’s cars look alike to me and have no pizazz. This is unrelated, but I came across a funny saying recently that made me laugh out loud. “Some days, the best thing about my job is that the chair spins!” Ha, ha— we can all certainly use a chuckle these days! Love to you both from Bev

    • sbranch says:

      Same to you Bev. Funny because, believe it or not, today I am painting a 1953 Buick! Funny too, because when we were little up all we wanted was a swivel chair . . . we thought if we got one we’d just go round and round and round forever! Now I have one and I never think to do it. I should! Right now . . . I will, thank you for the inspiration!

      • Bev Brewer says:

        Ha, ha—“Wheeeeeeeeeee!” Sounds like a good stress-buster to me! Be careful, though, we do not want you to whirl yourself off balance. Love fr Bev

  75. Barbara Jean Murray says:

    Dear Susan,

    Just wondering……….why there isn’t an image with your posts? We all know what an avid photographer you are, maybe one of Jack?

    • sbranch says:

      You are not seeing photos on my blog? Try refreshing it . . . there are lots of them there!

  76. jeanie says:

    Oh, that wisteria. Biggest sigh. Thank you, Mrs. B. And Ms. B for sharing!

    It probably seems odd to you and I don’t know if you’re getting itchy but I wish I lived in a spot that hadn’t opened so much. And we have a great gov who took her own sweet time, which was fine with me. We aren’t even fully open but you wouldn’t know it. It’s like masks never existed and let’s not forget social distancing. I’d like to be on your island with only one case.

    So sorry about your sweet cup but sometimes that’s what we need and now others can enjoy, too. It won’t be the same, will it? But it will be close.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I worry too… but we can all do what we think is right, and then if it turns out that this opening-up isn’t causing trouble, we can go then! Looks like early openers are having spikes . . . so we just go along, wear our masks, stay home, be boring, and watch the passing parade!❤️

  77. Joan Lesmeister says:

    As always, love your blog! I just want you to know I made your White Bean Salad recipe twice in May….we love it…shared with family & friends…they loved it….now they have the recipes so we don’t need to share! But sharing was more fun…! Just thinking about it, may need to make it twice in June! Thank you so much for sharing!! Enjoy reading the “Comment”s, it’s like gathering together but don’t need to wear a mask! Air hugs to all!

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, air hugs back to you Joan! So happy you enjoyed the salad, one of my favorites, and beans are so good for you!

  78. Debbie Boerger says:

    Thanks so much for the picture of the Christmas book cover. He’s wonderful! Love my Santa cup.
    And thank you for posting so many excellent comments on Twitter. I don’t post or read many, but I certainly do read yours as well as Carrie’s.

    Beautiful here in our Neck of the Woods,
    Debbie in Maine

  79. Jane says:

    I really (really, REALLY) want that Little Things mug. In fact, I’ve gotten as far as final checkout three times before deciding that I just can’t pay $50 (it comes out to $48 or $49 when you add the shipping). Isn’t there any other way for it to be a little less expensive? I’d even buy two if you could do free shipping. (My birthday and my sister-in-law’s birthday are in September.)

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so sorry Jane, So much of it we don’t have control of … mostly having to do with shipping and taxes, from England to America, then to the Studio and then to you. We really only had one choice, do what we do, or basically not sell them at all. Which didn’t sound fun. And we’re so small, so we get none of the shipping-cost breaks that Amazon does. I know, they’re too expensive. But they are SO great! SO SO SO great, that most everyone agrees, yes, too expensive, but yes, worth it. Thin, strong, pretty colors, big, rare, holds the heat … English. I’ll be doing a giveaway of cups soon, be sure to enter, I’m so sorry …. maybe like a collectible ~ like when I used to save up to get my Beatrix Potter figurines, maybe it could be like that. ❤️

  80. Debbie Boerger says:

    The newest peek at the book, picture of “Us” growing up in the late 40’s and through the 50’s. Everything looks so familiar! Those striped shirts on the boys and the cute shoes on the girls…..the shoes I yearned for as I had to wear high top, laced “combat” boots. Brown for winter, white for summer. You certainly know how to make us smile.
    Happy painting,
    Debbie in Maine

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Debbie, I was just singing Christmas Carols in the shower, so that about sums it up!

      • Debbie Boerger says:

        We all need a bit of Christmas, don’t we? So looking forward to this one, celebrating with your family and friends, as we may not be able to do so with ours by then. This, too, shall pass. And I’m not referring to Miss Corona. I mean the other terrible, rotten, no-good events of late. Please Vote, everyone, so we can have a happy, hopeful Christmas.
        Thank you, Dear Lady,
        Debbie watching the fading twilight on our little bay in Maine

  81. Joan Hutchins says:

    Hi Susan,
    I also related to your comment, about running for your camera, to catch the effects of the morning light.
    . And often it’s to film the hummingbirds, as they start to feed on the nectar outside the kitchen window. We also had a Carolina Wren build her nest in a window box, so the entire process including chirping babies, was right outside our window every morning for weeks. 🐦 Many videos & snapshots to look back on this Winter ! As you wrote, Spring gives us so many wonderful gifts. Be safe and well . 🦋

  82. Margaret Riddle says:

    Needing an infusion of calm and beauty during these difficult times, I have been visiting your blog more frequently during the “dam-panic.” Your happy and uplifting creations are a serious anti-dote! I fell in love with your art many, many years ago when my dear friend sold your books and other things in her small shop. I had read this May blog but didn’t finish reading the comments and wondered why the June blog hadn’t been written yet. So great to know it is all about your being busy with more projects. I am especially delighted to learn that there may be a book about Scotland down the road. I am part Scottish and have loved my trips there. Years ago I bought your book “A Fine Romance” the moment I saw it at our local Barnes and Noble. It is a treasure, so I pulled it off my stack of old favorites and am now re-reading it. I haven’t been to England since 2011 and who knows if, at my age of 77 and with some health issues, I shall be able to make another trip…..sniff, sniff. But I have your book to take me there!! I am so thankful!! I live in Asheville NC and we don’t have many cases of the Covid, but still we mostly stay home to be safe, except for food shopping and doctor visits. Years ago I wrote a blog comment about our Biltmore Estate’s exhibit of Downton Abbey costumes. Right now, the estate is mostly closed due to the virus. Our kitty Pookie is a joy and loves to nuzzle me in the face. She is black and white, too. Thanks so much for the wonderful gift of your creative talent of painting and photos and food. Maybe someday a book about France, too.

  83. Debbie Boerger says:

    Boy, your brushes must have at least a Few wild hairs by now. There is much to admire about you, Dear Lady, but I think your ability to stick to a project until it’s done is amazing. I’m not too good at doing that. But…I just finished working on my really old round oak pedestal table. It lives on our screened porch, and we eat there every chance we get. Until I was 7 we lived right next door to my Grammaw. That table was always there with various aunts, uncles and cousins gathered around. It had been passed down to her, Roxie Anna, by her oldest brother, Albert. I vaguely remember him and his teeny tiny wife Aunt Rose Anne. She was terrified of electricity, and would not have it in her home. So, she cooked on a big wood stove all her days. I remember going over to visit them in “The Hills” with Daddy. We’d sleep on a pile of quilts out on their porch If you needed a potty after dark, you took an oil lamp…and your Daddy…with you to the out house. I remember the root/storm cellar, which was dug into the side of a hill. It had lots of shelving loaded with canned goods and hams….it was nice and cool. I remember Aunt Rose Anne using the hand pump to fill her big sink.
    The story on the table is that Uncle Albert took his wagon all the way to Memphis to get this table from somebody or other. Wish I’d asked. (That’s why your memory albums are treasures to family.) That table certainly got passed around, even though it is not fancy. In fact, you can tell it’s been mended and cobbled back together over the years. There are deep burns from someone who set a heavy irons down on it and became distracted…probably by children wailing. I can still see my Grammaw heating various irons on the gas stove, saying they did much better job than those new electric ones. Other burns I can’t quite figure out.

    We needed to expand the table for social distancing. The original leaves were long lost, so Tom got some oak and made a nice leaf for it. One thing led to another, and I began sanding the top, as one of the cousins had painted it. But I was extremely careful to leave the burns and other marks. Of course I couldn’t stop there, so I did the pedestal and the legs. Just finished the last coat of Danish Oil. Our Best Maine Buddy is back at her camp for the summer, and now we can have her over for meals…Tom and I at one end and she at the other.
    That’s Life in the time of Pandemic here on beautiful Hog Bay, Franklin, Maine. Tide’s going out, afternoon breeze is coming in. Fireflies are flitting in the evenings. Basic, dependable movements of Time and Tide. Hang on, Everyone. This too shall pass.

    Mucho Love,
    Debbie in Maine

    • sbranch says:

      Getting stuff done Debbie, sounds wonderful! Yes, as you’ll see in the new post, paint brush gone wild! xoxoxoxo

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