Rabbit-Rabbit Girlfriends! It’s been way too long, and I’ve wanted so much to write, but I needed to finish something before I did . . . so I could tell you! And yesterday, in the nick of time for July first, so we can celebrate Christmas in July . . . I did! I finished! I’m a person again! Let’s start this celebration with MUSICA from the way-back machine (pure proof I love you), because this is the way I like my house to sound when the screen door is open in
I come bearing gifts. Meet one of the characters in my new book! Yes, it’s finished! Many of you know I wanted to write something special for this Christmas, which may, considering the circumstances, be our most memorable and creative ever! So, I did, I’ve been deep in Christmas every day since March! A lovely place to spend a pandemic since choice does not seem to be on the menu!😷

I used my tiniest brush to make a childrens’ book for big people, and little people too.❤️ It’s been so much fun choosing shoes and clothes . . . like playing with paper dolls! 

And Look! I blot my paintbrush on watercolor paper ~ so I saved them, and cut them, and look at all the new bookmarks! I hope I can meet you at a bookstore someday ~ because I made them for you! I’ll come there bearing gifts too!❤️

So, I finally named it Home for Christmas, because no other title would do . . . that’s where it looks like we all might be this year the way things are going! Not the worst place to spend Christmas!

I painted every little bit of the book, even this . . . little things matter too…

That’s the truth, and here’s the cover! One day, after months of putting one foot in front of the other inching along to today (which was going to happen one way or another) . . . the cover materialized right on my art table! I saw it happen! My Santa has never been in a book or a calendar, it was now or never! After all, Joe was my model for Santa. And yesterday, I turned in the very last page and realized, it was okay now, I could go ahead and put it up for presale! It’s a 64-page storybook, with watercolors and photographs ~ it’s

And going off to the printer in Crawfordsville, Indiana at the end of next week. And that’s when I get started on phase-two of book publication . . . Waiting for it to arrive at the end of August . . . knowing that…If you want one . . . you can get it HERE . . . I am going to TRY and see if any of my favorite independent bookstores would like to have a zoom-book-party. I’d love to invite you to something, we’ll see what they say. There is one party I know FOR SURE is coming next month, in August. Remember when I was going to be in Duxbury, MA for a luncheon and book-talk last Mother’s Day? And it had to be canceled? Well, they’ve gotten creative! They’ve planned a computer party that you will ALL be invited to.❤️ Don’t ask me how it will work, I have NO idea, I don’t know if it will be on Zoom or what, but I hear it’s going to be amazing ~ that you’ll be able to hear and see me, that I can even show pictures. I’ll send you details the minute I know them! So keep your calendar looking like mine, with nothing on it except for full moons and birthdays you’re not attending!

And because it seems many of you missed them the first time ~ we ordered more Santa Cups to go with the book! Kellee put them up for preorder too! HERE. They’ll get here the same time as the other cups!

Speaking of . . . everything’s on schedule! They should be here the end of this month! If you wanted one, I hope you got one because the Little Things cup is now completely gone. Before they’ve even arrived! There are still a few Bluebirds available ~ you can see the handle, back, and bottoms of them HERE. If you placed an order, we’ll send them the minute they arrive, first come, first serve.💝

And, yes, Calendars are coming too ~ the 2021 wall calendars (one of them is all art, the other one is mostly photographs) are up for presale now… but they’ll all be here, including the Blotter, the Mini, and the purse calendar, too, around the end of this month.

And one last bit of business, YES! (isn’t that the BEST word?!) We did reorder the Pandemic Postcards, and they did come in . . . Okay, well, we have other plans too. We’re going to make Christmas cards and Thanksgiving cards, and new wrapping paper for Spoonflower ~ and other surprises ~ we’re doing our best to create the best distancing, but reaching-out Christmas we know how to do. What do we want for Christmas? A vaccine, thank you very much.💞 It makes me happy to think we have the best minds in the world working on making that happen in the safest and quickest way possible. I can’t live in here the rest of my life. I need to do a yard sale!!! Stuff is piling up. I may end up having an estate sale in the antique section of my webstore! Might just have to! Wouldn’t that be interesting.✔️ What do you think?

Back to our regular scheduled programing . . . the little things that make life sweet. Morning shadows ~ so quiet here these days.  This pandemic asked us to go inside in more ways than one. Just like all the other unexpected, undesired, unplanned-for events in our lives. I wrote a book about it which a lot of you read … Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams was my very own maskless pandemic! Same question I was always asking then, time will pass anyway, what am I going to DO with it? Now that I’m a person again, I’m about to find out! Paint is probably the answer! 🤣 I’m a little bit addicted! Although Joe thinks I should say “cook!” 

I know I’ll take pictures of shadows! Nature’s art! I love it when the sun tips off of things. . . so pretty.

One of the many reasons I love morning!

Minding my own business, washing apples and making toast, and hello sunshine, poof, magic!

I flipped the light on in the kitchen this morning and found these two like this. Doesn’t it look like they’re up to something? Things go on around here I know nothing about.

While I was busy, one of my favorite people, the wonderful Vera Lynn died . . . 😢 The thing about losing people, especially the very old, it’s not just them, it’s their connection to history, what they could tell us if we asked, and even to our own ancestral past . . . even if we aren’t related.


Such an important person of her times. If World War II had a heart, it would be her, if it had a soundtrack, it would be her. Whether or not you’re familiar with her, you’ll enjoy this tribute . . . We always took her music to play in the car when we were driving the back roads of England. James Taylor is the voice of Martha’s Vineyard, Vera Lynn is the voice of Britain. 


There was something else I learned about I wanted to tell you . . . oh yes, have you heard of Radio Garden? Go HERE ~ and hear what’s playing on any radio station in the world! BBC London? Yes! WMVY, our Martha’s Vineyard Station? Yes. WCAI from the Cape and Islands? Yes. Homesick for somewhere? They have a radio station!

Driving home from the market the other day, I rolled down the car window to take this picture ~ if this mitten looks familiar but you only have one? The other one is on the fence post at the corner of Look and Spring Streets on Martha’s Vineyard!

I haven’t touched the garden this year! Sad thing is, you can’t tell! You don’t do gardens at Christmas-time in this neck of the woods, and that let me out. It’s lucky a lot of ours came back. Can’t ask much more than this!

All doing fine without me. I think roses and hydrangeas are the two number-one flowers on Martha’s Vineyard! (Don’t you like the way I said that?😂)

I always do what my dishtowels tell me to do!

And there’s my boy, in his regular position when I’m putting clothes on the line! Doesn’t want to miss a thing!

And here’s my other boy. Life is good. We decided to start watching Foyle’s War over again (on Acorn) . . . I missed some of it the first time! Joe and I meet at 6 pm and quiz each other on what we remember from the show from the night before! So good, if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. It has the gift, removes today from your mind completely!

Flag’s up!

I’m a flag putter-upper from way back!

No fireworks on the island this year!

So happy I have the photographs! Jack’s fine with it, he’s asleep next to me in his drawer right now, breeze coming in through the window, and no loud bangs to scare him.

Did you know about this “co-incidence?” ⬆️ I think this is just too much. The same DAY? On the 50th Anniversary? Miles and miles apart? So far apart, and news traveled so slow then, people had to put two and two together! Imagine their faces! Just like mine!😲 How can that BE?

You will need a taste treat for the fourth . . . why not try a recipe for something delicious that also makes you laugh! This is the one! It’s in the new version of Heart of the Home if that makes it easier…p.99.❤️

Well, time to face the Musica and go be a person, if I remember how. First up? A nap! Then back to

W E A R   A   M A S K 😎

Yours forever,💞 Anna Susana Dana Branchburger, the third.

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585 Responses to CHRISTMAS in JULY

  1. Care Woodard says:

    Dearest Susan, What a beautiful gift your blog is! I wrote a comment on July 6th but my computer is temperamental! Can we please please please have a chance to order another “little house mug”?!! It is now Anna’s (snowflake girl) favorite mug and I NEED to get her before she goes back to college or she might abscond with mine! Actually, I NEED to order two because we got a little condo in Vt and every time I am there, I find myself smiling and saying your little poem:) A little house, house of my own, out of the wind and rain’s way. When the kids were little, we taught them the difference between “need” and “want” and had some funny things happen… best was when little Anna, 3 years old, went up to Ellie’s dance teacher and told her she NEEDED one of those recital costumes!!!!
    PS… I am so excited about your Christmas book!!!!!
    PPS…Please don’t tell me that I missed my chance to order the desk blotter calendar for 2021!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Well, I’m so sorry, but they are all sold out Care. However, every so often then sen7 us a few extra, in case something breaks in transit, and we MIGHT get a few extra … I just don’t know. But keep in touch with sheri@ … she’ll let you know if and when they come in!

      • Care Woodard says:

        I will!! How about the blotter calendar? I didn’t miss that did I?!!! Have a beautiful day!! We pick up our new black lab puppy today!! We are naming her Josephine March.. her friends can call her Jo:)

        • sbranch says:

          You didn’t miss it, we think they will arrive at the studio next week. How is Jo-Jo? 😂 xoxo

  2. Debbie Boerger says:

    Yesterday, when I was enjoying our little fur person (a chipmunk), I thought of your little white rat. And, no, I’ve never heard of one having rabies. We were just stunned by how tame they were when we first waded into the brambles and hawthorn to clear a footprint for the house. So..every year there is one which is more trusting than the others. Tom began with enticing a chipmunk onto the toe of his shoe. Next putting a few sunflower seeds ever closer to his seat on the steps. Finally, having it scurry into his hand to eat. Yesterday the current chippy would root around my lap into the folds of my sundress for the seeds, hop down the steps and down into one of the entrances to the underground network of tunnels. In a few minutes, it’s little head and front paws pop up. And Repeat. We don’t grow many non-native flowers, and they aren’t interested in the bulbs or corms of those we do. Anyway, they have so very much to eat around here. As soon as I finish putting on another coat of urethane on some cabinet doors, the steps will be in shade, and chippy and I will give each other gifts…seeds and joy. I’m still gobsmacked by how glorious this world is. Every place has its own cast of characters, animal, vegetable and mineral!!

    Have been doing lots of observing these days. Glorious summer, lots of time. Today I took my good magnifying glass out to the rugosa roses to get a better idea of the method the honey bees use collecting the pollen. Lots of bees this year, thank goodness, as they have been rare the last few years. And then there are the resident rose spiders. They are all a creamy white with some splashes of color on the abdomen that exactly matches the pink of the petals. The catch the odd fly, or beetle. I discovered a few years ago that they can vary that color per the flower where they lurk. I do love spiders, not the big hairy kind. The “Charlotte” type. I never kill one, just gently escort it back outside. Except the tiny jumpers, who kindly keep down the gnat-no-see-um population inside the house, usually in an obscure corner near a window. They are welcome.
    Please take care, everyone, Sue, Joe and Jack….and of course all your families
    Debbie in lovely, sunny Maine

  3. Debbie Boerger says:

    Hello Lovely Lady, Keeper of Sanity! Thank you So, so, so much for the lovely memories you shared on your Twitter. I don’t do Twitter, so I’m telling you here. New movies to look for.
    We had our best Maine friend over for supper, a first this year, an old movie and to watch the Rachel Maddow interview with Mary Trump. Maybe we shouldn’t have watched. Tom left the room. Anne and I had the same question about her….Why Now?, and she answered that question.

    Brrr, very chilly here on windy, cloudy, Hog Bay. Not even the Bees went to work this morning! Lunch time, Cribbage game with Tom. I’m behind.
    Mucho Love,
    Debbie in Maine

  4. Christine Devoe Pompeo says:

    Hi Susan!
    Apropos of nothing, here is some Petey information:

    I recently became fascinated with these dolls, and did some research. I just acquired my own lovely vintage QE2 Jolly Boy sailor doll through eBay and he sends his best regards to you, Joe and Petey!
    Christine Devoe Pompeo

    • sbranch says:

      How fun Christine!! Good for you! Petey is right here in my Studio waving to you and Jolly Boy! xoxo

  5. Sandi from the Cape says:

    Dear Susan, I just read this blog, it didn’t come to me as it usually does. So glad you are doing well, I frankly was a little worried, but now see how busy you’ve been! I just ordered the new Christmas book, the Santa mug, the pandemic post cards (love the idea of sending them to those we can’t see) and your 2021 wall calendar! It’s special to me to be surrounded with your talent. Stay well and I for one am really looking forward to a yard sale! I love the idea of selling your antiques on line! Stay safe and well. xoxoxoxoxo

  6. Lorraine Morris says:

    Just wanted to let you know I received my afternoon tea fabric from Spoonflower today. It is lovely… Much nicer than the picture – even though the picture is accurate. I am so pleased. It also arrived quicker than expected too. Overall – two thumbs up! Thank you and Spoonflower.

    • sbranch says:

      They really do make beautiful fabrics even if they are expensive. I’m glad you like it Lorraine!

  7. Kimberlee🌷 says:

    Hi Susan🌼

    Just wanted to say how excited I am about your Christmas book!!! It is so wonderful to have something to look forward to. It definitely feels like life is standing still right now unfortunately, so a bright 🌟star🌟 in the winter snowscape seems like the perfect thing📚🎄❤

    Take good care of you and yours!!!
    You all do such an amazing job at brightening our days🌈🌠🌞

    • sbranch says:

      So sweet of you to say that Kimberlee, I’m excited too. There are things in our future, they’re just a bit smaller than we’re used to! ❤️xoxo

  8. Jojo says:

    I bought the 2020 calendar for my office and was so excited to have the art, quotes, recipes and special days in my workplace. Then the pandemic came along. I left the office on March 13th, not realizing we would be working from home for many days ahead. I had to go to the office last week and was thrilled to be able to get my calendar! Finally, I feel centered again and Im ready for the days ahead!

  9. Kathie says:

    Yes, I vote for an estate sale on your website. Sounds fun, like a picture party of goodies. As always,you are the breath of fresh air we need.

  10. Nancy in Vancouver, WA says:

    Hi Susan, totally off topic but in the “I must know” category… Did you ever paint the front door of your first little house red? It’s so cute in the pictures you’ve painted. That’s it. Have a great day!!

    • sbranch says:

      I never did. I just did it in early paintings because I loved red, but not in real life, because these New England houses sort of say, do not even think about jazzing me up in any way! At least to me they do! Happy day, Nancy!

  11. pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

    Hello Susan, Howdy do Girlfriends. you were making lists of old TV shows like Engineer Bill, Sheriff John …. well do not forget Romper Room school with Miss Marianne, and Bozo the Clown and Chuckles the clown, Leave it to Beaver, The Andy Griffith show, I love Lucy, The Honeymooners, The Dick Van Dyke show, and of course the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, must not forget that!!! and don’t forget a show my mom and dad adored.. Perry Mason. seems back then TV was fun to watch, must have been because I noticed several channels bringing back some of the old shows and people are really enjoying them. I’m seeing shows like Maverick, Wagon Train, Laramie, Cheyenne and older portions of the Virginian, Bonanza and Gunsmoke showing up all over the programming. my dad would die if he knew Gomer Pyle was back and die laughing if he saw Our Miss Brookes back on again and My little Margie. the 3 stooges are back along with some of the old classic horror films like the original Wolfman or The Mummy. good stuff. check out some of these channels and see for yourselves…. METV, FETV that’s where some of the older ones are on, FETV has Father Knows Best on every morning, and METV has Beaver and I Love Lucy. the western channel (259) has some of the old western series along with old movies, I do not know what inspired the return of these old classics but I sure am enjoying them. enjoy everyone. hugs…. 😀

    • sbranch says:

      Thanks Pat, an excellent list!👏

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        just seems rather surprising that the old classic shows are showing up on TV these days. and Susan we are hearing tapping and scratching on the eggs… any day now and we will have a busy barnyard of little chicks (peeps). stay cool. hugs …. 😀

  12. Debbie Boerger says:

    Oh, goody, more comments here for me to read tomorrow. Just got back from my 75th birthday celebration with a dear friend. Went to Union River Lobster Pot in Ellsworth, had to get that plug in. They have opened very creatively. Limited menu, put in your order at counter protected by plexiglass, masks a requirement until you are off at your table, bailing the food. We ate outside, down by the lovely river. All 3 of us had the lobster special…large, hard shell, steamers or mussels, corn on the cob, a small red skin potato, with all the trimmins. We were all stuffed to the gills, but we managed to down some ice cream and my strawberry-rhubarb sauce while I opened my cards at home. It was nasty hot the last 2 days, but nice tonight. Will sleep with all the windows open. Life is good here in Maine. Wish it were so for everyone.

    Thank you again and again for providing this safe, lovey place in The Time of the Damn Panic. Mucho Love,
    Debbie in Beutiful Maine

    • sbranch says:

      Happy Birthday Debbie! What a perfect way to celebrate! I’m SOOOO happy you are here and not in Florida. You’d be surprised to know how happy I am that you are in the place you love the best. I hope your birthday wish comes true. xoxoxo

      • Debbie Boerger says:

        I know how it feels to be somewhere that you can’t seem to feel good about. You made a huge leap of faith in moving all the way across a continent all by yourself. That one decision gave you Joe and your fabulous career. Which gave Us this place to feel good. My birthday wish is a new resident in the White House.

        Be careful…which I know you will do,
        More Love,

  13. Sheryl Kirk says:

    I didn’t find this right away because we’ve been up at the Lake with spotty Internet. …Just a short note to tell you that I found the wishlist you offer at your store. I added 3 things. This is my first step to making my plan to get the new book, mug to match and the 2021 big desk calendar. I usually don’t even desire Christmas gifts, but here I am wishing for gifts for myself in July. I find this pretty funny. One more thing…I fell in love with Vera Lynn. I did along with so many others. Thanks for sharing….Sheryl

  14. fran says:

    Just ordered you puzzle and am so exited to get it. I am an avid reading and puzzle put together person. With this Covid I had a table set up since March working on puzzles. LOVE THEM. my favorite was a glow in the dark one that really did glow in the dark. So a puzzle with books in it was right up my alley! your friend, Fran from Michigan

  15. Coleen Mattison says:

    I so enjoy your uplifting blog posts…thank you for taking time to do them! So encouraging in these times especially.
    I was sadly surprised to find in this post that you made a peer pressure type of comment about a family not wearing masks. Not all of us can or should… and even whole families may not feel it best to ‘comply’. Sometimes it doesn’t even make sense to do so and I feel people should not make judgements on those who choose not to for whatever reason. I am appalled that we have given up our liberties and individualism over a virus…even a bad one and I am in the age and health group mostly affected.
    I know you wouldn’t hurt anyone’s feelings on purpose…it is just not ‘you’. But I hope you will be able to see things from another’s viewpoint and perhaps be a little kinder in your thoughts when seeing someone w/o a mask on.
    Thank you so much for freely sharing your wonderful art and encouraging thoughts on your blog. It is SOOO much appreciated ! Your Blog is my FAVE !
    Hugs to you…Cma

    • sbranch says:

      You are so right, I would never want to hurt anyone’s feelings. But we do have a state mandate here in Massachusetts, people are supposed to be wearing masks. And I guess I was still worried about that huge sneeze that came in our direction when we were having lunch. If he’d been wearing a mask, it would have been contained. I think if we can’t wear masks, we have to make sure we’re distanced, and that’s so hard in downtown Edgartown! If it wasn’t life or death, I wouldn’t feel so strongly. People ask me how we are, and I have to say, we feel good, but because of that sneeze we’ll know for sure in 14 days. And think Coleen, we all wear seatbelts, and don’t feel we’re giving up our liberties. We all stop at red lights. This is a killer disease and shouldn’t have become political or about rights, it’s just us helping each other stay alive. Us making sure we’re not part of the problem for our tiny hospital and the people who work there. Love having you here, and every thought is welcome, and no judgement, just an appeal.💞

      • FayE in CA! says:

        We are all walking with fellow citizens through a difficult time. The scientists and universal medical experts have SOME, but nowhere near enough, knowledge about this new, killer virus. They are learning more about this Covid as people get infected by it, heal from it or die from it…and compile more and more statistics on it.

        Unfortunately, the statistics that are mounting are the number of positive citizens and deaths. Even though those numbers are spiking quickly, the vaccine and total knowledge of Covid are plodding along to find answers to everything.

        If we want society’s health and economics to come back, we need to eradicate this disease from the USA/world and the sooner, the better…for everyone. I do not understand why wearing a mask has been politicized in the United States of America. Covid is an infectious disease. A mask/no-mask decision should not be seen as a political or constitutional right prop. The mask is a societal health decision! Do we know the citizen around us who is asymtomatic and could “share” Covid with us? There are no signs around our necks to warn each other.

        Susan, I, too, would have been freaked to be near THAT sneeze. Did he “bury” the sneeze in his arm? I wear a mask to hopefully protect myself from spreading Covid through a rogue sneeze from me to others. I hope my mask helps to protect me. I did not take your initial comment on “THE SNEEZE” as peer-pressuring Girlfriends about mask-wearing. I took it as your relaying an experience on your first lunch date out in the era of Covid. He is a prime example of why wearing a mask is a good idea. He didn’t know he was going to sneeze on his outing, BUT HE DID! Was he alone? NO, he was out and about with fellow citizens.

        We are all on edge because of this change in our daily lives. Be safe and protect yourself and if you are out and about, you are not alone! Be consciously kind to one another. Be safe for one another. Don’t take the chance that a doctor, nurse or EMT has to risk their lives to take care of you.
        Listen to health experts. Doctors/researchers/health institutions care about all of us and society’s health, in general. Their warnings and recommendations are to help us through and out of the Covid-era.

        Stay healthy, Girlfiends. Love to those who have lost family or friends to this deadly virus. AND! To those with mild symptoms of Covid, or worse, I send hope for a speedy recovery and healthy future.

        Susan, xoxoxo to you…safely from CA to MV. xoxoxo

        • sbranch says:

          No, he didn’t bury it, he just let ‘er rip. The sun caught the droplets, and it looked like one of those sneezes they show on TV so you can see how far a sneeze goes. Honestly, it was so awful, I had to laugh!!! Turn around, return to cave immediately, having learned lesson!!!🤣 I know, most importantly, being kind to each other. It’s a scary time. Love to you, FayE. 💖

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