Well, it isn’t quite April, but almost! Right now everything seems to be almost: Pandemic is almost over, Ukraine has almost won, the tulips are almost up, it’s almost time to go to England, and my new book is almost here, it’s almost April, almost my birthday, and my sisters are almost here! The only thing not almost, is this Willard! MUSICA

So here begins the painting of the cover of my new book. I had an idea of how I wanted it to look, but at this point, I’m thinking, I hope I’m going to like it … but I had a ways to go. . .

And here I’m beginning to love it because of the moon in the middle ~ but I’m nervous to do the border I have in mind, because I might ruin the whole thing . . .

I wanted to paint the sky over the Atlantic we see when we’re on a ship, a huge profound ice-cold, blue-black starry sky that says “infinity” . . . and now I’m happy because it looks like I remember it.💖 If I’ve done the best I can, “good enough” is my middle name. Am I done? Not yet, I think …. it needs a little something more . . . a little more magic . . . And I have to change the line above my name… the correct word is quotations, not quotes . . . 

And there it is! Voila! The finished cover from. . .And today is the day Distilled Genius goes up for presale . . . you can order your copy HERE . . . They are due in to the Studio at the end of June … they will be printed in the USA, with a hard cover, and a ribbon bookmark, so they SHOULD be on time! I hope we’ll have enough to last through Christmas because, due to EVERYTHING that’s going on in the world, we’ve been told we won’t be able to get another printing until 2023 ~ I just never know for sure how many to get. But if Distilled Genius is something you really want, please try to put your name on it now!❤️What a labor of love writing this book has been! My days have been spent with the geniuses of the world. Can’t ask for more than that! I almost didn’t notice it was March! And now, poof! It’s almost April!🌸

I thought you’d like to see a few pages so you have an idea of what you will get . . . this one is from the chapter called The Secrets of Life.✍️

This is from the chapter on Happiness . . . As Lewis Carroll wrote, “What use is a book without pictures?” Luckily we don’t have to worry about that!

Page 234 is in the chapter called Breaking Up ~

and this one is in “Women” … we also have Chapters for Love, Creativity, Diaries, Writing & Writers, Courage, and Fairy Tales to name a few.

At the end of each chapter there are blank pages, so you can include your favorite quotes!💞

And the next bit of exciting information is


I will get to say Rabbit-Rabbit and celebrate spring with 1000 of you in person!👏

. . . that is if you click HERE to sign up to join a Webinar with me and Hayley Solano and her Enchanted Book Club ~ grab a cup of tea or coffee… (or gin if you’re in England!) And join us at 3 pm my time, 2 pm in Chicago, 1 pm in Denver, noon in California, and 8pm in England! This Saturday, April 2! Check the time in your area to make sure. It’s free, sign up and you’ll automatically be sent a link to join … We’ll take questions and talk about creativity and the new book and spring and any questions you might have about the trip to England and all kinds of girl talk! ♥️

Most of the time, I think all I do is work … but I forget! The best part of doing a blog is looking back at my photos and realizing how much fun I’ve been having. After painting and writing in the early hours, our morning walk in the fresh cold air is so beautiful with the sun shining through the trees, almost an out-of-body experience. The outdoors is not one bit like the indoors … two very separate things . . . We’re still bundling up in sweaters and jackets, hats, gloves, scarves . . .

We each put an AirPod in our ear, and turn on our book of the moment on my phone via Audible . . . and off we go, through the woods to the sea! We could NOT love it more. We just finished The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles, and NOW, we’re “reading” Brideshead Revisited, an old classic about English society in 1923  … written by Evelyn Waugh. I somehow missed both the series and the movie … but being an Anglophile, I could NOT love this more! It was first published in 1945, during the war, and the writing is amazing ~ I would almost go so far to say awesome! Memories of times gone by, a step back in time in story and language, and for frosting on the cake, it’s read by Jeremy Irons, who acts it rather than reads it. You’ll love it if you haven’t read it! Even the parts that puzzle me are okay because his writing is so eloquent and engaging.

And at the end of the dirt road, is this . . . before we turn around and retrace our steps to home, we stop and breathe and count our blessings and say a prayer for the world, especially for Ukraine (⬅️ click there for charities), we grieve for the brave moms and dads who we just KNOW are going to win this thing! Like most of us the world over, I’ve fallen totally in love with these people fighting for freedom for all of us  … I don’t think many of us do well understanding such cruelty.🇺🇦 But the outpouring of help from the world is certainly making a difference.

We are lucky it’s peaceful here on our little island where the daffodils have begun blooming and where the earth is turning green again . . . and we cleaned the house!

We had to. First off, it’s spring, time to bring in more light and cheer … and secondly, we had to clean up because our dear friend wrote a book about his immigrant grandparents called Blood Pudding … and we invited 60 people to a book party which we had last Sunday! We dusted and vacuumed and moved furniture around . . .

We turned the dining room into a reading room ~ and filled the house with flowers, opened the windows, turned up the heat, lit a fire, brewed four kinds of tea, made cucumber sandwiches and two tea cakes, and had a lovely Sunday afternoon celebrating with our friends!

And when they all went home we had leftover cake and a clean house! How perfect is that? 💖

Extra good because my two youngest sisters, Mary and Shelly are coming to stay with us next week to help celebrate my 75TH BIRTHDAY!🥳 I’m so excited! And then it’s Easter, and then we GET ON THE QUEEN MARY 2, May One, and hit the high seas! And we’ll get to hug under that black starry sky for real! With lots of you! It’s definitely a red letter month and it hasn’t even started yet! If any of you sailors want to bring books to the ship for me to sign, I’ll be happy to do that! That face is a bit of now I feel ⬆️, I’m always afraid to go away, afraid I’ll never see Jack again 🙀, but NOTHING WILL STOP ME.🔪 I just have to step over the fear … so that’s that about that!✌️We’ll be getting another booster FYI, just for extra safety on board, our plan is to have fun and not get sick!👍

We can’t take Jack, but we’ll take his best friend, Petey. Petey rides for free. And so will all of you armchair travelers! We won’t forget you!💞

What else . . . oh yeah . . .

It’s  almost April Fool’s Day, you will need to be ready! This is a gummy worm and that is the shower drain. Need I say more? Even though I’ve done it before, Joe NEVER expects it! Oh the power!😂

Also, Kellee reprinted some notecards for you . . . cheery notes for spring, two styles in each package of 10… you can see they are pretty on all sides! Find them HERE.

Don’t forget to treat yourself . . . 

From our kitchen window we see that apple slices are a big hit . . 

A frozen ear of corn, very popular!

Dishwasher went on the blink, Joe had to get on the floor to see what was going on under there ~ he fixed it! And I got a great shot if I do say so myself! I always say a man fixing things around the house is a pure aphrodisiac!💞

One of my girlfriends turned 71 a couple of weeks ago … we found the perfect candle for her … I made the cake for her party, where we did our girlfriend tradition of putting our rings around her candles … we made a wish along with her,  when she blew them out, all our wishes came true.💫 It’s magic! I’ll need to make one for me! And now, must go … leaving you with one of my favorite quotations …❤️❤️❤️❤️

See you Saturday! P.S. I have a nephew named Jesse who’s in his twenties & teaches art in China! He is Holly’s brother and my sister Mary’s son … Mary just sent me this picture he painted on an outside wall of a building in China, on behalf of Ukraine! Makes me so happy! That’s my boy!💖 What a small world we actually do live in!💞

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411 Responses to Almost!

  1. HelenS says:

    Love your blog. Love your new book (just ordered it). Love ALL your books. Love your light. Love YOU ❤️ Smooth sailing and happy trails and HAPPY BIRTHDAY 😘

  2. Beth from Iowa says:

    Just preordered that beautiful book!!! Have a super wonderful birthday! And whenever we leave out kitties behind I remind myself that they sleep 20 hrs a day and have fairly short memories – to them we just walked out the door that morning!😏🥳

  3. Sue in Houston says:

    It’s nearly April first and, as always, you’re a breath of spring! I just pre-ordered your new book and can’t wait to see what you’ve included; I’m a “quote collector” myself — especially ones on writing/books/authors.

    I love that gorgeous “Jack-face,” and know how hard it is to leave him. Oh, the guilt… Horrors. BUT — how happy the homecoming will be!

    Have a wonderful birthday, wonderful visit with your sisters, and wonderful trip!

  4. Jane says:

    Glad to see the masks! Keep on masking and stay well!

  5. Karen Longo says:

    I just pre-ordered your book, and got all teary-eyed reading the quotes, especially the ones by you! And I love the starry background on the cover (reminds me of my favorite Moon & Stars mug that you made). I wish I was going with you all to England, but I will be one of the armchair travelers enjoying the trip vicariously. You paint a picture with words like nobody else.

  6. Sandra Garber says:

    I love this as usual. I have been trying to pre-order your new book, but there seems to be a problem with PayPal. I will try again, I have been looking forward to this book.

  7. Karen says:

    Tried clicking the link to pre-order the book, but it isn’t working. Tried getting to your store from the tab, and that also isn’t working.

  8. Margie Orr says:

    Bon voyage. Wish I was sailing with you. My husband was an oceanographer and doesn’t want to go on a ship again after spending 3 years at sea as a researcher for WHOI in Woods Hole

    The lights out on Maui was spectacular with the stars coming down and lighting the night. I love your new cover came out beautifully.

    Have a wonder cruise and trip to England.

  9. I ordered the Quote book as soon as I got to the link, didn’t even finish reading the newsletter until after my confirmation came through! I’ve been looking forward to it for so long.

    I love getting your newsletter, it makes me stop and think about appreciating little things that bring joy in the midst of all the awful, stressful things going on in the world!

    Can’t wait to read about your adventures in England. My hubby and I went to London for our honeymoon, and went back a few years ago. We love England! Unfortunately we aren’t able to travel that far anymore, due to health issues, but I enjoy your stories and pictures of your journey. Safe travels!

    Linda D’Elia

  10. Candace Tufo says:

    So much to look forward to! Can’t wait for the new book!

  11. Just ordered your new book, & signed up for webinar, Happy travels in May & & a early HAPPY 75th BIRTHDAY , 🚢📕🎥🎨🎂🎶

  12. Kathryn says:

    Hi Susan, congratulations on your new book! It looks fantastic! 👍

  13. Laura Brown says:

    Happy early birthday!!! 🌸💖🌟
    I heard myself laughing at several of the quotes, on the pages you’ve shared, and felt my heart resonating with others. What makes Distilled Genius sooo special is – we get to know your beautiful optimistic heart on a much more personal level. All these years you’ve collected little meaningful treasures to enjoy and pass on to us – thank you dear friend! I can hardly wait to hold a copy in my hands – anticipating joy!

    • sbranch says:

      I feel the same way about it . . . a lifetime of quotations does tell a story! Thank you Laura!❌⭕️

  14. Jana Jopson says:

    Happy new year to you, dear Susan! May beauty and love, joy and tenderness keep your attention and gaze on that which is true and meaningful. Bright blessings!

  15. VirginiaB says:

    Wonderful post as always. What a treat and always such a fun surprise to see in my mailbox. I love your nephew’s mural but I do wonder how long China will allow it to stay. Not exactly a bastion of freedom….

  16. Lynn Cooper says:

    I have been collecting books of quotes for years and will buy yours, which I am sure will be the most beautiful of them all. How could I not fall in love with the cover let alone the quotes I’ll get to enjoy reading and sharing?

  17. Karen B. says:

    I ordered your newest book. I’m so excited. I have been re-writing your blog quotes in a journal for years. It will be nice to have a lovely book with your art and the quotations you find.
    Enjoy your upcoming family visit.
    Karen B.

  18. Kim Calnan-Crismali says:

    Thank you so much….your blogs always come at a perfect time…so cheerful and so needed! Enjoy your trip and the Vineyard (I miss it everyday and every season!!).
    Can’t wait for your next book…I have loved your previous novels brought back so many memories for me in my teens and twenties on the Vineyard. It goes without saying LOVE ALL your cookbooks too! Pre-ordering NOW!

  19. Barbara says:

    Wishing you the Happiest Birthday ever!!!

  20. Linda C. says:

    Happy 75th Birthday to YOU Susan !!! : )
    And thank you for another fun Willard .
    Hippity Hoppity Happy Easter Day, to God be the Glory !

    Love from Linda C. of So Cal

  21. Ess says:

    Susan, so excited for all that is happening for you! The new book looks fantastic! I’m thrilled to be signed up for Saturday’s Zoom chat.. you mentioned it would be 3 pm EST ( your time and noon california time and the zoom chat says noon pacific time, so wouldn’t that actually be 9 AM your time? ( EST) Just checking! Thanks & hugs! ❤️

  22. Donna Campbell says:

    Your Willard or Blog always makes my day!!!

  23. Nancy Kenaston says:

    Susan! I love the blank pages after each chapter! What a delightful gift inside a gift! We get to keep adding to this wonderful collection of delicious words! And I had to write down a new quote of yours…”And when they all went home we had leftover cake and a clean house! How perfect is that? 💖” Saving that one to add to your book, as that’s EXACTLY how I feel after friends must leave. My mom is celebrating her birthday next week too (April 9th)! We’re having a garden party for her. HAPPIEST of BIRTHDAYS to you!

  24. Denise says:

    Just placed my order for 2 copies of “Distilled Genius”- I could have easily order 20, but wanted to leave some for more of your girlfriends to order!

  25. Cheryl says:

    Happy Birthday! Enjoy your day, your sisters visit, your daily walks and your voyage. Thank you for reading recommendations. See you April 2.

  26. Connie Rose Woehler says:

    Happy April Birthday Susan! I can’t believe you are 75! What a fine specimen of a 75 year-old you are! I met you at a book signing in Indiana at Conner Prairie many years ago. Since then you have been such a light in my life! Cannot wait to read your new book!

  27. Helen says:

    Happy Early Birthday! Looking forward to upcoming armchair travel and post trip post! Safe travels. 🇺🇦☮️🚢

  28. Pauline Wyss says:

    I just knew a Willard could be coming anyday!! And full of wonderful quotations, birthday fun, silly squirrels, new books, a Webinar and a special tribute to Ukraine, just to name a few. I can’t wait to have that new book of quotes in my hands. Love, love, love…..Pauline from Wisconsin

  29. I love all your books and I absolutely adore quotes! I have quite the collection of them myself and can’t wait to add your book to my collection. I noticed the shipping charge is $8.95 though. Gaah! I will see if I can add a couple of other things to my order to make the shipping charge worth it. And just FYI…the PayPal link isn’t working. It comes up with an error. Love seeing photos of your beautiful home and how you entertain. How I would love to be one of your guests! You certainly have some wonderful things to look forward to, including your “special” birthday. Much love and blessings to you, Susan!

  30. Kimberly L Young says:

    Your always adding the magic! Some days the magic seems like it’s covered with a veil, the sparkle is just out of reach.. then i read your blog and the magic blinks back on! sparkle*,sparkle*, blink*, blink*
    Jesse is a true kindred spirit! powerful work!
    I look a bit like that face too. So much to do and line up and tidy up and pack up and get ALLLL the ducks in a row with our little restaurant before we take to the skies and then the sea! We keep saying..This is the trip of a life time and within reason, nothing will stop us. Boosters Scheduled, and guest room has become ground zero for all the things we must not forget! We laughingly call it the QM2 staging area:)
    Spring is popping in the NC mountains, the little curly ferns are up and starting to unroll and the bird song gets louder every morning yay! AND I Heard peepers the other night.
    Oh Spring, please be the new beginning for some of the things that have troubled our hearts.
    Big hugs to you and Joe. We have to leave our Lab Arlo who is 1 1/2. It’s a long time to be gone from mom and dad….
    Take good care and HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MONTH!

  31. Anne says:

    Displaying your steps in painting your beautiful book cover is very interesting and educational for someone like me who attempts to create art. If possible, could you post photos like these in future blogs, that shows step by step, your creative process? Thank you for sharing your gift!


    I love it all, thank you dear heart! Just painted our bedroom “Leap of Faith” blue because I looked out the window and the sky was a beautiful blue. I needed it…my husband likes it too! Thought of you and how much I love how you see your surroundings and tell us about it…never do you make me feel blue….just sky blue! XO

  33. Patti Mac says:

    Pre ordered the book ! Can’t wait to have it in my hands. Have a wonderful trip. I’m actually off to France TODAY!! (That is why I could not join your cruise this time 🙁

  34. Barbara Anne says:

    Thanks for such a pretty and upbeat Willard. It’s so needed now.

    I’m not far behind you and will be 71 before the end of April. Happy Birthdays to us!

    What a glorious painting that Jesse did! I’m making a quilt to send as the need is great. This quilt is blue/yellow and has sunflower fabric, too.


  35. Elaine thornton says:

    How can we follow along with you all on the trip? Will you be posting via email? Facebook, twitter?

  36. Jane McVey says:

    Just what I needed on a chilly day with a sick grandson. It lifted my heart. And I preordered the book and signed up for the zoom gathering. Thank you so much.

  37. Jennifer Lauri says:

    Your new book looks so inviting, as I have always been entranced by quotations and use them in every notecard. What a lovely afternoon with friends for a book reading. The photos of your home warms the cockles of my heart. Thank you, Susan <3

  38. Ann Y. says:

    Oh, cannot wait for your book. Always loved quotations ( as a school librarian I had a white board and would let students find and write “the thought for the week’. They found some great inspiration. And love the mural…my husband is of Ukrainian heritage and we ache for those people. The children…and the “Babas” who have nobody to help them. Praying for an end to the madness. Thank you for bringing a touch of Spring – we have been freezing, now warm, storms coming…cozy night. AND…while having breakfast this morning on the 5th floor of our building – an eagle…gliding around our community, enjoying the air currents, enchanting us all. Wishing you fun and love in all you have to look forward to in April!

  39. Belinda Riffenburg says:

    Happy Spring soon! Yay for Jesse! LOVE it! Quite talented just like his Aunt Susan! I am so excited 30 days until we shall sail to England. Can’t wait to see both you and Joe again. I will be able to meet Rachel in person and see so many girlfriends for the 1st time. Very exciting!!

  40. Vicki Panzarino says:

    Loved your post! I’m very excited to see your new book. I’ve collected quotes for years and never tire of rereading them. Your latest creation will be a wonderful addition! See you Sunday! HAPPY SPRING!

  41. Deb says:

    hi Susan, fun thing to do with those backwards candles! LOL! I’ve never heard of the ring thing either. I’ll be 70 this summer…so hard to believe. Hard to believe you’ll be 75, too! I hope you have a good Easter, good trip, and a happy birthday.

  42. Zoe Greenwood says:

    Every time you write, I feel like we’re ALMOST sitting together by the fire with a cup of tea. You continue to warm my heart – thank you! Also, thanks for the Ukrainian links -very helpful
    Have a wonderful day/month/birthday/visit/trip/life!
    Love always,
    Zoe Greenwood
    P.S. Nothing is blooming at the other end of the state yet, but things are s l o w l y starting to peek out! Yeah!

  43. Sharon Hermens says:

    A labor of love! That’s what your new book is! How do I order one?

  44. Jane says:

    What an exciting month you have ahead and I can hardly WAIT to go with you to England (via armchair)!

  45. MargotB says:

    Sitting outside in Mobile reading your blog in shorts! Outside I can see better…Good job on the new book! Breakfast or Tea book next?
    Love the sunflower 🌻 on your nephew’s mural! Pray for my cousins in western Ukraine 🙏🏻🇺🇦!!!
    “See you Saturday “.

  46. Lisa says:

    Happy Birthday, dear Susan!

  47. Debbie Boerger says:

    Thank you for the new Willard! We laughed out loud over your shot of Joe on the floor looking under the dishwasher. I have so many of those shots of Tom!!
    He kept it going for 22 years, but it finally gave up last summer. We ordered a new one in June, but it had still not arrived by the time we left Maine, in November. Oh well….the supply chain we’re told. The new sliding glass doors for the downstairs here in Tampa were ordered in November. We’re told they will not be delivered until end of summer. Yikes! We were counting on those for added hurricane protection. Oh, well………………..
    I just pre-ordered the new Quotes book, 3 copies. Love the addition of the “shooting” stars in the sky on the cover. We all know how many hours you have devoted to that project…, take a deep breath, and just Relax for awhile, before you Sail across the Sea to The Green and Pleasant Land.

    Happiest of Birthdays to you Dear Lady,
    Mucho love from Debbie in soon to be stormy Tampa

  48. Gaye Marie says:

    Susan, you always make everything better! You bring all goodness and light. As always, thank you!

  49. Phoebe Crosby says:

    Happy Birthday Carol! Best wishes for a fabulous trip!
    Can’t wait to get your new book!!!!
    Grateful for you and your gifts❤️

  50. Starr miller says:

    Hello Susan
    Thank you for your post. So many exciting events happening soon.
    I just preordered your new book and I know I will love it.
    Happiest of birthdays to you. How wonderful to celebrate with family and friends.
    Thank you also for the book suggestion-Brideshead Revisited. I shall look for it.
    Spring is struggling to appear here in the Chicago western suburbs. But daffodils are getting taller and blossoms will surely follow.
    Happy birthday-Happy Easter

  51. Lori Hamilton says:

    Oooo, a new book is always exciting!
    I hope you, Joe and all the girlfriends a wonderful trip………please take lots of pictures to share with those of us less fortunate!
    Happy Birthday, Susan!

  52. My husband, Vincent are scheduled for a blood thickness check tomorrow. We are FOOLS for good news!! Valeria

  53. Laura V Garcia says:

    Dear Susan;
    Wish you safe travels.Have fun making new memories and friends.

  54. Dianne says:

    Dear Susan, I can’t wait for your new book to be published. I just have one thought. Can you use “from” in the title or does that imply that the quotes are literally from you. Would it be better to use compiled by? I’m sure that you have sought legal advice regarding this, but I just wondered. There are unfortunately vultures out there (not on your site of course) who look for opportunities for monetary gain.

  55. Dianne says:

    Please disregard my previous post. I unfortunately replied before reading the entire post. So glad that you made the change . I absolutely love the cover. Can’t wait to preorder my copy- a few copies actually.

  56. Carol H. says:

    The cover of Distilled Genius is lovely! I have loved your artwork since I first saw it with one of your recipes in a magazine years ago (Good Housekeeping??). I’m sure you had a delightful time picking out the quotations you wanted to use. While looking at the sample pages, I wondered if you had to get permission from whoever to use each of the quotations? I hope not, because what a job that would be! Looking forward to May and reading about your England trip!

  57. Jan from Northern CA says:

    Hello Spring and Susan, Joe and Jack,
    So excited! Only 28 more days until we board. Still feels like a dream.
    Made the brave move to get a 1920’s dress for one of the formal nights….but looking forward to dressing up. Not sure what to expect each day, checking out the Queen Mary website for what to do on the ship. I’m sure it will be full. Looking forward to seeing all the “girlfriends” and tea, clotted cream, scones and just everything. Well, here’s to a great adventure. Safe travels all and see you all soon. 🙂
    Jan from Northern CA

  58. Nancy Marin says:

    Your comment that “good enough” is your middle name reminded me of something famous quilter Bonnie Hunter once said to our Quilt guild. She said, “I live happily in the land of that’ll do.” Her quote is on my sewing room bulletin board to remind me that things don’t always have to be perfect.

    • sbranch says:

      Otherwise you fall into the doom of the perfectionist and nothing ever gets done!👏👏👏

  59. Karen Lamoureux says:

    I’m so excited about your new book. I pro-ordered a copy for myself. The cover is so calming. I can’t wait until it comes out. I love looking at photos of Jack and his pal Petey who is so lucky to be going on this trip with you. Wish I could shrink down to his size and accompany you and Joe on this adventure. Guess I’ll have to enjoy it from my home. Smooth sailing. The mural is awesome.

  60. Debbie says:

    The cover of your book is beautiful. I love it when I do something creative and it comes out as I envisioned it.

  61. Thanks for the pick-me-up! Love your blog and can’t wait for your new book and to see you Saturday on the webinar. I read Brideshead and saw the movie as well, many years ago and even purchased a stuffed bear. Loved the book and movie and still have the bear.

    I loved the idea of the rings around the birthday candles, you are so clever!🤗

  62. Nancy says:

    Happy, happy birthday Susan! 🎈🎈🎈I too am a ‘47 baby…will be celebrating in September with a trip hopefully to New England. April will fly by and you will be sailing, sailing over the ocean blue….how exciting! Prayers for safe travel for your sisters and then you and Joe and all the girlfriend’s on the trip. Jack is welcome to come stay with Ms Lucy and me.😊

  63. Jane Thom says:

    Have a simply stupendous birthday,enjoy that precious sister time!

  64. Norma Slocum says:

    Listening to an old Joni James CD – and loving your blog! Have a wonderful trip~

  65. Pat W. says:

    So much to be grateful for this spring!
    Happy Birthday Susan🎂. Enjoy the visit with sisters & enjoy your upcoming trip. What an exciting adventure. I’ve ordered a copy of Distilled Genius..cannot wait to get it. Like you, I’ve collected phrases all my life; curious if some of mine are in your book. One of my favorites, “It’s choice, not chance, that determines your destiny”.

  66. Pamela says:

    I’m so excited for your cruise!!! I would have loved to go but we went to Europe for a month beginning in mid-December. We celebrated Christmas in London, a few days in Belgium then New Years in Rome for a week and then a week in Ireland. I know it is kind of unsettling thinking about going so far after being cooped up for so long – but I know you will do beautifully!!! We had a dry run with a road trip in October to Omaha for our youngest daughter’s wedding and then on to Chandler, AZ for my 50th high school reunion. It was odd to be out and about – especially in states that were lax with covid restrictions (including my home state of AZ)! But it helped me to be out as it seemed so strange!

    I have to laugh because if I went on the cruise and brought all of my SB books, I’d have to pay for extra plane luggage! I think I have just about every one of them and I just ordered Distilled Genius! I bought the luggage tags, too, since I can’t go on the cruise with you!

    I’m so glad you are getting your second booster – we need to get ours, too. I think if you are wearing N95 masks, you will do well. I bought some at the last minute before we left and while we were in Europe, Omicron was all over. I think the N95s helped to keep us healthy. EVERYONE wore masks inside and we wore them outside in crowds (especially in Rome). We also had to get tested going in and out of the countries and we got tested 10 times in less than a month. That was the biggest hassle of the trip. Each time we took a test, I was afraid we’d be stuck in one country for 10 days and miss our other reservations in the remaining countries (I booked a lot of Airbnbs and a nice Marriott in Dublin). I’m looking forward to visiting Europe next year for the Notre Dame game in Dublin without all of those tests (logistically it was a nightmare). All of the restaurants had to close by 8 pm back then so we ate very early – and the sunset was 4:30 so it was kind of disorienting. But it should be sun shiney for you!

    I also just signed up for the Zoom meeting on Palm Sunday! I think I have covered all of the bases. Your little soirée looked like so much fun. I invite people over to motivate myself to do a deep clean up! I kind of get really frenetic in the process but it is worth it. You’re right, after everyone leaves, its wonderful to have a clean house and leftovers!!!

    Getting ready to say “Rabbit, Rabbit” tomorrow!
    Cheers! ❌⭕️

  67. You have been my inspiration for Family, Home, Food and Creativity since I purchased your Heart of Home Cookbook in 1986. Your blog is a continued connection to the warmth & sunshine I have always felt from your art and books.
    Thank you Susan. Bless you always. Melissa

    • sbranch says:

      Such kind words Melissa, thank you . . . it’s been fun to connect with all our kindred spirits!🏡🪴📚🍳

  68. Ellen Marie says:

    Happy early birthday, dear Susan❣️
    I look at your beautiful furniture and have to wonder how Jack keeps it so lovely.

    • sbranch says:

      Jack has his very own scratching post … but Girl about did some of my furniture in!💖

      • Ellen Marie says:

        Good kitty, Jack. My Joie has many scratching posts and she uses them but I still cover a few pieces of furniture with sheets for every day unless we have company. Bon voyage❣️

  69. Karen C. says:

    Oh, so good to see Petey again. Is that his very own Jack along side him? Amazing! Best wishes for a lovely Spring.

  70. Julie Deppe says:

    Thanks for welcoming Spring!
    Blessings on your trip!
    Safe going and safe return,
    Thanks for the beautiful poster for Ukraine!!

  71. Fran Patten says:

    Hi again, dear Susan,
    I started a prayer vigil at our church here in Newton, NJ. On April 12th @ 7 p.m please say a prayer or at least a kind thought for those dear folks in Ukraine who are struggling to stay alive. God bless them all.
    Love and peace, Fran Patten

    • sbranch says:

      I will love to do that Fran… what a perfect birthday present for me… I just put it on Twitter and asked everyone to mark their calendars … 7pm, just when I’ll be blowing out my candles. 🙏

  72. Rosemary from North of Boston says:

    Oh Susan, so good to hear from you. Thrilled to pieces about Distilled Genius coming out! I went right out and pre-ordered your new wonderful book today. Now I’ll do my best to forget I ordered it and then be wildly surprised and pleased as punch when it arrives at my door. I’m praying every night for Ukraine, to give them strength and courage and hope. Can’t make the Enchanted Bookclub meet, family commitments (and a new–heaven help me–puppy under our roof to tend to), but am sure it will be wonderful. Praying for the people of Russia, that they are able to find a better leader for their country. I wish I were going to England with you and all the girlfriends, but it’s not meant to be this time, so I’ll keep looking for any postings you can make while you are on your wonderful journey. Keep blogging with all your thoughts and words and pictures and art, the beauty you make is what makes my days brighter. Hugs to you, to Joe, and to Jack. xoxo, Rosemary

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, just what I love to do, forget and then be wildly surprised!😲😃 And yes, heaven help you! And while we’re at it, Heaven help us all! 🙏 I promise to do my best to blog on the trip… sometimes it’s hard on the boat … it can be SO spotty, but if I only put up one photo MAYBE they will let me do it! They don’t seem to like it when I do my regular-type of long of post with lots of pictures. I’m going to try!♥️♥️♥️

  73. Lori says:

    Happy, happy Birthday! Looking forward to the Zoom call. Excited for your new book -yea!!

  74. Lynette Strohbach says:

    Congrats on the new book Susan! I am eagerly awaiting its arrival in probably July. I haven’t been able to order it online with Paypal, it gives me an error. Oh well, I’ll keep trying until the kinks are ironed out. Have a wonderful Happy Birthday month and a wonderful trip in May. I will eagerly arm chair along with you! Thanks!

    • sbranch says:

      I asked Kellee to check on PayPal and see what’s up … thank you for letting me know! ❌⭕️

  75. Libby says:

    Hi Susan. I can’t wait to see your new book. My mom told me today that she reserved a copy for me!

    I need some advice . . . My mom and I get to spend exactly one day on Martha’s Vineyard this summer (after our tour with the Mayflower Society!) We know that is a very short time – What are the “must do’s?? 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      One day! Will you have a car? The best you can do for one day is get the lay of the land so when you come back, you’ll know where to go. And that’s not a bad thing. The MV Gazette has a “what to do” section in it every week and will tell you what is happening on your day. But even if you just get on a bus and drive all over the island, you’ll get to see the towns, and the beautiful countryside. You will learn a lot! If you don’t live near a beach in real life, you should spend part of your day there, the island is surrounded with them! Does this make sense to you? Because there’s always shopping in the towns!

  76. Sharon says:

    Love reading your post!

  77. Carolyn says:

    Wishing you a happy birthday, safe travels, and joy each day, Susan! Your nephew’s art is fantastic!

  78. Jane Franks says:

    Hi Susan! You are such an inspiration! I’m still “floundering” . . . 2 steps forward, 1 step backwards, but giving myself permission!! It’s still only 14 months. Many good things have happened, too. But I plan to jump on board the Queen Mary 2 with you in May! (Gene’s birthday was the 6th!). And I’m counting on another trip to England to help me get going again! I love the mural your nephew painted! Perfect. And all of your recent art and new book cover look wonderful! Thank you for sharing so much of yourself and your life with us! It’s a great blessing! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      I understand Jane, it’s not a snap of the fingers when the foundation of your life suddenly disappears. I try not to think of that part of our future… but that Helen Reddy song, When one of us is gone, and the other’s left to carry on… (You and Me Against the World), will pop into my mind, and out, as quickly as possible.🙏 A big, out-of-the-box trip like this will be a huge help. Surrounded with lots of love is always a good thing! I’m so happy you’re coming, will SEE you there in like a minute and a half!!! ❌⭕️❌⭕️

      • Jane Franks says:

        Hi Susan and Christie, I hope I didn’t make you feel sad. So nice to hear from both of you, and it’s so helpful to know that there are those out there who understand. I know I am getting guidance, and I am so grateful to Gene for his strength and determination that is giving me courage to go forward and “carry on” as you say. I know he is very much alive and I will see him again! Looking forward to joining you on the high seas and in England!! Someone has offered me free tickets R/T to London!! And I might take them up on that eventually. So I’ll be watching to see where you go, and inspiring me to follow in your steps sometime, perhaps!! xoxo Jane

        • sbranch says:

          Never worry, all part of life. We can do two things at once, be sad and happy at the same time! You’re a brave girl. We’ll see you soon!!!

    • Christie Levin says:

      Hi Jane, I’ll be on the QM2, too, and I’m so glad to hear you will be part of this super fun SB event! Just like so much that comes from Susan, it continues to be a great blessing to me just to look forward to May 1!!
      See you soon on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean!!

      • sbranch says:

        Hooray for us! Love the song Christie! I put it on Twitter too!

      • Jane Franks says:

        So excited for you Christie! I know you are in for such a treat and can’t wait!! I’ll be checking in. Thank you for the John Denver song. Loved it! Jane xo

  79. Ruth Winkler says:

    I too just pre ordered your new book. I make a lot of my own greeting cards and this book will help me find just the right words to say. I also fell in love with the new note cards. Please be safe and enjoy your trip. Cannot wait to follow you on line.

    • sbranch says:

      Makes me happy to hear that Ruth… Like William Morris, I do love things that are both beautiful and USEFUL! 💖

  80. Linda says:

    Happy birthday month 🎉 Susan! Rabbit 🐇 rabbit 🐰- what a beautiful post! I love all of the spring flowers 🌸 🌼🌷and inspiration! My sister sent me the link – and I’m so glad as March was a rough month ! You are right ! Almost 🌻! Will turn to new beginnings! Thanks for the reminder ! Happy spring and happy birthday 🎈 75 ! Congratulations 🍾! I cannot believe it ! All the best to you and joe ! Ps can’t wait to read the new book 📚 💫! My sweet Sister pre ordered two! Would love to go to Martha’s Vineyard for a sister visit/trip I’ve been there once – what a dream to live there!

    • sbranch says:

      Joe and I were just remarking on how lucky we were to land HERE and find each OTHER! Blessed! Yes, a sister trip to this beautiful place should get itself on your calendar! Happy Spring, we deserve it!!🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸

  81. Pamela says:

    Oops sorry, Susan – the zoom is this Sunday! I don’t know where I got Palm Sunday! You don’t have to post this but maybe correct what I wrote. Sorry if my post was so long. I got carried away!

    • sbranch says:

      I think the zoom is today, which is Saturday, but now you scared me, I’ll go check! YUP, it’s today! Hope you see this!♥️

  82. Patty Walker says:

    Happy Happy Spring Susan! What a wonderful way to enter into April. May you receive the gifts of Love, Joy and Laughter on your Birthday and be treated like a Queen on your Special Day. April is a big one for me as I will travel today to New Hampshire to see my sons and celebrate my oldest Son’s birthday on 4/2. Spring is in the air with so many lovely colors popping up here and there! Love your quotes and I shall borrow one or two!!!! Enjoy the month of April..!!!

    • sbranch says:

      My favorite month! Have a wonderful time in beautiful New Hampshire! Happy Birthday to both you and your son!🥳 And thank you for the good wishes!

  83. lani nelson says:

    Morning Susan,
    Ordered your new book for a dear friend who shares in our love for all you do. Thank you for your thoughtful post full of love and hope. Out to our garden full of joyful daffodils to do some much needed weeding. Gardening has been our life savior as well as family and friends who too respect science and keep fully vaccinated and masked when needed. Take care Susan.

  84. Pat W. says:

    Dear Susan: So grateful for Spring!! Happy, Happy Birthday!! And enjoy every minute with sisters; these are the best visits. Your adventure coming up in May sounds so exciting. Looking forward to the pictures. And, finished book; I’ve ordered my copy. I, like you, have been collecting quotations all my life. Here is one of my favorites. “Choice, not chance determines one’s destiny”. Susan, thanks for being you – an inspiration to all your girl friends.

    • sbranch says:

      How wonderful, you will fill up all the pages I left for your quotes, and this book will be TWICE the fun! Thank you Pat!🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷

  85. Linda Beth Howell says:

    Thank you for your latest Blog. So enjoy them. Enjoy the time with your sisters. I have 5 of them, and we get together monthly for our “sisters” group. Take turns at each other’s homes.and have a meal. We talk, knit, crochet, read, gossip 😊 laugh and enjoy each other. 3 sister-in-laws also join us! All my best friends.

    I thank your nephew for his art work.

    May you have a happy, healthy 🎂 and year ahead.


  86. Anne Van de Laar-Jacobs says:

    ” Ukraine has almost won”?!
    I love al your posts but I think you are a bit misinformed.
    I hope you are right, but is the news in Europe so different from the news in the USA?

    • sbranch says:

      I’m just believing in them. Their heart and gumption and bravery. I think they win every day. While praying they do.🙏

  87. jeanie says:

    The book party sounds wonderful — such a warm and cozy place to welcome a friend for such an event and I know you did it so beautifully! Your own new book looks just lovely (as always) and I am holding my breath for your second England book to one day be completed! How I’d love to be on that trip with you. I know you’ll take glorious photos to share.

    Oh, spring! So long awaited!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ll add this trip to Enchanted, more grist for the mill, and try again! Spring!🌸🌸🌸

  88. Barbara Shoup says:

    Hi! I’m kinda new to your wonderful content. I was wondering if you have any quotes/pictures, etc. about Norway, my heritage. Do you have a search function?
    I really love this blog! Happy Spring!

    • sbranch says:

      There are two I can think of ~ I’m sure there are hundreds more!
      November always seemed to me the Norway of the year. ♥️ Emily Dickinson
      Behind the clouds, the sky is always blue. 💖 Norwegian Proverb

      I have never been to Norway, so I don’t have any photos . . . I’ve seen travel programs, it is so beautiful!💞

  89. Laurie says:

    How can you say “Ukraine has almost won”???? Maybe you need to change what news network you watch.

    • sbranch says:

      They are doing so well, so brave, so full of heart, in a sense they have won, and in my prayers they will win. They will chase those monsters back to their own country and have a chance to make their world they way they want. That’s my prayer.🙏

      • MargotB in Sister Bay says:

        You are right. Putin is just a monster! Our family knows this firsthand. Stalin was as bad or worse. Yesterday President Z was asked about being a young president and having so much on his plate, and he said “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.” Good answer! In the meantime we will keep praying 🙏. Yes?

        Margot B.

  90. kim says:

    Will the book be available in the UK? (please say yes)

  91. Katherine Akers says:

    What is the phone number to use to order the new book? How much is it and what is the shipping? I own alll the other books and must have this one!!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m not sure of all the answers, but you can call Lauren at 805-474-1052 . . . she can help you!

  92. Linda M. Smith says:

    Hi to you Susan and all the other girlfriends,
    What a nice post! I loved every word. Can’t wait to see you on Saturday! Your nephew’s mural was FABULOUS! What a message that was! Thanks for all the pictures of the pages of your new book which of course I’ll add to my collection. Blessings to you and yours!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m proud of him! I haven’t seen him since he was practically a child, but baby look at him now!!👏👏👏 Thank you Linda!

  93. Lin Hagen says:

    Thank you, Susan! Such a touch of sunshine and I always love your Jack pictures!! You give us all a dose of “normalcy and peace” and we certainly treasure that! Happy Birthday!! Lin in Iowa

  94. susan leary from falmouth says:

    Today was a red letter day. I found your Christmas from the Heart of the Home,first edition ,circa 1990 in a thrift store. Christmas came early. Susan from Falmouth.

  95. Linda Pintarell says:

    Love your nephew’s picture; quite talented. Busy time for you; enjoy your travels and be safe…I know you will. Looking forward to your new book.

  96. Robyn Genau says:

    Susan, as long as there is a moon in any form of art, I love it. Your book cover is lovely. Must run to my shelf and find my Brideshead Revisited to watch. It’s been a while. Have never read the book but mite try reading it also.

  97. Anthea says:

    Very good birthday wishes to you, have a wonderful day, hope the sun shines, you get your birthday wish and you have your wonderful trip to look forward to.
    We all need to look to the light. to believe Ukraine will be victorious over a brutal aggressor and their land remains theirs and democratic.We need the light , to shine on all the evil that goes on in the world, we need to remember that Right and Wrong have no political borders and thats how we should decide things, despite parties, right and wrong should be our benchmark!

    • sbranch says:

      As Gladys Taber so rightly and wonderfully said, “Believing there is hope for the world is a way to move toward it!” I think the way the Ukrainians “believe” is their most powerful weapon. I add my 2 cents to that!! Well said Anthea!❌⭕️

  98. Cathee Nielsen says:

    Followup to Libby: what is a good place for lunch? the best beach to visit? some exceptional shops? we are coming over by ferry and will have no car. (A quick trip is all we can fit in this time!)

    • sbranch says:

      Which town do you arrive in? Good place for lunch is Edgartown, at The Atlantic. Great shops in town too. You’ll probably have to take a bus. Very easy … just ask at the ferry.

  99. Dianne in upstate New York says:

    Dear Susan,
    Wishing you a Happy Birthday (a little early) and hoping that all your wishes come true. I’m sure that one will come true with the arrival of your sisters to help celebrate your special day!! Don’t forget to start the day by drinking from your special mug- and then go paint the town bubble gum pink.
    I just finished reading The Lincoln Highway, and I was delighted to meet Amor Towles a week later (the first time I’ve ventured into a crowded place since Covid began). It was worth any risk that might have been present, as he was so personable. I’ve read and enjoyed all three of his books. In fact, I may take Rules of Civility with me when I board the Queen Mary. I can ship it home with my one suitcase, and I won’t have to worry about the weight (it’s a hardback).
    Speaking of the Queen Mary- I will be at the picnic and will then be heading to London. I wondered if any of your followers might be going in the same direction. I would love to share a car, although I won’t drive. I’ll have one suitcase and a carryon. I have tried using the site set up on FOSB, but I haven’t seen any recent posts. Perhaps I’m in the wrong place.
    I now listen to audiobooks as I walk and as I drive about. I’ll have to see if Brideshead Revisited is available through Libby (Overdrive). The library has assured me that I should be able to access it while in England. Are you able to access Overdrive? It’s through the library, and is free of charge. I know my niece was able to access it in Boston.
    I tried Googling the book you mentioned, but I wasn’t able to find one published recently. Maybe it isn’t available to the public yet. Speaking of books, I love the final cover of Distilled Genius. I have to preorder my copies- as soon as I determine how many I need. Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday- and keeping my fingers crossed that a book tour will be in order when your new book arrives. Happy Spring

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Dianne! Where are you going right after you get off the ship? The picnic is 8 days later, and lots of our friends are going on tours, being brought to the picnic, and then taken back to London … which is where you’re going, so talk to everyone at the picnic and see what they’re up to! There was a link for Blood Pudding — is that the one you mean? It takes you to Edgartown Books where I know they have them! And yes, will paint the town exactly that color as soon as my sisters get here! Have a wonderful day! See you next month! PS, if you want to join a tour, I’ve worked out some good ones with Discover Europe, a wonderful little company in Vermont… call 1-866-563-7077 and mention me. Check them out HERE!💞

      • Dianne in upstate New York says:

        Since I will be in England for 31 days after the ship docks, I decided (due to finances) to travel about on my own instead of doing one of the tours. I will spend the first week in Winchester, Chichester, and Salisbury. Then on to the picnic- hopefully with my ex-pat friend who lives in Fareham. She missed the last picnic. After the picnic, I’ll head to London for a few days, then to Mousehole via a brief stay in Bath. From Mousehole I’ll head to the Cotswolds, the Lake District, and then York before returning to London. I’m not sure that I want to be in London itself for the Jubilee, so I may juggle the last few days a bit. I do want to see the White Garden at Sissinghurst, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it blooms a little earlier than usual. I’ll plan on visiting there right before returning home. I plan on doing a lot of walking while in England, and, like you, I’ll probably need a brief rest when I return home. P.S. I’ll have my copy of Falling in Love… with me. It’s such a good reference, and it makes a nice flower press as well!! I’ve followed your example and become a little “light fingered” where the flowers are concerned. I can’t wait to meet all the girlfriends- both aboard ship and at the picnic

        • sbranch says:

          Heaven Dianne! Will love to see you there! Watch the blog for last minute updates! And remember, the festivities in London will all be on TV! You can avoid the crowds and celebrate too! 💖

        • Debbie Boerger says:

          Hello again, Dianne in Upstate New York!
          Going on your own for a month is absolutely Fab. That’s what I’ve always done. We are going to spend 2 weeks in Winchester, which I’ve visited before, using it as a base. We’d decided to forget about going back to England, after having to cancel 2 times due to Covid. Then we Decided, Why the Heck Not? And off we go in September for a month, starting with 2 weeks in Greenwich, which is part of Greater London.
          You will probably meet a kindred spirit or two on the Ship and have someone to share with.
          I’m excited to be following the Susan Branch group and see you in person.
          Debbie in Tampa, soon to be in Maine

  100. Patty Volner says:

    Hello, My comment from March 30th is still waiting moderation!?! Do you know why? Thanks, ~patty

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