A Willard full of stories, disjointed and piecemeal, probably a lot like my brain these days as I go from celebration, to heartbreak, to worry, to announcing all good news, and back again. With all my love.💖 MUSICA

I can tell it’s October because I’m excited and feeling energized every day. Ridiculously so. I want to go in 7 directions at once. I started this post thinking I would tell a simple story of our visit to Lake Sebago in Maine so you could see how pretty it is, so you could imagine the sunsets, the lapping of water on shore, and the smell of the pine trees and woodsmoke from the little cabins . . . but as soon as we got home there were suddenly so many small seasonal celebrations, I began wondering if everyone I know was born in October!! I was putting new photos into my computer every day and thinking I would write about THAT . . . and on it went with a new idea everyday, culminating right now in what I THINK I will write about (we’re about to see where this goes) … and that is the soul-centering heart of the home, the kitchen. Where it all happens. Because I’m spending lots of time there. Celebrating not only my kitchen but those of friends. Is there a better time of year for your kitchen, whether it be stirring cake batter, washing windows, pouring milk into a cup of earl grey tea (with lavender and rose petals), opening a tin of cat food, or decorating for the fall? Answer is no. This is the warmest,
coziest, homiest, most hygge time of year. All so beautiful. And in a world gone mad, these simple things give solace, and soothe our souls. Our world is crazy, but inside our houses, we can still make it just the way we like it. Our prayers and hearts go out to all the moms and dads who only want what we want, to plant a garden, make birthday cakes, and raise their children in innocence and peace, but are brought into the insanity anyway, trapped in broken places where flowers don’t have a chance to grow.😥 It’s easy to imagine myself in their places, we have so much in common. I never take our peaceful lives for granted and pray to God we are able, all of us, together, to do better, to keep it that way.🌸
You might have seen this quote ⬆️ on one of your calendars, but I will remind you because it was so inspiring to me when I found it. It said what I always knew was true: We have to make the beauty we want to see.❤️

So, in keeping with the “Piecemeal” theme, I have to start with this, which has absolutely nothing to do with anything! Remember when we went to the Fair in August and I commented on the people who had won a giant “prize” at the game-booths? Huge stuffed animals, elephants,and teddy bears? I was saying that they had to carry these giant things around with them the rest of the night, onto the ferris wheel, in line at the lobster-roll booth. Well, here we were, two months later, out at the beach at the end of our walk!🤣 Poor puppy was left behind by someone going back to their real life. Maybe as a goodbye gift. Puppy in sad repose that said, “please take me home.” And yesterday, he was gone! Rescued!👏In the last post I wrote that we, so very lucky (our problems are so small), were suffering from a leak inside our kitchen walls coming from the upstairs bathroom, and we were getting it fixed just as we were leaving for Maine?

We got to here before we had to go! 🚗 You can see the water destruction got all the way down that wall and then into the wainscoting. The ancient pipe inside the wall was rusted and split from stem to stern . . . and those big black pipes in the ceiling were made of LEAD. Not good. But all gone now.🎉

Joe saved all the old nails that were holding that part of the house together and I’m about to put them in a shadow box. To leave in the house for the people of the future.🙌

When we got home from Maine, we realized we should wash the walls and repaint the whole thing . . . so we took everything out, and repainted it the same color as before, which we have loved. It’s called Woodlawn Blue, Benjamin Moore, HC-147 ~ and for the white, it’s Swiss Coffee, a soft beautiful white, also Benjamin Moore OC-45.

I like seeing it this way every so often, it’s so smooth and quiet and UNdecorated. I think maybe I won’t put EVERYTHING back🤔. But I always do… Because this house thinks more rather than less. It’s apparently a requirement. My job is to give the house what it wants. Modernizing in any way causes tiny sighs, floor creaks, wind whistles at the windows.⚡️

On the other hand my house has always approved of kitties.👏👏👏

Guys who can fix things are every woman’s aphrodisiac, I saw it with my dad and brothers, and I definitely see it with Joe! (You go guy!) But steal yourself for what is coming . . .

Precious? Or what? Yes, put handiness together with a guy who has the knees of a 6-year-old and be still my beating heart!💞

Kitchens! Let’s start with Mrs. Miniver’s kitchen! Pretty much the Queen of hygge in my opinion. An inspiration for generations of kitchens! Shadows of leaves on the brick wall outside the door remind us of passing time, flowered teacups hanging from hooks in the cupboard for afternoon tea with friends, the China platter on the top shelf, perfect for the Christmas roast, the milk bottle on the checked tablecloth, dish towels on the wall, and a window in the back door, all says home.

So many of us, inspired by the past, have one of these old-fashioned stoves . . . they are workhorses and in a winter storm, their pilot lights are the beating heart of the heart of the home! 

My girlfriend Elizabeth’s kitchen.

We used to have one of those refrigerators too, it came with our house. Only thing, it had to be defrosted. Which did not work for our lifestyle. I see so many of those fridges in online kitchens now, I wonder if they figured out how to make them frost free? 

Had to show you this one . . . so cute!

My mom’s kitchen had one of those stoves, an O’Keefe and Merrit, so I had to have one too. Because of my mom, it has always said “home” to me. Plus, when we moved in, almost immediately the house was tapping me on the shoulder and saying, “Get me one of those stoves.” We’ve had this same stove since the early 90s . . . we got it from a place in Los Angeles aptly named Antique Stove Heaven.

This is ommmmmm for me. Peace, quiet, beauty, nurturing, generous, can handle anything. A gift. A hideaway. Real. Lived in. Hugs you back when you come through the door. Even hugs my girlfriends! “The oftener you come, the more we’ll adore you” could have come right out of this house’s mouth! So when I’m at a yard sale or an antique store, house says, “oooo, I love that basket! It’s cheap, get it!” And I do. Everything is old and well-used in this old house.

And this adorable kitchen ~ it’s in the English cottage in the movie The Holiday . . . Look at that darling fireplace! You can hear the fire crackling, the clunk of a spoon stirring honey into a teacup, the pulling back of one of those cushioned chairs. Deep breath. Yeah, I know, could probably use a little more red!

Although, I’ve been known to go blue myself!

We know that quote is true because we FEEL it! Many families have called our house “home.” I feel their presence in the fall more than any other time of year. When I peel apples to make apple crisp, I imagine all the good things cooked up in this kitchen since 1849, the turkey dinners, the iron skillets filled with fried chicken, the corn pudding, kids at the sink asking for potato peels, extra pie dough twisted into pastry sticks with cinnamon and sugar, plum puddings, and even fresh-churned butter. And all of it done, mixing and pouring in front of these same windows, looking on this same view. This house put its two cents in when I was writing the Autumn Book. It’s very bossy. But since I agree in every way with everything it says, no problem! 

And the people who own the house in this photo, which was brand new when I moved in, in California many years ago. This kitchen is where I really learned to cook and did my first watercolors. I hope they can feel the happy days I spent here.

I do like to think I’m leaving something behind in kitchens in houses where I’ve lived. Like those old kitchen nails Joe saved for me, but from the spirit too.❤️

This was a wonderful kitchen in one of our English rental cottages . . . Joe and Paul cooked, Rachel and I ate!

This is another house we rented in England, and this photo always makes me laugh with the memory . . . because we’d just come in from eating pub-dinner out and the kitchen was dark when we got home. We flipped on the light downstairs, and when I walked past this doorway I saw this shadowy thing from the corner of my eye and almost hit the ceiling because I thought there was a MAN in the kitchen!! Scared me! Then made me cry laughing!

This was the kitchen in our rental house in Ireland . . . We had lots of friends join us here, hope we left the happy dance behind for the next people.

That stove was one of the main reasons I bought Holly Oak; it already felt a little like Mrs. Miniver! And my cutie pie of a new boyfriend was cooking up a storm! It’s Christmas! I can tell by the cards taped to the doorway!

Joe’s a kitchen guy too! Crossword puzzles, sketching out architectural things, cutting pumpkins . . . all in the kitchen.

The kitchen is painted and clean and back together now . . . feels so good! Organized! Bonus, we can use the upstairs bathroom again!

Don’t put this wooden flower back up? Fogeddaboutit.

We washed everything before we put it back, see how shiny? We ran things through the dishwasher, washed the platters and of course my Beatrix Potter figurines by hand, cleaned all the glass on the pictures and in the windows, preparing ourselves for the season… doing our fall cleaning, shining it up for the holidays! I’m excited because we have old friends and family visiting this November! I’m going to make it soooo cozy!

During the fall the house has a hankering for RED, and so does nature . . . so we bring it in… Yes, Jack matches the decor perfectly. Every room needs a touch of black.

So fun to wander through antique stores in the fall!

Joe has collected glass oil lamps for when our lights go out! And I bring in the hydrangeas to dry in the vases. And nature puts the sun behind the trees sending shadows through the windows onto the walls. Everyone doing their part to feed the house.🧡I’ve decided beauty is as necessary to the human heart as air and water. It lightens burdens and fills our souls, all of our souls, no matter our color, our religion, our ways of thinking … mostly it’s free, available to everyone, we know it when we see it, a dish, a sunset, or a tree ~ it can be invisible, the face of innocence, the smell of ironing, or cookies baking ~ it’s something that can come in the smallest package, a shadow, or a hummingbird. Sometimes it’s so tiny and normal we take it for granted ~ like our beloved pets interrupting our work with their charm. But when I see a city in crumbles, and hungry children, where all beauty has been destroyed, I know what that is doing to the people. It’s the saddest part of our human history. Country boundaries mean nothing anymore, the world is very small, and remember what Mark Twain said, “Mark Twain once said, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.” Believing there is hope for the world, despite everything, is the way to make it true. I try every day to keep my mind open, educate myself, stop judging, and cultivate a generous heart. Once I told a friend that I was holding back a story for a future book, and she said, “Give it. Give it all now.”💞

So here’s the next “piece” in the “meal,” about our visit to beautiful Migis (my-gus) Lodge at Lake Sebago ~ I can’t very well go without telling you about it, described perfectly in this 1926 ad in the NY Post they had displayed on a wall.

It’s a camp on the Lake. Everyone in cabins, meals in the Lodge. And they had classes! This class was for Needle Felting. And although people have given me needle-felted gifts, and said, “Oh it’s easy, you just stab wool with a needle . . .”

And I think, even though I trust Kellee to the nth degree, How can that BE?

Just stab wool? Green eyes? Pink in ears? That little ball? No. (Once again, have to say thank you to Suzanne for this adorable gift of Mini Jack.)

Seems impossible, even if you have the perfect model! So I signed up for this class along with 15 other people, both men and women. Inquiring minds want to know. This was my chance to learn how it’s done!!! So, for you from me:


They’d set us up with white wool in front of each seat, and all kinds of colors. The instructor was going to teach us to make a pumpkin. We could make anything, but since my house and I WANTED a pumpkin and I had never done this before, I went for the pumpkin. So first we wadded the white wool into a basic shape, round. No matter what you make, it starts with white. Then, using a special felting needle, you poke it and keep poking it until it takes shape and becomes smaller and harder. The pointed part at the top of the pumpkin is left loose on purpose to hook on the stem. The stem is made separately, everything is, as in Jack’s ears, feet, legs etc. All pieces are made separately with an extra bit sticking off, which is how the bits are attached to the main item, like the tail to the body of a cat for instance.

Here comes the stem, grab a bit of wool, roll tight as you can into a stem shape. Take that needle on the right, lay your stem on that black styrofoam block, and stab it all over a million times until the wool gets smaller, tighter, and begins to take shape. I did the same with the round ball until it took the shape of a pumpkin. But be careful. I think maybe 5 of us stabbed ourselves🩸 ~ that needle is wicked. It’s BARBED. You can’t see it, the barbs are so tiny, but they’re there! The more you stab the wool, the smaller and tighter your pieces get. That big Jack-Kitty, for example, is hard as a rock. But I left my pumpkin a little bit softer and gave it a hard stem.

Colored wools are spread thinly to cover the white,
and lightly stabbed on, more added as needed. Green went onto the stem before I connected it to the pumpkin. We put the pointed, loose part of the pumpkin and the pointed, loose part of the stem together and just start stabbing until they are joined, and then I added the orange. When you want to give ribs to the pumpkin, just start stabbing into it in a line like shown above ~ it just happens. And if you want you can stab darker bits of wool in the ribs. It’s a bit magical. Don’t ask me why. But it works. And you get these cute things!

Mine is the one in the middle. Might cut down on stem size next time! Everyone had something to take home! Mine sits on top of my stove right now!

And look! One girl had her dog with her (her family has been coming here for 33 years so I think she got special permission to bring him) … she took her pumpkin ball and turned it into her dog’s head! Isn’t it darling? She’d never done this before! She was, however, sitting next to the instructor, a bit of genius on her part! She put on the little ears the same way I put on the stem, also the muzzle. Left an extra bit sticking off of chin, and on bowtie, and just stabbed them together to hook them on, and really, it makes them part of the project. It works! All wonderful! So if you’re looking for new fun project to try . . . there you go! I think it would make a very fun party!

All that and this too. Lake Sebago. Clear and sparkling clean as drinking water.

With little flower gardens planted along the shore . . . and little boats in the coves.

I was in the shade, Joe was in the sun, I was taking pictures of course . . . and obviously, so was he!

Good for your soul. Nature is everything. A pure gift.

We walked all over . . . and I began to notice the sun catching something on the ground and making it sparkle, glitter really, like someone had spread glitter everywhere . . .

You can’t really see it in this photo, but this entire walk glitters with big and tiny sparkles . . . it’s everywhere.

Pretty soon I’m trying to take pictures of it…

Which isn’t as easy as it looks, because the sun has to be just right, but you can see a big piece there, and if you look close, there are pops of tiny light all over the place.

So I began to gather it . . . “What is it?” I asked my Morning Science partner in crime, “Mica,” he said. “Never heard of it,” I said. 

Anyway here are a couple of the bigger pieces. It’s really quite amazing. It was on our shoes, we had diamonds on the souls of our shoes . . . I wanted to string it for a necklace. But Joe said it would break the minute I put a hole in it!

And when I got down on the carpet in our room to do my planks, LOOK! The floor sparkles with what we bring in on our shoes!

I brought it home to show you. Then I happened to be looking at ingredients in the kind of make-up that puts tiny bits of sparkle on your cheeks, and guess what what’s in it? Yup. Mica! Unbelievable. I love it when I learn something on vacation. 

Here’s our cabin.

Here’s the woods-walk … all piney and wonderful.

At night we sat on the porch of the lodge to eat dinner ~ pre-dinner cocktails are served out front, a little closer to the lake.

The sunsets were sublime!

The walk back to the cabin at night smelled like every camping trip I took with my parents when I was little. Brought me right back to Yosemite and Sequoia and our campfires under starry skies.

Sun setting through the trees . . .

Loons cry on the lake . . .

Me, our last day, packing, asking Joe if we should take home the roses he brought . . .

Beauty followed us home . . . I took this photograph from our table next to the window at Beach Road restaurant. . .

Celebrating Elaine’s 78th birthday . . . see her little champagne-bottle candle? 🥳 🥳 🥳 🥳

We ate dinner watching the moon rise . . . sooo beautiful!

Here I am getting ready for Martha’s birthday party we had the other night . . . look close at what it says on that napkin in the mums!🤣

Yup, this is us on our walk. I could write so much more, and I will! But not today, we, you and me, have things to DO!!

But before I go, I promised I would make more of these cups, and let you know when I did. We ran out of them too quickly and not everyone who wanted one was able to get a Queen Elizabeth II commemorative cup ~ I designed for a woman so admired for her life of service well-lived. So I’m letting you know! More are coming!

Back by popular demand, coming to a house hear you in January, my Queen Elizabeth II cup, up for presale now!

And a brand new one for a celebration that I think will be going on for the next 3 years as we are coming up quickly to the 250th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence! I remember the 200th! Was a big celebration then, and bound to be even bigger this time.🇺🇸

These are only mockups I made from paper with help of the copier! So they aren’t rich in color as they will be when they are the real thing, but it allows me to show you what they will look like (only better!)♥️

Here’s the handle . . .

The shot heard round the world was fired from a musket in Lexington, MA in 1775 ~ I wrote about our visit there to see a reenactment earlier this year. We LOVED it . . . you might want to make a plan to go to this historical event in 2025 or 2026 . . . I’m sure they will go all out!🧨 Best is to find yourself a place to stay close to Lexington Green before it’s all sold out, but there are events all of April every year, culminating in Patriot’s Day. P.S. Louisa May Alcott’s House is right next door in Concord.😍

So, new pumpkin installed on the shelf of my old stove . . . off we go . . .

. . . heading into the gratitude-filled months of celebrating friends and family, making magic. I had to send you this cute photo made by one of my Instagram girlfriends . . . And remember darling friends, you are everything.❤️It’s ROUGH out there . . . and you can’t take care of others if you aren’t taking care of YOU.💖 All you can do is all you can do. Be happy. Take naps. Send love. 🙏 Make beauty. ❌⭕️

I thought this was so pretty . . don’t just listen, watch . . .💖

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272 Responses to PIECEMEAL

  1. Julia says:

    Hi. Love your cozy kitchen! What’s the name of the paint color in your kitchen? It’s such a nice, calming color.

  2. Mary Ann in Mid-Missouri says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is my favorite kind of blog post; so much kitcheny magic. And I really need this right now, with all the depressing news and heartache in our world. You knew just what we all needed. Bless your heart.

    • sbranch says:

      I get more teary eyed thinking of all our hearts are losing these days, but how MUCH we have. ❌⭕️❌⭕️

  3. Carol in Indy says:

    Oh my goodness, Susan, I needed this so much!!! We all needed this. God bless you for reminding us of these simple beautiful truths.
    You are such a spirit lifter. Now, I’m off to make beauty, be creative and she’d blessings everywhere I go. 💝🎃🍁🍂

  4. Pam B in Ohio says:

    This is my favorite season of the year. Reading your comments brings tears to my eyes and hope to my heart. Thank you, Susan.

  5. Carol Ahlgren says:

    I have been quite low for a few days, could not shake myself out of it. Your new willard was, “ just what the doctor ordered”.

    I have been following you so long, that I remember your last kitchen paint job.

    You are so appreciated and loved.

  6. Jody Wallem says:

    Thank you for posting the “For the Beauty of the Earth” link—so beautiful musically and visually, and we all need those reminders of God’s goodness to us even in the midst of sad and horrific times. Thank you for your upbeat blog which was an uplifting distraction to me today! I’m glad you and Joe had such a lovely time in Maine. I am blessed to have family there to visit. 💕

  7. Oh Susan,
    Thank you so much for your beautiful blog, your spirit, and generosity. The news of the world’s tragedies weighs so heavily, and normally I can balance it all. Alas, Covid finally got me. Took long enough, but I got home from vending at Lambtown Festival (all things fiber, yarn, wool, and sheepie goodness) in Dixon, CA only to test positive. Broke my heart to have unknowingly exposed people. I had been masked in my booth but still. So I’m home from school all week hoping my students can get along with a sub as best they can, and I got to read your blog! It’s such a treasure that you have created for us all. I love that you learned to needle-felt. When I teach all 120+ 6th graders at our school how to do it, I teach them to say, “pokey-pokey-stabby-stabby” as a rhythm to chant which cracks them up. What’s marvelous about this art form is how versatile it is. And how therapeutic. Some of my most neurodivergent kids pick it up so quickly, and it becomes an outlet for their nervous energy. Thank you for the kitchen tour. Once I recover from Covid I’ll find my energy to decorate for the season. For now, it’s rest and plenty of fluids.
    Susan Shirley

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Susan! Covid! I hope you’re all well by now and back to school! We both had it too . . . no lasting effects, but being sick for any reason, is no fun. How great you’re teaching those kids to needle-felt. Fun! Do they poke themselves? Have a wonderful fall season. I know what a good teacher you are and your kids are for sure missing you. Happy fall! 🧡🍁🍂🍁🧡

  8. Janet `Hellmann says:

    Dearest Susan, Your Willards seem to come at a perfect time. I am undergoing treatment for a very curable type of cancer and the treatments are going well and are easy compared to some I have heard of. Fall is always my favorite time of year and your Willards add such a wonderful feeling to it. Thanks so much for the beautiful photos, comments and cat love. I too have a big, fat, tabby who has my heart even though he can be very unpleasant at times. Thanks again for your thoughts, receipes, memories, photos and wonderful outlook on life. You have made my day.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Janet, you are soldiering through. Scary I’m sure, but it sounds like such a good prognosis. Hug that kitty (when he lets you!) and get well soon. Wishing you a happy, healthy Fall!❌⭕️

  9. Julie Borg says:

    Thanks for the beautiful post Susan! You’ve inspired me to autumn up my house! So fresh tablecothes are spread, pumpkins and leaves are scattered, quilts are aired. Time for some tea and a cozy nap!

  10. Maria says:

    Oh, Susan…just what I needed today. The news is so heavy, my heart is breaking for our world today. So different from the one I knew growing up. Thank you for sharing all of the beauty around us. I try to look for the good in every moment…today, it was reading your inspiring words, looking at your beautiful photos & sipping hot coffee in my sun dappled dining room. Wishing you, Joe & Jack the continuation of a wonderful Fall. xo

    • sbranch says:

      We all suffer when so many are dealing with so much unhappiness. It’s hard to hear and worrisome. We can only do our best, it’s all we have, and after that, your dining room sounds just wonderful!!! ❌⭕️

  11. Linda Pulliam says:

    Thank you so very much, today I needed to read all these lovely words. God bless us and hold us in the palms of his hands!💖🌎🌍🌏

  12. Shanon Brugh says:

    Such an encouraging post ❤️ This is our first holiday season in our new house! My husband and I, and our 7 children, moved into a larger house closer to church this past March. We live in northern Illinois but the weather has been mild so the trees are turning slowly. I can’t wait to see how the trees around our house look in the upcoming weeks. Also, Christmas in a new house! We can finally have a big tree and a real, wood burning fireplace. Our house was built in 1952 and has many original features; a laundry chute, arched door frames, the wiring and iffy working furnace 😆 but, oh what a blessing. Dear Susan, if you’re able to reply, please tell me what I should decorate my old house with. I don’t want modern decor here. She (my house) wants “grandma,” decor! And I’m happy to oblige!
    Love, Shanon

    • sbranch says:

      How exciting Shanon, I can hear your happiness through your words! My best advice is try to use what you have, the stuff you love, and when you need something, wander around antique stores first and see if you can find that bowl or baking dish at a better price than new. A 1952 house cries out for old cozy things. What a wonderful Christmas you will have. I hope you get snow! ❌⭕️

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

    Hello Susan, Happy Fall !!! we are having a wonderful Fall season here. the fresh cool air (especially since the fires are now out), the lovely colors and the wonderful scents coming from the kitchen. been busy dealing with yard and garage sales, my FIL passed away Sept. 17th and we just had the memorial and burial services for him, we now have just the garage full of junk to get rid of and the rest of the furniture before we get the house put on the market. my husband has been dealing with the finances, FIL was giving out money left and right to people and not keeping track of who he gave it to and how much. so we are trying to get the finances in order, and straighten out the bank accounts. he never left a will and he cancelled his life insurance policy so we are really trying to get the bank account padded up to pay off his bills . basically he left us a mess to deal with. we have no idea how much he still has to pay on the house or his car, but hopefully we will get it all straightened out. it has been raining here which is good as it helps to put out the fires and gives the trees and plants a good solid drink of water. one of our ducks is broody and sitting on a large batch of eggs, i know it is late in the season but i can’t wait to see the little ducklings when they come. Fall is the season for baking all the wonderful breads, and meals that are hearty and warming. well i have to get going, somebody placed a rooster in a box and left in my husband’s service truck and since we have a rooster already of course he will not tolerate a younger and new rooster in with his hens so he chases the little guy out and i have to go and get him back in the pen, and he is on the loose again so time to go catch him. take care and stay well. Happy Fall everyone. hugs … 😀

    • sbranch says:

      We have taken care of family finances after they have passed (and before) ~ it’s hard to do! My parents were great though, they both had me along as they did their wills and made their wishes known, so much of it was done while they were in good frame of mind. I’m sorry for your loss though. I hope you got that new rooster back. What will you do if you can’t have two? Happy fall to you and yours! 🍁🍂

      • pat addison cave junction, OR) says:

        thank you Susan. we are still trying to untangle the finances, seems he took out the equity in the house and it must be paid back so his mortgage is huge now. we nearly went through the floor when we found out. we are dealing with a realtor to get an appraisal on the house and get it on the market next month. we still have the estate sale to go through but that will be the end of it. as for the little rooster he is back with his original owner, we caught the bird and put him in his box and took him back down to the main bus garage and told the guy to keep his rotten rooster as we did not need him, we have our own rooster. the fact that this person never even asked us is annoying, but to just put the bird in a box and dump him into the back of my husbands’ service truck was too much so we returned the bird and told him if he ever tried that again we would return the bird to him again, only dead!!! i had enough of chasing that bird around and trying to get him back into the pen and i was pretty ticked off with this guy. as for the mess FIL left for us, whew we are still working on it and hopefully when the death certificate comes we can more info from that bank in the meanwhile we are talking to an attorney about trying to find out who got what and how much from FIL. it only seems right that these people pay back the loans to the estate. got to go, cats to play with and eggs to collect. Happy Fall everyone. hugs ….. 😀

        • sbranch says:

          Time solves everything, sooner or later! Good luck Pat!!

          • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

            thank you Susan!!! we are trying to get this all done. i just cannot believe his dad left us in such a mess, it is almost like he did not care one bit about his family!!!

  14. Jean Lederer says:

    Susan…Your letter arrived in my email just when I needed you snd your raw and real description of self ! I am not alone in my buzzing around fall cleaning ! You reflected my own frazzled state today ! Autumn is my favorite time of year as I adore the colors it brings.
    I was a teacher. I purchase a new box of Crayola 8 pack crayons to celebrate childhood hsppy days nostalgia! My recent practice of Wednesday’s Child is Full of Woe Be Gone with my inner child has encouraged me to pick up a paintbrush again– after a 45 year hiatus and portfolio set aside from a four year sequence in printing making as a high schooler. I am
    painting beach and big backyard rocks from a “framed ” thirty six year collection of them, remnants, of an above ground pool , long gone, but now an alien space to touch down on earth! E.T. , phone home, please? Our family of we six over the past 35 years loved that pool as did our corgi , Herschel! We have lived in our humble, Home Sweet three – bedroom , fifties ranch HOME for 36 years now. Decorated in cottage -y .country motif, we are so similar , Susan , in our interior decorating taste! And lovely collecting of glass jars! Sister Linen Queens, too! Best to you, beloved Joe , and Captain Jack! You , dear pen pal, to we girlfriends, made my day and uplifted me so! Love you lots, Susan!🍁📚🌞🏕️ 🦋⭐️🇺🇸

  15. Sally Jenks Roth says:

    Thank you, Susan, for yet another lovely post! So much to enjoy… and I love my “Queen Cup”!
    I had a stove like these in my first-ever house (which had lots of mica nearby). It was gas, 4 burners with a warming plate in the middle. It had an oven large enough to roast two large turkeys side by side, and a broiler underneath. I was very sad to leave it (and that house after 26 years), it never needed repairs and worked during frequent power outages! I love peeking at all the kitchens, and your photos taken in Maine, your walks and shadows on the walls and much much more!

  16. Patti Londre says:

    My dad worked for O’Keefe & Merritt when I was a little kid. You’d never think something so old fashioned cool would be headquartered in Los Angeles! … and mica? When you walk at very low tide in Long Beach (CA), the ocean sand is super-fine, black and flecked with golden mica.

  17. Ann Woleben says:

    In this weary old world, it takes courage to watch the news each morning. Thank you for bringing beauty to us and for reminding us to create beauty. As I write this, the afternoon sun is casting its warmth through the trees and spreading its diamonds on our lake. Prayers for all those innocent victims here and throughout the world who perhaps can’t find or create beauty in this moment.

  18. Jenny Betters says:

    I love your autumanl colored sneakers! Can you tell me what they are so I can buy a pair? Happy Fall! xx Jenny

  19. Betsy says:

    Thank you Susan for this posting, I sure needed it. I’m heartbroken over the state of the world and our country. The extremism, the hatred, the politicians I have no faith in. Everyone seems out for themselves. Years ago a friend told me that this earth would be a better place without humans. At the time I couldn’t understand how he could feel so negative. I get it now.

  20. Ann Y. says:

    A wonderful cozy post ! I love the idea of leaving a little bit of happiness behind in the places we lived. I always wrote a note about who we are, when we lived there, etc. and would hide it somewhere ( behind a medicine cabinet, under the eaves, somewhere someone might find it years in the future). Yes, you can feel the magic and family in old things. I have a cut glass cake stand that my grandmother ( who I never met) bought for my Aunt Ann ( who I also never met…she died when my father was a teenager) because she loved to bake and made a cake each Saturday and her mother thought she should have a nice plate to put it on. It must be 100 years old now. I just had lunch for my sister and niece recently and made my sister’s favorite dessert – carrot cake. As I placed it on this cake stand I thought of the women I never met and how I was following in their footsteps. Magic. It is a terrible time in our world…beyond belief. But making a cozy dinner, sharing homemade muffins with neighbors, going for a walk and noticing nature somehow keep us sane. Thanks again for all your great ideas, Susan!

  21. Cheryl Van de Casteele says:

    Oh dear Susan, thank you so much for this beautiful post. It is exactly what I needed today. With love from the heart of our home to yours, Cheryl

  22. Christine Anderson says:

    Loved it all! I love everything about kitchens and love working in them with wonderful tools and equipment and making delicious things to share and eat!
    We need to learn to love each other more!!


  23. Samantha (Nova Scotia) says:

    I haven’t replied to your blog in quite some time. Feeling discouraged about the world today this was a breath of fresh air. I feel the resolve again to make my own corner of the world beautiful for the people around me. Thank you…so beautiful.

  24. Beverly+Armani says:

    I hope you know the joy you bring….Maine was always on my bucket list…finally got to Ogunquit a few years ago..would love to explore every inch!!! Our family owned a camp for over 60 years where we spent every summer…don’t have it anymore, but oh, the memories…
    And don’t get me started on kitchens!!! They really are the heart of the home!
    Thank you, Susan…and Joe and Jack…
    Happy Fall…Happy Halloween!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Although we never had a “camp” … we did have a wonderful camping “spot.” So I understand the dreaminess of your memories. There is nothing like a campfire in the dark, under the stars, high up in the pines, with your family, when you are a child. Unforgettable!💖💖💖

  25. Gail Sergewich says:

    Omg. Saw you sent a pumpkin bookmark to us and I tried to save it. Can you send to me. Thanks in advance. Gsergewich@ comcast.net

  26. Marlana says:

    Happy Autumn! You always inspire me! Thank you! 🍁🍁🍁
    Have a healthy and blessed Autumn!

  27. Nancy says:

    A most beautiful post …..especially the hymn….thank you Susan! Happy Fall!

  28. Beverlee Moreno-Ring says:

    Well that was a wonderful, much needed, joyful post during these sad times. Thank you Susan! And thank you for bringing the Queen Elizabeth cup back for those who didn’t get one. I thought I ordered it the first time but didn’t press pay!!!! I was so disappointed to find I had not ordered one. This time I pressed pay!!! Enjoy the rest of this beautiful fall. Xoxoxo ❤️Beverlee

  29. Jaime Evans says:

    Love it when you feature your stove! Please tell more stove stories-how you got it, what you like best about it, etc. We have a very similar model OKM except ours is a single oven. Everyone in our family loves it, and it is the heart of our 1907 kitchen! Hubs recently replaced the oven door springs which was a very interesting job! You might like the book “Bungalow Kitchens” by Jane Powell. Don’t let the title fool you its filled with gorgeous pictures of turn-of- the-century to the 1930s and even early 40s kitchens! I get so inspired to decorate by this book and it reminds me so much of your taste! Thanks for the bloggy post!

    • sbranch says:

      There can never be too many kitchen pictures as far as I’m concerned. Such inspiration! Thanks for the book suggestion!💖

  30. Brenda says:

    Oh how I enjoyed this!!! I savored every word and picture ❤️

  31. Marilyn says:

    Thank you for a much needed escape. Stay well.

  32. Sara Brankaer says:

    Thank you for this beautiful letter (your posts feel like letters from a friend). I discovered your blog quite a few years back, and you really helped me embrace my romantic, granny side even more. My husband often jokes that I was a grandmother at heart even when I met him. Iwas quilting, baking, gardening and making my student room into my cottage, even in my twenties. I put thick layers of moss and hyacinths on my window sill in spring and hung garlands of brightly coloured leaves in the window for autumn. I always felt a bit weird, but here I feel surrounded by girlfriends who love the same things!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes you are. Making a nest is so much fun! I’ve been doing it here all morning, cutting nasturtiums for my kitchen window shelf, hanging fall bunting, and soon I’m going to organize my poor studio. Love playing house! ❌⭕️

  33. Debby says:

    It’s true autumn is the best season. Am loving each day, even the rainy ones. Was wondering how your friend Carrie is doing. She has not posted since April, and I really miss her. Enjoy the cozy days ahead. ❤️Debby

  34. Mary Huff says:

    Oh Susan,
    What a breath of sweet fresh air, to open my email and see this sweet Willard from you! Just what we all need during these stressful, sad days in the world. Thank you for always being so uplifting, you are a blessing to so many people in the world!

  35. Tami says:

    Great post, just curious, are you getting a chance to work on Enchanted in all your free time? (You mentioned that you were considering finding a literary agent, I hope it worked out for you.) Just kidding about the free time, my husband retired six months ago and we moved into our, hopefully, forever dream home but we’ve been so busy we haven’t had time to do the things we planned on doing. Turns out our retirement is exhausting, and yet there is time to come and lots of scope for imagination. Now, if the world could just right itself.

    • sbranch says:

      I think I’m going to soon, as soon as I read all these comments, I will have the first chance in a long time to give it a try!!! I looked into the box of everything and got a chill… it’s very exciting to think of. I have the 2025 calendars all done!!! Very early! Now if I don’t get bitten by a tick, or depressed by a pandemic, I might just have time!!!👏👏👏👏👏🥳🥳🥳🥳🥳

  36. Martha Lane says:


  37. Gail Risden says:

    Susan, Loved every bit of this-such fun to read. I was sad when my bluebird cup got a crack but now it still adorns my kitchen. I put a measuring cup set in it , set it on top of the oatmeal cannister and see it daily. I love my Queen E cup but did not get to order the one celebrating England . Wish you would do more of it? Thanks Susan for making life brighter. Love,Gail

  38. Jean Burns says:

    Thank you Susan for a beautiful and uplifting post. Autumn in New England is such a
    a lovely and colorful time of year. I have your book Autumn on display with pumpkins leaves etc.The hymn at the
    end is wonderful. Jean 🌻🍁🌻

  39. Ann says:

    What an amazing post – but they all are. They put me in such a fantastic mood, to see the beauty of everything!!! Oh how I miss the old kitchens – and all but one had NO island! I feel like the island made the kitchen cold. All the kitchens make my heart go pitter patter. I too, when I painted my kitchen loved the cleaned up look when everything was gone, but like you said, sometimes. Then you want to go back to bringing the self into it. Gosh… I just love those kitchens. Also, we have an old mica mine near me. If I quad ride out a bit, it’s everywhere. Pretty cool stuff, don’t you think?

    • sbranch says:

      There’s been a sort of cookie-cutter kitchen design these last years, especially on HGTV! I like the old ones that had real furniture in the room. I see them mostly in English houses or in ones like The Hancock House in Lexington, MA … in the way back machine. Fun to “make your own” …

  40. Denise Hyde says:

    Thank you, dear Susan, for your much-needed post!! Our hearts go out to the many people who are suffering and dying. As one of the instructors in Silver Sneakers’ Mindfulness & Meditation sessions just said, “We are all human beings.”

    • sbranch says:

      And with everything that can go wrong… it’s hard to admit to the human-being part . . . but that’s it, that’s all we are, and the one thing we all have in common, if we’re lucky, is choice. We get to choose it all!💖

  41. Barbara from Wolverine Lake MI says:

    Wonderful blog post. Your kitchen looks beautiful with all the fresh paint and everything “Just So” 🙂 I just returned from an amazing event with girlfriends. We went to Joliet Illinois to a Witches Night Out with hundreds and hundreds of women dressed up in gorgeous creative witch costumes. the event was held at an historic mansion and is so popular that they sell-out 2 nights in a row. They had music, DJs, dancing, food, wine, any sort of drink you can imagine, vendors selling Halloween things to wear or to decorate, raffle drawings, and costume contests. I wasn’t sure what to expect but this was over the top and proved without a doubt that “girls just wanna have fun!!”. Can you just picture this: hundreds of witches singing when the DJ played Whitney Houston, I Wanna Dance With Somebody – at the top of their lungs 🙂 So much fun to attend this!

  42. Sandi in Plymouth says:

    We all need positive thoughts in this current world of woe. Bless you for sharing your ideas and way of life, I know many want to be just like you! Autumn is my favorite time of year because of all the changes. The flowers die but come back in the color of the leaves! We just went apple picking with our children and grandchildren so I’ll have to make the apple crisp you shared! Best to you and Joe and of course that darling kitty Jack!

    • sbranch says:

      You will love that apple crisp Sandi … I no longer feel the cranberries are optional though, try to put them in. Frozen is fine!❤️

  43. Debbie+Clardy says:

    Lovely and heartwarming, Susan. Thank you.

  44. Jennifer Farnes says:

    If you want to see the most perfect kitchen . . . with the accompanying conservatory . . . watch Practical Magic. A perfect movie for this time of year. I want that kitchen and conservatory so bad. I always have to rewind the film and then pause just to look at every part of it. Sigh.

    • sbranch says:

      Totally agree, love it! I love that movie, so charming, think I will go look for it now, great for watching while reading these luv-lee comments from the best Girfriends EVAH! ❌⭕️

  45. Jacqueline+Caron says:

    I always look forward to seeing another ‘Willard’ post. Enjoyed this one, and found your words so touching – and read this one with my cuppa tea in my QEII china mug and a little bowl of fresh made Apple Crisp ( your recipe! ). Like so many others – this is truly my favorite season/time of year. Enjoyed seeing the pics of your visit to Sebago Lake – I live not 30 minutes from where you were – and we have a home on LITTLE Sebago Lake in Windham ME. (Big) Sebago Lake is so big (with about 4 towns sitting on it’s edges!) Glad your kitchen was put back together in time for all the fall/winter gatherings. Happy Fall Season to you, Joe and Jack. Wondering if you will have any other mugs when you have the Independence one for sale. Would love for you to bring back some of the older ones – I want to add the Jack in the Books and Love mug to my collection.

    • sbranch says:

      Write Kellee at kellee@susanbranch.com, and register your vote for cup designs to reprint … that way when it comes time we can see what we can do! You live in a beautiful part of the world Jacqueline!🍂🍁🍁🍁

  46. Sandra Walton says:

    How wonderful to read your news and share those amazing photos of Maine…it certainly is so beautiful,.. your felted pumpkin is perfect..what an achievement…we certainly need to be so thankful for so many things…water ..light ..heat ..your words are perfect for today when we read of so much sadness and grief in peoples lives. Thank you Susan…light the candles and enjoy the cosy nights in October. Sending love and prayers. Sandra from Bournville UKx

  47. Barbara Anne says:

    What a delightful Willard and I thank you for taking the time to write it for us, recipe, felting instructions, and wonderful photos, quotations, and all!

    A worthy quote:
    “Life is a short walk from cradle to grave and it sure behooves us to be kind to one another along the way.” – Alice Childress

    I, too, love this time of year, with autumn quilts on my walls, a cranberry coffee cake in the cake tin, and both tea and hot chocolate at the ready!

    May peace prevail on Earth.


  48. JoAnn Plummer says:

    Dear Susan, It’s been so hard to find joy in the last weeks. You helped me open my heart to the miracles that are still around us. Thank you for the reminder.

    • sbranch says:

      Our job to keep living, and do the things other folks would love the chance to do. We do it for them.💖

  49. sharon taylor says:

    I’m not sure where to start my comments because this was a very full post. I think the beautiful Hymn because my sister was a Mormon who passed away a year ago October 25 would have loved hearing this. It brought tears remembering her. Thank you. Regarding the kitchens. I love kitchens and am amazed at the size of the ones you showed. They are fairly small and how on earth do the Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter dinners get prepared with hardly any counter space. The one kitchen I remembering growing up was small and looking back I’m wondering how my mother was able to prepare these huge dinners. And we had no dishwasher so everything had to be hand washed by the women while the men lounged in the living room – lol. Thank you Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so sorry, losing your sister, you have made me cry.💞 Some things are just something and we don’t know what. My mom’s kitchen was so tiny. I didn’t think so when I was young, but the pictures I have tell a totally different story!! ❌⭕️❌ Love to you and your memories.

  50. Melissa says:

    Thank you for this lovely Blog post: Autumn, beauty, kitchens, food, cozy, outside, love, friends, music, and God’s creation.

  51. RuthW in MD says:

    I’m pretty sure the new, modern fridges are frost-free, even though they look old-fashioned! Thank you so much for the beautiful pictures of your stay in Maine. They were very comforting to my heart today. I remember camping with my family in the Sequoias! I wish I could read the words on the napkin in the bouquet of flowers – but the picture won’t enlarge when I click on it. Everything else is just lovely to look at. I like your beautiful new painted kitchen, and the corded yellow telephone on the wall. I hope there isn’t any more of that old pipe hidden in the walls of your home. Best Wishes!

  52. Eileen Nielsen says:

    First of all, can’t believe you didn’t recognize mica! 🤗 I grew up in Lexington Mass. and we were always collecting it when we were kids. The reenactment in Lexington just ALWAYS stirred my soul! To see the Red-Coats march out of the fog was spine tingling! My house was a 10 min walk from the Green. I went to h.s. in Concord. Was in L.M. Alcott is house soooo many times I could do the tours! To this day she is my favorite author. I collect copies of Little Women. I have a beautiful one by Marjolin Bastein(sp?). Now I live in yucky, polluted, boring. S.E. Michigan.😑 At least I will be buried back in Lexington. Thanks for the beautiful blog!

    • sbranch says:

      We didn’t have it where I grew up . . . and not here on the island either. I’ve just never noticed it before … What a wonderful place to grow up Eileen. YES, the redcoats in the fog 🫣, that early morning, spine tingling! Felt like we were there. You need a trip home. xoxoxo

  53. Sharon Henson says:

    What a lovely edition of Willard! You are such an inspiration. My family is from Maine and in summer my grandfather would rent a cabin on Sebago Lake. We’d drive up from Virginia and spend wonderful days rowing on the lake. That was in the late 60’s when I was a teenager. Have a blessed fall season❤️

    • sbranch says:

      That peace, that fragrance of the pines, the star-filled nights, the campfires, will keep you in good stead your whole life long. Lucky childhood, wonderful memories!👏👏👏

  54. Deanna T. says:

    Dear Susan…you have so blessed me with this post. My heart is healed and I am hopeful that we can each find the beauty in us and each other. I love autumn and my cozy home with fall decorations and family coming in the door. Home is our refuge and gives us strength to live life in spite of all the turmoil in our world. God Bless!

  55. Susie Durrschmidt ~ LI, NY says:

    This post really touched my heart. Thank you. You help us focus on what we need each day, in our lives, in our homes, on this earth. We need to stay close to each other. I loved your Maine get away and the wonderful felt pumpkin you made. Wow! Adorable! Just like you! Hugs to you, Joe, Jack and you, too, girlfriends! xo

  56. Nancy+B. says:

    So many memories! I remembered “putting a bug in her ear” for Suzanne to invite you to Strawberry Patches for a book signing of A Fine Romance. It was there when she gave you the felted “Jack”. What a wonderful day that was when I first met you.🥰. I loved seeing all the beautiful kitchens and reading about your trip to Maine. You wouldn’t recognize me now. I’m 84 and have lost a lot of weight! 😊.
    Happy Autumn,
    Nancy (from Bakersfield)

    • sbranch says:

      Yes Nancy!!!! Ohhh, I haven’t forgotten. I have such wonderful memories of that day, meeting you, and everyone. And lots of pictures to remind me! What an adorable store that was! Love hearing from you, as always! 💖💖💖

  57. Tracy says:

    Yes the world is crazy but I have pulled out your beautiful Autumn book and feel cozy and inspired.
    Thank you for sharing beautiful ideas, artwork and stories with us.

  58. Christie+Levin says:

    Hi Susan, Love this and looking forward to re-reading tomorrow morning (you always help me get off to the hyggiest start to my Saturday mornings at home)!
    I love all photos of you and Joe together SO MUCH!!! The selfie of you two cuties on the beach in Maine is darling and just makes me smile right back at you. I’ve not visited Maine yet, but the story & photos of your trip are making me yearn to head east immediately.
    It is Friday afternoon here at my office in Roseville, CA, and I’m taking a little break with the headphones on listening to ‘Autumn music’ via YouTube. Some links are really rich in autumnal coziness and making me think of you. I found a link to “Relaxing Vintage Autumn Music Playlist” where songs about fall are sung by folks like Nat King Cole, Artie Shaw, the Mills Brothers, and Frank Sinatra (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmufVpIWucc) And the next link will take you to “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown Ambience & Music” (instramental only) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YMr5GCGI70 ~ Vince Guaraldi’s music for the Peanut specials has the magic I love for fall days.
    Sending you and Joe lots of love with this little message xoxoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Listening to music, I should say MUSICA, such beauty! Thank you for the links! Love back to you Christie!💖

    • Tawni Urrutia says:

      Good morning Christie! Thank you for sharing the magical music links. I’m listening right now. Love to you from your neighbor in Lodi🥰
      Tawni Urrutia

      • Christie+Levin says:

        Hello Neighbor! I’m so happy that we can share music with each other this way, Tawni! What a genius idea Susan had to provide MUSICA with her fantabulous Willards. No matter how many times I put the headphones on and turn the YouTube dial to a site streaming lovely MUSICA I still feel a little surprised at how much the music lifts my mood, enhancing my experiences and adding a rich ‘background’ to my working day.
        Lodi is only an hour south of Sacramento, and I used to drive there to visit my granddaughter when she worked at a cherry processing facility during her college summer breaks. What a pretty countryside to live in with all the fruit trees and extensive farms! Sending kindred spirit love right back to you, Tawni. 💞

        • Tawni Urrutia says:

          Christie, we had a Halloween party on Saturday for 10 little people and their parents and grandparents. And we played your music the whole time!it was just perfect! Isn’t it so wonderful the village Susan has created here for us? I hope you have a lovely autumn Sunday!🎃🍂

  59. Kimberly Young says:

    Hello Susan,
    Just needed that Willard today. There are just not words to sooth all the pain in the world right now. To keep equilibrium, I just try to do the simple things you so kindly remind us of, light candles, drink tea, do my work , cook, walk the dog and try to save the news for mid-day after I’m fortified with tea and toast and never before bed because all those thoughts just want to camp out all night and that is not a good thing when one is trying to recharge. Home is truly a sanctuary, and I don’t think I’ve ever been more quietly thankful for it in my life. Made a big pot of lentil soup this week and it just felt so good to do something simple, and real. Making a pot of soup ( or a cake!) is grounding don’t you think? Especially if you’re going to share it with people! ( and it makes the house smell wonderful)
    Your Maine Vacation looked like charm times 10! So glad you and Joe took the time to recharge. Nothing better than Piney air, sparkling water and amazing sunsets. I am so happy that you seem to have fully recovered from your tick bite….that was a tiny bit scary!
     Take care dear Sue, Hugs from N.C.

    • sbranch says:

      I so agree with you. It’s always the simple things we come back to. There are probably many people in the world who would give anything to just make a pot of soup in a clean kitchen. Thank you Kim!

  60. Jane T. says:

    You are my experience of beauty today. Reading a Willard is like entering a special world bathed in love and grace. Thank you for the peace you bring.

  61. Kathy Madigan says:

    Thank you so much! Loved this Willard!Wishing you a beautiful Autumn!
    Praying for peace for our world.

  62. Melissa from Julia's Bookbag says:

    DEAREST Susan! What a gift of a post – THANK YOU. Absolutely loved seeing all of these kitchens. I realized that after planning a little pile of ‘spooky season’ books I was going to read this autumn – I cannot read anything that might induce anymore anxiety, not with what is happening in the world right now. So I will be reading YOUR books, and old favorites, and fairy tales, and a new gorgeous edition of ‘Persuasion” I just got a few days ago.

  63. Kathy says:

    This was heartwarming, every bit!!

  64. Connie+Rose+Woehler says:

    Susan, What a great vacation you and Joe had! I have never heard of needle felting. So glad to learn about it… your pumpkin is so sweet! And the hymn was amazing!

  65. Cathy L - So Calif says:

    I enjoyed seeing the kitchens. It was lovely to see all of them. And as different as they all are, they are the same in the warmth they send to us.

  66. Karen+Horrigan says:

    Love every bit of this Willard-so cozy, so comforting-just what we need right now. I so agree with Jody’s comment. Always keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. Susan-have you ever heard John Rutter’s version of “For the Beauty of the Earth”? We had it at our wedding-absolutely glorious! It’s also on You Tube.

  67. Pat Harmon says:

    I love reading your blogs. They carry me away from the everyday, yet they are exactly about the everyday! You bring out the beauty of them. We are so blessed. My husband turned into a baker when Cvd started wreaking havoc. He now bakes pies for our 9 grandkids’ birthdays. He baked his first and only chocolate Angel food cake for my birthday. It was perfect! May you and yours have a blessed happy holiday season❤️

    • sbranch says:

      Covid brought out ALL KINDS OF THINGS. Most of them, in the long run, I hope, will turn out to be blessings, like a whole bunch of chocolate angel food cakes.💞 xoxo

  68. Deb H says:

    Thank you, Susan! Love, love, love!!! xxoo

  69. Ginny Evans says:

    I concur with everyone else above–thank you for bringing us back to beauty and gratitude during this time. (That hymn was wonderful-I grew up singing that and love it). Thank you for random fun fall things, photos and lovely thoughts that keep us centered on what is of value. Your posts are always a little glimpse of heaven.

  70. Nancy Hauge says:

    Another lovely, heartfelt Willard from my girl and fellow Reseda dweller of the 50s..I was on Tunney Ave across the street from Tunney Ave school…’52 to ’60. Skate boards made with our old roller skates and a board and then we would build handle bars from smaller old boards..skate board/skooter. We were inventive in those days. Wonderful old memories of milk man and of course the bread man would come by and we could buy donuts from him! Calls Pharmacy and the Piggly Wiggly a couple blocks away. Gold.

    • sbranch says:

      👏👏👏 I lived on those orange plastic chairs at Calls in the summer, in their delicious drug-store air-conditioning, reading their magazines and comic books!🤣 And “The Pig” was our stop and shop on our way home from Shirley Avenue Grammar School. You must have run into SOME of us in your travels back then, free as birds, riding our bikes everywhere! Valley Girls before Valley Girl was cool! Our mailman’s name was “Breezy.” Donuts, fresh made at the Pig, were 6¢ ~ cokes at the snack bar were 10¢! Life, as plain and simple a life as could possibly BE. xoxo

  71. Ann Randleas says:

    Thank you for your post! I’m fortunate to have a 1942 Wedgewood stove that came in the house my ex-husband and I bought in 1976. It’s been a blessing during power outages, and I’m always able to cook on this amazing workhorse.

  72. Laura Brown says:

    Kitchen, we should sing the word. Kitch🎶 ennn 🎵. The place where souls, hearts, and tummies are fed. The heart and heartbeat of our homes. Walking back through yours, with you, from California to Martha’s Vineyard, makes me want to scour the old photos and frame a picture from each kitchen we’ve loved and lived in. Hmmm…this blog fed my heart in a special way and reminded me of the beauty we abide in each day. It’s a beauty I need to pause and cherish, as well as nourish, by paying better attention to the details. The old nails from yours, so a part of your home, kept for future home ‘abiders’. Sigh. Lovely.

  73. Jen Pen says:

    Thank you for the quotes especially. I see some Jewish authors and feel even more inspired knowing the horrors on my screens. I am also seeing beauty in the tiniest of nature. We can live our best lives knowing others would want us to do so. Lifting others up in thought and deed. I love your wee pumpkin. I made a jack o lantern out of molding clay. Just went for it. Tea light inside. So fun. Be brave creators y’all. Be grateful and LOVE. Thank you Susan for the peace found in your works. ❤️

  74. Jacque Fisher says:

    Nothing better on this Saturday morning than settling in with a cup of tea and the latest Willard! I so loved looking closely at all the pics of kitchens “across the years.” Glad yours is back together, all clean and spiffed up for autumn and the coming holidays! I just love all your knick-knacks and seasonal decorations, but I can’t help but think, “What a nightmare to keep everything clean and dusted!” Everything in our sweet little Victorian house gets terribly dirty from all the wood-burning, but I’m trying to find the silver lining when I DO dust: I get to pick up my own precious knick-knacks and really look at them closely and appreciate each one, and that brings joy! Which brings to mind a favorite quotation I’m trying to embrace more often: “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change…” How true! Happy autumn, Susan!

    • sbranch says:

      And I bet they become beautiful!💖 Which you might notice comes directly from YOU!!! Isn’t that WONDERFUL?😃

  75. Mary Prendergast says:

    I just sat down at my computer on this chilly rainy day and was so happy to find this Willard. Thank you so much for sending us this lovely letter. As always, I wasn’t ready for it to end.

  76. Cindy says:

    I, too, have an October birthday. I have always loved autumn. I look forward to your Williard.

  77. Georganna says:

    Always love your beautiful posts! Reading your comments about beauty reminded me of Dostoevsky’s quote from “The Idiot” (a bit heavy but …), “Beauty will save the world.” But I reckon you’re probably already familiar w this one — being the quote master and all — truly! And I’ve also been watching/listening to Roger Scruton’s (among others) fascinating discussions on this topic on YouTube lately — so interesting.
    Happy Fall! 🍁💛🍃🍂🧡

    • sbranch says:

      Beauty would save the world if people would put it first… It’s a gift from God to anyone who sees it, a stairway to heaven for those dedicated to making it for others.💖

  78. Minette says:

    PS-My birthday is in October as well!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s everyone’s Birthday! Happy Birthday Minette!

      • Minette says:

        Thank you so much! I’m afraid my original post did not go through-hence the Post Script! But to summarize, thank you so much for the inspiring post and words of wisdom! I always find solace and inspiration in the Willard’s you post and loved the link to the “For the Beauty of the Wotld .” I will bookmark it and send to loved ones at Thanksgiving! Thank you again for such positive perspectives! Happy Autumn!

        • sbranch says:

          It went through Minette, I remember I answered it . . . but thank you so much for the sweet post script! Happy Autumn!🍂🍁🍂

  79. Debbie says:

    Thank you so much for this beautiful and uplifting post! You are an inspiration for me. May you have a lovely and blessed autumn!

  80. Therese says:

    This is the only form of sculpting that I know of that can be done in a comfy chair on a cold winter night with my feet up. I love the way I can build the form and, THE COLORS! the way one can layer the colors!
    It travels as easily, as most needlework does, and requires no messy clean-up.
    .Perfect for a housebound or bed-ridden artist or just one who is sedentary.
    The focus required is truly meditative. Like all the arts, it is a pathway into the here and now. a present into presence..
    Thanks for another gift, dear Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      So true Therese, the MOST amazing kind of sculpting I can imagine, forming something out of the air! And as for your other comment, pure loveliness. Our sisterhood means the world. We need it so much. Thank you…❌⭕️

  81. Debby says:

    Hi Susan, I’m having problems with your blog, your responses didn’t show up until this morning and then there were only 91 and my response was not shown. Actually it said there were 91 responses but I only saw one page worth. Hmmm…I was wondering how your friend Carrie from Wales was doing. Her last Twitter post was from April. Have you talked with her lately? Really enjoyed your kitchen pics. Debby

    • sbranch says:

      Try refreshing. I answered you … I remember your question about Carrie . . . I haven’t spoken to her lately, I need to do that, would enjoy a catch up!! Thank you for the reminder! ❌⭕️

  82. Gail Yard says:

    It is a rainy cool day here in Pennsylvania. We were out this morning watching my granddaughter play soccer for her high school. Still trying to warm up, but reading your latest post has helped. I started reading it yesterday…but reread and just finished it. Thank you for bringing a bit of joy to us all. We can all be kind to each other, and hope that like the ripples in the pond it will spread around the world. You are certainly doing your part!! Happy Fall!

  83. Elizabeth Phelps says:

    I have been enjoying your blog for many years. Thank you for your inspiring words, thoughts, and pictures!! Your blog brings joy to my heart every time.
    Question: I’m getting ready to paint my bedroom and was wondering what Benjamin Moore paint color you used when you repainted your living room?
    Thank you for your reply.

  84. Marti Downs says:

    How I needed this “Piecemeal Willard!” I think it was one of your all time best. I have been going through my Autumn book again. I plan on making the Apple Crisp this very afternoon after I go to the store. I wish you could make another Fall/Autumn/Harvest bookmark without Halloween. Yes, we do celebrate Halloween and I will print copies of the bookmark (thank you so much!) but I’d love one that is a regular fall one…in fact, maybe you could do one for every season and sell them as a set. I do have the bookmarks you are selling and also have some saved from the past. I already have my calendar for 2024 for the wall and my pocket calendar for my purse. I will have my husband order the Queen Elizabeth cup for my Christmas present.
    Your Willard today was a blessing and so are you!

  85. Melanie R says:

    I love all the cozy kitchens – yours included, of course! Lovely color for your kitchen…looks like a greenish-blue. I recognized the white and red kitchen with the cherries sign immediately. That belonged to Tina Johnson of Cherry Hill Cottage. She lives in a new house now, but I loved her charming little kitchen. OK, now I want to go play in my kitchen and rearrange some things!


  86. Shannon(Pennsylvania) says:

    Thank you, dear heart, for your piecemeal post..for kitchens and kitties, felted pumpkins and mica, hubby’s with the knees of 6 year olds…by the way, why do ours never age that well!…for old nails and wooden flowers, and mostly for sharing your kind, compassionate, caring spirit. Indeed it is rough out there, more so than any other time in my 77 years. I’ve found it hard to keep from bursting into tears and to even to catch my breath over the wretched news these past few days. It makes me sick, but your post was a balm for my ragged spirit today. Thank you, too, for sharing the beautiful For the Beauty Of The Earth. Some pieces of music can break our hearts and heal them at the same time. I think of Ashokan Farewell by Doc and the Lady that you told us about years ago, and of Going Home preformed by Yo-Yo Ma. They both have that ability. Much love to you❤️

  87. Carla Ludwig says:

    Oh Susan, I just love your Kitchen….always have. It just drips with coziness! I couldn’t believe you did your first felting! I just did felting for the first time too a few weeks ago. I made a pumpkin and a little sheep, I called him Pete the pitiful Sheep. LOL. I showed it on my YT Channel but made sure people knew it was NOT a tutorial. haha. Happy Fall, and yes, saying prayers and sending positivity out into our World.

  88. Karen says:

    Susan –

    What a lovely posting – cozy! *and my husband would never let me take a picture of his knees – so kudos to Joe for being a ‘cover guy’!

    I just finished Hilarie Burton Morgan’s book, ‘Grimoire Girl’ and she says the most lovely things about you – you being her inspiration from a little girl – to now! Your lifestyle she adores . . . You probably already know about it – but it bears repeating:) Embrace Fall! (and I know you do:)

    • sbranch says:

      Humph! I have never heard of that book! That’s pretty sweet! Will have to look for it ~ thank you Karen, and Happy Fall!🍂🍁🍂

  89. Nan says:

    Thank you for sharing all the lovely photos, and your way with words. Ah, fall.
    I enjoy bringing out your Autumn book and getting totally immersed. It’s 4 o’clock on a Saturday and I’m settling down with a caramel apple herbal tea and Mrs. Miniver. Making the best of times in the worst of times. Praying for our world. We all share this big blue marble. Wish we could all be happy and healthy and safe from harm.

  90. Treese says:

    The beautiful October post made me happy. It’s not just because I am a Halloween Baby-Mother Nature just seems to want to show off all her finery in Fall and especially October. In fact, she turns into a downright hussy. I will be making plans to go to Lake Sebago next year after reading about it. We are getting ready to leave on Monday to go to Lake Champlain in Vermont. I hear most of the tourists are gone and there is still plenty of color.
    I owned a house and lived in New Castle Upon-Tyne for a few years. I too love the English countryside and the Brits. But my beloved Colorado Rockies called me home. We still have many friends in England and next year several will be coming state side to visit. I have quite a collection of commemorative cups from my friends- celebrating Queen Elizabeth, Charles and Di’s wedding as well as William and Kate’s. I have an old antique cabinet devoted to little bits and bobs as well as my precious cups.
    In the past when your latest cups arrive, I order right away or have preordered. The one I was so waiting for was the Queen’s Cup. I assumed there would be more than enough. I assumed WRONG. When I went to order they were all gone. I was crushed. Then last month-early September I was checking your little “Shopping” site as I often go looking for a little gift or such. There was a Queen’s Cup beckoning me! I could not believe my eyes. I immediately ordered it and when it arrived it was everything I imagined. It is so exquisite and designed by a Yank! Now over the years I have learned to use and enjoy my treasures. Sadly, my precious Queen’s Cup was whisked away and put in the place of honor in my British Treasure Cabinet. It was for display not to be used. So, I was as giddy as a schoolgirl when I read you will produce more. As years go by, I have learned to use my treasures and enjoy them while I am on this earthly plane and can’t wait to use my extra Queen’s Cup when it arrives.
    A word to the wise-don’t wait on something you truly want it may be gone.
    Treese/Colorado Cowgirl

  91. NARCY HOGAN says:

    You touched my heart, as you have many times before. Thank you for sharing yourself and you life. You are one of God’s blessings in my life!

  92. Bev says:

    Always a bright spot in my day when there is a Willard to read! Lovely post and inspiring. I live alone but still decorate for each holiday. It warms my soul even if I am the only one to see/feel it.
    Your Maine trip looks fabulous. Mica was used on old Christmas decorations. It turns dark as it ages but I love it anyway. We can always use a sparkle!

  93. Naomi Huddleston says:

    Oh Susan, your post was perfect and I so identified with your story about when you repainted your kitchen, when you thought about maybe not putting EVERYTHING back, but you did anyway … I love that! And I absolutely love that wooden flower! :o)

    A year ago I put a few things away in my kitchen because I thought it was looking too busy. (My kitchen kind of resembles the kitchen with the Cherry sign.) My grandsons live far away, but always come to my home for Christmas. The first thing my 8 year old grandson said when he walked in the back door into the kitchen, “Grandma, where is this and where is that?” (all the things I had put away.) I had to laugh, I never thought they would notice anything like that! I guess children love whimsy in a home, it creates memories, it brings cheer to their hearts, and makes them feel safe and loved.

    My grandsons are so sweet, when they come to visit they get me up really early in the morning, come to my bedside and say, “Grandma, it’s time to get up!” So, I get up, start a fire in the pellet stove, and say, “What would you like for breakfast,” and they say, “We’d like the special.” I laugh and begin to make them their favorite breakfast of either an egg, bacon, and sausage mcmuffin, Cream of Wheat, or French toast. I bring out little antique bowls and saucers, for their Cream of Wheat, butter, brown sugar, and cream, old-time syrup pitchers for their French toast, tiny teacups for their orange juice, and spoil them like crazy. They’ll say to me “Grandma, we just love your house, it’s just … so cozy.” Those words bring such joy to my soul, knowing they feel happy and safe.

    Thank you for the hymn at the end, so precious. I have been melancholy these past days with all that is going on in our world. I have decided to slow down when I take my daily walk around our property, listen to peaceful music as I walk, like the hymn you posted at the end of your blog, and soak up all the fall beauty that is around me, remembering that I can put my trust in the Lord.

    Thank you, Susan, for your uplifting post.

    PS: Your wool pumpkin is perfect, the story behind it so funny and sweet, and thank you for this quote: “The smallest of things can make you feel like something is special about today.” I love that. :o)

  94. Carol Brashears says:

    Loved your entire blog.! Remember finding mica growing up, too and how exciting it was!
    I went on a hike in the mountains the other day and just started singing FOR THR BEAUTY OF THE EARTH spontaneously. For you to share that beautiful version by the Mormon Tabernacle choir touched my heart!
    Thanks for making me smile all the time.

  95. Nanci says:

    You encourage me with your writing. I devoured this and love the quotes, the felting class, the autumn season reminders and the kitchen stoves. My mom had a stove like yours. My first apartment had a tiny two burner gas stove like in that English cottage. Memories are so crucial as we age I’m finding and give us lots of comfort. Thank you!!!

  96. Janet Conn says:

    Thanks so much for this wonderful Willard. The timing is perfect and thanks for the link to the beautiful video at the end. It brought me to tears.

  97. Nancy W says:

    Just what I needed to read! Thank You!❤️

  98. Deanna T says:

    Best. Apple. Crisp. Ever. xoxoxo

  99. Linda, near Seattle says:

    I love this post. It is just what I needed to read this evening. My favorite season is autumn, and I was drawn right in to your beautiful words and photos. Thank you so much.


  100. Alex McClendon says:

    Hi Susan! I love this post and especially the Mica discovery. So I noticed your New Balance sneakers and I love them! Can you share more about them please? Like what color they are. Did you have them custom made? I love them and you! Alex = )

    • sbranch says:

      I got them on line, maybe through Amazon? I don’t remember, but google around, you’ll probably find them!❌⭕️

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