Yes! This Willard has it all, from cats, to trains, making home sweet home, inspiration, and back again! California Style! 💝 Plus, MUSICA! To you from me, with love love love . . .💖

I say tea first! I’ll wait!

Well, here we are, in the mirror, happy as two clams, running away from home, tucking ourselves into our teeny-tiny room with a view, aboard Amtrak Lake Shore Limited to Chicago, just pulling out of South Station in Boston, then onward to Los Angeles!

Settled in for 3 glorious days of soft rocking which puts us to sleep, lots of naps and reading, three meals a day in the dining car (some meals better than others) and interesting dinner companions from everywhere …🚂

. . .but mostly we stared out the window at the ethereal never-ending views across this beautiful country . . . because as most of you know, it was WINTER with a capitol W the entire time across . . . looks like the moon!

But it was so beautiful . . .

Even from the window in our dining car ~🍷🍷 we drank delicious red wine, while watching a white-out blizzard blow outside the window as we rolled along, listening to the train whistle.❤️ Imagining the conversation between friends across the country:

Note outfit. The train (Southwest Chief) always stops for an hour in Albuquerque which allows me to get off and go for a brisk walk take big breaths of fresh air! Cold there too, just like everywhere else!🥶

Alfredo brought my car and met us at the train … we bought that car new in 2005, a Toyota Highlander that still has only 60,000 miles on it ❤️ … it starts with a KEY👏, and it has a CD player, and comes with all my old CDs, so we are playing Kokomo (Beach Boys) as we round the bend, almost to Santa Barbara ☀️, our first glimpse of the Pacific ocean, palm trees, and look at that sky!👏 We are beside ourselves! It’s another world.

Welcome to Hotel California . . . such a lovely place.🎵 Our “driveway” … it’s dirt! It’s the Country Life for me! My neighbors wanted to pave the main driveway, but I held out for the earth ~ a little breathing room. So it’s not paved EVERYWHERE ~ and here, it’s not paved ANYWHERE. Home sweet home, and the first thing we did is breathe in the green while taking pictures . . . Our trees have grown so big!

In this place where bees grow strong . . .

After crossing the snowy grey country . . . we couldn’t help ourselves:

We bought this place twenty-three years ago, and got that tractor. We had been to England. Had seen their amazing gardens, and said, “California is perfect, sunshine, rain, we already have orange trees, we can plant those gardens here! Hedges, garden rooms, and let’s do a long walk!”

Because what we had here was dirt. Fabulous ancient river-bed dirt that grows anything! It wasn’t the house we fell in love with although it’s nice and big and perfect for what we wanted (Joe doesn’t love it as much as I do!) . . . it was the location, the beauty around it, the long views, the hills, the creek, the moon and sunrises, and the possibilities. So on went the grass seed, in went the picket-fence garden, and on went the white paint . . . We dug down deep for the garden, lined the bottom and up the sides with hardware cloth, to protect it from gophers and other underground critters!

This gorgeous albizzia tree was already there, but in the beginning it sat in a sea of dirt . . . compare it to the picture above it, you can see what we did to cuten-up the deck and the basically metal-sided garage . . .

Mas MUSICA! A whole other kind . . . my favorite 💖

Before and . . .

. . . After. We looked at it the right way! See what white paint and picket fences can do!

After that it was hedges and hedges and more hedges. More trees, roses, and all the things that love the California sunshine. This valley is farmland, mostly what they grow here is wine grapes, avocados, artichokes, and cabbage.

The garden diary I kept while walking through English gardens! Full of inspiration we borrowed for this place!❤️  

Tiny Christmas apples grow here! And pepper trees!

And we’re back . . . still working to make it better . . . the smoke out back is coming from the piles of dry brush we’re burning. . .

One of the first things we did is buy new artichoke plants to go into the ground on the warm wall behind the garage. So delicious, fresh artichokes, hoping we get a few baby ones before we have to go!

We grew them here before ⬆️ and they were so prolific! I’ve thought we should grow them and supply our grocery store on the Island ~ they get the WORST artichokes! “But, you’re selling the house,” you say, and I say, “Yes, you’re right, but the new owner will LOVE the artichokes!” Paying it forward, remembering how wonderful the garden was in our house on the Island, and so grateful to Mrs. Bowditch (the person who lived there before us) for what she did!

We have too many friends we love who are realtors in this neck of the world, making it impossible to choose❤️ ~ can’t stand to hurt anyone’s feelings. So we are going with a perfect stranger. We’ve kept all your letters of interest in looking at this property, which we are sending to her, we hope she’ll get in touch with all of you when the time comes!💌

One of the first times we went out was for an afternoon spent wandering around our favorite antique stores looking for little cat food bowls, and some new/old little vases for flowers for the shelf over the kitchen sink. Gotta have that! The vase on the far right is my favorite, it has a little hole in the back so you can hang it on a wall too! $6. Be still my heart. 💝

Next thing I did is oil the cutting board and the wooden spoons with mineral oil ~ because mineral oil never turns rancid. I can’t live in a house with a dried out cutting board, and spoons that look like big splinters when it’s so easy to make them warm and beautiful!! We even sell mineral oil in our webstore HERE

Sun comes in early in the morning, sweeps across the floor, and look what it finds!

Yes! It’s Sammy ~ one of our studio kitties, so sweet, here to sleep with us, and provide deep-fur rubbing service!👏👏👏 Look at his freckle!!! He has a little Jack in him! And there’s my “studio,” in the back corner of the living room, with a view of the picket-fence garden…

And Simon! Two sweet boys! Simon is HUGE, all muscle, and pure mush! He smells every single one of my fingers in the morning, looks up at my face (making sure no stranger-infiltration has made it into the house). You can pick them both up and rub their bellies to your heart’s desire! We are spoiling them with love. I know they aren’t happy that things seem to be changing, but right now, I can say they are sitting extremely pretty. wob wob wob them. I should probably write this entire post in arf and arfy . . . and you know why . . .

See that eye? I feel him watching me . . . But his babysitters have promised they won’t tell him a thing! Shhhhh…. He’s doing so good! I get pictures texted all the time!😻

We’ve been cleaning like crazy, emptying closets and cupboards, and going through files and boxes. Finding old art, photos, and newspaper articles. Putting some into the trash, keeping some, giving some away, and keeping some to make the house look cute/useable until it’s sold. I have so many old books here, especially GARDENING BOOKS ~ had to have them, because this garden here didn’t come out of nowhere!

Yesterday I drove up to Atascadero to see Kellee and visit the new Studio … oh, it is wonderful! The work these girls have done is amazing! Perfectly organized for action. I couldn’t love it more! I picked up some of our candles, the Autumn book, the new Heart of the Home and other necessities of life while I was there! Need to feed people around here! ❤️

Sheri helped Kellee move ~ this is us on a ferry in England a while back, we’ve all been friends for such a long time.❤️ Lucky us to find kindred spirits in each other. Kellee was still in college when she started working for me back in 2002! 

Judy, on the left, met me and Kellee at the new studio too . . . she also worked with us for a while, back when we had the store . . .  we had a wonderful meeting . . . so inspiring! We went out for Mexican food and talked all about Susan Branch Studios and what new things we’d like to do!

For those who’ve never seen it, this is a picture of our store back in the day ~ around 2007. I found SO MANY fun photos of it here in the house! Great memories. How I loved shopping and making things for this shop!💝

Yup, talkin’ about getting the band back together! Sheri too. Ideas were flowing, new products to make, new projects, ways to make our website look more like that store 💝, new books for me to write, new ways for you and us to connect, shorter Willards that happen more often ~ I don’t want to get everyone’s hopes up, but I have to say I went away from our first meeting with a nice long to-do list, absolutely elated, and filled with inspiration! I’ve been painting every day since we got here and it’s been so much fun .. it’s always good to get away for a bit, dangle your legs off a high swivel seat, ringing the side of the water jar with your paint brush, stroking paper with color, and allowing yourself to see the bigger picture with inspiring girlfriends.💝We are ready now . . . because what we’ve been doing, actually for months now, besides physically moving the Studio, is updating the website/blog/webstore. It might not look different, but we’ve done a lot! We made it easier to sign up to get my Willard Newsletter sent to your email box, that was a biggie I’d wanted a long time ~ check out our easy new sign-up at the top-right-side of this blog! I hope you like it!😍 We are TRYING to be more dependable around here!💖

We also moved the entire site to a new server that should be strong enough to handle it without shutting down every two minutes!👏 And we FINALLY got our webstore updated, so shopping should be much more fun and not take half-a-day to do! It hasn’t been easy, we’ve had a website since around 1999, it was dusty, crickety, jerry-rigged, spider webbed and filled with daddy long legs, and every time we did something, it shut the whole thing DOWN causing shock and consternation from Martha’s Vineyard to California! Mostly it was ME, hollering, “Hey! WHAT IS GOING ON!!?” Be careful what you ask for! Our shopping site was shut down for over a MONTH from December to January 😵 … some of you have been asking about it because you haven’t been able to order anything . . . Well, it’s fixed, swept clean, sparkling new, and our new shopping page is up and it’s BEAUTIFUL. Shoutout to Joel and Kellee for all hard work, and patience with me! And thank you!💖 I’m very happy! Look below, that’s it! Everyone says my name (in red) needs to be bigger . . . and I could not agree more!😆 Right now, it looks like this: 

This is not doing it justice ~ it’s much better in person . . . Click on “Shopping” on the top of the blog page to see the real thing! Or, HERE. Welcome to the 21st century! Tell me what you think!

And after throwing around ideas for new products we have NOT forgotten what is coming. .  . and SOON! 

We’re getting a head-start on the celebration of the 250th Anniversary of the shot heard round the world (1775) and the Declaration of Independence (1776)! I was so inspired by our visit last April to charming and historical Concord and Lexington, the gorgeous old houses there, and what I saw at the Patriot’s Day re-enactment  (if you haven’t already, click there and scroll down to see the post about our visit). I could not wait to make a cup for it!❤️

250 years of an experiment in government, that, for the first time, let the people govern themselves! Not ALL the people, of course, because of who was making the rules🤓, but we’ve been working on it! A pure miracle, made possible by the likes of Benjamin Franklin and George Washington! We made this country, and we can make it better. They can’t do that in so many other countries. I know I’m old-fashioned, but we were so little with our 5-year-old fat little hands over our hearts, swearing allegiance 🇺🇸 and carrying the flag in school, at parades, learning how to fold it camping with the Girl Scouts 🇺🇸, we ⬅️PROMISED! I just can’t get over the loving-America feeling! Both Joe and I cried at the reenactment, it felt like we were there, and when the soldiers were fake-shot, it was so real, we could feel it; it made tears in our eyes! That tiny framed painting of George and Martha hangs in our kitchen.❤️ We went to the Washington family home when we were in England. There is a Yankee Doodle Dandy living in my soul.🇺🇸   

And the other cup, back by popular demand, ⬇️ the longest reigning Queen of England is on our tea cup, the perfect place for remembering a beloved British Queen,🇬🇧💂‍♀️ Lilibet.💖

A person the whole world admired for her selfless guidance of her country. And her very familiar human struggle to be better, do better. (This cup has a corgi on the bottom!❤️)

The new cups will ship from England at the end of this month . . . Estimated time for arrival at our new Studio will be a week to ten days . . . so around February 10th! Only two more weeks from now before they start flying out the door to YOU! You can still reserve yours HERE!

Perfect timing, because here comes Valentine’s Day! And a reminder that it’s all about you. Be good to yourself . . .❌⭕️Speaking of Valentines . . . look what I found . . .

Sweet letter, Kellee left in the house for me . . . Regina, if you are reading this, thank you so much! Sweetest letter! 💖💖💖

Eileen Burke, our girlfriend who won the vintage quilt we gave-away in the last Willard, wrote me ~ she was thrilled to receive it, things hadn’t been going well for her daughter and herself so this just made her day 💝💝💝. It warmed the cockles of my heart. I knew you’d all like to know! I’m finding so many wonderful old things in this house! Things I haven’t seen in years, family photos, art I never used for anything, newspaper articles, tucked into boxes, which were stacked into closets and cupboards not seeing the light of day in 20 years. I’ll show you next post. I’m thinking one or two of them would make a perfect giveaway for you next time!❤️

I could go on all day, as you very well know. I get started and there’s so much good stuff to share, I have to say stop! I say it, on average, maybe six times before I do it. But here we go, time to say goodbye . . . with the words from one of my very favorite quotes . . . It’s the best I ever heard for this nutty world we live in . . . My favorite word in it, is WIT. It goes up to the mountain top, meets the word Wit at the top, and goes gently down the other side! With all my love💖, Anna Susana Dana Branchburger the third.☺️

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324 Responses to GARDENS, CATS, TRAINS, & INSPIRATION: California Style

  1. Jocelyn Knepler says:

    Love reading through all your adventures! Like you, I’ve moved many times in my life, and have beautiful memories, and lots of “stuff” that reminds me of people, places and experiences in the fabulous places I’ve called “home.” (California, Michigan, New Orleans, Illinois, Lafayette, LA, west Texas, Alaska, England, China, and now Kentucky) Every place was the perfect place at the time!

  2. Eileen Nielsen says:

    Absolutely TRUE, NEW ENGLAND is the best place to be in the SPRING!!😊😀😁 I KNOW because I lived most of my life there in Lexington, Mass. Very fun Willard to read.

  3. Jeanne Adler says:

    Spring is the reward for surviving a New England winter! From Charlton, Massachusetts

    • Anne-Marije says:

      Would love to win the beautiful New England print,yes please!!! Thank you for the opportunity,fingers ( and everything else) firmlycrossed 🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼🤓✨

  4. Carol Gerome says:

    Such a treat to read about your adventures and rediscovered treasures.

  5. Janet Freeman says:

    I’d love to win the painting!

  6. Dear Susan,
    Whenever I see Willard in my inbox I smile and know there will be wonderful, heartwarming art, yummy recipes, and travel adventures. Like you, I’m an Anglophile and love Beatrix Potter (Tasha Tudor, too!). If I could meet you, I believe you would be an instant friend.

    I’ve written a children’s picture book and am experimenting with the illustration style. This newsletter reminded me I can experiment without fear, and that it’s okay to not get my art and writing done perfectly the first time or two I sit down to create.

    Your beautiful newsletter is such a blessing. Thank you for sharing your life, art, and passions. Wishing you all the best on selling the CA house.

    Hugs and blessings from Tambra in Texas

  7. Alyson Brooks says:

    I love these Willard’s. They’re like a letter from an old friend. Not an email… “a real” letter… like I used to send and receive in the “old days” … on actual stationery with matching envelopes!😸😊💌

  8. Sue Carter says:

    Love this post and I, too, loved the Grammys and the spotlight on women!

  9. Theresa Bowers says:

    Enjoyed this so much! I am new to the Willard, but not new at all to loving your work, Dear Susan! I have been a fan for many, many years, and am rekindling my love for all things Susan Branch of late. Love, love, love your stickers, and miss buying them in a local store. Will check out your on line store to see what I can find!

  10. Barbara says:

    Such joy! Thank you!

  11. Dagmar Nicosia says:

    How lucky are you, New England living, Joe and sweet Jack.

  12. Carolyn Tate says:

    Seeing a Willard in my inbox is always a bright spot in my day.

  13. Denise Martinez says:

    Loved reading about your adventures! Thankful you are holding up with all the storms in Southern California. We are in the SF Bay Area and it’s been a little crazy here too. I’m a new fan! My husband bought me your book, Martha’s Vineyard – Isle of Dreams for Christmas and I loved it and reminded me so much of my adventures in the 80’s as I moved away from home (Michigan) to teach high school in Utah for 2 years and then to Washington State. I’m now reading A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside and I’m loving it! About to retire with hubby to North Carolina so we can explore the East Coast!

  14. Rosemary Monk says:

    Dear Susan, thank you for being my friend for more years than I can count. So glad I can write to you again. I read all your Willard’s (actually have the printed copy of the first Willard’s that you offered years ago). Please keep writing and painting and designing and being my dear electronic friends. Sent to you with a grateful heart ❤️

  15. Judy Gabriel says:

    Welcome back to AG Susan! We love you here🥰

  16. Barb Rosenbach says:

    Thanks for sharing so much of your good thoughts. They get my juices flowing with inspiration for 2024! Sometimes you need a kick start. 🤔😉 Greetings from Colorado!

  17. Mary Jane says:

    I also Love New England anytime of the year!
    I thoroughly enjoy reading your “letters” !

  18. Beckie Page says:

    So glad you made it through that horrific storm unscathed! And how fun to unbox and discover art you did so many years ago! From one watercolorist to another “HAPPY VALENTINES DAY”!

  19. LENORA KIRBY says:

    Susan, I’m tired of Winter! How many miles from Albany, NY to Santa Barbara?
    Lenora Kirby

  20. Nothing like the prairie covered in snow…………..

  21. Barb zahler says:

    So happy this morning when I woke up and found an email from you…..makes my heart happy, I’m saving it until this afternoon with a cup of tea. The little print looks like happiness to me

  22. Peggy O’Leary says:

    Such a nice surprise to open my mail and find Willard waiting. Saved it to read in the warm morning sun on a cold winter morning by the water in NJ-with my first cup of tea and a crunchy biscotti. Like a hug from a friend. Can’t wait to enjoy my Anniversary mug. God bless the USA!🇺🇸

  23. Sharon Chandler says:

    The before and after pictures of you and Joe are amazing! I found my true love after having been divorced for four years (1st marriage lasted 22 yrs) in 1998. We’ve been married 25 years this past December. Congratulations on 37 years! Each of has a journey and your journey has been an inspiration to me.
    I love it whenever there is a new Willard in my Inbox! Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone who reads this. Never give up on LOVE!

  24. Anna Kaplan says:

    Your newsletter arrived to brighten my week! Are you California dreamin’ on such a winter’s day? It seemed you were taking multiple trips down memory lanes. Are you sorting and clearing your house for selling it? That is always a tremendous and emotional effort! You and Joe be good to yourselves and take breaks as often as needed – walk, meet friends, create, eat and repeat. Always remember you have created a world of love and caring for so many, many people. (there is no heart emoji so insert one while reading) 😉

  25. Mary Silagy says:

    My first Willard and I loved it! So much inspiration, coziness & cheer. Something to look forward to each month. Thank you!

  26. Mary Silagy says:

    My first Willard and I loved it! So much inspiration, coziness & cheer.

  27. Susan Bonacci says:

    Absolutely love getting my Willard in my email!
    I just moved to Florida to take care of my parents (just passed) and so miss my New England home. When I receive your newsletter I feel a little home back in my heart. Thank you for sharing your talent with us all.

  28. Pamela Simpkins says:

    I had tea at your sweet little house the first summer you were at Martha’s Vineyard. We were in a similar state—not sure we would ever get over our recent heartbreaks but full of beautiful, wishfilled, hopefull dreams for the future. How wonderful to share conversation that day and how reassuring to now know the beauty and happiness of the new life you created for yourself!

  29. Katt says:

    I wish I had a picture with someone like your nose-to-nose pic with your hunny! Maybe I can get my hubby of 40 years to try it( no promises!)….

  30. Sherrie Fehring says:

    You inspire so many lucky people around the world with your loving hands and mind. Please enter me in a drawing for your beautiful picture. I wish you all the best in everything you decide to do. Thank you for sharing your travels with us as we may never be able to enjoy ourselves. Sincerely, Sherrie

  31. Sheri Siedentop says:

    I am the former owner of a Quilt Shop in Southern California, I am retired and it is closed now. But i loved your fabric lines and even made my daughter a quilt out of one of them (can’t remember the line now casue it has been a while). I love your artwork and always buy your calendar every year for my daughter. I would be honored to have one of your paintings! Keep up what you’re doing, love to hear about all your adventures!

  32. Gloria Hutchinson says:

    I love everything you write! I am reading your Isle of Dreams and just placed and order for A Fine Romance. I have never visited New England, but hope to make it that way in the near future. If it’s anything like people describe and pictures I see, I am already in love with New England.

  33. Barbara Dolan says:

    So happy when I see a Willard in my email! Like you, it always brightens my day. And thank you so much for sharing each and every journey you have with us all!

    You’re the gift that keeps on giving, Susan!

  34. Susie Lettau says:

    Hi Susan and Joe, welcome back to Arroyo Grande, I live behind AG highschool. I’ve been
    hoping to see you two running around town somewhere but the weathers not cooperating to we’ll. We needed the rain though Yoou two enjoy your vacation

  35. Carol says:

    I love reading Willard. You are very inspirational. I admire what you have done over your lifetime. May you have many more happy adventures. I would love to win the painting to hang in my kitchen.

  36. Becky Preimesberger says:

    We love the part of Hwy 101 when the coast appears on our drive . We often put on some Beach Boy music to go along with the wonderful views.

  37. Ann Midkiff says:

    Always know you have MY HEART—your art and verbiage speak to my soul. Twenty six years ago as I was approaching grandmother hood (I had sent you a card) you in-turn sent me a very special congratulations message on my upcoming role. So of course that fused my devotion to your beautiful work. You make me want to slow down and simplify my life and my gifts. Please know that precious boy is one of my greatest joys after twenty six years—truly a gift! Ann Midkiff

    • sbranch says:

      We SHARE memories! How amazing is that! Congratulations on 26 happy years with your boy!💝

      • Barbara Losee says:

        I truly love to read each issue of Willard! The first thing I do is brew a cup of tea and sit down to be enchanted! It touches my heart! I have loved you since buying your first book, Heart of the Home, and have several others too! My husband and I have been to Martha’s Vineyard several times and were able to take my daughter for several years when she was tiny–she is now 34! While we have never been to California, we see it through your eyes! Having a piece of you in your work is a treasure for life! Thank you!

  38. Kate H says:

    Loved seeing the kitties!
    My dear husband works remotely for a New England company—we road-tripped there December a year ago and loved the Cape. Maybe one day we will see it in the Spring!

  39. Christine Christensen says:

    I’ve been reading your Willards for many, many years now. This is one of my favorites seeing all your old treasures you are finding! You are a gift to us!

  40. Lorrie Coon says:

    Welcome to California-you will absolutely love the weather, once the storms settle!

  41. susan fiden says:

    Love reading “Willard”! Hope you didn’t have any flood damage. It looked pretty bad near Santa Barbara.

  42. Susan Geddis says:

    Love to read your Willards. I have all of your cookbooks and have my tea in one of your mugs. I always hope to see you when I am visiting step-daughter Erin on MV. You waved to me when you were at her house for her book club meeting. Made my day!

  43. Janet says:

    I have so been enjoying your illustrated book of quotes…always makes me feel connected to the bigger, warm and crazy world around us. Truly a literary box of chocolates!!

  44. Barb Walsh says:

    I love your pictures of your journey across America. The train car on the side looked like a painting. Love your Willards.

  45. Nancy Brown says:

    Hello Susan,
    I was so happy that I could shop again. I pre ordered the Tea Party and Queen Elizabeth II tea cups, and the heart tea strainer spoon. While reading Willard I clicked to read about the Sisters at Holy Nativity in Brookline. While scrolling through to that portion of the 2016 Willard I saw your neighbor Martha’s Black Cherry Cheesecake. I could have licked the screen. It just oozes decadence, flavor, and is just plain gorgeous!! My question, which you can probably already guess, is, ” Would Martha be willing to share the recipe with girlfriends, like ME! ” ? I showed my husband and he literally drooled.😄
    On another note I want to share a wonderful read that is also available on Audible. A new friend, Heidi Chiavaroli is a wonderful award winning , local (Swansea , MA) author who wrote The Tea Chest.She blends historical women with a contemporary counterpart. Her research is based on the Boston Tea Party 1773 and the US Navy Seals present day. It is an expertly written timeslip novel. I highly recommend it to you since the anniversary is still so fresh in your mind, and the fact that you have chosen to memorialize the event on a tea cup, this book just begs to be read.
    Another favorite which you will love is Orchard House, using Louisa May Alcott;s home as the setting . I’ll let you Google her. Have fun.
    I do hope that Martha will share her recipe!! It would be a lovely Valentine’s Day dessert.❤️ Be still MY heart.
    Have a blessed week. Good luck with your house sale too!
    So happy to hear today that the cups are on their way to me. Oh happy day!

  46. Jean Giuggio says:

    New England is “my roots” and especially so after reading another Willard!
    You bring me home time and again—thank you for the pleasure!

  47. Denise Toy says:

    Love all your letters

  48. Janet Kurecka says:

    “One day at a time and some days it is one hour at a time” Enjoy your time in beautiful California. Greetings from Saginaw Michigan🥳

  49. Mary (Shelley)Boone says:

    I would like to win your painting as it reminds me of my feral cat
    Yody Doddy. Have enjoyed your books and art for many years.
    Thank you!😊😻
    Shelley Boone

  50. judi says:

    Roots are important and being near family becomes more important as one ages.

  51. Becky Jacobs says:

    I read Willard because my sister sent it to me the year before she passed away. She died from ALS two years ago Jan. 26th. It helps me to feel close to her and it always brings a smile to my face.

  52. Kathy watson says:

    Would love to have the April in New England!

  53. Linda Forbes says:

    I’m always so happy to get a Willard from you Susan! You always brighten my day! In between new Willard’s, I go back and revisit the old ones!! Thank you for being a light in the world! Especially when things are a little dark these days. Love you muchly!!❤️❤️❤️

  54. 181 comments before I could find comments. lol Love the kitchen table.

  55. Such a fun Willard to read. And love the painting. We just sold our house, so I really identify with this. Finding all sorts of things.

  56. Lou Ann Gieringer says:

    I loved this Willard so much because we are in the process of going through a lot of special memories that belong to my in-laws. Some so joyful and some bittersweet, but I am happy to have them all.

  57. Suzanne Prince Quinn says:

    It’s a beautiful painting and reminds me of my time living in beautiful Vermont. You always bring sweetness and lovely art to us all. Thank you and Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!

  58. Carol Grant says:

    Dear Susan,
    You are such an inspiration! After reading this, I want to get busy creating! You paint, and write, and cook and make a beautiful home for Joe and yourself. While I will never create on a scale that you do, you motivate me to get back to my quilt making and needlework. Thank you for that little push!

    Carol Grant

  59. Maribeth McNally says:

    Hi Susan, my friend,
    I’ve been a fan for more than 30 years. Your artwork inspires me. I’ve read your books over and over so many times… they make me happy and peaceful when I’m reading them.
    I wish you and Joe good luck and be safe

    Your friend

  60. Colleen says:

    Thank you for this wonderful post sharing your adventures. You are always such a day brightner!

  61. Darby Steuer says:

    The Willard “pages” are pure nourishment for my heart! I treasure my childhood memories, my family and pets!
    Thank you so much for your comfort and inspiration!
    I’m already looking forward to the next Willard. Although I can’t afford to buy the wonderful gifts that you offer for sale, just looking at them as well as the photos of your houses and gardens are gifts to me.
    Please keep creating!

  62. Robin Gill says:

    Love the pic, if I win I have the perfect location for it!!!

  63. Suzanne says:

    Happy Anniversary and Happy Valentines Day. Thank you for all the joy you’ve brought me. My baby who turns 31 on 2/11 has your baby book and his wife has it out on the coffee table. So sweet

  64. Linsey Tully says:

    I LOVED Joni Mitchell on the Grammys. I cry, again, every time I watch her performance. Magical. Sorry you had such terrible weather in California. My Joe & I are off to New Zealand and Australia. We’re at LAX waiting to board our flight. Then it’s a 2-week cruise. Should be magical. Celebrating my Valentines birthday on board. Happy Valentines to everyone!

  65. Regina A Manning says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you for the haven that you create in your newsletters and books through words, photos, drawings, music, mementoes, and camaraderie. As the Brits would say, they’re brilliant! Your heart and handiwork have been been a sunny “port in the storm” for me.
    P. S. Seeing my note in your last newsletter rendered me speechless, but thank you. I wanted you to know that you are a treasure and so appreciated.

  66. Anne Taylor says:

    I would love the painting. I have the perfect spot already picked out for it😀

  67. Betsy Cook says:

    Thank you Susan, for always brightening my day with your words and letters. I’ve been following you sine the 1990s and call you “ My best friend that I’ve never met”. I appreciate your point of view and optimism.
    Betsy Cook

  68. Regina Manning says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you for the haven that you create in your newsletters and books. They have truly been a “port in the storm” for me. As the Brits would say… Smashing! Brilliant! I am also grateful that you received my note. I literally cried tears of joy when I saw it in your newsletter. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Joe. <3

  69. Sonya Morris says:

    Hello friend,
    I love all you do to inspire.
    Thank you! I wish you would have had a meet and greet in AG. I am so close and would have loved to meet you in person. One day!
    Best to you,
    Sonya Morris

  70. Eileen Mullinax says:

    I live in the south but my very favorite place to visit is New England in the Spring, summer and fall. I have not been there in the winter but I am positive that I would enjoy that also.

    I have a friend that lives in Camarillo and is looking for a house to purchase. She is a retired architect and has experience in landscape architecture also. She has a large dog and is looking for a property where he can run outside and
    can be a project for her. It sounds like she might be interested in your property. If you would send me the information I would appreciate it.

  71. Rosalee Ann Rastetter says:

    When I see the word “Willard” I get so excited to read your whole lovely and inspirational articles.
    I have sent then to my best friend and she also loves to read them. Keep up the good work.
    Rosalee Ann Rastetter
    Erie Pa

  72. Cindy Dacey says:

    Whenever I see that you sent a new “ Willard “ I can’t wait to read it! It brings me such peace
    To read it top to bottom with no interruptions , so I can take in the simple things that you bring to us that REALLY matter. My husband Brian & I will be celebrating our 44th wedding anniversary in June & to this day I feed him with love, a lot of your recipes from your beautifully illustrated cookbooks. Please continue to bring us your love of art & the simple things that really matter. Cindy Dacey

  73. Janet Peirce says:

    Thank you Susan for all your words, your art, your appreciation of nature and all that is truly important.

  74. Lindsey S. says:

    Doesn’t it feel good to get the website back end cleaned up. Such a drudgery task yet such a freeing feeling when it’s done! Well done to your staff. The webstore is beautiful. I didn’t see the blue and red deluxe recipe binders in the Susan Branch Books category but the search field at the top of the page worked like a charm.

    I somehow fell off the Willard email list (though I did get January’s email), so was able to also try out the new signup at the top right of your main website, and that was very easy.

    Lastly, reading about your soaring feelings of inspiration this trip was infectious!

  75. Lane Sykes says:

    I have been a fan of yours for probably 40 years or longer. You never disappoint. I always have a Susan Branch calendar on my desk. The years my local bookstore didn’t have any made me very sad!
    I am now a grandmother of a 1 year old grandson. He will know the world of Susan Branch from a very young age. My daughters know you well. The best part of your work to me is the positiveness you put on the reality that we all have down times in our lives. That doesn’t mean they have to bring us down! Please keep doing what you do so well!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Lane, so sweet, if my positivity gets multiplied by yours, and given to your grandchildren, what a happy world it will be!💝

  76. Asha says:

    The picture of you and Joe on the train is absolutely adorable! Happy Valentines Day to you both! Would love to win an original Susan Branch work of art! Love ❤❄💞

  77. Your enthusiasm is always inspiring, encouraging the heart. Thank you for using your gifts to write and draw to bring joy to others. “Martha’s Vineyard: Isle of Dreams” is my favorite!

  78. Kathy Wallace says:

    I remember buying Heart of The Home and so many of your books over the years. Always gorgeous artwork, but even more important was how uplifiting and positive you are. Thanks for keeping it up with the Willards. It’s always a treat to read and enjoy. So fun to see what you have discovered as you clean and organize!!

  79. Janice Scott says:

    I have saved many Willard’s that were posted to me I enjoy all the pretty pictures in the sidelines and the random quotes Several cookbooks and many years have passed and one thing remains the same… your lovely words, gift of drawing and love of life
    Thank you,
    Janice from Nova Scotia

  80. Barbara Cauchon says:

    Have loved you and all your art and books for years! I enjoy Willard every month…love to hear about your life, the Vineyard is a special place for me! Enjoy CA!

  81. Trula Woods says:

    I look so forward to receiving your “Willard.” Thank you so much! Happy Valentine’s Day, Susan. Love from a Kindred Spirit in Maine.

  82. Gwen Tate says:

    Each issue of “Willard” just immerses me with feelings of entering a world of cozy comfort.
    The painting you are gifting brings back memories of the three orange tabby cats I have lived. Each one has its own story. First there was Rusty, then Killer and last was Buster. Thanks gor the memories!

  83. Renee O'Neil says:

    Why is it every time I read something from you I get teary-eyed? You make me happy! I lived in California my whole life 62 years and up-rooted myself with my sister and 13 cats to Colorado! We had years of things to go through from my childhood home. It was so sad all those memories…But we are here now trying to make “new” memories. Growing things here will be so different than California. We moved here in October with snow! Not used to it being a California Girl, but loving it! The red kitty on your picture looks like my “Kevin.” Thank you for your inspiration. Renee O’Neil

  84. Lindsey S. says:

    Susan I wanted to leave another comment, casting my vote for keeping Willards as they are.

    I speak only for myself, but I enjoy having them only once a month, and having them be long. They’re an escape for me, and like a long satisfying visit with a friend, and a little sad when it comes to an end. I often don’t open them right away but use them as a carrot for later when I’ve done my “have-to” stuff.

    If they came more frequently, I can forsee them piling up in my clogged inbox, and I enjoy the anticipation of once a month (which comes around fast as it is).

    Also, more frequent posts could generate a lot more comments for you to sift through, which gobbles up precious time and energy — despite being an enjoyable task.

    If only we could please clone you…….we love you.
    Take care.

  85. Elda Sullivan says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Joe! I am so happy to know you are here in California.
    I have admired you for a long time. Enjoy your time here.

  86. Laura says:

    How wonderful that you have experienced the beauty of California and Martha’s Vineyard all these years. I have enjoyed your cookbooks, calendars, Willard and adventures for so many years. Thank you for your inspiration, words and the lovely art shared From your Heart!

  87. Nan Rohan says:

    I really enjoyed this month’s Willard. I used to receive it and have not been able to sign up again with my new email. Thank you for your wonderfully positive approach to life. Sincerely, Nan Rohan

  88. RACHEL RAMOS says:

    Anytime I sit and reread one your books it’s like the first time all over again. You can’t help but feel happy. If it’s not to late may I please be added to the contest.
    Thank you!

  89. Jacqui O says:

    Loved the Willard, as always. Also, just read Isle of dreams and A Fine Romance, wonderful books. Your stay in England is exactly what I want to do, one of these days, London is great, but the countryside is magical.

    Have fun in CA, we miss you here in MA.

  90. Maria Murasso says:

    Dear Susan,
    So happy for you and Joe and all your adventures together. I just received my new mug and it looks amazing on the rack with all my other Susan Branch mugs. Your lovely mugs have been one of my very best treasured collections. From my heart to yours, Maria Murasso

  91. Chrissie Weston says:

    Hey Girlfriend!
    I was an early follower. Like 1992 or so. We used to write letters to each other! I had an idea to make stickers for your date book and asked for a job! lol! I ended up starting a my own business with inspiration from my mom, past teachers and YOU! Working with children baking and making art out of my house!
    Thank you for always being an inspiration to me.
    Chrissie Weston

    • sbranch says:

      I remember your name Chrissie . . . now I have to thank YOU for what you DO! When those children grow up, you’ll find out what an inspiration you were/are!!! Such a gift you give them!💗

  92. Donna Williams says:

    What a special giveaway. Thank you for your generosity.

  93. Olivia Williams says:

    I hope this is the right section for the giveaway!! I absolutely love all your drawings. I am only 20 years old, but last month my mom and I were helping my grandma clean out her closet, and I found that she had a box full of some of your cards that you used to sell. Normally, I never ask her for anything, but in that moment I had to as for them! Those were some of the prettiest and unique cards I have ever seen. I even looked online for some more! Haha. In one of your cards at the very end you wrote, “Lets go antiquing!”, And believe it or not, that is one of my mom and boyfriends inside jokes, so we died laughing when we read it. Overall, you are so talented and I love keeping up with your work.

    • sbranch says:

      Family stories are always the best … I always thought if I had a daughter I would name her Olivia!! 💘💘💘

  94. Melissa Lehman says:

    I am thrilled to have found this! What a treat to read. I can’t believe I didn’t realize that you offered this and look forward to more.

  95. Mimi Kreeft says:

    I received “Heart of the Home” from my big sister in 1988 as a wedding shower gift. I have been a huge fan of yours ever since! Thank you for so many wonderful books, calendars, and joyful creations.❤️❤️❤️

  96. Bianca Sexton says:

    Your artwork is a great treasure…inspiring and comforting
    . It would be an honor to display an original piece in my home. I do hope that this comment is selected ❤️

  97. Patricia Rando says:

    Years ago when I became a step mom, my dear friend Lynne found the “draw a circle,etc”. in one of your books and brought it to me. To this day it brings tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your talent with us!

  98. Karri Jindrak says:

    Just love your artwork!! I could jump into the pictures and see myself having tea or sitting on the checkerboard floor putting my kids shoes on . You always inspire Susan! Happy February ❤️

  99. Kylie E says:

    Hi Susan, I found your book through a friend and fell in love. I grew up in Connecticut but now live in Colorado. Your book felt like home. My friends and I all talk about how your book is like reading our own diaries, finding yourself in your womanhood and living your life just the way you want it. So beautiful! I would so love to hang your painting in my Colorado home, to remind me of the changing seasons of the east <3

  100. Nancy Burgess says:

    Love you & everything you create. I’m so thankful that you share your gifts with all of us❤️

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