Willard, Art, California Storms, a girl named Sue and a guy called Joe

Yes, these California storms were nothing less than astounding, as you may have seen in the news, with scary words like BOMB CYCLONE (still don’t know what that was, but now I know don’t want to know), and ATMOSPHERIC RIVERS … I now know what this is and wish I didn’t! But we are fine and nothing got wet but the grass . . . there’s Joe out there making sure we’re safe. Now we know why it’s all so spectacularly GREEN around here! So! Ready for a new Willard? Let’s GO!💝 MUSICA!Guess what arrived this morning? YES!!! Through rivers of rain, life-threatening wind, flowing mud, and flooding canyons ~ the boxes I’ve been waiting for, all the way from England ~ inspired by real life, I dreamed them, and now they’re HERE! The new cups! They made it!

LOOK! Shiny bright new. . . just in time!

Box-loads of them! As always, first come first serve, if you preordered, the first shipment will be going out this afternoon . . . we’re trying our very best to get them to you in time for Valentine’s Day!🥰

And plenty of time for Patriot’s Day in April!

And, don’t forget, we also got more of this one ~ for everyone who missed it first time around! Special for the Anglophiles in your life. Celebrating the long productive life of Queen Elizabeth II, this 16-oz. Commemorative cup! Filled with one of my private blend teas, this one is the Fine Romance Tea, Earl Grey with Lavender, rose petals, honey and cream!💖 YUM! Be your own Valentine!💞

For Anglophiles like me. I couldn’t love it more!🇬🇧

And this little cutie too . . . the Happy Birthday cup, for the Birthday friends in your life, in the smaller 11 oz size! All three of them arrived today! Won’t be long now until they come to a mailbox near YOU! Thank you for your patience!!! If you have been waiting to order until they actually got here, you can go HERE to secure yours now!🥳

This is one of MY best gifts, Kellee, she’s DEFINITELY tied to MY heartstrings!💖

Joe and I drove up to see her and the new studio yesterday . . . it was wonderful to see how Kellee has arranged everything ~ she did such a good job! ~ moving is such a good thing, we’ve unearthed things we haven’t seen in YEARS … like this appliqued quilt I designed for a new fabric line (new at the time) called Tea Party that Kellee hung over our cutting table. Note teapot on top shelf of appliquéd cabinet, and then I put the whole fabric collection on the shelves! And bordered it all with bluebirds of happiness because happiness, history, stories, and comfort is what quilting is all about! These fabrics are long gone, but we still have the pattern for the quilt, in case you’d like it!

The Studio is just an old warehouse, mostly furnished with shelves and tons of books, puzzles, charms, cups, tea things, vintage things, stationery things … but it does have lots of windows, lots of light, and Kellee put down cozy rugs and made a perfect office for herself and a darling little kitchen where she hung our sailboat cups.

Is that YOUR Autumn book sitting on top there?💘

I loved wandering around, seeing the products, and promised Kellee I would design more cards and notepads . . .

I got to smell our new kitchen soaps in their little wooden holders … the Genius Soap is made with Tea Tree and peppermint to enhance alertness and focus! Cute for a blue kitchen, soft and soapy. The oatmeal is the same, no rough herbs to hurt your hands, lovely soapy smell. I use the lavender all the time, but now I get to try the two new ones! Kellee and I wandered around for a while, then we went next door with Joe and Joel (Joel is the man who just brought our shopping page into the 21st century! I hope you like it!) and ate delicious Mexican food (a good Mexican restaurant next door was a BIG selling point for this space!) and discussed what good news we’ll have for you the rest of this year!💖  

It’s inspiring, being here, in all new surroundings, seeing old friends, being close to Trader Joe’s😂, having so many good memories, getting organized ~ even when it’s raining, it’s a feast for the senses. No problem if it rains, we have a lot to do ~ mostly going through files, drawers, closets, barn, storage rooms, cleaning, and getting everything into piles . . . speaking of finding things ~ I’ve discovered so many things here, a note from my mom, a hilarious letter from my sister, childhood photos of my grandma, an old set of cookbooks, a collection of old paintbrushes . . . and bits and pieces like this: 

 Old pieces of art I haven’t seen in years. Been so fun discovering them and remembering doing them. See the cards I blotted my paintbrush on? I saved them from my very first book, Heart of the Home ~ I couldn’t throw them away! As you can see, I’ve always been trying to learn to paint people . . . either from magazine pictures, or made up, or from real photos, that’s a pencil drawing of me and my two brothers as children on the right… and that’s a portrait of our friends, the Schwiers, above it. It looks like Peggy, but definitely not Bob (except for the hair) ~ which is why it’s still here! And you can see me practicing Martin Luther King Jr. before I put him in my 2000 wall calendar! I think I spot Vanna in the center of the page, in the sunglasses, next to the baby jumping out of the egg (which never made it into my Baby Love book). That painting above is an original, painted on d’Arches paper, not even signed yet, just sitting in a box, I don’t know why! I’ll have to think of something special to do with it!🤔

Check this out. The stick people of 1988 … I started getting excited about painting clothes, as you can see from some of the paintings on the floor . . . I still have the jacket and the headband, my sister has the pin ~ I wore that exact outfit to a movie premier my friend Jane (who worked for George Lucas) took us to in 1988. The movie was wonderful, called Tucker, a Man and his Dream. I never see that movie anywhere for some reason, but it was great. That outfit was much cuter when the ruffled skirt flipped around! The Yuppie guy in the painting (who is not Joe) ~ his brown saddle shoes, and starry suspenders, was all made up. Thank goodness because I didn’t leave a lot of room for brains in that tiny head! Hers either for that matter! 😂 I couldn’t give them hardly anything to drink because their hands were too small to hold it! But one does not give up. One hides the imperfect art in a box for 20 or 30 years until one feels brave enough to show it so that all her friends know that things wanted, must be worked for.💖 I have like three paintings of stick people. It’s like a collection, my stick-people period.

I’m going to paint a little more on this and you’ll likely see her in a future calendar! She doesn’t look so bad! And her puffed sleeves are back in style! I was smart this time, I hid her hands!You’ve already seen this on a calendar page about Creativity! The original stick person! I drew it in kindergarten. One of my first adventures in drawing people! Note that I am trying out the fat arm and fat leg vs the thin arm and thin leg…six fingers vs five. It’s all about trial and error! My mom put this in my baby book! Good strong representation for the belly button!

This was folded up inside my baby book too … It’s HUGE, almost 5′ tall framed ~ it’s poster paint on kraft paper, also painted in kindergarten. I forgot about it until Joe found in the back of a closet. The reason it’s so tall is because it’s “actual size.” My teacher, Miss Caldwell, had the whole class lay down on paper, and she traced around us, and then we got to paint ourselves! I was so excited to see it again. I had it hanging in my studio on the Vineyard at one time, but immediately it began to fade really fast . . . so I took it down and it’s been face-to-the-wall, hidden ever since. 

Here it is … how it was, the only photo I have of it as it originally was … you see the colors? So I took a trip to the art store the other day and bought poster paints, children’s paint brushes, and fixative, and if I have the nerve, I think I will try and restore it! Something interesting to think I painted it when I was five, now again 71 years later! My eyes look more like that now than then, I’ve grown into them! But I’m way better at putting my lipstick on. Note that learning to paint people takes time!💞

Found this too … never used it … I wrote “No Time For Love?” in the early ’90s, because I was irritated by my answering machine😂 and couldn’t get a real person when I called a business😬!! Ahh, the innocent 90s. I thought I could see the future and I didn’t think I liked it. The words I wrote scream out for editing, but I still think I was right!😆 Only now it’s phones! Don’t even talk to me about drones! (You see lines going off that page? Those are misspellings or grammar that I needed to fix! But since it went nowhere but into a box, I didn’t bother.)

Back to art . . . This half-finished painting is another find . . . it was here too ~ I have no idea when I started it. It was completely drawn, but only about ⅓ of it was painted … I had painted the table ~ but everything on the table was only in pencil, and the chairs were white. Then, one of our first mornings here, I woke up inspired, thinking “Brown, those chairs should be brown!” Which, as you can see, I did, and I’ve been working on it ever since! I wob it.💕

Happy Anniversary to Joe and me!💞 February 6th was the 37th Anniversary of our first date! Here we are just a couple of weeks later at Holly Oak, my little house on Martha’s Vineyard that had quilts for curtains. Talk about gifts!💝 He’s how I know God loves me and wants me to be happy.💝

I’ve had such a good time with all these California discoveries, I think I’m going to leave a treasure hunt, complete with map, as a surprise for the new owners of this house! I’ve been thinking about it . . . like a time capsule, or something. I’ll tell you more about that in the next Willard . . . Until then, how would you like a chance to own an original watercolor painting, signed to you by me? For Valentines Day, I thought maybe my girlfriends would enjoy one of my “finds.” The one with the yellow kitty! Kitchen art if I’ve ever seen it!

“April in New England is like First Love,” which it is! The painting is almost 10″ x 10″, it isn’t framed, and it’s not signed, so I can put a TO and FROM on it (for whomever’s name is drawn) and sign it! I think, by the looks of it, I painted it at Holly Oak probably in the 1980s, when I was discovering first love (in more ways than one)! Just leave a comment, and you’ll be automatically entered. (To enter: Under the last words of this Willard, you’ll see a whole bunch of tiny printed words; the last one will be a number with the word “Comments” … click there!) Happy Valentine’s Day!

One more thing, I wanted to pass you a tiny Trader Joe’s tip … get the Trader Joe’s fresh-dried pasta in little nests, probably about 6 or 8 in a package (we ate them, I don’t have them in front of me!).🥰 Drop one or two of the little noodle nests in boiling water for just one minute, toss them in a peanut salad dressing (opt), and add them to any salad, spinach, Asian, it’s all good! Makes a person so happy to have noodles in her salad!🥳🥳🥳One more quickie, hard to stop, did you love the Grammys? Tracy Chapman!😢 Joni Mitchell!😭 Everyone! All that creativity! Like us💞, creating our lives every day! We never know if we’re inspiring others, but it’s my dream that through us, dear girlfriends, when we’re a source of the joys that bring us happiness, we’ll pass that on, inspire others, and bring us all a more beautiful world.💝 Let’s reach a tipping point for goodness! ❌⭕️❌⭕️

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1,393 Responses to Willard, Art, California Storms, a girl named Sue and a guy called Joe

  1. Laurie Walt says:

    Hi Susan! New England would be a lovely place to visit in the spring! Would love a chance to have your original painting, it’s adorable ❤️ Love.

  2. Maria Stafford says:

    The kitty in this picture looks like our Lily! What beautiful artwork as always!

  3. Robin Murtha says:

    good luck with move ! would be so thrilled to win this beautiful good, so good luck to me too. xxo

  4. Betty Harney says:

    Hello. I would be honored to win your giveaway. ❤️😍

  5. Hello Susan! Your posts and following along your adventures are always a bright spot in my day! Happy Days to you and Joe! 🙂

  6. Shirley Farrington says:

    Love all you do.

  7. Sarah Montgomery says:

    So fun to know you are in California (with me)😉. I live in Orange County though, so still quite a bit away, but knowing you are “here” too, I think, makes California happier. 💗

  8. Anita Morrison says:

    I LOVE April in New England! Your forgotten artwork is perfect!

  9. Anita Morrison says:

    I think I messed up my email address on my previous message. Here it is corrected

  10. Deborah says:

    Hello Susan,
    I always enjoy catching up on all the news from you and Joe!
    Sending you love, Deborah 🩷

  11. Linda kelly says:

    Happy anniversary to you and Joe!💕 thank you for always spreading sweetness and inspiring us to be joyful thankful and spread the love. The world 🌎 needs it! God bless and safe travels back to the east coast for a happy spring! 🌷

  12. I enjoyed this. Thank you for the drawing. Good luck to me.

  13. Roseanne Hall says:

    Love your Willard and all your products!!

  14. Kristina says:

    I remember my sweet mother (God rest her soul) used to always have one of your calendars. She started buying one for me too when my kids were young, it was one of those sweet things we shared with each other. As my daughters have started their own families I’ve kept that tradition alive by giving them one of your calendars at Christmas. It’s something they look forward to every year and I do too. Every time I look at my calendar I think of my mom and I hope my daughters will always do the same. I look forward to turning the page each month. I love the little things we cherish as we go through life.

  15. Debbie says:

    I love a sweet walk down memory lane. Thank you for sharing yours with us ❤️

  16. Your “stick people” paragraph had me choking from laughter. You truly slay me Susan and as an artist myself, I can relate. I dug up a few of my early high school projects recently, threw them back in the hole and re-buried them! Haha! Oh how I hope I win your charming painting. I would treasure it forever along with your chapter from “Enchanted” that I won a few years ago. XOXO

  17. Anne says:

    Would love, love, love to win this!!!🥰

  18. Pam smith says:

    Hello! What a treasure to find!

  19. Judi Gaines says:

    Last day? Last chance. 🥰Susan Branch.
    Please consider my comment for your precious watercolor.

  20. Rhonda says:

    I always enjoy reading your Willards! Thank you, Susan.

  21. Roz says:

    Happy Anniversary to you & Joe. You both get cuter with each year! Love this painting & please enter me in the drawing. I love seeing your California property since I’m a transplanted Californian, too. We moved to Oregon in 1977, but I’ll always be a California girl at heart!❤️

  22. Susan Zelman says:

    Ive read all your books, and just now discovered your wonderful Willard blog.
    I think reading your Marthas Vineyard book inspired me and my husband to move back east in 2018 when we retired. After 28 years in California ( raised in CT), I am loving living in NJ. Nothing like a good cold winter to bring forth the wonder of Spring in New England! Glad to hear you are enjoying all the memories your newfound treasures are bringing you. It must be hard to let go of your wonderful home in CA!

  23. Susan Zelman says:

    I’ve read all your books, and have just now discovered your wonderful Willard blog. After living in CA for 28 years (raised in CT), your Marthas Vineyard book inspired me to move back east in 2018 when we retired. I am loving living in NJ! After a good cold winter, there is nothing like the wonder of Spring. Glad to hear you are enjoying the memories from your newfound treasures. It must be hard to let go of your beautiful home in CA!

  24. Allison Mead says:

    So generous to share an original with your fans Susan❣️🇺🇸💖Love the salad with noodles tip and thank you kindly💚🤍💚

  25. Michelle says:

    Welcome to California!
    I’ve been an admirer of your work since 1997 when I bought my first set of stickers and rubber stamps, which I still have, followed by purchasing all your cookbooks and themed books and autobiographies! You’ve inspired me to create art and gather friends for parties.
    Thanks for sharing your talents & life. So happy YOU’ve had 37 Joe Anniversaries.
    Best always,
    Michelle G

  26. Kim Ronnisch says:

    Thank you Susan! You have inspired me since I discovered you in the early 1990s as a new bride! My absolute favorite is the baby book.. the illustrations make me swoon! Grateful you share your amazing talent with all of us ❤️

  27. Barbara Riley says:

    Your work calms me down when life is hard.

  28. Rebecca says:

    The print is so pretty! Thank you for the chance to win. 💕

  29. Wendi Unrein says:

    Oh my word Susan!! I had to read both posts and I hope one day I will get to do a long rail trip as I so love to take them!! Your world brings me such joy, I think that’s why I cried when I met you as your aura is all what you write!!! I get so inspired by your art!! I would love to see a mug dedicated to going for walks!!

  30. Debbie Boerger says:

    I’ve so enjoyed all the comments from girlfriends of All ages. Yep! 3 generations of women know that You, Dear Lady, are better than drugs. 😉
    So far, I’ve stuck to my pledge to let myself relax and enjoy this Winter in Tampa. The Lovely was strongly against selling. If he’s happy, I’m happy. I’m really a pushover for that fabulous sweetie pie. He will be 84 in a few weeks, and I think still a sexy guy! Love the way he wears his hat, a fedora type. He walks or bikes most days and gives me all the details of what he saw. I’ll be 79!! in 4 months. How on Earth did that happen?
    I’m not able to walk much right now but will be having foot surgery on March 11. Yea! Can’t wait to be mostly pain free and walking the trails in Maine this Summer.
    Have always loved that you and Joe walk and listen to books. We probably shouldn’t, because we need to listen for bears and people on those 4-wheelers when walking the Rails to Trails. We have access just up the road from our house in Maine. We can walk over in Acadia, but only before the massive crowds arrive in mid-Summer. Word to the wise…Don’t go to Bar Harbor in August!! Or even July. It’s wall to wall people. Poor locals! While it’s not peak leaf season, September is least crowded. Everything wide open.
    Fingers crossed you continue to escape damage from all the storms. We have friends in LA area who are dealing with mud slides in their neighborhood.
    Sending you Mucho Grande Love and thanks for all that you do for us!
    Debbie on Ballast Point

    • sbranch says:

      Love you Debbie! Your heart and joy of life shines through in every letter!💋💋💋 Kiss the sexy Lovely for me!

  31. Carolyn says:

    Beautiful watercolor….must be fun to find treasures as you sort through your SLO life. Wishing you the smoothest possible sale…

  32. Lisa Davis says:

    I always feel better after I read the most-recent Willard! Thank you for letting us all put our names “in the hat” for the adorable watercolor!

  33. Cheryla says:

    Me me me!….a day late & a dollar short! that’s me😂Oh well! (too busy creating) It figured that you’re a Joni fan! 🤗
    Apparently, Meryl is too! We’re in good company❤️

  34. Cheryla says:


  35. Louise Cavanaugh says:

    I’m a big jigsaw puzzle fan and your puzzle was not only fun to do, it’s beautiful! Loved reading all the quotes and the drawings are gorgeous!

  36. Susan Jovanovich says:

    Hi Susan!
    I’m in Birmingham, Alabama. I love everything about Willard❤️. I’ve so enjoyed your books over the years. I’ve shared with my sisters as gifts. Memories of our childhood are reminded through your writings as well. Safe travels home on the train. And I would love to be considered for your painting—so special. Blessings to you🙏

  37. Carol says:

    What a wonderful note to have in my mail today. Love the new tea cups. I will definitely be ordering one today. I LOVE the quality of your tea cups.

  38. Susan Jovanovich says:

    Hi Susan!
    I would love a chance to be considered for your painting. Your writings remind me of childhood memories! I’ve enjoyed your books over the years, gifting to my sisters as well. Safe travels home on the train. I love everything about Willard!!

  39. Janet says:

    What a fun giveaway! Thank you!

  40. Janet Kurecka says:

    Thank you for sharing your inspiring life adventures with us. Best wishes on your move from Janet Kurecka in Saginaw Michigan

  41. Deanna Burke says:

    I continue to LOVE your art after all of these years❤️
    Your blog is always a welcome friend coming to visit!

  42. Sally Schroer says:

    So peaceful with a kitty that reminds me of my Harry, a great ginger who would never sit still to have his portrait painted.

  43. Irene Talaasen says:

    Love hearing about your treasures in California. Your early child drawings are charming…………the Kindergarten teacher in me loves them!!!!
    Irene Talaasen

  44. Beth Barnat says:

    You can find “Tucker, a Man and His Dream” on Amazon. 3.99 to rent; 7.99 to buy. Loved your newsletter!

  45. Jocelyn Knepler says:

    Love reading through “Willard”. It’s so nice to connect with someone who still values the good ole days and all that goes with it! By today’s standards I should feel guilty about still loving my collection of meaningful ( to me! ) possessions collected over the course of the beautiful life I’ve been privileged to live. But they bring back beautiful memories of people, places, experiences that I wouldn’t trade for anything. (So I go to Confession for my sin of Materialism.)

  46. Debra. E. Sewell says:


    • sbranch says:

      The only train that takes cars is the one from New York (or is it DC) to Florida! We would if we could! But I do appreciate your thoughts on our behalf!!! I get by with a little help from my friends!😘😘😘😘

  47. Jill McLaughlin Allen says:

    I just so relate to the times of fairytale girl to date.
    Kindred spirits ♥️💋

  48. Lynda Rees Kling says:

    Pack your car and ship it out.. my friend does it all the time when they go back and forth to Florida! Painyings, clothes, whatever….

  49. Frances Fowler says:

    I do love all things Susan! ❤️

  50. Michele Robins says:

    Love, Love, Love your artwork Susan! Please enter me in your giveaway.

  51. Yvonne says:

    Hi Susan – I enjoy your Willards so much. They are open, honest, informative and entertaining. Thank you for that. The train looks like a blast and it has inspired me to take a similar journey. What a trove of history within those walls, and those memories must be bittersweet, but thanks for sharing with us.
    I love the painting. That kitty looks just like my Moms cat Cinni (Cinnamon). If I were to win, I would give it to my Mom, as Cinni is 17/18 (can’t remember) and probably not going to be around for much longer. I know she would love, love, love it. Thanks again for everything you do.

  52. Judith Rudolph says:

    We still have tiny piles of snow on the ground in Maine, but the birdies are singing their courting songs outside my window. And oour crocuses are waiting to pop up and greet the sun. Spring is on its way to New England! And so are you, dear Susan! Hooray!

  53. Jo Cooper says:

    In the past month I enjoyed my own Branchfest!! I languished in the pages of all your books, perused all of my notes amoung ancient Susan Branch calendars, and sipped tea from my/your Queen Elizabeth teacup!! Kindred spirits, loving gardening, sewing, cooking, creating coziness and loveliness with linens, plants, smells of baking goodies, now at 69 years old, I love feeling youthful and excited about the new Zinnias that will soon be sprouting from seed, my roses, and hanging quilts on my clothesline, here in South Georgia. Your New England drew me there over twenty times where I found no lack of your “eye” for beauty. Thank you!!!

    • sbranch says:

      LOL “ancient” susan branch calendars … I love that! A lifetime of watercolored years!💖💖💖

      • Cheryla says:

        Great idea💡…Let’s have a Branchfest!!! (W/ all your “girlfriends”, it would be like Woodstock,,,BUT w books! (And other cute stuff!)…maybe Joni M and Brandi C would play for us!🎶❤️

    • Cheryla says:

      Great idea💡…Let’s have a Branchfest!!! (W/ all your “girlfriends”, it would be like Woodstock,,,BUT w books! (And other cute stuff!)…maybe Joni M and Brandi C would play for us!🎶❤️

  54. Fran from Michigan says:

    Your Willard so reminded me of when we started a new adventure and sold our home of 40 years.so many memories and stuff to decide what to donate,what to pitch or what to hang on to.you can get lost sorting through it all. I hope you and Joe continue to find happiness on Martha’s Vineyard.

  55. Barbara Gandy says:

    Susan, Enjoy all of your work. You bring so much sunshine to everyone. Thanks for sharing your life and talent with us.

  56. Denise says:

    I’d love to be picked! I would cherish that prize.

  57. Linda Smith says:

    Happiness is a Willard! Sounds “Catthy” 😉

  58. Janis Scobee says:

    This post makes me so excited for spring! So lovely!

  59. Nancy Giokaris says:

    So fun ready your Willard. I’d like to share a fun time with my high school girlfriends. We are the class of 1970. Our school is California High in Whittier, California. We have get togethers at least once a year. Before our meet up I went on line and found 7 of your Girlfriends Forever booksfrom used bookstores for each girlfriend. They LOVED them!!Together we had a blast reading and looking through them. Such fun book. ❤️

    Again truly enjoyed reading Willard!! Happy St. Patrick’s Day & Happy Easter💗

  60. Margie Orr says:

    Thank you for your beautiful Willard. Heart of the Home was the first book I bought from you and it inspired me to bake more. The Christmas after I bought your book I made the orange 🍊 baked bread which was so delicious. I also still have some sparse stickers I use with the hearts I love. But they are far and few between. So glad you found the right guy who was waiting for you. ♥️♥️. Nice to see you enjoying life finding your niche.

  61. ❤️Karen Saunders❤️ says:

    I know this will get lost in all the comments but going to tell you anyway. I have been sending my one and only daughter your big calendar every Christmas. I get the small one because I have no room on my walls for the big one. Hers, however immediately goes up on her wall and it becomes an important part of her life. She lives by all the dates for events pertaining to he 3 kids. It started when they were young up until they have all graduated. This is the firs year she didn’t have anyone home. Sad but she saved them all and they are like a rich diary of her families life. Events, reminders and family memories. Thank you for that. She loves your art like I do!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

    • sbranch says:

      Not lost Karen. 💘 I love that! I use mine the same way, it becomes a little diary over the years! All those memories! xoxoxo

  62. Kate Hennessy says:

    Love reading Willard…always inspiring! ♥️

  63. Once again a beautiful Willard.It came at just the right time .My husband is in the hospital recovering from a serious fall.Love all of your work.Have several books and Geranium picture that my daughter gave me for my 82nd birthday.Blessing to you and Joe.

  64. Sandra Parker says:

    Would love to win this beautiful print. It would look so nice with another one of your prints that my daughter gave me Christmas.

  65. Anna Kaplan says:

    “Parting can be such sweet sorrow …”
    It’s painful to read your last two Willards as there is so much of your life in that PLACE you are leaving – people and experiences and events and stuff and creativity … There is whole lot of stuff to sort-keep-disburse and even more memories to gather and hold in your heart and mind. I’m glad you are selling items to your fans. You’ve certainly shared much of your art, creativity and experiences over the years.
    Perhaps you mentioned and I did missed – Simon and Sammy have a mommy and daddy there in CA after you move? I had the impression they were loaned to you for visits but that was puzzling to me.
    Do you think an auto-biography (thick book!) of your art is in the future? Digital rather than literal memory keeping is especially helpful for paper items and print photos. Quilts and ceramics are more “I have to touch and hold these things” … like a kitty!
    I wish you and Joe and your staff and friends well as you wind down this home and studio. *** Remember to take breathers when needed and often exchange warm wrap-a-round HUGS – they are very calming and soothing. If my keyboard had emojis I’d send hearts!

    • sbranch says:

      They used to be Studio cats, and lived here most of their lives. But they belong to Alfredo who works for me and has moved to a new place … anyway, it’s confusing, but don’t worry, they are loved and will have all the LOVE they need, and I would have to PRY them out of Alfredo’s hands to take them anyway, he’d never let me!!! All is well! Thank you for the kind words! 💖💖💖💖 Hearts for you!

  66. Alyson Kurtz says:

    A piece of S. B. art in my kitchen would be an amazing reminder of the beauty in life! Having moved six months ago, states away, I feel for you and wish you luck!

  67. Susan Kemnuir says:

    Thank you Susan for all you have given us. It’s amazing what words and art can do for a person. PS: My name is Susan, husband is Joe, April is my birthday month and Martha’s Vineyard has also been on my wish list to see. It’s funny how I found out about you. I was in a tiny bookstore in Denver many years ago and pick up your book Isle of Dreams. I just new it was going to be something magical! Praying for your safe trip home.
    Susan K.

  68. Jacque Fisher says:

    Good morning, dear Susan! I’ve been relishing reading your latest Willard this morning, along with a cup of tea and my senior kitty (16 years old, with a new lease on life since we started feeding her moist cat food a week ago!) finally settled in my lap. Purrrrfection! Thought I’d throw my hat in the ring and be #1,361 commenter! 😉 I, too, was wondering about the fate of your two studio kitties. Happy to learn they have a good home there in CA, but also glad they are ‘on loan’ to you during your visit. I love your ‘half-finished’ painting of the little table with chairs that you decided should be brown. If you ever feel like parting with it, I would gladly buy it–finished or unfinished! It’s utterly charming!
    Your journey by train makes me want to take a train trip somewhere! Another adventure to add to my bucket list. Such a beautiful, old-fashioned way to travel while seeing the world go by… Makes the journey as special as the destination. Enjoy the rest of your time there, and best of luck in selling your lovely place. (How lucky the new owners will be!) I will think of you heading back home (sweet home!) on March 18th, just in time for spring back East!

  69. Debra Ogden says:

    Hi Susan, I love your artwork so much! Brings me so much Joy. Hugs, Debbie

  70. Sharon Gillespie says:

    April In New England is such a dear painting! I have set it in my “Memory Bank” to treasure always! I treasure all the memories you create in your wonderful WILLARDS you send each month! You fill my days with joy whenever it arrives–and now I will imagine myself sitting on that “dear chair” in the painting reading the latest WILLARD. Thank you ever so much for sharing such riches with me!

  71. Sandra says:

    Susan, it’s always such a joy to come in here and read your words, see your art, your lovely home, not forgetting Joe and lovely Jack! You have such a way of writing that I feel as if you’re my friend! It’s a gift!

    I’m English, but I live in Switzerland. Last year, I adopted a British shorthair kitten called Honey. I can’t imagine life without her now!

  72. Shirley Dunn says:

    That photo of Jack with the flowers is so lovely must have tugged at your heartstrings though. ❤️🐈‍⬛🌸

    • sbranch says:

      Definitely. But he looks so healthy and happy, it made it better!! He’ll be okay and we’ll be together soon!

  73. Roberta Murray Yarnall aka Birdy says:

    Hello beautiful Susan Branch! I purchased HOH at a Marshalls store in Simi Valley in the early 90’s. I was born in Brighton, MA and raised in Burlington, MA. I’m the 3rd of 6 kids, 5 girls & 1 brother, the youngest. I even had a sister Michelle (Shelley) who passed away 1.5 yrs ago. I think one of my favorite stories is “The Raft”, omgosh! So funny! Funny, I was raised back there, at 22 left home and finally got to CA. I know exactly where you grew up, I have a sister in Paso Robles, absolutely love SLO, Shell and Avilla beaches. I am manifesting with all my might, that painting in my kitchen. I’m a forever fan!

    • sbranch says:

      Murray is a family name, my Grandma was Irene Murray . . . maybe we have even MORE in common!!💖

  74. Stephanie says:

    Just a note, I found Tucker, the Man and His Dream at my local library. Now on my wish list for next trip I make. 🙂

  75. Crystal Smith says:

    Susan you are truly a amazing artist and so inspiring!!

  76. Margaret Rouch says:

    I love Willards!!

  77. Prue Ronneberg says:

    Susan, may I have permission to post a photo of you on my Instagram page as a reminder to
    All who view my page (limited to my friends) that courage and honesty are
    So, SO Important right now (well it is always important, but especially right now.) and if I should be asking via another method or address, how and which?

  78. Marilyn deRuyter says:

    Hi Susan… I’ve been meaning to write a comment. To tell you what a thrill it was a couple months ago, to have met you on the ferry, and to thank you so much for posing with me for a picture! I treasure it…and I treasure your art work….
    I love the photo of you & Joe…37 years ago. If that isn’t Love, I don’t know what is!!
    One other thing…back when Covid started, and we were all skeptical to go to the grocery stores, I dug out old cookbooks… my favorite being Vineyard Seasons, More From the Heart of the Home… and found the simple recipe for Nut Bread… and couldn’t stop making it. Simple, and delish.. great toasted. Thank you for all your recipes, and all the special little paintings that make it so much fun to peruse the recipes.

    It’s been fun to hear all your adventures… and yup, Spring on the Vineyard is waiting for you.

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Marilyn! Isn’t this amazing . . . a chance meeting and now HELLO here! That’s my Grandma’s nut bread recipe … I’m so happy you like it! Be home soon . . . please warm it up a little bit for us! ❌⭕️❌⭕️

  79. Lesliesusan says:

    Ooo…I hope I didn’t miss the giveaway. It’s Leap Year day…my heart would definitely leap to hear I won your beautiful painting!!!

  80. Loretta Jane Evans says:

    I always have a smile when reading your Willards .. thank you for brightening the day for many people, especially women in their 80s like me that enjoy reading your letters and listening to ‘musica’ that we remember. I would like to be entered for your beautiful print.

  81. Marla Dexter Ezell says:

    Hi Susan – love, love, love your Willards!! – but …. things go so quickly.
    You’re out of puzzles again! I was so excited to read – then poof – I thought I had one – then it said sold out! I hope you get some more – it was to be a gift to me to some day do after I retire! lol. thank you for such fun and creative beauty in life.

  82. Linda Fancellas says:

    Hope you enjoy remainder of your California trip. Love your new cups and soaps. I checked out your friend’s instagram account and love it too! Wish I was close enough to visit. Belated Happy Anniversary and safe travels home.
    Best Regards,
    Linda F

  83. Charmaine says:

    You are so talented! God really blessed you and we’re all so fortunate that you share with us 💜. Hope I win your painting ! 🤞🤞🤞

  84. Katharyn Dawson says:

    We used to live in Massachusetts and I miss Spring there. Please add my name to the giveaway for your lovely watercolor. Thank you for continuing to be an inspiration in the art of living well.

  85. Betsy Brunette says:

    what a sentimental journey you are on!
    please add my name to your drawing…..I would cherish just about anything that came from you and your journey through the years.

  86. Merle Gerke says:

    Susan, I go on a mini vacation when I read your notes. It is amazing…you are amazing!

  87. Mary Hennessey says:


  88. STEPHANIE PRICE (aka flamebrain) says:

    Please enter my name in the giveaway. I am sure I feel the same as others when I tell you how much joy you bring to us. For some weird reason I find myself struggling w/ issues of anxiety but then again, my one and only daughter will be graduating soon, my 4 legged girls are getting older and so are my parents. Time is flying by and sometimes, when there is a chance to stop and really look at the big picture it probably hits me about how much time has passed and then the, “what will tomorrow bring?” Hopefully it brings more happiness and less anxiety issues because that is a waste of good time. Reading your blog really helps me and somehow brings me to realize the simple joys there are in life. I travel w/ my parents more now because I know, as much as we all don’t like it, our lives are not forever…. so, thank you for helping us see what is important in life, what brings us joy, and knowing that life is meant to be savored!!! Hugs and love to you and yours and to all your following family!!

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