Hello Everyone!

Sorry I haven't written in so long. All I've been doing is working on the new book and it keeps my head down and my miniscule powers of Heavenly Jasmineconcentration in overdrive.Springtime here in California is not helping; even right this minute I can look up and get totally lost in the bird action going on at the feeders outside my kitchen windows! It's a gorgeous morning here, the doors are open, and the jasmine is in bloom filling the air with perfume beyond anyone's wildest imagination. I was out earlier, hanging some shirts on the line (just an excuse to go out there) and noticed the roses have red shoots popping out all over.

I meant to do my work today

Perhaps you can't tell by my words, but if you could see me, hands poised over computer keys, eyes on birds and flowers, you would see that procrastination is my middle name! After I pull myself away from the screen door, and stop playing with my kitty; giving us our morning exercise with fake mouse, I think about the island, and wonder how it's going back there.


I want to get on the train right now, and stare out the windows while the world goes by; watch sunny California turn to chilly View from my windowChicago, arriving at cold Boston station where I put on my big jacket, and go down to Woods Hole, and get on the boat, and lean on the rail and smell the sea, and watch the island come closer and closer, barely being able to stand the wait until we dock (always the hardest part), and drive up Main Street, and go home to my house on Spring Street in time to see the tulips and grape hyacinths I planted in front of the house, bloom. That's what I want. I have a big yearning.


But. I can't go. Because I am in the throes of paying attention to writing my new book and if I go, my concentration will get so broken it will take me 3 weeks to get it back again, if I'm lucky. And in three weeks, the island will be total springtime, the lilacs will bloom My house will wai for mewhich will send fragrance into every open window and lure me out the door, to the garden, to my girlfriends, and then there will be no book. And I want the book.flower

It's going so well! I have to be honest, there's a certain kind of worry that happens when I write a book, because I always have to wonder, am I doing this right? Every time I finish a chapter, I say to myself, will they like this, did I say it right? Which, of course, I have no idea. And then I ask, "OK, what else are they going to want?"...'they' being you. It's like writing a letter that never ends. So that part is fun even if I am confused most of the time. Thank goodness so many of you wrote and told me what you wanted, you made it so much easier!heart

Hearts can inspire other hearts with their fire

BCat playingut the other part, the part where you're supposed to stay focused? This is where the trouble starts. You can read all about it on my new HOME PAGE, where I spent the whole time whining. I do get lots of mail from people who want to write books asking me "how do you do it?" So I decided to write that answer for everyone to read. (This is the part where on TV they tell you to turn off the television if there are young children in the room.)

My dreams about book writing are exactly like those of Zelda Fitzgerald who said;
"I wish I could write a beautiful book to break the hearts that are soon to cease to exist: a book of faith and small neat worlds and of people who live by the philosophies of popular songs."

Zelda was F. Scott Fitzgerald's wife (good biography: Zelda by Nancy Milford); she was born in 1900 and lived to be only 48 years old so the popular songs inspiring her were probably songs like Night and Day by Fred Astaire; All of Me by Louis Armstrong; and You Made Me Love You, the way Judy Garland sang it. (You will love it; here's Judy Garland, 15 years old, singing this song to a picture of Clark Gable.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfAwQSk9STI.


So besides book writing, Springtime yearnings and procrastination (which this letter is a part of!) what else is new?

Well, let me tell you: For new product we've been concentrating on relatively inexpensive but meaningful gifts you might like to give to others, wonderful BOOKS that we love and some new NOTECARD designs. We're figuring that other people are like us, spending more time at home, making things, being crafty, writing letters, connecting in an old-fashioned way to things that matter. So we have lots of things that will help make that happen, including several new RUBBER STAMP designs, plus a DELUXE VERSION of the same SCRAPBOOK that so many of you have purchased -- this new scrapbook is exactly like the old version but this one comes with all kinds of fun embellishments: epoxy, glitter, vellum and dimensional stickers and diecuts -- it's a 500 piece set and will work perfectly with the first version.

And if it's cooking you're wanting to do, we have all new recipes in WHAT'S COOKING. And that darling BEE CAKE MOLD and recipe is still available for a little while longer.
Baby ShowerWe have darling BABY things, amazingly soft and cozy STUFFED TOYS, BABY SOCKS, a wonderful new BABY SHOWER INVITATION; and a very special CHARM BRACELET for expecting moms --- she gets one charm a month! Too cute. There are a few new kitchen APPLE things, like the APPLE CHALKBOARD to go with the new APPLE PEPPER GRINDER so many of you now have! We ran out of SUMMER BOOKS, but I think by the time you get this letter, they will be back in stock; inside you'll find lots of stuff about the garden, lots of wonderful recipes and party ideas to get you in the mood for the season that IS COMING!! And for all the wedding anniversaries and brides and grooms in your families, we have finally made the WHEN YOU MARRY HIM and WHEN YOU MARRY HER artwork into prints you can frame and have ready for the happy day. Ours hang in the downstairs guest bathroom and we get lots of comments on them! New HOOKED RUGS, pillows and chairpads arrive next month . . .


So that's it for now. We'll see how long my resolve will last about not getting on that train...who's going to win, the yearning me, or the responsible me??? After all, it's not the destination, as they always say, it's the journey, and I can procrastinate work just as well on Martha's Vineyard as I can here. Wishing you a day full of sunshine!

With love from the heart of the home and me, Susan Branch.

CrocusPS. This just in, I was just finishing my letter to you when I got an email from my girlfriend who lives 2 doors down from me on Martha's Vineyard. Look! They have crocus!!!