Mark Twain's Birthplace

It was a wonderful cross-country drive, from the central coast of California through to the island of Martha's Vineyard. It took us nine days because we stopped along the way and saw the sights.

flower strip

Wide open spaces...Wildflowers lined the roads for most of the way as spring was in full bloom. Our country is so beautiful, from the majestic snow-capped mountains of Wyoming, to long stretches of road with tidy farms and barns in the mid-west, then crossing the Hudson River into New England, we headed for home.

From the mountains to the prairie...

Vintage stuff

We braked (broke?) for every flea market and junk shop we saw and found all sorts of darling things, for you (and for us of course)! Check out the VINTAGE section in our web store and see what treasures we gathered. I added a few of my own things, like a gorgeous flowered chandelier that used to hang in my kitchen, and a couple of old garden books I had two of. These definitely come from the heart of the home and me!

Home is creative expression


We rode the ferry over, opened up the house, settled the kitty in (put butter on her paws which I heard is the way to get a foxgloveskitty used to a new place and quell longings for the old place). I washed curtains, Joe put a new coat of white paint on the porch railings. I've been working in my garden on cool mornings, clipping, digging, fertilizing. It looks pretty good with all the perennials and roses beginning to bloom; the strawberries came back and the foxgloves are in bloom.

BeeskepI added a new white rose with a wonderful fragrance called French Lace; plus three kinds of tomatoes, two colors of Swiss chard, lettuces, lemon thyme, rosemary and other herbs; I put my darling BEE SKEP right in the middle of everything, hung my hat on the picket fence, and now I get to watch it grow from the window of my studio as I paint.

Clothes Line

Each day, with the ocean breezes ruffling the curtains that look out over the garden, with the beautiful island of Martha's Vineyard as inspiration, I'm working hard on my new book, hand-writing and painting it; taking long walks to the sea every morning, through the woods bordered in wild beach roses you don't have to stop and smell because their delicious perfume floats right up to greet you.heart

Out and About

CarLast Saturday Joe and I decided we needed to go have fun, so we rented this little Mini Cooper for the day. I've been sort of wanting one of these, but thinking, why? I already have a car. Why do I need a tiny little thing that only 2 people can ride in and has no room for groceries, flowers, and bags of fertilizer? (But it's so darling! says the devil voice.) We would have to empty out barn to fit it in; I would have to buy more car insurance. (You only go around once! says the evil twin.) It couldn't replace my regular car, because I do need to take three girlfriends sometimes to go to farmer's market. (Lame excuse, they have cars too you know, says the selfish mini-me.) A soft top in winter cold? Drive it to California? Not one practical thing about it. But the problem was, I kept wanting one anyway. Especially because they rent them here on the island and I pass the rental place every day on my way to the PO, and there they are, all lined up, cute and adorable, colors like M & M's, tops down, luuuring me. I went to their web site and played around with colors and extras "just for fun," no harm in this, virtually picking out my perfect car. I chose yellow, no stripes.

TicketsSaturday morning, Joe said, "let's go rent one of those little cars for the day." So that's what we did! I didn't even request a color; they just gave us the yellow one! They showed us how it worked, how a push of a button makes the top go up and down; in it we got, popped in one of the cd's we'd brought along, and off we went.

Spontaneous FunI hiiiiighly recommend this for a beautiful summer day. It was like being sixteen again, all the good parts and none of the bad. We turned up the music and drove 'round the bends of the old roads under leafy trees, the leaves going shhhhhhh, James Taylor going "Deep greens and blues...are the colors I choose...," the sun flickering through the trees, island scenery whizzed by, old rock walls, ponds, farms, lambs in green fields....to a funky outdoor restaurant up-island that's been there forever, high on a cliff overlooking the whole blue Atlantic, for lobsters and steamers.


We started home after watching the sun drop into the sea; with the top still down, windows up, heater blasting, music loud, Frank singing "Fly me to the moon...", moon and stars above us...just like being sixteen, free as a bird, with dad's car.

Do I need to buy that little car now? No, this outing did it for me! It silenced the devil voices. For the moment anyway; if and when the need comes again, I know what to do. We saved at least $24,000; that's a lot of lobster dinners. :-) It was so fun, Joe loved it as much as me, for some reason everything was just more beautiful without a top on the car!

Its never too late

Address Book

What else is new... well, you know the Address Book got held up in printing and will be in next month, just so you know they're still coming! The color comp arrived here for approval yesterday and it looks adorable. This is happening in the nick of time, my old address book is hanging by a thread!

Besides all the new VINTAGE things we sent home from our trip, we have filled the web store with summer fun (sorry, no Mini Coopers available from our web site, you have to go find your own!)....we have BEE SKEPS for your garden, and wonderful HURRICANE LAMPS like I wrote about in the Girlfriend's Book

Outdoor Lighting


There are Summer RUGS AND PILLOWS you will recognize from the first pages of my Summer Book and a brand new collection of fabric, from a new company fabric (for me) employee owned, made in America (!), Cranston. Gorgeous quality, very fine; we're calling the collection "SPRING CHICKENS" .. this is just a part of it...

We also have a new crafty thing for you, MONOGRAMS: we can email you a full-color watercolored initial of your choice and you can print it onto iron-on paper and make tote bags and pillows and all kinds of things. Fun!heart

Summer Favorites

Two delicious recipes from my Summer Book that you have to try if you haven't already, LEMON LINGUINI and PARSLEY SALAD -- delicious together, or separately, wonderful with grilled fish, ribs, barbecued chicken, these will be the perfect standby's for all your Summer Parties and Barbecues. And here are some easy, summery answers to the age-old question, "What's for dessert?"

summer recipes

Time to say goodbye, I tried to rev up your summer fun button with this Willard, to remind you of that excited moment of feeling extra lucky when you've grabbed the brass ring while on the back of a carousel horse... it was your one chance in the fleeting moment, and you did it! Your chance to make summer memories for 2010 is here, have fun! xoxoxo

With love, from Susan Branch