Iun, get a cup of tea, we’ll wait. Ahhh, there you are. Settle in, get comfy, take a deep breath, here’s MUSICA and a story from home, from me to you with love.

Happy windy, blowy, wonderful fall! So many delicious words that describe this time of year: chilly air, crisp apples, the smell of new books, pumpkin pie, shorter days and candlelight, back to school, thick socks, piles of sweaters, cartwheeling leaves, woodsmoke, sugar maples and wild asters, corn pudding, molasses cookies, new jammies, new shoes and crunchy leaves, quilts flapping on the line in cool, dappled sunlight. I’d like to bottle it ~ it’s pure inspiration, the most creative time of year!

Wot having been brought up with them, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the way the seasons change, it always seems impossible. But then I’m a big believer in the impossible. Because it’s clear in this life, anything can happen. Why shouldn't crows fly low through trees turning red and yellow and purple with leaves blowing off in all directions? Perfectly normal to catch a mitten-shaped leaf in the air, and make a wish, and throw it back to the wind. I walk out to the garden to gather marigolds and mums for my little vases, and come in from the chill (counting my blessings) to the spicy smell of my grandma’s Frosted Molasses Cookies baking in the oven, Joe’s favorite cookie in the world, a fragrance from my childhood.

Man Food: Joe’s favorite fireplace concoction he made up himself: Hot coffee, half and half, and a couple tablespoons of Hershey’s syrup. Quite delicious! Girl Food would require the addition of whipped cream.

Iur old stove is the beating heart of our kitchen, the heart of our home, and she is in her heyday when the leaves begin to fall. On stormy days, when the electricity goes out and there’s no TV so all you can hear is the wind and everything is lit with candles and oil lamps, our stove keeps going, quietly nurturing and elegantly humble, asking for nothing, giving more than she takes. She’s the exact same vintage as the one my mom had when we were growing up ~ an O’Keefe and Merritt circa 1956 and she says “home” to me. She’s the first thing I go to when I come downstairs in the morning, Jack racing ahead, tail straight up, before the sun comes up, when the world is quiet ~ her pilot light burns softly, I make tea, the wind beats a shutter against the house, and off I go to paint robins and wrens and write and try to capture just the right golden words of hope and love and compassion, goodness, and truth to tell my stories.

S may not be able to control what goes on in the real world, but Joe and I have all the power in our own house. We can make it as sweet and cozy as we like. So on goes the musica, and here comes Jack, and we cuddle in the chair, Joe looks at maps of Ireland, and I sew, or read, or write in my diary ~ then Joe fixes the leak in the upstairs bathroom and I call my mom ~ and we go eat at friends houses, and my girlfriends come for tea, Joe brings in wood and makes a fire, he arranges shipments of books, I stuff a chicken while Joe chops onions, we watch old movies or Penelope Keith's Hidden Villages, and all is right with the world. The little things in life.


Still planning our trip to England and Ireland by ship next year. Jack helps ~ the minute we spread the map, he’s on it! (Do we detect a bit of the evil eye in that little face?) Leaving him is the worst part. We have lots to do before we can go, but every day we take steps toward making it happen.


Petey can’t wait either! Castle Cottage! Beatrix Potter! We are so excited! Are you coming? READ here about our BYO Picnic Basket Party ~ you’re all invited to the English Lake District next May 11. And don’t worry if you can’t make it, we will take you there virtually, via Blog, with lots of good photos!

One more thing we do every fall (and spring), because apparently the mini closets in our 1849 house were built before there was shopping or clothes or electricity ~ is move everything around. In the autumn we take all the summer shirts, skirts, beach towels, and sandals to the attic, and down comes the flannel stuff, the sweaters and boots, scarves, mittens and hats. I know, it’s a thrill a minute around here! We never had to do this where I grew up in California, I still find it oddly fascinating ~ but everyone does it here (except, I suppose, the people with the normal size closets, but in these old houses, that’s rare). It’s quite a project. But it’s done, and now Joe’s beret hangs on the hook by the door, at the ready for our walk to the sea through the wild and windy woods. Some people think of this tradition/chore as a bother, but I like it, just like I always especially loved the kitty that was most demanding. I see these changes as part of the celebration. Here come the storm windows! Here come the pumpkins! Put the garden to bed, drain the hoses, put the ghost in the front window, and what bulbs shall we plant this year? It’s all a miracle! Give. it. to. me.

Sprinkling marigold petals on my Zucchini Nut Bread. Recipe? Oui!

The other thing I love is that right now I’m allowed to have as much candy in the house as I want. It’s Halloween and we have bags and bags of it ~ it’s not my fault and Joe can’t say a thing. I put it in big wooden bowls under the piano bench. What happens under the piano bench, stays under the piano bench.

So work-wise, what’s new? Lots! Mas MUSICA? Oui!

I’m thrilled to tell you we will have two of our new embroidery kits in before Christmas ~ for the first time in a very long time! There’s a counted cross-stitch called Tea Party, and a set of stamped Redwork Ornaments (and much more in the works ~ including a tree skirt to match the ornaments!). Both kits are ready for presale right now. The embroidered ornaments are perfect for teaching the children in your life ~ I’m forever grateful to my mom for teaching me to embroider when I was little (and made of pure sponge) ~ I’ve made things for my houses my whole life, and best of all, it gave me something I could make to give away. There’s nothing like sitting down with an old movie and some needlework. I speak from happy experience.

I’m so glad you’re enjoying your cups! I love all the comments and photos I see on Instagram and Twitter, Girlfriends having tea with Autumn, and taking their Bluebirds to England! I know lots of you will be giving them for the holidays ~ me too! You can make them extra festive ~ fill them with brownie bites or homemade cookies, or fill a bag with chopped bittersweet chocolate, tie it with a bow and tuck in one of these little "Chocolate for two" recipe cards ~ (click there and print them on card stock).

Ready for preorder right now, are four brand new cup designs, made in England of fine bone china, celebrating Girlfriends, Valentine's, our Beatrix Potter Picnic, and Winter (to go with Autumn, the 2nd of the four cup set). You can read details about each one HERE.

They won’t arrive until the first of January, but for those of you who might like to give them as gifts this year, I designed two different gift cards for you to print out. You can use them as a stocking stuffer, or put them in a card . . . and when the cups finally arrive this deep dark winter, your preorders will be first to go out. For gift cards, click HERE.

The emphasis for this collection is love and girlfriends and winter, because even though we're on the other side of the year right now. . . Valentine's Day will come again in February, and we are going to be ready for our moms, sisters, aunties, grandmas, and best friends! And since Joe loves his cup, I know our boyfriends will like them too! And yes, for you who’ve been asking, one day I’ll design a Jack cup!

And guess what else? Finally! Remember this “Home Cooking" teapot plate? Well, it’s taken a while, but it's done! And as you can see, there are two of them!

Ahe finished samples just arrived and I’m so happy! They should be in our Studio and ready to ship by Thanksgiving. I’ve been playing with the samples ever since they came . . . Mixing and matching them with the cups . . . the plates are perfect for cookies, good as a sandwich plate, and even cute as a wall plaque!

And that’s not all, I made decorative quote stands too, and lots of small heart-shaped dishes! All are made of porcelain, food safe, dishwasher and microwave safe ~ and available for presale now! Read more details HERE.

I've wanted to do these things, embroidery kits and dishes, forever . . . but with American manufacturing going the way it has the last years, it’s been difficult, and mostly impossible. So many manufacturers went away, and those that stayed required us to buy things by the tens of thousands, which we could never do . . . but I never gave up, and slowly things are getting easier for a small business to get something special done especially for their own Girlfriends. And that just makes my day!

It gives me something to give. Which I will now do, with gusto . . . As a small token of my great affection for all that you are, and all that we are together ~ I thought someone out there might like an entire set of our new dishes . . . so that’s what I’m going to do. The winner will get both of the new teapot plates, three different quote stands, and five heart dishes ~ which means whoever wins might have some holiday shopping done! To enter, come over to my Blog, scroll to the bottom of the post, and there, in tiny letters, you will see the word “Comments.” Click there and leave a message ~ say anything, even the fewest words like “Enter me” will work ~ and that’s all you have to do! You’ll be entered in the drawing. In a few days we will pull the lucky name, I’ll announce it on the Blog and email the winner with the good news. And soon the dishes will be winging their way to, hopefully, YOU.

And so I close wishing you a happy, creative, quiet, homey, lucky Autumn. Take care of yourself ~ make memories for you and the ones you love.

For more photos of colorful New England Island life, recipes, decorating, and "Stories from Home," I update my Blog every week or so. We can alert you by email when that happens ~ just click HERE, then on the little blue box (in the window on the right) where it says “Get Susan Branch delivered by Email,” and voila! It’s that easy. You’ll especially love it when we leave for our trip across the ocean to Ireland and England . . . we’ll bring everyone on the Blog! xoxo