This is the sky out on our walk today...and it's 54 degrees! Which may not sound like much where you are, but 54 is like pure springtime around here! I just came in from hanging our sheets on the line to dry in the fresh cold sea-swept wind. This normally does not happen in February, and it probably won't last, but we're enjoying it while it does! A little MUSICA?

It's been a lovely winter here on the Island.

We've had a couple of wild blizzards, walked in the snowy woods, lit candles and had cozy fires, made delicious short rib dinners, watched all four seasons of our newest addiction, A Place to Call Home (waiting for you on Netflix right now! SO good, you'll love it!),

Not to mention a plethora of old movies, especially one filmed in 1943 I'd never heard of before called the Constant Nymph, with Charles Boyer and Joan Fontaine (darling houses, wonderful scenery, cars, clothes, etc. Girl dies, so, bad ending, but worth it until then). So winter has been wonderful. Got the new 2018 Calendars all done and turned in too, and if you haven't read the blog lately, Joe and I drove up to Vermont (in a blizzard) for Valentine's Day with our friends for a sleigh ride in the snow! If you like, you can see the photos and videos of it HERE.

But the last couple of mornings around here, things are definitely different, the light is changing . . . sunshine's coming through the glass panes at newly odd angles, casting little jagged lights and shadows on cupboards and walls telling me the season is changing. When the wind blows through the trees, the branches sway and sun sparkles across the wall, and if the sun rises pink, then the reflection is pink. Little jewels from heaven. Today, there is no doubt, spring fever is everywhere. Snow drops are up out back! Oh yes, they are! And we passed lots of other walkers in the woods today ~ usually it's just us out there in the winter, but today it was moms and dads pushing strollers and holding toddlers hands, outside enjoying this amazing Sunday, hatless and gloveless. We took good advantage of the moment, came home, turned up the music, opened every door in the house and let the wind blow all that worn out and overused heated air out of the house, and replace it with crisp and cool spring. Love the seasonal turn, everything changes, what we wear, what we eat, how we decorate ~ everything. It's a game changer and the spice of life!

And for us, no matter what happens here on the Island, the season is going to change, big time and right now. Because by the time you get this letter, we’ll be doing our favorite thing, crossing the country in our room-with-a-view on the train, heading for points west, from Boston to Chicago to sunny California to see my mom for her Birthday. So excited to be with her! Taking the tea pot of course, three days of rocking across America, sunrise, sunset. And then back home. Who could ask for more.

Aonother reason we're going is because the TV/movie pilot for my 3-book trilogy is still in the works, so we are meeting with the screenwriter in Hollywood!!! (Did I EVER think I would be writing words like this, no. Never. Twilight Zone.😜 In a good way!)

Then we'll drive up the Pacific coast to San Luis Obispo where, wearing my artist/author hat, I'll be speaking, taking questions, and signing books at the Apple Farm at 2 pm on March 18th (come if you can, there'll be a tent and food, and tickets are available HERE). And in between, we'll have lots of play time with old friends, catching up with Kellee and Sheri, finding out how many trees in our Studio backyard fell down in the storms, lunch at the beach with BFF Diana. Hoping that California has not slipped into the ocean by then. The drought is over, but the flood has come! I pray it will be gorgeous green by the time we get there, and if we are lucky, the sun will shine and we'll go to Montana de Oro to see the lupin and poppies in bloom! We train our way back to Martha's Vineyard March 30, and by then, spring will have sprung here for real. Therefore, I say, let's just cut to the chase, and start celebrating right now! Plunge into spring!

If you don't have natural birdsong around your house, play THIS cheerful sound . . .

Here are a few ideas to change winter into a bright and cheery Spring . . . out with the old and in with the new!

Io what else is new . . . Well, I promised "All good news" and that's what I've got. We've received lots of letters asking what is happening with my book A FINE ROMANCE, Falling in Love with the English Countryside. I know, you can't find it anywhere ... so sorry, we ran out . . . but we're fixing that . . . a new printing will be arriving at the Studio the end of March . . . And that goes for my Autumn book, too...finally back in stock, and signed copies of both books are available for presale now! They will ship the moment they arrive.

I had a quiet first of the year and worked on the new 2018 calendars all through January.

And here, a preview of the cover of my new Wall Calendar ~ we'll have the Blotter too, also the purse-size calendar and the Mini, all available in July, and all on the normal (as in the past) slightly thicker (than this year) paper.

And also, last but definitely not least, very exciting news . . . as many of you know, I've been busy this winter designing something I've wanted to make for a long time. My very own mugs. Cups. For tea and coffee and hot chocolate and soup, and Irish coffee too, cups with my own art on them. Big cups with a nice thin edge, 16 oz (filled to the very brim). The world has finally gotten to a place where it is now possible for a little company like mine to do such a thing, and I did it! I found a luv-lee Staffordshire manufacturer when we were in England, who does the MOST beautiful job. (We tried for the USA first, but even the USA company that still makes them, makes them in China. 😕) Above, you can see my glued-together paper design on the left, and then, next to it, the sample mock-up made by the British manufacturer and sent to me for approval. Which told me we were on the same page!

So fun, I did three different ones! They're being made in England of Bone China, the art goes all the way around, and I am SO excited. When I was designing, I thought of them like cereal boxes. For that early morning moment when you're not quite awake and need something close by to read, I tried to make them interesting. I think I ordered enough for everyone, but we never know, so we're putting them up for presale right away so if we need to add to the order, we'll know about it now. For sure, the only place these mugs will be available is in my webstore, so they will be rather scarce I would say, you will likely not be seeing them in all of your friends houses, unless you are the one who puts them there! And we plan to do more designs, and retire them periodically, so they become more of a treasure and collectible because of the small runs. They are telling us we will have them in time for Mother's Day 💐 . . . maybe sooner, possibly April, but they wouldn't say for SURE. So far, I have to say, they seem very on time and conscientious. Kellee and Sheri will send them the moment they come in. You know they will! You can Pre-Order HERE.

Also, I wanted you to have this Cake recipe before I go away. It's from my new updated Heart of the Home book, but in case you don't have it, this recipe is so good, and so perfect for everything spring ~ tint it green for St. Patricks Day, heavenly for Easter, lovely at Mother's Day, delicious at a Spring Tea, or any old time you feel the need for Angel Food Cake, Melt-in-your-Mouth, Nectar of the Gods, this recipe is the one.

I think we need a Mug Giveaway, don't you? Let's do it! Go sign up on my Blog, at the bottom of the first post you'll see a teeny tiny (almost invisible, why do they make it so small?) word that says, "comments." Click there, leave a comment, and you will be entered. In a few days, our "Random Number Generator" (who we fondly refer to as "Vanna," named for Vanna White of game-show fame), will draw a winning name. And your cup will be the very first (in the entire world) to go out in the mail when they come in. Oh, the power. How I love thee. 💞MUSICA🎵

In closing, a few words about guardian angels which, as some of you may know from my books, I have had all my life; I knew they were there before they even became popular. When I ask, when I listen, they answer me. My great grandma Alice was the first one I was aware of . . . and I've always felt the presence of at least two others. Now my Dad is with them, with his little dog Chief. I am well protected. So don't worry about us on our train trip. They love walking in the woods with me, they hang around while I paint, and I know they really like the train too. I am in good hands. And one more thing, something they taught me, love is all that matters. Try and fall in love with as many things as possible, every day things like the dawn, the moon, the way your flannel shirt feels, clothes warm from the dryer, singing in the car, the first words to a delicious new book, hot brownies and cold milk . . . take nothing for granted; that way all your days will feel like miracles.

With undying love to you all . . . enjoy your early spring, go and get your happiness! As far as we know, this is the only life we have. Make cake! Have fun, redecorate, be kind, and keep in touch ...