Green means GO!

Green is the emblem of optimism. Like a green traffic light, setting us free to GO! It’s also the color of Spring! This will put you in the mood even if spring is coming in on little duck feet where you live! MUSICA!


Still a lot of attitude out there! (Dark cold short days do that to a person!)But, as we know . . .JUST SING!

This is our idea of OH MY GOD IT’S SPRING!!! SHOUT IT TO THE ROOFTOPS. Daffodils!


So we walk under leafless gray trees, through the woods to the gray sea . . . breathing clean ocean air, listening to the most wonderful English accents reading us the most wonderful books, still a little bleary-eyed from jet lag caused by daylight savings time, but too absorbed in The Last Bookstore in London to care. And THAT’S how you fight reality! Which I know you know. And P.S., that book was wonderful, you would love it! We get inside these stories and don’t want to come out. On the rare days we decide to just listen to the wind, the stories are now in the woods and wrap themselves around us as we walk. We fed the woods and the woods feed us back.🥰

We commune with the sun, when it comes out, we lap it up ~ and my watch says, “Good Girl, you walked 23 miles this week,” and I give myself a gold star, and my dad whispers, “Good work.”

And all the while, I know this dreamy thing is coming . . .I’ve been getting lots done. Staying close to home, watching some fun TV, just BEING. I’ve so enjoyed this period of quiet, of rebirth I believe, just in time for spring, I’ve been deep in the throes of what I call the foundation for the creation. It’s working, I feel excited, my head is filled with ideas, I’m always grabbing note paper, writing in my diary, or typing out a quick paragraph of ideas … I can’t wait to see where they go. You might remember that during the Pandemic I shredded most of my diaries, freed them, is the way I like to think of it. (You can read about the philosophy of shredding HERE) . . . I kept a few pages, but let most of them go. I still have several diaries, my dinner-party diary of course, my England diary, a couple of others . . .

and this one (above) . . . it’s a long diary, it goes from 1992 to 2007! It comes from pre-internet days, before digital cameras ~ before phones, or blogs! When we still shopped in actual stores! So much good stuff in that book, almost the entire 90s! Little notes, bits of art, photos, plus, I didn’t say anything quite as moronic as I did in those first books.

Of course, I saved this page. So funny, asking that question while I’m writing! I just didn’t know yet. But I imagine that even Shakespeare asked himself this question when he was young. It’s got to be a question every dreamer asks themselves in some way or another. Which makes me think, for my own little world, that maybe I wasn’t a late bloomer like I thought, I was probably right on time.

Anyway, back to this diary, only one problem: Poor thing was dragged onto too many trains and is now coming apart. It had a cloth spine… what was I thinking!

It’s a very fat book . . . but the pages are still holding together,

. . . they’re stuffed with all kinds of bits and pieces, a newspaper clipping when Frank Sinatra died in 1998, my first national book tour schedule for Girlfriend’s Forever in 2000 (by train), a note from me to God thanking Him for not “letting me have arthritis,” lovely bits of fan mail, a recipe card from my mom for Green Bean Casserole, a ticket stub for Miss Potter ~ and so much more, making this diary even fatter . . .

This is how the happy gene manifests . . .Good old 1999!

 I don’t want to lose this book . . . so, yesterday it went off to Mitzie Pratt, a bookbinder here on the Island… she will put it back together for me, and give it a brand new spine! There are a few blank pages left in the back . . . so maybe I will give it a little 2023 update.

And other things I’ve wanted to do have also been checked off my list ~ I finally got our wedding rings in to be engraved ~ I’ve always wanted to do that, and it’s finally happening.💞 Sending some of that love out into the world all alone someday. Also, I found a 1923 dime on my dad’s grave the first time I visited, I took that in too, to make a pendant out of it. He was born in 1923! And it’s 2023. So this is the perfect time. I’m having them put a gold ring around the outside, with a loop for the chain.💖 For forever. And, guess what just came in? ⬇️ Samples!

Our cups!!! They arrived from England for approval, which they definitely got! Color turned out great! They do such an amazing job!❤️ They’re being made now and, as promised, will ship at the end of April. I just wanted to show you. I can’t give an exact arrival date right now, because once anything is shipped these days, no one is ever quite sure when it will get to its destination. But never fear, we will stay on top of it, as I receive notices and more information, I will share it with you!!! I’m thinking May . . . but we will see.

Aren’t they wonderful? I’ve already had tea in all of them! Took ’em on a test run! ❤️ We haven’t sold out yet, they are all still available, but I should say if you want the Queen Elizabeth cup, you probably need to order soon.

My book, Fairy Tale Girl has been hard to find anywhere but on our website, and we’re down to just a few, saved just in cases, for Girlfriends. . . because we sold out everywhere else! So now, it’s being reprinted . . . the printer sent me the entire book so I could check the pages for color and layout, be sure the cover is right, and make sure it has that new book smell. I am still getting thank you letters for this book, warming the cockles of my heart.

And not just one book reprint this time . . . two!

Because A Fine Romance, Falling in Love with the English Countryside has also been missing in action! Thank you so much for liking them! You know it’s all you . . . your word of mouth that has made this possible. Mom’s to daughters, sisters to sisters, girlfriend to girlfriend ~ and so many of you took that word of mouth to Amazon.💖 Such a huge help! Word of mouth, my very favorite thing. Who do you trust more than your mom or BFFs? No one! I love it for my books, for movies, restaurants, exercise, for EVERYTHING actually, and feel just the same about it for the books I read … We are a sharing bunch aren’t we!?! Kindred spirits!

Oh yes, they sent the ribbons too! All approved and I bet we get them in the next month or so. 

And yes, we also ran out of our fine art giclee prints . . . they are all being reprinted and will be coming to the Studio any day now! Beautiful reproductions on heavy watercolor paper ~ the color is so good it’s very hard to tell the difference between them and the originals! I left enough white paper on the sides and top so you can frame them if you like. I will sign and number them before sending them to the Studio for our webstore. And SURPRISE! See the geranium there on the right? That is a print of the very first painting I ever did, when I was 30, before I even knew I could paint. Painting this geranium with my brand new Birthday watercolors was a real awakening. I have one here in the house and I thought it would be fun as a giveaway ❤️❤️❤️ . . . I’ll personalize it to whoever turns out to be the winner of our drawing … so leave a comment (you’ll see where to do it directly under the end of this post… click on the word “comment.”) I just want to show how much …And that’s the truth! You’re family! One of my favorite things about winter is how quiet and hushed it is here on the island. Tourists aren’t here yet, ferries sometimes stop running due to the weather, otherwise I can hear the boat horn echoing every time it leaves the dock. We have church bells clanging and ancient sad sound of foghorn too. All we need for perfection is a train whistle! Dark quiet mornings before sunrise, just me and Jack, a cup of tea, and my watercolors, are a pure gift to my life.

I’ve been painting . . . so fun to watch a piece of art come to fruition … the smell of the paper, the pencils, it’s back to school time for me. I start with a sketch, decide where her shoulders should be, what her hair might be, hat or no hat, what groceries should she have, what colors, everything . . .This is where the eraser comes in handy. I think of my eraser the same way as I do my seam ripper . . . tools I could not live without.

Once I like the basic idea, I redraw it on the “good” paper . . . Then comes the scariest part . . . putting on the first paint. Still scary after all these years!

Then I begin adding the layers of paint, trying not to hurry, enjoying every hair in my two-haired paint brush! Right here is where I sometimes want to stop! I love it right now! But then, I think, those lips, gotta do them! I’m trying to get ahead of next year’s calendars with some new art. And while I paint, thoughts and ideas pop into my head, so I write them down before I forget, sometimes it’s just a few lines, sometimes I have to stop because the idea takes pages . . . Everything seems so inspiring to me! Must be the longer light in the day, Spring! Or maybe the books we “read” while walking, I think about them, the magic the authors portray with their words, those wonderful wonderful words . . .

So in honor of St. Patricks Day AND the first day of Spring, I thought I’d give you some GREEN. I file my photos in lots of different ways, and one of them is by color! For all of you suffering from constant storms, and for everyone else living on the edge, ready for some green, I give you . . .

Almost time to mulch and dig my picket fence garden . . . and I can’t wait!

Green, most wonderful quilt, and Jack, one happy cat, make my kitchen a little bit of heaven.

Slippers warming next to the heating vents. So I can take off the cold ones and put on the warm ones. Foxy, don’t you think?🤠

The green rag-rug collection getting a little fresh air.

Luv-lee green glass, antique store find.

From my 2020 English Countryside photo Calendar…

. . . I should have included this miniature car covered in artificial grass in that calendar! Must totally disappear driving through the hedgerows! English people have the best sense of humor!Green! 

My happy cutie in the English Countryside, wearing his Scotland scarf.

In honor of Girl Scouts Week, my cooking badge. Didn’t quite make it to the sewing needle, still pinned on my sash where my mom put it.❤️

A window in a cottage in the Cotswolds. Kitty curtains framed in  Green!👏

Driving through Vermont in the snow.

And the reason I LOVE clover and let it do anything it wants. But what I really need are sheep!🍀 

Here we are at Carrie’s house in Oxford. As you can see, she has the charm decor gene in spades ~ loves green too!

Here’s how to make them: Cut stem flat against artichoke. Rinse it in water. Boil a pan of water, enough to cover artichoke. When it boils, add all ingredients except lemon juice … Check it after about 20 minutes to see if fork slips into stem easily. It’s done when it’s soft. Drain, and squeeze on lemon juice just before serving. It’s good hot or cold. Pull off a leaf, dip the wide end in mayonnaise, or mix mayo with lemon juice, or try melted butter ~ and pull “meat” off with your teeth. Keep going this with each leaf until the leaves are too flimsy. Then scoop out the center choke, dip and eat the “heart!” Yum. Fun to grow and they make the perfect dinner for losing that last 10 pounds, or the first 20. Here’s why they’re good for you!

Me, on a walk in the New Hampshire woods!

Needlepoint pillow. Goes with walls, lamp shade, green in chair, little Irish house roof on hutch. Goes good with Christmas too!

Me, way back when I lived at Hollyoak, when the cows escaped into my backyard from the farm next door, and I ran outside to see them, paintbrush in hand!

Beach booty. Heart shaped rock for the collection.


This is the color we get in spring . . . I call it “screaming New England green.” It’s like the day green was born! So green it even reflects on the gray roof of the house and turns it green!

Despite what this camera says, this is green . . . and it’s our dining room the way it was in 1989 a few days after we moved in ~ I’m playing house, setting the table for our first dinner party in our new home, which, I can tell by the bowls, nutcrackers, and lemons, was lobster! I’m pretty sure I bought the white paint for the trim and started tearing that wallpaper off the next day!🤪 That’s Girl Kitty. Jack isn’t born yet.

First thing I noticed about my first house on the island, when we drove into the driveway ~ it had a name. On a green sign nailed to a tree.

Black beret, but a green jacket and green pants  . ..

And this, soon we will be drying our sheets and tablecloths in the salty wind and dappled light of the green-drenched island. It’s gonna happen!!! ART, my dears, is what you THINK IT IS. Which is almost everything!

So book-time, walk-time for me and Joe . . . off I go. Wishing you a wonderful weekend! If you’re in California, you’ve had SUCH a tough winter, but I envy you your lupin and poppies that will be popping up any day. Hillsides and beach walks full of them, your reward, and you deserve every bit of it! Texas bluebonnets too . . . probably something to look forward to every where! Here’s to us Girlfriends! Don’t forget to leave a comment if you’d like a chance to win the Geranium giclee!

Your pal for life,

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We finished our wonderful book just this morning! I told you about it . . . Still Life by Sarah Winman ~ we loved every wonderful word of it, it’s ALL about love as all the best books are. All about the pursuit of love. As most of you know, Joe and I listen to the same book while we walk (one iPhone, two ear buds), and this book ended a few hundred yards before the end of our walk so while we were sighing and sad our book had ended, I said to my phone “Play some Italian  MUSICA” and it did and we listened to this all the way home. You HAVE to either read or listen to this book. It’s too wonderful! Valentine #1 to you from me with love.🌷 La Festa di San Valentino began in Italy!💘💞 Perfetto! And so we turn to the real reason we are here . . .

In the 1950s, where I grew up in California, Spring began on Valentine’s Day.💝 The lupin and California poppies were in bloom, the roses were budding, days were warmer, winter was over, afternoons were spent roller skating, and on Valentine’s Day we went to school with a fist full of Valentines like these, carefully signed on the back in pencil “To Janice from Sue.” Nothing too flowery. We were just little kids. “To Pete W. from Sue S.

The small die-cut Valentines came in cellophane-covered boxes we bought at the dime store, twenty-four assorted valentines for 99¢ so we could give one to every friend in our class, and one for the teacher. One of my favorite days at school. How could we NOT love school ~ we made Valentines for our mothers ~ in our starched dresses, that hot-iron fragrance still lingering on peter pan collars, essence of Mother and home, our saddle shoes and mary janes skipping carefully over the cracks in the sidewalk as we walked to school together. Another sunshiny day inThe month of love

But in New England, Valentine’s Day arrives in the dead of winter. That came as kind of a shock when I first moved here. Snow on Valentine’s Day seemed so strange. But the middle of February is NOT spring here on the island. It’s very often wet, one way or the other. Never are flowers and a celebration of love more appreciated. And in that frame of mind, my darling Valentine’s, I made you something! Guess what it is?

Yup, Valentines! You are so smart!

Two of them! With an envelope! Aren’t they cute? They stand up! With little hearts and flowers on them! And they aren’t just for Valentine’s Day… inside they are blank! You can say anything because flowers and love are everything!❣️ They’re free, your only job is to print them out on card stock (use lighter paper for the envelope), fold them, (I hope you’re enjoying being in Italy while we talk!) cut them out just inside the lines, and write something pretty inside. You get them here: the I LOVE YOU CARD, the FLOWERS CARD, & ENVELOPE. And if you’d like to get cardstock that will go through your printer (80 lb for the cards), they have it HERE! (They have it everywhere, just Google “cardstock.”) I hope you love them!

So, little February is jam-packed with love in more ways than one for me and Joe!💓 Monday, February 6th was the 36th Anniversary of our first date! We find that as the years go by we want to celebrate MORE!💃🏼 No romantic restaurants with cozy dark Italian bars are open for dinner on a Monday night in February on Martha’s Vineyard, we tried to find something ~ we finally gave up, and decided we like LUNCH just as much! And, because apparently no one goes to lunch on Mondays, we had the place to ourselves and chose the darkest corner table. Which wasn’t very dark. And no Dean Martin . . . No Arrivederci Roma . . . we had to rough it.💖💕💖

We brought along this shoe box filled with our old photos. We thought it would be fun to eat and talk about the places we’ve been together. We’ve never done this before, taken photos to lunch, but I highly recommend it! Good thing no one was there, the memories were bouncing off the walls! I had an ice-cold Cosmopolitan, Joe had a day-glo Aperol Spritz, we shared a great big Caesar salad, and this restaurant has an open-fire pizza oven and makes the best thin-crust pizza EVER, so we split a pizza too, molto bene, and then split a piece of Lemon Cake with lots of whipped cream. Bellissimo! So it was perfect! Want to see some of the pictures? One by one, out of the box they came. The most used word of the day was . . . “Remember?”

So, as a little bit of background for you who don’t know unless you’ve read my book A Fine Romance, before I met Joe, I was living alone in my house called Holly Oak, minding my own business . . . and fairly truly through with men (I thought), it hadn’t been working out❤️‍🩹 I was a little wounded . . . and happy enough . . . I kinda had it all . . .

sleeping with my three darling kitties. . .😻😻😻

Kitties, always true blue and trustworthy. So, here we go, pop into the way-back machine, let’s go even further back, to 1982 … In a nutshell, after a shocking (to me) divorce, followed by an unplanned cross-country move, accidentally buying a little house on an ISLAND where they had this thing called winter, followed by a few years of flailing, learning, figuring things out, then writing my first book, quite a few forays into the weird world of dating (in those days we actually had to GO with the person, there was no looking anyone over online, no police reports or dating reviews ~ we were on our own). A bit distrustful, and nearing 40, I thought that “alone” was probably the way I was going to stay. I was fine with it. They told us back then then we had a better chance of being kidnapped by terrorists than falling in love after 40 which seemed about right to me. (Now I laugh! 40 is only the beginning!!!) I loved my little house, my kitties, and this beautiful island separated from the real world by a big blue moat, ringing with church bells, the smell of salt in the air, little white farmhouses, shingled cottages . . . but even after all that good stuff, I still had a bit of an attitude. “Too Mean to Marry” ~ was the t-shirt I wore to the supermarket. I was definitely NOT going to fall in love again.

Then one day . . . almost exactly 36 years ago . . .

This guy showed up! Too handsome, I told myself, and too young. But he persisted and I forgave him. We put the camera on the staircase, set the timer, ran back into position, and took our first selfie together ~ at Holly Oak, all dressed up to go to a dance 36 years ago, in one of our first public appearances as a couple.👀 Seems like just yesterday.🥰

Mi sono innamorato di te.💕❤️💕❤️💕

So, I digress, back to our lunch ~ there we were tucked into our corner, all settled in to celebrate our anniversary, and into the photo box we dove, pulling out picture after picture . . . 

  Here I am on the boat on our way home from our first date in Boston .  . . bewitched, bothered, but mostly bewildered, had no idea if he would “follow me to my house,” despite assurances by Doris Day that this was the way things go … nor was I sure I wanted him to!

But, slowly, as you can see, Joe revealed his adorable self to me. My first Valentine from Joe came when my mom was visiting . . . (I pulled this card from the photo box and we said awwwwww . . .) 

By Christmas, I knew . . .

Maybe it was the hat . . .

Or that we fit together like two pieces of a puzzle.

I could now thank all the things in my life, even the hard ones, even the lonely ones, even the ones I wanted to hide in the bushes and wait for so I could scare the peewaddin’ out of them ~ now I could be grateful for all of it, to everything that lead me here. It took a while, but I had come from a long, long way.💝 

Worth every step of the journey to find this guy at the end of the rainbow. Such a surprise.

Isn’t his hat cute? I like that little tail. No guys in California wore hats like this! He was an original!

Joe’s 40th birthday was a luau … in our back yard under a tent! Aloha-ha!

It must be love when you still like each other after putting together a yard sale!

Whatever I do, he wants to do, “Where are you going today?” says Pooh: “Well, that’s very odd ‘cos I was too. Let’s go together,” says Pooh, says he.” 💕 A.A. Milne

My first selfie with a cell phone, we were in a field in England, I needed four tries! Not quite realizing yet it was all in the arm, as in how long is your arm.

I had a hard time getting my face in it! Look at him, all calm and collected… (When I tell him I’m writing about him, he always says the same thing, “Make me look thin.”🥰)

I blamed my glasses for getting in the way.🤓

Fourth time was a charm…

How we love sailing across the Atlantic.

In 2001 we became Auntie Mame and took our two nieces, Holly 12 and Heidi 11 on the Queen Elizabeth 2 to England and France for the joy-trip of our lives. We started planning when they were around 7. Worth every fun second of it. A true-life adventure for all of us! And proof that . . .

How could we not high-five after climbing this hill and discovering this amazing view of the green and pleasant land we’ve come to love . . .

Could never have done it without Map Man . . . It took a very small village: him + me = we can do this!

The British supermarket, no matter what part of the country we are in, is so fun. Perusing unfamiliar goods, commenting, laughing, questioning, figuring out … I love milk, I always have, the first time we went to a market in England, I found “Breakfast Milk.” The name was all I needed. Actually tasted just like milk, but BREAKFAST milk, just HAS to be better! I think you will understand if you say it three times in a row!🤣

But if I’d ever leave youIt couldn’t be in autumnHow I’d leave in autumnI never will know ~I’ve seen how you sparkleWhen fall nips the airI know you in autumnAnd I must be there 🍂🍁🍂

Good way to give cards, just show it to her in the store! Make her cry!

If ever I would leave youIt wouldn’t be in summerSeeing you in summerI never could go.🤩

And could I leave youRunning merrily through the snow?Or on a wintry eveningWhen you catch the fire’s glow?

NO Way!

Remember the day Joe came into my studio to show me that while he was busy on his computer, his tea bag had wrapped itself around his glasses and flipped out of his cup without him noticing? And lived there for a while, swinging back and forth? I wrote a whole post about it. He made my day with that one!

 I still laugh.

Thank goodness I discovered I didn’t like to fly, otherwise I never would have discovered how much I LOVE the train. 

Another Valentine’s Day, and a horse-drawn sleigh ride in the snow.

He’s in Wales and I’m in England, but as always, we’re together!

If ever I would leave youHow could it be in springtime?Knowing how in spring I’m bewitched by you so?Oh, no! Not in springtime!Summer, winter or fall!No, never could I leave you at all!🌷

Up in Maine. Not leaving him here either. 

“The world is full of happy people but no one ever hears of them. You have to fight and make a scandal to get in the papers. No one knows about all the happy people.”💖 💖 💖 Gene Stratton-Porter

Well, that’s enough of that! You get the idea. Very difficult to cover 36 years of collective camera mania in only one lunch! We’ve had 36 Christmases just for starters! And 36 Summers! 36 years of kitty loving. Plus, we left our shadows on all those walks to the sea on a dirt road through the woods that we plan to haunt one day. Altogether we’ve had 13,140 sunrises and sunsets, over 432 full moons, and all the good ones are in my photos. And despite all this focus on memorable photos, can you believe it? I FORGOT to ask the waitress to take our picture at lunch!🤣 I only remembered as we were leaving…

Downstairs, there was this decorative door at the entrance with mirrors in it . . . caught a quick glimpse of ourselves and suddenly remembered! So we took our 36th anniversary pictures here! I could barely get my head into this selfie, we’re both standing on our toes!

 At least we got a picture! And it’s not like we are lacking in recorded history! My favorite thing about being 75, about aging is being able to look back and see how it all came together. Much of my youth I worried, not knowing that things would all work out with the magic ingredients of time, determination, and a lot of luck. Remember that if you are in your twenties or thirties and uncertain. It’s normal. I fretted the entire time. But try not to worry, it’s all going to be okay. Pray to God, continue to row toward shore, and . . .

Life is short . . . But it’s never too late for you to make it exactly the way you want it. Start small. Put a flower in a vase and on your window sill. Wasn’t that easy? Isn’t it pretty? See what I mean? You just made your life a little better. That’s how it works. You are in charge.💖 

And to top off a perfect day, waiting for us on the porch when we got home from our Anniversary lunch was a box with THIS in it! I unwrapped Joe first, recognized him immediately ~ the beret! They were made by darling friend and Valentine Elf, Karen Courtney! Look at the details, my glasses, our ears (squee!), Joe’s hat, my dress, JACK with his green eyes. . . what a great job! 

Even my book! My sister has already tried to steal them from me!

So what else do kindred spirits need at this time of year?💝 Oh yes, decorating! Spring (ish) is such a good time for that! And a few romantic recipes . . . If any of these recipes sounds good to you, just click ON THIS, and then put your cursor on the recipe you like, and click! Voila!😋 

But, most important of all . . . be sure to 

You deserve a chocolate mint coffee, a champagne cocktail, some flowers, and a hug . . . and can give it ALL to yourself, you can take your book to lunch, and later, you can have a long bubble bath! And if you can’t do it on Tuesday, do it on Wednesday! You can have a red letter day!

See you next time! ❌⭕️❌⭕️💃🏼💃🏼💃🏼💃🏼💃🏼

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