Being pulled by the Heart Magnets of Martha’s Vineyard ~ MUSICA ~ going home the old way. . .




Home the long wayWe’re almost there! Looking forward to Home Sweet Home!


No place like home



Home at Last

Where this fine boy is waiting for us and he doesn’t even know it yet!





Haven’t seen these two since the day before Halloween.  Absence makes the heart Yearn!  Can’t wait for delicious Kitty Fur!


We are still on the train ~ almost to Chicago right now ~ just crossed the Mississippi ~ loving every quiet moment of our “room with a view” as you know if you’ve been to Twitter and seen the photos I’ve been sending from my phone ~ but I keep losing Internet connection for the computer ~ I’ve already had this post disappear once and now it’s really slow ~ I better not push my luck! I just wanted to say HELLO dear Girlfriends . . . I’ll see you soon!  We have lots of catching up to do!  I know you’ve been busy too . . . it’s that time of year!  With Love XOXO

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Today, I thought I’d talk about the Heart of the Home . . . which means many things to many people, including me . . . but this is where it all started in my life . . .MUSICA

happy homemom's stove

In the kitchen.  We never took photos of my mom’s stove when we were growing up, we had too many other much more interesting subjects . . . but this is one of the rare ones where the stove insisted on being Dadin the picture, a photo-bomb so to speak.  These are two of my little brothers, Brad on the left and Chuck on the right and the little person in front is my sister Paula.  She’s about one, which means I’m about eleven at the time of this photo.  I grew up with that stove, learning to cook by helping my mom in our tiny kitchen.  This is where my mom and my grandma made Thanksgiving dinner for our big family and where Blogdaddy tasted and approved everything, especially the gravy and the stuffing. He was our own, built-in, Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. (That’s him showing us that if you hold a piece of bread in your mouth when you cut onions, you won’t cry, which didn’t totally solve the problem for me, but it did help; then I learned to hold my breath completely and that helped a little more until of course I had to breathe and then everything went haywire.)


she is beautiful

My stove at home, on the other hand, gets photographed every five minutes. Since I learned to cook on one just like it, this stove says HME to me, my kitchen wouldn’t have felt complete without it.


Just like my mom’s, mine is a 1956 O’Keefe and Merritt . . . two ovens, two broilers, four burners and a griddle.  Back in 1989, when we moved to this house, we found a refurbished one with all the original parts ~ she’s still going after almost sixty years in service.

kitchen linoleum

carrot cupcakes

Just like my mom’s, my stove is prone to photo bombing too.  Here she is, getting in on the action, peeking around the carrot cupcakes . . .


Knowing the power of her lasting beauty, she stands back and confirms the cheesecake, so proud of her accomplishment, as well she should be.


Cheese Blintzes

She slides in next to the cheese blintzes we made for a winter breakfast party, trying hard not to take too much credit . . . but finding it difficult.


I mean, hey, after all, I agree . . . when you got it, flaunt it.

with love from the heart of the home

She’s the Queen of Butter Cookies and she knows it!



She’s back there, warming the kitchen with her magical self, filling it with fragrance of turkey meatloaf making our cup runneth over with gratitude . . .

behind the brownies

Spicing the kitchen with chocolate; we come in from the cold to the smell of “after-school” when she and I make brownies together…



And even poking herself between the spiced pecan-making for the holidays.  My old stove is the Heart of our Home too . . . she’s been a very good girl.

love the dishtowel display unit

Because of the way she makes the house smell, she righteously takes center stage in our kitchen . . . the Heart of the Home, where the action is.

heart of the home

our kitchen

But as you can see here, she is not overbearing, doesn’t take up too much space, never says “me, me, me” ~ like all stoves, she’s a giver,  quietly motherly and elegantly low-key, passionately nurturing. When our electricity goes out on the island (taking our heating with it), there she is, waiting to be put in service.  We close the kitchen doors and cook something by candlelight, heat up the kitchen, make it smell good, and it’s as cozy as can be as the storm rages outside.  That’s our stove. 

my stove As you have probably noticed in all these photos, she’s also a fantastic display unit for dishtowels, worth her weight in gold in so many more ways than one . . .


Because I love dishtowels . . . they’re decorative; they’re a fun and easy project to make, and they perk things up for the holidays or anytime.  She wears them well.

Cozy fall day

Another reason I love my stove so much is for that shelf up top, not a big thing, but a fun little item to have.


It’s not only cute and adds charm, but it’s handy for potholders at the ready . . .

stove top

And gives me one more way to celebrate the seasons as they change . . .

dressing up for the holidays


It takes just moments to go from flowery summer to owly fall; I add a couple of snowy trees, and it’s winter . . .

stove top dressing

And then, it’s Christmas.  I hang my banners there, and see the little snowman in front of the cardboard house on the left . . . we have those houses in our web store . . . they come like a card, you can take them apart and lay them flat.  I’m house-crazy year-round, but especially at Christmas.

Just painted the kitchen

The stove-shelf can actually lay flat if you want to have the ultra clean look, which for me is almost never; I do like clean, but not “ultra.”  Except for when we paint the kitchen, then it’s nice to see it like this.  I love the stove-on-stove look ~

All kinds of old stovesSo much so, I hunted around and found this little stove in an antique store and it’s now pretty much a permanent part of the stove shelf; good for all seasons.

the watcher

Hello Kitty.  While I decorate my shelf this little guy watches my every move from the top of the fridge . . . Girl sleeps through it all on the back of the couch in the “wood room”  

First thing in the morning

The stove is the first thing I go to in the morning, when the world is hushed, her pilot light burning softly . . .


first thing in the morning

. . . on windy days and chilly fall mornings, she warms up the tea kettle . . . my footsteps are the only noise, I take my cup through the house to my studio and start the day . . .

early morning shadows

. . .The sun comes up and casts long shadows, lighting the stove with rays cutting through the trees out back . . .


Yes, all this is good.  But cute is never really enough, is it?  The bottom line is, is she practical? That is the question.  Cute + Practical = Please come live in my house.  Despite practical shelf and dishtowel display, can she cook?  Oh yeah, she can cook.

Amazing pumpkin cheesecake

What better time of year to celebrate the little-white-stove-that-could than Thanksgiving?  She’s the gift that keeps on giving, like this most delicious Pumpkin Cheesecake.  If you’ve never made this, try it this year, you will be so happy you did!  It’s really easy.  I promise!  It’s in the Autumn Book, but click on the name ↑, it’s there too.



Joe at Thanksgiving

And so’s he, by the way, the gift that keeps on giving.  This is Joe pouring off the juices from the turkey so I can make the gravy, the famous (at least in our family) gravy my grandma made . . . Here’s a little tip for . . .

making gravy


Joe and I are away from the Island, in Arizona now, visiting with my darling Blogdaddy (the Daddio that leaves so many interesting comments in our “comment section”) and his wonderful wife Jeanie.  We’re making this gravy (I don’t have the recipe here to put up ~ traveling as we are makes it difficult, I’ll ask Kellee if she can put it on Facebook for you.  If you have the Autumn Book, the recipe for the gravy and lots of other things is in there) for Dad and Jeanie tomorrow night, with all the fixings, and then next week, we’re going back to California to do the same thing with my mom.  We are the bread dryingest people you know right now . . . getting ready to make my Grandma’s Stuffing everywhere we go, like this . . .

setting out the bread to dry

My grandma’s turkey stuffing is easy, it’s made the old-fashioned way with air-dried bread . . . takes about three days for it to dry properly.  When I’m at home, I use my ironing board to lay out the bread in the pantry, so I can close the door, no kitties allowed . . .  I think we may have it laid out all over our luggage in the back of the car on this trip!  Where there’s a will, there’s a way . . .

Grandma's Stuffing

Because we can’t have Thanksgiving without this . . . it doesn’t matter where we are.

making stuffing

Here I am rubbing the sage to drop it into the bread, now mixed with melted butter, sauteed onions, and celery . . . it’s just one of the things we are thankful for, it Heart of the Homesays Mom, it says Grandma, it even says Great Grandma.  Traditions are so important, they make the world a saner place.  Old ones are especially wonderful, so if you don’t have them, remember you can start now and do something the same way every year, and someday, your traditions will be as old and revered as our Grandma’s Turkey Stuffing.  You’ll be able to carry them with you no matter where you go, and make home in any environment.  As you can see, the littlest things can have the greatest meaning.  Connecting your traditions with the five senses, such as warmth and fragrance, makes them even better.  Throw in some MUSICA and a bit of heart and you have foreverness.

What comes from the heart

making cranberry sauce

We’ll make our favorite cranberry sauce too . . . if you have my calendar, you’ll find this recipe hanging on your wall right now! cranberry-sauce

Don’t forget to make extra so you can make delicious Christmas Jam with it ~ that recipe is on your wall too!

making Holiday Jam, cranberry orange marmalade

You put this on buttered toast or biscuits and your taste buds go to the moon, and you get to go along for the ride.

for the memories

So yes, that old stove is the practical of the practical, she’s been bringing people together for a very long time. Still going strong, born about the same time Norman Rockwell painted this lovely picture . . . look at the eye of the man in the lower corner.  I think that’s Norman Rockwell . . . Is he happy, or what?


Touch hands Girlfriends . . .

Touch hands  “Ah friends, dear friends, as years go by, and heads grow gray, how fast the guests do go.  Touch hands, touch hands with those that stay; strong hands to weak, old hands to young, around the Christmas board, touch hands.”  James Patrick Erdman

Bird and heart ... With love from Susan Branch



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