SEEDS

All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today . . .  Hello darlings! MUSICA

Sometimes, and tell me if this happens to you too, I have so much on my mind it’s overwhelming and because of it nothing really gets done! And I don’t like it when nothing is getting done! So when that happens, I do what my mom did, I settle down and make a list. I get rid all those overlapping worries that are subconsciously zapping my energy and blotting out my joy button; I get everything out of my head and onto paper. and voila! It’s like my worries go away. See my list? It’s that out-of-focus thing on the right. Stuff I want to do, like have a yard sale, paint the garden fence, write a new book (all the ideas for which books are on the list), paint for the 2018 calendars, fix the gutters, grind up the tree stump, plan a summer party, design some kitty dishes, wash my kitchen cupboards, plan another ocean liner excursion, etc. etc. Joe and I got home last Sunday from a six-week trip to California. And here we were, suddenly home, with all the choices in the world in front of us, free as birds, to seed the lawn or not to seed the lawn, to make sun tea or to not make sun tea, but for some reason, I found myself fretting. Our trip was wonderful, but I came home worried (I think 2017 in general is making me mad) ~ every little thing was weighing me down, missing my dad and worries about my mom, but smaller things, like turning 70, and about our world which now looks like a reality TV show, the media playing every detail over and over, like it’s all just a game, an addictive Xbox game, that pits the Democrat team against the Republican team, American against American, Avatars versus Aliens, no holds barred, no rules, and all that matters is winning and who cares what and who gets hurt. They treat our delicate world like old cowboy movies, as if when the cameras go away the dead guy just gets back up. It’s like our leaders are seven years old, not to disparage seven-year-olds, who are way better than our media (in fact, please put them in charge). Plus, the laundry soap my mom used, the only one I’ve ever used, is no longer being carried by our supermarket! Why? I don’t know. 😡 Everywhere I turned something was disrupting my equilibrium, plus, I had to flop over and be 70 when I really didn’t want to, because what 12-going-on-24-year-old can fathom turning 70? 😜 ~ all out of my control . . . Then I remembered one of my favorite quotes . . Ahhhh, yes. And remembered I do too have control, so when I made my new list, I called it “SEEDS.”  Because I need more flowers in my future, and I’m determined to have them. Oh yeah, you can’t keep a good girl down can you? NO. And then I took a huge deep breath, closed my eyes, and made my birthday wishes ~ I began to feed myself from the well of sweetness, and I gave myself some Red Letter Days, and you know what? I’m better. 

I turned off the TV and wrote in my diary, and took myself to England by reading this entire book! It’s always hard for me to read a book when I’m writing a book, so I don’t get to do it as often as I’d like. A whole book, what a gift. Five a.m., still dark but I got up in my quiet old house, the only sound was the creaking of my footsteps on the stairs, Jack padding down in front of me, tail stuck up in the air, the ticking clock on the mantle, my cup of tea, sometimes a popping fire, curled in my orange chair with my grandma’s knitted nap blanket and Jack next to me, and my book. Heaven. The book was a good one too. A mystery. I figured it out though. I KNEW what happened to that baby. 🤓Total satisfaction. And then I went out into the cool salty spring air and inspected the garden.🌷

It’s still very early here, no leaves on the trees yet, just a few of the earliest flowers are in bloom, a couple of daffodils and about 3″ of tulip stem are showing, but out behind the barn, we have a dewy meadow of tiny Spring Beauty (squill) … mostly volunteers because they naturalize themselves. I didn’t plant them, which means Mrs. Bowditch did. She owned our house from 1949 to 1980 and I still bless her green thumb every time I walk through our garden. Until last year these little flowers were hidden under a thicket of blackberry brambles, which we finally ripped out, and this magic meadow was waiting underneath ~ just a little sunshine, that’s all it needed.🌞

Still so early, the old cherry trees (that Mrs. Bowditch planted) are just budding now . . .

And clouds of yellow forsythia have just begun to open in our neighborhood . . . on this day we opened all the upstairs windows in our house for the first time this year, and let all the old winter air blow out, and all this forsythia-infused fresh island air come in . . . we dried our sheets on the line and slept like baby lambs. Red letter day.❤️

We brought this bunny home from California, pansies are in at the nursery, so my porch Peter got his basket filled . . . doing my part to making a prettier world . . .

And my little vases are blooming,

And the top of my stove is ready for Easter . . .

And because I’m a lucky April baby and I’ve spent this last week opening cards and thoughtful gifts, and getting phone calls from everyone I love . . . My brother Stephen (an excellent cook!) called to say Happy Birthday . . . and he gave me a recipe for his favorite new healthy veggie dip … He buys cashew butter at Trader Joe’s, then he browns two large onions slowly in a little mixture of olive oil and butter . . . he puts the caramelized onions in a blender with 3/4c. cashew butter, whirls everything smooth, and then spreads it on celery. Doesn’t it sound delicious? I can’t wait to try it! 

My big vases are filled with birthday flowers . . .

It smells like a flower store in this house!

And sweet smelling bulbs, with interested parties standing by, as always . . .

And there have been birthday toasts and cakes . . . this one is Tres Leche Cake, made by Margot, and the new winner for best Tres Leche Cake ever 👏 I’m waiting for her to send the recipe.💝 I’ll be sure to give it to you when I get it, it was heavenly!

There’s Margot, helping me make a wish! We are very serious with our wishes, they look a whole lot like prayers!

Another birthday cake, this one was made by Lowely, but seriosity of wish-making continues. 💚

And the pink moon continued to watch over us all . . .

My Red Letter Days all have one thing in common, our morning walk through the woods, out to the pond, the very best part of our day . . .

And we don’t walk just because we love it, but also because it clearly loves us back . . . All these wonderful things that walking does for us, from boosting endorphins to burning fat! (So they say!) Plus there’s the sky, the clouds, the birds, the trees, the fresh air, the way it smells and feels, the wind in your hair . . .

Elizabeth and Mike came from California to visit us . . .

So we took them along . . . you can see, it’s still cool out there . . . and the beach roses look like stick piles!

Sea shell and sea glass hunting . . . Oooooo Elizabeth found a piece of blue glass! Very exciting!

Vineyard booty!

Easy to be happy when the seagulls are swooping and crying and you’re enjoying it all with your “little sister” BFF. . .💕

And when you get back, your “big sister” makes you a cup of tea in her brand new most enchanted bone china tea cups direct from England! 👏

Yes, the final samples of the new cups were waiting for us when we got back from California! They are in production now! For all of you that bought yours already (presale), yours will go out first, the moment they come in, which we are still hoping will be before Mother’s Day! If it looks like they won’t make it in time, we’ll make a little card you can print out and give to the person you may be gifting for Mother’s Day. Watch this space!💞

And these two cuties are finally back in stock, available everywhere, and we have them signed, here in our web store!  Let’s see, what else. . . Well, there was a wonderful Blog post about falling in love with New England, so sweet ~ I put a link for it on Twitter, but not sure you saw it, just in cases I don’t give you enough to read! Also, I’m going to be speaking and signing books for a Mother’s Day Tea Party to benefit the South Shore Stars on May 11 from 2-4 pm, at the Indian Pond Country Club in Kingston, MA. There will be more information later, but if you’re nearby, pencil in the date and try to come!

I’m filling my creative cup, plotting a new book, whooshing my paintbrush in my water dish, and loving every moment, making time for the things that matter, like playing with Jack, planning our garden, cheering my days with wonderful old movies on TCM ~ and next, month, in May, I’m excited because there’s something new coming along called Filmstruck ~ it’s a partnership between TMC and Criterion Movies, their new channel is projected to be available on Roku in May, and as far as I’m concerned, along with Masterpiece Theater, it’s all I will probably ever need TV-wise! All the movies on my favorites list will be carried on this new channel, available at any time! I couldn’t ask for more!

From my diary . . .

And if you have also been having trouble with 2017 . . . read this ⬆️ because it’s a big help, our own stress relief is up to us, and really, compared to many places in this  C R A Z Y  world, we are lucky people, by the simple good fortune of being born where we are. Pray for the world, cook something wonderful, hug your neighbor, be an elf. Thank you for all of your Birthday wishes, you make my day.  💛 HAPPY EASTER! XOXO


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GO-GO-GO and HAPPY SPRING

Hi Everyone, so sorry, I’ve been missing in action (and I do mean action!) ~ it’s been go-go-go everyday, and today is no different.  But I wanted to catch up,💞 say Happy Spring🌷, and show you a little of what’s been going on . . . MUSICA

I was reminded by Gill, one of our luv-lee Girlfriends, that Mothering Sunday (same as our Mother’s Day) is this Sunday in the UK ~ Kellee and I had just designed this crown which I’d put up on Twitter,  to show what we’ve been up to, promising the link . . . so, Happy Mother’s Day to our British Girlfriends, and to everyone else!  HERE‘s the link so you can print it out! We decorated ours in two ways: first, as shown above, by glueing on rick-rack for the tie . . .

… and second, by tying ribbon through the marked holes (you will see when you print it out). They fit everyone’s head, and they’re fun! And you know, everyone feels special in a crown.💖 And, here’s a little something delicious to help you celebrate . . .

Mother’s Day, as proposed by, Anna Jarvis, the Mother of Mother’s Day, “is a day of sentiment, not profit.”💞

Homemade pancake breakfast-in-bed, handpicked roadside wildflowers, or a homemade Coconut Layer Cake are most appropriate.🍰 And the occasional straw hat or teacup, I would say. Filled with springtime sentiment of love ever after.😍

To our UK Girlfriends: I hope this Sunday will be a day filled with flowers💐 and flowers🌷 and flowers🌸 and remembrance for everything that England has been through these last few days . . . nature is the healing thing, as you of all the people in the world, so obviously know. 🇬🇧 🇺🇸 And in solidarity, with prayers, and blessings, and gratitude for all we have, and best wishes from us to you.💞 I might add, people should not be messing with us.⚡️

It’s been a WONDERFUL trip for Joe and I. We’ve been up and down and across the state,  seeing people we love, to Arizona and back again, and a couple of weeks ago, along the way, we enjoyed this bright worm moon ~ I took this photo with my cell phone from our moving car ~ doesn’t it look like a painting? Love the purplish-pink color above the bushes.

And Barbara, our friend who is taking care of Jack at home, sent me THIS pic (from the Island) of the snow and the wild sea that she took with her phone. Way different weather here, and all beautiful.

Joe and I have had dueling cameras among the flowers . . . I’m taking a picture of him as he’s . . .

. . . taking a picture of me.

Early morning in our garden here at the Studio, long shadows from the Albizzia tree, still too early for blooms . . . but the jasmine that climbs on our house and over the doors (on the right of photo) is blooming and smells wonderful. Loving that the days are getting longer now . . .

From the front porch, you can see that what isn’t green, is yellow . . .

We had a wonderful book signing at the Apple Farm in San Luis Obispo . . . I have so much old time history with the Apple Farm . . . and now they are carrying lots of my books and products and things.  They could Not have made it nicer for us. They even saved us a parking space . . . this is the view from our parking space!

And this is me with some of their wonderful staff!

And here we are inside the tent . . . It was the BEST day! As usual, the nicest people in the world come to my book events. ❤️ As anyone who was there can tell you, I’m not exaggerating.

And while I signed books, Joe took pictures . . .

If you remember the “Pancakes” story from years ago, about my mom and her red lipstick … That’s Murph (who wrote the story) on the left, and Vicki’s on the right . . . along with two friends they met in the line . . . which is why I always wish I was in the line! They have so much fun out there!

Two Girlfriends came dressed in Black Dog T-shirts in honor of Joe and the restaurant he ran on Martha’s Vineyard for 25 years. Pretty sweet!

Father’s and daughters . . .

Two best-friends-for-life . . .

Old friends and new . . . I could show these smiling faces all day . . .

‘Course I’m always nervous talking in front of people, even our Girlfriends!  I do it all with clammy hands. It’s because I work alone for months, then suddenly I’m out and about, which is always a surprise, no matter how often it happens, which really isn’t that often. But everyone was so wonderful and their questions made it easy.

I had so much fun, in the end they almost had to get the hook to make me go. 

We had a mystery guest star in the audience. Cliff came! Cliff, for those who don’t know, is a very controversial “character” from my books The Fairy Tale Girl, and Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams.  But he was there ~ laughing, saying nice things, and as sweet as pie. No red Ferrari this time, he was quite incognito in his silver Maserati. But you could recognize him from the little speck of blood on his hand from the tree trimming. The more things change . . . We have his fun book in our web store, did I tell you? We do, Cliff’s memoir is called American Made, it’s a wonderful funny baby boomer book, and I’m in it too . . . although he was much nicer to me than I was to him.  And don’t worry, he and Joe like each other, they get along fine, they even man-hug! (Urban Dictionary defines Man-Hug as “a semi-embrace that lasts no more than one second and may be accompanied by a firm slap on the back.”) The two guys have a lot in common: in their lives they have both been bedeviled by the same woman. Hey, it’s my job!

One of the first things I did when I got to the Studio is fill a tiny vase (a child’s teacup) with some little things growing in our garden. It’s my doily mentality that makes me do this, I can’t help it. I thought I would show you just how much of a garden California really is! A little arm-chair travel ~ a lot like traveling to England, only this time, it’s California. Are you ready? Need tea? Go get it, we’ll wait!

So let’s start by getting our bearings. Here we are, on the Central Coast of California, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco … on that coastal road called Highway One, or Pacific Coast Highway. Very famous and very beautiful. Joe and I are staying just south of San Luis Obispo, and yesterday we drove up to Morro Bay for lunch. Just above that, you can see Cayucos, and above that, see the white star? That’s where we were going. And P.S., fyi, just above that, see Cambria? Heaven little town you won’t want to miss when and if you go. Lots of antiques there and good milling around town. Then of course, Hearst Castle at San Simeon, is just above that! Across from the entry to Hearst Castle is one of the best beach walks I’ve ever been on. Just follow up that hill you see when you get there, and around to the point. You can’t miss it. It’s almost prehistoric. And one more thing, above that is famous Big Sur. Astoundingly beautiful, but the road is closed now ~ the storms wiped out a bridge, and there’s no way in, except by helicopter!

The drive from San Luis Obispo to Morro Bay looks like this (I think most people think of the coast of California as more of a city place, but, as you can see, it’s really not. . .)

If you ever make this trip, you HAVE to stop at the Bayside Cafe in Morro Bay . . .

. . . where you’re surrounded with the fragrance of eucalyptus trees . . . because they are everywhere on the coast here . . . and the smell of the sea . . .

This is the view from our table at Bayside Cafe . . . hence, the name Bayside.

This photo is slightly pink because of the sun through the umbrella over our head, but the food (cheese enchiladas with homemade salsa) is heavenly, and don’t even try to leave there without having their famous Tres Leche Cake (we ate it before I remembered to take a picture, sorry! But it’s a lot like my favorite Hot Milk Cake), a recipe I’ve lusted after for 30 years, but all the begging in the world has not worked with them. Actually, I secretly hate/love them, but will never stop going there and eating that cake. Yum!

Then up the coast we drove . . . Beach Boys, Kokomo on the radio, the perfect musica for this road!

You can see Morro Rock, famous landmark,  situated in the Pacific Ocean in the center of the photo, amongst the artsy highway flora . . .

Here’s a better photo of it. Morro Rock is part of the Nine Sisters, beautiful extinct volcanos that go all the way into SLO.  You can see people walking on the beach down there. You could be one of them if you played your cards right.

Here are some of the famously Happy Cows of California. You can see why!

And here we are, in the parking lot of our destination . . .

Harmony Headlands . . .

And this is us, doing the thing we love the best, on the road less traveled . . .

Off we go, cool breezes off the water blowing . . . slowing down to smell the green things growing . . .

And stepping carefully when encountering some of the lingering effects from the recent wild storms that hit the coast . . .

After maybe a 45 minute walk from the parking lot, we got our first glimpse of the sea . . .

And there it was, off in both directions, the long coastal path . . . you could go forever amongst the wildflowers along the craggy shoreline with the sound the waves and the birds . . .

This little guy followed us for a while, singing his head off (scroll down a bit on my Twitter Page, and hear him singing, and see a video of the coast line) ~ he stood still for a photo, then ran away into the bushes with his girlfriend.

That’s Joe out there, and I’m taking this photo looking in the opposite direction from the first one of the shoreline path, so you can see the drama of the long view . . .

While the waves roll in and the wildflowers bend in the wind . . . By the way, I should say, this is all free. No money changed hands. State Park Property, open to the public. Thank you, California State! You did good! And God! You too! It takes a village!

Getting up close and personal with the wild wood sorrel which grows everywhere on this coastline . . .

and the lupin, too . . .

All so beautiful, and so many different wildflowers . . . look HERE . . .

And they’d only just begun . . . ah spring!Time Out! Celebrate the change of season with a new bookmark from us to you . . . being home with Kellee, we’ve had some fun!

Then it was time to go back . . . one look behind . . .

Past another pair of happy walkers . . . all smiles . . .

I looked down and saw this heart-shaped rock pressed into the path . . . and thought how appropriate it was …

On the way home we stopped in San Luis Obispo at the home of some dear old friends, to catch the perfect sky as the sun began to go down  . . .

The view over the farmlands and vineyards was so pretty, everything so green . . . can you believe this amazing sky? Me either!

They have a hot tub, I believe is called an “infinity” tub, for the obvious reason. Life is berry berry good in San Luis Obispo, California!

What else? Well, Kellee and I have been cleaning out the goat barn here (i.e. the warehouse where we store everything), we found lots of my stuff old enough to be categorized now as “vintage.”  So watch for lots of new/old stuff in the Vintage part of our web store . . . it’s all very one of a kind, last of everything, lots of Christmas stuff (when the time comes). We thought we’d maybe put it on eBay or Etsy, but we thought we better show you first!  Just in cases!

We found a tiny bit of this  . . .

We found a cake plate!

Just one.

And then there’s this: It was a special request from someone at the book signing who said, “Could you please make us a chicken bookmark?” So, Yes, I can! I can’t do everything, but that is something I CAN do! And HERE it is! Just click, print it on card stock, and if you want, get it laminated at Kinko’s or Office Max. Makes a good gift for girlfriends, or stocking stuffer for the chicken people in your life.🐔

In action, it looks like this . . . (and yes, we have a couple of Kitchen Garden books in Vintage, for as long as they last).🌷

And since we were all sold out, and since we loved it so much and heard such good things from our other Girlfriends, we reordered this wonderful book, the New York Times best seller called,  The Natural World of Winnie the Pooh . . .

It’s filled with original illustrations and photos . . .

And delightful history and charm . . .

That everyone is loving . . . 💞 If you haven’t read it yet, I know you will love it.

Okay, let’s see, what else is new around here?

A new book! You might know that sometimes I license my artwork to a company called New Seasons? They make products with my art and this is our new Gratitude Book.

It has a padded cover and it’s embossed . . .

Seventy-five pages filled with my hand-drawn quotes and my art from over the years . . .

A little fun quote book that won’t be around forever, but while it is, we wanted you to know.💙

It looks really pretty with our MOM Book . . .

Where mom’s can give us a lovely bit of lifetime Herstory . . . if you haven’t seen this, it’s also a book from New Seasons ~ a guided book in full color where I asked all kinds of interesting questions about memories of growing up, childhood, school days, romance and having children, and left places for photos. The pages are lined, on nice paper with a ribbon divider. A pretty book, but when it’s all filled in, it becomes a priceless treasure.💞

Well, see what happens when I don’t write often?  I write L  O  N  G !   Sorry . . . this is all because I decided to “catch up!”

One more thing, I got the NICEST letter from a new Girlfriend named Marcy . . . see below . . . I thought you might like to see it . . . it’s her take on Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams … I love how she says she was having tea with Ellie!💞

Off we go, making more memories, we leave on Sunday to go visit my mom and sisters again . . . then back on the train at the end of next week, and home to Martha’s Vineyard for our second spring this year. How Lucky can you Get?  Hope you liked your armchair travel! Enjoy your early spring days darling friends, and thank you for all your wonderful comments. Love visiting with you!

Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams, Letter from Marcy:

Oh my. I wanted to finish the book but, I didn’t want to. While reading it, I was a part of it. I was on Martha’s Vineyard, I was watching you build a home, I was having tea with Ellie, I was scowling at Cliff. I didn’t want it to end. Side note – I’ve ordered the other two books in the series! Anyway, I don’t write letters (ok, type) but, felt the need to let you know I’ve always had your cookbooks and other books (Girlfriends, Baby Love, etc) but, never thought MV was the kind of book I’d enjoy. Whaaat? Stupid me. When I got my last Barnes and Noble 20% off a single item coupon I said, “why not?” And now, your book is my all time favorite book ever! Don’t get too excited, I’m not a huge reader. However, that should tell you I choose my books VERY carefully. Anyway, after all my years of enjoying your art through scrapbooking and cookbooks, I have LOVED reading about how it all came to be. And, I am so happy that I can still be connected to you long after the book is read. I enjoy your newsletter and website very much.

So, thank you for writing and sharing with the rest of us. For pointing out the healing powers of jammies, tea, kitties, old movies, old books, snow storms and sunshine, cozy fires and cozy beds and girlfriends and the right guy. I loved every page, every word, every picture, every quote.

Fondly,
Marcy Brenner

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