My Birthday

Never do I feel more loved than on my birthday! My favorite thing, contrary to most other days of the year, is my answering machine!  I love the messages and singing I find there. This year I added a new “favorite birthday thing” to my list . . . the comment section of this blog!  You are darling people, that’s all I can say!

 Thank you!!

The only true non-fattening birthday cake!  Cute, but just not good enough.  Can’t make a wish on this! But it’s festive!  My birthday dishtowel!  (A fun, quick sewing project, and a good way to use a bit of that special stash, in case you’re looking to make something easy.)

Of all days, yesterday my new Birthday Fabric came in for approval!  So exciting to see designs and art becoming fabric!  I approve!  Now it goes off to be made, and when it’s done we’ll have it here on our web site . . . isn’t it cute?  I just can’t wait to make an apron out of it!  Maybe in time for Joe’s birthday!

And here is the perfect surprise Joe had for me!  A very old copy of Cranford, by Elizabeth Gaskell!  I screamed (in a soft and feminine way) and hugged it; isn’t it wonderful???  I’m an old-book person; he couldn’t have found anything I would have loved more.

It’s filled with illustrations!  Crying out for me to make a coloring book out of it with my watercolors!

And there were all kinds of things inside . . . this thick, creamy program from a Woman’s Club event; I can only imagine what this event looked like, sounded like, the dresses!  There was even entertainment with this entertainment!

There were dried flowers between the pages!  The book was signed, as a gift from “Georgie,” and dated 1900.

And I found this photo in the back . . .  There’s nothing written on it so I have no idea who this woman, wearing the ruffled blouse and cute hat, standing in what appears to be a garden, is.  Maybe it’s Georgie.

Have you all seen the movie Cranford?  I think you would love it if you haven’t seen it yet.  It’s so darling . . . and takes place in a beautiful town in England called Lacock that Joe and I visited last time we were there.  The beauty you see in this movie, is real!  That’s how the town really looks!  I’m excited to see how the book compares to the movie!

So then, because it was my birthday, and such a beautiful day here, I went outside, spread my blanket on the lawn under a tree, and read my other book, which I am loving, called The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (who really knows how to tell a good yarn)!  I tried to read this book slowly, so I might have it on the boat, but there’s just no way; I’m practically skipping ahead to see what happens!!

Looking UP from my quilt!   I had to show you the view from my back! 

Yes, it was a little bit of Birthday heaven.  Just me, my book, my pillow, a juicy apple, one stuffed egg, the sunshine, the trees, and the birds.  And the lovely faint hammer-pounding coming from the arbor where Joe was working (the aphrodisiac sound I adore).  That’s why you didn’t hear too much from me yesterday!  Later, we went out to lunch with friends, then to my favorite place, the nursery, to browse and look for a new magnolia tree.  For the second year, we cannot find the kind of magnolia we want!  We were told, the variety we like is “too old-fashioned” and they don’t carry it anymore.  It’s the prettiest one too, a Saucer Magnolia ”soulangiana” — now all they want to sell us is the purplish one; I want the light pink.  It’s always good to have something to look forward to; we’ll find it someday!

My birthday party is tomorrow night, and guess who’s in charge of making my birthday cake?  Me!  I volunteered!  Now I’m trying to decide between a flourless Chocolate Cake (almost diet food), with the creamy texture of peanut butter — OR my Orange Cake with the pineapple filling which is my true favorite.

That’s my day today.  Oh yes, and besides that, a brand new WILLARD will start to go out next Tuesday!  To you, as always, with love from me.

XOXO

Have a wonderful day; it’s Friday the 13th, the luckiest day of the year!!! Thank you again for all your sweet Birthday Wishes.  You made it extra special this year. Also want to wish a Happy Birthday to our Girlfriend, Gladys Taber!

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545 Responses to My Birthday

  1. Joanne from Colorado says:

    Happy Birthday to you! It sounds like you’ve celebrated your day wonderfully. Enjoy your party and your very special book from your hubby. The Cranford series is wonderful, and having an antique copy must be so very special.

  2. Debbie in So,Ca. says:

    Happy Happy Birthday Sweet Sue!!! What a wonderful day you had. Your Joe is such a special guy! I think he should set up his own blog for men everywhere giveing advice on how to be a Great Husband. I love how you spent your special day and how your going to keep on for the month, think I wil have to try that. Nurserys are like librarys and bookstores for me, I can spend half a day at each one.
    I pray that you will find your Saucer Magnolia tree soon, there is a little poem that I love about trees but I cannot remember all the words, I will look it up and send it to you.

    Debbie in Southern Ca.

  3. Jamie says:

    Happy Birthday Susan !!! You lucky, lucky girl to get such a beautiful vintage copy of Cranford from your husband. That is so very special :)
    Im a devotee of Cranford and read it again last year, and Ive also read The Forgotten Garden, which is also a wonderful read. Will not spoil the end, but it is a good one!
    I love your blogs they make my day, and I hope you find your magnolia that your searching for.
    Again, happy birthday…Jamie

  4. Lynne Mehler says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! What a neat gift you have there, but how do you like The Forgotten Garden? It is my all time favorite book; I loved it! It was interesting though, in my office six of us read it and although myself and three others loved it there were two who hated it! What were they reading! lol

    • sbranch says:

      It has slowly wrapped its little self around my imagination, and now I’m kind of addicted. Only half way through, get the generations, who’s who, Rose or Eliza, mixed up, but that’s OK, I love it.

  5. M J Smith says:

    Happy, Happy Birthday! And I love the birthday fabric! :-)

  6. Diane says:

    Happy, happy birthday! Hope you enjoyed a wonderful day! Your book was just so lovely! I, too was born on the 13th of a month, so have had many Friday the 13th birthdays! Good luck for us, don’t you think!?! I’m off to England myself in about a week and a half- so exciting. I have fallen in love with England- have never sailed there though. I have cruised many times, but a transatlantic crossing has always something I’ve dreamed of doing- seems so exotic and conjures up images of travel the way it was back in “the olden days!” I’ll bet you can’t wait! By the way, I bought some of the salt & vinegar almonds you recommended- they are sooo yummy! Thanks for suggesting them.
    xo

  7. Stephanie says:

    What a wonderful day for a birthday! Glad you had a happy one, Susan. You, Gladys Taber and my now 7 year-old son, Bailey, all have birthdays on the same day!! It was a beautiful day in Wisconsin, too. Happy, happy day!

  8. Karen/MoMo says:

    Happy, Happy Birthday, dear Susan!!! When I realized you AND my wonderful husband (who is a bit older Joe clone!) shared the SAME birthday, I had yet ANOTHER reason to be happy I CHOSE my amazing “best friend” with whom to spend the last 35 years! Lots of Champagne and great food and loving family are celebrating over SEVERAL days. Really, life is about shared love.

    Thank you for providing us both with so much peace and pleasure!
    Karen

  9. Jamie on Doty Island, WI says:

    Susan
    I found your magnolia tree for sale online …Naturehills.com
    They have a Saucer Magnolia, hope that helps?
    Jamie

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you sweetie!

      • Becky- "Molly's Mom" says:

        I love magnolia trees, and am working on a watercolor of one I see on my morning walks. You’re so inspirational and the reason I’m not giving up even when the watercolor seems to have a mind of its own!!
        Happy birthday…my precious dog Molly also celebrates in April….she is 13 and doing great.

  10. Suzanne from Georgia says:

    Happy you had such a lovely birthday. Reading Kate Morton under a cherry tree. What could be more perfect! Have a wonderful journey. I’ve been to London once about 5 years ago and enjoyed it all. My favorite thing was a train trip to Oxford and a taxi ride to C.S. Lewis’s home. Via con Dios!

  11. Nancy B says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan. Your birthday fabric is delightful. Hope I can get some.
    My birthday happens to be tomorrow. I just baked a cake today, but it wasn’t for me. Have a great time at your party!!

  12. Terri says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan! It’s before midnight here on the west coast, so it’s still your happy day. Have a lovely dinner tomorrow and remember that birthday cake has no calories…

  13. Monya says:

    Happy belated birthday Susan! It sounds like you had a lovely day!

  14. Joann says:

    Your birthday just sounds amazing—that Joe…what a shopper he is!!! I love a man on the hunt for the perfect gift—and perfect for ME because he knows me; NOT because some salesperson told him it’s the perfect gift….because, well, it wouldn’t be then.

    Anyway, the quilt and the book and everything just look fantastic—–

    Now get back to planning that wonderful trip of yours!!!!
    xoxo
    Joann

  15. Tami says:

    Birthday Girl Sue *< :o)
    What a lovely way to spend a birthday! The view from under your tree is spectacular! Thanks for taking time to chat with the girlfriends in the middle of your me time! You are so thoughtful that way :) I am a little confused as to which date it actually was, 12 or 13? Pardon me for being a little out of it, I have my head in the clouds today. I got a little wonderful news myself today… My son safely returned to his "home fort" from a year long deployment to Afghanistan!Great day all around! Hope your party is as wonderful as you are! Have a great weekend!

  16. Tami says:

    Sorry my happy face guy got all mixed up somehow! Was supposed to be a smiley with a party hat on, but now it isn’t… Better luck next time I hope!

  17. Katharine says:

    Happy Birthday Susan Is that your new kitty in the picture? If it is..where is his mustache? I had to show my daughter the kitten with the mustache. lol

    Today wasn’t my birthday but it was a rainy, thunder and lightening day in Southern California. You know we don’t get many of those. I lied in bed trying to keep one of my cats calm. Later I got out and went shopping in one of my favorite stores. I didn’t buy much but I had fun looking. :)

    • sbranch says:

      He’s just got his face down, it’s him, incognito. If you keep scrolling down and going back, you will find lots of pictures of Jack!!

  18. Terri J says:

    I’m late, I’m late, I’m late – for a very important date! Happy birthday, Susan – and Gladys too! What a great gift from your Joe, filled with all those wonderful little surprises. I wonder how many springs it’s been since those dried flowers bloomed and if that really is ‘Georgie’ in the photo. Love tiny mysteries like that…I’ve never seen (or read) Cranford and it looks delightful, thanks for sharing that. Love your ‘reading room.’ What a view! Hope you have a wonderful birthday weekend. Birthdays should be celebrated as long as possible!

  19. Betty says:

    What a beautiful season to celebrate a birthday! Many Happy Returns of the day Susan, and thank you for all of your wonderful posts!
    Betty in Melbourne (Aus.)

  20. Barb says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! May all your wishes come true with a year ahead filled with good health, good luck, and happiness for you! smiles and hugs

    I just wanted to make mention about doing a little research on that Magnolia tree your looking for. You may want to check out this site (www.awaytogarden.com) by Margaret Roach. She extensive knowledge on gardening and has written a few books. You may also want to check (www.berkshirebotanical.org) which is located in Stockbridge Massachusetts. Any nursery with a notable (horticulturist) may also be able to help guide you in the right direction to finding an older variety in which you are looking for. I will be checking with one of my best friends whose brother is a horticulturist and works for a nursery to see if he can be of any help.

    Hope you had a wonderful birthday dinner and enjoy the cake which ever one you choose…..they both sound yummy! Happy Birthday!
    Barb, Ludlow MA

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Barb, for all that good information! I think the clock is ticking too fast, and maybe we should work on this after we get back from England!

  21. deezie says:

    Happy Birthday!!!!
    Oh how I adore birthdays. Yours sounds like its been heaven so far. Enjoy your special day today Susan.
    I love the idea of sitting under that fabulous tree like you did with a scrumptious quilt. Love it!!!
    happy day
    deezie

  22. Mary Spring says:

    Oh, yes…England !!!! how many days now ’till we all leave?? ….’ can’t hardly wait…we are so excited and ready ..thanks for taking us along !!!

  23. So sorry I am late in wishing you a Very Happy Birthday, Susan…I hope you had a fabulous day!

    I enjoyed the trailer for the movie, “Cranford”…would love to see it…any idea where I could buy it? Love the book you received and the little treasure inside:) By the way, have you watched “Downton Abbey” I am absolutely in love with the series. Almost done watching the first season and hope to start on the second very soon.

    I also wanted to thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving such a sweet comment…It made my day. I’m hoping to do a post soon to show everyone the book I won from you and The Creative Connection last year…I’m a little behind lol!

    xoxo
    Kim

    • sbranch says:

      I thought Downton Abbey was wonderful too! You can probably get Cranford through Amazon, and I know they have it at Netflix if you belong. You’ll love it!

  24. Nancy says:

    What a wonderful gift. That book is priceless and so special with the little treasures inside. Have a wonderful birthday weekend!

  25. Deb Surman from Illinois says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! Funny, I just started watching the PBS series of Cranford this week – I’m on episode 3 with Dame Judi Dentch ( sp?) It’s charming and has a few actors who went on to Larkrise to Candleford and Downton Abbey. Joe is such a romantic to have picked such a lovely book for you. Do have a wonderful time at your party tonight. One last note, for Downton Abbey fans, tonight on ABC they are showing a Titanic special created by the same man who created our beloved Downton Abbey. Set your DVR Susan!

  26. Melissa says:

    Happy Birthday! I would go for my favorite cake. A birthday only comes once a year. Just finished “The forgotten Garden” myself…Completely understand why it is so hard to stretch it out…Enjoy!

  27. Vee says:

    Though I’m tardy, I do wish you a wonderful birthday! Birthdays are too wonderful to limit to just one day. Many blessings…

  28. Lynn says:

    Dear Susan – a belated happy birthday. Looks like you had a spectacular day. I would give anything
    to be under those lovely flowering trees on MV. Hope your celebrations were wonderful. I will be going to Friends of Gladys Taber tomorrrow at the Curtis House in Woodbury and then the group is going to place flowers on her gravesite. It should be a lovely day. The weekend sounds absolutely beautiful – enjoy!

  29. becky says:

    I just sooo much love this place here.So always interesting,cuteeeee,adorable,just a super nice girly place to be.I always forget you, even though your added to my favorites.I wish there were a better way to access your blog.

    Id love to wish you a belated but very Happy Birthday.Your inspiring,creative,and a lovely person.Much luck in all you to Susan.

  30. Dinahsoar says:

    Happy Birthday Susan Branch!!…my little sister’s birthday is April 13th too!!…Some of the best people ever were born on that date! I have seen Cranford and I loved it. Saw Return to Cranford too. I always love Judy Dench….Wishing you health, wealth and happiness today and the whole year through…shoot…for life!…from the hills of TN.

  31. Kelley S. says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! You are so smart to stretch out your birthday celebrations. My birthday fell on Easter this year, and it was a beautiful weekend. My cherry tree popped its first, fluffy pink bloom on my birthday, so maybe we can stretch Spring a little longer since it came so early this year. Spring birthdays are the Best!

  32. K. Ross says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan Branch!!! (A day late – sorry! — but still sincere.) The gift from Joe is great — old books are wonderful. Your birthday fabric will make the most adorable 1st-birthday dress and/or pinafore for a little baby girl. Looks like this birthday-year is going to be super special for you! Congratulations to a Great Year! Kathy from Danville, VA.

  33. Karen C says:

    Happy Belated Birthday!

    Hope your weekend goes well. Did the Orange cake with pineapple filling win out?
    Sounds yummy, I can almost smell it from here in NC. :)

  34. Cheryl from Kentucky says:

    Happy Birthday Susan!!
    I was not home to write this for the last couple days since my Mom went home from rehab on the 13th. WONDERFUL DAY all around! I hope you had a wonderful day, and you have a great year. Thanks for all you do.

  35. cynthia says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! I have loved your artwork for years!!! Thanks for all of the inspiration you have given me :)

  36. Jeannine Holmes, SC says:

    Happy belated Friday the 13th Birthday!!! You’re right, it’s a lucky day. Also, must find that movie, Cranford. Just love Brit movies . . . and if Judy Dench is in it, all the more I want to see it.

  37. Jane says:

    Happy Birthday, sweet girl! It sounds like you are off to a great start in celebrating {Go with the Orange Cake!}. The book looks fantastic, the illustrations alone have me swooning! Joe is a wonderful guy!

    Hope your day is fabulous and remember, each year is a gift, waiting to be opened!

    XO,
    Jane From Chicago

  38. Pam G. says:

    Happy Birthday to you a day late, dear Susan. My birthday is coming up soon on the 17th. I’ve always loved having an April b’day for some reason. If it’s not too late to say, go with the orange cake-and if you have not read all Kate Morton’s books, I think maybe she has written 3 ?- you are in for a real treat.

  39. Rosanne, Keizer, Oregon says:

    Happy, Happy Birthday! BTW, the other Kate Morton books are also wonderful, especially The House at Riverton. A good one for your crossing would be The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin. It is very Downton Abbey-ish. I have to say that your Joe is an amazing gift giver! Enjoy your celebration!

  40. viv says:

    Belated best wishes. I absolutely adore your blog. A friend introduced me to it several weeks a go. It’s like visiting with a kindred spirit. viv

  41. Leslie Gammelgaard says:

    My daughter always celebrates her birthday *month*…so I’m not actually a day late in wishing you a HaPpY BiRtHdaY! Your dear Joe found the perfect birthday present and it was filled with gifts from a well-wisher! Wouldn’t Georgie just delight in knowing the whole world is enjoying her treasures! I love little imagination tickles such as this! I hope you decided on the Orange Cake, your favorite, although I would’ve chosen the flourless gluten free chocolate one for my “diet”. Have a happy celebration!
    “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Ps 118:24

  42. Patricia D'Ambra says:

    Happy Belated Birthday Susan!! Life sounds so good on Martha’s Vineyard and your home and garden look absolutely gorgeous. I wish you many more years of happiness and contentment. Pat D’A

  43. Maria Shiyou says:

    Happy (late) Birthday! I didn’t get online yesterday. My birthday was on Tuesday and one of my daughters birthday is tomorrow. So she and her family is coming over for church, lunch and cake and homemade ice cream. YUM!
    I love old books, too, well…books. Old or new. I can’t seem to wrap my mind around the electronic book thingys yet. (Probably never will.) I can see where they would be easier than storing a real book, but I like the feel, the smell, the hearing the page turn…and, of course, the feel of it hitting me in the face when I fall asleep reading it! lol Or the thudding sound when it hits the floor! Oh, and how I love BOOKMARKS!!! I love to make bookmarks, too! I love the ones I have that are cute or sweet and have a place for photos of my grandchildren! I use them, too. There is nothing in this world like a good book! My Bibles are wonderful books with great stories of history and love and romance in them, along with tradgedies and family!
    I had been re-reading your Summer Book this week and finished it last night. I love your beautiful books. And they are always worth reading over and over again!

  44. Karen Provost says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! You are like a birthday present to all of us everyday!
    Karen

  45. Debbie in So,Ca. says:

    Hi Sue, last night I told you I would send you a sweet little poem about trees, so here it is.
    What does he plant who plants who plants a tree?

    He plants a friend of Son and sky;
    He plants the flag of breezes free;
    The shaft of beauty, towering high.
    He plants a home to heaven anigh
    For song and Mother-croon of bird
    In hushed and happy twilight heard-
    The tremble of heavens harmony-
    These things he plants who plants a tree.

    What does he plant who plants a tree?
    He plants cool shade and tender rain,
    And seed and bud of days to be,
    And years that fade and flush again;
    He plants the glory of the plain;
    He plants the forests heritage;
    The harvest of a coming age;
    They joy that unborn eyes shall see-
    These things he plants who plants a tree.

    What does he plant who plants a tree?
    He plants, in sap and leaf and wood;
    In love of home and loyalty
    And far-cast thought of civil good-
    His blessings on the neighborhood
    Who in the hollow of his hand
    Holds all the growth of all our land-
    A nation’s growth from sea to sea
    Stirs in his heart who plants a tree.

    Henry Cuyler Bunner

  46. Debby Holman says:

    Hi, Susan. Happy Birthday, a day late. I hope your year is filled with health, happiness, and all good things. Thanks so much for being a girlfriend. Debby

  47. Marcia in Brazil says:

    Happy birthday, dear Susan, or as we say in Portuguese, feliz aniversário! Have a blessed year…

  48. Victoria Miller says:

    Happiest Birthday, Sweet Sue!
    All those wonderful things you do,
    delight those who love you, near and far,
    so greatful for all the things you are.
    May every birthday wish come true,
    may joy stay yours, skies gray or blue,
    may the year filled with blessing be,
    and truly hope you find your tree!

  49. Paula B. says:

    Looks like it was a banner day on the Vineyard for your birthday! The trees beginning to bear their blossoms are lovely. I would have commented here yesterday but the thirteenth was my birthday and I was busy teaching and celebrating. I had an auditorium of high schoolers that serenaded me, ah the perks of being a teacher. And you were right the thirteenth was the luckiest day, it was wonderful. Here’s to us April babies, enjoy your party tonight.

  50. Caro says:

    Well, I’m a day late, but it’s the thought that counts. Have a great birthday celebration this evening. And, I wish you many, many more!

  51. carolyn says:

    Happppppppy Birthday!! Looks like you had the most delightful kind ever!! Love the kind when you get to do your favorite things!! Today is rainy & chilly where I live, so I am all cozy on the sofa with candles lit, my teapot full as I sip on tea with my book in hand!! Loving it!! I don’t get to treat my self in this way very often…but the house is empty of family and after seeing your cozy reading spot…I wanted to treat myself!! Much needed time of pampering & rest! Thank you for the inspiration!! LOVE YOUR BLOG!! :D

  52. claresgabby says:

    Happy Belated Birthday to you and Gladys! (Loved her pics in the email from FOGT!) I have a new bookcase in my family room, and one shelf is devoted to Gladys and one to you. Two of my favorites. Book Club at my house in May….I choose the book for the next month. I was thinking about The Forgotten Garden. Done deal…don’t have to think about it anymore! Thank you, thank you! By the way, I made your carrot cupcakes for Easter and they were yummy.
    Looking forward to England!!

  53. Rae Ann says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUSAN!!!…I’m so very glad you had a wonderful day on your birthday…I have read “The Forgotten Garden” and I loved it…you may want to check out A. Trigiani/sp???’s new book…I think it is called “The Shoemaker’s Wife”…it is a really big book with an absolutely beautiful cover…sometimes the cover is how I choose my books…by the cover…I am thinking about you and Joe at your birthday party right now…make a wonderful wish when you blow out your candles…xoxo…

  54. Rita from MN says:

    Happy belated birthday, Susan! So I should say happy new year of life, may it be filled with blessings and joy. I think your voyage will be a good start! I know two other people in my life who celebrated birthdays yesterday. Certainly a special day. I read your post late as I was celebrating being a sister with my two best friends (and sisters) at a Barry Manilow concert. Does that date us a little? We had a blast!

  55. Tora says:

    Hope your day was wonderful Susan, your deserve it as you’re responsible for making our day with these lovely posts! xxoo

  56. Susan Bryza says:

    Hope you enjoyed your birthday party, Susan! Whichever cake you selected, I’m sure it was delicious!!

    Thanks for the tip on the novels by Kate Morton. I downloaded The Forgotten Garden on my Nook yesterday and just finished it. I couldn’t put it down either… Now I’ve downloaded The House at Riverton. I hope it isn’t so all-encompassing as The Forgotten Garden . (I have grading to do tomorow.)

    More tornado warnings (and hail) are expected after midnight in DFW. As we’ve already had one car pelted, we spent the day shifting things around so that the other car might fit into the garage. Wish these terrible storms would go away!

    Have fun getting ready for your big trip! We leave on ours in 42 days! Lots to accomplish before we go… Don’t know how you are getting ready and keeping up with your blog, too. Glad you took some time off to celebrate this weekend!!:)

    Susan

  57. Gloria Dyer says:

    Happy Birthday Susan!
    I think that a girl of our vintage (over 50) should have a birthday to last at least a week. So with that I wish your days filled with birthday emails, cards, luncheons, answering machine messages, spring flowers, picnics,great books and movies that stay in your heart and mind, and hugs and kisses from all of us near and far to grace your life, as you have graced me and all who read your blog. My virtual carry-on is pack for that cruise to England. This is such an amazing time to be living! Love,Gloria

  58. Jan says:

    Susan,
    Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday!!! Hope you’re having a wonderful birthday celebration! Love the birthday fabric! Yes, Friday the thirteenth is one of the luckiest days of the year. My oldest son was born on Friday the thirteenth.

  59. Kit says:

    Oh such a wonderful birthday present you got! I love the Cranford series and I read the book too. It is wonderful. Your love sure knows how to find such a special gift. He is a keeper! Many Happy returns! Kit

  60. Julie McCrary says:

    Dear Susan, Happy Birthday:) and in case you finish the Forgotten Garden, I would highly recommend purchasing Kate Morton’s other two books for your trip. I loved The House at Riverton, but The Distant Hours was my favorite of the three! I hope that your trip is filled with joy.

  61. Åsa Bredesen says:

    Happy Birthday my favorite Susan, a day late !
    Thanks for your wonderful, inspiring blog, i love it !
    Hugs Åsa from Sweden
    ( and of course hugs to your lovely cats ! )

  62. Jenny says:

    Susan:

    Susan:

    You might also enjoy the BBC miniseries “North and South” based upon the novel by Ms. Gaskell.

    Wishing you the happiest of belated Birthdays!
    “It takes a long time to grow young” Pablo Picasso

    Best Regards,
    Jenny

  63. Well, a belated “Happy Birthday to you”!!! Don’t you think keyboards should have musical note symbols on them? What a beautiful place Martha’s Vineyard is–not that I’ve ever actually been there and seen it, but I can wish! I just love your photographs–my poor blog suffers from my terrible photography skills. That’s something I should work on this year!
    I am loving your design on the T towel–especially that little cherry on top! I never turn down a cherry on top because that’s what makes something ordinary, special!
    Thanks for the gift of your blog! It is a joy!
    V

  64. Pam says:

    I’m late, I’m late, For a Very Important Date………………… so sorry Susan, belated happy birthday. I didn’t know it was your special day and I haven’t visited your site for a couple of days. It looks like you had a lovely day and your gift from Joe is gorgeous.

  65. Rebecca says:

    I hope you had a wonderful birthday, Susan! Just wanted to say how wonderful it is to have a kindred spirit out there. This post made me so happy, and was filled with things I love! I am currently waiting on my copy of the Cranford DVD series from my local library – can’t wait to watch it. Seeing the lovely book Joe gave you makes me want to hunt down a copy to read as well. Speaking of reading, I loved The Forgotten Garden. Both my mom and a good friend gave me copies for my birthday last year :-) Love the romance, mystery, and history. I am so excited for your trip to England. I had a wonderful time there with my mom, sister and aunt last September. We spent a few hours wandering around Lacock, such a quaint little village! In addition to filming some of Cranford there, some scenes from the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice were shot there! My aunt and I also got to visit Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top Farm. I can’t wait to hear about all the wonderful places and things you and Joe will see soon!
    xoxo, Rebecca from Seattle

  66. Penblwydd Hapus i Ti! Penblwydd Hapus i Ti!
    Penblwydd Hapus Anwyl Susan
    Penblwydd Hapus i Ti!
    Gyda caru . . oddiwrth Deborah

    this is Happy Birthday in Welsh with love from me . . so sorry it is late, but I have been helping a girlfriend celebrate her birthday which it seems is the same day as you! Hurrah!

    What a wonderful gift! Cranford is one of the best, and your copy is amazing! The secret of that photo is . . well . . don’t we all want to know? Oh, how I wish you had some way of finding out . . and I bet you do too!

    I hope you had the Happiest of Birthday Days ♥ ♥ ♥

  67. Donna Valentine says:

    Dear Susan…I too am late to wish you a Happy Birthday….my husband and I were away for a couple of days for a much needed time away, and so I was not able to write…but let me now say that I am glad you had such a wonderful time and celebration, and that the weather was beautiful for you to relax outdoors! I used to have 3 special girlfriends , a long time ago, and we would celebrate our birthdays in a similar way as you described…it was really special. Now I live in another state(Montana) and they are all still in Washington, and we keep in touch as well as we can, but we haven’t done our birthday traditions now for what seems like forever. How things can change! I have new friends here, but have never done that type of tradition again. So it is something to cherish! Anyway, Happy , Happy Birthday, and I wish you and Joe a wonderful trip! God speed! Thank you for all that you do for us …Donna in Montana

  68. With 509 comments, I join in to thank you for all the lovelies…. I enjoy your blog and look forward to Willard with inordinate eagerness….. Can’t wait to cross the Atlantic! Happy birthday! A tide late. Too much going on to even read my favorite blogs lately.

  69. Lynne Neal says:

    Happy belated Birthday Sue, hope it’s another wonderfull year, making you as happy as you make people

  70. Ginnie says:

    Happy belated birthday, Susan! I’m an April baby, too – the 9th. We April babies are so special, aren’t we? ;) Not to take away from babies born in the other months, of course.

    It sounds like you had a wonderful day – thank you, as always, for sharing it with us!

  71. Teri (GiGi) says:

    Happy Birthday…Sorry it is late…didnt want to miss the opportunity to wish you a happy day! It takes a special hubby to help make your day so wonderful …right down to the gift….couldnt ask for more! I hope you and your girlfriends get all your wishes from around your cake! Fun tradition! Happy travels!

  72. Ana says:

    Even if it is a bit late, Happy Birthday!! I am really glad you had such a nice day and dinner with your friends. Lots of regards from Spain.

  73. Lois Burgess from Nova Scotia, Canada says:

    Happy Belated Birthday Susan!!

    It’s been really busy this past week so I just sat down to finally read your post. What a wonderful way to begin celebrating your special day, under a canopy of blooms with a favorite book! Have a lovely week Sue and Joe as you prepare for your upcoming trip. So EXCITING!!! Thanks for sprinkling our days with your own special brand of fairy dust.

  74. Kelley S. says:

    Susan, one more thought for you. I love Kate Morton’s books, but there just aren’t enough! After reading everything I could get my hands one, I needed a fix and found “The American Heiress” by Daisy Goodwin. It would be the perfect book for you to read while sailing across The Pond. It is about a rich, American heiress whose pushy mother sends her to England to find a titled husband. She literally bumps into an eligible, title-bearing bachelor. But does he really love her or her money? You’ll have to read it to find out. It was quite a page turner.

  75. PauliJ says:

    Wow! I miss a day or two of your blog and all sorts of things happen! A very happy belated birthday to you, Sweet Susan! It sounds as if you had a perfect birthday!

    April is a wonderful month for a birthday or an anniversary, both of which I enjoy: birthday: April 1st, no foolin’ –and anniversary: April 23rd (46th this year!)

    Love and peace to you!

  76. Bethany says:

    You are like my long lost sister!!! I had no idea you had a blog but I always receive your Willards! I was in love with Cranford, my best friend calls me Beatrix Potter, and I’m dying to visit England someday! My husband and I honeymooned in Nantucket almost 20 years ago… when you’re ready to sell your house… let me know!! ;) It is rare to find someone who treasures all the special things that I do… in fact, I’ve never found that before I read your posts and letters today! I keep your “Love” book in my guest room for visitors and I am an illustrator (who is now starting schooling for Homeopathy with The School of Homeopathy in Devon, England!!!). Have a wonderful trip and Happy Birthday!!!! xo

    • sbranch says:

      I already decided, when it’s time to sell my house, I’m putting it on the blog first! Why shouldn’t one of my girlfriends get it! It’s stuffed with enough project karma to last the next owners for the next 100 years.

      Good luck at school. Always fun to learn something new!

  77. Ann says:

    I’m late to the party because I was away this weekend, but Happy Birthday! Sounds like you had a lovely day and received a lovely gift. I’m jealous.

  78. Jan from Northern CA says:

    Happy Birthday! I see on my lovely Susan Branch calender blotter….that you share it with Thomas Jefferson. Lucky you. Ahhhh, that view from your blanket with your book…..life couldn’t be better. :)

  79. starr miller says:

    HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY, SUSAN.

    WISHING YOU AND JOE A SAFE AND MEMORABLE TRIP. SO HAPPY THAT YOU ARE GOING `NOW IS THE TIME.

    AND THANKS FOR TAKING US ALL ALONG WITH YOU. I KNOW WE ALL CAN’T WAIT. HAPPY PACKING.

    BIG BIG HUG…FROM A BIG FAN.
    STARR

  80. Chris Dowd says:

    Happy belated birthday Susan! Didn’t see your blog on your birthday because we were busy celabrating our son’s birthday on the same day, and also my husband’s which was on the 17th. Next year I’ll know. Friday the 13th has always been lucky for our family because my parents were married on Friday the 13th, 1942. My dad was in the Navy and managed to get leave with the hopes of getting married on Valentines day. The church was unavailable, so Friday it was. Sounds like you had a lovely day. :)

  81. Deb says:

    Dear Susan Branch,
    We share the same birthday!
    At least, I’m guessing, since there is always a little balloon, or flower… to mark April 12.
    This is a belated greeting, since I’ve been celebrating my birthday for an entire week!
    (and yes, a Girlfriend made the Bunny Cake the year OUR birthday fell on Easter!)
    Glad it was such a Happy Day!
    Deb from NY

  82. Andrea Geary says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you for brightening my days…I love your posts and pictures too. Glad to hear your visiting England again, safe journey here! It’s almost a shame you cant pop in To Bramhall for a tea & cake with Joe.. I feel like I know you both! . Your kittys will miss you but they wil be fine, think of the cuddles when you get back, that’s how I cope.

    Your gardens super too, would live to vist Marthys Vinyard one day, like most people really I guess it’s been a dream of my mine to see it covered in snow! Safe journey hope to hear all your travel news

    Andrea :)

  83. Joan Lesmeister says:

    I did it, I actually did it! Printed out your Birthday Cupcake towel, enlarged it, reprinted it, made a pattern & cut it out of “Friends” fabric, I bought when I went to see you last year at SLO (only.. you were sick, GF! Poor thing!). And I wrapped my gift (a gift certificate for the InBetweenStitches Quilt Shop in Livermore) in the towel, using the cut off “Friends” etc. selvage for the tie!!!! Yesterday, my Birthday GF,Kitty, had a great day with we 3 friends, wonderful visit to Alden Lane gorgeous Nursery & lunch & quilt shop! The towel was a fun project & my GFs were quite impressed – & actually, so was I!! Thank you, Thank you for the great idea! xoxo

  84. Susan – Loved your blog about writing letters the “old fashioned way.” I do that often because I love receiving them as well. A friend gave me the most amazing book for my 4/6 birthday entitled “Script and Scribble” by Kitty Burns Florey. It is a delightful book filled with the history (and unfortunately, the decline) of handwriting, pens, calligraphy, etc. You would love it.
    Cheryl in Colorado

  85. Caren says:

    Hello
    Thank you for designing such a BEAUTIFUL birthday fabric! I am very interested in finding out where to purchase it, but the link provided to the independent quilt store source doesn’t list it, and the blog entries regarding this fabric seem to stop from April 2012. With it being October, I was wondering if there are any updates?
    Thank you for your time,
    Caren

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I found out the company that was making it wanted it for Wal-Mart but I really don’t want to put things there, I would rather stick to the smaller quilt stores, so I had a bit of a parting of the ways with that fabric company! Sorry. It would have been so cute. I’ll try to find someone new to work with!

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