WE HAVE SNOW

BRRRR, we have snow, we have ZERO degrees.  Thats 32° below freezing.  Baby it’s cold outside. MUSICA for a snowy day.

Even the snowflakes are dancing. I think I know why God gave us the gift of winter, it’s a healing time for Martha’s Vineyard after the busy summer, but in a way, for us too. It gives us a good reason to stop the go-go-go, and just be.  Lots of people don’t like snow and move to Florida to escape it.  But after growing up in Southern California, and now experiencing real winter, I would miss these quiet, introspective days.

The whole world is muffled in this blanket of white.  Our old house is “anchored,” as Gladys Taber would say, “like a ship in a still white sea.”  No cars go by, no noise gets through, only the popping of embers of a fire, and the bloop-bloop-bloop of the chicken stock that’s simmering on top of my stove and making the house smell cozy.  It’s a world all its own.

Time seems to stand still, just us, the birds, the squirrels, warm sweaters, shawls, socks, furnace-vent-warmed slippers.

Every so often, I peek out the window.  Yup, it’s all still there!  Not a daffodil in sight.  Thank goodness, I am not ready to give up on all this quite yet.

When I got up this morning and looked outside … and there was our Wolf moon — It’ll be full on Saturday night.

Inside the house, it’s cozy, with quilts draped over everything making us feel warm and happy!

Joe has been making fires every morning . . . I can see the fireplace from my art table, so I look up, Jack is draped on the back of the couch, there’s a fire beyond … girl is on the pillow in my studio.  And I spread watery green paint onto a new piece of paper. . . clock goes tick-tick-tick, and I go, thank you.

We turn on the radio to the classical station, and I count my blessings.  How lucky we are to have this warm house safe from the storms.

Yesterday we had pancakes on the sofa front of the fire.  Could a person ask anything more from a little egg, milk, and flour?  And Vermont Maple-tree juice?  No, I think not.  We have it all just like Bogie and Bacall.

This is one of my favorite photos of Joe.  I see happiness in his eyes.  If I EVER catch him lying down when the laundry comes out, he gets “the treatment.”  Full body warmth from dryer.

But it’s not always quiet around here . . . We get visitors …. Lowely (my BFF and girlfriend who lives only one door over) came for tea the other day and provided lots of entertainment . . .

She came in the door and drama ensued almost immediately.  Her scarf is caught in her zipper. She can’t get out.  What do I do?   Grab the camera of course!  See the zipper being pulled up at the bottom?  Her scarf is firmly in there.

So, a little bit of strangulation is taking place.  Am I helping?  Yes, I’m recording it for posterity!  And laughing too hard, which is why these photos are not in focus!

Oh, the humanity.

She’s given up on trying to loosen the zipper grip on the fabric, now she is just trying to get the scarf off, but it is hopeless . . . she is trapped.

We are laughing so hard!  There is no rhyme nor reason to that scarf!  This is when I came to my senses and put the camera down and HELP her.  She got out, probably without my involvement . . . but we are crying laughing.  Then we had tea and a nice visit at the kitchen table.  And I forgot to take a photo of the normal Lowely, so you can see how pretty she really is.

But here she is with Joe — we’re at her house, for one of her wonderful parties!  See those yummy Clams Casino in the foreground.  I would like one of those right now!  (Thank you Lowely, for letting me use these photos and for the constant wonderful entertaining YOU! )

There are so many good ways to celebrate this magical time of year before it gets away from us and becomes part of the past.  Above is a little picture I painted of me in my chair, with William T. Aristocat III, my book, my blankie, my sippies, and of course, my singing bird (doesn’t everyone have one of those on the back of their chair?)  This is what I call the good life.  Speaking of which, if you haven’t already seen it, there is a really charming movie called Cranford – they have both part one and two, available in a set on Amazon, you will love it if you haven’t seen it; it will get you in the mood for England.  Because we went to that darling village where it was filmed and there will be photos in our new book!  Have the movie with a cup of tea, some cinnamon toast, warm slippers . . . the perfect thing for a winter day.♥ 

Sun is coming up right now, gorgeous blue-sky day and freezing sunlight putting a silvery outline on the tree branches loaded with snow . . . this is what I love, my kitchen, early in the morning, and the bloop-bloop-bloop of the chicken stock . . . Off I go, more pages for our book will be coming out of my little art factory today.  There is a pinpoint of light at the end of the Fine Romance tunnel, girlfriends.   Remember to

 Do one little special thing for yourself today — such as this, bubbles, hot water, book!   You can start having a special day right now, with a great big deep breath.  Aren’t we lucky?  Oh!  And by the way, I want to make sure . . . did you get your Valentine bookmark?  That’s for your book, with love from me, and for you to pop into an envelope to give your girlfriends . . . spreading a little sunshine as only you know how!  Bye for now! Thank you for all your wonderful comments.  We are the mutual admiration society!  Happy weekend!  XOXO

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401 Responses to WE HAVE SNOW

  1. Kristin says:

    A freshly fallen snowfall always looks so beautiful to me. Living so near the Gulf here in Texas, I’ve never experienced more than an inch (if that) of the white stuff before. I haven’t seen even one snowflake in at least 10 years, so now I’m going to crank up the AC (it’s been 80 degrees all week) and look at your beautiful snow photos again!

    Kristin

  2. Cheryl Danley says:

    Ditto what everyone else has said above to you, but, I would also like to add: thank you for the Valentine bookmark! One of the things that draws me to your artwork are the clothes, hats, shoes, hair bows, etc. you put on the people that you paint and I love, in this Valentine bookmark, how you have the little hearts tumbling down from the large heart. But, my true love of yours are the botanical paintings. The dainty little flowers, plants and vines. So wonderful! Love! <3

  3. Jackie P says:

    The snow is so beautiful . . . peaceful. LOVE the saying that Janet shared with us: “Nest of stillness . . . ” — that really describes how I feel when the snow piles up outside. Love to be indoors, in front of the fire with two black & white springers flanking me on the sofa, like a little cocoon!

    My husband is also a fan of warm clothes from the dryer. (Who isn’t?) His favorite dryer experience is to take his clothes from the dryer, still warm, and put them on! Heavenly!

  4. Stacey says:

    Another wonderful post. I love to visit you and Joe. Lowely’s house looks just as beautiful as yours. Enjoy that snow and we’ll enjoy the 70 degrees. :)

  5. Hello,
    We got snow too. Yay!
    We are heading out to C-C ski !!
    Think Snow!

  6. Silvia Niomi says:

    Hi Susan,

    It’s been a while since I’ve stopped in on your blog. My parents celebrated their 50th anniversary and they took all of us kids on a cruise to Hawaii, that was fun… too short, though (its been years since we’ve gotten together as a family). Then my son took off with my husband to check out a college that is somewhat far away, I have to be brave for that. So, today I needed a little happiness and here I am looking at your blog. It makes me smile. Your friend’s entanglement with her scarf (one could swear that scarf was alive), Jack and Girl’s escapades, the snow and your cozy home life. Thank you for sharing with us your lovely life. It brings me joy.

  7. Oh please send some of that snow our way here in Texas! We will even take the cold weather with it if only we could get some moisture! Lovely post!
    Blessings to you dearie!
    Debbie

  8. Pat Johnson of Paso Robles says:

    Oh, I know what you mean about snow. If you grew up in California & truly didn’t experience snow, you realize that snow means you can stop & read & watch movies & write & nap & just sit and watch the snowflakes come down. No need to go outside, where it is too cold, because the opportunity is to enjoy peace and beauty. I will even wake up in the middle of the night & look out at the snow flakes falling (by the light of the street light) & just become memorized. Love Love Love it! And it is soooo quiet. Makes the body relax & the mind become peaceful. I am happy your house is tight & warm & cozy. But zero is much too cold!!! This weekend was the time that family got together to remember Fred – it was great – his brother & sister were there – my family & all the grandkids – my friends who knew Fred but also knew that they wanted to be with me for comfort. It was a treasured day together. I put together a picture board of Fred was he was young – older – with all of his kids growing up – and with me,of course. We ate – we shed a few tears – we laughed – we listened to the babies & children – and we thanked Fred for all the love & attention that he gave us over the years. I am now looking forward to a time alone – without any other responsibilities – to listen to myself & build up my strength, get rest, and carry on – just the way Fred would want me to do. This was a remarkable time! Stay warm & loved the pic of Joe with the laundry! XXXXOOOO P.S. My sister brought me the entire collection of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit books! Can’t wait to go through all of them & remember the journey to her part of the world.

    • sbranch says:

      How lucky you were to have such a love Pat. The blessing of life. Building up your strength, yes, with your love of life, you will need it! xoxo

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        All my sympathy, Pat – you’re in my thoughts and prayers. You’re remembering the many good times and all the love – and that’s the best anyone I can do. God bless… xoxo :>)

  9. Pam Fortune says:

    Hi Susan
    We had deep snow all last week and yesterday it more or less disappeared with heavy rain and wind. So I am feeling yes it was great but pleased that it has gone. I thought of you this morning as it is 200 years ago today since Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ was published and it showed her house in Chawton, with a young woman playing the piano, a parcel of books arriving at the door and Jane Austen walking into the parlour and taking to the chaise longe to start reading the book. Enjoy your snow and keep warm.

    • sbranch says:

      Writing the book, we are just about to go to Chawton again. I am so looking forward to writing that part. In the gift shop at Chawton I bought the same kind of quill pen she used and I’m going to try to write in the book with it. I’ve been waiting to get to this part!

  10. Angie(Tink!) says:

    ♥♫ Good Morning Sweet Sue…. I’m Twirling to The Musica….into Your Snowy Freezing World….(“Poor Me”… Here in Florida….) ;-) Wishing…Longing…. For Snow & Everybody…These Floridians… “Spazing” at Me to “Hush” ;-) So I Thank You Sweetest Sue for Sharing Your Glorious Winter with Us….( I am a Winter~Baby…Forever!) :-) Jack… Fireside is Purrrrrrfection….(Meow~Purrrrr) We actually had a “Chilly” Weekend…(For Florida) so Our Evenings were spent in front of Our Fireplace We had Chicken & Dumplings One Night & Baked Ziti The Next….so Much Yummier Fireside! :-) Thanks for The Laughter too You & Lowely & That Stuck Scarf….Hilarious! :-) Well I Know You are Very Busy with Your Beyond Magical Book… “A Fine Romance” so Carry On…. Did You watch Downton Abbey Last Night? I was Weeping….Oh My Goodness……Wishing You & Joe & The Kitties & All of Us a Glorious Winter Week! The “Wolf~Moon” Has Been Spectacular! Ya Know I’ve Been Howling (along with The Twirling!) xoxo Poof! ♥♫♥♫♥♫♥♫♥♫ ;-) I Must Fly~~~~~ Weeeeeeeeeeeeee! :-)

  11. Cathy McC. says:

    I’ve read this blog so many times and always have a huge grin on my face when I’m done. I have to share this news: My “cardinal Christmas/Lakeshore Ladies” group has coined a new phrase. The girls were here for comfort food lunch on Saturday (semi-homemade tomato basil soup and grilled cheese sandwiches) and as they were getting ready to head home after five hours of love and laughter, dear friend Judy (aka Lucy) got her zipper stuck on her puffy winter coat and we all burst out laughing and I shouted, “Oh, no, a Lowely moment!” So, there you have it. We all envisioned the pix of Lowely dancing around your kitchen, struggling to be free, and of course, all ended up doubled over with laughter and tears in our eyes! Please apologize to Lowely for us, but know that it is a comment made out of fondness, always spelled with a capital “L” :) Hugs, Ethel

  12. Sreekala says:

    I am dancing with joy!!! I got your calendar today, Susan! I was depressed this new year with a lot of health issues in the family. I had requested Flipkart to carry your calendar, but somehow they didn’t inform me that they had actually done it! So when I checked last week and saw it in their inventory, I was so glad. I got it safe and sound in the mail today and have been floating all day! It’s absolutely beautiful… Today I was at the hospital and received some good news re: my own health and when I got home, your calendar was waiting for me – now I feel that things have taken a turn for the better. I got your calendar may be a month late, but it is here exactly in time for my b’day on Feb 1!!!!

  13. Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

    Foggy winter wonderland here this morning–got 3″ of heavy wet snow. It is unseasonably warm so snow is sticking to everything. The evergreens are beautiful!

  14. Janet from Grafton, WI says:

    Thank you, Susan for the beautiful musica, pretty pictures and lovely sentiments.
    Also, thanks for the bookmark-it’s so cute.

  15. Ann Y. Adamstown, PA says:

    Hi Susan….loved the post and the beautiful snow photos. Snow here on Friday night was SO beautiful and sparkley…like crystals. When we went out to shovel our walk the almost full Wolf moon in the back of our place was making wonderful shadows from the trees on the snow. Inspired by your photos I tried to capture it, but my camera is just not up to it. Keeping the picture of that magical scene in my head. Then today….no school ! I have your bigger calendar on my board at school and was just showing somebody the Snow Day ideas last week and hoping for a day. Doing most of the things you illustrated on there….ironed while on the phone with my friend ( we chatted for over two hours and then – poof – the ironing was done !), made a pot of tea and read my piled up magazines, now…a nap, then a good book in a bubble bath. BLISS. Thanks for all the ideas and the great posts. Enjoy your day !

  16. Mary Feguson says:

    Love your site – would rather have your blog than email. Loved your post this morning = beautiful.
    Mary

    • sbranch says:

      That’s so nice to hear! I’ve been slow on the blog lately, trying to hard to finish the book, but I’ll be better once this project is done and off to the printer!

  17. Sue Rideout from Maine says:

    Oh Susan, wasn’t Dowton Abbey so sad last night. I cried and cried. But I did want to tell you and the girlfriends that I found a Dowton Abbey cookbook and it is wonderful! Snow is on the way up here. Have a great week!

  18. Jenny says:

    The silence of snow – isn’t it grand. I live in Montana but most of my family lives in Texas. They always brag about their warm winters but I wouldn’t give up a cold/snowy winter for a million bucks! The coziness, the quiet, the homeyness. I love it so much (although by March I am kinda grumpy about the slush and trying to will my daffodils to bloom).
    Stay warm Susan!

    x
    Jenny

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I have a problem with March too. Too many days that month. But it’s the torture of March that makes the first daffodils so wonderful! Gotta have it. That first breath of spring would never be as sweet without March!

  19. Sue says:

    Hi Sue,

    I, like you, am a SoCal girl. I grew up in Woodland Hills and am now working in Agoura Hills and live in Simi Valley – so I didn’t go quite as far as you! (I went to St Mel’s Catholic school on DeSoto and Ventura Blvd in the 60s & 70s!) When I look at your photos, I think how great it would be to have that cold, quiet world, but I’m not sure my old body could cope (with no training) with the shock! Love your posts – can’t wait for our book!!!

    XO,
    Sue from Simi

  20. Sara D NW Georgia says:

    That snow sure is pretty and that bathtub sure is calling my name! :)

    Girlfriends….. Downton Abbey was so sad :(

  21. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Hi Susan, I went to a lovely antique show Sunday afternoon and found another pie bird. I took it as a sign that I should use it so I made a chicken pot pie and it looks cute as a button poking its little head out of the pastry. Nice presentation on the table, too. Can’t wait for your English diary. I’m already planning an English tea with kindrid spirits to celebrate its publication. Stay warm. Give the kites a hug and hi to Joe, too.

    • Elaine in Toronto says:

      PS. That should be kitties, lol. Too cold for kites but certainly windy enough.

    • sbranch says:

      We are making a puff pastry pot pie right this minute! Must be the weather! PS, I have up to page 205 almost all laid out!

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        Oh, pot pie – YUM! I LOVE pot pie! One of THE best things about Winter. Even more delicious with puff pastry. What kind of pie? Chicken, turkey? :>)

        • sbranch says:

          Last time was beef and Guiness … last week, we tried chicken — we used puff pastry for both, but I would like a crisper crust. Both of the gravies were good.

          • Janet [in Rochester] says:

            Beef and Guinness?? That sounds really good but in a million years I never would have thought of that combination in a pot pie. Maybe this was a guy-inspired [conspired] recipe?

            PS – Sue, is there a story behind Lowely’s name? If we say “low-lee” are we pronouncing it correctly? Been wondering – because it’s cute – for the longest time but never remember to ask… Thanks! :>)

          • sbranch says:

            Irish stewish! Lowely is really Anna Lowell. But her mom’s name is Anna, so she was called Lowely. It’s very different!

          • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

            Are you sharing the recipe(s) with us? For a crisper crust, did you try an egg wash before baking it? Sounds so good–using puff pastry for the crust–and a person could make one larger pot pie or several smaller ones in little crocks! :-=)

          • sbranch says:

            We did do an egg wash, and we cut vents, but I think it’s time for the pie bird, it needs BIG vents to stop from sogging up that crust.

      • Elaine in Toronto says:

        Over two hundred pages – how wonderful. I love “fat” books. Simply can’t wait so I ordered two of your books – “Love from the Heart of the Home” and “Celebrations” to tide me over. Was your pot pie good? Ours was, and there is enough for tonight, too.

  22. Maddie says:

    I was very surprised to see you mention Cranford! I thought no one but me watched it! I just watched it last weekend and it’s wonderful! “Let us eat our oranges in the solitude of our own rooms” or something to that effect. Such beautiful snow, such beautiful kitties, such a beautiful blog! Thank you :)

    • sbranch says:

      Oh you are going to be surprised, lots of people here love it too — you described one of my favorite scenes. Can you imagine feeling that way about an orange! What a treat it must have been!

  23. Georgie says:

    Ahhhhh! I’m settled in from the sleet and the rain sitting in front of the fireplace. Your quilts look oh so inviting :) The perfect thing to wrap yourself up in surrounded by memories and all comfy cozy. I just got caught up with DA… my oh my :( SAD.

    Page 205!!! Zoom Zoom Zoom! You are moving along!

    Have you designed the jacket cover yet? Do you save that for last? My oh My! How to capture A Fine Romance on the front of the journal! I am seeing your desk of creativity in progress… with your homemade Emma Bridgewater mug complete with the QM2 and the dates of your trip… some flag buntings and a partially completed journal page with sheep…

    It’s such FUN to dream. I KNOW it will be Lovely Susan.

    Keep going Susan… the journey is precious! The destination… our hearts!
    Georgie
    Yardville, NJ

    • sbranch says:

      I did design the cover, it was so easy that I think it must not be right. I used a photo. It’s a really good photo and I watercolored A Fine Romance over it. I like it a lot. It says England. It also says, come with me! But I’m “sleeping on it” for a while longer before I know I will go for it for sure. I LOVE the destination you mentioned. That’s what I’m aiming at.

      • Georgie says:

        Oh that sounds so wonderful Susan!

        You must be bursting at the seams! It must be just as exciting as it was just before you left for your trip… except now you don’t have to pack all the luggage! LOL!

        Plus… you’re bringing all of us along this time too ;-)

        XOXO
        Georgie
        Yardville, NJ

        • sbranch says:

          I really do feel happy, getting so close, and yet, still, every page is so much fun to do! Thank you Georgie, for all your support, don’t know what I’d do without my girlfriends. xoxo

  24. Mary says:

    I figured it out yea yea yea.
    Mary

  25. You make winter seem so romantic. As a Canadian who grew up on the prairies, I think I’ve had enough winter to last several lifetimes. Winter in Florida or the Caribbean or Hawaii is very attractive to me now. Even though I live at the temperate (rainy, cloudy, chilly) west coast now, I’m still longing for sunshine and heat.

    But you’re right, of course. Winter weather urges one to stay indoors, twitch up the thermostat and work on something creative. Speaking of which, I think it’s time to get back to writing my novel. I need to see what’s going to happen next.

    • sbranch says:

      That’s just how I feel every day! What are we going to do next! So fun! I understand, my dearest darling friend Diana could never live here — most of the time even California is too cold for her.

  26. Bobbie Ann Picard says:

    Such a beautiful blog!!! Thank you, more than you know!!!! Your blog even makes winter nice and a so-so day into something special!!

  27. Sharon Haschalk says:

    The snow pictures are beautiful Susan, everything looks so calm and peaceful. I saw “Return to Cranford” was going to be on PBS and I remembered you talked about it before and how much you liked it. I tried to record it but something went wrong and I didn’t get it. It’s probably just as well, because if there’s an original “Cranford” I should watch that first? I don’t know about the orange scene since I haven’t seen the show yet, but when I was little, maybe about 7 or 8 back in the 50′s, it was around Christmas time in Maine and times were hard for Mama and Daddy, but somehow he managed to afford to bring home 2 tangerines for us, something we had never had before. Daddy divided the tangerines into the little sections and gave each of us 8 kids a few of them. To a little girl in the cold winter, who had never experienced anything like these before, those tangerines tasted like heaven! I remember eating them very, very slowly so I could savor every bite. To this day, whenever I close my eyes and smell a tangerine it takes me right back to that moment and remembering my Daddy and the wonderful tangerines. Thanks for your beautiful blog Susan, it always brightens my day! xxoo from Sharon

    • sbranch says:

      Isn’t that a great memory! We love them too, take them in the car with us when we go on our walk, tear the skin off, pull them apart, spray goes everywhere, and then there’s that wonderful smell! Thank you Sharon!

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        I have a “dumb” question: When you talk about tangerines, are you talking about what they call “Cuties” in recent years? They are like what I remember a tangerine was, only quite a bit smaller? :-)

    • Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

      Hi, Sharon ~
      Your comment about the tangerines jumped out at me this morning because just last night I was reading a passage from Sarah Ban Breathnach’s “Romancing the Ordinary” and she made reference to a meditation entitled “Tangerine Dream”. It was written by an English philosopher, Roger Housden. It’s about 3 paragraphs long…a little too long for me to write out here….but he takes the simple tangerine and elevates it to something so sensuous and sacred… just beautiful!
      It’s in his book “Soul and Sensuality: Returning the Erotic to the Everyday Life”
      Have you read it, Susan? It seems you have the same gift of recognizing the beauty in the ordinary..
      xoxoDebbie

  28. Joy says:

    Oh, I love a nice snow day when I can stay inside, warm and cozy, and watch the snow falling. A nice slowdown from my usual hectic life – no deadlines, no driving, just a cozy day at home. Renewal for the soul!

  29. Silvia Niomi says:

    Hi Susan,

    I noticed that the comment I sent to you yesterday got stuck in moderation land :0 I guess sometimes even computers have days full of glitches. Should I resend the comment to you? I don’t think I can delete it from my end.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m sure it’s me. I’ve been so involved in writing the book, I have been neglecting the blog . . . right now I’m going through to do approvals on comments, so look for your previous comment in a little while. So sorry!

      • Silvia Niomi says:

        no problem what’s so ever. After a while I figured out that the message was stuck probably because of the book. I am just thrilled to be a part of your blogging community and can’t wait until your book is published. xoxxo

  30. Karen Saunders says:

    For some reason I can’t get enough ‘English’….I’m watching everything I can English. If I didn’t have family here I would be living in England. I love their houses and villages and London, I love the way they talk. I’ve been watching ‘As time goes by’, bought the series. Love Judi Dench. I don’t know what’s wrong with me….the inside of my house is what I like to call ‘English Country’. I’m hopeless!!!! Your book will feel right at home!!!

    • Karen Saunders says:

      ps….ordered ‘Cranford’….

      • Deborah Norling says:

        Hullo Karen, I’ve loved “As Time Goes By ” for many years ..it’s my comfort show…I love the story..the set..the actors.. in fact, I’m still hoping for my own..”Lionel” (..since everyones’ favorite “Joe” is already taken of course !)…..I loved Cranford…but of course I love anything with Dame Judi Dench !!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s a good way to be!

    • Judy Young says:

      Love Judi Dench! Love her voice and her quirky way of acting with a sense of humor. The whole show is marvelous! I would even like my hair to be like hers when I get older!

    • Holly says:

      Hi Karen, I am the same way about anything British. Do a search on YouTube for “historical period drama” or “BBC”, and you will find a treasure trove of British stories. Most of the films are older, titles I’ve never heard of before, but I’ve loved them. Most are dramatized literary adaptations. Once you find a “channel” that has these films, click on “view channel”, once there, click on “playlists”. Then you can see which films they have. Once you find a good one, click on “play all”, and the 10 minutes clips will play automatically, one after another. I’ve been ill lately, and these have kept me from going nuts!

  31. Diane W says:

    I AM part English, so the love of England comes natural. Have enjoyed reading about the UK forever, then was able to visit from 2000-2006, many friendships have I there, and we still communicate to this day. Always look forward to your articles, photos, clipart Susan, you make my day sparkle! And, the Valentine Bookmark was a nice surprise, I’ve printed it for my Mother who is 90 an artist in her own right, will rejoice at this nice enclosure in her Valentine card this year. I think of snow as an icing on the earth, a renewal of the Spring to come. Thanks so much for keeping us delighted, look forward to more.
    PS: have you 2013 calendar hanging on my home office wall ~ <3

  32. Sandy Richmond in Attleboro, MA says:

    Susan, Thanks for mentioning Downton Abbey is On Demand. I had not watched it, but am now working my way thru season one and I am hooked!

  33. Sharrieboberry says:

    I love “Cranford”. Mrs. Forrester has the funniest scenes with the disappearance of her lovely handmade lace and then later when her beloved cow is “naked” and she comes up with a very unique solution to make her cow presentable.

    Lovely characters, lovely story. I know how everyone is so sad about circumstances occuring in Downton Abbey, but I cried so much more when watching Cranford. I loved those sweet characters more.

    Don’t get me wrong! I love Downton and have watched it several times. And have shed many tears. I can’t wait to see what’s next for the upstairs/downstairs crew!

  34. Terri says:

    Beautiful photos. It looks like you live in a snowglobe! (Or a marshmallow world ; ) I love the quilts! Are they family-made or found treasures? And I laughed when I saw the photo of Joe under all the laundry. Smart move on his part – when laying down on the job gets you showered with warmth – it’d be the best place to be in that winter weather you’re having. back there.
    Thanks for the cute bookmark!

    • sbranch says:

      Most are found, I do have one that was made by my Great Grandmother, it’s that one that got me started with them. So in love with quilts, quilting, and quilters! :-)

  35. Gloria Dotzler says:

    Hi Susan, last week I was so envious of your beautiful snowfall and today I awoke to see flakes falling. Even though it very cold and windy I love it all. Public television here in Minnesota is good at playing lots of British programs, of course the best being Downton Abbey. Have you or any of the girlfriends ever watched EastEnders? It is not romantic England but I do still enjoy it. Karen mentioned Judi Dench and As Time Goes By, is also a favorite. Today I am making vegetable beef soup with barley, very hearty and lots of good vitamins to ward off all those germs lurking about to make us sick. Tell Joe warm towels from the dryer are the best to snuggle in.
    Sounds like work is going well on the book, we all are trying to be so patient.

  36. Laurie Walt in Illinois says:

    Hi Susan and girlfriends! Its a snowy day here, so I’m baking bread, stitching, and studying for my new EKG class that starts on Friday. What can I say I’m a multi-tae sker! I also just requested to adopt a Great Dane! We lost our former Dane Sadie last March. We needed healing time, and the time has come to welcome another sweetheart into our lives. Her name is Hope, and I hope she likes us! Our son got good news at Mayo last week and we are trying to re-group and move forward. We thought he was going to be put on the transplant list, but thankfully he has some time yet! We are grateful. Onward we go girlfriends!

  37. Hello Everyone, we were awakened at 1:30am by screeching sirens and Jim got up and I just stayed in bed until I heard if he was anxious or not!!! Not!!! Sirens in a community are new to me and for almost 2 years they go off and I can’t tell if a tornado is close by or if it is just telling us a storm is in the area?? Anyway, the temp. at 1:30am was 65 here and that broke a record and the winds were so strong that damage was done in several counties and we were without electricity for 3 hours (I slept through that). I am worried about my Spring flowers that are now up 5″ and we haven’t had mild temperatures that much this Winter? Tonight we are expected to get some snow and 20 degrees so go figure. So sorry for all across this Country that suffered damage from the storms and wish them blessings. We just need for it to be Winter and stop thinking it is “cool” to be able to wear shorts in January!!! Just sayin……

    • sbranch says:

      How are you Deborah? Very scary!

      • We are fine Susan now today our temps. are in the teens and we have had snow flurries all day. On an Interstate here (I70) there were 60 semis/cars that piled up because of a snow squall and it looks horrible. Blessings to everyone involved in that mess we are having such an odd Winter one day tornadoes the next snow squalls?? Yikes

    • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

      Deborah–is this complaining I’m hearing? Didn’t we say we would “never complain next winter” when we were cooking in the heat and humidity last summer? LOL! :-) Seriously, the weather IS being pretty weird all over the country!

      • Pat, our pact about not complaining is over with when I told you a few comments back that with your temps. in the minus you have a right to complain…..so, go ahead dear you know good and well when we are “cooking” in July we will never remember “minus” anything and will be hunting for a cool glass of lemonade and complaining about the weather!!!!!

  38. Mary E Osborne says:

    Lovely post. What could be better? A snowy day, comforting fire, cats, good food, BFF and husband…. um….. maybe that’s not EXACTLY the correct priority list, but U get the picture! ;-) Your blog is a joy! luv.m.

  39. wendy says:

    Thank you for the adorable bookmark! I have to say the thought of you grabbing a camera as Lowely struggles with her coat proves you are my kind of gal. Priceless! Snow, hubby in warm clothes, kitties, do make the world go round. I miss England. It’s been YEARS since I have traveled there and did relish your trip blogs. I love to watch British mysteries set in the countryside and of course Downton Abbey has won me over though I have cried each week it has aired this season. Your book will be a blessing not only to share your experiences but to appreciate your travels through your magnificent art and descriptions. By the way, I keep getting gentle nudges to make pancakes, so many carbs!!, a hearty stack in front of the fire, feet up and a cup’a next to me would be grand. Thank you!

  40. Rose says:

    What will happen to Jack when you go to California?

    • sbranch says:

      The same thing that happened when we went to England. We will have a kitty sitter come stay — it’s so HARD to think about leaving him and Girl; we’re not going soon, so I don’t really have to think about it yet!

  41. Carin says:

    Dear Susan,
    The picture of the creamy roses is my favorite!
    What a wonderful blog today, full of flowers and life.
    Thanks so much!
    Carin

  42. Susie (NY) says:

    Susan, You always make me rethink Winter in a positive reflection with your oh so cozy posts. I really enjoyed ‘Cranford’. It is perfect for a snuggly day indoors.
    Off to read others’ comments. Enjoy the day.
    Susie

  43. joan de jong says:

    snowdrops – my favorite, but they just don’t seem to grow here in southern California!
    Joan

  44. Laurie Ann Mitchell says:

    Susan, many thanks for the download for the Valentine Bookmark. I printed one for myself and my best friend, Joan. Mine is already in the book I am reading. I love it. Laurie from across the pond on Cape Cod.

  45. Susan Ericksen of Bainbridge Island, Washington says:

    Hi susan,
    I was rereading some of the posts above and the mention of oranges always make me think (not only the one in the toe of my Christmas sock) but the movie “Little Women” (Wynona Ryder) when she is in New York and Fredrick give her the orange…But it is when she is sitting at her desk, eating it….It is so beautiful….I so love that movie..I have to watch it every Autumn..it is the beginning of my hibernation period!… I have to add a little story of my own: Whenever I think of snow, I think of my Daddy. When I was just a little tot, my room was upstairs…One night, during the middle of the night, my Daddy woke me up and carried me downstairs and sat me on the counter with my feet in the sink, in my flannel nighty…He said look out the window….It was pitch black, but the street light was shining and it was snowing and the ground was all white with snow..He stood behind me and we watched the snow falling, ever so long. then he carried me back upstairs and tucked me in and told me that in the morning there would be even more snow….and that meant SLEDDING!!! Even yet, today, when the first snowfall comes, I must go to the kitchen window and watch the street light and see all the snowflakes falling in our garden. Life on my island continues with my wonderful memories of so long ago. I still live in the same house.
    Now I have a question about the photo of the table that is all set with spring…The plates, are they Spode? They are beautiful….Please let me know the pattern…..lovely! Thanks again for the time you take to post your stories…I look forward to them, everyday you post a new one….♥

    • sbranch says:

      You probably already know, but just in case, the dishes are Vernon Kilns, Mayflower. What a wonderful story about your dad! xo

  46. Asha says:

    Hi Susan! It’s Asha again! I have been so inspired by your blog! I went out to Christmas Tree Shoppe today and bought the most adorable red heart Valentine lights and strung them around my pantry door. Adorable! My husband even commented that it looks like Valentine’s Day! He calls the pantry door, are you ready? The Tunnel of Love! Thank you for inspiring us to look for ways to be happy! It sure worked for me! Love you, Sister!

  47. Kristen says:

    This post made me feel so wonderful when I was having a crummy day! I get so excited when I see a SB blog update in my inbox :)

    ps here’s a page that made me laugh today – for those who have cats that like to sleep in funny positions and places (or is that all cats?)buzzfeed.com/paws/awkward-cat-sleeping-positions

  48. Susan ~
    Just this week I received my sister’s belated Christmas present … discovered on my front porch after sitting for 4 days. (I always come in through the garage.) It was also unfortunate that it rained on the first day and the rather large package was soaked. I vowed that I would just not tell her. However, when I removed the soggy box and wrapping paper, I could immediately see that the gift itself was encased in plastic. Yeah! Now I could cross lying to my sister off my to-do list. When I turned it over I was even more overjoyed to see that this was a package of Susan Branch monthly magnetic notepads plus other sticky notes and page markers. The truth is that in December I had seen this very set and put it in my cart … for me … until my internal monitor reminded me that it was tacky and unwise to buy a gift for myself when I still had much shopping to do. Moral of the story: I should obey that monitor more often. The only downside: I had to make notes for January like crazy, given the fact that at that point there were only two days left to use that pad.

    Given the fact that you are enjoying such wintry weather, I’ll just go ahead and wish you a Merry Christmas. Even here at my home in Southern Cal, I’m feeling the spirit of a very drawn out season. Even though I’m writing on my February pad …

    Thanks as always for your inspiration ~ Mary

  49. Mary S. says:

    LOVE the snow and cozy home pictures!! Especially Joe covered with nice, warm dryer laundry!!
    We just got home from moving our son from Arizona to Loveland, CO. So now when we visit him in the winter, we can enjoy some snow, too!!!
    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

  50. kathy bunge says:

    Susan, am so thrilled to read about your new book & I have ordered two! One for me & one for our daughter – we all love England! Whenever anyone thinks I am crazy for not wanting to fly anymore, I tell them about you & feel so much better! You are my hero! When I retire & have lots of time, we will take the train from Ca. to NY, get on the QE II & set sail for beautiful England. Your darling book will be our inspiration. You are a treasure! Would love to be entered in your drawing for the book!

    Love,

    Kathy

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