WELCOMING WILLARD ♥

Hi Everyone!  Between WILLARD (which starts going out this morning and finishes Wednesday night) and this post, I think I’m going to wear you out!  But in the Willard I promised you a recipe, I promised “make-up gifts.” (Too long since last Willard, should call them welcome-back gifts).  But first, we need MUSICA . . . and I need to show you what my dad, better known as “Blog Daddy” and his darling wife Jeannie sent us for Easter.

a picture

easter

Is that cute or what?  I get the bunny with the bow and I’m seven again.  It’s got green peeps, it’s filled with those dad and melittle chocolate eggs with the thin crispy crust and my favorite dark chocolate-covered coconut bars.  Thanks Dad, thanks Jeannie! There’s me and Blog Daddy  . . . Such a cute surprise! (We were so young!)   

I hope Easter weekend was as beautiful where you are as it was here!  We’ve been getting amazing doses (as in medicine) of spring, drinking it in, making it almost impossible to stay inside, stay home, stay down.  We want OUT! We pop this music into the player and off we go… 

pink-flowers

The island

The island is coming alive and it’s fun to drive around and look at it.  You can see we are still waiting for leaves on the trees, but the air is filled with the sweet smell of thawing earth, the light is new, and the sailboats are coming back.  It’s perfect timing . . . Happy Earth Day!  It’s today!  Pretty smart of the powers-that-be to tuck Earth Day into this beautiful time of year!  For extra enjoyment, for frosting on the spring cake . . . Check out the Washington DC Cherry Trees in bloom!  They will put a song in your heart.

earth day

And now, here’s the recipe for the cake I wrote about in Willard, an old-fashioned lemon-filled sponge cake, soft as a baby’s hiney, perfect for spring birthdays, and gorgeous as a Mother’s Day Tea Cake.

sweetness!

Mother's Day Tea Cake

And since I made this cake for Easter, I thought I’d show you just how easy it is to put together.  Making this roll is much easier than you might think if you haven’t done it before.

set the temperature

So set your oven for 375° and here we go . . .

butter the pan

Butter a 10″ x 15″ cookie sheet that has a rim (jelly roll pan), then lay down a piece of waxed paper (allowing it to go over edge), smooth it into the corners and into the butter, and then butter the paper too.

flowers

separate the eggs

Put the yolks of three eggs in one bowl and the whites in another.
add sugar

Beat egg yolks a little bit then add a cup of sugar and . . .

thick and lemon colored

Beat them until they’re thick and lemon colored . . .

sift

Sift a cup of flour together with salt and baking powder . . . (don’t worry I’ll give measurements at the end)…

add flour mixture

And stir it in to your batter along with six tablespoons of hot water . . .

beat the egg whites

Beat the egg whites until stiff and glossy.

Happy spring

While you’re doing that take a peek outside . . . oh, my, what a DAY!

look out the window

And LOOK!!!  I begin calling for Joe . . . we have robins by the herds, we have gaggles of cardinals, whole families ~ (not that I will ever take them for granted), but see that bird on the right?  We never see that bird.  ever.  Got out the bird book where we find out it usually likes woods and thickets.  This is our driveway . . . he is a “rose-breasted grosbeak.”

bird

spring birdies in the driveway

We ooh and aaah over him for a few minutes . . . He must have spring fever, coming over for some dessert seeds.

fold in whitesOK, that was nice, but back to “work” ~ folding in the egg whites . . .

add zestAnd then the zest of one lemon . . . Now spread the batter evenly on your well-buttered cookie sheet and put into oven for 12 to 15 minutes.

sugar a dishtowel

While it’s baking, lay out a clean dishtowel and sift over a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

pull cake out of pan

When the cake is done, and wafting fresh cake fragrance to the neighborhood, bring it out of the oven and use the edges of the waxed paper to turn it out onto your powdered-sugar covered cloth . . .

remove waxed paper

Voila!  While still hot, carefully peel off the paper.  Then take a pair of sharp scissors and cut off the crispy edges of the cake all the way around . . .

cut off crisp edges

You can eat those crispy edges immediately, but from experience, if you eat them all now, you’ll have nothing to dip in the lemon filling you’re about to make. Just sayin’ . . .

rolling up the cakeNow, using the dishtowel begin to roll up the cake.  It’s fairly malleable while it’s hot so you can make a nice roll, just pull out the towel as you go . . .

roll it up

Once it’s all rolled, just leave it there and let it cool while you make the filling.  Essentially it’s in training now to be a roll.

make lemon filling

LEMON FILLING:  In the top part of a double boiler, put two whole eggs, a cup of sugar, the grated rind of two lemons . . .

juice of two lemons

The fresh juice of two lemons and two tablespoons of melted butter.

fresh lemon juice

Pour the juice into the double boiler through a fine sieve if your lemons are like mine and filled with seeds.  Stir over simmering water for fifteen minutes until the filling is thick. Cool slightly. (Más MUSICA Girlfriends?)

unroll

Then it’s time to unroll your cake; carefully peel it open until it’s flat ~ it goes very easily . . .

spread filling

Pour over the lemon filling and spread it almost to the edges, but leave it thick in the middle. (Don’t forget to save a little bit of filling to dip your cake clippings in if you have any left.)

too much of a good thing

roll it back up

Roll the cake back up, not TOO tightly, because you want the lemon filling to stay inside.  I roll and lift the cake a bit as I go so as to keep the lemon from squeezing out the sides. Move the cake to an oval serving plate.

forsythia

Sift over a little more powdered sugar ~ the cake is beautiful, but I decide it needs a little Easter decoration . . . so I run outside to pick some of my pretty yellow (non-toxic) forsythia flowers . . . any excuse to go outside is a good thing.

pink flowers

grab some flowersAnd voila!  Like little butterflies.  Your cake would be just as pretty with wild violets, pansies, johnny jump-ups, or roses . . 

sweetness

peek outsideNow, soak the dishes, while you’re at it, notice the guy in the garden . . . that really good guy in the garden?  Doing the aphrodisiac-thing women love?

isn't it romantic

garden in the springMulching and getting everything ready . . .

daffodilsGo ask him if he would like a piece of Lemon Cake . . . Tell him you will bring it and he can eat it in the garden.

yum

for JoeHe deserves this . . . tender soft sugary cake with the most lemony of lemon fillings . . .

hang up birdhouseAnd while you’re out there, find reasons to stay . . . Hang up your bird houses . . . because you LOVE the serenade of birds in love . . .

spring!

bunny crossingGo take a picture of your old bunny crossing sign … take note of good mulchy dirt . . .

on the walk

Give up looking for more to do and go on a walk!  Such an amazingly gorgeous weekend.

earth

seashells

Remember these Jingle Shells I found on the beach . . .?

yellow shells

. . . and then arranged on my window sill?

home

shells

Well, one of our Girlfriends mentioned how much she would like to have some of these genuine Martha’s Vineyard jingle shells . . . so yesterday, out on our walk, I collected these . . .

boxed up

And I put them in this Emma Bridgewater tin as a surprise . . . because I thought they might be a fun giveaway for spring, to celebrate the change of season, a box from the sea.

Jack

Jack agreed.  I tied the box up in a little bag.  Then I thought maybe not everyone wants shells, but I bet everyone would love an original 1900 copy of the wonderful “Elizabeth and Her German Garden,” the first book written by one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth von Arnim (she also wrote “Enchanted April” which you would love if you haven’t already read it).  So I added that . . . Look at the beautiful raggedy edges on the pages of this old book . . . (Of course, If I’m doing anything different at all, Jack is immediately involved.  He has an inquiring mind that wants to KNOW.)

shells and Elizabeth

So I put them together and thought, that looks nice, but something is missing . . .

a gift

A Fine Romance!  Yes, must have that in the package. I hope you like it! I’ll sign my book and the Elizabeth book to whomever wins the drawing . . . All you have to do to be entered is leave a comment; right here at the bottom of this post you’ll see the tiny letters “comment” ~ click there and say anything sweet and you’ll be entered.

another giftBut is that enough when it’s been almost a year since your last Willard?  Don’t you owe the Girlfriends something else?  Maybe not “owe” but “wish to give?”  Oui!  I think so!  So Vanna will choose TWO names this time, and the second name drawn will get these two Keepsake books (guided “life story” journals with lined paper, places for photos, sewn-in ribbon bookmarks ~ and lots of fun questions to be answered in their own handwriting by mom’s, grandma’s, aunts, sisters), more Mother’s Day festivities! xoxo  We are starting early because we know that the best way to remember Mother’s Day is to forget it once, but we never want that to happen!

Mother's Day Cake

Here’s the recipe Girlfriends!

CAKE:

  • 3 eggs, separated in two lg. bowls
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. hot water
  • 1 c. sifted unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • grated rind of one lemon (zest)
  • sifted powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375°.  Butter a 10″ x 15″ cookie sheet or jelly roll pan, one with a rim.  Line it with waxed paper leaving some to hang over edges (an inch is fine). Set pan aside.  Separate eggs into two large bowls.  Beat egg yolks, add sugar and beat until thick and lemon-colored.  Stir in hot water and dry ingredients.  Beat egg whites with electric beater until stiff; gently fold into egg batter.  Fold in grated rind.  Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly.  Bake 12-15 min.

Immediately turn finished cake onto clean dishtowel lightly covered with sifted powdered get-attachment.aspxsugar. Carefully peel off waxed paper.  With sharp scissors, cut off the crisp edges of the cake.  Using the cloth, roll up cake pulling out cloth as you go.  Leave it covered and rolled, set it aside to cool while you make the filling.

FILLING

  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • zest and juice of 2 lemons (strained if necessary, no seeds please)

Put all ingredients into top part of double boiler.  Beat well and stir til thick, approx. 15-20 min.  Cool slightly.

FINISH

Unroll the cake, spread on the filling, and roll back up.  Cool completely.  Transfer to serving dish.  Sift over a tiny bit more powdered sugar.  Add flowers if you like, edible and unsprayed, violets, pansies, roses, johnny jump ups. Here’s a list of edible flowers.

Now something everyone needs the week after Easter, a delicious recipe for:

stuffed eggs

These make the most delicious just-home-from-work treat, on the porch while you watch the green things growing. Which is what I hope you’re all doing these days, just as crazy with spring fever as we are. ♥  Deep breaths of the gorgeous outdoors, that’s the only “cure.”

birdie

Happy Spring, Girlfriends . . . I’m off to work on my book, my new addiction, a few hours every morning, trying to figure out what our heroine is going to do next (she seems to have a mind blessingsof her own) . . . housekeeping, gardening, normal life in the afternoon.  Don’t forget to leave a comment for the seashells and books.  Also, if you have any trouble with WILLARD, be sure to let me know.  He goes to lots of addresses now, it takes a couple of days for them all to go out, but if you haven’t received him by Thursday morning, check your spam box (because I’ve heard he can take a detour) and then let me know . . . you can write either here, or on Twitter, or on FOSB (Facebook), and we will be paying attention!

with-loveXOXO 

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2,815 Responses to WELCOMING WILLARD ♥

  1. Carole Mingus says:

    Wow, what a wonderful surprise. I got up in the morning, went to the computer in a fog, and there it was… MY Willard! Thanks so much. I didn’t forget you at all, since everyday is marked on your calendar. Keep writing and painting. As an artist, I’m not sure which I enjoy the most… I guess BOTH.

  2. Karen H. says:

    I have pots of jingle shells, other shells, sea glass everywhere, collected on old cape cod over many decades, I hope someone who doesn’t live near the ocean wins this priceless package ! A gift that will keep on giving ! Susan thank you for all the priceless gifts you continue to give us ! Happy Spring/Summer

  3. Patricia Stanley says:

    Susan,

    Your blog is an absolute joy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Jeanne says:

    Despite today’s dreary, rainy Rochester weather, I am hopeful that Spring really will come after reading your blog. The lemon-filled jelly roll would brighten a room all by itself.

  5. Your blog is so magical…nature is definitely soothing for your soul. Last Spring, we took photos of Cedar Waxwings high in the trees here. They looked like butterflies flitting all-around. Your blog and photos are so beautiful and fun to read. Your idea of the gift from the sea is wonderful too… You are so inspiring…Thank you for being you. Have a blessed day.

  6. Terri Goodman says:

    Mrs Susan, you are so awe inspiring. I made the bunny cake for Easter and it was a treat for all to make and eat.

  7. Thank you so much Susan for all your lovely writing and your blog! I remember when I discovered your first cookbook at the library many years ago and knew I had to have it in my kitchen! It was the first cookbook I bought and now I have every one of them! Your handwriting and watercolors always inspire me and bring me such joy! I just finished reading “A Fine Romance” and would love to take a second trip to England to see the Lake District. Thanks for the new Willard and I would love to win your lovely giveaway!
    Many blessings to you and Joe,
    Joyce

  8. Rosemary says:

    The lemon roll looks delish! Must try it :) I’d love to be entered In your drawing!

  9. Anne Hegg says:

    I look forward to your blog! I would love to be the lucky recipient of your shells and books:)

  10. Jody Rhode says:

    Happy Spring Susan,

    Its wonderful to see your “Spring”.
    Ours here in the middle of Michigan is
    trying to burst out~ Lots of rain is bringing
    us “green”…..after all the snow it is beautiful.
    I enjoy your blog so much. Live Happy,
    jody (*J*)

  11. Linda Sanderson says:

    Happy Spring, dear Susan! It’s always so wonderful to hear about the flowers, recipes, Girl and Jack, and all you write about. Thank you for being you and for being such an uplifting person!

  12. Thank you, Susan, for another delightful Willard! You are such an inspiration! As so many of us do, I feel like you are a kindred spirit and a special friend. I am blessed to have found you, your wonderful books and your lively, fun Willards! Take care and keep reminding us to enjoy this earth. with love, Mary

  13. Susan in SC says:

    The Lemon Daisy Cake was a huge success, so on to the Mothers Day Cake. Looks yummy.
    Thanks for the recipes… complete with photos of the process.

  14. Lynda Anscombe says:

    I wish that I lived next door to you…..I always get such comfort from reading your blog and also Willard. I loved A Fine Romance….I lived in England for 32 years before returning to Canada and all the places that you went to I remembered them with fond memories. I just love the Bridgewater pottery and have a few pieces myself. Can’t wait for your new book to come out. Warmest wishes to you and yours. Thank you. x

  15. Carolyn Nunn says:

    I was so excited to get the new Willard!! When I “heard” it was coming I was counting the days. I recognized so many kitchen tools you use to make your amazing recipes. I have old tools also. Collected from family members. I have been to Martha’s Vineyard but didn’t see any of the shells you collected. Would love to have them as a souvenir. I have a collection of old books too. Have enjoyed reading them. Need to go back and read some of them again. Can’t wait to make the fuffy and tender lemon cake!! Happy Spring Susan~~~

  16. Sandra says:

    I could use some cheering up after losing my younger and only brother last week. I enjoy and look forward to looking at your blog and books. I would love to receive your gifts as the art work and choice of collectables are so beautiful and interesting. Thank you for sharing on your blog with us all.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Sandra, that’s so hard; I’m sorry. Not sure cheering up can be done, but wonderful memories and loss. xoxo Sending love.

  17. Colleen Page says:

    I took a break from work this afternoon and took a quick walk. Spring is beginning to show here in this little town in Vermont…daffodils and crocuses, kids riding bikes…while at my home 25 miles away we had snow flurries this past Sunday :) but reading your blog reminds me to slow down and appreciate each moment and know that warmer weather, gardens and front porch sitting is on its way. Thank you…

  18. Judy Ruan says:

    Love your blog

  19. Pamela Hayes says:

    This is always my favorite time when I receive your Willard News! I’ve loved every cookbook, book’s and every other goodie you so design for us, since I owned a gift shop back in the 90′s and carried everything I could of your products. I love you stories, your art work and you’re still on the top of my list for gift giving. Thank you so much for your “God given gifts”, you share with us continually. Many blessings to you, Pam

  20. Glenda says:

    Darling Susan,

    Just dragging around today after a very stressful road trip. I reread Willard (I have gotten it almost since Day 1) and your blog. Both always cheer me up so! Now I am inspired to go get some spring flowers and if I can talk myself into trying…maybe make one of your yummy looking lemon cakes…although it looks complicated to me,especially the “rolling” part. Thank you for sharing and Happy Spring! :)

    • sbranch says:

      It’s surprising how well this sponge cake holds together for rolling ~ I don’t think you’ll have a bit of a problem.

  21. Barbara Reynolds says:

    Susan, I have loved you & your work for many years–I thankyou from the heart for all your wonderful work & all the wonderful inspiration you have given to me personally. Long life & many blessings to you, SB, & the heart of the home!–Love you, Barb R.

  22. Helena says:

    Your books are wonderful! Thank you so much.

  23. Laura says:

    Thank you for sharing your creativity! Enjoying your work is a form of self-nuture I look forward to!

  24. Gale Puffenberger says:

    Elizabeth & Her German Garden is such a lovely book; Elizabeth is charming and the descriptions of her garden are so vivid. Another kindred spirit with the gift of loving life. Happy Spring, Susan!

  25. Jaime says:

    Got my Willard and I loved it! Thank you for all your hard work. If I win (I hope, I hope, I hope), I am going to give these to my wonderful mother for her birthday in May. Her name is Mary and she taught me all about the joys of domesticity!

  26. Linda Hurst says:

    In Kansas City we are having a spring slipping back into winter week! The furnace came on again to keep the house cozy! Thank goodness for the yummy lemon cake! It brought spring back! TY TY TY!

  27. Gayle Caldwell says:

    Happy Spring Susan Branch! I love your books and Willard!

  28. Kathleen Carini says:

    I discovered you when you were first published. I have fond memories of purchasing and sharing each new book with my mom. Although she is now gone, it always makes me smile to read whatever you write.

  29. Carole B. says:

    Thank you for the Willard. I enjoy every one of them.

  30. patricia5 says:

    Susan,
    Thank you for being my wonderful friend throughout the years. I have loved all your cookbooks and adore the artwork. I cannot throw away any of your calendars because they are just treasures and I love to compare them. When Willard arrives, I have to wait a few days because just knowing that he is in my mailbox is so exciting and then the quiet moment arrives with a cup of coffee and I just slowly ingest all the words, beautiful pictures and stories. All your work is special and how wonderful of you to share. I have introduced you to so many friends, so stop by any time for a visit.

  31. Laura Benthien says:

    Your pictures of the island really make me want to visit! The little yellow shells look so delicate. I have old blue Ball jars filled with my visits to different islands and beaches. Each place We have been to has its own jar. They are sweet reminders of what a blessed life and wonderous world we live in.

  32. Linda Wattier says:

    HappySpring Had a spring snowstorm today in the Black Hills of SD. We are still thankful for all we have and know that spring will be back. Thanks for all the inspiration and the cake looks wonderful!

  33. Janet C says:

    Thank you for all the joy and sweetness you share! You are such a treasure and have the best feel-good blog ever! Happy Spring!

  34. Sharma Johnson says:

    Oh, Susan! Thank you for bringing springtime into our hearts and homes. The cake looks delicious – yum, I can taste the lemon (love lemon). It’s always a treat to read your blog. ☺

  35. Connie Haltermann says:

    I didn’t receive my Willard. The Willard before that wasn’t received either, but you made it available somehow by posting something. I have EVERY Willard since the beginning, so I’m anxious to know how I can receive it. I posted a comment a couple of day ago about this, but for some reason it didn’t go through. Anything you can do will be appreciated. I don’t want to miss a single one! Thanks! Love ya!

    • sbranch says:

      Here you go Connie! WILLARD

      • Connie Haltermann says:

        Thank you so much!!! You did your magic again, and I got my Willard. I’m not sure why I don’t receive them automatically…your blog comes through just fine every time. Anyway, I’m going to pour a cup of coffee and enjoy my Willard now. Have a GREAT day! <3

        • Connie Haltermann says:

          I love the new Willard and especially liked the way you added some lyrics from Doris Day’s A Guy is a Guy. Took me back, that’s for sure! Also, I DID receive the Willard originally after all. It came in my e-mail BEFORE the announcement that it would be coming and I missed it entirely. It’s so good to know that I am indeed on the Willard list! Thank you so much again. One more thing: I CANNOT wait for your novel to be published!

        • sbranch says:

          You do have to sign up separately for WILLARD — did you know that? Maybe that’s the problem. It’s different from the blog. If you haven’t, scroll down the column on the right and see where it says WILLARD — click there and sign up for next time. xo

  36. Susan Millard says:

    I have collected and enjoyed your tender artwork for years! I even have all of your stickers, scrapbooks, calendars, needlework, cookbooks, datebooks in a very special corner of my craft room. You are my idol! Thank you so much for all of the little things that you do to make my day brighter and happier!

  37. Pam Erselius says:

    Reading Willard wraps me in the warm fuzzies I would get as a child taking the train to Gramma’s house, sleeping under her mother’s quilts, wearing Grampa’s starched shirts, and finally bringing home an Easter basket! Thank you for your many kindnesses.

  38. Denise says:

    Thank you for the lemon cake recipe! The step by step pictures are really fun to see and helpful! I think, too, baking always goes better with bird watching! Also thanks again for your great blog…

  39. Jeanine Walker says:

    So nice to be with you again. “Willard” again brings us together. Thank you for taking the time to gather us once more. It is as if you have invited us all over for tea!

    It is a special gift to hear from you at any time, but seems most appropriate at SPRING! (Even the word is fun to say)

    Here at our home we have been in college search mode and it has been hectic, it is great to have this “treat” of Willard waiting in the “IN” box of the mail. A great reason to stop and pause.

    Though I have been a friend and follower for years, it was a special treat to find your Utube interview from 1986, how great to have it in the archives.
    May your enjoyment (and sharing) of the many blessings of life, continue to be your inspiration. You encourage us all.

    Greetings from just one of you “friends” and followers on the West coast,
    Jeanine Walker

  40. Holly Dier says:

    I love reading your blog, looking at all the pictures and recipes. I can’t wait for it and it makes my day brighter. Thank you for all the years of enjoyment. ~Holly~

  41. Gail says:

    I have read and followed your fresh perspective for years. This morning as I sat with my coffee and snuggled with Maggie ( our westie ) we decided to say hello for the first time. Thank you for sharing your delightful charm and insight….

  42. Dawn says:

    Thank you so much for making a difference in my life. You are the epitome of “coziness”! I am all about being cozy in my environment, and creating coziness for others, especially when they enter my home. Everything that you do and create is so lovely; I always look forward to reading your blog and newsletters. I get many ideas from you, so I truly appreciate your willingness to share your art of “cozy”! A woman after my own heart! Thank you!

  43. Carol Neider says:

    Dear Susan,
    All of your beautiful books, from the very first “Heart of the Home” adornes my bookcase. After working and raising kids I fell in love with your sense of whimsy and realized that charm and fun could be brought to one’s home. Little rabbits, toads, squirrels greet me when I wake up and brew my morning coffee. Your book, A Fine Romance, turned me into a true tea drinker. My tea pot awaits me each evening and I am a confirmed coffee drinker! Can’t wait for your next book. You make life, which can be hard at times, much more fun! Happy Spring!

  44. Deanna Burke says:

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful “Willards”. I love taking a break and enjoying. I love your books, too. My collection is on a special shelf where I can grab one and relax and enjoy. They’re so sweet!

  45. Deanna Burke says:

    Thanks for the Willard. It’s so charming and a nice break to read it. I love your books and calendars. They are so fun to read. Your artwork, quotes, ideas, recipes, and seasonal suggestions are wonderful.

  46. Deanna Burke says:

    I love your Willard, books, calendars, artwork, and charming ideas!

  47. Jaclyn says:

    Here today it is rainy and gloomy, but you have brought me sunshine. Thank you for your fun and inspirational post, and thank you especially for the recipes. The lemon cake looks devine.

  48. Lynda says:

    Your messages are so inspiring! I try to do the walk on the beach, etc. but I’m so swamped with admin. of my husband’s trust (he passed away last spring) that just taking the time to relax and read your emails feels like I’m shirking my “duties.” But I did it this am and I’m going to get myself back out of this slump and have a brighter day because of you! Thank you Susan

  49. Vicki Burgin says:

    It is always refreshing to share in your love of good books and good food!!! Love anything “Susan Branch” :-)

  50. Mary E Osborne says:

    Count me in! luv.m.

  51. Judy Mapston says:

    Cannot wait until your next book is out.. So enjoy your books and things. Love Willard’s!!

  52. Brenda says:

    I live in the Midwest and am enjoying your signs of spring. We’re impatiently waiting…it should come soon….perhaps next week. Until then, I’ll enjoy yours! Thank you for your delightful blog. It’s always a treat!

  53. Amy Swanson Haan says:

    I so appreciate you taking pictures when you cook. I can read lots of recipes but it’s easier for me to understand if I actually see if done. Watching you do it makes me think that I can do the same thing!

  54. Maria Touet says:

    Absolutely love your blog and web site.
    So many happy things.
    Always brightens my day.
    You also have fun giveaways!!!
    Thank you, Susan

  55. Margaret Slater says:

    Happy Spring! I love reading the blog. It’s always a bright spot in my day.

    Margaret

  56. debra fry says:

    dear susan, I discovered you just this past fall when I ordered the book on your beauteous trip to England. I ate it up with my eyes and my heart. I felt that I took the trip with you and you already knew the places I would have picked to visit. thank you so much for sharing yourself with the rest of us. God has certainly blessed me by it ! happy spring ! God bless you and your sweetie and furry family. in Jesus, deb fry

  57. Debbie Cawley says:

    I love reading the Willards! I have some of the original once sent by snail mail!

  58. Ann from NY says:

    Hello Susan,
    Having a rather dreary day but enjoying it just the same. Starting with my Willard and then going through older blogs on this site, a cup of tea beside me and my kitty, Zoe, keeping me company! Now I think I must try your tea blends.
    Thanks for all your cheerful thoughts.

  59. Lori says:

    Hi Willard! I’ve missed you.
    We have the rose breasted grossbeaks here in summer… sure do miss them. We are still waiting for the last of the snow to melt here in Northern MN!! C’mon Spring!!
    Loved reading A Fine Romance… I bought it for my BFF for Christmas, and I read it before she got it! :-0, I know…
    Thank you for the chance to win all the wonderful goodies!

  60. GAyle says:

    I just had surgery and was feeling down. Your blog inspired me to smile and put out seeds and watch the little birds outside my window. Thanks so much for the much needed lift in my spirits.

  61. Ramona Horta-Riedeman says:

    p.s. I did receive “Willard” without delay! :) p.s.s. Stuffed eggs are delicious also with a little sprinkling of bacon on them…yummm…:) Ramona from sunny and warm Central Valley, Atwater, CA

  62. Thanks for a bit of sunshine on a chilly, rainy day in northwest Missouri.

  63. Joyce Maloney says:

    Love, love all that you do!!!! Look forward to your blog and enjoy it so much!!! Joyce from WA.

  64. Deb O'Neal says:

    You simply make me happy! I love everything you write, draw, talk about on your blog, and so much more :) Thank you for sharing your sweetness and talents with us. I miss you when you are BUSY, but look forward to the rewards your busyness brings us!! God has blessed your tremendously and I am so glad you use your gifts to better our lives too. XXOO

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve been so in to writing this new book that the last two days I’ve just had a terrible time stopping. Plus we receive over a hundred comments for the giveaway each day, so I thought I should wait for everyone to get signed up. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it! xoxo

  65. Pat Mach says:

    Just finished “A Fine Romance” Monday, the day my daughter and son-in-law flew home from two weeks in England. I was traveling along with them vicariously with your book. Just finished reading the last few pages to my husband. Love, Love, Love the book. So excited to go to England, hopefully next year for our 35th anniversary. The Queen Mary 2 leaves New York on our anniversary, 2015! How cool is that? Called Cunard a bit ago. Told my husband I should read the book monthly til then. Ha, ha! So happy to have found your blog from one Wm. Bradford descendent to another. Looking forward to my first Willard! Blessings and Happy May 1st tomorrow!

    • sbranch says:

      So happy you liked A Fine Romance Pat! Hope you get to go on that trip, that is very cool. I would call it a sign!

  66. Sherry Whitted says:

    Love all the pictures of Martha’s Vineyard and the beautiful sea.

  67. Connie says:

    Willard definitely had a LOT to say after a year of quiescence! Thank you for sharing so many uplifting sayings and remembrances, special recipes and pictures of SPRING! i had never even heard of “jingle shells”! WHAT FUN!

  68. Judy from So.Cal says:

    You brighten my day,,would love that little box of shells,,here in Ca. our beaches are empty of shells ,,Thank you for all your uplifting messages,,Judy

  69. Lynn Rosenberg says:

    Ahhhh Spring! It’s here in Northern Virginia in the many shades of pink and purple and creamy white blossoms. So thankful! For two days we’ve had RAIN RAIN RAIN here and your writing and photographs and artwork has brightened things right back up. :)

  70. Lorna Pyrih says:

    Thanks for the reassuring words that spring is coming! I cut out an article from the newspaper that said we (ie. your northern neighbours in Winnipeg, Mb.-we’re in the middle of Canada) that said we had the worst winter since 1898 or in 116 years!! It is on my fridge with a few words above that read ” We made it ” ! So to all who had a tough winter I hope we’ll all appreciate spring in a greater measure this year! Thanks for the lemon recipe which I hope to try although I’ve never made a sponge roll or a jelly roll as we call it up here. take care, Lorna

  71. Such a generous giveaway, Susan! Never been to Martha’s Vineyard but dreaming of visiting one day. Throwing my name in the hat just in case the stars align and fate shines down my way. :) Happy Springtime! XO

  72. Lorraine Sevich says:

    Susan Branch, you are a breath of fresh spring air! I feel like I was making that lemon cake right beside you :).

  73. Linda Campos says:

    My husband would LOVE that lemon cake! I think he’s going to have some in the near future :)
    Thank you for the recipe and the beautiful pictures. Happy Spring!

  74. Kari says:

    What a fun, fun, fun give away! Thank you for a wonderful Willard too! xo ~ Kari

  75. Jamie Breeden says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the years of Willard! :) Each time I read them I feel like I have escaped to a fun, enchanting place where I am surrounded with beauty and joy and lovely things to savor! I save them all so I can go back and re-read them again and again. Each time I feel my cup overflows with gladness and joy and I immediately want to reach out to a dear neighbor or friend and share something of beauty with them or bake them a special treat that they can enjoy with a cup of tea! You always share a wealth of information that inspires me to slow down, be still and let my soul catch up with me! It’s a rare gift and I am truly grateful for you Sweet Susan! Please never stop inspiring us to live beautiful lives that can touch others in profound ways! Sweet Holy Hugs! :)

  76. Jean says:

    What a beautiful spring you make AND BAKE in your lovely home! Thanks for inviting us girlfriends “over” as your hospitality is quite lovely! You keep ME motivated to do the same as of late in MY home with family and girlfriends who inspire me! Nothing like a pretty table set up to communicate to guests “you are special !” I set our Passover seder table with wedding china Minton “St. James.” This past weekend my hubby brought down Peter Rabbit books and ceramics from our sons’s nursery days to set along with vintage Corelle “Spring Blossom”aka “Crazy Daisy” pattern from the seventies for a very special bunny tea! Similarly, May is butterfly in theme and the table will be graced with my Grandmother Tess’s pattern of Corelle “Butterfly Gold”as this tea will move outdoors with warmer weather, I hope!! Unbreakable “china” gets used–no paper plates, plastic utensils, or cups for this eco-friendly hostess! Back in February I used Abalone (made in Japan) “Pink Flamingo” for Valentine’s Day! Thank you, Susan, for this ripple effect of inspirational tea time hospitality where I fuss and muss over loved ones! I’d love to win the shells from Martha’s Vineyard to grace this month’s table! How special that would be– and how winsome YOU are for opening up your heart to us in your blog!

  77. KATHLEEN MCCONVILLE says:

    JUST LOVE EVERYTHING YOU WRITE AND ILLUSTRATE…STARTED WITH YOUR COOKBOOKS AND CALENDARS….WHAT A PLETHORA OF IDEAS AND ARTISTRY. BELIEVE YOU HAVE A KINSHIP WITH ALL OF US FANS…THANKS FOR LIFTING OUR SPIRITS AND SENSE OF HOPE, AS WE ANTICIPATE THE UPCOMING SEASONS. KEEP ON KEEPING ON……..!!! LOVE YOUR SHARING SO MUCH OF YOURSELF!!!

  78. Colleen Ann says:

    Good morning Susan, I am sure you are up with your little lights on planning the day and looking out side, as I am. My tea kettle is on, and the pretty cup awaits it boiling water. Just a note to say that I appreciate so much every time I am able to come to your writing place and see something beautiful, or read something funny, or feel inspiration for my day. I’ve written you notes before, and I have six little sons. No girlfriends of my own, yet:) But I do have dreamers, and wishers, and thinkers, and loving little guys who might just love to know Mommy was secretly writing away, trying to remember her history. Yes, trying! Please know that you’re a special person in the lives of so many people who have never met you. I admire your zest and zeal! Take care, and may God bless you this day!

    With love,
    Colleen

    PS a friend recently found me your “Little Dinners” book. It is so dear. I love it for the simple recipes and especially the Julia Child quote! Peace!

    • sbranch says:

      Good morning Colleen. So nice to hear from you. I’m just approving these last comments (86 to go) and then I’ll start writing a new post for the blog and get Vanna to do what she does best. Six sons! Oh my. That will keep you busy. Have a wonderful day! xoxo

      • Colleen Ann says:

        Yes, the keep me busy and ensure my days are full of FOOD, DIRT and SPORTS!

        • sbranch says:

          Not sure if you know or not, but I’m the oldest of eight — first it’s me and then four brothers, so I have a fairly good idea of what you have going on over there! That’s why I say God bless you and keep you! :-)

  79. Marie Welch says:

    Your blog is such a breath of sunshine! A dear friend gave me Heart of the Home MANY years ago introducing me to your wonderful world, and I can’t wait for the next post!!!

  80. queenmum says:

    Thanks for such a lovely post. I would so love to win this delightful package of gifts!

  81. Linda T. From Maine says:

    Happy May Day Susan ! Dance around the May Pole and Celebrate Spring and the coming of Summer. May Day is such a beautiful time of year. Celebrated with flowers and ribbons and bells and Queen of May Day. Fairys dance around the May Pole and the Men dance also. So Celebrate today. A day to have fun,

  82. Debra in So CA says:

    This morning I needed a lift, so I came to visit your website/blog. It’s always so delightful and inspirational and just what I needed for motivation. I’m cleaning up and redesigning my guest bedroom today. My special reward will be to read “Willard” this afternoon or this evening. Love the Willards! (I don’t know how you do it all so well, do you ware a cape girlfriend?!) Thanks for a great start this morning.

  83. Catherine Nelson Allen says:

    Hi Susan,
    My husband took me to Paris recently to celebrate the last year of my 6th decade. What a marvelous trip! We eschewed the touristy items and opted for Easter Sunday in Giverny at Monet’s gardens and home which were in gorgeous bloom. On the day before we left for home we went on a day trip to Normandy which was especially poignant. Utah, Omaha and Ponte de Hoc beaches so still and quiet in a steady drizzle that seemed so appropriate. A lovely seaside lunch followed in a quaint and charming restaurant. And then a visit to the American Cemetery at Normandy where all the graves face to the USA. 9,000+ of them. My husband and I had purchased several packages of American flags which we placed on graves of our fellow New Englanders and those known only to God. So much to be grateful for as these young men gave their lives for our freedom. The rest of our time was given to leisurely strolls on La Rive Gauche/Champs Elysses/ Montmartre/Ile de la Cite and quiet dinners at small cafes. So, you can see that I have been blessed. The weather, except for Normandy, was sunny and warm. Not like here in Rehoboth lately!
    Thank you for being a light in my life! I hope I have brought you a bit of April in Paris in gratitude.
    Catherine Allen

  84. Deborah Coleman says:

    Hello Susan! I just received my first Williard, and it’s great! I am fairly new to your blog, since Christmas when I received your book, “Fine Romance” as a gift. I really enjoyed reading and retreading it! Thank you for sharing so much, because there are so many beautiful things to share!

  85. oh, Susan, I adore the “To Adam…” quote…perfectly wonderful and so true. Did you know The Enchanted April is, currently, free on Kindle? I bought your book to give to my Beloved Best Friend, Sandra, and she’s decided we must return to England and trace your journey. I told her, “Yes, we must return to England and trace some of Susan’s journey but there are so many other places I want to go as well.” The cake looks delicious, bet it was . Happy Easter, Happy Spring, Happy Happy Everything!

  86. Raquel says:

    Love, love, love it!!! Especialy the fact that Jack approves! Much love from me and Callie Sue!

  87. KAREN from Charleston SC says:

    Every thing in this WILLARD I’ll be making for the next meeting of our church’s book club for ladies called WOW (Women of the Word). Clever name; don’t you think!!?? Thank you, Thank you for these ideas!!! You sent them just in time. Of course, you’ve given us tons of other ideas over the years, but these latest ideas with photos just seemed to hit the right spot for this particular spring meeting.

    Susan, You should see the gardens in the “Holy City” that are in glorious bloom even as I am writing this ‘comment’. So many of Charleston’s gardens are in the tiny side yards and a bit larger back yards of the many beautiful older homes uniquely built on long narrow lots precious to come by in our peninsula city that proudly projects itself into the Charleston Harbor.

    Thank you again, Susan, for all you bring to your girlfriends!! To the delight of my girlfriends I’ve given away some more of your books to the delight of all!!

  88. Hi Susan, your blog and esp. Willards, are a bright spot on any day. I heard you speak once, quite a few yrs. ago at R.J. Julia’s Bookstore, here in Madison, Ct. It was a delightful day. My daughter, Kristin,, who has since moved to Ga., was with me and we both loved it. You made a very striking figure in your pink linen suit and of course, your cute companion..was not far away. We each have enjoyed your books. It would be wonderful to be entered into the drawing.

  89. Gerri Keating says:

    Susan, your blogs and Willards are a bright spot on any day, rain or shine.

  90. Jo Bennett says:

    Is there a way to JUST print off that recipe…I have tried and it wants to print your entire blog…

    • sbranch says:

      If you know how to highlight, copy and paste, you can paste just the recipe into an email and then print it.

  91. Bethany says:

    Hi Susan–
    I have a recipe question. I’ve never used a double boiler before (though I do have one). Do I fill the bottom with water, and proceed to make the filling as it heats to a simmer and then stir for the 15 minutes? Or do I bring it to a simmer and keep it there and THEN start the filling? I’m making this for a picnic this weekend and can’t wait to have my first slice. This looks divine!

    • sbranch says:

      Here’s what you do. You put a couple of inches of water in the bottom part of the double boiler, but water shouldn’t touch bottom of the top pan. Bring that to a boil, reduce to simmer. You can do that with the other pan and your filling on top, when water boils, reduce it to simmer and stir for 15 or 20 min until the filling is thick. Did that answer you. It’s really simple, doesn’t matter, just start stirring when the bottom pan is boiling.

  92. Patricia miriani says:

    reading your posts brings me serenity, peace, and delight! Thank you.

  93. Cynthia says:

    Blury eyed, I saw the sun rise today! Go figure, this is not a usual occurrence for me, but when it happens, I feel sooo alive and thankful. Unfortunately, Life has stolen moments away from your blog.I thought of you in the wee hours and remembered my girlfriend. It was wonderful to catch up with your life, always so blessed. BUT- I remembered I never did receive my Willard. This is the first miss for me, so , when you have a moment ( Tee Hee), can you let me know how I go about receiving him again!
    Thanks for a sunrise, of smiles, laughs and just pure girlfriend time, spent with YOU!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Willard seemed to be on his best behavior the last time, most people got their newsletter so we think we have that one glitch figured out. Just go HERE Cynthia and sign up again — if you don’t get Willards, be sure to check your spam folder. Otherwise, it ought to be OK now. Fingers crossed!

  94. My boy Kip (rough coat collie), and my girl Emmalee (smooth coat collie) –
    well, you SAID to say something SWEET, and they are the sweetest things I know of…

    oh, not to mention my Sweet-Sweet-Lobsterman-Husband, Paul, who is hard at working this sunny Sunday afternoon.

    Am almost finished reading your book, AFR, and am saving the last part for tomorrow. Like you leaving England, I hate to see it come to an end! Just like during our many trips to England also…. but coming home to sweet sweet pets is the best part of the trip!

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