LITTLE LUXURIES for SUMMER

I thought today I’d do a post about some little luxuries you might like to think about for your garden. The dictionary says that Luxury means “extravagant living,” but that’s not the kind of luxury I’m talking about today  . . . I’m talking about the little things in life with some sweet MUSICA for you. 

picnic cloths

We can’t control what goes on in the whole wide world, but I know you know we can make life very sweet in our own small corners of it.  Spring is the perfect time of year to watch the paper for local yard sales and flea markets.  Meandering at this time of year is a wonderful thing ~ take your camera and when you see a tree or flowers you love, take a picture or get a clipping so you can ask for it at your nursery.  Lots of wonderful treasures await you for the season.  Here are some ideas for summerizing your life. . .

tablecloth

You can usually find really good deals on vintage tablecloths and napkins and they make your outdoor table especially welcoming.  They would also make a wonderful Mother’s Day gift! And see the tiny bird house church on the top of the bench behind the table?  Keep your eyes open for little garden items like that ~ look for things made of natural materials such as wood, straw, cotton, pottery, stone, brick and wicker.  They are the perfect materials to compliment a natural environment like your garden.

vintage tablecloth

Old handmade cloths give a feeling of romance around the house and garden . . . and here are more ideas for that . . .

around-the-house-romance-1

Choose a flowering tree to plant in your yard . . . it will give you YEARS of joy.

IMG_6508

This is the dogwood we planted three years ago . . . it gives me something to look forward to every spring . . . makes me so happy to see it blooming.

orange tree

Or, if you have the right climate, plant a tree that will provide you with sweet smelling blossoms and free food like this little orange tree.  Apples are good too, grapefruits and lemons and figs, oh my!

albizzia tree

Or a wonderful flowering tree like this albizzia (at our house in California) with pink furry flowers that grows huge, like an umbrella; it shades the house and keeps it cool all summer.

trees glorious trees

Yes, trees do take time to grow, but that time will pass anyway and you’ll be surprised at how soon you’ll get huge enjoyment from a tree, almost immediately. :-)

picnic

And that way you’ll have a place to put the old quilt or blanket you find at the flea market, take your book and a pillow, wait for leaves to move in the wind, look at the sky and feed your soul.

picnic

Picnics are the joy of spring summer and fall . . . this is one we had with our girlfriend Rachel at a lovely spot in England called Stourhead.  See the baby geese?  It doesn’t take much to make a day you will never forget.  Almost every town in America has a beautiful place where you could go for a picnic.  Food, drink, blankie, and thou. That’s all you need. Plus a little mas MUSICA.

twinkle lights

And then there’s light.  The magic of the night.  We have the moon and the stars and lucky for some of us who get fireflies in June, but there is always room for more ~ twinkle lights around the door, over arbors, along fences, between trees and bushes . . .

twinkle lights

help make summer memories . . .night lights

You can find all styles of lights in craft stores, almost any big box store, even big drug stores.

lights

And keep an eye out for “chandeliers” if you have a place to put one over your picnic table.

summer night

bug buckets

Even your bug buckets (buckets filled with citronella candles to keep away mosquitoes) can be cute if you look for them.  (And by the way, a quiet fan in the garden is also a great way to discourage mosquitoes, they are too weak to withstand the wind.  HA, take that!).

candles

While you’re at those yard sales, keep your eyes open for interesting candle holders, ones where the candle goes deep so the wind can’t blow them out.

little vases

And, of course, look for tiny vases and old jars for your flowers.  See that blue one?  Joe found that in the hole he dug when he planted the Dogwood!  Buried treasure!

little vases

little vases

A tiny vase of flowers takes about a minute to put together, needs very few flowers and look how cute.

little vases

Watch for something like this bird planter for your outdoor table.

everything old

for summer drinks

I love gorgeous old pitchers too . . . so much charm, especially the colored depression glass.

vintage glasses

And drinking glasses too  . . . everything tastes better from glasses like these.

pink-flowers

vintage dishes

Old glass makes the prettiest bar . . . You don’t have to go get all of this at once, in fact you really shouldn’t even if you could. Collecting is half the fun!

Good Housekeeping 1911-11

tea time

Little luxuries at this time of year definitely includes sun tea.

sun tea

fountain

We bought this small fountain for our porch because of the soft musical noise of the flowing water.  It was very inexpensive, there was only one of them, and I’m not sure where it came from, but keep your eye out.  They have so many of them these days and it’s such a nice thing to hear near the kitchen door.

frog prince

Of course this, to me, says it all.  It’s how I feel every day. 

hydrangea border
basket

Now look waaaaaay over there to the right.  Under that little pile on the lawn is a large flower basket with a tall handle.  That is my BEST garden thing.  You’d be surprised at how many weeds and things that basket can hold ~ tons! ~ and it’s still easy for me to carry it. So if you get to a basket shop, look for a large flower basket . . . the kind with the scooped out bottom, the bigger the better.

bird bath

Of course a bird bath in the garden where you can see it easily is a pure source of natural joy. 

birdbath

This one is at our house in California ~ we also love our bee skep and the strawberry pot . . .  see how all the natural-looking materials fit right in with Mother Nature?

heaven

yard furniture

Yard furniture is another thing we like to find at big flea markets ~ like the one at Brimfield here in MA, or the once-a-month Swap Meet in Alameda in California ~ they have such cute and different things.

rocking chairs

These rocking chairs were made even more adorable (and comfortable) with the little tie on pillows and backrests.

Contentment

swing

We found this old swing for our tree at the Ventura Swap Meet.

chairs

Over the years we’ve amassed a mish-mash of old chairs, adirondack and wicker, mix and match is always fun.

bench in the garden

And even a plain old bench is nice to have in your garden ~ it gives you a place to sit and smell the green things growing and it makes a good work table too.

To plant a seed

porch

This old and very heavy wrought-iron table and chairs belong to my girlfriend ~ and for a true luxury, it you have a place for it, OMG, this PORCH.  What pure heaven.  I’m taking the photo from the sofa she has there . . . I would live here all summer if this was mine.  YEARS of fun, right here, don’t you think?

wisteria

Near the door you go through most often?  Something that smells wonderful.  This is wisteria . . . and because of where it is, fragrance comes into the bedroom windows too.

smells so good

And this delicious smelling vine of pink jasmine, grows over both doors in California, it blooms mid-winter through spring.

rose trellis

And another thing, if you have a place for it, is a trellis.  They can be put against walls or fences or made into arbors and look especially pretty with the addition of a lovely climbing rose like this New Dawn.

Old roses quote susan branch

quilts on the line

And once you get your clothesline up, you are very likely going to need a good strong . . .

laundry basket

laundry basket.  And if you don’t already have one, I would suggest you get one of those fuzzy things to go in it, because that is a little luxury you will adore year round.  

flower border

I hope I’ve inspired you today to

go outside and play

garden diary

Keep track of your garden with a garden diary . . . write down what you plant, put in little photos so next year you will know what’s coming before it does.

long shadows

The first thing I notice in the spring are the very long shadows that come across the lawn and into my windows in the early morning. They pop up in places they never are during the winter.

flower border

early morning

They splotch sunlight in the most interesting places . . .

the before

inspirationAnd remember this?  The stories I’ve written and collected from my diaries for years — the pile of papers I showed you a couple of months ago?  I’ve been working hard putting together what I hope will be a wonderful story about my first little house here on the island, moving to Martha’s Vineyard and starting over.  Every day the book becomes a bit more pulled together, makes a little more sense, telling another story of island life.  I am over the moon with it.  I never want to be done.  I’ve never said that before either.  I will miss this one when she is gone. ♥   Writing this book has been taking me away from blogging more than normal, but it won’t last forever, I promise I’ll be back and I hope you won’t miss me at all when you see what I bring with me.

flower border

long shadows

That messy bunch of paper above has now turned into those sun-splotched pages with numbers and everything!  In a book, neatness counts!  I have you in mind with every word I write.   That’s what makes it fun.  It’s kind of like a giant blog.  Or like A FINE ROMANCE, only in Martha’s Vineyard and California instead of England.  It’s hard to tell when it will be done since I’ve never written anything like it before.  I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Sail away with me Girlfriends. . .

sailing

And one more thing . . . I’ve had several people ask about the event we’re attending in New York at the end of this month called Book Expo.  It’s not open to the general public which is why I haven’t made too much of it here on the blog, but it’s truly an honor to be invited to do an author signing at the Baker & Taylor Booth . . . so, just in case you ARE going, Joe and I will be there and signing A Fine Romance on Thursday, May 29, at 2 pm ~ please come say hello!  And we’ll be seeing many more of you in Connecticut at the Gladys Taber event in June!  Lots to look forward to!  Bye for now, Joe and I are heading out on our walk, taking my own advice to go outside and play!   It’s a gorgeous day ~ 65° here right now!!! Wishing you the MOST wonderful day! XOXO

flower border

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293 Responses to LITTLE LUXURIES for SUMMER

  1. Ramona Horta-Riedeman says:

    me too! I can’t wait to get started!!! Garage sales here I come! :)

  2. Linda T. from Maine says:

    Hello Susan, What a beautiful spring day it is. I have been inspired by you for so many years that it’s like your my right hand Gal. I so get my jump start everytime that you tell us what time it is without looking or needing a clock. Your clock is the seasons of time. “Time to spring clean”, “Time to collect sea shells”,Time to go to yard sales”, Time to smell the flowers and take in the fresh air of what life has to offer all of us.” INSPIRED BY SUSAN…Yes indeed I am. I love it. I can’t think of a time I have not looked forward in getting up early am and looking for your new blog each day since you started it. In the past it was the mail box just waiting for thoses letters from Willard. I Love Willard . I still have them. The style and cute saying and the colors blow me away like a gust of an ocean breeze.Whoooooo! All your books I have are fantastic. I love theses best of all my book I have ever bought. That is saying alot seeings That I collect Light House books and I even Married and former Light House Keeper from Maine in 2007. We got Married at the LightHouse that he served at. So you see how special your books are and how important they are to me.Keep on writting cause I am going to keep buying them as long as I live. Your books are close to our hearts as you are to Joe and Kitty’s. So I Thank Joe everyday of my life for Joe sharing you with us. He’s a great big hearted man in my book. Hugs to the both of you and Thanks for sharing your LOVE with all of us. You are like the first blooming flowers in spring and a breath of fresh air each and everyday. Your blog was just beautiful today. Thanks Girlfriend…HUGS!!!!!.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Linda, that was so nice. xoxo

      • Roseann Copeland says:

        Linda , this is a very lovely post. I only just learned about Susan Branch and I have been doing a lot of catch up. I have now collected five books in the past two months. The Girl Friend book was a recent gift from a friend. I will treasure it as it was not easy to come by. I just wanted to share on a beautiful Spring Monday morning,while drinking coffee and enjoying this blog. Have a great Spring season.

  3. Love you! That is what I said aloud after reading this post. I thank you for thinking of us as you write. You are an inspiration to me. Thank you!
    xx oo
    Carla

  4. Lovely post on a cool, rainy day. I cannot wait for your next book. Okay, I’ll wait! :)

  5. Abizzia! I’ve always loved that tree and thank you for naming it, you are right describing it like a big pink umbrella. Your Moravian light is a stunner too
    and your linens, the clothesline. I guess a line full of flapping clean linens shouts spring like nothing else, (except Azizzia )) )..
    xx
    julie

  6. Catie Cook says:

    What a lovely post! And we had rain yesterday so the show if FINALLY going away! Yay! Going to spend Saturday and Sunday with my hands in the dirt…. can’t wait!

  7. Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    What a lovely post. How I used to love garage sales. Now I guess I just have enough stuff! So many lovely things and I remember where they all came from.
    Here in Knickerbocker, we are recovering from last night’s weather. Rain ( not that much), wind 82 mph wind gusts recorded by the airport and hail ( much). Tonight I am just hoping for a good night’s sleep. We have damage, but nothing devastating…everything will recover. Good Lord, what we do for 3/10 of an inch of rain! LOL
    In my old age, I am learning new strength….what is important and what is not. Today I count my blessings. My little hummingbirds are back at their feeders, my barn swallows continue to build their nest, how in the world do such tiny creatures survive and my deer show up for their dinner. We will fix what is broken. What a great life! It has been a tough year for so many around the country, endless winters, floods, tornados, and fires. But we are a resilient lot!
    And here we all come together! Our place of contentment, happiness, dreams and expectations. While we might all dream of Martha’s Vineyard, you help us bloom where we are planted.
    “We are all but birds of passage…and must build our nests out of what materials we can find.”
    Lady Wilson (1889)
    Thanks Susan for helping us build our nests!
    Chris

  8. Jan says:

    Susan,
    Just returned from moving our youngest son from NC to TX , so have been gone for two weeks. He is starting a new job – a great opportunity for him. Am so glad we were able to go and help. It’s a beautiful day here in Michigan, sunny and warm. Back home in time to see my tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths blooming. Am trying to catch up on your blog. What a beautiful and inspiring post to come home to! I, too, love old things and antique stores. So glad to hear of the progress on your new book. I do like that your books are handwritten. I think it makes them unique. I also understand that it must take so much longer to do it that way. Either way, I know it will be wonderful. Must get busy this weekend cleaning out my flowerbeds. I have new growth among the old. Anxious to get outside to spruce things up. Have a great weekend!
    Jan

  9. Kelly from eastern PA says:

    Kelly from eastern PA says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    May 8, 2014 at 8:05 am

    Good morning, Susan!
    What a wonderful, sunny post to wake up to on this rainy morning here in PA! So many bright and beautiful things to look forward to for summer. I especially love the photos of porches and all things that go with them, including those “spring steel” porch chairs. My parents still have two of those on their porch; the best way to wile away an afternoon as a kid was to sit in one of those chairs and read! Currently, we have to do with a patio out back, but a porch is truly something special! Enjoy your writing and the rest of your summer prep! Can’t wait to read your next book! Kelly from eastern PA

  10. katherine says:

    Thanks Susan for a wonderful post….I love old things. Our farm house is full of them… old doilies, old dishes with chips, old furniture my husband and I collected while setting up house keeping so many years ago. I live in a scrap book house…pictures of the kids, their art work, awards, hang here and there. Home made delights….Grandma Lucile’s quilts, a painting done by my Great Grandma May, quaint pictures of sheep we found at a yard sale adorn the walls. Sometimes when I look in magazines or at blogs I think O’ I must change or make things look more sophisticated or something. BUT when I see your blog post and your house I think its okay to sentimental, eclectic, a bit old fashioned! Thanks so much….your perspective is such a beautiful one!! Can’t wait for your new book!!

  11. N Jean says:

    So nice to see this post. I love all of the little details in your home. I will be using some of your ideas very soon. Thank you.

  12. Ann Waddell says:

    I love old linens and picnics, preferably together! I just got a hand-me-down camera, and sometimes forget it on my walks with my little dog Pierre. And of course, on gthe forgetten days, there is always something totally photographical, not to be missed! Must remember the camera. Thanks for the post, and cannot wait for the new book!

  13. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Thank you for all these little luxuries, I feel I’m so blessed to be able to turn on the computer and get right to you my dear and your wonderful blog, and all the great comments! Now, I can start my day with good thoughts, renewed energy & find more little luxuries! Happy Friday to all! xoxo

  14. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    What a beautiful post. I just sat down at my desk and was thinking “I need some happiness” so here I am and wow did you deliver today! That was just what I needed. Thank you so much. I went to the nursery and bought my herbs, so tomorrow that’s where I will be! Dirty hands, iced tea and beauty all around. Then I am going to take an old quilt and a book and lay under our apple trees which are in full bloom right now. I can hardly wait! Happy weekend :-)

  15. Christine D says:

    Ahh you seem to like Spring as much as me! I can hardly keep away from the gardens with the birds in the birdbath the orioles eating jelly on my deck railing. And the sheer joy of seeing all my flowers coming up in the garden from the long winter. Must be why it is my favorite season nature is a blessing!

  16. Martha B says:

    What inspiration! I want to get out my vintage tablecloths and floral dishes, even though the sun is not shining right now. Happy Spring!

  17. Kathy R from Iowa says:

    Love your drawing of the vases containing single flowers (under the blue bottle Joe dug up). Would be a perfect border for your future “garden” book (hint, hint)! :)

  18. Gail Buss says:

    Hi Susan, What a lovely surprise today finding your blog. Joe is out fishing with his buddy so I have the house to myself which I love! (But I love it when he is here too.) Your clothesline makes me homesick for a clothesline which we can’t have where we live in Fl. I love seeing yours though and others when we go on trips. Your pink table setting is so lovely too. So homey and cozy. We have had Dogwood trees when we lived in N.C…….so special and I love the story about the dogwoods. But, we do have an orange tree here but it hasn’t gotten any fruit yet…………..maybe next year. The wisteria is just beautiful the way it hangs and I love the color. In MD I did have a screened in porch which was what I called “my favorite room in the house” although it was outside the house. So serene………..loved to read out on the white wicker furniture we had and drink my iced tea. Which reminds me to make some sun tea which I usually don’t do but should try it. I usually make it on the stove. Finally, I can’t wait for your new book to come out. I know I will love it since I love all your Willards and blogs so much. It is a pleasure to know you, Susan. God Bless. Gail xo

  19. Samantha says:

    I absolutely adore these inspirational posts. I love when I get done reading and have to “shake” myself back to reality haha! You make me want to take a quilt, find a shady spot, close my eyes, and just listen to Spring.. I may just do that!! Cannot wait for your new book!! :] Have a good day!!

  20. Debbie P. ~ Weedsport, NY says:

    Hi, Sue~
    I think I’ve enjoyed this post from top to bottom 3x now…you had me with the first photo of the vintage linens :) How lucky are we, with grateful hearts, that we can see the extraordinary luxury and beauty in the ordinary?! When you put it all together in your unique Susan Branch style it just makes my cup runneth over!
    It’s wonderful that you share your thoughts and feelings so eloquently with us and even more wonderful that it’s a 2-way street and we can give it all back! I just LOVE reading all the comments!
    Have a great weekend… working and playing in the lap of luxury!
    xoDebbie

  21. Winnie Nielsen says:

    This post was just what I needed. We just returned from the Netherlands where the weather was lovely and cool , to Florida where it is now in the upper 80s and 90 everyday. Your post ideas reminded me that I can do more with color and flowers to keep that feeling of fresh and new alive. It is time to dig out the vintage tablecloths and add some cut flowers to bring outside indoors. Perfect timing of this post and Thank-You for the inspirations!!

  22. Margot from VB now in AZ says:

    Yet another lovely post for a lovely day! I can hardly wait to get home and clean MY house. Helping my sons move is exhausting. LOL

  23. diana from ancaster says:

    What a wonderful post!

    It’s raining here today, a perfect afternoon off from work, sitting and knitting for my newest grandbaby soon due. Your beautiful words and pictures are truly a gift – your generosity of spirit keeps us in quiet sanctuary.
    I’m so anxious for your new book to be ready……we all have escaped to begin again….my heart thanks you.

  24. Mim Pepper says:

    It’s all so beautiful. Just starting to green up here in Me.

  25. Amy says:

    Susan, Can you tell yet how much vacuuming the dandelion seeds last year helped diminish this year’s crop?

    Amy D.

    • sbranch says:

      Well, since we have a carpet of them out there, I’m not sure how much good it did! All I know is that we did away with lots of seeds, but we didn’t dig up the little nasty plants. I do like the yellow flowers dotting the lawn, so I’m torn.

  26. Sue says:

    Susan…you’ve outdone youself with this installment. You make me hungry for spring, when Houston is already well into summer! I’ll share with a friend in Ohio who has a beautiful back yard; I know you’ll inspire her.

    Speaking of inspiration — I keep meaning to ask…would you please show us your process for creating those beautiful water colors? I know lots of us would love to include our own in our travel journals and we could use a lesson. Are you willing to do a little teaching? (How about it ladies — anyone else interested?)

    As always, you’ve gotten my Saturday off to a grand start. Thanks!

  27. Renee Mumford says:

    Feast for my morning eyes! Thank you Susan.

  28. Christa says:

    Enjoyed your blog as always…you have given me some wonderful ideas.
    Going with girlfriends on a “road trip” to flea markets and some antique
    stores in a week, so I’m taking your inspiring suggestions with us.
    Susan,enjoy writing your book,take your time…..For me, the anticipation is
    fun and exciting.

  29. widya says:

    Hi Susan,

    i’m Widya, from Indonesia. I love your blogs. i love the illustration, your ideas for how to decorate, to plant, to cook, your garden, everythings! i’m also fall in love with your Jack and Girl Kitty too! they’re so adorable.
    Right now, i’m living in small dorm that not allow me to have even tiniest space to plant. But reading about your post here, its give me motivation to plant someting. So, i brought a cherry seed and plant them in small pot that came along with it. I really hope i can grow them beautifully, and someday i can have some lovely garden like yours :) Eventhough i just started yesterday, i already feel the little joy of taking care of them. I cant wait to watch them grow…
    Thank you for your post. They give me motivation and inspirations. Especially this post. i get to know how to enjoy and appreciate life in the smallest and simplest way. Keep posting :)
    p.s : and if you dont mind, can you also posting more photos of Girl Kitty and Jack? I can’t get enough of their cuteness!
    p.p.s : sorry for my bad english. English is not my first language afterall ^^

  30. Gina Derksen says:

    Thinking of you today, Susan! Just tried pear cider at The Punchbowl here in York, England! Lovely & crisp. A new favorite. Just arrived today after 3 crazy days in London. We head to Edinburgh on Tuesday & Derbyshire next Saturday, all celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary & both our 50th birthdays. You inspired me to do a travel blog for family & friends and it’s been really fun! Thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      You’re in York! How wonderful. Thank you for checking in ~ the mere mention of it brings all the happy memories flooding back. Happy EVERYTHING to you both!

      • Gina Derksen says:

        Attended service at York Minster this morning, as you did; our favorite was the choir singing acapella as they walked to and from the front. Included in the service was a baptism for tiny Imogen Grace, all flowey in her English christening gown, and bawling echoing through the ancient church.

  31. salve says:

    Hi Susan, beautiful and wonderful blog as always! Memories, beautiful memories with all the things you showed in this blog! Sigh…….. Is there anywhere else you will be in New York beside Book Expo at Javits that May 29? We’d like to see you and have you sign our books please, pretty please! wishing salve……

    • sbranch says:

      Do you have a favorite bookstore in Manhattan? Maybe, if we hurried, we could work something out? Timing is always the biggest problem.

  32. Sara says:

    Another lovely blog, Susan, but should we expect anything else? I think not! You gave me lots of inspiration, giving me a gentle push to check out the second hand shops and antique stores in our area for some summertime decorating treasures.

    Our intrepid trio that met after many years at your Goshen book signing last September has struck again. Only this time, Sharmin and I met at Linda’s mom’s house in Kokomo for a tour of Linda’s home town. Did we ever have fun, touring the Kokomo Opalescent Glass Co, which is America’s oldest art glass company; enjoying a cherry marshmallow phosphate at a soda fountain, and picking out freshly made chocolates at a premier candy store. But the highlight was seeing Zana Maple, Linda’s 92-year-old mom, who has been collecting everything from teapots to blue and white dishes and miniatures her entire life.

    Although Zana has only peripheral vision, she continues to make blankets of every ‘flavor’ and gives them away, including to Sharm, who already had been given one. I picked out a lovely muted pink one that is oh so soft! She also asked me to select a teapot, so my bounty from Zana also included a lovely white and blue 3-cup teapot! I can see where Linda gets her generous spirit.

    The moral of the story of our day is simple–we all have special places in our hometowns where our girlfriends would just love to spend a day together exploring. So someday in the next few months, the girls will come up to Syracuse for my hometown tour and we’ll go to Marion for Sharmin’s. Don’t you think that’s a great plan for all of us girlfriends? I certainly do! Let’s see, we’ll have to take a ride on the Dixie Sternwheeler on Webster Lake and …. The fun just never ends!

  33. Peggy Cooper from Pueblo, CO says:

    Oh my goodness, you apologize for not blogging enough when I’ve been remiss at just commenting for the last few posts. One of those things I think I’m going to ponder and then get back to. But I should know I’m the Queen of procrastination, and may never get to it. It had been just beautiful here in southern Colorado. So much so that we jumped the gun and planted some tender things before we should have because there is a forecast of snow and freezing over the next two days. So now we have those that haven’t been planted yet under the grow lights in the basement, and my yard will look very funny when I have to put sheets and blankets over what is planted. We just couldn’t help ourselves when the weather was so beautiful and we had 70′s and 80′s every day. But that’s Colorado.

    I was supposed to go up to the Denver area to visit the kids and grandkids this weekend, but with the snow coming, we’re just staying home. That’s okay, as long as I know everyone is well and happy, we’ll just see them next week, and I’ll just take a day to read and putter. Maybe get out the paints or pastels I’ve been neglecting telling myself I had too many other things to do than play. If I had played more, I wouldn’t have to be covering up plants that shouldn’t have been planted.

    Happy Mother’s Day as the Mom of your furry little children! Maybe I’m being presumptuous, but I’m looking forward to a Mother’s Day post tomorrow!

  34. conniec says:

    I enjoyed every picture and every written line! I am sooooooooo excited about your new book!
    Connie

  35. judy young says:

    So thankful for this pretty post Susan. I am just starting to clean up from a master bathroom remodel at my house and I am slowly starting to redecorate. Never knew a remodel could create so much DUST!!! I have had to wash everything before it goes back into the “new” bathroom. Of course, a lot has gone to Goodwill and that’s why it’s taking so long is because I have to decide what goes back into the closets and cupboards. I sat down at the computer for the first time in a couple of weeks and there were two new posts from you that I hadn’t seen. What joy! I really enjoyed this post, have read it three times already……….I think that your new book will be loved by all of us regardless. Use a hand-writing font that will look similar and it will save you so much work! That year that it might take to “hand-write” the book could be spent working on another one…….Happy Mother’s Day girlfriends!

  36. Don in Grass Valley, CA says:

    Hi Susan,

    My girlfriend and I really enjoyed your post and it really helped us get excited about all the great things that will be happening in our garden this year!

    We love finding new flowers to make our garden and our lives more beautiful. I was wondering what types of flowers you have in the white “tiny vase” on the green printed towel or cloth? The combination of those purple flowers and the burst of golden yellow bunches look so wonderful! We’d love to have them on our table. :-)

    We’re looking forward to your new book!

    • sbranch says:

      The yellow are verbena, but the blue is from a tree in our California garden, and I’m sorry, but I don’t remember the name of it. I know what you mean, blue or purple flowers, with yellow or orange are always so pretty together.

  37. Colleen Ann says:

    What a wonderful sweet little collection of ideas, Susan. Thank you so much.
    I think today will be the perfect day to wash my bed quilts and hang them out. Have a great day:)
    Colleen

  38. Judith Mellenthien says:

    Susan,
    Beautiful Great Nephew; Beautiful Story; Beautiful Cake; Beautiful YOU!
    Judy

  39. Loretta says:

    Hi, Susan….Happy Day to you too!!! It’s an “Unmother’s” Day for me….but a nice and relaxing one! Love your blog today….Oh…..that baby is beautiful! Congratulations to the whole family!!! And those beautiful tulips! For sure I will plant for next year….you are such an inspiration! Oh……..and that cake!!! OMG….what a great dessert!!! Going to print the recipe and make it soon! Think I’ll share with my hairdresser and the rest of the staff when I get my hair cut soon!! I know they will love it! Take care…have fun at the Mother’s Day party today….. weather is windy but warm here in Ca. Chat soon… Loretta/Santa Nella

  40. Oh! I do believe this is my very favorite post ever! Such wonderful ideas, some of which I am working on already and some I will put into action very very soon. Oh how wonderful to enjoy everyone’s beautiful flowers in blogland this year since we can’t water ours at the moment because of our terrible drought but oh how beautiful it all is! Thank you for such a lovely post! Blessings to you!

  41. Roseann Copeland says:

    Another lovely post! I recently received the “Girl Friend” book for my birthday this past April. I am enjoying it tremendously! It was such an amazing gift to me that I had to order a signed “Fine Romance” book for my dear friend that found it. I can’t wait to give it to her! I know it was difficult for her to part with it, because she is a fan of yours too. In fact she is the one that introduced me to you (so to speak)!

    P.S. Thanks again for another uplifting blog!

  42. Karen Lotito from Aquebogue, NY says:

    I finally secured a copy of “A Fine Romance” and I just had to write! I felt like I was following you on your whole QM2 experience! We have been on her about 12 times but have yet to cross – we will be on the Queen Elizabeth in November doing a Mediterranean voyage! My husband has a Petey doll – and is a huge collector of ocean liner memorabilia – we are members of the Ocean Liner Society. I love Pimm’s Cup but have yet to try pear cider – next voyage! I have been seasick in the past so I always take something just in case. I’ve walked the promenade deck dozens of times. In the pub we always order the Plowman’s Lunch. And those afternoon teas – heaven! You were very lucky – only 9 stone after all that wonderful food! We have four kitties – but I’m allergic. We used to have 8 kitties. I guess allergies never stopped me. Our Snuffles looks a lot like Jack. My husband rescued him after he got hit by a car. He’s blind in one eye and a bit deformed but he’s a big love nonetheless. Maybe one day my husband and I will have the good fortune to meet you and Joe on a voyage! Our dear friend Clare is coming for 2 weeks from the U.K. to visit. I LOVE Beatrix Potter (I’m sensing a pattern here). Have a lovely day and be well and be happy!

    • sbranch says:

      I love the old Queen Elizabeth. That large, open room off the back where they serve breakfast and lunch, that was my favorite and what I miss most about the QM2. That beautiful space with the windows all around. I would sit in there and write and drink tea (and people watch) for hours.

      I have to say that scale was SO wrong!!! I did not weigh 9 stone. I knew it the minute I saw it. But hey, I was on vacation so I decided to “believe.”

      I read somewhere there is something that you can feed your cat that will help with your allergies and won’t hurt the cat. Ask your vet. Maybe it’s just something I dreamed but I do believe I heard it from someone reputable!

      Bon Voyage . . . try those wrist bands! They work great for me.

      • Karen Lotito from Aquebogue, NY says:

        That you so much for the tip about kitty allergies. The way my kitties sit and stare out the window I think of the line from T.S. Elliott – “the thought, the thought, the thought of his name”. I often wonder what they’re thinking. I have a feeling it’s about all of the birds they’re watching at our feeders. The Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks migrated through; I just loved your photos of them. Those old ships are wonderful! My husband always says they’re from a grander time. When we stayed on the Queen Mary in Long Beach we found the table that my husband stood by with his mom (who happened to be from England!) when he was only 6 years old! We had someone take our picture by it. I just finished
        “A Fine Romance” and it was absolutely wonderful! Now I want to go! Be well and be happy!

  43. Mary Gustason says:

    Oh oh oh, what have I missed??? That page, above, Susan, of Rachael as a brunette, Lost in Paradise; in which of your books would I find it? I thought I had them all. Or is it a page from a diary …or a hint of the future? Inquiring Girlfriends want to know! ;-)), MG

    • sbranch says:

      That photo page is from a scrapbook I made of our trip to England in 2001, just an at-home kind of scrapbook.

  44. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan…huff and puff huff and puff…I finally have had a chance to catch up to you and boy oh boy am I glad I did!!! This is truly a lovely post and now and re-inspired and ready for summer!! What an adorable picture of a precious baby…congratulations to your entire clan!!! a gift…. School in winding down..last day is May 30 (extended by a week-polar vortex winter!!!) and EVERYONE is ready to get out!! But the pressure is on with end-of-year exams, finals, and graduations…..your post gave me time to pause…thankfully :-) Very exciting to hear bits and pieces of your writing project….anxious to hear more…take care dear girl…and enjoy this wonderful reawakening time of year… love, cindy xo

  45. Lynda says:

    LOVE, love , love that yellow depression ware pitcher , ALL old linen and collecting both. Great post ! Here in Des Moines, Iowa it is raining (again ) and I am sitting on one of my two wonderful porches enjoying the scent of blooming lilacs and lily of the valley. They are planted right next to the front porch and the scent is almost overwhelming ! My house was built in 1900 and the lilac and lily of the valley were planted by the original owners. We bought the house from her grandson and we learned a lot about them . Thank you Mrs Schnabel , I enjoy your flowers every day . I feel like she likes that I love her house as much as she did.

    • sbranch says:

      I say almost the same thing, thank you Mrs. Bowditch, for the same reason you do, for her lilacs and her lily of the valley! Isn’t it interesting that these folks may have been lost to memory, but because of the beauty they left behind, they’re remembered and appreciated.

  46. Lucy Donahower says:

    Hello Susan,
    Help!! I’m not getting your blog posting to my email address!
    I don’t know what I did wrong but perhaps, I unsubscribe by mistake. I tried to click on the pencil on the side bar of your website and it won’t allow me to do it!
    I will appreciate any help.
    Thank you,
    Lucy in California

    • sbranch says:

      I sent your message to Kellee, hopefully she’ll be able to help you. I’m not sure why that’s happening. We’ll figure it out.

  47. I’m just swooning with the beautiful springy images and the wonderful musica. You have the best way of reminding us of the best things in life.

  48. Jackie says:

    This is one of your best posts ever!! It reminds us to love our homes, and to make them as comfortable and beautiful and welcoming as we possibly can. After all, home truly is where the heart is.

  49. Judy says:

    Was pleased to see my mother’s ( now mine) Rose Chintz. We used it every holiday when I was growing up & I have used it every special dinner since.

  50. Carisa Iezza says:

    Hi Susan,
    You always have a way of opening new windows to my heart. I love all your lovely suggestions and ideas. My husby and I are bound and determined to start hitting the local swap meets/antique fairs more often to find little treasures..though I probably have more than enough from my own Grammie! Keep posting, you are my mental escape hatch!
    Best, Carisa

  51. slowly catching up on your posts, Susan and enjoying writing and photos. I’m packing even though the farm hasn’t sold; my sister wanted to know why am I carrying “old stuff” with me. I told her, “it’s history and every little thing has a story that I cannot bear to leave behind.” some would call me foolish but it’s what connects me to family gone ahead, beloved friends and those who feel the same. it’s what keeps my feet rooted to the earth and my wings beating toward heaven. it’s what makes me…me.

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