ALMOST TIME TO GO

We’re getting ready to go. Of course, as usual when there are kitties and springtime involved, it’s a little bittersweet, because, like this . . .  here’s what it sounded like on Martha’s Vineyard this morning . . .  MUSICA MusicaIMG_7223

Spring has sprung . . . Joe is outside planting things in the soft sunshine this very moment . . .

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My kitchen windowsill is filled with
first bloom IMG_7208

And the back yard is having a wedding all by itself . . . those petals fly away like confetti on every breeze . . . And the birds are singing . . .
SingingBirdstripofflowersAnd the ground is stirring . . .

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And the lawn is greening up . . .stripofflowers

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We’re in there!

dogwood

The dogwood has tiny little buds, not like this photo, right now it’s just beginning . . .

Blooming dogwood

We’re going to miss the bloom, but this is what it will look like in another couple of weeks.home

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We are preparing to leave home for two months (and believe me, we really do need this break in our normal everyday, work-at-home, butt-defining action, we are really looking forward to it!!!). We’ll be driving 8,000 miles and visiting 23 bookstores across the country . . . So my darling Joe (who has very long hair, looking extremely cute, and on his way right now to get a haircut) is loading up the van with a few extra books to bring along just in case we run out (like we did last time)!

ThreeBooks

We’ll bring all three books with us . . . and even a few Autumn books too. (If you’re interested to see how they’re being reviewed on Amazon 😂, you can start right HERE, and may I say THANK YOU, you sweethearts who have left reviews! Your word of mouth means everything, as it always has. We still have signed copies if you need them . . . thinking, Mother’s Day .)

The FINE ROMANCE Van

And while Joe is loading everything up our trusty Fine Romance Van . . . I am doing what I always do when we go on a long trip . . . trying to figure out what to bring so I don’t bring too much . . .bathingThat’s a very old photo of me getting ready for a trip to California, trying on my Laura Ashley slip under my dress, and Joe has the camera! So right now there are piles of clothes hanging and folded all over the bedroom, everything written down as above . . . all I have left to do is to stuff it into the suitcases.suitcases  But first . . .  we should get Vanna, and THEN, after she has done her thing, I have more surprises for you . . . to take the sting out of what Vanna must now do. BTW, for you Newbies, Vanna is our in-house “random number generator,” which is what they call the function on this blog that chooses the winner. We named her Vanna because, I think you’ll agree, it is a better than “random number generator,” and has a nice flavor of game-show hostess about it. Now she Vanna's shoehas become part of the family. On “work days” we let her sleep in our Peter Rabbit Room, but normally she, being a sort of Euro-trash, satin-slipper kind of gal, is off getting her nails done or shoe shopping, or playing tennis in the south of France. She randomly generates just for us, no one else, she is ours, and we love her because she is so wonderfully dramatic and whimsical. For instance, she came downstairs just now wearing her favorite lime green lizard suit, skin-tight, shiny with scales, perfect for slithering through 3,000 tiny slips of papers with your names on them. Also, she is wearing a bathing cap covered in tiny pink rubber points. What a picture! She took the Silver in the 2004 Olympics for the high dive, which she still does exquisitely. She is now poised like a luna moth on tip toes, standing on the very edge of my art table, UP she goes, swan like, perfect orange fingernails streaking down like flames into the vat of names . . . and we wait, while the game show theme plays . . . and we remind ourselves of the lovely parting gifts . . .

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There will be three winners, and each of them will get a complete set of books,  “the trilogy” (signed by the author, better known as Friend Of Vanna), PLUS a stubby overworked pencil, a used up paintbrush, and bookmark made from my paint blotter paper, all exquisitely drenched in the DNA of kitties, lavender tea with milk and honey, a few deep winters and crackling fires, and many, many daydreams .

xEach of our lucky winners will also get a package of wisteria seeds from my garden. (Sad note, must add: Be sure to check your area about seeds from foreign lands, like Massachusetts, and don’t use them if you are somewhere like California, where seeds from other places could wreak havoc with the lettuce crop among other things . . . just bundle them off to a less exacting state . . . 💛)

And now, Vanna?  The winners please?

wisteria on the porchHer flaming fingers reach out to me, with three tissue-thin pieces of paper in them . . . and it is my pleasure/pain to announce . . .

Winner number One is the much loved Sharon Civale (on behalf of her generous sister Jennifer Chapman)

Winner number Two is the adorable Shellie L. (the Shellie L. with “the little girl’s room” and the wonderful step-mom)

And Winner number Three, drum roll, is the luv-lee Suzy B. of Bamburger Family Fame.

C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S to our Fabulous Winners, and thank everyone who entered, one and all! This would be no fun without all of us!!! 

monks

And now . . . oh, the unbearable weight of the waiting, zee lovely Vanna just flung herself back into the vat, scissor-kicking clear to the bottom, all elbows and knees bumping the sides of the canvas vat . . . I am so sorry because we can only have ONE HANDMADE VINTAGE QUILT WINNER, and I would like EVERYONE to win ~ BUT, Here we goooooo . . . the Grand Prize Winner for the quilt flapping in the wind above (the mostly white one) AND for a package of wisteria seeds fresh off my driveway where they bounced out of their little pods . . . IS:

Trisha . . . who we are apparently going to meet (as she wrote in her comment), along with her daughter-in-law, this coming Saturday our very first event in Plainville, MA! Congratulations Trisha!!!

happy-girl

FANTASTIC!

I’m so excited for our winners . . . AND now, I’m going to do all I can to take your mind off the devastation, with lovely consolation prizes and fare-thee-wells from me to you . . . I wish I could fix you all a plate of soft-in-the-middle, crunchy-on-the-outside, buttery potato pancakes, because I know that would make you feel 100% better, but this is the best I can do from here: Mark page 110 in Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams (so you can make them for yourself) ~ and do it with this . . .

MVID-BookamarksA special Little House bookmark, a tiny, 9″ token of my great affection, from me to you with love, and huge amounts of gratitude.

get-attachment.aspxstripofflowersYour sweet words in your comments have been my joy and my strength, and caused me hours of laughters and tears reading them . . . honestly, I know it probably sounds corny, but it is the truth. I can’t help it, I’ve become addicted to you, not just to you, but to us. Just click on that link above, print your bookmark on card stock, cut around the black line, and maybe even give it to all your favorite moms for . . .Mothers dayflowerWhich is coming up . . . but since we’ll be traveling I want to make sure we get to celebrate this very special day together. So in honor of Mom’s and of Spring, I thought we might enjoy an early Mother’s Day and make some plans with the perfect MUSICA  and my recipe for . . .

ChocChipPancakesDelicious Chocolate Pancakes in honor of  good Mom’s everywhere, and especially for this little doll . . .OriginalFairyTaleGirlAreYouTheReason

She definitely is.  And, while we’re at it, something else perfect for giving, easy, and just delicious for this time of year when the strawberries are at their very juiciest best . . .Chocolate-dipped-strawberriesAnd another surprise, because you’ve been asking . . .

Dream Charms

Our Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams & our Girlfriends Forever Dream Charms have come back in! Yup, we have ’em. 

Girlfriends dream charm

Each comes in a cello bag on his own little gift card. Unfortunately the manufacturer did not send us as many as we ordered, but I think we might have enough for everyone who wants one. Martha's Vineyard Isle of Dreams . . . Dream Charm

Because nothing happens unless first we dream! Also, Janie made us some new banners, the most darling little Mother’s Day Banners, each with their own tiny tulip-decorated envelope and gift card.And then, one more thing . . . to help celebrate the 30th Anniversary of my very first book . . .

MEDIUM SIZE

words fairytale dream

surprise!Heart of the Home Dream Charm

  It’s a new Heart of the Home Dream Charm ~ which is on order now. Little hearts of course, what else. We will let you know when they arrive at the studio! Pretty cute, eh?
charmNever stop!!!! As for fabric . . . I’m being asked if there will be more, and Oh, yes, there will be ~ all the whites will be up there soon, some are already, the Crabapples were the most recent addition . . . and more . . .

Susan Branch whites

Feed Your Creative Heart

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Labels, 3″ to 7″ across . . . with art and quotes on them . . . just went up in the last couple of days and will be for sale as soon as they are deemed okay by Spoonflower.

Fussy Cut Lower Corner

And the same with my “Little Patches” . . . each about 3″ wide . . .

Fussy Cut Quilt

as shown on this quilt made by Blue Ribbon Designs . . . That fabric will be available within the next few days also. And while we’re away, Kellee will keep on adding to my Design Library on Spoonflower.

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One of our Girlfriends suggested I make fabric from those blotter cards I test paint and pens on . . . and I think I will! What a colorful idea!  My kind of “contemporary!” Contemporary with heart.

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And our lambs and other “Baby Love” fabric will go up very soon, too. We’ll do our best to keep you busy! 

I guess that’s about it for today . . . but if you didn’t get the newest WILLARD, you can go HERE to read it, and sign up HERE to get the next one . . . and feel free to sign up your beloveds . . . we’d be happy if they were our beloveds too.

Isle_of_Dreamsbouquet flowers

May Day is coming, leave a flower on a doorknob or under a windshield wiper to surprise someone. If it’s a bouquet, a small basket is traditional, but old wallpaper, rolled into a cone, makes the sweetest Tussie Mussie holders for your arrangement. Read about the tradition HERE. And something else we should all do on Rabbit-Rabbit Day . . .

bunny-bunny

May dayThose white flowers on a hawthorne tree are heavenly, the dew must really be something!

on her way

And now, away I go! We drive onto the ferry boat early Saturday morning for our first event that afternoon . . . I will be blogging and taking lots of pictures from the road . . . so check in and be reminded of how beautiful our country is . . . with possible “glimpses of heaven in unexpected places” as our Twitter Girlfriend, Bren, is wishing for us. we’ll drive safely and you do that too, and take care of yourselves.  Come see us if you can.  And, remember, we’re going to England in the fall, so eat right, take deep breaths of fresh air, park a long way from your destination, provide yourself with lots of Red Letter Days so you are rested and healthy for a wonderful trip, k? Love you! See you on the Mainland! XOXO

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488 Responses to ALMOST TIME TO GO

  1. judy says:

    Praying Traveling Mercies for you Susan and Joe!
    love and prayers, jep

  2. Shanna says:

    Safe journey. I look forward to stowing away with you on the road. xoxo

  3. Marjory says:

    Thank you again, Susan, for another lovely blog. They always make me want to run outside and skip and dance! Congrats to all the luck winners of this most recent give-away. And I must ask; that vintage photo of the little girl – is that your Mommy? It’s such a cute picture and if it IS her, you look so much alike at that age! If it’s you, then it still remains, a cute little girl!

    A safe journey to you both and looking forward to seeing you in Morro Bay!

    Margie

  4. Oh my goodness – I am so honored to see my little quilt featured in this blog post. I am such a HUGE fan…and the Martha’s Vineyard Watercolor fabric (“Little Patches”) is one of my very favorite fabrics of all time! I have made several of those little quilts as gifts…and the one you have shown was made especially for my mom as birthday gift (she is a HUGE fan, as well) – we both truly adore your artwork and read your blog…and I had so much fun calling her to tell her her quilt is “famous”. Thank you for bringing a smile to my face today (and many days) and for sharing your passions and talents with the world – you make it a much better place!

    • sbranch says:

      How wonderful Belinda, I was hoping you would find your wonderful quilt and come and say hello! Hugs to your mom too. Thank you for honoring me with such a darling quilt. xoxoxo

  5. Dear Susan,

    What a jam-packed delightful post! So many treasures and pleasures. I have read it a few times to catch it all, which is perfect.

    Wanting to send congrats to all the winners of your wonderful give-aways. I know that I know that I know they are gonna love them. I love your generous heart.

    I wanted to send my very best wishes for a wonderful two months on the road. I was thinking about you earlier as I was out and about doing errands and almost feeling the rising emotions myself thinking about times when I’ve been the one getting ready for a trip — the anticipation rises and excitement stirs, yet some wee anxieties hang around before there’s that final ‘take off’. Like saying bye to kitties and the house and the garden and the trees and the birds, and all your dear family and friends. But once that is all done and I’m actually on the road, then I start to relax and the excitement really mounts. Maybe you feel that too.

    C.S. Lewis and colleagues and friends in his circle used to ‘bless’ people when they left after a visit or meeting with the words ‘Go Under The Mercy’. So I’m wishing and saying a prayer for you today … safety and grace as you ‘go under the Mercy’. Blessed going out and coming back.

    Wishing you those sweet glimpses of heaven in unexpected places. We’ll be watching for pictures.

    Hugs to you and Joe and the kitties,
    Brenda (Bren on Twitter)
    xoxoxox

    • sbranch says:

      When we look at the highways, we are thanking God for the Mercies! 🙂 Thank you Brenda!

  6. Cindy says:

    Sent the info on May Day to a little friend and her mother. Sadly, neither of them had heard of the holiday. I loved surprising my Mom with a cone basket full of white and lavender colored clover!The little girl is my gardening, crafts and playful imagination friend. We have such fun. I’ve started sharing some of your books and ideas. Wish you had your seasonal ideas in a version for children. She is 8. Love all the Spring pics.
    Just bought Fairy Tale Girl!! Can’t wait till dark so I can drink tea and spend the rest of the night reading!!!

  7. Laurie Walt says:

    Safe and joyous journey Susan and Joe! See you in a couple weeks in Cedar Rapids Iowa! Can’t wait!😀🎉❤️

  8. Ruth says:

    I feel like Christmas is coming and the anticipation and excitement are building! I am bringing my writers’ guild with me (the inklings). See you in Hudson, Ohio! Love the beads and the hearts are so pretty!💖
    Ruth

  9. Jo says:

    Sweet travels with lots of new friends being met along the way.
    Jo
    P.S. Hawthorne trees are lovely to look at but dreadful to smell (talking about the white ones) so dip in quickly for that dewy experience.

  10. Sandy says:

    Dear Susan…..you may be fast asleep now, or not, too excited to sleep! or still up stuffing suitcases with just the right outfits. At any rate, I wish you a blessed trip, and look forward to being carried along. love and blessings, Sandy 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      All of the above, but now? Showered, dressed, packed, wistful, happy, and kitty kissing. xoxo

  11. Sharon Civale says:

    Thanks to everyone for your congratulations! I’m thrilled beyond words! And of course thank you to my dear sister, Jenny and to Susan for this and all the inspiration she gives to each and everyone of us! We are indeed blessed! 💕

  12. Lorie Hartsig says:

    Travel mercies……

  13. Mary says:

    Hello, I have just received your beautiful book a fine romance. I am loving every word and every place you visit. I live in the Lake District, not quite got to that part of the book as I am savouring it. I too love Elizabeth von Armen’s books and feel a re read coming on?
    When are you coming to England as I may have to schedule myself around you. I feel a trip around England myself.

    • sbranch says:

      So nice to hear such luv-lee words from someone who lives in a little bit of heaven! We’re having a BYO Picnic Basket party in gorgeous Stourhead, in Wiltshire, on September 18th. Come down the slow back roads way and fall in love with your fairy tale country all over again. xoxo

  14. Teri says:

    my dear,

    Read your entire book, “The Fairy Tale Girl,” on the plane to Alaska to visit my granddaughter. It certainly took my mind off of my fear of flying!!!
    It worked wonders—
    So I must order your, “Isle of Dreams” asap; for this next leg of my trip.

    You are like Comfort Food for my soul*
    100 HUGS of gratitude
    x-x-x-x-x-x
    Nervous Nellie

  15. Suzette Shoulders says:

    Dear Susan and Joe, I hope your USA “Road Trip” is full of laughter and happy times. Safe travels! I wish you were going to ‘Annie Bloom’s Books’ in Portland, Oregon. The shop is named after the black and white kitty that lives there! I would drive over the mountains to meet you two! I love all your books, and have given them as gifts to other people, not just myself! Excited to see all the fabrics I will be able to buy on Spoonflower! I will write myself a sticky note to check that site often for new SB fabrics! Hugs and best wishes for a fabulous journey! Suzette in central Oregon

  16. Karen Lotito says:

    Hi ,Susan! A safe and happy trip to you and Joe! Congrats to all the winners! Right now dear husband andcI are sailing from Sardinia to Gibralter on Holland-America’s new ship, the Koningsdam. It is a world to see! Be well & be happy! Love, Karen

    • sbranch says:

      You’re on a ship?? Too much! What a well-connected world we live in! Enjoy and Smooth sailing! xoxo

  17. Freda says:

    Dear Susan I imagine you are on your way by now , wishing you and Joe a safe and happy journey. I just wanted to comment on that sweet picture of your mother and say you look so much like her. I think of your Mother because my mom is 98 years old and in assisted living and likes to do all the activities they provide and most days she is content and some days not so much. Hope all is well with you.I am looking forward to reading your blog as you travel.

    • sbranch says:

      We are lucky to still have them ~ right Freda? And yes, we’re cozy in a hotel in Connecticut having a lazy morning, still in jams and drinking tea! xoxo

  18. Debbie Noyola says:

    Greetings Susan. Just had to let you know that I am about 2/3 done w’ Isle of Dreams & I don’t want it to end. It is simply delightful. I hope this isn’t your last book! Ten exclamation points.

    • sbranch says:

      LOL. It’s still a mystery, but I’m open, if I fall in love with an idea, I’m sure I will do it!

  19. Jayne McLeod says:

    Have a wonderful trip….

  20. Christa Owen says:

    Hi Susan,
    Have a wonderful, safe trip…Hope to see you in California.
    Christa

  21. Vita Avanesian says:

    Can’t wait to see you in Montecito!

  22. Lori B says:

    I just bought your trilogy for myself and my MIL! She’ll be visiting us Mother’s Day weekend, so I’ll wrap hers and stack them on her nightstand as a surprise 🙂

  23. judy from connecticut says:

    Hi Susan,

    Your trip has begun and I am SO excited to see you tomorrow in Madison !!

    In 1990 I got married and had to leave my precious New England for Oregon (where my new husband lived and worked) I was so homesick for Connecticut and I did not know anyone out west. I joined a group of women through a church and someone there told me about you and your books. I went right out and got them (and every one since) I loved them so much and spent so much time looking at your paintings, reading every word over and over, and making your recipes. I really felt like you and your books became my first friends on the west coast. I simply loved all things Susan Branch. When the Girlfriends book came out my mom went to RJ Julia when you were there, had you sign a book for me and sent it to Oregon, it was such a wonderful gift !!

    Now, years later, my husband has retired and I am home again, happily living in Connecticut. This time I will get to go to RJ Julia myself and meet you for the first time. I have to say, I feel a little like you must have felt when you met the Beatles !!!

    Madison is renovating the downtown so, unfortunately, it is not very charming right now. It is all a big construction site. If you have time, go to the Guilford Green- it is just the next town and it is beautiful- also has a good bookstore called Breakwater Books, it is right across from the Green. Essex is also charming, I remember that you have been there already.

    I am so glad that it was a man from Connecticut who brought love and joy back into your life, so that, like in all good fairy tales, you could live happily ever after !! You deserve it, we all just love you ! See you tomorrow !!

    • sbranch says:

      Full circle! From RJ Julia’s and Back again! Today! I look forward to seeing you. Tell me “Judy from Connecticut” so I can recognize you!! xoxo

  24. Willa Brown says:

    Oh HAPPY DAY for the winners of those marvelous prizes! Thank you, Susan for giving all of us the opportunity. Have a fantastic trip. I L*O*V*E road trips and yours should be spectacular! You and Joe have fun making memories for future reference. Looking forward to seeing you in Austin after my beloved Sam’s burial in Arlington National Cemetery the week before you arrive. X&Os, Willa

    • sbranch says:

      Loving our trip already and we’re only on day 2. Blessings on you and yours Willa. I’m so sorry. I look forward to seeing you in Austin. Hugs xoxo

    • Charissa says:

      Willa, I’m so sorry for your loss. Sending many hugs and symapthies

  25. Jennie Ambrosio says:

    Oh Susan! I am still reading Isle of Dreams. I just finished Chapter 4. I didn’t cry at your divorce. He never deserved you. But how I cried at Pooh’s funeral! But I smiled at the top of this post when I saw the picture of Joe, knowing your future is in good hands, even if I don’t know how it happened yet. God bless! Jennie

  26. Sherry Svoboda from Maryland says:

    Like the 2 books before Martha’s Vineyard out of all of the books I read in my life this is my favorite. After I finished the book I had tears running down my face. I was so amazed by your book and photos you took me right there with you. I was so sad when I finished. You really are an amazing writer and your 3 books really touched me. I hope one day you will write another just as good althou it will be hard to compete with this one. So many of us can relate to you and I am so glad you found your ultimate happiness Joe, your kitties’and your beautiful art.

    • sbranch says:

      Your words mean so much to me Sherry. I tried to tell that story in a good way, but of course you never know while you’re doing it, and am happy beyond words that you enjoyed it. Thank you for letting me know. xoxo

  27. Carol from PA says:

    Been thinking so much about you and Joe, Susan! Hope the trip is just perfect so far. Praying for safe travel! And also that this crazy rain lets up a bit when you arrive in Pennsylvania Tuesday. You will love New Hope. Anxious to hear if it reminds you just a bit of Martha’s Vineyard…without the ocean of course!

  28. Freda says:

    Yes dear Susan we are blessed. God bless moms everywhere. Hope you and Joe have a great day.

  29. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh Susan, sorry I’m late at posting this comment! Congratulations to all your winners! I could just see Vanna slipping by my name…she “almost” grabbed it!! Darn! But…maybe next time…smile~ I know you’re on the road by now…and I pray for a safe trip for you two! I loved hearing your birds chirping away..that is how it sounds here in Iowa. How blessed we are to wake to this!! God is good! Happy May Day!! Rabbit-Rabbit!

  30. Collene Bennett says:

    Hi Susan,
    I am so enjoying your new book and so excited and looking forward to seeing you when you visit Pleasanton, CA on May 27. Safe travels!!

  31. Jennifer Keller says:

    I’m listening to Frank Sinatra, drinking a cup of tea, smelling the delicious scones my husband has in the oven and snuggling my wonderful kitty Lola (or as I affectionately call her, “My Little Fuzz Nugget”) all while reading Isle of Dreams. Does life get any better? No? I didn’t think so either! I’m trying to not finish it too soon so I don’t go into withdrawals. One day I hope to experience the magic of Martha’s Vineyard. In the meantime I’ll get lost in the magic of your books and blog 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      No, it can’t get better ~ you have created the perfect life. Congratulations Jennifer! Thank you so much for writing!

  32. Mary Lou says:

    Hi Susan,
    You’re on your way! Big exhale.

    My husband & I just returned from a month travelling in a VW van from Vancouver BC to Sedona (& places inbetween) taking the slow coastal route along the mighty Pacific, Hwy 1 & 101, among others. On the way home, we stopped in Arroya Grande, to stop by your store we visited in ’07. Sadly, it’s not there anymore (the shop owners I spoke to on Branch Ave. though, are every bit as lovely as you). I now recall reading that you closed some time ago.

    I bought your 1st book in 1990 & still have the the card you wrote to reply to the letter I wrote you about my happiness in finding your wonderful books!

    I’m looking forward to reading your latest release!!

    • sbranch says:

      What a wonderful trip, and welcome home! Nice to hear from you Mary Lou! xoxo

  33. Vivian in Tennessee says:

    Looked at your itinerary and noticed Woodstock, Ga. I’ve signed up at Foxtale Books and am ready to go…of course you won’t be there until June 25…but I’m so excited that I do get to go and you will be near enough…it will be a two hour drive…but that’s not bad at all. See you on June 25 in Georgia! Safe travels!

  34. Sheri Bodi says:

    Hi Susan! Happy Road Trip to you and Joe! My sister, Vicki and her friend were at your book signing in Plainville, MA! She sent me some pictures of them with you! I was so glad she got to meet you:) Looking forward to hearing about all of your travels. Two months will fly by and before you know it you will be home. Blessings to you!

  35. Carol Jolly says:

    Congratulations to the winners, (but we are all winners, really, as we get to bond with each other, talk girlfriend-isms)!

    And bon voyage and best wishes to Susan and Joe as they begin winging their way across the country.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Carol! It’s our 3rd day out, and it’s been wonderful so far! Meeting the nicest people, all kindred spirits!

  36. Amy says:

    Just had to pop in a say that I made your Lemon Noodles from “Vineyard Seasons” with some sautéed shrimp for dinner tonight and wow were they delicious. My husband raved about them and ate every bite. Success!

  37. Happy May Day my friend,
    Safe travel and keep us posted on your way.
    Love to you and Joe. Enjoy your tour!!
    Carla

  38. Finally got back Saturday evening from the 2nd leg of the trips within a trip. So tired…I need to leave to go back North soon. I will miss some of the new Gulf places I have seen. I have met some of the nicest people on Earth here in Alabama!
    I hope to cross paths with you Susan, on my way home.
    OXOX
    Margot
    PS I read page 40 and had to stop…SPOILED? REALLY??? How could an oldest girl who helped her mother around the house and with the younger babies, then made a home for an ungrateful jerk be spoiled??? (We are kindred spirits in this.)
    People who don’t put their life in order and value what matters most get theirs in the end!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m not spoiled! I say, spoiled-like. Well, I wasn’t then, but now I have Joe, and I have to say, I am now most righteously and happily spoiled to the core! xoxo

      • That’s what I meant, you weren’t spoiled. That C-man will get his in the end. Past page 120 now…Paris. Really??? They still wanted us, so they tried to make us jealous. Mine did through his mom, and still sort of does. Our lives are better so they can’t, because we know it is the little things in life that matter most.
        I agree that with your Joe and my Arnie, you and I may be spoiled. Ahh…but it is well deserved!!! 🙂

        PS Chapter 7~ Autumn…I was born into Autumn on the 7th of October. I found it cool that your first Autumn landed in Chapter 7. Now you know why I regreted moving South, and now have moved back North. We couldn’t afford coastal NE, so we moved home to coastal Wisconsin. I do miss the White Mountains, because Wisconsin doesn’t have any mountains and I am a Swiss girl. I like to hike! I also loved the stone fences in NH, at home we have rock piles. LOL
        PSS Time for Elevenes. I found a wonderful shop in Fairhope, AL with a British themed tea pot, tea, crumpets, etc. called The Church Mouse. I keep looking at a tea pot from 1961 with a cute gardening theme painted on it, which reminds me of your scattered little drawings and writings next to the tiny pictures telling the admirer what they are. I keep telling my self that I don’t need another tea pot!!!

        • PSSS
          I finished Chapter 7, and I love how you jumped right in and knew what to do to Carpe Autumn, then survived Winter (I had to relearn how to dress properly this past Winter) and then you learned my second reason for going home to seasons…LILACS.
          My two sisters in NC and GA really miss them!

        • sbranch says:

          Fun to “read” Isle of Dreams with YOU Margot!

        • sbranch says:

          Fun to “read” Isle of Dreams with YOU Margot! xoxo

          • Still trying to decide about the teapot from Middleton…
            OK…after Page 199-200…I am not yelling at you to stop talking to the C-man, but I am singing “Return to Sender…Address Unknown…No such number…No such phone”. LOL
            I have always been interested in your printing or cursive, as well as your paintings. I liked practicing my penmanship too, since 3rd grade.
            Thanks for the ode to mothers! Some women deserve a Mother’s Day card even if they didn’t have children. The 80s were a tough time to choose domesticity, but some were pushing back then already. Remember “Baby Boom”?

            See you in St. Charles!
            OXOX
            Margot

          • sbranch says:

            Baby Boom, one of my favorites still. Trying to have it all ~ Diane Keaton was so darling in that.

  39. Kathy Oliberos says:

    Susan I hope you read this sometime soon because I want you to be encouraged by the comments. When your book (Isle of Dreams) came in the mail I was so excited to start reading it. In fact it took me all of an hour to unwrap it and get my drink of ice tea and settle in my chair. It is sooo good! A very warm book. You bring us into your life as though you know us and we are just talking on the phone. What a journey you have been on and shared with us. I have not finished reading it yet though I am right at the end. I have purposefully taken great pains to read only a couple pages a day. I just do not want it to end! Thankyou for your hard work in writing and painting each page. Looking forward to your next book someday. Blessing and safe journey to you and Joe on your travels across the states.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you so much dear Kathy, that was wonderful! Walking on air these days, I hope I don’t get too used to this!!! xoxoxoxo

  40. Chrissy says:

    Did I just see your first Martha’s Vineyard home on HGTV’s Island Life? I swear, there was the cutest cottage, shaped/shingled like the one on your book cover, only it is now turquoise, with rock trellis, but tiny and efficient.

    • sbranch says:

      Holly Oak is still shingled, faded gray with white trim, so I’m sure it wasn’t the same house, but I have to say, small Cape Cod style houses such as my old one are everywhere in New England.

  41. Debbie Noyola says:

    Man, I just finished Isle of Dreams. I looooovvvved it! Ten exclamation points! I cried when I read about your kitties. I cried for Myron & Ellie too. Now I have to read A Fine Romance again since I read it second. I wish I didn’t hate flying as much as you do. I would love to visit my nieces in Plymouth & take a ferry to Martha’s Vineyard to go see the linden tree table in the Vineyard Haven Public Library. More than anything I would love to see your enchanting little cottage. Please tell me it is still there. It just has to be. I would also be over the moon if I could meet you. I’m only 45 years past 12, there’s still time! Thank you for this wonderful book. Thank you for sharing your lovely life with us & for inspiring us to go after our dreams & to be the best that we can be. You are a dear. Why does Washington have to be so far away? 🙁

    • sbranch says:

      You should take the train! Even down the California coast to Morro Bay where I’ll be speaking at an event with the Coalesce Bookstore. It’s the civilized way to go! Holly Oak is still there, owned by someone else, and she’s added on quite a bit.

    • Do it Debbie! Take the train!! You even have a place to stay in Mass.!!! You Go Girlfriend!!!

  42. Janet says:

    Dearest Susan,
    I just finished reading “Martha’s Vineyard Isle Of Dreams. I laughed right out loud, and then on the next page, wept, and then laughed again. My favorite book so far (I’ve read all three of the trilogy and own many of your other books). Someday when we are both in Heaven, I hope we can pull out our watercolors and I can show you some of my paintings; share pictures of my tuxedo kitty named Wally; tell you about how I too had to invent myself and discover who I am really when I suddenly became a widow; and how I designed and had built (by a wonderful builder) my own little dream home of brick in the tiny woods, complete with bird feeders and garden. I love you and was inspired by your book and wish you blessings and fairy dust always.

  43. ShirleyRose Brady says:

    Am going to call Barnes and Noble as they said they didn’t have it for sale yet! This is in a suburb of Detroit where I live nearby??? Can’t wait for book! Love and a long long time admirer of yours and can’t wait for this new book!!! Shirley Rose Brady

    • sbranch says:

      We keep trying to get Barnes and Noble to stock my books, so thank you Shirley Rose, because I think they are more likely to listen to you than to us! XOXO

  44. Frances Fowler says:

    Hope you and Joe have a wonderful road trip, a swing-by-home for Kitty Love, and then……off to the ship for another glorious trip to England! I know you have heard it a million times, but here it is again….you look just like your mom! Congrats to the lucky winners via that ever chic Vanna 😉 Seems from the above posts that y’all are enjoying the first leg of your trip where it is still spring, the dogwoods are blooming — and the mornings may still be chilly? Looking forward to adding the Revised and Expanded edition of Heart of the Home next to my Old But Still Great version. Enjoy the sightseeing and Girlfriend Meet & Greets in the Fine Romance Van!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, chilly, and today, rain in New Hope, Pennsylvania. It’s lovely, window open, rain pattering outside, and there is a wonderful classical music station playing on the radio ~ we brought an electric tea kettle so we both have tea. It’s like being on vacation. There’s a tea-party, book-event this afternoon and I know lots of my Girlfriends will be there. Who could ask for anything more? 😍

      • Marianne says:

        Dear Susan,
        Was so nice to meet you in New Hope, PA. My sister and I so enjoyed your talk, reading and of course your wonderful books. I have read two of the three and just finished Fairy Tale Girl. It brought me back to those wonderful years growing up as I was born in 1948. The fifties and sixties were a great time to be young! The Holly Hedge Estate was the perfect setting for tea and a gathering of girlfriends.
        Thanks so much for signing all the books, taking all the pictures and being so gracious.

        • sbranch says:

          Wasn’t Holly Hedge the perfect place to have our tea party? I’m so glad you came Marianne, it was a wonderful day! xoxo

  45. debra sewell says:

    That photo of your mum as a girl was soooo pretty. I see from the blog photos spring is exploding on your Isle of Dreams. I would forever treadure those books, yet those seeds would be so like magic beans. Have a great trip. Now why is Joe growing his hair long. It looks not quite right. There are too many men of that age tooo tied to their hair and its past its youth prime. I can see his beautiful eyes better when its short. Please keep the beret. Its truly him.

    • sbranch says:

      He wasn’t growing it long, but every time he stopped at the barber shop, the line was too long, and he was too busy, and that was just what happened! I thought it was cute, but it drove him crazy! He finally got it cut, he’s happier now! Never losing the beret. Never fear. A few years back I had to talk him out of wearing it during the summer!

      • Beth L says:

        I LOVED Joe’s long hair!
        A true RENAISSANCE Man!!!
        See you in Asheville!

        • sbranch says:

          Either way he’s adorable. I didn’t know him during his long ponytail days! 🙂

  46. Ursula says:

    Dear Susan, It’s me, Ursula, from The Unlikely Story bookstore in Plainville, MA, and I wanted to tell you that day how much I love “A Fine Romance” because my much loved Ron and I visited many of the same places you and Joe did. He passed away last April and I didn’t want to embarrass myself by crying so am telling you now how very much I enjoyed meeting you both. Safe travels and have a wonderful trip!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Ursula, you are so sweet. I would have cried with you. I’m so glad the book brought back good memories ~ so important to make as many of those as possible. Thank you for helping me with the signing. It’s all a wonderful blur, I was thrilled to be there. Hope our paths cross again someday. xoxoxo

  47. JadeMichele says:

    I finished Isle of Dreams a few days ago,i Loved it and am thinking of reading it again,starting tonight 🙂

  48. Sarah in Tucson says:

    I know I’m a little late but I wanted to wish you both a wonderful trip full of treasured moments and connecting with all of us Girlfriends 🙂 It would be so beautiful to drive across the country this time of year. Can’t wait to see you next month, it’s like counting down to Christmas!!! Thank you for making the “Little Patches” fabric available again, was hoping you would. Congratulations to all the winners: happy reading, quilt snuggles and flower growing!

  49. Carol Lichwala says:

    It was so nice to see you again in Plainville on Saturday. My most pregnant granddaughter (Kathryn) can’t stop talking about meeting you. I just bought tickets to the Ladies Library in Brewster for July 28th, the only reason I won’t be there is if Kathryn has her baby. She is due on August 1st.
    I see you had a great turn out on Sunday in Madison, Ct. You have so many devoted girlfriends whom I am one of them.
    Safe travels to you and Joe.

    • sbranch says:

      Thanks so much Carol. SO exciting about your baby-to-come! Looking forward to the Beatrix Potter Birthday party . . . hope you can come, but understand if you can’t!!! 👶🏼

  50. Joan Kotvas says:

    Staying st holly hedge. What a wonderful quaint place. Can’t wait to meet u. Joan

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve never been there and am hearing wonderful things. See you this afternoon Joan!

  51. Genie in NC says:

    Loved your link to the bird songs and saved it on our laptop. I play it really softly in the background and it brings smiles to our day –
    Many thanks! 🙂
    Link: youtube.com/watch?v=BEkeLmy14PA

    • sbranch says:

      Once I found a machine that played bird sounds constantly . . . it was a long time ago, it had other noises on it, like ocean sounds . . . but it just added to the natural ambience in my house. xoxo

  52. Dot from Illinois says:

    Hello Susan……..I just received Isle of dreams and Fairy Tale GIrl as a gift from my daughter. I was so surprised and couldn’t put both books down until I had them read. Your story is what every girl dreams about is to live happily ever after. Life is such a journey and thank you for sharing that journey with the readers who admire your talents and you for sharing your intimate story with those who love you. Happiness and love to both you and Joe as you both live your happily ever after!

  53. Kat Fry on Rose Creek Farm says:

    Wow! and Wow! again! I read Marthas Vineyard Isle of Dreams straight through as soon as I got it…read it again! and now I’m reading A Fine Romance. I tell you what Girl…enchanting is what you are. Im on a lot of Book sights & everytime they do a survey of who’s reading what…what book had most touched you…who is your favorite author, etc….I put in Susan Branch of course! and name your lovely Books. For as long as I can remember I’ve always kept Journals. (yeah it does either drive my family & friends crazy…like…oh I know that’s going in the Journal! lol…or they ask me for certain dates on things from eons ago!) anyway, I bet you never could of dreamed that your name and Joes & what you do would be in other peoples Journals! Is that not awesomely freaky or what! I shall keep this short…will be in Austin on June18 with bells on! The Hubs & I are making a 5 day Grand Adventure to see you two! Have reserved my Book with Book People. So exciting. A wee sidenote…This is my Senior Trip for graduating High School…im 62…was 16, pregnant & married in the 10th grade & back then they didn’t let you go to school in ‘those conditions’. So…what with one thing & another…44 years later (if my math is right) I took a correspondance course & finally sent off my last exam this Monday. So its time to Partaaaayyyy! Looking forward to see y’all & all the lovely F.O.S.B.s down in Austin where we plan to “Keep It Weird Austin”! Thanks from the bottom of my heart Sweet Sue for all you do & the coolness you are. Much Love…Safe Journeys!

    • sbranch says:

      Awesomely freaky is exactly right. So unexpected and so wonderful! I am so proud of you!!! You darling graduate YOU. Nothing can stop you now! See you in Austin, be sure to remind me of your graduation so I can give you a graduation HUG! Drive carefully! xoxo Thank you for your kind words dear Kat!

      • Kat Fry on Rose Creek Farm says:

        OMGoodness Girl! A Graduation Hug! Super! You are the Best!
        See yall then!

  54. Betsy in Pennsylvania says:

    It was such a pleasure meeting you in New Hope yesterday! I forgot to make a request during the question and answer portion. Could you give some thought to reprinting The Christmas book you did years ago? Have a wonderful travel day. xoxoxoxo

    • sbranch says:

      I will do that Betsy . . . I was hoping someday to update it. Thank you for coming . . . it was such an honor to be there!

  55. Bev Brewer says:

    Dear Susan and Joe—loved every page of your beautiful, heartfelt story and still love thumbing through the book for the quotes and watercolors and photos. Remember the saying from way back—“You’ve come a long way, baby!”? Can’t remember what the ad was selling, but your journey through life is truly an inspiration and a wonderful success! One little question that I don’t think is a spoiler since we’re in the present day, but did Ellie and Myron get to meet our wonderful Joe?

  56. Barb says:

    Here on the west coast of British Columbia , Canada spring has arrived! Today I received
    ISLE OF DREAMS, a Mothers Day gift! I will save it till Sunday! Have a wonderful trip,
    Barb

  57. Rhonda D. says:

    Wishing you and Joe safe travels as you cross the country. I will be keeping you both in my prayers. Hope you have a wonderful time meeting with old girlfriends and making new ones. The most interesting thing happened to me yesterday. I was shopping at a second hand store and purchased a book of quotes. It sparked interest in my mom and she sat and read a good portion of your new book, asking me all kind of questions. As we perused through Isle of Dreams, I realized that I had bought a copy of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations in mint condition….the exact same edition you have. I was delighted. A red letter day for me!! I read it thinking about how you might have felt all those years ago as you were trying to piece your life back together….and you’ve done a fine job if I may say so myself.

    • sbranch says:

      How fun! Wait till you see all the wonderful quote books there are in bookstores. I’m definitely not the only one who loves them. And thank you xoxoxoxo Tell your Mom I said Happy Mother’s Day!

  58. marty from New York City says:

    Dear Susan and Joe_
    Wishes and dreams really do come true! All the girlfriends have been wishing you a safe and happy trip- and look at you so far down the road! Fantastic the outpouring of love and support that goes both ways. Wishing you many more days of such receptions and happy days in-between (if there is such a thing as a day in-between).
    Marty

    • sbranch says:

      It’s been wonderful so far…I’m going to try to squeeze in a blog update soon!

  59. Ruthie P says:

    Hi Susan…I hope you get this…I was at your book signing at the Learned Owl last night.It was such an amazing time!!! You are the dearest person,taking time for everyone.There was so much I wanted to tell you,but so little time.There was so much in MV Isle of dreams that I loved,but there was a paragraph or two that really stayed with me.When you said (not these exact words) how you thought everyone knew how to do things and you found out not everyone does,that is how I feel,but not everyone does,you do by just starting.(except for last night when I almost missed the signing because I didn’t know you had to register 🙁 But that worked out great because I met the nicest ladies and Joe kept us entertained .But those words meant a lot and I didn’t have a chance to tell you.Also,I forgot to show you my braclet with all your charms(except be an elf,I missed that one.Also,thank you for the sweet words you wrote,I really was on cloud nine,couldn’t get to sleep last night.Is that how you felt when you met the Beatles…thank you Sue for making people happy!!!!!?xoxo Ruthie….I wish you could have met Mark Twain:))

    • sbranch says:

      I wish so too Ruthie. And thank you . . . I was on cloud nine, just like you, meeting so many kindred spirits at the same time. I’m always pinching myself to make sure it’s real. Thank you for being there, and for being here! XOXOXO

  60. Ruthie P says:

    Oh…and I ate my fries with tartar sauce and loved it..ok I’m done.

  61. Mary Alice Cure says:

    I hope to come to Austin for the book signing. I have loved all things Susan Branch since I first saw the first printing of “Heart of Home.” My daughter and I have, and have given as gifts, many of your items. I look forward to the emails I receive.

  62. Tamara Thompson says:

    Hi Sue,
    I Just couldn’t wait any longer to tell you how much I adore Isle of Dreams … I absolutely love all the little details. I loved the part about the snow angel, the baking in your little cottage and the compulsive stenciling! And your lovely neighbors so cute and kind! I can envision this Couple with rosy cheeks and a twinkle in their eyes, just like some of the dearest souls I met out in country while in Ireland. Your writing is so personal it’s almost like De Ja Vu… Sounds so familiar, like my family up here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, only in the 70’s and 80s were wearing our Birkenstocks and wooly socks and skirts!! We had snow snow snow, then the apple blossoms and songs of the spring finch, the berries in summer , the crunchy leaves, then more snow snow snow . It makes me very happy to know you had the opportunity to experience ;and continue to enjoy, the seasons!
    In our college days (my youngest sister, the one kept the many journals…lived tending to a little tiny log cabin, and I mean tiny , one room , 350 sq feet?) while the owners were away for one winter. It was heated only by a small black antique pot belly wood burning stove, & had a small kitchen & bath, and a trapdoor to the attic where she slept! It was high up on Bluett Pass , where she had chickens to tend, fences to mend, a snowy quarter mile long winding drive on which to “ high center” in our trusty Subarus and also a cat, a cow and a horse to take care of .. My father, the sensible money minded one out of us all, just looked at her , shaking his head and holding his chin, said finally said to my sister
    “ we’ll that’s all and good, but Bon-Bon, a farm ? It’s going to be a lot of work.. ( he was 1/8 children raised on a farm), and continued “ don’t forget you are in school ; just how much are the owners going to paying you for all this?”…….
    And I will never forget her reply ; after a long pause, “she squealed with delight, “ No,no Daddy, you have it all wrong… I only have to pay them $ 450-500 a month in rent! LOL! And she moved right in. I recall that cold winter, in that little cabin where my other sister and I would drive up almost every weekend to be “ all 3 sisters together” some of the very best months of my life! And yes, for anyone out there wondering, I found out on a particularly cold night that a pot belly stove CAN get so hot it glows red! Fortunately we didn’t burn the place down!
    That was a long time ago, but my …how the years go by, but like James Taylor says ” the secret o life is enjoying the passing of time ” . I have always loved “and the Berkshires’ seemed dream like… on account of that frosting” too…. so much; that my son has Taylor as his middle name…

    Thank you for bringing it all back! I know I always say this, but I am sorry if this went on too long, but I just couldn’t resist… I thought since you are sharing so much of your life with us, that you might enjoy a little of “our “ , (in this case “ my “ sharing in return..)

    The other thing your book helped to remind me, is all our little moments matter , none of us are insignificant no matter how it might seem to us at the time… and….None of our moments are by accident, Our creator has a purpose and a plan through it all., in dark days… (and you had plenty it sounds) , it’s easy to feel lost and abandoned , and wonder if in this broken state we will ever survive, and if we do, we wonder if we will have anything of worth to offer others? Yes! Your story reminded me A little of the biblical story of Joseph in Genesis Joseph , a Hebrew, and one of the younger of a large family, was sold in to slavery by his own brothers out of their anger, bitterness and jealousy. Despite this,,Joseph rose in the ranks in the Egyptian courts from a lowly slave ; to a respected government official in charge of agricultural resources , just,… so during a famine God could use him to share food with his hungry brothers, who didn’t even recognize him, and who he immediately forgave…. What a story of Gods faith and mercy. What a inspiring life you’ve lived … Your story illustrates so beautifully that we can never put our entire self worth in anyone or any one thing; anything we possess, could all crumble in an instant . Although the world is filled with wonder &, beauty, it is also filled with pain, we should never get so wrapped up in either state that we forget who we are , who our creator is and just and who we were created to be… ( servants to one another!)
    I was sad you weren’t coming to the Northwest because I thought I wouldn’t get to meet you or even get to know you, “a little, “ but this evening it came to me…. I DO ! I already know you, and now you also know a Bit more about me and how your work has impacted me. CS Lewis had it right when he said “ we read to know we are not alone”…
    Here’s to the best book tour ever! ( insert clinking of full champagne glasses…) and I was thinking, you could be like “Star Wars”, go back and do a prequel. I’m sure many would love to hear the story of your parents romance in more detail and the antics of your household with 8 children and how your upbringing and being the eldest shaped you into the wonderful woman and beloved writer you have become today. The psychiatrist in me is coming out….

    Ps edit out all of my post all you want, this was for you ♥️

    • sbranch says:

      I wouldn’t edit out a single word of this post of pure heartfelt enthusiasm! Thank you Tamara, I know I don’t have to tell you to have a wonderful day! But I do anyway XOXOXO

  63. Joanne Dahlman says:

    I’m reading Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams and I’m trying to slow down my reading because I’m enjoying it sooo much and I don’t want it to end. You make everything you write about come to life! Right now I hear a train blowing its whistle and I love that sound….kind of like the foghorn you write about. It’s a comforting sound….my little papillon dog, Rudy, is curled up next to me and he’s snoozing (so content). I wanted to see you in Cincinnati but had to be in Cleveland for a wedding (it was beautiful). Go figure, two great things to do on the same day!! Anyway, just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your books and IWILL BE REREADiNG them. That is until you come out with another one! Thank you and safe travels to you and your crew.

  64. GLENDA WEISS says:

    I am so excited, I will finally get to meet you in Salt Lake City, Utah!!
    I am the lady who wrote to express how wonderful it had been to read and re-read (aloud) your cookbooks in the wee hours of the morning while taking care of my wonderful husband who was terminally ill. Chuck and I enjoyed each and every word. You are a Godsend. I treasure the handwritten note you sent to me. See you soon! :~))

    • sbranch says:

      I look forward to meeting you Glenda . . . and I’m sorry for your loss, just words, but with heartfelt meaning. Sending love. xoxo

  65. cathy says:

    Dear Susan, Today, I started reading your new book and enjoying it immensely and as I was sitting out on my front porch reading a male cardinal kept flying to the crabapple tree. I kept asking where his mate was and followed and they are nesting in a large pine tree outside my bedroom window. Thanks for sharing your life.

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