HAPPY 2018!

 Hello Lovely People! Happy 2018! I hope you aren’t worried about me! It’s been too long ~ Tick Tock! I’m sorry, but all of a sudden I have two major deadlines looming, one is this Friday. The designs for the Springtime cups are due. I’ve been working in a frenzy, but they’re done… they’re with Kellee now ~ we’ll get them in on time. (A little preview is further down.) Also, I want to design some special badges for our Picnic at Castle Cottage. And, believe it or not, the 2019 Calendars are almost due! Which I’ll get back to doing after I finally say HAPPY NEW YEAR to you!  MUSICA (Girlfriend Requested😘)

We had such a wonderful snow on Christmas . . . it was perfect, thick and quiet, and like a fairytale.

A winter wonderland . . .

And just right . . . in an uncertain world, one thing mankind has always been able to trust, the one thing that never disappoints, the seasons will change. You can set your clock to it.

I love how snow blows and drifts and piles up and makes everything more interesting.

Early morning, walking through our pantry, I saw the view of our barn from the window and ran for the camera.

And of course, there’s Joe, as viewed through snow flowers… Joe, who makes it all possible. He loves shoveling snow! I don’t know why, but he does!

We’ve had fires almost every day…

On New Year’s we went to my girlfriend Lowely’s house two-doors-over for dinner ~ and afterward we played Pictionary! I bought the game about twenty years ago at a yard sale, but we’d never gotten around to playing it. It was so fun! We laughed ourselves silly! This is Joe showing off his depiction of the movie, Tarzan! I would have said HangMan, but luckily there were other people playing besides me! I drew Beauty and the Beast ~ but despite excellent “pretty-girl” drawing (including bow in hair and small crown), no one got “Beauty” ~ and despite excellent depiction of beastly beast, no one got that either! 😜 I need practice! But how would you draw “Beauty?” Inquiring minds need to know!I need all the help I can get!

This is the New Year’s “Wolf” moon, early Jan 1, just setting, from my kitchen porch ~ what a gorgeous moon we had, right? Memorable. By the 3rd, our rising moon was still huge and had turned yellow. Which reminds me, I have something for you for the New Year! Our Full Moon Bookmark with dates and Native American names for all the full moons in 2018. Just click HERE, print it out, fold in half, glue sides together (laminate if you like), and  Don’t forget to make your wish on every moon!

Most of our decorations are all packed up and back in the attic, waiting for next year. Sad to say goodbye, but they’re a big part of what makes Christmas so different and special from any other time of year!

We still have our lights. We leave them up out back, we light them in the summer too. I took this photo from the dining room window ~ you can see through the porch windows, through the windows over my kitchen sink, all the way to the barn door with the wreath on it! Three sets of windows to the barn. I don’t know why but I like this!

I like this too. 💞Jack is in love with his Christmas kitty toy! He’s ecstatic about this feathery thing!

Those eyes! That mustache! What a baby. Several of you have asked for a Jack Cup ~ I just designed one! I’ll show you soon! Yes, I can tell you true, that is the softest belly in the world.

And now, time is rushing on, soon it will be Valentine’s Day, which is fine with me, I love my heart bunting and especially love something sweet to look forward to . . .And you know me, I think Valentine’s Day was invented for women 💞, it’s as close to the tooth fairy as a grown up person can get! So, perfect timing, because a whole bunch of Valentines just arrived from England! The cups are in!

And for our UK Girlfriends, we found a retailer in England to carry them ~ no more terrible shipping costs! If the new cups aren’t HERE yet, they will be very soon. They still have a few of the older designs.I hope some of you that preordered have received yours already? Kellee, Sheri, and Alfredo been working late at the Studio to get them out ~ I hope you Love them! This will be our first dated collection ~ I’ve always liked things with dates on them ~ all the cups coming from 2018 on will have the year on the bottom. So in the year 2083, people can look at their cups, say wow, old, and wish they could talk ~ just like I do with every old thing I have!

Sunrise is coming earlier and days are getting longer, HOORAY! Each day a step toward spring, spring, SPRING, only 68 days to go! Yesterday, shockingly, we had a rare 50-degree day! We went for a walk for the first time in weeks! Just beautiful out at the water, the seagulls white against the bright blue sky, drifting on the wind off the water, wheeling away with long cries. . . they were celebrating just like us!

Before we know it snow flowers will turn to the real thing!  This might be a form of denial, but isn’t it all so lovely?  The pure magic gift of the changing seasons always gives us something wonderful to look forward to!

I have no problem getting out my Spring photos for a little pre-celebration! Daffodils, Freesia, spring rain, and cherry blossoms! That little blue bottle in the window is the one Joe found in the hole he dug when he was planting our Dogwood tree. You should have seen my face when he brought it in ~ just like Jack with his Christmas toy! It’s the little things! 🌸

I was looking for some bergamot seeds on line the other day, and found the most inspiring website that put me completely in the garden-prep mood! It’s British (and unfortunately, they don’t sell to America), but it’s such inspiring reading that it doesn’t matter! It’s a web store for Heritage Seeds, where Brits can buy the oldest varieties of flower 🌺, herb, and vegetable seeds to make their own 15th (16th, 17th, etc.) century gardens! You can go here to see it: http://www.thomasetty.co.uk/seeds/index.html  Some of the lovely old descriptions will fill you with ideas for your own garden: Such as this for MEADOWSWEET: ‘..the floures boiled in wine & drunke, do make the heart merrie. The leaves & floures far excell all other strowing herbes, for the smell thereof makes the heart merrie.’ 💞 Who doesn’t love a “Merrie Heart” ~ I want to run right out and get me some of those seeds!

Yup, soon it will be time for this! Lamb Cake! Go HERE if you’d like to see how this guy was made.

So you see? January is wonderful! The month of New Beginnings. All you need is a little imagination! (Help! Turn up the heater, get my shawl, warm my slippers, bring me tea!)

Our temperatures have risen, but for a couple of days last week it didn’t get over two degrees. Brrr! But I discovered something excellent about the cold ~ cut flowers last longer! That’s Stock in that little jar (I have a thing for tiny jars 👏), Joe brought a bouquet home from the supermarket ~ I didn’t have the heart to tell him this is basically a two-day flower and not worth the money we spend on it, despite how delicious it smells. Well, we’re going on a week now and look at that flower! Fresh as new! In the window, close to the cold, they thrive!
I have much to do before it’s really spring ~ I can seriously use all the “not-spring” days I can get … . Calendars need to be finished by the first week of February. I think I may have already showed you September, but just in case you missed it . . . 

I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying painting new art for them…

This is my happy place!

Okay, I promised a preview of the new spring cups I’m working on. This is only a glued-together paper mockup, not perfect, but it gives you a fairly good idea. The colors of the pansies will be more like the colors in the paint box. They will be gorgeous on that bone china! Want to see the other side?

Here you go! And those little wildflowers above will go all the way around the bottom.

The handle will look like this except I think it might be in better focus! I adore pansies, such a happy, tender little flower. L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables) wrote: Nobody can keep on being angry if she looks into the heart of a pansy for a little while. 

The “Jack” cup isn’t quite done yet, I’ll show you the other side soon. Here he is, peeking through the books with a ponytail band in his mouth. So “him.” These new cup designs won’t arrive to our Studio until April . . . but soon there will be a new WILLARD where I’ll show the other two designs, the new “Spring” cup, and the “English Countryside” ~ by then they should be ready to go up for presale. I’ll also have a link so you can print out your badge for the Picnic ~ (and BTW, if you are wondering what a WILLARD is, it’s my free Newsletter. Click HERE to read old issues, find out why it’s called Willard, and sign up to get your own💞). WILLARD will also have a new giveaway. Lots to look forward to!

Made this last night, a double batch of Macaroni and Cheese. We have a friend who had surgery, so we brought half to him and we kept the other half. My mom’s recipe. The Best. Comfort food for the ages.

So easy. Whoever invented pre-shredded cheese deserves an award! The recipe is in Heart of the Home, and seriously takes about ten minutes to make! Twenty-five minutes later, you are in heaven.Here are the rest of Joe’s flowers, I just wish I could send you the fragrance, I close my eyes and put my face right in the middle … it smells like a flower store in the spring. The added benefit during this extreme cold when the furnace is blasting and the fire is roaring and the macaroni and cheese is bubbling in the oven … is the pitcher of water these flowers are in. It helps to put moisture in the air so that when you reach for your kitty, or kiss your dearest other, you don’t shock them! So your lips don’t chap and peel off your face. If you don’t like using a humidifier, do what we do. Besides bowls of flowers, we dampen towels (I use the spray thing in my kitchen sink) and hang them in the rooms we use most, the bedroom and the TV room. And I drink water all day, starting with a big glass every morning before my tea, cold water topped off with 100% unsweetened cranberry juice ~ and another glass just before bed. That’s it, winter tip of the day!

Have you seen The Darkest Hour? We just saw it. It’s the story of Winston Churchill’s first month as Prime Minister. SO GOOD, SO SO GOOD! You’ll love it. History, wonderful acting, gorgeous visuals, and no violence. Look how pretty “Clemmie” Churchill is. I would like the whole outfit. Maybe not the head net, maybe not the fur-body, but for sure the rest of it.

V for Victory. I won’t give anything away . . . just go see it!

I came home and Googled Churchill’s wife, Clementine, wonderfully played by Kristin Scott Thomas, because, for one thing, I was curious to see if she really wore those darling curls as shown in the movie . . .

And those scarves, and her other interesting head gear. And she did!

So off I go, off to make new Calendars. Love you Girls, I hope you are all well and fine and doing everything you can to make your dreams come true.That’s what I’m working on! All my very best for a wonderful, peaceful, creative 2018 ~ “To see a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.” Love, from your Pal for Life. We share this planet, isn’t that amazing? Born at the right time.💞 XOXO

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671 Responses to HAPPY 2018!

  1. Dear Susan and Friends,
    I typed a long message about seeing “Darkest Hour” that included a Question and Answer period with the author, John K. who wrote the book that the movie was based on. But, my message does not appear here! Oh my! I don’t know why. I was so anxious to share with you about this grand, 93 yr. old author too. I’m just wondering why my message wasn’t accepted. Sigh.
    Cheers,
    Carla Herkner

    • sbranch says:

      Probably I haven’t gotten to it yet Carla, I have 234 comments waiting for me right now. I love to read them but maybe I should stop and do the “approvals” the fast way!

      • Anne Miller says:

        Noooo….we can be patient. Please read them, Susan. A response is never expected. A sweet gift when it happens.Thanks for your patience with us. XO

        • sbranch says:

          I meant to say, maybe I should stop replying! I would never not read them! But I love shooting the breeze too. However, it’s getting late and I don’t think another day should go by without these lovely words all being published! Thank you Anne!

          • Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

            Dearest Susan, Take your time – your responses means so much! I’m 73, disabled, financially struggling after a lifetime of hard work, family, lovers & close friends gone…..you and The Girlfriends are my family….to listen to me, to support me and to care.

            It’s especially crucial now when Santa Barbara is experiencing the fires, floods, and loss of life…people I’ve known for years, the Doctors who have cared for me, the people I’ve seen every day for years.

            I’ve cried almost all day today since the list of lost lives has been published. It’s like the day my Mom died and the simplest thing will bring tears….I’m not usually an emotional person.
            I need to be held and told it’s going to be ok as it keeps getting worse and worse.

            Saddest part the majority of people were given ample Mandatory Warning to get out…..about 24 hours and they chose to stay since they had just been allowed back after fire evacuation.

            Yesterday First Responders and the dogs have started searching for body parts. One can’t begin to realize the total devastation the floods have caused after the fire….what the fire spared, the floods have pulverized. We have the same firefighters now that worked on the Thomas Fire.

            FYI The THOMAS FIRE was caused by SCE electrical wire above Ojai and by Thomas Aquinas College.

            Those not in Mandatory Evacuation area were in Voluntary Evacuation are and they too stayed….go figure.

            It’s the innocent children and animals that suffered or died because of the adults’ decisions. I don’t think I could live with the guilt.

            PLEASE LET THIS BE AN EXAMPLE FOR YOU!
            HEED EVACUATION WARNINGS AND GET OUT! REMEMBER SANTA BARBARA 🙁

            Susan, I check the Blog 3 or 4 times a day for your comments….please keep em coming – I and so many others need them.

            Yes, I can make it on my own and have for years but it’s so nice you’re all here caring and supporting me.

            Love to you all – thanks for being here, Sandra

          • sbranch says:

            Poor Santa Barbara, I’m totally shocked about this extreme attack of “natural” disasters wacking away at my darling home state. Prayers for everyone every day. I hope you can find a little lightness of heart for yourself dear Sandra ~ if it’s that’s even possible in all of this. There are things not in our control. Maybe you can go to a flower store, see the color and smell the flowers, that always cheers me up, or go to a wonderful movie that will have you counting your blessings by the score, we loved The Darkest Hour, and then maybe stop at the tiniest oldest church you can and say a prayer. Blessings on you, I worry about you. You do so much to help. xoxo

          • Deb says:

            Oh, my dear Sandra! What sadness! I do hope that you know that you are being heard and felt for and are sent hugs and more hugs. I am so sorry for all that is happening there. I live in Washington State and we have had fires and flooding but the amount of devastation happening to poor So California is too much to bear! I do hope you have friends left to hold you and comfort you in this terrible time of sadness and devastation. So many losses – it’s difficult for anyone. Stay comforted by Susan and all of the girlfriends. We are here for you ♥
            Most sincerely,
            ♥Deb♥

        • Shirley Burt says:

          I agree Anne. We will be patient.

          • sbranch says:

            I always read them, just sometimes it gets impossible to answer them, you answer 5 and meanwhile 10 more come in! Thank you for understanding! xoxo

      • Oh my! I totally understand. Please do read them. Many thanks for each and every smidgeon of things you do. It is so needed during these trying times. Total oasis! ~Cheers, Carla

        • Diane says:

          This is for Sandra in Santa Barbara: Sandra, I was in a similar personal situation due to chronic illness for several years where Susan’s blog and the responses of the girlfriends were one of the few sources of light in my world. It was something I looked forward to every day. Susan has a way of helping us see the simple pleasures and radiates the gift of caring and hope. I know it can be almost impossible to get out of your home even if you feel well enough to do so, and sometimes the lack of money to treat yourself to something makes that impossible.
          I think I speak for the other girlfriends who have read your comments that you are cared for and held in our thoughts and prayers, and that we hope for better days for you and all those who are struggling.

  2. Carol Kennedy says:

    I was home all week with bronchitis and feeling rather low. I checked for a new blog and happily found one. As usual, you have put a smile on my face and joy in my heart with lovely sayings, pictures, new cups (yea, Jack), and lovely artwork. Thank you so much for being you!!!

  3. Cindy Johnson says:

    I have been checking each day to read a new post and enjoy new pictures. Missed you ! But my winter cup arrived safe and sound and i love it! I will be ordering the new spring cup. Enjoy the quiet of the snow. Still lots of winter time to be cozy with a little something in that adorable cup.

  4. Carol from CT says:

    I hope folks know about this seed company: hudsonvalleyseed.com/
    The seeds are sold as/in Art Paks. The owner commissions artists to create the fold-out seed packets. The actual art is then sold as posters and fine art. Look at this artpak for “Rembrandt Snapdragons”: hudsonvalleyseed.com/art-packs/new-for-2018/rembrandt-snapdragons.html. Here is the Fine Art Poster (just one example of many) for “Dark Star Zucchini”: hudsonvalleyseed.com/fine-art/evergreen-scallion-fine-art-poster-4460.html. From their mission statement: “We offer heirloom and open-pollinated seeds for vegetable, flower, and herb varieties. Many of these seeds we produce on our own small farm; the rest we source from other local farmers, farmers in other regions, and from trustworthy wholesale seed houses that are not owned by or affiliated with multi-national biotech companies…Since May 2013, we are both a Certified Organic farm and a Certified Organic Handler (both certifications provided by NOFA-NY LLC). ” Owner Ken Greene has a true interest in preserving heirloom seed varieties. I heard Ken speak at the Florence Griswold Museum of Art in Old Lyme, CT. Truly an inspiring person. They had an exhibit and booth at the Philadelphia Flower Show last spring and I believe they do the Boston Flower Show also. This is the kind of business I love to see flourish! Pay their website a visit and dream about spring planting!
    Love, Carol from CT … tra la
    P.S. Here is Ken’s 1/12 blog entry: “Sow in the Snow”…Did you know you can sow in the snow? Find out how: hudsonvalleyseed.com/blog/

    • sbranch says:

      Wonderful Carol! Thank you!

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      Hi, Carol from CT,
      We used to stay at The Bee and Thistle right next door to the wonderful Griswold museum. While my Tom was over in New London doing things with his Coast Guard mates, I’d sit on the Lt. River bank and just breathe, or poke around in the museum. Florence, Bless her.
      I do organic at our home in Maine. Either MOFGA seeds or Johnny’s Seeds. Also participated in Seed Savers. I’m partly disabled now, but I still plant various things in big pots up on the deck. That way I don’t have to kneel or squat.
      It’s always good to meet someone who appreciates Organic. For a fabulous one or two days, you should drive up to the Common Ground Fair. Just put that into the computer, and get all the info. It’s become the a huge thing in Maine. You can sign up for the various speakers in advance. Lots of great ones every year. And demonstrations.
      Debbie in Florida until Spring, then “home” to Maine

    • Jayne says:

      Great website. Thanks.

  5. Arlene says:

    Happy New Year Susan! Love all the new mugs. The flower one touched me…..my mom loved flowers and was quite the gardener. I’m so blessed to say I inherited her green thumb! Can’t wait for Spring, can’t wait for the mug.

  6. Janet in Pittsburgh says:

    Susan, Thanks for brightening up the “New Year” already. Reading your blog is one of the most relaxing and enjoyable activity. I can’t wait to check out the British gardening site. Happy New Year to you, Joe and Jack.

  7. Shirley Burt says:

    Sweet Susan, Happy New Year. My first response is awaiting moderation. Please do not look for it. Just know I loved your delightful post. It makes me so happy to see you and Joe and our delightful boy. And was so pleased you all survived the storm and Joe has plenty of snow to shovel. It tickles me that he loves it.

    I finished the redwork ornaments. I waited until after the virus left the house, and Christmas was over but decorations still up. Love them so much. My request is please design some more. I want to make them to hang from not purchased yet holly garland next year. So please, please maybe in tiny bits of time you could design more.

    And please do not be sad, that grandmother must have had a very bad day, or is overwhelmed with things in general. The girlfriends understand quality and sometimes we must wait. Perhaps we miss out on one design, but you are so creative that there will be something else offered in the future. And yes, please, next year another Santa mug.

    Much love and lots of bunny hugs.
    Shirley

    • sbranch says:

      It’s crazy, I can’t seem to catch up, there are now 224 comments waiting! 😜 Ha! I have a matching Tree skirt coming soon, that goes with the redwork ornaments! I’m not sad, I do understand her point of view, just hope to help her understand. I’ll remember the Santa request. The same one, or another sort of Santa design, or another sort of Christmas design? Bunny hugs back to you Shirley!

      • FayE in CA! says:

        I think that a Mrs. “Susan” Claus cup would be a delightful companion cup for the “Joe” Santa Claus!! Tea for two, anyone? ❤️❤️❤️

      • sue says:

        Dear Sue
        Please do a Santa mug in the smaller size cup, for those of us that don’t prefer a really large tea mug. That was the reason that I didn’t buy last years Christmas mug, that I otherwise thought was adorable.
        Love Sue

      • Shirley Burt says:

        I am so happy with anticipation. A tree skirt to match. Heavenly idea. As for the Santa a different one. Or anything Christmas, I have several friends who collect Santa, and some that collect Christmas. And I love the large size. They are my go to’s for soup. They hold the heat so well. But Susan, whatever you decide will please the girlfriends. We are so varied that I know it is hard to please everyone everytime.
        Love and bunny hugs.
        Thank you, sweet Susan

  8. Anne Miller says:

    Happy New Year, dear Susan. Thank you for the calendars…I always consider them such a special gift from you. They reflect the time, effort and love that you put into them. They are Christmas gifts from me to so many people that I love. I rang in the New Year with my youngest daughter, Elizabeth. She recently moved from Brooklyn to Washington Heights, not far from the George Washington Bridge. I was there as she was settling in and creating her new home. First artwork on the wall was her 2018 SB calendar. Of Course! Love and Blessings to you, Miss Beautiful Light!

    • sbranch says:

      How fun for you with your daughter, settling her in, and how blessed I feel to know my calendar is on her wall. Miss Beautiful Light. That’s you. xoxoxo

  9. Lucy Crosby says:

    Hi, Please help me – could you tell me what I need to do to have my comments posted?

    Hoping,
    Lucy

    • sbranch says:

      I’m sorry Lucy, they just piled up on me, I’ll have them all published before I go to bed!

      • Deb says:

        I am guessing that the authors of the messages that are worried about getting their posts approved and published here are new to the blog.
        Patience, dear girlfriends. We like it when Susan is able to comment back occasionally but if she just posts them all with no comments in order to just “git ‘er done”, well, then look what you’ve done! Patience is a virtue – as my Mother always told me… 🙂 And welcome to the ever-growing circle of girlfriends! I love reading all your posts, as well as loving Susan’s posts and responses. It’s fun getting to know you all ♥

        • sbranch says:

          You have my number Deb! 😘

          • Elaine in Toronto says:

            Hi Susan, some of the girlfriends, especially those new to your blog, don’t understand what “Awaiting Moderation” means after they have posted their comment and before you have read it. Would it be possible to have a permanent, brief explanation posted on your sidebar? It would reassure them that they haven’t made an error posting their comment and might ease the pressure on you when there are a lot of comments – breathing room, so to speak. Hugs, Elaine

          • sbranch says:

            That’s a very good idea Elaine!

          • FayE in CA! says:

            Deb, thanks for your comment. Couldn’t agree more. It won’t be the same without the “conversations” and it won’t be a “love” for Susan if the pressure takes away the organic joy of the blog.

      • Lucy Crosby says:

        Hi Susan, I don’t mean to put pressure on you. I am not the best at the computer. I am sure I have made a mistake.
        Because you have made my life much better.
        Lucy

        • sbranch says:

          You’ve made no mistakes Lucy. I’m happy to have you here, and you’re doing it just right! So be sure to come back!

  10. Judi says:

    Happy, Happy New Year Susan!

  11. Helen Bobro says:

    I absolutely love all your mugs – but wouldn’t it add so much to add a little touch on the inside top of the mugs – say a pansy on the mother’s day mugs??? I have a rather large collection of English mugs that have this and it adds so much!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I want to, I tried to, I designed the first ones that way, but there is a law in California, which this English company has to pay attention to, that has a problem with design on the inside of the cup. It’s kind of blanket, no matter where the cups come from. Believe me, I’d love to. But because we sell to California with all the other states, so far they say we can’t have that.

      • Gill says:

        That is extraordinary!

      • Margot in Sister Bay says:

        Wow! Really?! You and I were better off moving away from CA with the wacky laws. What ever happened to a little sunshine and freedom?
        I too have English mugs with a little flower 🌸 inside of the edge of the mugs.
        I feel the way the butterfly does.
        Margot
        P.S. Love the pansy mug. It reminds me of my Grandma. Pansies are for friendship girlfriends!

        • sbranch says:

          There was lots of lead dishes coming from China (and other places) in the 80s and 90s…they passed this law in ’93 and most large manufacturers just cut out putting any design at all in the food parts of dishes going to California. It’s been fixed with better ways of firing. But it scared everyone. I know way more about this than I ever wanted to!

          • Margot in Sister Bay says:

            Interesting! What about solid color dishes such as Fiesta?

          • sbranch says:

            The old stuff actually has a little radioactive uranium oxide in it. It’s supposedly been lead free since 1986. The really cute old Mexican dishes, kind of a caramel color, they had lots of lead in them.

  12. Lillian Olmstead says:

    Dear Sue,
    Loved your blog, it just feels cozy. Happy New Year to you and Joe and Jack and enjoy January for it’s little quiet self.
    Wishes,
    Lillian

  13. Fran R says:

    Happy New Year Susan!

    Since your post dated December 24, I have managed the stress of leaving a job and beginning a new one, felt the sorrow of celebrating my first Christmas without my beloved Dad, marveled in wonder at the power of faith on Christmas Eve as I raised my voice in harmony from the choir loft of the church that I attend, given thanks for the blessings that have been bestowed upon me, appreciated the goodness and love of my family and friends, shivered in -27 below zero temperatures and giggled with delight while watching re-runs of Taxi with my husband.

    At my previous job, I used to read your blog on my lunch break and in fact, reading your posts was truly the only thing that kept me going during the stressful times that I experienced while working there. The new job however is wonderful but, I’m limited to reading your blog from my cell phone which doesn’t do it any justice at all! So while I wait for my husband to return home this evening, I have confiscated the laptop and have so enjoyed reading your blog on a full screen. I love the new cups, especially the Mother’s Day one with the colorful perky pansies parading around it. I look forward to vicariously accompanying you on your trip to England and Ireland later this spring.

    Thank you so much! Thank you to Joe for being so patient with all of us and to Jack for providing his own kind of entertainment through his many antics. As ever, you delight! You bring joy, comfort and hope in hard times.

    Fran

    • sbranch says:

      Love hearing from you Fran … So interesting to hear about your December, but 27 below zero, oh MY! Hope your new job is fulfilling! All my best!

      • Fran R says:

        Yes, that’s one of the “perks” of living in northern VT!

        Could you please recommend a TV series on DVD similar to Downton Abbey, Poldark or the Outlander series?

        Thank you.

        Fran

  14. Regina Carretta says:

    Happy New Year and thank you for the photo’s….we had a white Christmas here in Seattle this year….my rescue dog, Maggie Mae, quite enjoyed sticking her nose as deep as it could go into the snow…..three of us are planning our trip to Scotland and Ireland in May….how fun is it to spread out the maps and the Rick Steves’ books and make dream lists – we already have our B&B reservations in Edinburgh and St. Andrews….In Ireland Galway and visiting a friend in Dublin are on our lists….any where in Edinburgh, any street with colorful eateries or shops you recommend? Thank you for touching bases with all of us….you are an absolute gem…..

    Reply

  15. Janet Senatore says:

    Hey Chris…..I got my winter cup day before yesterday….did you get yours?
    Susan,
    I’m loose forward to both the Spring and the Jack cups….I just ❤️ Kitties. I have a houseful😀.

  16. jayne reimers says:

    Hi Susan! Love reading all the posts and replies! Please tell me how to get on the waiting list for the book :Isle of Dreams:? Thanks

    • sbranch says:

      It should be delivered within the next couple of weeks. I’ll announce it on the blog, but we’ll have lots of them then, so just go to our web store and you’ll find it there. xo

  17. Carolyn from NC says:

    I love your Mom’s macaroni and cheese recipe! I have been making it for years! My family loves it. It tastes just like the mac and cheese my Grandma used to make. Susan, thanks for all the lovely posts. I hope you and all your readers have a great 2018!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, so many Mac and Cheeses have “cheese sauce” made with flour etc. But this ain’t that!!! Happy 2018 to you too Carolyn!

  18. FayE in CA! says:

    Carrie, you cracked me up when you told Pat to “stick to your guns”…be careful, Pat has a trigger finger!!! HA.

    Good luck, Pat. Your neighbor is definitely breaking health laws.

    • Carrie from Canada 🇨🇦 says:

      Oh FayE!!!…I am in hysterics from your comment! Thanks for the terrific laugh back.

      Yes, I would be mortified if a headline arose about a stinky-neighbour, and someone with a trigger-finger…tee hee.
      Haha, so funny. I know in reality that is dangerous but in our world and circle here…it produces such hysterical giggles! I appreciate your humour FayE!

      I asked around and everyone was appalled at what you have had to deal with, Pat.
      I was told that not only is that garbage mess a health hazard and breaking many laws, it also is an environmental hazard and affecting so many levels of life in nature.

      I am proud of you for pursuing this, Pat. There will be light at the end of this nightmare. Or some much deserved fresh air.

      Call all the city officials and invite them over for an OUTSIDE teaparty! Let them stew in that awful odour. Nothing gets things moving faster in congress than when the “big-wigs” are knee deep in the muck too. Or in this case, smack-dab in line of the stinky odours.
      Rootin’ for you, Pat! Give ‘em hell.
      Carrie
      xoxoxo

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        Hello Carrie and Faye, thank you both for the support. that obnoxious neighbor will be getting his notice to appear in court sometime this month in the meanwhile they are getting nervous as the neighbors keep on reporting every little thing that is going on in that guy’s property. he has managed to lower property values around him, including ours and he could care less one way or the other. he is also a drug dealer, and manufactures or cooks up drugs on the property adding to the delightful stew of smells coming from there. also whatever is left from that cooking process is dumped or buried in the yard, making all of us concerned about our water supply, in other words the stuff could have leached over to our wells and contaminated them. so we are fighting this guy on all levels, and I hope that the end of the tunnel comes up soon, we have been at it for 2-3 years now and it has gotten worse by the year. I may be good at using the shotgun, but in this case I would prefer one good blast from the shotgun to put this jerk out of our misery. he has been in all definitions the prime example of what a bad neighbor truly is. I hope the county forces him out and forces him to pay for all the damage and trouble he has caused. if the county has to clean that property up, it is going to take a long time before anyone can live on that property again, thanks to all the contamination he created. thanks again for the kind words and yes I will keep you posted. hugs….. 😀

        • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

          and thank you Carrie for that idea, it might not be a tea party but I think putting a few elected officials in the firing line of those stinky odors will bring about some quick results. think I will also do the same to the local fire officials who excuse his illegal burning every summer when the fire restrictions are on, I mean come on the rules apply to everyone or they apply to no one. thanks for the great idea…. hugs….. 😀

  19. rhea says:

    Happy New Year Susan, Joe & Jack! Lovely post and thank you for taking the time to get one out with deadlines pending and such a busy schedule this month. You always somehow make time for us and I think I can say that we are always grateful to read your kind words, updates and fun stories. The Jack cup is great and is going to fly off the shelves the second they arrive, I’ll be getting one for sure 🙂 Spring fever has already hit. We had the same 50 degree weather for 2 days, melted the snow on the grass and my beds. I was beside myself with excitement digging and tuning the dirt and sorting through seeds just to see if I could get some kale and spinach going to tie me over until real spring comes. Today we’re covered with ice snow so we’ll see. Still worth it!! I’ll be shoveling like Joe today and I like it too. Have a cozy weekend and give Jack a little pet from me. Lots of Love……

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, us too, our spring fever has been iced out at this point! No snow, but it’s still almost dark outside at 7:40 am. Dark and stormy, black skeleton trees, birds flying across grey sky, I still don’t mind. I’m writing a Willard (which means I’m in England a lot, imagination-wise!).

  20. LindaB says:

    Dearest Susan, could you please let me know if they are still shipping mugs ?? Not trying to be a nag, and I know they are working hard !! Just curious as I still haven’t received a shipment notice and I’m a tad jealous of everyone posting how they LOVE them !! Haha. Thank you !!

  21. Sharon in So. Calif. says:

    Hi Susan, I love your beautiful snow pictures, living most of my life in So. Calif. I never see snow! Love that your Joe likes to shovel it, lol. Your mugs are so beautiful I can’t decide which to get. Thanks for the Full Moon bookmark and your Mom’s mac~n~cheese recipe, going to make it this week. P.S. tell Joe that I think he is a GREAT Pictionary player!! 🙂

  22. Julia says:

    Loved this post. Loved the snow and barn view with the lighted wreath! Love seeing Jack playing and so happy to have a new moon bookmark to print. I have one from a couple years ago and loved it. The cups are gorgeous. Now I am craving coconut cake and Mac and cheese! Yum!

  23. Beth Barnat says:

    Thanks for a wonderful cheering up this Saturday morning! Your newsletters always put a smile on my face.

    Thanks again!
    Beth Barnat

  24. Trisha S. says:

    Susan and Joe, Happy Healthy New Year. Healthy is most important!
    I was wondering if you could tell me what kind of lights are on your Christmas tree and porch. They do not look like any colored lights I have ,or have seen. Perhaps it is the picture itself but the colors look very different, especially outside.
    So looking forward to another wonderful year spent with you and your family. I think of you and your life philosophies every day. We have vacationed in Woods Hole many, many times and are all envious of your fortune to live on MV.
    Have a blessed 2018.

    • sbranch says:

      We always look for “different” lights when we’re out and about at Christmas time (or any other time actually). And love to hang different sizes and colors on the same tree or outside…so out back we have a set of the old-fashioned colored lights we had on our tree when we were growing up. I guess you can still get them, I don’t remember where we got ours, but apparently they still make lights like this that aren’t LED (too cold!). The other string is just the normal twinkle lights. Maybe they look different because when you take a picture of lights, they do funny things. I feel so lucky I landed here! Back in the day it could have been anywhere, and then where would I be! xoxo

  25. Peggy Cooper says:

    Welcome Back! I was so happy to see a new blog for the new year. We saw “Darkest Hour” yesterday, and loved it. My husband has always been a huge Churchill fan, and has read so many books about him, but even he learned a few things from this movie. So well done.

    • sbranch says:

      Fascinating man and life. So much history in that one person. We went to his grave last time we were there, near where he was born in Blenheim Castle. Simple little churchyard, with Clemmie and his mom. Very touching.

  26. JudyH says:

    Sitting home with a nasty cold, eating chicken noodle soup and reading your blog….I’m feeling better already! Brrr it’s cold in Florida but nothing like you are experiencing. I’ll take Florida’s winters, thank you. Oh, I have to have one on those Jack cups. Love my kitty and yours.

  27. Patty says:

    Hi Susan!

    I have a question for you. Are we able to buy your cups wholesale so we may sell them in our shops?

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, you can contact Sheri@susanbranch.com and set up an account. You’ll have to preorder like everyone else, in order to make sure we make enough, but once you get that going, it gets easier. We’re about to put together a list of our 8 or 9 retailers to put up on our blog so everyone will know if someone carries the cups near them. Sometimes we run out before the shops do, which makes it very handy for our Girlfriends.

  28. Sondra Harrell says:

    Susan, there is a place in Missouri called Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. You can find them on Facebook. They have a store in Missouri, and there is a place in Wethersfield, Connecticut – Heirloom Market at Comstock Ferrie. You can go on line to get a catalog from Baker Creek and look at all the heirloom seeds they sell. It may not be England but at least you can get heirloom seeds in the U.S. It has been bitterly cold here in Indiana this January. Coldest so far has been 17 below 0 and that was in the morning early as I headed out to church to get my walk in. At least I was walking inside and not outside. Stay warm!!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you! I was Googling heirloom seeds in the US, lots of wonderful companies, but I didn’t see those old(e) descriptive “Merrie” phrases used on the English website … I just liked reading those! Oooo, you’ve had more cold than us .. we got down to 2˚ (not counting wind chill)… Then up to 50˚ … it’s a roller coaster!

  29. I so look forward to everything you write, Susan. You cheer me up on gloomy days. The days have been especially gloomy this week as our precious granddaughter, Ginny Kate, was born on Tuesday and only lived a few hours before floating away to rest in the arms of Jesus for eternity. Seeing the pictures of winter and then spring flowers just reminded me that
    “Joy comes in the morning.” You will never know how much your beautiful pictures and words mean to so many people. Thank You, Virginia

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Virginia, I am so sorry. Heartbreaking. Joy comes in the morning. Tears and blessings for you and yours and for Ginny Kate. Sometimes I wonder how we mere humans manage to handle such heartbreak.💔

  30. Martha says:

    Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year to you & yours too! We’ve had freezing temperatures right after Christmas and now major snow storm here in Ohio. Love this weather! Today it was 17 degrees for the high and felt warm! Love the mugs and you are just blossoming as an artist. Just think . . . it all started with a geranium! I admire your work and your life story! You have definitely made major right decisions in your life!

  31. Happy New Year – I don’t drink “hot” beverages, so no need for cups however I would love to see dessert dishes in your line!

  32. Susan Morgon ( Ohio gal from SoCal ) says:

    I absolutely love the Wolf Moon picture – it is just lovely! All kinds of neat things in this blog, as usual. My husband and I went to see Darkest Hour and both of us enjoyed it so much. I loved the little quirks in Churchill’s personality and wondered if they were true to life. My Winter cup arrived and I am enjoying it very much. The colors are gorgeous! I was wondering about the one of the spring designs you shared. Kitty Jack is adorable, and the Mother’s Day is beautiful – is it one of your seasons cups, or is it a larger one? I ask because I just love the pansies and wildflowers, but I am not a mother, nor can I give one to a mother, so I have no one to buy one for. And I want one!
    Not complaining, just wistful. I realize most people will have someone to buy it for, so I am hoping for a similar flowery cup to come along some day – or just like it without the reference. But there now, I want to be sure to say all of your designs have been grand. Something for everyone! 💕

    • sbranch says:

      Both the Jack cup and Mother’s Day are larger … I haven’t shown the smaller Spring cup yet, but I will in the new Willard, coming to a mailbox near you very soon. Every woman is a mother whether she has children or not. I know that from experience. You can buy one for yourself, pet your head, and put yourself down for a nap.😘

      • Susan Morgon ( Ohio gal from SoCal ) says:

        Laughing…true, true! It’s a beautiful piece, that’s for sure. I will contemplate mothering myself when I snuggle in for a nap today. It’s been snowy and the roads are still slippery. I hope I didn’t come across as critical, that wasn’t my intent. I just adore your flowers!

  33. Susan Bochman says:

    Happy belated New Year to the creator of my wonderful cups, calendars and colorful prints that grace my house. I put candy canes in the Santa cup, gave your calendars for Christmas gifts and have your colorful prints throughout my house. I used your secret notes for Christmas dinners. I put them at the place of each guest and they were great conversation starters. My blue picnic basket is waiting patiently in the closet to be packed in my suitcase for its second trip across the ocean to your picnic. Can’t wait for May to come.

    • sbranch says:

      Ohhhhhh Susan! It can’t possibly show in my writing, but just reading the words about your “blue picnic basket” sent little screaming chills through me . . . I’m SO excited for this picnic! Thank you dear, I’ll meet you there!

  34. Nancy says:

    I have been sick ….no flu….just crud…..and read/reread all three books. Wondering if you & Joe were married on island??? No pictures……:-(

    • sbranch says:

      Crud’s better than flu! But it’s still crud! Feel better soon! Yes, Joe and I were married on the Island. I’m saving that story for “someday”… not sure when, maybe with HOME book … a future project.

  35. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    Dearest Susan, Your “stress of success” is just as dangerous & toxic to you as the negative stress.

    It’s the old oxygen mask story, “Put the mask on yourself and then on the baby”(us).

    YOU NEED TO TAKE CARE OF YOU FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You’r worth waiting for, Sweetie. We can wait……….

    Much love and (((HUGS))), Sandra & Grasshopper

    P.S Took 6 big shopping bags of Organic Meyer Lemons I picked this AM to Trader Joe’s to donate to Food Bank in am with their daily donation. Yea – feels so good!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m okay Sandra. I’m good. I love every bit of this! My favorite is when we all “travel” together. I’m gearing up for that! It’s thrilling! OH! What a wonderful gift to the Food Bank! You are such a good cog in the wheel of kindness and citizen-hood. It does take a village.😘

  36. Barbara (Farm Girl) says:

    Oh, Susan, made your Cranberry Tea Cake with Vanilla Sauce today. My husband said, “NOW, that is a dessert!” Wishing you and yours the Happiest of New Years 2018.

  37. Deborah in Odessa says:

    Beautiful post. I have my Winter mug..just beautiful. I love your new designs.Can hardly wait…..lol..I may have to order another mug or two. Thank you for reading our comments and sharing them. That is the best part…the sharing. Keep up your wonderful work..our joy. Thanks again.

  38. Val says:

    Thank you so much, Susan, for this burst of your usual loveliness. I want you to know that you are brightening my month in other ways! We are getting ready to move…for the 4th time this year (we’re renting while we try to find our perfect Forever Home (and jobs in the new location as well). They sold the home we were renting and we’ve been in temporary month-to-month rentals to avoid a year lease in an area that just isn’t singing to us any longer).

    Well, we’re about 90% packed away while waiting to hear about job offers, which if you’ve ever lived out of boxes can be a challenging proposition at best, especially with young children!

    Well, I received your wall calendar for Christmas (bless my husband’s heart, he wisely took the hint when I kept sending him the link to order me one for Christmas). At first, I just kept it in the plastic, to be packed away and taken to wherever our final destination will be…but even though we’ll likely have to be ready-to-go within weeks of any job offer, your calendar kept calling to me.

    Yesterday I unwrapped it from the plastic and ceremoniously tacked it up on my wall. It is a ray of sunshine and loveliness on a stark wall lined with stacked boxes.

    I’m so glad that I didn’t wait to take it out and allow it to brighten our home.

    Please say a little prayer, as all of this moving has been a bit of a moral-dampener for ourselves, and a somewhat stressful sense of instability for our beautiful children. The tough news is that wherever we’re going will also be temporary, since we’ll need to establish the job first and **THEN** search for a home to purchase in that area.

    Even though our next destination will also be temporary, I **STILL** plan to put that gorgeous calendar up on my wall. Home is where I hang my SB calendar, I reckon!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m sure it has, very tough, Val. I am saying a little prayer right this moment. 🙏 Find a flower for a little vase and let it mean home to you, along with that calendar. It’s like camping from hell, the camp that won’t go away. But chin up, this too will pass, and pretty soon it will be a memory. I bet you’ll only remember the happy parts of this adventure, so while you wait, make as many of those happy memories as you can. Popcorn is good. Pancakes are always good ~ they make any kitchen into home. Love and kisses to you all. xoxoxo

  39. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    When do you have the drawing for lamb cake mold and cookbook?a
    Double fingers crossed.
    XOXO Sandr

    • sbranch says:

      I put the link to that older blog post in my newest one so people could see how the Lamb Cake was made. You’ll see the date on that older post (with the Giveaway) at the top of the blog page. Which means, I’m sorry to disappoint, but the winners for that Giveaway were announced some time back, and have passed into history. There will be others though, never fear!

  40. Elizabeth says:

    As I handed my friend a cup of tea in one of your cups, she commented, “oh a quilter”. She recognized your artwork from some of your fabrics! While I was explaining that I was expecting the winter cup to join the autumn cup that I was using, the mailman arrived. Lo and behold, my winter cup. So glad to be able to share the excitement with my friend. Thanks for all that you do. PS The deep blue on the winter cup is beyond beautiful.

  41. Anne Luther says:

    Hi all, Susan I’m adding to your burden of reading the many comments, sorry. My husband and I spent the month of Dec. in England, living the English Christmas Lifestyle, inspired a great deal by your book. Thank you for writing it. We were in London, Devon and Cornwall and then on for a long stay including Xmas, in the Cotswolds. Cream teas, cathedral choir concerts, Christmas markets, snow, pub lunches, slobbering dogs, sheep, Agatha Christies home and the best Christmas decorations ever. Wish I could share my over 300 pictures with you all. It was heaven.

    My favorite stay was at the Bovey Castel in Devon on Dartmoor. I never wanted to leave. Nearby was the farm my English husband’s family once worked & owned in the early 1800’s. We have his great, great, great, grandfathers diaries from the time including crop planting and were able to share them with the current owners who gave us a tour of the still standing thatched cottage and 14th century out buildings. Such a treasured experience.

    Unfortunately, we returned to the devastation of Santa Barbara from fire, floods and mudslides. Thank god we and all of our close friends are safe as are our homes. Not so for too many others. Bless you for your blog and this community and a very happy new year to you all.

    • sbranch says:

      Isn’t it wonderful you found so much family history! What a wonderful trip! So sorry about Santa Barbara, all of California has been so terribly affected. I think about them every day. Happy New Year Anne. xoxo

  42. Susie (Rocky Point, NY) says:

    I’m having a perfect SB day today. I am sipping my tea out of my SB bluebird cup, making oatmeal cookies, which I declared “lunch”, reading all the girlfriends’ postings. I have a question. Is the mac and cheese recipe in Heart of the Home or is there a newer book? I could not find it. Thanks! Have a lovely day.

    • sbranch says:

      Originally I put it in Vineyard Seasons, and it’s still there. But when I updated Heart of the Home, I added lots of new recipes, most of them never in other books, but I thought I might put the mac and cheese in there too … so now it’s in the updated version of Heart, and also in Vineyard Seasons.

  43. Phyllis says:

    Have had the Rose Chintz dishes (Johnson Bros) for many years and am
    so delighted to notice them many times in your displays. I am sure we
    agree that they are beautiful and compliment any table setting. Wishing
    you a great 2018 with good health and happiness.

  44. Marilyn Young says:

    My heart breaks for the 70 something year-old lady in Santa Barbara that has suffered so much from the fire. Susan, you gave her great advice but then I realized she was disabled and might not be able to get out and walk the beach or go shopping? But, in all your wisdom, she can select one thing and choose to do it one way or another. I love flowers in the house, I love walks, I love stopping into a small or large church and offering up prayers. I’m almost 84, my life is crazy and my 88 year-old sis is passing as I write this. But hey, we come into this life to live it as best we can, and we go when He calls us homes. We are Blessed!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I was just trying to inspire her, she’s been suffering for a long time, first the fires and then the mud. It’s been a terrible year for those folks. Hard to see the light. And you, sending you all my love Marilyn, hugs and prayers for you and for your sister. xoxo

  45. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    WHOOPS Correction: crows hang out in the trees & sea gulls on the roof…..

  46. Sarah says:

    Susan, my beautiful Winter cup arrived this last week, and it is WONDERFUL! I bought it as part of my “embrace winter” pledge–I live up in North Idaho and our winter is looooong, so I keep little treats around just so I will enjoy it more! This cup is absolutely lovely, and I look forward to waking up every morning just so I can drink my coffee from it! Thank you!!

    • sbranch says:

      So happy you like it Sarah! Good for you, embracing winter! I bet it’s something in your neck of the woods! Stay warm! xoxo

  47. ~Del Gato gordo y descarado~ says:

    …idea for your new company name-
    The ultra expression of Kitty Love using all your kitty artworks
    for cups, saucers, clothing, needlework, paper goods, etc-
    call it “Fat Boy Incorporated” or… “Fat Boy Enterprises”

    (trying to funny, but may have failed)
    =0)
    Happier New Year to All~

    • sbranch says:

      Cute! And funny, because when I was in my 20s my friends and I called each other Fat Boy. Hey Fat Boy, what are we doing tonight? I don’t remember why, we just did!

  48. Cindy Tuning says:

    I’m so happy that you are putting pansies on one of your spring cups. You do them so beautifully and I can’t wait to order one !! We went to see ” The Darkest Hour” a few days ago and thought was wonderful. I live in Dunkirk, not France but NY, and we think of Dunkerque, France as our sister city. We were named after that city because someone way way back thought our harbor resembled theirs and so named our city . After the war, the citizens and supplies in our sister city were devastated. Our city held Dunkirk To Dunkerque Days and collected truckloads of goods to help them get back on their feet. Building supplies, clothing, food, baby items, furniture, trucks and over $100,000 which I can’t imagine what that would be today. Dignitaries came over for a parade and celebration to accept the gifts collected. The French Ambassador, actor Charles Boyer, actress Simone Simon and several others. It was huge and I think typical of our Greatest Generation. Just a little tidbit relating to Dunkirk/Dunkerque . Enjoy your snowy cozy season with all its comfy cozy goodness.

    • sbranch says:

      Totally, most fabulously, typical. Wonderful Cindy, I could hear stories like this one all day long. So proud of your generation, makes me cry to think of it. xoxoxo

  49. pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

    Good morning Susan and Girlfriends, another wet, cold and rainy day here but the rain is always welcome… makes for green things in the spring. the chickens are running around in their pen and complaining about the mud, well not much I can do about that so they just have to learn to live with it. you should see the mud on my dairy boots.. ICKY!!! those are left out on the back patio.. no muddy boots allowed in the house. its a hard and fast rule I made when we got the chickens, no shoes or boots allowed in the house after they have been out in the barnyard. I hear the bums next door hollering and carrying on about something, but then they do that every morning, and a good loud shut up usually puts an end to it. I think they are getting nervous as they know the neighbors have been up to something and they don’t like it…. it may be over with soon… I hope, I hope!!! time to get the bread dough punched down and ready for the second rising and then on to the oven, love the smell of fresh baked bread, just makes the house smell so warm and cozy. plus have to drag up some wood for the fire and then run the dust mop around and clean up the floors, may run the vacuum cleaner as well. we got our order in and the peeps arrive next month, they hatch the end of the month. we are ready, the barn and the nursery are ready and waiting for them. and if that nasty neighbor thought things were noisy in the barnyard last spring and summer, just wait…LOL!!!!! ;D with any luck they won’t be around here to complain about it. its okay for us to have chickens, we live outside of the city limits, so they can’t do anything about it. well off to get busy on the chores.. have a great ay everyone and look out for that new storm moving in, stay warm, stay dry, and stay safe. hugs….. 😀

  50. Zona Wilson says:

    And now I will go buy some stock! My absolute favorite fragrance. And petals so soft. It’s on my must-plant list every spring, kept close to the house where I have easy access to breath it in several times a day, eyes closed, touching the soft petals with my face.

    And – I think I will at last purchase a Susan Branch mug. My sweet mama is gone to Heaven, but her love for Johnny Jump-Ups will make that cup sing to me.

    And – I write little sayings to stick up on the wall behind my computer screen, and this is what I just wrote down to add to them: Do everything I CAN to make my dreams come true. Thanks for the smile and reminder that, at age 61, my dreams are only beginning.

  51. Donna Weir says:

    As always, such a treat to read your blog. A tangent… I clicked on the lamb cake link and ended up finding your chicken soup recipe. My house smells like heaven! Thank you! Also, just want to say I love, love, love your home. I especially like your old fashioned kitchen. I’m so happy you have not updated to be like all the current “look- alike” popular kitchens. Yours has SO much character! Thank you for all your creativity you share. Blessings.

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, one thing leads to another! Oh thank you! I never could imagine putting modern things in this old place. The only thing we changed was the floor … there was some fairly ugly marbleized dark blue linoleum we pulled out and replaced with a wood floor. The counters have linoleum on them too … we kept those. Thank you Donna!

  52. Helen Edwards says:

    I garden during January by planning my garden. We also have a wonderful farm museum nearby with an heirloom seed project. Mostly they have vegetables and they sell starter plants during the herb and garden fair in the spring. My favorite is the mortgage ender tomato 🍅! I am looking forward to spring as well.

    • sbranch says:

      I can tell. I plan my garden too . . . it’s the perfect thing to think about! Mortgage ender, I don’t know it, why do you like it so much?

  53. Debra Sewell says:

    Wonderful post and wonderful photos you shave. We can feel the warmth from your home to ours. I saw a video about Churchill and discovered him and his wife had great love for each other. I must order a beautiful cup. Can you post more pics of last trip to England . I don’t do Snapchat or Twitter and we are left out now. Please. Be safe, enjoy days on your beautiful Isle.

    Debra

  54. Kari says:

    Dear Susan,
    Every bit of your blogging and artwork and writing and commenting is so genuine and beautiful and meaningful!! Thank you for all you do and all you give to each one of us. This blog post is such a beautiful way to start the New Year! Sending love and twinkle light to you! XO

  55. Mikel Wagner says:

    Love, love, love the Mother’s Day mug! The pansies are so beautiful! Luckily, I’m a mom, so I can justify buying myself one 🙂 I was given your bluebird mug for Christmas and I use it and love it every single day. Thank you for making such beautiful things.

  56. AngieTink says:

    Good~Morning #MySweetSue I Love This Blog & I Love You! 🙂 & Those Photos Of Jack & His Christmas~Toy Make My Wings~Flutter 😉 🙂 Winter Is Everywhere! Tonight Here In Central~Florida Our~Temps Are Going Down Into The 20’s!!! Yikes! Now That Is #FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZING! But #We… Herbster & Me…. Are Ready….We Have Lots Of #Firewood & #Supplies….. I LOVE The #Winter!!! 🙂 Tell Joe I Too LOVE Shoveling~Snow! After Every #SnowStorm On Long~Island I Always Helped My Dad #Waldo (Walter) Shovel~The~Snow 🙂 We Had Long Talks & Knew That All That Snow Was Pure~Magic! & A Gift! 🙂 I NEED To Make a Snow~Angel! 😉 Sending Love & Warm~Hugzzz & #Kitty~Kisses To You & Joe & Jack! xoxo #Poof! P.S. A Blessed New~Year #2018 Amazing!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

  57. penny says:

    Thanks for the moon bookmark!!! I’ve been waiting for that as I do every year.
    Thanks for all you do. Love to you,

  58. Hi Susan! Happy 2018 to you and Joe! I have been MIA as well and was so happy to read your blog post this morning. My daughter and I just got in from shoveling snow, so as you can guess, we are longing for Spring, too! Your new Spring cups look amazing! And speaking of amazing, I just received (we brought them up from the mail box after shoveling!) my new set of 3 Susan Branch cups and I absolutely LOVE them! Thanks for being you!!! Happy Almost Spring!

  59. Ruth Kelly Fortner says:

    Thank you for the pictures of your home in the snow . . . what a beautiful scene!!! We Texans had a taste of now – and ice, mostly black ice – this week, and the area affected pretty much just shut down . . . schools closed, grocery stores crowded, traffic accidents everywhere!!! This morning our on-the-back-porch thermometer read 10; the one in the yard – about six feet off the ground – read 14!!! Even though the wind had ceased to be the gale it was on Tuesday, the wind chill factor was a frightening (for us) 3 . . . coldest temps in years!! I have such admiration for those of you in areas which see blankets of snow each year . . .you are truly survivors!!! Here it is often treacherous!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Hard to imagine in Texas, I’ve been reading about you … kids playing in snow for the first time, sounds wonderful. But black ice (that’s not even black), that’s scary! Be careful Ruth!

  60. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    A bit of positive news:

    Ty Warner, AKA Mr. Beanie Baby, owner of World Renown Montecito Biltmore Hotel, Coral Casino, San Ysidro Ranch, and Montecito Country Club hopes Biltmore and Casino will be reopened in February — his employees are receiving FULL SALARY while repairs being made. ( His incredible mansion with lush, tropical grounds is right down the street on Channel Drive from the Biltmore.) Yea, Class Act – new admiration for him taking care of his employees.

    I believe the better you treat employees, the better they treat you – besides, it feels good!!!!

    Hung red lights in window to keep spirits up for me and anyone passing by ….decorated for Chines New Year (2/16), Valentines Day (2/14) and Fat Tuesday.

    It’s really red – will alternate with white bulbs to soften and then use with green for St Patrick’s Day!

    Made it thru another day “with a little help from my friends ” thanks, love ya!

    • sbranch says:

      So happy to hear that Sandra, all good news!

      • Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

        Thanks, Sweetest Susan, you do inspired me. Marilyn’s right – I can’t really walk but love the flowers idea. Have TINY studio with galley kitchen so picked a lovely magnolia blossom this am down by the beach by the parking lot. Have an antique green vase handed down in the family and put the single blossom in it and placed in center of stove. It’s lovely and brings a smile to my face when I look at or smell it….thoughts of you and the “Girlfriends.” Planning on going up to the Mission for my church excursion you recommended – scoping out handicap parking to make it accessible. Really working on being positive and love your suggestions and support, Susan and Marilyn. XOXO Sandra

        • sbranch says:

          My favorite flowers always come from the roadside. You’re lucky, because the only thing on our roadsides this time of year would not look good in a vase! The SB Mission is so beautiful! What a wonderful thing to do! Take care Sandra!

    • Carmel says:

      Yay! Some great news during a difficult time. So good to hear some businesses have heart.

  61. Lori Hamilton says:

    Hello, dear Susan, from a snowy NC!

    I love the change of seasons and the snow is beautiful, but I’m a one-day-snow kinda’ gal. God knew I needed to be born in the South!

    I got my cups day before yesterday and haven’t opened them yet…..delayed gratification! I pre-ordered them in October so I figure another day or two won’t hurt. 🙂 Patiently waiting for the Jack cup.

    Everything you do is so pretty……I now have two 2018 calendars – love the big desk one – and an Autumn, Heart of the Home and the 3 other books which are part of my winter mantel decor. I’ve never been great at house decorating but I’m learning! (At the tender age of 63. Ha.)

    Thanks for the blog. It came at a perfect time; a breath of spring in the midst of winter!

  62. Susan Roubal says:

    I have to tell you, Susan, I ordered the Lamb cake pan a few years back and I make one for the Coast Guards men & women (affectionately called “Coasties”) here at USCG Station#9 in Marquette, Michigan in the Easter month. Since there are usually 17 or mre stationed here, I usually set the lambie on top of another cake. In fact, I bake them a HUGE birthday cake every month, in a buffet warming size pan–9 eggs per cake! Its my little thing to help out the often forgotten branch of our military. I get so much out of their huge smiles when I deliver the still warm cake, best of all when they exclaim “…and sprinkles, too!”! It’s win/win. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Aren’t you the sweetest thing! Amazing. I would love to see the lamb on top of the big cake, quite the decoration! They must love you!

  63. Sarah in Tucson says:

    Happy New Year dear Susan and Joe! Thank you for all of your hard work! I wanted to tell you that my oldest kids read the quote on the back of the winter mug and thought it was hilarious. You are a ray of sunshine! 😘💞

  64. pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

    Good Afternoon Susan and Girlfriends, another gray, wet, rainy day and chilly to boot. a perfect day for chicken noodle soup. good for lunch and an excellent way to warm up for dinner. for now I will settle for soup for lunch and pot pies for dinner. I love rainy days, not too sure the chickens like them with all the muck and mud but they manage to survive. have a nice warm fire going and the cats are enjoying the new hearth rug near the woodstove, a purrfect 😉 place to curl up and have a nice warm nap. waiting for the washing machine to finish gurgling and burping so I can get the items out for ironing and the rest into the dryer. I have my nice warm mug of chicken noodle soup with me and I am enjoying the day, I haven’t seen the turkeys today, guess they are roosting somewhere and out of the rain. they come around everyday now. still have the kitty box to empty out and scrub down and refill. that will get done, I do not need potty accidents on the floor around here. oh yeah seems like last night either animal control or law enforcement came around to our obnoxious neighbor’s home with several complaints about the dogs on his property, they are not leashes and run loose all over the neighborhood, we have complained numerous times to both the animal control and the local sheriff’s office, glad they are finally doing something and as of this morning it was quiet, the dogs had been removed last night….YAY!!!!! I have a hunch things are starting to turn in our favor for once, maybe that court date is not too far off, keep fingers crossed please everyone.. we need all the luck we can get right now. off to get more soup and on to the ironing. think maybe I will put on one of my favorite old movies and listen while I iron…. lets see, maybe Little Women, or maybe Age of Innocence. I finally finished that book, Hitler, My Neighbor…. all I can say is wow what a spooky neighbor to have next door, can you imagine living with him right next door to you and he is not exactly friendly towards the Jewish… good thing mom and dad moved out of the country when they did. well off for the soup and iron, have a great day everyone, stay warm and cozy and safe. hugs…… 😀

  65. Ruth R. says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to write this wonderful post. I am glad to see you are well and warm. I live in SoCal and have been monitoring the weather in the east and it looks frightening. I am glad too see you are safe, especially with the flu going around. I am so excited for the Jack cup and will wait patiently for its reveal. Sending you lots of love and warm thoughts.

  66. Heidi says:

    Happy New Year Girlfriend!! To Joe and Jack too! My mom used to sing “I see the moon” to me when I was little. You don’t hear that little, sweet song to often. Thank you!

  67. Kim Garner says:

    I’m disappointed that the spring mugs will be Mother’s Day mugs. I was looking forward to having a collection of all the seasons. This holiday can be very hard for woman that have not had children.

    • sbranch says:

      There is a Mother’s Day cup and a Spring cup…two different ones! Yay! You’ll see, I put them in the next WILLARD which starts going out next Tuesday. And by the way, I don’t have children, but doesn’t mean I’m not a mother, because all women mother all people in their own way. Girlfriend is our name, Nurture is our game. xoxo

  68. Ruth Klunder says:

    Hi, Susan, I just read on your twitter( I can read it, but I don’t know how to write or post to it) that you will be in Charleston, SC, on March 11!!! Oh, my heart!!!!!! We live not far from there, and I’d love to go to your book signing…Where will you be? I hope if it works out that I could finally meet you. Thanks for all of your wonderful books. I’m in the process of ISLE OF DREAMS for the third time…LOVE IT!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Wonderful! I wrote about it in the new Willard … it’s at Barnes and Noble, Westward Plaza at 6pm. There’s more but I’ll let you be surprised in the Willard!

  69. Ruth Klunder says:

    Oh, Great!! I checked my calendar, and I’ll be there. Thanks for the information. (My husband will probably be there too…He has heard your name so much in this house that I think he knows as much about you as I do, hee,hee!!) So-o-o-o- looking forward to the 11th.See you then! Hugs!

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