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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618 Responses to HAPPY 2018!

  1. Laura from Portland, OR says:

    Cheers to you and all!
    Thanks for the full moon bookmark…I use it as the marker in my book “Days from the Heart of the Home” each year…and did notice on the super full moon of Jan. 1st that 2018 hadn’t come yet…so even the little things keep us all connected!
    Here’s to your BIG heart…and snowdrops too!

  2. Kay Bennett says:

    Hi Susan,
    Loved your blog today. Your home is so beautiful in the snow. It looks like a Christmas card. Thanks for reminding us that Spring is just around the corner. Having never lived in snow country I’m amazed at how your flowers and lawns come back after being covered all winter under a snow blanket. The cycle of life is a very special experience missed by those of us who live in SO CA. Stay warm from all good loving wishes we are sending you.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m amazed too, Kay … I look out there right now and wonder, after all this cold, how can this one or that one possibly come back? But they always do! I used to hunt the seasons when I lived in CA. I would go to the snow in the winter, drive through the wine country in the fall (because those leaves do change), spring was easy, but it came too soon! And summer, well, that was always the easy one! Thank you and love you right back!

  3. Peggy says:

    Happy New Year to you and Joe
    Thanks for this blog
    Have your calendar up in my kitchen just love it
    Thanks for painting my New Year

  4. Paula Johnson says:

    Happy New Year 2018 to you and Joe, Susan!
    I love it that you are still as enamored with the four seasons as you were when they were very novel to you the first year you were on Martha’s Vineyard! I love them, also. Having lived in Southern California for the majority of my life, the seasons are a joy to me, as well. I am always amazed when plants that look completely dead bravely push their way up through the dirt and become large, flowering shrubs~particularly thinking of my peonies, but there are others.

    I appreciate your taking time to post lovely, uplifting, positive blogs.

    Hugs for you and Joe!

    • sbranch says:

      I fell in love with them in the most permanent way possible. They still feel like a miracle every time a change comes. How is this possible? But it IS! It’s normal! Peonies! Perfect example. Pure magic. Love to you too Paula!

  5. Jo'L says:

    Another joy for the soul!

    Meadowsweet honey is a wonderful thing, has a vanillaish taste.

    Actually saw Darkest Hour this very afternoon, hope it’s mostly true.

    May run off for some stock but it wouldn’t last here, we are in the 50’s during the day.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh yes, reading about it, I think it’s more than mostly true. Google Churchill. One other thing I learned, an oddly unexpected thing, but apparently true, that Churchill was bi-polar, an after-the-fact diagnosis they based on many symptoms, mostly found in his mood swings. Shows nobody is perfect. He was the right guy for the time. He didn’t just let Hitler have it all. Can NOT even imagine what would have happened without Churchill. We went to his house called Chartwell in England and saw his art, and the playhouse he built for his daughter. The rose garden planted for their 50th anniversary.

  6. Penny Harrison from Oceanside, CA. says:

    I think my heart skipped a beat when I saw all the pansies on the Mother’s Day cup – love, love pansies – they are such a happy flower! Once again thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures and happy thoughts 😘 Yes, I love all the seasons too – even tho they are subtle changes here in California!

    • sbranch says:

      Me too! Such a harbinger of spring here on the Island. I always have a bowl of them on my table in the spring! I think of California every day, for obvious and very sad reasons, and pray for a balanced weather pattern for maybe three years or so, to allow everything to get back to a more normal place. Fires, always there, and even the occasional mudslide in a very bad year, but this is getting way out of control! Sending love! xoxo

  7. Mary Brehm says:

    Hi Susan! or should I say good early morning. It’s 3:05 a.m. and I…..Can’t….Sleep!!!! Grrrrr. so gosh darn frustrating. Between the hot flashes, a snoring hubby and a brain that won’t shut off, I feel like I’m going mad. So what’s a girl to do? Open up my computer and find a brand new post from you! How wonderful. I just love seeing all of the pictures of your house in the snow, especially the shots of the moon. I sent you a picture of one I took from my kitchen window one morning on twitter ( the one with the bunny) I just love how pretty it looks when it shines on the snow. “The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow gave the luster of mid-day to objects below.” Last night there were three dear grazing under my bird feeder in the moonlight. be-still my heart. so pretty. The bunny is out there all night as well. He’s smart because in the daytime, a hawk patrols my feeders. Yesterday he swooped down and literally tried to crawl under my deck to get to the bunny! I just stood in the window with my hand over my mouth gawking and praying that the poor bunny didn’t get caught! Don’t worry, he didn’t but I couldn’t believe how smart and determined that hawk was! Who needs TV when there is so much to see out the window?
    Speaking of TV, I have been binge watching the Crown and Victoria, The new season starts this Sunday on Masterpiece. I can’t wait!
    I just love your mugs. The paper ones almost look real. How did you get the shape like that? You should have the paper ones as giveaways…I’ll bet the girlfriends would love them. Just like your little scrap pieces from your practice painting! Ok, I’ve rambled on long enough. Still not sleepy, Oh well…I just heard the train whistle blowing…it sounds so wistful and pretty in the still quiet of the night. Thanks again for another wonderful post <3

    • sbranch says:

      Love hearing the train whistle! Can’t wait for Victoria … and The Crown!!! I think that may be my all time favorite! SO happy that hawk didn’t get the bunny. I understand, he has to eat too, and I would be mad at anything that tried to eat him, but still, I wish hawks would go get fish and leave bunnies alone! Have nap today Mary, such a nice thing to treat yourself to!

      • Mary Brehm says:

        Don’t you just love Elizabeth? Claire Foy is such a good actress. She doesn’t even need to speak, she says everything with her eyes and facial expressions. I forgot to mention how much i love that picture of Joe playing Pictionary! It’s right up there with the tea bag picture! Have a nice day today. I’m still De-Christmassing over here

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        we have hawks here as well, one killed one of my roosters a few years back, George, my feisty little Nankin rooster. he kept the hens in line and was a feisty little guy. we also have our barn cat who climbs up on the roof and I worry about her when the hawks show up, good thing they don’t bother us too much ever since I blasted that one hawk for killing my George. shotguns a re a handy thing to keep around the barn. 😀

        • sbranch says:

          I’m just not a country girl the way my great grandmother was, and the way you are. I like looking at it and living in it, but that’s about it! I do love target shooting with a 22 rifle, but that’s all. My GGrandma had a farm, could kill and dress chickens, all that stuff. My dad brought home a deer every year. But me? I say a prayer of thanks every day because I’ve never accidentally killed anything like even a squirrel, with my car. Knock on wood. I would feel so bad! Unless it’s a mosquito or a gopher!

          • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

            I don’t like using it, but sometimes you have no choice, its either protect the chickens and kill the hawk or let that hawk kill your flock and since they are part of my income… I protect them any way I can and it includes the use of a shotgun. I feel bad for doing it, but I would feel even worse if lost any more chickens because I didn’t use the shotgun. not much of choice there. 😀

          • sbranch says:

            Oh I do understand! I’m just too much of a weenie as my brothers would call me!

  8. Susan Mixon says:

    Promises of snow flakes soon to come, a Winter mug wending its way to my door, a little black and white girl kitty, Molly, snuggling close, with her own version of moustache, a collection of quotes beside a supply of fresh white paper and pen, waiting for that first stroke, a kettle put on for hot chocolate, and a new blog from you! A perfect day if there ever was one!

  9. Leslie (aka Mrs. S.) says:

    Dear Susan, Happy New Year! It’s been so cool here in Florida that the monarch chrysali seem to be hibernating, they are taking so long to hatch. Good things come to those who wait. It was good to read your posting. I was a bit confused by your comment about ‘no violence’ in The Darkest Hour. I saw bombs dropping out of airplanes onto a hospital full of injured soldiers. Frightening. I agree that it is a splendid movie, and someone should get an Academy Award for Gary Oldman’s makeup. Sirius Black and Winston Churchill on the same face, close ups too! Peace and love, Leslie

    • sbranch says:

      I guess I meant relatively … out of the two and a quarter hours, that was maybe 60 seconds (still a long time when you’re living through it), but it wasn’t like a stomach exploding with slimy monsters or sneaky knife-wielding lunatic ~ that’s what I call violent! I’m VERY sensitive. You should see all the movies I don’t go to because of a whiff of violence! I could never see Dunkirk for example! I wouldn’t sleep for a year! Yes! Gary Oldman! Amazing!

      • Samantha says:

        I was always the one hiding under a blanket during scary or violent movies. I’m still that way!
        I always write down your movie recommendations!

      • Jennie Lou says:

        Here! Here! I too can’t watch violent programs, movies or read books with gore and horrors men (and women!) do to each other. I cannot calmly sit and think, with great detachment, “oh, it isn’t real, they are only actors” – my imagination will go into overdrive whenever I hear a noise I can’t identify (my little house was built in 1929 and creaks constantly). Even more so those stories depicting history – oh! However did my beloved parents get through that war?! Agatha Christie? Yes! Thomas Harris? Thank you, no!

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, we must have that same reality gene ~ movies look real to me. I don’t believe myself when I tell me that “it’s just a movie!” The Civil War movies can be pretty harsh. Too many Doctors in Tents. How did they do it… Sorry, I don’t want to think about it either! xoxoxo

  10. Stephanie C says:

    Happy New Year dear Susan! Love the snow pictures, I love to shovel snow too! I really like the Mother’s Day cup, a must have for my Mom. Glad you are back with us. Blessings for a great 2018!!

    • sbranch says:

      Same to you Stephanie! Wonderful to be working outside in the winter! We’re about to leave for a walk … not exactly “work” but still wonderful!

  11. Linda Miller says:

    A Happy New Year to you, Susan, Joe, and Jack,

    Susan, your blogs always fuel my imagination and creativity! I do look forward to them.
    I find inspiration in the little poems, art work, recipes, descriptive passages, and photos of your journeys! Thank you for sharing these throughout the year.


  12. Dixie says:

    Happy New Year, Susan!
    Love the new cups, especially darling Jack’s cup.
    Thank you for the bookmark.

  13. Leslie says:

    Hi Susan & Happy New Year!

    I love the Jack Cup – Tea, Books & Kitties – is there anything better? As for your question regarding Beauty and the Beast, we are big pictionary fans in this house. I think I would have gone for the rose in the cloche with my pathetic stick figures of Beauty and Beast. We played on Christmas Eve with the snow falling here in PA and it was lovely.

  14. ashley (thepinkblonde) says:

    oh my gosh, i’m so glad you posted. i almost googled you to see if there had been an incident. like a slip and fall in watercolors or maybe you got too pruny soaking in a beautiful bathtub and had to take a break to deprune at the local spa or something so you couldn’t be reached for days….maybe a romantic snowstorm with the love of your life and no power for days! i don’t watch the news so i have no idea what’s going on in the world so then i think, ‘i guess i’d better damn well google susan branch now since she is clearly in the midst of a catastrophe based on no factual data whatsoever but due to lack of blog post’….. never occurred to me it was because you were soaking in art and deadlines and giving one of your gifts to the world. i’m so glad it was that and not something soap opera worthy.

    i love the christmas lights year round. i’m going to copy that someday. my lights have to have pink in them too. remember the old lights. since i’m 145 years old, i remember all the pastel-y lights…i miss those lighty-lights. LED lights, though technologically advanced, are not my cup of tea.

    i’m glad there was no incident. i think you COULD have your sorta own soap opera only it would be darling and arty and wonderful. i would watch every day.

    • sbranch says:

      Well, all I can say to that specter of catastrophic soap opera, is me too! Would love a happy soap! Agreed again, LED, bah humbug! Too harsh. I think when electricity arrived in the world (just like cars), the candle people had a fit (just like the horse people), and it took another generation for everyone to buy into these new-fangled things. Because what’s prettier than candlelight? What’s sweeter than a horse and carriage ride? Sometimes, taking a little bit of trouble pays in huge ways. I approve of brilliant “inventions” like shredded cheese at the supermarket 👏~ but am very wary of a future with drones in it. I think we should all THINK before we just accept the new stuff, what will we be giving up? No more eye-contact at the dinner table? I love our human-being-ness, but what makes us human? What makes us happy? (See what you started, Ashley, brain on overdrive!😘)

      • Mary S. says:

        Just a little heads up! As marvelous as shredded cheese seems to be, it does have unhealthy additives in it to keep it from clumping!

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, I looked into it before I mentioned it ~ but thank you because it’s a good thing to bring up! I don’t mind poisoning myself and Joe ☺️(don’t tell hime I said that), but I’m really against poisoning my Girlfriends! Calcium sulphate (the thing you’re talking about) is in many cheeses and lots of other things we eat all the time, it’s in baking powder and flour ~ and grain, so it’s in most store-bought breads, and rice products, breakfast cereals, dairy desserts, most canned soup and canned veggies like tomato sauce, pasta, condensed milk, energy drinks, supplements, and lots more. Maybe I should have mentioned it … but seems it’s kind of everywhere. Most fast food for example.

          • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

            I think that is why I bake our bread, that way I can control somewhat of what is in it. Ed just likes it as he swears homemade bread tastes way better than store bought bread, now I wish I had a good rye bread recipe as I love rye bread. but I can say homemade bread makes very good garlic bread and out of this world grilled cheese sandwiches. 😀

          • sbranch says:

            I agree, homemade bread, still warm from the oven, is there anything better?

      • ashley (thepinkblonde) says:

        i think about that all the time….the horses to the autos, the candles to the electric lights…. my brain is always in overdrive.

        a happy, delightful susan soap opera would be lovely.

        i buy the shredded cheese too sometimes…sometimes ‘ease of day and task’ overrides ‘swallowing shredded cheese sawdust or cellulose something-or-other’ in order to get through the day.

        thanks so much for always inspiring and for always replying

        …some people like me hang on your every word, picture, video, book, brush of paint. (in an arty-way, not a weirdo-way.)

        xoxoxoxoxo hug hug hug!

        • sbranch says:

          Taste the Cabot shredded sharp cheddar. I thought it tasted really good! But you’re so right, I make Macaroni and Cheese MAYBE every five years! So good to be bad! Love hearing from you, hugs right back! xoxo

    • FayE in CA! says:

      What a fun read, Ashley! Not watching TV has given your mind an unclogged, breezy space to think creatively!! You could write the soap opera you mention…go for it…start your own “soap blog” and let us know where to join in on your words.

      Cheers and write more!!!

      • ashley (thepinkblonde) says:

        yes, no tv does help unclog the mind…i 100% know that for sure! i “choose” what i want to watch and what my heart, mind and soul “see” by searching Netlflix and YouTube for informational, artistic or encouraging/inspirational content….i mean i DO watch The Crown and things like that, but on Netflix…i love wanting to learn something and searching for the videos to see how.

        someday……when i’m not teaching first graders and being with my own children, i may start my own soap opera! i’ll hafta think of a catchy title… :o)

  15. Marilyn Bunte says:

    Good morning
    I So look forward to seeing you sit in my ‘mailbox’. This morning I woke up early and hearing from you was the treat I needed.
    November I fell and broke my ankle with surgery in December. I did manage to visit my daughter and family in Az at Christmas with the splint on. Unfortunately when I saw the surgeon after returning home still no walking boot. Today is the 48th day without walking on my own. Long story to let you know my little world brightens when I see you in print to give me the ‘lift’ and put a smile on my face. Hugs to you.

    • sbranch says:

      Ohh thank you Marilyn, I’m so sorry about those 48 days! So irritating isn’t it? For us spoiled people used to getting around at our own speed! I broke my wrist maybe 7 years ago now, and still remember it. I feel sure you’ll be free by springtime, and what more perfect time for it! Hugs to you too! xoxo

  16. Deb in Wales says:

    Hello Susan! You have been busy {again} and no need to worry about the devil making work for idle hands in your home as you are busy from dawn to dusk, it seems, designing lots of new goodies. Hurrah!

    Gary Oldman’s make up as Winston Churchill is just unbelievably incredibly amazing, don’t you think? Film is released here Friday, but it’s got lots of publicity in the run up.

    Hoping, {or maybe as everything is crossed it should be hopping?}, with fingers and toesies and everything else crossed that Nursery Thymes will be stocked up soonest. I’ve phoned them and it’s “any day now”!

    Sun is shining, birds already starting to let us know Spring is just around the corner, and soon, very soon, it will be May {hmmmm, wonder what’s happening in May?}

    ~~~Waving~~~From Across the Pond~~~Deb in Wales xoxo

    Your home looks so perfect in that still, gentle snowfall over Christmas. You could not ask for more. Picture perfect indeed.

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Deb! Gary Oldman is a chameleon! Yes, any day now for Nursery Thyme! May May May… can I wait, NO! But I have to ~ I think about it every day. Go on line and look for houses for sale in England. Not moving from my dear wonderful house, but just love looking!

  17. Laura Ann in Vermont says:

    So far, I’ve been able to (just) resist buying one of your beautiful mugs, but the Jack mug may prove to be my undoing. And pansies! I’ve loved them since I was a little girl–I associate them with all sorts of happy memories of going to the library, where they planted them along the walkway. I was shorter then, and closer to the ground, and can remember so clearly looking into the pansies’ little faces. Thank you for (as always) reminding me how good life is!

  18. Cindy Maulin says:

    Hi Susan!
    Love the post I woke up to this morning! I hate saying goodbye to my favorite Christmas sweeties, but what must be done .. is. I have kept some of my lights up too.. a cute 100 year old basket crammed full of very pretty winter greenery lit by those small battery run white lights remains…I swear, I have personally kept Duracell and Energizer in business this holiday season! Our darling memory tree remains too… our son and DIL were in Boston and France over the holiday, so we are creating a belated but never too late celebration next week….tree, gifts, music, festive eats, cookies ( natch) and ❤️….. I haven’t seen DH yet but it is at the top of our list. We have always liked and admired Churchill. Did you know that the National Churchill Museum is located in Fulton, Missouri on the campus of Westminster College? It commemorates the life and times of Sir Winston Churchill. In 1946, WC delivered his famous”Sinews of Peace” address in the Westminster Historic Gymnasium. His speech was part of the Green Lecture series. At the time, the College had a unique connection to President Truman’s administration. A man by the name of Harry Vaughan was a Westminster grad and a Major General. The President asked the General if he could ask President Truman if he could induce Churchill to come to Westminster. Truman, being from Missouri, thought it was a great idea, so the two world leaders descended onto the little campus of Westminster in Fulton, Missouri. Churchill’a speech became known as the “Iron Curtain” speech.
    The main attraction of the museum is the Church of St. Mary, Aldermanbury, a 16th century church moved stone-by-stone to Fulton from London. Beneath the church is the Churchill museum and it is wonderful! Restored in 2006, it’s interactive and tells Churchill’s story both personal and political. There is the Clementine-SpencerChurchill Reading Room that houses an extensive research collection about Churchill and his era… fascinating… we have been to the church and museum several times..if you like Winston and Clementine, Google ” Winston Churchill Fulton Missouri.” I now wish I would have mentioned this little gem to you and Joe when you were in MO at the book signing.. you drove right past Fulton on your way to KC!!…next time ❤️
    Ok…that’s my history lesson for the day!! Love hearing from you… the new cups are wonderful…like Jerry said…looking down at me,eyes poised over his glasses that were setting on the point of his nose and in his best “Jaws” voice……” you’re going to need a bigger cupboard!”😂
    Love, cindy

  19. Paula, New Romney, Kent, UK says:

    Hi Susan,

    A very Happy and Peaceful New Year to you, Joe and darling Jack. How weird, whenever I see a photo of your Lamb Cake, I can destinctly smell the sweet aroma of coconut!! Isn’t the imagination truly wonderful. Love you lots

    Paula xx

  20. Karen Bowerman says:

    Love your new “Jack” cup! I’ve got a couple “kitty” friends and that cup will make a wonderful gift! And just received my winter cup yesterday … beautiful!

  21. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I am with you that New Year is very exciting to ponder. So many possibilities and opportunities for both scheduled and surprise outings! It reminds me of that feeling of a new school year; a clean slate on which to write.

    The new cups are gorgeous and I can’t wait to see that new one of Jack. We lost my Mr. Bump on December 13 after a long battle that couldn’t be won in the end. I love that you indulge your sweet kitty and memorialize him! A little fur friend who brings you so much joy and love deserves nothing less!!

    Even here in Florida we have had some very cold weather and deep freezes. While it doesn’t last long, it was long enough for fires in the fireplace, cozying up with new books and knitting with hot tea. Balm, pure balm for the soul!

    While I am hanging on to as much cold weather as we can possibly squeeze from Winter, I have to admit, the thought of Spring is also creeping into my awareness. All too soon, we will lose our need for sweaters and fires, but there is something so invigorating about the glory of Spring. It is irresistible!!

    I hope your deadlines will not be too stressful. People like me are enjoying this year’s new 2018 calendar so your efforts are well loved by many of us!!

    Happy New Year to you and Joe!!

  22. Leslie says:

    I had to laugh at your Pictionary story. We played with a group of friends–guys against gals. The phrase was “permanent press”. On the guys side, our friend the mechanical engineer started to precision draw a printing press. On our side, my friend drew the outline of an iron and put a big “X” through it. The guys couldn’t believe we solved it so quickly. 🙂

  23. Beth Carr Ferraro says:

    Good morning Susan,
    Thank you for getting my day off to such a sweet and special start with your new blog!!! You add so much joy and positive vibes to our world. My Joe is enjoying his coffee this morning in his new Winter mug that was a Christmas gift from me. I loved watching him take it out of the box yesterday and very carefully hand wash, dry it and place it on the shelf ready to use this morning. I know you say they are dishwasher safe, but all three of our SB mugs get hand washed. Seeing the mock up of your Mother’s Day cup with the pretty, bright pansies caused me to verbally exclaim, “Oh, how beautiful!” and I had to share the picture with Joe. Pansies add so much color to the winter landscape, but I don’t plant them anymore after finding that our neighborhood deer population enjoy munching on them. Happy new year to you and your Joe!

  24. Rene Marie Foust says:

    I just love reading your blog its so bright cheery and sp uplifting and positive. Thanks

  25. Sandra says:

    What a wonderful read..thank you for doing all this alongside all the other tasks. I think your weather has been quite bad over there, the U.K. Snow only lasted Three days…lets hope there will be no more..we just don,t cope here.
    Loved the photos of the hous and especially the window with the heart garland…just beautiful.and then the new mugs the Mother’s Day and home sweet home is gorgeous. I will phone nursery thyme and ask what they have in….they are beautiful…thank you Susan.
    Keep warm and enjoy your music and painting…Jack and Joe….sending warm wishes to you all..Sandrax

  26. Laura G. says:

    Happy New Year, Susan! 2018! I noticed the date at the bottom of my Winter cup that just arrived. Great idea! I will be ordering the England cup next. I love it! Might you possibly consider a cup to commemorate the Women’s March? I was so proud to march last year and will again this year, and I am anticipating another for next year. Just an idea. Women are not going away. Au contraire. Thanks for all you do, Susan. You inspire a lot of us in many ways.

  27. Kathy says:

    Happy New Year, Susan and Joe!
    I love the Jack and Mother’s Day cups! The pansy colors are beautiful!
    Your blogs always brighten my day!

  28. Melanie says:

    I was so happy to see a new post from you this morning! They are always so delightful and make me smile. I wish I could have every cup in your collection; they are amazingly beautiful. I know one thing for sure: I have to have that Jack cup when it comes out! I’m a huge cat lover (have three myself) and always thought Jack was one of the most handsome cats I’ve ever seen…and he’s peeking out between books? Bonus! Happy New Year and many blessings to you, Joe and Jack!

  29. JoyceG says:

    Did you know that the schoolhouse from “Mary Had a Little Lamb” is at the Wayside Inn in Sudbury, MA? I grew up nearby and got married at the chapel that is also on the property. If you haven’t yet been it’s a must-see place. You can tour the grist mill (that they still use to produce flour!) and dine at the Inn, of course! I always visit when I’m “home” in Massachusetts!

  30. Penny Spencer says:

    Happy, Healthy New Year!
    When I was a floral designer, I too would bury my face in all that beauty when they came into shop. And stock, oh my, sweetness but not successful trying to grow in my garden. Living with changing seasons awards us much to look forward to in Michigan. I will visit the gardens in early March and peek under the leaves looking for my beauties beginning to emerge, but quickly cover them up again. I can wait, maybe impatiently sometimes, because I will be rewarded. “Darkest Hour” was wonderful, and Gary Oldman! Oscar worthy. Your photos are “magical”. I leave some Christmas decor up too, little lights and bits of “magic” to brighten and cheer our little farmhouse. Come February I will pack them away until next Christmas to enjoy again when we unwrap everything and say “ohhh, hello welcome back!”. Thank you for bringing your “magic” to us.

  31. Teri says:


    Parkdale, Oregon

  32. Karen Lotito says:

    A very Happy New Year to you and Joe, Susan! I hope you had a lovely Christmas and holiday season. We got through the Arctic blast here on Long Island – brrrrr! I don’t like to rush time but I am looking forward to Spring! In the meantime, I enjoy curling up on the sofa by the fireplace with a cup of tea and a good book or my counted cross stitch projects. It’s also a great time of the year to declutter and clean out things we don’t use/need/want anymore. I’m finding treasures I had forgotten I had! Have a wonderful day and keep warm! Love, Karen

  33. Diane says:

    Oh my goodness, Susan!! I resisted all temptation to buy myself one of your mugs from your last collection [I have run out of mug room], but when I saw your beautiful mug with the pansies and wildflowers all around it, I knew I would have to make room. It is absolutely beautiful and just exactly my style. I love pansies and the way you are able to capture their personality in your painting, and that is why I have most of your A Proper Tea collection.

    • sbranch says:

      Ohhh, right, long time ago. Pansies are so cheerful!

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        you’re so right pansies are so cheerful, did you know they are very snow hardy?? we get snow up here and during the winter to keep the flower barrels and troughs bright and sunny, they plant pansies as they are very winter hardy and withstand the cold temps, they actually thrive!!

  34. Kim says:

    Happy New Year, Sunshine-Starshine! May all the light you bring come back to you tenfold ~ 💫

  35. Carol from Indiana says:

    Oh how lovely to have you back ! Its always such a joy to read your blog. It centers me and reminds me of what is really important. So glad you survived the amazing storm last week. We are in for another blast here in the midwest and it is heading your way so hunker down and get warm and cozy. Love the Jack cup! What a beautiful happy little boy he is.
    Seeing the pictures of Clemmie Churchill reminds me, have you seen The Magnificent Mrs. Maisel? OMG!!! Its is wonderful!! We have been binge watching it during the -12 temps and I’m ready to start over again. And don’t forget the second season of Victoria starts this Sunday night! Next best thing to Downton Abbey.
    Stay cozy, dear friend.

  36. Betsy says:

    Happy New Year! I have to comment on Joe’s Tarzan drawling. He’s a man after my own heart. Recently my granddaughter told me I was the best stick drawling person she ever met (she’s 5 : ) ).

  37. Christine Morgan says:

    Hello Susan!
    We had snow on Christmas also—so pretty. Now we are getting ready for another cold front—–ewww! Don’t like the ice! I have not received my mugs as of yet–hope to get them soon. Love the ones I have so much—still hand washing! I don’t want anything to happen to them. Looking forward to Spring!

  38. Pat Schubert says:

    Thank you for keeping me company as I’ve spent the last 2 months in a nursing home recuperating from a broken leg-non weightbearing and wheelchair bound. I’ve read the Williards and your website a few times, accompanied by your music and now that I’m getting ready to go home in 3 days, I’ll look forward to your keeping me company as I rehab at home,too. Your wise and witty words, drawings and photos always remind me of past memories brought forth and give me lots of strength. Can’t wait to get home and have my morning coffee and afternoon tea in the new mugs, which hopefully will arrive this next week! Thank you for keeping me sane, Susan!

    • sbranch says:

      My goodness Pat! Two months! I’m so happy you’re going home, you must be so excited! Have whoever drives you home stop at the supermarket to get some flowers to go with your tea! 😘 xoxoxoxo

  39. Joan says:

    Hi Susan – thank you for the blog Then another bonus day I received my winter cup!❤ it is so beautiful and so happy you are now dating the caps. I am a collector and that really means a lot to me Not only is the cup easy on the eyes but I ask the girlfriends to feel the cup as well as look at the cup artwork. It gives me much pleasure to do both.
    I just noticed that the bird cup is the only one that you do not have your name on the bottom of the cup. The artwork on the bottom of the cup is an extra added bonus for me thank you for that. I love pansies so I am looking forward to that cup. Someone had suggested more Santa cups and I would like to second that I know people say the cup is expensive but the winter Cup has so much artwork on it you had to spend a lot of time designing it. Can’t wait to have my tea in it. Another cup well done!! Appreciate all the time that goes into your artwork. Again there is no one like you who does new artwork on every page of your calendar You don’t make a standard month background for the whole year that’s also appreciated. It makes you stand apart from all the others and that’s why I always purchase your calendar.

    thank you

  40. Sandra Collins says:

    Maybe for Beauty and the Beast you could draw the teapot and the candlestick characters? But really, you’d think a lovely woman and a scary-looking guy would do the trick, right!?! Young Winston Churchill is pretty cute! Who knew!?!

    I can’t wait to see the winter cup I ordered. I gave it to a friend for Christmas and when she saw the little voucher for it that I gave her she said, “OH you shouldn’t have! But I’m so glad you did!”

    • sbranch says:

      I thought of that, but I couldn’t imagine they would get it, and I didn’t want to take them off track, but I should have tried! I’m so glad to hear someone got use from those voucher gift card things! xoxo

  41. Oh so lovely to spend time with you, dear Susan. Thank you for sharing and caring. Blessings, Sue McQuade

  42. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    Darling Susan. Thank you for the beauty and cheer. December brought us both joy and pain. A Pre Christmas weekend with our daughter and grandkids, then Christmas weekend an ambulace and hospital stay for my dearest husband Ed. Thrust now into the world of Hospice and home care, but doing well. I have Ed set up in his comfy bed in the family room in front of his big tv. There are angels everywhere to help us, and I am doing things I never knew I could do. 😳 Ed likes to call me Nurse Goodbody.😊 (I am 70 and my good body is a distant memory!) We are filled with love and gratitude, and this is an opportunity for me to make every day we have together the best and most loving it can be. It’s all any of us can do.❤️

    • sbranch says:

      I love you Rosanne. I really do. You spread that love around with your wonderful words. Blessings on you both, Mrs. Goodbody.

      • Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

        Aww, thank you for those kind words. BTW, my winter cup arrived at just the perfect moment, when I really needed a treat! And that Mother’s Day cup has my name written all over it. Yeah, baby! (as my 4 year old grandson says😊)

  43. All the new cups are lovely but I am a big fan of Jack’s so you know which one I like the best. He has so much personality. I’m enjoying your calendar again this year. It is always a big deal on January 1st when we put up the new “Susan” calendar in the kitchen.

  44. Jane Alexander says:

    Dearest Susan, I’ve been patiently waiting for your blog! I admire you and all you do with all my heart. Thank you for sharing your slice of life with us on a regular basis. I have been sick for about 10 days I guess. So unusual for me, and so humbling to remember how sick people feel. Ugh.. I got better, but didn’t rest, and relapsed. We learn lessons sometimes. I am increasingly thankful for kind people like neighbors and family and a husband that helps. Your blog is absolutely wonderful medicine, the photos so touch my heart with beauty. Love and blessings to you and Joe and Jack.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you so much Jane! I keep hearing about this flu going around. I’m so happy you’re getting better, again! xoxo

  45. Beth says:

    Pansies are my mother’s favorite flower and you put them on a Mother’s Day cup!!!! What are you, a mind reader? Can’t wait to order one, but it won’t be a surprise – Mom reads your blog, too.

    • sbranch says:

      Perfect! I was hoping there would be one or two of your mom out there! I do love making the “perfect” gift for my Girlfriends! 😘

  46. Dianna says:

    Thank you so much for the reminder of Spring! 10 degrees, 60 mile and hour gusts, and a few inches of icy snow make Spring feel so far away. And thank you for the great music to listen to as we read. Love your work, your recipes, your photography…thank you for sharing your life with us.

  47. Joan of Cape Cod says:

    I loved reading your new blog entry, as usual, and want you to know you have been very much a part of our cold weather survival these last few weeks. My husband’s health makes it hard for him to read so I’ve been reading to him from your three books. This is perfect for both of us as I wanted to reread all three and I wanted him to know why I love your writing so much. We have a little story time every afternoon which we both look forward to. We sit in front of the fire with our tea and a little something and dive back into your world. You have encouraged side trips too. We are in A Fine Romance and just read about your visit to Beatrix Potter’s home. I saw the movie Miss Potter when it first came out but my husband hadn’t seen it so we got it out of the library and thoroughly enjoyed it. Today he wondered what we are going to do when we finish this last book. Neither of us wants it to end. (See what you started?) So I told him we’d go back to the first blog entry and read one every day. Btw, was that really the first ever entry? November 1, 2010?
    Thank you SO much for making our winter afternoons so pleasurable! Today I sipped my tea from my new winter mug…yay! (Some of the other side trips have involved making some of the recipes we encountered along the way. Our favorite so far were the “corn cakes” made with Jiffy Corn muffin mix. YUM!)

    • sbranch says:

      That is the nicest thing Joan, I feel honored. Be sure to say hello to your husband for me! I’ve had a website since about 2000, but I only upgraded it 4 times a year back then, with each season. I didn’t start blogging until 2010, so yes, that’s the one! When you read A Fine Romance, you can go to “I LOVE ENGLAND” at the top of my blog page, on the drop-down, click on the Index (either alphabetically or by page number) for more information and a few videos. Cheers to you!

  48. Kathie Bee says:

    Susan, thank you for the pretty winter and spring pics. The mugs are wonders. Mother’s Day and Jack and books, I need them both. How about a girlfriends mug or dish for gifting?

    • sbranch says:

      Perfect timing because a Girlfriends cup just arrived … it says “Come. Sit. Stay.” on the front! and on the bottom: If Friends Were Flowers, I’d Choose You … check it out!

  49. Rose Eubank says:

    Susan, I read this while in bed with the flu and you made me feel better!😊

  50. Hillaire Gallagher says:

    Happy New Year..Susan, Joe and Jack
    You are one busy lady….just love the Mothers Day Cup. It is just lovely.
    I do love the 4 seasons, winter gives us the chance to get cozy, looking forward to spring as that is the favorite, and summer makes me feel like a kid again..isn’t that something and of course, Autumn makes me think again how time has flown.
    I do hope to see ‘the Darkest Hour’ Winston; really loved England, a very brave hero. I am always amazed to think that I have walked on the same planet as him, so hopeful.
    Always look forward to your posts.
    Love to all,
    Hillaire from NJ

  51. Joyce says:

    Happy New Year! So glad you had a wonderful NE holiday. Know you have strong connections to the west coast, so, a huge shout out to all the girlfriends and their loved ones there. CA has been challenged beyond words of late, and needs our support.
    Susan, you aways share so many great resources, thought I would share one with you. A book titled The Natural World of Winnie The Pooh by Kathryn Aalto. Yes, you can actually walk in the real forest which inspired the beloved tales of Christopher Robin and friends. You will love, love, love it! Happy 2018

  52. Linda from Virginia says:

    “It’s a jolly holiday with you, Sue. …When the days are gray and ordinary, Susan makes the sun shine bright!” The girls of three generations in my family saw the Broadway musical Mary Poppins produced locally here in Richmond, Virginia, Saturday. Guess who wrote the book (plot, story, dialogue)? Julian Fellowes! Who knew?

  53. Patty in Redlands says:

    Dear Susan,
    So nice to hear from you! I especially loved the snow pictures which make your home and garden look even more magical. I was surprised with another Susan Branch mug for Christmas from a daughter who noticed how much I loved the one I had. I’m hoping she keeps the tradition going since there are so many lovely ones yet to come!

    Wishing you, Joe, Jack and all of the GFs the very best in this New Year! Your inspiration for beauty and kindness goes a long way, Susan! Thank you. ❌⭕️

  54. Happy New Year, Susan! Loving my new desk calendar and cheered to hear you are working on the one for next year! Sounds like you are staying warm and cozy…thanks for the great tips. Lots of soup, blankets, candles, fires, and good books here…love this time of winter. Happy that spring will come…but loving this quiet cozy time…especially the food. Friends coming for a winter dinner of beef stew tomorrow…with good bread…bliss. Take care and enjoy the cozy !

  55. Lynne Pennoyer says:

    Well you do have a lot more snow then we here in Minnesota but its freeing cold!! And im with Joe, I too love to shovel snow😊 Cant wait for that beautiful Mother’s Day cup!

  56. Stacy says:

    Happy New Year. I’m enjoying my first Susan Branch calendar, each month is like a gift, much like your blog posts. 😘

  57. Samantha says:

    Oh this was beautiful to read on a ‘blah’ January evening. Such beautiful cups!! I love the Mothers Day one. I’ll need to start dropping hints for sure. ( or just purposely leaving photos of the cups around lol)
    We bought pictionary at Christmas. It ends up being a hoot!! Very humbling too haha. My daughter (11) also loves to play. She draws better than me.
    I loved reading this. Inspired me to plan Valentines decor! Happy New Year Susan and also to all girlfriends as well. ❤😊☺

    • sbranch says:

      I thought I answered this, but here it is, so maybe I just had a premonition! 😁 I thought I wrote back and said how surprised I was to find out Pictionary is a “thinking” game … I thought it was a drawing game, but it’s both! I really liked it! Happy Valentine’s Day Samantha and tell your daughter I said hello!

  58. Liz says:

    Pictionary is such a fun game – so many laughs. ‘Beauty’ Draw a bee + a sheep (ewe) + a cup of tea = BEE EWE TEA! 😉

  59. kathiellen says:

    Dear Susan,
    Hello Lovely Person…right back atcha!!! 😘 I was sooo happy to see your blog show up on my iPad yesterday!! It still is making my day and it is close to two days later!! It has warmed up from our 6* weather last week but now it is so gloomy and dreary outside! A snowstorm is on its way…at least I hope it is a happy looking snowstorm and we don’t lose any power! I love all of your winter pictures, especially the ones of Jack and his new Christmas toy!! He is just way too cute!! I am So Excited about the new upcoming JACK MUG!! ( scream!!!! )❤️ Your beautiful talents never cease to amaze me!! Today I recieved my new Castle Cottage mug and I LOVE IT!! Now I will REALLY feel a part of your lovely Picnic in May!!!…and yesterday after having such a full heart from reading your new uplifting Spring-is-not-far-away blog….the mail lady brought the winter mug!!! Art has been waiting for that mug as much as I have! I put the Autumn mug “up” because Autumn is over…and he has been beside himself over it!! He likes the size of that mug…me too, but I love ALL of the sizes…even if there were a thimble sized one!! THAT would really be neat!!! Little tiny Susan Branch mugs to decorate with or put on next year’s Christmas tree, or play tea party with, with a little special person!! Yes, I want to see the movie: The Darkest Hour, also! I love good historical movies! I am currently reading a book that I ordered on line ( because of the good review by either you or one of the girlfriends on your blog ) ” Cider with Rosie”. It is such an enjoyable book…I am loving it!! I cannot wait to get the heart Garland that I ordered from you about 5 days ago…it will look so cute hanging in our kitchen window. I loved seeing it in this blog…it just looks so sweet!! Susan, THANK YOU….Thank you for always making my heart smile! You are a blessing!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I think it was me … I was just reading Cider with Rosie ~ isn’t it lovely? A whole different time. Last time we were in England, we had dinner at Laurie Lee’s favorite pub where he was a regular. One of the things I love so much about England, the countryside doesn’t change much. Yes, a Jack mug! Thank you Kathiellen, so Happy you got Castle Cottage . . . can’t wait to take you to the picnic via the blog! What magic this is! You’ll love Darkest Hour! Just your cup of tea!

      • kathiellen says:

        Have you read VILLAGE CHRISTMAS by Laurie Lee? I am curious, as I just ordered it from Amazon. It sounds as wonderful as Cider with Rosie. I am on the chapter called MOTHER. This book touches my soul. I love the artwork, photographs, the bright green with white polkadots cloth cover, Granny Trill, and all of the emotion that this book leaves you with. Thank you for bringing it to my attention! I cannot wait for our trip to England!

        • sbranch says:

          He sure said wonderfully descriptive amazing things about his mother. I love reading them. But I haven’t read Village Christmas so when you do, let me know what you think! I can’t wait for our trip either…all that history seeping into us from the beautiful green countryside. eeek.

  60. Debby says:

    It’s a cold, rainy, blowy day here In the PNW. Made your Mac and cheese. We both had seconds. Delicious! Thanks! Debby

  61. Donna Wilder says:

    Happy New Year, dear Susan from one four season lover to another!
    Sending warm hugs from Stony Brook, Long Island!

  62. susan cowles says:

    Happy New Year!! Love your blog!! Can’t wait for the mugs but just love my winter mug!! They are so Awesome!! Thank you!!

  63. Jennifer says:

    Dear Susan,
    I can’t tell you how much I loved reading this blog and seeing the pictures! You’re writings and art have helped me through so many times. ❤You always lift my spirit , lighten the load and give me a happy heart. You make life more beautiful and in enchanting!🌟Thank you❤

  64. Connie Kaupe says:

    I received my Winter cup in yesterday’s mail and had my morning cuppa in it today! Huzzah! The Jack cup is adorable! Can’t wait to see the Spring prototype. Fall and Winter are neighbors in my mug cupboard.

  65. Patti H says:

    Your Musica, Return to Me, brought back bittersweet memories of the movie with the same name. It was my sister Susie’s favorite movie. She was a heart transplant recipient and we often watched it together. Thanks for all the time you spend “packing” you blog with beautiful art, great food, literature, movies, history, nature-flowers, birds, snow…, sweet Jack, dear Joe, lovely music, decorating, and your delightful sense of humor.

  66. Ruth Thomas says:

    OMG a cup with books and a black and white cat like my 18 year old cat, Zoe. I will have to save for it, was so happy to put up my new calenders and I send all my friends the small pocket calender to keep in their purses. Also sent a couple to my pen pal❤️ We are expecting 2-4 inches of snow tonite but nothing as pretty as New England.

  67. Diane R says:

    Beautiful Blog post! So fresh and pretty for the New Year 🙂

  68. Danella on the Canadian west coast says:

    Hi Susan. Glad you are warm and cozy! I WAS wondering what you have been up to. So happy to see your latest post. Lovely to think that spring is on the way. Happy New Year to you and Joe.

  69. Jennie Lou says:

    Happy January, Susan & Co! I have to say that I am with Pat (Addison, from Cave Junction, Oregon, above) I adore the quiet, snow-silenced days of winter, snuggled up with a stack of brand-new “Christmas” books, a nice, hot casserole & salad supper. No traffic roaring up and down our hill, no noisy 9:30 a.m. neighbor rattling the windows with his lawnmower, no tomatoes to pick or car to wash. Ah! Spring, she will come, but for now, let’s embrace the perfect winter moments while we can.

    • sbranch says:

      Us too, the tourists go away, maybe a car passes us every half hour! It’s a different world. Time for the island to heal from the onslaught of summer. On most sides of us we have houses belonging to “summer people” ~ and they’re gone. No lights. I always think winter goes much too fast!

  70. Nan says:

    This was just what I needed while I’m waiting for my 87 year old dad to get out of surgery! I’ve been trying to keep busy all day and your post cheered me up and on! Happy New Year Susan! (PS We LOVED The Darkest Hour, too, but I didn’t think to Google Mrs. Churchill, so glad you did, I loved knowing her hair was really like that!)

  71. Diana says:

    Hi Susan…. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!….. I’m sitting at my computer listening to the wind howl and the temperature has dropped from in the 50’s to the low 30’s within a few hours!… Fireplace time this weekend and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it…. Had to tell you that my Winter cup arrived and it is beautiful and I will use it all year because Winter and Fall are my favs… though I missed out on the Autumn cup. Don’t know how that happened, but it did… I will await a new one and NOT miss it this time!! LOL…

    Enjoy your season and love to you and yours!
    Diana – from crazy weather Illinois!!

  72. Stephanie T says:

    Oh boy–after reading your posts, I get so inspired to do a million and one things. I love the preview of your teacups–I’ll HAVE to get at least one. My Winter cup arrived yesterday and it’s beautiful! I loved the little label sealing the box closed so much that I opened the box from the bottom so as not to tear the label…so precious. Wonderful, wonderful post, Susan. Thank you.

  73. Suzette Shoulders says:

    Dear, dear Susan! I have been sort of fussing about you and Joe and Jack, and the weather back East, and now I know all is well, I am happy happy! I LOVE LOVE LOVE your pansy ‘Mother’s Day’ teacup… so much that I sent the link to my dear daughter and ‘suggested’ perhaps she and her sis might buy one for me for the appropriate day! : ) Nothing like asking for the best gift! As for snow, you had a lovely snowfall , and here in central Oregon, where last winter we had 67″ of snow at our house, there is NO snow! Weirdest thing! Hard to believe it, but after 17 years here, this one is really sad… and so are the skiers! STILL hoping for snow, but it was 45 here today, and rained all day long. Meanwhile, I have just re-started ‘A Fine Romance” and am looking forward to going back to England! You mentioned Chartwell! I came home from my first trip as the driver and planner of a trip to England with Mom and two other women, and asked my husband if he would build me a nice brick wall , to keep heat for the plants in my garden area. He said, ‘NO’, and I had to tell him Winston Churchill built one for their garden at Chartwell, even though he was awfully busy…. David said he was sure Mr. Churchill liked gardens more than HE did, LOL! True, of course! I am eager to see ‘The Darkest Hour’, but might not venture out to a public theatre to see it soon, all beds in our hospitals in central Oregon are filled with flu patients, and we are sure we don’t want that. HUGS to you and Joe and Jack! Keep on with your wonderful artwork of happiness! Suzette P.S. Each time I go to England I buy flower seeds… do look for seeds for the ‘poached egg’ flowers, they are so sweet, and naturalize well. I do like flowers that take care of spreading themselves!

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, nice try on the brick wall! You’re smart to stay home! It’s really going around, here too. Probably the only reason we’re not sick is because we work at home! But we’re going out to a dinner party tomorrow night ~ there will be kissing and hugging, must wash hands constantly! Wishing you a big old snow storm Suzette!

  74. Pam Butterick says:

    As always, you, your thoughts, your art are pure blessing to us all. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
    And, no need to respond😘😊

  75. Suzette Shoulders says:

    HI again, Susan. I just ordered “Troublesome Young Men” by Lynne Olson from Powell’s Books in Portland, OR… I read one called ‘Citizens of London’ by her about some wonderful Americans who stood with Britain during the darkest hours. Very moving, and so well-researched. I think she is a good and careful historian who writes engagingly….always great to find an author like that! suzette again

  76. Barbara A Case IN says:

    Dearest Susan, Again and again……it just never ceases to amaze me how many ‘girlfriends’ that love so many of the things. Something needs to happen to get a lot of us together……….and of course you are the catalyst ! Changing the world !!! love to you and Jack xoxoxo!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Well, we have our picnic in England in May 👏, I know lots of people are coming … but we need the same sort of thing in the US! It’s just that England is so small, no one has to go too far, where here, no matter where you have it, many folks would have almost as much trouble getting there as they would getting to England! Love you back Barbara, thank you for being a part of this!

  77. Yvonne from Munroe Falls Ohio says:

    Susan luv the mug with Jack and the books on a shelf thx for wonderful blog I always look forward to them Were getting ready for icy snowy storm Christmas tree still up candles in the windows keep warm

  78. Yvonne from Munroe Falls Ohio says:

    Susan have you ever read The Scent of Water a beautiful read Elizebeth Goudge I believe Old book New book Mozarts Starling very good🐦

    • sbranch says:

      I looked up Mozarts Starling, and looked at the VIDEO on the Amazon site… SO ADORABLE. Love the premise for her book. Thank you Yvonne! (Yes, I read Scent of Water, loved it!)

  79. Yvonne from Munroe Falls Ohio says:

    Jack is the cutest boy he’s Luvs his Christmas feather

  80. Daralyn says:

    *heart* Thank you so much. Always excited to read a new post with my friends. I have been feeling a bit under the weather and this lifts my spirits and reminds me to find joy in every circumstance.
    Happy Winter and onward towards Spring 😉

  81. Donette says:

    Oh it’s been awhile since I was here. I had taken a break from internet.With two sweet Granddaughters filling my time in between being a part-time mail carrier.When I click to see what new offering you had in your shop I was shocked! I was here from the very humble beginnings.Susan a mug? $38.95! what! I don’t care if it’s 16 or 100 oz. There will be no way me or other ~shall I say humble Grandma’s out there could afford such “small run! collectors! Get it NOW before their gone! ” treasures to sip a simple cupa tea, or to even buy one for each of my two Granddaughters.Sad to say as you have grown,you forgot the ones below you. Cheers to the pre orders! Cheers to the rich! I will have to wait for the collector dixie cups.Sure glad your wee Beatrix Potter statues you collected so long ago were not 2-4 hrs wage then.Just sad you have become out of so many’s income range.Art should be for all.A sad Gram.

    • sbranch says:

      Ohhh, Donette, that just not true. but I understand. They are expensive, I wish they could be free! But I have to make sure my dear employees, Kellee and Sherie and Alfredo, can be paid. We work hard to keep our doors open (not easy in this day and age) so we can keep doing this thing we’ve grown to love. Most fine china manufacturers left the USA and moved to China, so I began to look at other countries. I looked to China, but for this kind of quality (the only kind I would want to put my art on), I found a small company in England, which, miracle of miracles, could provide a business as small as ours with a low enough “minimum order” that we could afford to do it (there are always minimum order requirements for anything we have made ~ typically they are in the thousands, which would have made it financially prohibitive for us). I feel lucky we can afford to make them at all, the stars really had to come together to allow it to happen. And as with Emma Bridgewater mugs, which we carried for years (their 16 oz cup retailed at $52 when we had them, $17 more than ours), import and shipping costs from England are very high. Some think my cups are worth it, and some don’t, but at least there’s a choice ~ between cup or no cup at all. I made $400 a month in the 70s when I was buying my Beatrix Potter figurines, which is $2.50 an hour. The price of $32 for each figurine meant I had to work almost 13 hours to get one. Quite expensive (almost the same as my cups are today)…but I loved them so much, they were worth it to me, so I saved for them. And I’ve had them all my life. I’m so sorry you are sad ~ please watch my Blog because I give my cups away sometimes, you can enter a drawing, and maybe you’ll get a surprise cup in the mail! Blessings for you and yours. xoxo

      • Samantha says:

        Susan, you have such grace in your response. The only things cheap these days are ‘cheaply made’ and mass produced. I love that you had them made in England and not from someone who would produce them cheaply. They are very special. Beautiful!

        • sbranch says:

          Thank you Samantha … I know, finding really wonderful things isn’t easy ~ even my calendars, slowly but surely the manufacturer tries to whittle away at the quality so the products cost him less to make, they were printed on thinner paper a couple of years ago with no warning (I had to talk to them about that). I don’t print the calendars myself, I license my art and design to a manufacturer ~ so I have less say in the matter. At least if I make something myself, like I do with the cups, every step of the process goes through me, I have control over the quality. I could have had them made much cheaper in China, but China cups are a dime a dozen, available in every Walmart, and perfect for every yard sale. I’m trying to make the antiques of the future! Thank you for understanding!

          • Tawni Urrutia says:

            Well. Hmmm. If out of touch is YEARS of blogs cheering us on to glow with inspiring photos, recipes, quotes and art work, then YOU, my Lady…are out of touch!
            If out of touch means plying us with FREE downloads of screen savers, and book marks, and stationary to match the seasons, then you are out of touch.
            If planning picnics(on your vacation no less) and inviting all who can attend, and if being away on vacation and taking so much time to include us (you’ve educated me on England in so many fabulous ways!)then, ugh, you are…out of touch!
            All cheekiness aside, you are a lightning rod for all things cheerful, and gracious and awesome.

            Tawni Urrutia in Lodi, Ca

          • sbranch says:

            TAWNI!!! 😌 You are a doll! You made me remember the quote “Charm: the quality in others that makes us more satisfied with ourselves.” THANK YOU!

          • Samantha says:

            Something to pass on! We don’t have enough of that anymore. It’s so special to inherit something. There isn’t enough appreciation for that. Old quilts, cups, saucers, teapots etc…I believe quality is key. I have actually taken pictures of the mothers day mug design and left them lying around so perhaps someone would see them LOL…I recently bought some dishes from a very popular name (from Walmart). They were so pretty. Cracked after the first wash. Sad! Keep doing what you do…even those (like myself) who cannot afford many pieces can perhaps appreciate one at a time! Much love!

          • sbranch says:

            Thank you Samantha! I couldn’t agree more, love all the old things. Was just looking at an old linen Laura Ashley dress, marveling at the darts, the sleeves, the matching fabric belt… things we hardly ever see anymore.

      • Joan says:

        A little bit harsh?? Where there’s a will there’s a way I am also a retiree but I find someway to purchase Susan’s cups. What price do you put on looking at a beautiful cup every day drinking your tea year after year I would rather give up one dinner at a restaurant for one of my cups❤ We all have our priorities

        • sbranch says:

          OH Joan, I love my Girlfriends sticking up for me. 😘😘😘 I think Donette may not be looking at the deeper picture. Really, let’s say I never made any cups and there are none for sale, she’d be in exactly the same place she’s in now, no cups! And no choice about it. But now, at least she has a choice! It’s a win-win!

      • Lorraine says:

        Susan – I truly appreciate what you do and how you do it. I understand by some standards your products are expensive but I would rather have a couple well made items, made by a good company where employees are paid a living wage than to have a boatload of “made in China” items. Thank you for what you do and please, stay the course.

        • sbranch says:

          I almost always buy old things in yard sales, because the quality, even if used, is usually better, prettier, and nicer. So I understand your feeling. Thank you Lorraine!

          • Mary Brehm says:

            Sue. I read this comment earlier this morning and it has beebbothering me all day. I don’t understand why people have to be so negative and miserable sometimes. I too love your cups. But I can’t afford to get one at this time since I am saving all my pennies for my daughters wedding in July. Just because I can’t afford to buy one now doesn’t mean that I should post snarky comments. I choose not to get one now and hope and wish for one in the future. Sheesh! I applaud you on your very kind and thoughtful reaction and response.

          • sbranch says:

            You are so sweet Mary … I just bet if we hear from her again she will say how tired she’s been and overworked, which I have no doubt she likely is. xoxoxo

          • Mary Brehm says:

            whoops i meant been bothering me…sorry!

    • Rachel Scott says:

      Donette, let’s look on the positive side, which Susan has taught us to do.
      What does she offer us that we don’t have to buy?
      1. Her uplifting blog, with gorgeous art work, beautiful sayings, and great photos of her home, life, etc. I consider what she gives up as priceless. She could use her blog to make money, but chooses not to, and we don’t have to read around the ads or popups. And, believe me, she could make a lot of money doing just that.
      2. Wonderful tried and true recipes that are delicious, and fairly easy to make
      3. Gardening advise (I especially loved vacuuming the dandelion puffs!)
      4. She makes us aware of things that are going on around us, which we need to take notice of: fires, floods, lobbyist, ways to give to hurricane victims in a secure and expedient manner, etc.
      5. She offers us desktop wallpaper
      6. Free stationery which costs us the price of a piece of paper
      7. Bookmarks for the price of a piece of card stock
      8. Planned picnics, if you chose to attend
      9. Book signing all over the country, which are usually free. And, sometimes there are delicious cookies, cupcakes for the taking.
      10. Travel advise for ships, trains, and driving cars on the wrong side of the road
      11. Travel journals on her blog, showing some of the best places in the United Kingdom to visit
      12. She hires people who are patient and often times go above and beyond the call of duty for the girlfriends and their men friends, often working long hours/days just so we can get our orders sooner than we would otherwise.
      13. She reads every reply and often times comments, even when she is extremely busy and really doesn’t have the time to do so….again, priceless.
      14. Sympathy, understanding, and kind words, even when someone has not approached her in kind.
      And, when she does sell something, it’s of the best quality that she can afford, whereas she could charge just as much for a lesser product. I can only imagine the amount of time she spends, both designing her products and then working to get companies to make them for us. It’s a long, time-consuming process, for which she doesn’t make much at all.
      I hope you will take this in the right way…..sometimes I forget just how blessed I am too. I don’t have to have one of her cups to enjoy the other things she gives us.

      • sbranch says:

        LOL, vacuuming the dandelion puffs! I knew that was a little farfetched, but it worked. I had to tell you! What a memory Rachel! I sit here shaking my head in amazement of YOU. Thank you darling girl. I am very touched. 🤗

        • Regina Carretta says:

          Pure class and patience, you are, Susan Branch! You keep the channels of communication open, even when people express frustration or disagreement. You do have a business, selling things that appeal to us, beautiful items, some with history, all with color, quality, uniqueness. And you do share so much with us – your books, where we learned so much and were encouraged for seeing/hearing how you are a citizen of the world, in California, Martha’s Vineyard, England, or Scotland. Keep on listening, sharing, venting, expressing…..even if some don’t agree, it is the mutual sharing of ideas that is important…always thanking you for being a gem!

          • sbranch says:

            Thank you back Regina … you know there’s an old quote, “If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn’t thinking!” 😘

        • Susan P. says:


          I have been so busy that I am just now reading your blog…(THANK YOU) I am taken back and want to comment…But my mother’s words keep me from not saying anything..unless it is nice. SSSSOOOOOO HOW EXCITING MORE NEW CUPS AND SO BEAUTIFUL DONE…OR WILL BE DONE HAHAHA. I like others put money away for my treasures….I recycle the cans and plastic bottles. If you leave money in your pant pockets and it goes thru the wash..then it is MINE!!!! but my favorite way to save money….be nice to my husband….He is so good to me..I can buy anything I like. hahaha YOU ARE SO POSITIVE AND NICE…EVEN IN YOUR COMMENTS ON THIS SUBJECT. It so great and wonderful to go to your store on line…and there is something for me and my friends…you have been my go to store for birthdays, mother days, and Christmas and everything in between. Thanks for all of your lovely and hard work…I can just hear or I should say I can just imagine in my mind WHAT BLOG DADDY WOULD OF SAID..I truly miss his comments … sorry I know you miss him so. Love, Susan P.

          • sbranch says:

            I would probably have had to edit it. He was the MOST Protective dad. How I miss him. One of my very favorite things is knowing he was here with all of us for the last two years of his life. He got so much joy from being everyone’s dad. Thank you dear Susan! xoxo

      • FayE in CA! says:

        Rachel, thanks for taking the time to say what is so true. Susan offers up herself (pretty much literally) to bring all of us together in an abundance of ways. We all appreciate the tremendous efforts that she takes to FREELY share and spread community through this blog.

        The access that she offers through the various social medias is probably more priceless than owning one of her lovely, charming products. Her ambiance is free and uplifting…and, again, appreciated. We are a grateful group of Girlfriends!

      • Lorraine says:

        Rachel – thank you for this list. It’s easy to overlook the everyday loveliness of so many things – in this blog and life in general. Your comment went a long way in making me aware of so many things I’ve taken for granted. I thoroughly enjoy every blog entry but it’s easy to forget everything that is included with putting this blog together. Well done!

        • sbranch says:

          You aren’t the only one! Making “a cup” or “a book” has taught me to look at almost everything differently. I took it for granted, things just seemed to appear…but once you have spoken to the professional people at the printers, the paper makers, the shippers, the people in the customs office, the box makers and sticker providers, you realize what a MACHINE the world is, everyone doing their part to make things happen. Imagine farmers! Thank you Rachel, thank you Lorraine. It’s a wonderful world!

  82. Dixie Johnson says:

    Happy New Year to both you & Joe & a hope for an early spring! Both my husband & I visited Churchill’s home Chartwell in July & loved it! His gardens are so lovely & the stories they tell you there are great. He really saved the world! We saw Darkest Hour & were amazed by Gary Oldman—Kristin Scott-Thomas was wonderful also! Do you have “The Wicked Wit of Winston Churchill”?—a real treat!

    • sbranch says:

      I do! He’s one of my favorites, such a funny witty man. Yes, we loved Chartwell too. How wonderful they keep these homes as they were for us to go feel the truth in history!

  83. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    Happy New Year Susan!!
    So happy to hear that you and Joe and Jack all survived the snow.
    It’s funny how when you have “real” winters, you look forward to spring. But in California, where we have hardly had any cold or winter days, I don’t look forward to spring because it will just be hot again! Crazy isn’t it?
    The snow looks so beautiful!!
    I love your lights outside staying up all year long. I have the same thing on my patio, I buy the solar string lights. I have some that are stars across the patio cover, so magical at night.
    Love reading about all your creative work and projects. You are an inspiration and I only hope a little of that creativity comes my way!!

    • sbranch says:

      I do the same thing, I keep inspiring books in my studio just hoping that some of their genius floats from my bookcase, across the room, and lands on me! Osmosis! And yes, spring is like a new dawn around here. Everyone opens their windows for the fresh air, runs outside, puts their sheets on the line to dry in the sun … even while it’s only 55 degrees. SOOO Happy!

  84. Deborah says:

    Hi Susan. Thank you for this lovely post today. I read while taking a long, bubbly, bubble bath while my two black & white kitties (Matisse & Monet) napped in the doorway. I was feeling a little teary earlier (post holiday blues?) and you reminded me of my many blessings. Some years ago, I was given one of your books & dreamed of having kitties & a little garden & doing my art. Those dreams have all come true! There is much to be grateful for. Hugs! ❤️

  85. Susan Butler says:

    I feel so lucky to read this in a busy season of my life…. you are so inspirational!

  86. Gerri says:

    I vote for the Jack Cup with the Handback books…love it!

  87. Samantha says:

    Oh this was beautiful to read on a ‘blah’ January evening. Such beautiful cups!! I love the Mothers Day one. I’ll need to start dropping hints for sure. ( or just purposely leaving photos of the cups around lol)
    We bought pictionary at Christmas. It ends up being a hoot!! Very humbling too haha. My daughter (11) also loves to play. She draws better than me.
    I loved reading this. Inspired me to plan Valentines decor! Happy New Year Susan and also to all girlfriends as well. 😊

  88. carolyn eagles says:

    Susan, I love everything you do!! I am collecting Beatrix Potter figurines nnow and long to be able to cook a rabbit cake!! I want to win the mold and Mason book……..anyway, I will order them if I must. Also, I have all your books……….love Fairytale book and Falling in Love with English Countryside…….. I used to love Alexandra Stoddard’s book LIVING A BEAUTIFUL LIFE and now I find her sequel with you. Thank you for all you do and maybe Joe can send tips on reviving Christmas cacti and poinsettia! Stay well and I love life to the moon and back! carolyn

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you, Carolyn, so sweet to hear that! I have to sneak poinsettia into the trash somewhere around April when there is one leaf dangling by a thread … until then Joe guards them like a hawk! I can usually keep Christmas Cacti alive by watering it and not letting it get too cold. And me too, love live to the MOON and back!xoxoxo

  89. Candice says:

    L-O-V-E the “not quite finished” Jack cup, the Mother’s Day cup is lovely and I can hardly wait to see the English countryside cup and Spring cup!
    We had a balmy 55 degrees yesterday, but rain came in during the night temps plummeted to 30 and now everything is covered in ice and has now turned to snow. My clothesline looks like a glass beaded necklace! Perfect weather to snuggle in, read and drink tea, however work calls later on and I will be driving a short distance to my PT job….eeeek!
    Happy New Year to You, Joe and Jack! Looking forward to all the great things in store for 2018!!

  90. Bonnie Hodge says:

    Deliciously beautiful! Snow flowers and stocks – love it. The Jack cup is so so cute!! Happy New Year,

  91. Cathy Thompson says:

    As always your posts make me happy. Thank you!

  92. Connie Castle says:

    My Castle Cottage cup arrived yesterday and I love it, love it.
    Beautiful bluebells and sheep and just the name! Thank you for your
    creativity–you are using it well. Loved this blog as many other have
    said. Here in Michigan have icy snowstorm today after 54 degrees
    yesterday. Very windy also. So am staying put and reading all the
    wonderful comments. It is fun to be so connected with everyone
    through you, Susan, and your wonderful artwork and words. This blog
    was a great pick-me-upper and then The Cup! Perfect. Connie Castle

  93. Debby says:

    Wondering how I send two messages at different times but you never seen them. Feeling left out. What am I doing wrong? Debby🙁

  94. Susan says:

    I’m another Susan married to a Joe – they’re the best!
    Beautiful Spring window picture – daffodils, freesias, cherry blossoms. Wait. Freesias? I see forsythia? Or maybe not. I have certainly been “in error” before!
    I found you through a Gladys Taber connection – a lovely “find.”
    Thank you for the inspiration.

  95. Lucy Crosby says:

    Hi Susan, I sent a comment – It didn’t go through. I am still new to the computer thing. I just wanted to tell you how much I love the three books about You. I bought them before they were ready and you signed them. I have laughed, cried and enjoyed them. Thank you for sharing your story – it is beautiful how you worked through each day. I also have all of your cook books.

    Two of my cups arrived this week – winter and “Come. Sit. Stay,” I purchased the Love cup first. I am waiting for the next one. You bring me much joy. Again Happy 2018.

    Friendship hug,
    Lucy NC

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Lucy, so happy to hear your cups have arrived! And thank you so much for the kind words for my books. 😘

  96. Donna V. Miller says:

    Hi Susan, so very happy to read your New Year Blog. Have been looking forward to it. I really don’t know how you accomplish all that you do! You are a real inspiration as I’am sure Joe and Jack are to you. Blessings to all from Mech.,Pa. Donna

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

    good morning Susan and Girlfriends, brrr it is chilly out there, the rain has stopped for now and the sun is peeking out but that warm fire in the woodstove feels pretty good to me. been out in the barn lighting off the woodstove in there to keep the hens happy, and laying down fresh straw in the barn and henhouse for warm, comfy nests. I think tonight it will be meatloaf with salad, and mac and cheese. one thing about cold weather, you sure give the oven a workout. hmmm may even change the menu a bit instead of mac and cheese, fresh garlic bread instead. one way to get rid of an old loaf of bread. we have ordered our chicks from the hatchery and they should be arriving in about a month, hopefully with this new batch of peeps we can recover our losses after losing those hens in October. and trust me I get even with that obnoxious neighbor regularly… I refuse to sell him or his bozo chums one egg. not one dozen or one eggs will they ever get from me, I refuse to do business with them, and he still owes me for the loss of those hens and ducks… 13 hens, 2 ducks and 1 rooster. I am due compensation for the loss of those hens as they were part of our income ( selling good fresh eggs) and the ducks as well… we sold their eggs to folks and they loved them. so he owes me major time for the loss. I will be happy when we finally get rid of him and that could be soon enough, though not soon enough to suit me. well off to sweep off the porch, and get the floors swept, and get the meat out for dinner. stay warm and comfy and have a great day today. hugs…. 😀

    • sbranch says:

      Egg denial! The perfect revenge! I would hate that! Stay warm Pat, enjoy that garlic bread!

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        its extreme considering my egg prices are the lowest in town, but then I sell the freshest eggs as compared to the local store. but if that bozo wants eggs, he has to deal with the store not me…. payback, its rough but someone has to do it. .. 😀

  98. Kathy Hughes says:

    Susan, I left two comments about your wonderful post, but when I checked to see if you had seen them, it still says, “Comment waiting moderation.” I left the comments the evening of Jan. 10. Just wanted you to know that I loved the post!

    • sbranch says:

      Believe it or not here are 242 comments waiting for me right now “still in moderation!” But I’m working on them … I’m sure yours is in there, but thank you Kathy, so sweet of you to tell me. xoxoxo

  99. Barbara Irvine (Connecticut) says:

    Happy New Year, Susan, Joe, Jack and all the Girlfriends! I wish I had a Joe who likes to shovel show and brings me flowers — lucky Susan!

    It was wonderful seeing your photos of Spring. After the last few weeks of bitter cold, a frozen water pipe and a blizzard, I’m ready for Spring. We have 60* today and rain, but back into the deep freeze tomorrow afternoon.

    My Winter cup arrived today, and it is beautiful !! The shipping box looked like it had been used in one of the NFL playoff games, but the cup was unharmed. Thank you to Kellee, Sherri and Alfredo for all your hard work and excellent packing skills!

    Wishing everyone a very happy, healthy and prosperous year ahead. Prayers for all in California who had to deal with the terrible fires and now horrific mudslides. Please, Mother Nature, be more gentle with us this year.

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

    I have a question and need some good advice here, but first I had better explain the situation. and yes it is dealing with that obnoxious neighbor, sorry but that is our life out here. we have an odor problem, or rather I should say we have a nasty stench problem coming from his yard, as we live behind him we get quite a nose full of this nasty stench. he lines his garbage along the fence, its in bags but when you have critters digging in it well it gets pretty nasty. and right now that trash is pretty thick, like about 2-3 bags thick along the entire fence. come this spring and especially this summer that stench is going to get very ripe if you get my meaning. right now in winter it is not too bad, you barely notice it, but come spring and summer… whooo boy!!! I like having fresh air in my house and come spring and summer the windows are opened, how can I keep that nasty smell out of my house and how do I get it out of the house???? spraying cans of Lysol can get a bit expensive, and Febreze just does not work… any ideas on this as I would like to not smell what he left out this winter for us to enjoy come spring and summer. HELP!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Call the health department! Would that work?

      • Carrie from Canada 🇨🇦 says:

        Does your hometown have a city hall? Here, we have a city office and our beloved, By-Law Officer! He is a dream…and so good looking…tee hee. But, yes, a stench that bad from rotting garbage is a health hazard and against city/town laws. A By-Law Officer will go to that house, speak to that person, and probably issue fines, with orders to haul it all away within a certain time-frame.
        And it is anonymous…your neighbour will never know it was you who called. Just stipulate to the city people, that you don’t want your neighbour coming after you.
        Please, keep us posted. We are rootin’ for you, Pat! Stick to your guns. I wouldn’t tolerate that stench either.
        Carrie. xoxoxo

        • sbranch says:

          It’s like that here too. Rotting garbage is not really approved of!

        • Deb says:

          Yes – and the rats and other critters WILL come along soon, following the odor that means food to them, and getting rid of rats who wander to you hen house will be disastrous! Good luck, Pat!

          • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

            we have called down city hall on him, and the county offices as well and the health dept. he gets a court date sometime this month to appear and explain, what happens then I don’t know, I just hope they get rid of him and force him to clean that place up and get rid of the transients he allows to live on his property. we have already have mouse and critter problems ( coons, possums, stray cats and skunks, and now we know he has rats over there…YUK!!!) I hope they take the property from him and do something about the pests. I just want to get rid of the odors that float over from his place to ours, and get them out of the house. any ideas on how to get rid of the nasty smells????

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