Domesticity City, My Hometown

Today you are you, that’s truer than true, there’s no one alive that’s youer than you.       Dr. Seuss

I have to tell you about a moment  of homemaking exhilaration I experienced the other morning. I was nurking around the kitchen (definition of nurking: more is being accomplished than when simply lurking), munching left-over Orange Cake from the dinner party we’d had the night before (luscious pineapple filling; delicious fruit for breakfast); I was emptying the dishwasher, putting a mixing bowl back on the high shelf, getting things back in order; my mind was wandering around like a butterfly with no particular place to go.  Both kitchen doors were open, a soft breeze up from the harbor was drifting through the screens, sun was splashed around the room; I washed my yellow depression glasses in warm soapy water while humming Polka Dots and Moonbeams with the stereo (you can hum it too, click on and come back!), and listened to the birds singing outside the window. I set the glasses to dry on a dishtowel in front of the open window; then I got the scissors and went out to the garden in the morning sunshine . . .

. . . skirting around the chicadees and wrens splashing in the bird bath, to cut a few flowers, small pink daisy-like blooms I mixed with wildflowers; brought them back to the kitchen, trimmed their bottoms, and put them in an old sea-green tinted bottle that Joe found when he was digging around in the backyard (and brought to me like a trophy ).  I walked around the kitchen holding the bottle of flowers out in front of me to see where it would look best.  Here? Here? There! I tucked it among the China dishes on the top of my stove . . . and suddenly, right there, pure joyous, on the verge of hysterical, happiness flooded into my heart.

If you’ve read my book Girlfriends Forever, where I wrote about “the Art of the Home,” you know I’ve been doing this since I was a little girl; whatever this need is inside me, I was born with it.  So of course I keep doing it.  I tucked clean dishtowels over the oven-door handles, picked up all the Beatrix Potter People and wiped the shelf under them, pulled the wet laundry out of the washer into a basket, balanced it on my hip and took it to the back garden and hung the sheets on the line . . . so they’ll dry a little stiff from the salt air and smell good when I put them back on the bed. (Isn’t this music just dreamy? xoxo)

When I came in, the sunlight through the window was sparkling from the drops of water on the glasses;  it was so pretty, I went and got the camera. 

 

 It occurred to me while I was doing this, that I could make pancakes, sew on buttons, paint my watercolors, make new little scenes on my stove shelf, pet the kitty, set the table with candles and flowers, arrange stacks of antique garden books and tea cups, iron dresser scarves, frost cakes, oil my old wooden  spoons, do embroidery on a pin cushion, knit in front of the fire with my girlfriends, and photograph the whole thing all day long and never get tired of it. I don’t even mind housework, because it’s what makes everything polished and sparkling like a fresh piece of watercolor paper, ready to be “painted” on, ready for the bouquets of flowers, the lighting of the candles, favorite books on the table, Frank Sinatra singing; us and our friends surrounded in my kind of homemade beauty.  Just like playing house.  Is it decorating?  Maybe.  Is it home making? Definitely.  Creativity at its most important highest best.  Bottom line is I love it so much, I’m pretty sure I will do almost anything, ANYTHING, for beauty.  Of course I have to work, yes, but this is what I really like to do.  Make beauty, nurk, decorate, and eat cake. 

She was overcome by an attack of pathological enthusiasm.  Robert Lowell

So here, and in the next pages of this section, is my enthusiastic version of Decorating 101; easy ideas and tips for making home sweet home.  Everything I know about decorating, and housekeeping, and less. Because as the Dr. Seuss quote above says, it’s all about you, and no one is youer than you.  For instance, this basket is me-er than me.  I could find a new one, but I love this one because it’s crooked and old and is hooked to history.  And, at least in my imagination, it knows more about Thanksgiving than I do.  But there’s no right way, no “best basket” —  it’s all individual, youer than you. 

 So whether you’re attracted to old-fashioned cottage style, clean and spare modern, whimsical and eclectic, charming country, Victorian vintage, comfy English, simple Swedish, elegant French, polished traditional, rosey romantic, cat-lady-cozy, or the ever-popular no-name decorating, we all have one important thing in common, we love our homes. ♥ We love a comfortable, nurturing environment, love seeing ourselves reflected in the things around us.  Making a home for ourselves and our families does more for our general well-being and happiness than the everydayness of it might suggest; it’s second nature for most of us, because HME is the place where LVE grows.

♥      

Here’s part of what I wrote in my diary about my first little house on the island. In a true example of pathological enthusiasm, this goes on for six pages, and it was only a one-bedroom house! I guess I never wanted to forget it!  I wrote my first book in this house and still have dreams about it.

 ♥  

 

143 Responses to Domesticity City, My Hometown

  1. Karen C says:

    I love your enthusiasm. :) Made me smile.

  2. Jeannie M from NC says:

    Oh, I love your style Lady Susan! You’re making me want to get up and run through my little cottage cleaning, and here I am laid up after the Dermatologist removed some skin from the back of my leg just above the ankle.Its driving me crazy! Its been a week now and I am still in pain. Probably because it’s the same leg a hurt two days before the surgery, when I fell trying to prevent falling over me sweet Grandson! But, this too will pass and I’ll be able to clean to my hearts content, and pack away summer decor, and bring out the fall! Yeah! You make all things exciting! xoxo

  3. Pat Mofjeld says:

    Thanks for affirming all of us that love to be “Homemakers”. I sometimes think the “baby got thrown out with the bathwater” with the Women’s Movement… :-)

    • Evelyn says:

      I so agree.

      • I so agree Pat. “they” told us we could have it all; well, we couldn’t – not enough of us to go around. Well, that’s all behind me now – in retirement I can play house to my heart’s desire. :)

      • Jo in Western Springs says:

        I agree. Three cheers for everyone who makes a house a home!

        • Lynette says:

          Homemaking didn’t get thrown out with the bathwater. It’s just instilled in some of us. Like in me…..It’s so amazing to me how some women are kindred spirits. Definitely, Susan Branch and I and the wonderful women who visit this website have so much of the same dreams, thoughts and likenesses. We’re are sisters at heart! Simply incredible, I never knew.

          • sbranch says:

            From my first book, I knew. The letters I received were from people just like these wonderful girlfriends leaving these wonderful comments. That’s why I’m so in love with blogging . . . I always wished the writers of these letters could meet each other! My wish came true!

  4. Lori says:

    Thank you Susan! We are all playing house- trying to turn them into homes. Especially at times like this, when the economy isn’t great and bad news abounds all around us, it is wonderful to have a cozy retreat. Fluff the pillows. Light the candles. Pick the flowers. Use the good china. No better time than now …

    • sbranch says:

      That is so true! No better time than now…refuge from the storm.

    • Carla says:

      Thank you for affirming how I feel. Happy home making~

    • DedraToo says:

      After a really difficult year, I have done just as you say here. It’s the perfect way to heal a family that has gone through the hurt. We have all scrubbed every inch of this house, and cooked exactlly what we have wanted to eat, and used the good china so often I have not even bothered to put it away :) Nothing can fix a hurt like home!

  5. Janie Phillips says:

    Domesticity City … I believe our hearts are neighbors there :) xoxo

  6. Jeanie says:

    One of the reasons I love your blog, is I feel the exact same way as you do about my home I love it !!! there are not to many people that love homemaking the way I do I pretty much keep it to myself because I know they would think I am crazy. I love decorating as you do, when I was a little girl I always played with my doll house always changing the rooms just as I do now. I am a avid knitter love to sew and I must say your blog has inspired me to try painting with watercolors, many thanks for all the wonderful posts I enjoy them all very much.

  7. nancy earl says:

    ah we love to make homey touch to our homes. rearranging, dusting, ironing, hanging out clothes and so much more. My friends and i call it puttering. people putter and butterflies flutter. silly i know lol. just thought i would share that. heres to puttering.

    • Amanda says:

      Oh my gosh, that is what I call it too. I could putter around the house all day. When I tell someone that, I get the “crazy” look :/ But it is what makes me happy. However, since my divorce, I have to work away most of my day. But I do look forward to the weekends (especially in the winter) when I can putter to my heart’s content! :) It’s bliss.

    • Peggy says:

      Puttering is the best. It’s what my beloved grandfather called it when he played in the garden, shelled walnuts, tinkered at his workbench. It’s a lovely word!

  8. Carolyn Ann says:

    Just love this Home Sweet Home section. Its done so beautifully. I completely agree that you have to decorate with the things you love and not worry what others think. Also, the Dr. Seuss quote is so cute. I sent it to my kids. I’ve always told my kids that “you are the best you there is.” I remember that quote from somewhere, maybe it was Dr. Seuss, too. Your “me-er than me” phrase is also funny and cute. Next time I see something I really want I will say, “I need this because it is me-er than me.” Stay happy Susan!

  9. Janet says:

    Susan, You are the “Best” !!! I just love murking around my house on a day off. Sometimes you just get more done that way. The song is Great, you Always make me smile. Have a wonderful day !!!

  10. Mary says:

    Oh Susan, it’s such a joy to read these pages! I’ve thought for years that I was the only one who loved the simple joys of homemaking — my friends think I’m crazy when they hear I iron dish towels! — and now I find that I’m not alone after all. :) Your pages bring a smile to my face and make my heart sing. Thanks for taking the time to share.

    • DedraToo says:

      thank goodness! no one understands my dish towel obession :)

      • Janet says:

        Some of my friends think I’m crazy too – because I iron no-iron pillowcases every week. But how else can you get those nice sharp creases when you put the case on a pillow and prop it upright on the bed? A freshly-made bed just wouldn’t look like right to me if the pillowcases didn’t have nice rectangular creases – and the nice smooth finish only pressing can give them… So I will keep on doing that and be crazy I guess… but I am the normal one [as you often say, Sue]. I just love that – “remember WE are the normal ones…” Cute.

  11. peg says:

    Makes me want to go downstairs and re-decorate….summer ends today…so, up goes the photograph of Autumn in Contoocook, NH…beach things tucked away unitl next year…summer banners down (now, to find the fall ones!). Love the Polka Dots and Moonbeams! I grew up with big band and swing music. My grandparents had one of those all-in-one stand-up radio/record players on their patio in Redlands and we would listen to the 78′s all afternoon. Then, many years later, I was reintroduced to this fabulous music by Charlie and my inlaws. Charlie and I have a huge collection of 78′s and a late model turntable that plays them (and 45′s and LPs, too! Thanks for always adding a pinch of new inspiration to your blog and your Home Sweet Home! It keeps me centered and my imagination a-whirl! xo♥

  12. Carla says:

    I love coming here Susan to your blog. It shores me up, and reinvigorates my love of home-making.

    I met you when you toured with your first book, way back, in Sonoma California. Have followed you ever since. Miss your store in central CA. But, looove hearing of your adventures everywhere, especially, from Martha’s Vineyard. I have never been there , but have always dreamed of going.

    You inspire me in so many ways~ thank you. :heart and hugs:

  13. Sherrill Kerbaugh says:

    Susan…I think we all have done something right when, to quote a line from my favorite movie “The Wizard of Oz”, we look around our houses big or small, and say to ourselves, “There’s no place like home! There’s no place like home!” :)

  14. Rae Ann Roche says:

    LOVE…

  15. andrea says:

    Reading your words while listening to Sinatra….HEAVEN!
    And being a lover of polka dots and PUGS, the song made me really smile :-)
    xoxo

  16. Karen P says:

    How special is this glimpse into the heart of your home, Susan! To find joy in the little things in life is a gift to treasure. Love the Polka Dots and Moonbeams, too. I have found a new radio station that I listen to online that is all old-time music….soft jazz….big band?….whatever you call it….Polka Dots and Moonbeams music. I love to crank it up loud and it just mellows out the day! I love that you add accompaniment music to your blogs! You’re so thoughtful of what we all would love! xoxo…kp

    • Evelyn says:

      What’s the station…I love that kind of music too…soothing when I’m stressed.

      • Karen P says:

        I’m not sure if I’m allowed to post something like that, Evelyn, on this blog but I’ll go ahead and do it and I’m sure if it’s not allowed it will be edited from posting (which I totally understand). But, I LOVE this station so much….I crank it up…goregous music. It’s called Martini in the Morning. Apparently the station is broadcast in southern CA someplace….you can log onto it on your computer and listen through your computer speakers (that’s what I do). I’m sure there are other ways (it’s not on the radio, though). http://www.martiniinthemorning.com (Hope this is okay, Susan….if not I understand)

        • sbranch says:

          This blog does remove some of the links put it…but for some reason this one went through…good! Loved it, bookmarked it! Thank you Karen.

          • Karen P says:

            Oh good! I know that the purpose of your blog is NOT to promote other businesses so I didn’t initially include it in my first post for that reason. But I DO love having it to listen to.

  17. Melissa Quarles says:

    Susan, you make me feel reaffirmed in my belief that we are all connected! I feel as though you are a close friend and we have never met! Thanks for sharing so much of yourself with all of us and oh how I envy your talents! Anything Susan Branch makes me smile!

  18. Mary Ann says:

    So tomorrow is September….time to pretend it’s Fall even if here in SoCal we still are having warm days! I love making our house a home for my family too.

  19. Sandra Gillanders says:

    Kindred Spirits of the home and hearth! Love to know about your first little house on M.V. where you wrote your first book. You are a constant source of inspiration! xoxox

  20. Virginia Zielinski says:

    I had kind of a downer-day until I read your blog. Thank you, Susan, for your enthusiasm and contagious love-of-life. You are terrific. My day is now sunny….hmmm…I think it may be time for some kitchen nurking of my own.

  21. Nancye says:

    So inspiring…just wish my aching legs would let me clean like I used to…but I love the whole concept of homemaking and creating a lovely place for all to enjoy…Thanks, Susan, for inspiring us…

  22. thea says:

    my only advice to you is to ‘keep your day job’ lol have a wonderful day! t

  23. Ann says:

    I love to play house, too! When I need a lift or I’m feeling sad about something I wash my fiesta ware and then my green depression glass dishes (Georgian Lovebirds). Always makes me feel better, if only because they remind me that I have it so much better than the folks who originally used those dishes.

  24. Donna Smith says:

    warm soapy water did it for me… I’m getting my dish clothes ready!

  25. Pam says:

    You’re such a refreshing comfort in my life. Thanks for being you.

  26. Cindy says:

    Thank you, thank you,thank you for putting in to words exactly how I feel about Home and the pleasure of puttering!Having spent hours arranging my teapots in just the right way or moving a vase of flowers around to 10 different spots( as if life itself depends on it) before finding the right spot..you are so right.I would rather do that on my day off than just about anything else.My favorite word in the English language has always been Home!Thank you for putting watercolor to my favorite word.

  27. Judy Ree says:

    Me again…I’m having trouble purging & tossing out things. Please, do any of you have any ideas/tips/attitude adjusters to help me do this? To help me get motivated and Let Go? I’m trying to clean out my home, but recently moved my Mom to assisted living because of Alzheimers (nasty old disease..grrr) & now I’m emptying her home of 50 yrs also. I keep filling up my home w/things I just can’t throw away of hers (how do you let go of those little things that remind you of the good times of your mom’s when things w/her just aren’t the same anymore & never will be again) How do you just toss out someone’s life? (when you’re trying so hard to hold on to the bit of life left?)

    • sbranch says:

      You don’t. Not now. Save every little bit of it. Worry about it later. xoxo Judy. wishing you the best.

      • Judy Ree says:

        Oh my, thanks…I needed that! You have been a blessing in my life for years now (I’ve journaled in your Days Bk since the 80′s…. & wrote way back in snail mail days about my 4wheeler mishap) You brighten my day!

        • Kim says:

          Judy,
          I went through that exact thing 3 years ago with my mom’s belongings. Sadly, she too had Alzheimer’s and needed to move to assisted living.
          Susan is right. Don’t get rid of anything unless you are positive you don’t want it. You will no when the time is right. At the time I was going through it, I was a bit overwhelmed by the clutter. My mom passed away 2 years ago and I’ve had a lot of time to go through everything. Now that she is gone, I treasure everything that belonged to her.
          My thoughts are with you as you go through this journey.

          • Judy Ree says:

            Thanks, Kim. Yes, the clutter is overwhelming me, but you’re right…I’ll just take it a pile at a time & take my time with it. I already treasure so much of her things..I know I’ll have regrets if I start tossing too much. She’s always been such a great Mom. Thanks again

        • Carolyn says:

          Awesome advice to Judy Ree, Susan!! My mother too went to the nursing home a couple years ago for the very same nasty thing….I miss my mother even though she is still living. We, too, had to find homes for her belongings among family quickly to get her house on the market…you get tired and your own house gets cluttered…then you start throwing things out! Oh, oh, how I regret that. Now having more time, I would have loved to make sure nothing was thrown out in such haste…without analyzing it MORE thoroughly! Should have set up one room in my house as Mom’s overflow of things…and then gone back through it slowly…giving myself plenty of time. You can’t bring back your mother through things…but it is amazing now when I see a little bitty something that I kept of my mother’s that all of the sudden a flood of memories come rushing back! God was so good to give us memories!! :D

          • Judy Ree says:

            Thanks Carolyn. I’m going to make it my goal then to not have any regrets (well as much as I’m able)…life is just too short! And you’re right…our God is so good!

    • Yes Yes Judy. Susan is right don’t purge the things you love now. My mom, too, suffered from Alzheimers. She passed away nearly two years ago but her bedroom in our home is nearly the same. Yes, I gave clothes away but I kept the most precious things and still haven’t cleared her closet because I can’t bear to part with her favorite coats and sweaters. Here are some of the things I did and the one thing I wish I had done. Take lots of photos of your mom and of her things make scrapbooks. Keep a diary. If your mom can still write even if it is just her signature add it to your scrapbook. Our family makes cement stepping stones and I wish I had made one of my mother’s hand. If this is not possible, trace your mom’s hand and embroider. I promise these will give you comfort later. Even though right now feels like a long time in years to come it will feel like a moment. Be kind and loving to yourself. Eugenia

      • sbranch says:

        Wonderful ideas. Next time I go to my mom’s, I photograph her whole house! Other than the sofa and those kinds of things, she has nothing in her house that isn’t about her family.

      • Judy Ree says:

        Oh wow, Eugenia…what great ideas! Ive made the stepping stones of my grandkids but now I’ve got to make one of Mom’s hands. Thanks for your kindness in sharing!

    • Sarah Maldonado says:

      I agree w/Susan. Don’t worry about it now. I had/have the same problem after losing my mom at Christmas a year ago. I brought so much home with me that my guest room is overflowing. I will take my time and make sense of it as I’m able. I understand how sad it is to see a whole lifetime of memories and be expected to do something with it all in too short of a time. I wish I had the magic words that could help you. Some of the things that I couldn’t keep are in photos from the past or I took new photos of. But I know keeping the things that make you smile helps to weed through it all and make those difficult decisions. Take care. My thoughts are with you even though we don’t know one another.

      • Judy Ree says:

        ‘keep the things that make you smile’… what wonderful, dear advice…I will keep this in my heart. Thanks so much

  28. Jane Alexander says:

    I especially love one part of the well known Serenity Prayer….and that is “enjoying one moment at a time”. This is something you Susan are helping others do as you talk about loving even doing your housework. When I began to look at my moments…..I find I can enjoy the simplest things. I wash my flatware/sterling silver by hand, and lay it on a pretty towel, nice and neatly. I’ve noticed I enjoy it so much, looking at the silver that stays silver when I keep it out of the dishwasher!

  29. Elizabeth says:

    Proud to be a homemaker! Your blog makes my day brighter.

  30. Linda Jo Aviani says:

    Don’t forget the table cloths and linen napkins, Happy Fall

  31. Maria Shiyou says:

    I love the Autumn book. I always get it out and read it and keep it in sight during the fall season. I love the colors of fall. My favorite time of year. But today it was 100 degrees here in Mississippi. This has been our second hottest summer on record! Autumn can’t get here fast enough for me! Thanksgiving is headed closely behind then the Christmas season. We started choir rehearsal on our Christmas cantata tonight! Had the a/c cranking so it kinda felt like winter! Fall is usually a long time coming in the south, but I am praying for it to come early this year! Our fields behind the house will fill with yellows. The goldenrods are already blooming, the fall daisies won’t be far behind. Always so beautiful! (But not looking forward to the ragweed blooming because of terrible allergies!)

    Loving the blog, Susan!

  32. All the way from the Netherlands: a big thank you Susan! You’ve touched my heart with this post… and you’ve made the start of my day just perfect! XX Audrey

  33. Kathy Thompson says:

    Just the right stuff to get headed into fall in a few days. Today is my birthday, and we’re celebrating our 31st anniversary in our house. Susan, your domesticity city has me heading into the livingroom to fluff the pillows, turn on some music, celebrate mine and my home’s b’days, and enjoy home sweet home.

  34. Francine says:

    Reminds me of when I was divorced with four small children, and poor. I would often walk around the neighborhood looking for rummages, even if I only had fifty cents. I’d find a treasure, bring it home and delight in cleaning my entire house just to have a clean sparkling spot for my new found treasure! I still have many of those treasures and delight in the thoughts of the days they were found.

  35. Sarah Maldonado says:

    I just love reading about what you’re doing and can always easily picture your words in my mind’s eye….and then you provide me the pictures so I can compare the real with the imagined. I, too, enjoy those simple joys of homekeeping. I have the old kerosene stove my grandmother used and my mom turned into a kitchen island by adding a butcher block top. I turned it into a desk that I rearrange w/photos, books, my Susan Branch calendar/blotter. That old stove is the one thing that makes me smile when tears of losing my mom are close at hand. It is a tie that binds my heart to her and my grandmother….imagine a stove doing so much more than cook!

  36. Judy Ree says:

    Oh thank you so much for your kind, comforting words, Susan, Eugenia & Sarah! I slept better last night because you gave me the ‘permission’ to relax & take my time to find the joy again in time w/Mom instead of fretting over my responsibilities of getting everything ‘in order’. What’s really in order in life anyway? You’ve helped me more than you could ever know. Susan, thanks for this website that just DELIGHTS me! (Bet ya never thought it would turn into a counseling couch!) May God shower His blessings down upon each & every one of you!

  37. Beth Foraker says:

    Dear Susan, Just want you to know how very much I enjoy your blog (and all of your other creative endeavors). I wrote a little ode to you on my blog…I just know we’d be friends if our paths crossed :) Anyway, if you don’t know the website http://www.gratefulness.org you might want to check it out. Fantastic!!! It has a quote of the day that you can receive and a few days ago I got this one and thought of you:

    “To us, our house was not unsentient matter — it had a heart, and a soul, and eyes to see us with; and approvals and solicitudes and deep sympathies; it was of us, and we were in its confidence, and lived in its grace and in the peace of its benediction.” — Mark Twain

    So true and such a beautiful way to think of your home. I just knew you would love it. I’m a quote collector too. :) Anyway, thanks for sharing your passion(s) and your creative mojo. I’m thinking of checking out watercolors — all because of you. ~Beth

  38. Beth Foraker says:

    PS A few years ago a wall got freed up in my house (I got rid of a big desk!) and I had a huge blank canvas…guess what I did with it? Painted your “Tree Talk” tree from your Autumn book — wall size!!! I still love it and if I could figure out how to post a picture of it, I would. Everyone who comes into my house asks me about it and loves it. Little leaves are blowing throughout the room. Always makes me happy. :) Thank you for being “youer than you”!

  39. Cathy in Golden, CO says:

    Awwww – you’ve made my heart glad and my soul understands . . . Thank you.

  40. janet carrell says:

    dear susan, i’ m scheduled to have a core biopsy of my breast on sept. 12. your blog and, now this home sweet home section, are such a comfort and inspiration in our times of trouble (as well as regular times).. first thing in the morning, i check your blog–such an inspiring way to start the day. i do wonder how you are after the hurricane. love, janet

    • sbranch says:

      Hope everything turns out well Janet! We’re fine here on the island; so very lucky, almost no damage at all…the hurricane wen’t west — some kind of miracle for us, but not for them.

  41. diane says:

    You have no idea how your website touches me.I am going through a most painful divorce after 38 years of marriage.I am trying to make my home my own and you inspire me to find the creativity that was once inside of me to come out again.Thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      38 years! That must be hard. I hope you’re OK; I love you reaching for inspiration . . . sending love, best wishes. xoxo

  42. Marilyn ( in Ohio ) says:

    Just to let you know how your blog inspires me. Today, I started putting out my fall items (kind of cool & drizzly here – seemed like a good idea). I enjoyed putting each piece into place, rearranging them (a few times!), washed some glass items. I lit a scented candle & enjoyed the peace & calm of the morning. There is something soul-satisfying about fussing over one’s home.
    I think someone’s comment before mine said something about being “neighbors of the heart” – I like that!

  43. Deb says:

    I keep saying, Susan….we are soul sisters! Thank you for sharing your Domestic Bliss with us. Your inspiration–shared–is such a friendly thing to do. We all benefit from your sisterly charms!

    Hugs from West Virginia!

  44. Susan, thank you so much for sharing your journal pages. It was such fun to take a glimpse into your life and I enjoying seeing your handwriting! It does not matter if a home has only one bedroom, it is evident that this place holds a special place in your heart. That’s what homes should be about … love.

  45. Kirsten Wichert says:

    Your writing always lifts me up by affirming all the feelings we share but I’m not so good at expressing. Thanks for doing that for me. It’s so good for me to say to myself “Yeah! That’s it…….that exactly how I feel!” I didn’t think I was so domestic but I realize that this is just who I am. I am inspired quite easily…. all I ever really wanted in life was family, and maybe a little home where I can be loving and creative. Of course modern women professionals often frown upon this view of life…….I’m a grandma and still want to be Cinderella!

  46. Marcia says:

    I love this post! Ever since I read it, I am making an effort to buy flowers for our apartment every week, and enjoy our home and the things we do to make it special to the max, despite how busy our lives are. We live in Sao Paulo, a city of 11 million people in Brazil, and we spend a good chunk of our day in traffic. I work as a secretary at the school my boys study at, and I love that I get to see them several times during the day. However, we spend about 2 1/2 hours per day in traffic, just trying to get to and from school. In the evenings, I work on translations, help the boys with homework, make dinner, do laundry, etc… After i started reading your blog, I realized I was so busy I wasn’t really enjoying the little things in life, and these are the things that matter! God blesses us so much, and we need to pay attention to the little (and big) gifts He puts in our paths! I’ve been actually noticing the birds that peck our jaboticaba tree on the veranda, the beautiful butterflies in the garden, the squirrel that runs around our school, heart shaped stones… These things bring me such joy now. It feels like Christmas all the time. I have flowers on the dinner table and in little glass bottles in our bathrooms, so we get a chance to see beauty when we wake up, before we go to bed, and whenever we are enjoying a meal together. They look and smell great. My boys love it! Thank you for inspiring me and opening my eyes to the wonders of life! Love,

  47. Diana Jenks says:

    I just love how you make everything so cozy. I shared this with my daughter who is also a wonderful homemaker. Thanks so much!

    Diana Jenks

  48. Margot says:

    I was reading the comments and was truly touched by the woman who wished another woman well, the joint putterers, and women who can rub two nickels (quarters) together to make a home. What kindred spirits the girlfriends are! If love makes a house a home, I say putter on while homemaking with love!!!

  49. Renee Pettie says:

    Susan,

    Everytime I read your blogs I feel as if we grew up together in the same house!
    You are by far one of the most Wonderful women in the world! You give so much Joy to so many people and continue to do so!
    God Bless you and Thanks!

  50. Linda says:

    I love the term “nurk”. In my case I call it “putzing” around as in doing a little of this and a little of that. Didn’t know there was anyone else left on the planet that loved ironing and moving around this and that and polishing silver-putzing around. (pronounced putt)!! You are indeed a kindred soul!! Loved the Frank Sinatra tune–he looked just like my Father right down to the suits and hat!!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh yes, there are many of us kindred souls out here!

    • Hi, Linda and Susan,
      I cannot believe how many Kindred spirits I’ve met on Susan’s blog. First, it was Susan, but I see it’s also so many of the soulmates who comment here.
      I was particularly struck by your comment, Linda, because, when I read Susan’s “nurking,” I immediately translated that to “putzing,” as well.
      So many time when I’ve been putzing around in my kitchen, so happy to be creating something and finding I have all the ingredients at hand -or- I’ve been looking out into my back yard and watching the wrens and cardinals and jays at the feeder, or perhaps photographing the little wildflower bouquet sitting on my counter, I’ve said to my husband, “I’m having a happy moment.” It’s something that comes over me and is a physical as well as mental moment. It’s these happy moments that keep us going.
      I’ve had many such moments while visiting with Susan and all of he followers on her blog.

  51. Veronica says:

    Salad,Steamed -spiced shrimp,Soda-pop,and garlic bread. ? How down with tradition is that! Its ‘boo-whooie’ if ask me… But alas,it is so sympathetically sad
    “Don’t you think”. It’s scandalous is what it is! Scandalous I tell you!!!
    This year it’ll be tradition all the way……Have a blessed and happy thanksgiving
    ‘everyone’. Thanks Susan for giving me the opportunity to vent. Now,I think I’m over it. I’m certain,it’s all behind me.
    Veronica

  52. Carol says:

    I enjoyed the “hitch-hiker” leaf videos. Your clips reminded me of one of my favorite words: anthropomorphism ! To anthropomorphise means to give human characteristics to an inanimate object… like your leafy friend! You might say, “Make friends with that chair!”. Anthro… is a great word to use when you play a game of Hang Man with a friend.
    Your photography is funderful. Your writing lifts my spirits every time.
    With affection….
    P.S. Would you enjoy having a recipe from an old Boston landmark?
    I have the recipe for the ‘Sweet Celery Seed Salad Dressing’ from
    ‘The Old English Tea Room’ that used to be on Newberry Street in Boston back in the 1970′s. Their big bowl of salad served family style was so yummy!

    • sbranch says:

      Would love it, and I’m sure I’m not alone! I love the “good word for Hang Man!” :-) I like antidisestablishmentarianism. :-)

  53. Lori says:

    While watching tv with the hubby tonight I cleaned around the woodstove – it wasn’t going at the time :) – rearranging all of my “important” rocks, pieces of driftwood that look like different creatures, chasing the dust bunnies around, etc. Completely rearranged the mantel – put brown and white transferware platters and teapot on one side, candles (apple scented), oil lamps, pumpkin scented tea lights, pine cones….stood back and said “YES” that looks beautiful! I lit all the candles and the livingroom smells soooo nice now. Can’t wait until tomorrow – going to tackle the china closet!

  54. jennifer says:

    Yesterday was Thanksgiving and all in my house are trying to recover from the flu. (at the same time…ugh….we are all three trying to pitifully help one another.)
    So I didn’t get to eat all that wonderful food…nothing taste too good at the moment…except my hot tea. But reading all these comments has touched and warmed my heart, not to mentioned made me want to ‘nurk’ around my kitchen.
    :) But alas, since it’s 3:45 am….I better not. I have a serious weakness for glassware and would love to fill the sink with warm sudsy water and make some sparkle.
    Just love all the ‘sisterhood’. :)

    • sbranch says:

      Oh dear, so sorry Jennifer. We’ve had our flu holidays too, there is a special kind of pathetic in that “helping one another” — it’s almost funny if it all didn’t hurt so much! Glad you are feeling better; I can tell you are if you’re starting to yearn to wash glasses! xoxo Love the sisterhood!

  55. Jacqueline Van Horn says:

    RE: Christmas Book giveaway

    first of all, let me say “hello” and how much I love your blog. Due to my ill health and depressed finances, we will not be decorating for Christmas this year and it just about breaks my heart. My heart might be softened if I were to win that lovely book, printed in 1938, it would have a place of honor on my mantle, among my angels.
    Cordially yours,
    Jacqueline Van Horn
    Pitt Meadows, BC CANADA

    • sbranch says:

      Come to my blog, and you will get lots and lots of Christmas — we can have virtual Christmas!! I’m so sorry you’re not feeling well!

  56. shelly matter says:

    giggle…i too wander around (to onlookers’, aka my hubby Fred it may seem aimlessly, lol) searching for the perfect “home” for a treausre that is just being added to the nest. Fred watches me, but has now learned not to ask questions, but to be quiet and patient, as i am in the “zone” yet again “illustrating” the storybook we and our children call “home”:) We live in an early 1950′s ranch house that has original wood floors and is filled with treasures from our families, flea markets, antique stores and now and again the “dump” of an old farm. ooooh, that is the BEST! I once found almost a complete set of strawberry dishes in one such dump! complete with sugar bowl and creamer!

    • sbranch says:

      Aimless it’s not! :-)

      • shelly matter says:

        so very true! Today we put away the last of the christmas decorations and the nest has resumed to somewhat normal. Now i’m wishing and waiting for a big snow storm to come our way and decorate the yard with it’s winter wonder:) I yearn for the first big snow that keeps us all home, safe and sound, watching movies, the smell of yummy soup on the stove, cookies in the oven and wet clothes strewn about. hot cocoa and bright red cheeks and noses…ahhh, the beauty of winter:)

  57. Linda Jo Aviani says:

    I love to read what everyone as to say. I’m not waiting for any snow because I live in sunny California, but maybe I will make some cookies anyway. Happy New Year to everyone

  58. Sherri says:

    Just finished sharing my lunch-at-my-desk-at-work with your blog and had to say I’ve been inspired by your stove displays. During all the stress of my husband’s emergency open-heart surgery the first week of December and a long and trying recovery that is still going on (but he is doing really well) I made frequent visits to the hospital gift shop. I found a sweet tiny blue bird that matched the slightly larger one I bought my daughter when we visited her at Thanksgiving. I looked at it several times and finally purchased it with the idea of sending it to her husband to tuck into her Christmas stocking. Then I saw a little black Scottie dog figurine and bought it for my own stocking. I went home and in the midst of chaos in my house – and turmoil in my soul – cleaned my stove and used some “Stick Um” to mount the scottie on my stove. I don’t have a wonderful vintage stove like yours and there’s not much of a ledge but the scottie dog is prancing there as if she’s thrilled to see me. I smile everytime I see it. In fact, I’m smiling now just writing about it.
    I’ll have to return when I’m not at work to read all the comments here. Thank you and God bless to everyone for sharing.

  59. Do you have a spam problem on this website; I also am a blogger, and I was curious about your situation; many of us have created some nice practices and we are looking to exchange methods with other folks, be sure to shoot me an e-mail if interested.

  60. Pat Williams says:

    how can i order the heart coffee mug???? it said it would be available today???? LOVE IT! thanks for alllllllllllllll your inspiration! :)

  61. Dee says:

    omgsh! I clicked on the music, it started, I came back and it is now playing!!! I love it!!! before, when I would click back, the music stopped!! and now it is playing!!! I did something right!!! wow!
    Pink Hugs,
    Dee

  62. Robin from Garden Grove, CA says:

    I LOVED the plant coming up from the basement!! Just think of all the wonderful decorating you could do down there in MAN COUNTRY!! That is if you ever want to explore that unchartered territory..I bet your kitties would love to explore it also.
    BTW–the BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP was delicious-

  63. Janet Nash says:

    Susan, A friend of mine give me one of your wonderful cookbooks, probably 15 years ago and I have been a fan since then, love your work! Enjoy following you on FB too. Janet

  64. Susan, you don’t know what you have done for me. After being widowed for the third time in 2010, I have not wanted to get out and DO. I love my house, left to me by my beloved, and I spend most days puttering, as one of your writers calls it. My family wants me to be out and about but I like it here. I have treasures to dust, things to arrange, sewing to sew,Willards to read by my lovely lamp, and I can see from all the writing here that it is ok to do that. Like you, I can walk to the beach here in SC, and I see your moons right out my front window. So I guess I’m ok. What do you think? PS I’m the lady who had your cookbooks in my galley when I lived aboard my boat.

    • sbranch says:

      I think it sounds like you’re doing the perfect things … that when you are ready to go out, you will, and until then, you should make yourself as cozy as you possibly can; this comes with big love Barbara! xoxo

  65. matty says:

    Querida Susan, hoy te escribo en español ya que es mi idioma y me siento mas confortable para escribirte. me siento halagada y feliz al recibir tus noticias, leer sobre tus dia a dia, y ver que aun existe gente grata y bella a nuestro alrededor, con entusiasmo y mucha creatividad. soy una mexicana que vive lejos de su pais, pero cada dia vivo con mucha alegria y gracias a dios puedo leer y compartir con ustedes. con cariño y que dios los bendiga matty.

    • sbranch says:

      Through the magic of Google Translate, here’s what Matty said (although Google isn’t perfect, but we will get the message!)

      Dear Susan, today I write in Spanish because it is my language and I feel more comfortable to write. I’m flattered and happy to receive your stories, read about your day to day, and see that there is still pleasant and beautiful people around us, with enthusiasm and creativity. I am a Mexican who lives far from home, but live each day with joy and thank God I can read and share with you. with love and God bless matty.

      Dear Matty, I think your English is great, I appreciate all of your comments. Thank you for being here. I spent much time in Mexico many years ago and fell in love with it and its wonderful people! So nice to see you here! Hasta Luego! Susan

  66. matty says:

    p.s thanks for your willard letters,i enjoyed too much. matty

  67. noeleen taylor says:

    Dear Susan, as the news has come in I’ve been wondering if you are weathering this storm safely. It is spring here in New Zealand its hard to imagine the wild weather raging around you, with blossom bursting and tomatoes showing promise and birds singing. Thank you for your lovely enthusiasm for all things about home and hearth and for the nostalgic musica too. Noel.xxx

    • sbranch says:

      It sounds beautiful there Noeleen! Yes, it’s been a terrible storm, and not over for millions of people. We were lucky and things seem fine on Martha’s Vineyard. Not light here yet, so we will see how it looks in a couple of hours! I almost feel bad that we are OK, while so many others are suffering. xo

  68. Evangeline says:

    dear Susan, so very happy to have found your site/blog… I love it!! Found stickers quite a few years ago and started to look for your art. I painted the saying “Food tastes better in small houses” above my kitchen cupboards, even wrote it curved like yours. I enjoy making “Home” my family’s REFUGE…. all the things I read on your blog seems like my heart is speaking in your words…how I love the beauty of clothes hanging on the line..so many beautiful natural gifts from God…anyway I look forward to your blog each morning and miss when there isn’t a new one available..I was worried that the storm would destroy your home and property…so thankful u rode out storm safely…always looking for anything Susan Branch, maybe one day I will be able to meet you..much gratitude for your sharing of the heart………Evangeline
    P.S. My mom picked out my name when she was 12..after reading the poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow…very special to me

    • sbranch says:

      What a wonderful way to get your name! The one thing we hang our hopes on is the fact that our house has withstood storms since 1849. Otherwise I would be a lot more worried when I hear a hurricane is on its way, although the kind of storms we’ve been getting the last couple of years are another thing. But thank you for your good wishes, and thank you for your sweet comment! Happy to meet a kindred spirit!

  69. matty says:

    Hi Susan, every time I read your blog, I feel bless for all the beautiful things you write and do, and because there are many things that we aprecciate for the life like a good cup of tea, a cookie, be with people who loves us,love the song of the birds,smell the air,walks,cooks,paint,and go ons…. thanks for all the beautys and have a wonderful christmas an new year. matty

  70. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Love this blog, so sweet! And, the diary pages of your little house are wonderful, I felt like I was there with you (hope that’s not too creepy for you!) enjoying the beautiful rooms! xoxo

  71. Jennifer Carter says:

    Susan -

    I work outside the home each day in a downtown office building but am able to “check in” at lunch to see what you have been up to on your blog. I can’t tell you how much it brightens my day to read about what you have been up to and to see the seasonal projects that you are working on – along w/your capable assistants – Jack and Girl Kitty. It makes me long for the time I have at home on the weekends to “nest” to my heart’s content! My hubby Carl is the cook at our house so we we compliment each other nicely. Thanks for all the uplifting stories and pictures that you share. I can’t wait until your next book comes out!

  72. Marcy says:

    I’m not sure where to leave you a message, so I’ll do it here. I love everything about your website! I wanted to tell you that in one of your blogs you had a picture of the cover of an old Good Housekeeping magazine. It listed a story by Mary Roberts Rinehart as part of the contents. If you haven’t discovered her, you should absolutely try to find one of her old books. They are stories written with you in mind, long before your birth! If you can’t find one, let me know and I will send you one of mine.

  73. Linda Jo Aviani says:

    Another year has gone by since that last time I was here. I do hope that everyone is happy

  74. Ivy Z. says:

    Hi Susan,
    I was wondering. What was it that took you from California to Martha’s Vineyard so many years ago?
    Your website and blog are so AWESOME! I get so much pleasure visiting you everyday, and I always find something new. Your artwork is so beautiful and charming. I am so thankful for finding your books so many years ago. You are a beautiful person and I just want to say Thank You for everything you share with us and for bringing us into your beautiful home! I cannot wait to see your new book!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s so nice Ivy, thank you very much! I’ve told bits and pieces of the story of what brought me here, in dribs and drabs, but I thought I might write it into one of my next books … about the little house I bought here, and how I came and lived for six years before I met Joe.

  75. Annie Raymond says:

    I found your site looking at Gladys Taber sites. I love gladys’s books and have read most of them. I also have most of them in my book collection. I read her everyday she’s so inspiring to me. You seem like a kindred spirit. I do not know many women us who truly love homemaking. Nothing gives me more pleasure than making a beautiful home and gardens for my family and friends and husband.I live in Connecticut and have a 1866 old farm house. It was the home of a rather poor farmer but it’s still standing thanks to my husband. He pours his heart and soul into making our home comfortable and beautiful. I love your wonderful pictures of your beautiful home. We honeymooned in 1994 in Edgertown and loved it. I especially love your fenced in garden. Gladys called her’s her quiet garden. Have a blessed wonderful summer.

    • sbranch says:

      The perfect way to start any day, almost a meditation, the good heart and common sense of Gladys Taber. Nice to hear from you Annie. I think I will be speaking at Stillmeadow next year at this time — watch “coming events” on my blog for updates.

  76. Annette McD says:

    I love the descriptions of you decorating styles, especially the “cat- lady crazy” style. My personal style is , well, you’ve heard of shabby-chic? Well my style is more like shabby-shabby. I think that is why I love your blog so much, I can dream of having an organized, beautiful home. Thank you so much, you always make my day.

  77. Paula Reis says:

    When things are difficult……Home is our soft place to land…..
    Here’s to homemaking.! Love your positive, thankful attitude, Susan.
    It has helped me on many a difficult day, and made me smile. . XXOO

  78. Frances says:

    I really love your Blog…it makes me smile and I feel like I know you. I visit the Vineyard every summer and I simply love it there. You are so blessed to be able to live in that glorious place. It is simply beautiful there and I love it. Thanks for putting a smile on my face when I read your blog. Hugs from Tennessee!!! God bless and Have a wonderful blessed day!!!<3

  79. Holly James says:

    I am wanting to add pages to my daughters baby scrapbook “A Star is Born” Grande Album. I ran out of pages after 7 months and want to finish it through the first year. Could you provide me with information about pages and post extensions that will fit. Thanks for any help with this.

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