alking out through the woods and down to the water this morning, the sun was shining, the leaves were blowing, the sky was bright blue, the wind was chilly and smelled like the ocean; it was like taking a bite of a crisp cold green apple. Fall is really here; I'm trying to grab onto its tail like a flying kite, bring it to earth where I can hold onto it and make it last as long as possible, but instead, it seems I'm whipping through the sky hanging from the end of it!
e just got home from a car-trip through Massachusetts up to New Hampshire (if you're an FOSB with us on Facebook or checking in on TWITTER, you already know!); the leaves were already changing and flying out of the trees up there.
e stopped in western Massachusetts at Brimfield which is a big 3-times-a-year flea market on acres of farmland covered with tents, filled with old books, vases, candlesticks, teapots, clocks, American flags, pitchers, hutches, gravy boats, quilts, butter dishes, cookbooks, garden tools, one-of-a-kind wonderful things; that go on and on forever until your legs fall off. We brought our van home loaded with delectable finds for the VINTAGE section of our web site, all for you! This is just a small sample:
love collecting and thinking about what you might like to have, hope you enjoy it too! I feel restricted by price though; unless I can get it for a fair price, I don't buy it. One guy was selling old copies of Julia Child's The Art of French Cooking for $315.00, and no, they were not first editions! As my grandma said, it takes all kinds.
did find a few vintage linen coasters, perfect to use for canning jar covers like in the photo in the last WILLARD. And you probably figured out, I don't do this totally out of the goodness of my heart; I do it because, a. I love it, b. I'm pretty sure you like it, and c. I find things for us too! It's a win, win, win.
fter Brimfield we wandered the back roads, stopping at farm stands where we got pumpkins for the porch, apples for the table, ornamental cabbages and mums for the garden, and spaghetti squash for dinner. We ate lunch in restaurants in old houses with slanted floors, and read our books over bowls of hot Indian pudding and creamy vanilla ice cream. Six glorious days of saturation wanderlust, wild blueberry breakfasts with the newspaper in front of us.
lus, the coup de grace, which I will get to in a second. Many of you know that I sewed before I ever painted my first picture. Which means a whole lot of years of sewing! I'm not saying I'm an expert, because I'm not; once I learned to paint, I spent most of my time doing that, but I still love to sew and to make things. I got hooked when I made a gym bag in 7th grade sewing class. I liked it so much, I even went to summer school to take more sewing classes. I made all my back-to-school clothes, skirts with wide waistbands and tops that tied in the back and even bathing suits; I made my jeans into skirts with flowered panels of fabric, and I also made a pink, dotted-Swiss, lined, mini-skirted wedding dress, about 3' high, which, I must say, I looked exceptionally adorable in. :-)
hen I got married, I feathered my nest with all my own homemade things, curtains, embroidered pillowcases, appliqued dishtowels, cute aprons, quilted pot holders, ruffled throw pillows, and dolls, Raggedy Ann and Andy for my nieces and nephews.
loved to walk around in my house, looking at everything, taking stock and would say, "I made that" out loud with satisfactory pings of happiness in my heart. You might have thought, in all these years, I would have made a space to sew. But I never did. I sewed at the kitchen table, at the dining table, or in a chair in front of the TV; got everything out, then put it all away every time and that was it.
iles of fabric, my grandma's sewing basket, my other sewing basket, jars of buttons, pin cushions, yarn, batting, embroidery hoops, pinking shears, and my sewing machine have been scattered in different drawers and closets all over the house. I have always wanted a little sewing room of my own.
began checking out some of the wonderful creative blogs to see what other people's sewing rooms look like. Oh my goodness, have you ever done that? Gorgeous rooms, total inspiration....temples of color!
decided I really didn't need that much; all I wanted was an out-of-the-way place where I could add pompom trim to my new curtains, make sachets or a pin cushion, mend Joe's shirts, or make an apron for a Christmas present; a place to sew on a button, where I could start a project and leave it out, because no one would ever see it but me and Joe.
nd I finally got it! I got it on our trip. The coup de grace! We found the perfect sewing table and a little chest of drawers and the moment we got home, Joe hauled it all upstairs so I could put it together yesterday morning, and here it is, in all it's glory, the new apple of my eye, my new sewing room.
t's on the second story of our house, in a small room next to our bedroom. Just outside the windows are three ancient Linden trees that throw leafy patterns on the walls as the sun comes up. (Old New England houses always have these odd rooms; you're never sure what they were orginally for...and even bedrooms that you must walk through if you wish to get to the room beyond. This little room is almost a hall, there are 3 doors in it...one to our bedroom, one to another bedroom and one to the front hall.) I could go into my new sewing room and stay forever and never sew a thing! That's how much I love it; I keep going upstairs just to stare at it. It feels like a tree house up there; it's like a secret! Yes, of course, I have dragged both Lowely and Martha up there to see it. Not a secret anymore!
hen we first bought this house, I thought this room would be the perfect room to give piano lessons in...so the music would spill out onto the street from the upstairs windows, a little gift for the neighborhood. Which would have been good, if I could play the piano, which I can't, so my second choice, a sewing room, where overflowing happiness is now spilling out the windows, almost like music, but a lot quieter.
ith back to school in the air, it seems like the perfect time of year to celebrate creative expression. You don't have to make a whole quilt to be expressive, anyone can put a pumpkin on a porch, hang dried corn on the door, or make a delicious CORN PUDDING, every little positive thing you do helps bring the world to a better place. Spreading joy is the job for all of us, because it's catching, and we need it. And little things can make a huge difference.
peaking of little things, look at the darling new Emma cups we just got in. If you aren't familiar with EMMA BRIDGEWATER, there are a chorus of us collectors who will say, "Oh you are going to love them!" Emma is a one-of-a-kind designer, and lives in England along with her brilliant artist husband Matthew Rice. Look at this new BIG LOVE MUG they just came out with! A great way to remind someone that you love them. They will think of you every time they have their tea or coffee!
nd this one, A YEAR IN THE COUNTRY, is even more darling in person than it is in this photograph. Emma changes her designs constantly, she retires the older designs, and substitutes new ones. Which means you don't have much time to choose, before, poof, they are gone. I know, because of the ones that got away from me! It's painful. Don't let this happen to you.
also want to remind you that we have lots of FREE STUFF on our web site....not sure all of you know about this. We have free sewing patterns, seasonal stationery that changes all the time, and free desktop wallpaper that's really easy to install (even I can do it!) on your computer screen. To find the Free Stuff, just go to www.susanbranch.com, click on "Let's Shop" at the top of the page; then go to either "Love to Sew" or "From Me to You with Love," and choose your poison, such as these darling aprons in the picture.
nd just for you Willard Girls, a brand new fall RECIPE CARD you can print out...only available here. Hope you like it!
think I've told you our BLOTTER CALENDARS are in....we've sold a bunch of them already, but I don't think I ever put a photo of them in WILLARD so here you go...a nice big desk-top calendar with room for everything!
raveling the back roads of New England is a wonderful thing that I would recommend to everyone, but of course, I'm sure you agree, there's no place like home. As Gladys Taber said, "Traveling is all very well if you can get home at night. I would be willing to go around the world if I could get back in time to light the candles and set the table for supper."
I keep waiting for them to invent that, travel around the world where you can still get into your own bed at night! I would like it to be "Bewitched" style, a twitch of the nose, and you're off. Why not?
"There is no use trying," said Alice. "One can't believe impossible things."
"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for a half an hour a day." Lewis Carroll
nd so I close, with huge faith in impossible things. Seeing it happen every year with the miracle of Autumn makes a believer out of me; just look outside your window!
If you need a wonderful witchy woman movie to gear yourself up for the season, don't forget the adorable Practical Magic which is fun to watch with girlfriends and cocktails! And for the first cold day, or if it starts to rain, snuggle in with the darkly beautiful 2006 Masterpiece Theater version of Jane Eyre. It's the best!
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