t's Bunny Season again! Longer days and warmer temperatures, and Saturday was officially the first day of spring. Doesn't that make us all happy? Little things, like the quality of light, are making a big difference; my mind wanders outside to the garden, where the jasmine is blooming in California, to Martha's Vineyard, where we hope to go next month. I daydream all the time, my work makes me do it, spring fever is alive and well in the heart of this home.
've been painting on my book every day now, When I'm not painting, I'm writing stories for it, testing recipes too. When I'm writing a new book, I eat it, sleep it, dream it, it's all I do, and all I think about, and it's not a pretty sight, as half of it (OK, all of it), takes place in jammies. Between pages, I go to the computer, give myself small treats, and dream...here are my three main dreaming sites right now...
ecause when the book is done, I'm dreaming that we will go somewhere and meander back roads for a couple of months...Walk through allees in old gardens, have picnics in English orchards, go see Beatrix Potter's Hilltop House in the Lake District, and say "ahhhhhh" and "ohhhhh!," in awe of the beauty everyday. That's the plan. See? It's the daydreaming disease; I have it, and I'm trying to give it to you.
ast week, someone wrote to ask about the old snail-mail WILLARDS I used to send out; she was wondering what made me start sending them and why I stopped. I've heard this question before, so I thought maybe you'd like to know too...so here goes. When my first book came out, I started getting these wonderful letters from readers .. and of course, I wrote back to thank everyone, but finally, by the third book, it got to be too much; responding to mail was taking more time than actually writing books. So I had to stop, which was awful for the guilt level, because I was raised to answer my mail!
hen I got the idea to start sending out a once-a-year letter; where I would try and answer the questions people were asking, and give back a little of what I was getting.
o that's how it got started. I put surprises in the WILLARDS...like a page of stickers and a note card, or something, little gifts. Like lots of people, I really wish we could do it again, but what started out as a stamp-licking project for Joe and me at the dining-room table, became a very large printing/postage job, ending up, as the list got longer, at around $30,000 for each WILLARD! Luckily email showed up just about this time, and even though it's not as fun as getting a real letter in the mail, at least I'm able to stay connected, say thank you, and, through the magic of computer and printers, to continue sending small gifts, such as gift tags, stationery, craft projects, computer wallpaper, and even recipe cards you can print out -- to let you all know how much I've loved the connection between us. The letters you write are such an inspiration.
es, I heard all the suggestions about making WILLARD like a subscription and charging for it, but the world strikes me as too commercial already, this is supposed to be a giving thing. I like to imagine my newsletter is a part of the little things that make life sweet.
know everyone isn't on computer, so I feel the loss of those people (and still send one very special snail-mail WILLARD every month to my mother; I haven't been able to talk her into a computer yet), but am hoping that all of you who get this form of WILLARD will feel the connection intended...
o a very special hello to letter writers Lori Bussone in Arkansas (hope your Girlfriend's reunion was wonderful!); to 12-year-old Haleigh Nichole Tuttle (who loves horses) in Tennessee; to 9-year-old Jessica Gipson in Pennsylvania (who already draws good birds), and her mom Kathleen!; and to teacher Audrianne Hill in Michigan! I loved your letters. Thank you and everyone for thinking of me with your stories, questions, drawings, and good wishes. They mean a lot to me, even if I can't answer them all...I read them, and at the end of a long day, alone, after cat walks on pages, steps in watercolor, I'm wondering if what I'm doing even matters, your letters make my day.
o what other little thing do I have for you? Well, last night I made the most delicious BROCCOLI CHEDDAR SOUP, it was so good, I think you might like the recipe. I'm sure it would taste wonderful with chicken stock from a box, but I happened to have made some fresh homemade (it's the one old-fashioned thing I do consistently because it makes sense to me, even time-wise; HOMEMADE STOCK is night-and-day over canned).
long with the stock we get cooked chicken which we need for salads and sandwiches (or for the soup), and then the heavenly broth. We had this delicious soup with hot sourdough rolls and butter (we put pieces of chicken, w/ s & p, on the rolls); and had left-over apple crisp for dessert. Perfectly yummy dinner, curled on the sofa, with Joe, watching Victoria and Albert, disk one (good, but not as beautiful to look at as Victoria, the new movie, which I highly recommend!).
emember last year when I was all excited because I was designing lots of NEW STATIONERY THINGS? Such as little photo albums, cute notepads & sticky notes, purse notepads, pens and pencils ... all that stuff? Small square notecards with the scalloped envelopes? It all just came in! I put as many photos here as space allows, but there's lots more. And it's exactly as I hoped it would be... I haven't had anything like this available in a long time, I hope you love it too.
nother little treat: I have a clock here in my studio -- I have more than one of these, there's also one in my kitchen on Martha's Vineyard. It's a BIRD CLOCK, the hour is "rung" by the song of a different bird, the bird pictured on the hour is the birdsong you hear...and the recordings (or whatever is inside this clock that makes this happen) are really good, clear as bells. I love it, so I looked all over the place to find it for you! Not expensive because it's not a fancy clock, but for the sound alone, it's worth the price. It will make you happy. (It only does maybe two tweets each hour; it doesn't do 12 tweets at noon, or eleven at 11 o'clock, etc, because that would be way too much and drive the normal people crazy.)
lso, more small treats: if you need a darling BUNNY CAKE to make for the season (which you really should, someone, somewhere, needs this), I put the recipe and How-To on my HOME PAGE.
e just got in a big shipment of my SUMMER BOOK; I signed them all, and they are our very special surprise sale item starting Wednesday, March 23 until the 30th....just for the week...because between the pages of this book, you will find inspiration for the season, ways to decorate your house, and encouragement for celebration -- all kinds of good ideas for getting ready. Because the anticipation is sooooo good.
on't forget to tell your friends about Friends of Susan Branch on FACEBOOK. Hope you all got the springtime tags we put up on Facebook for you to print out--keep an eye on it because soon, we will another fun surprise there for you. We try to keep it fun with new things, contests and drawings.
ack I go to the art table, thanks for listening to my feverish wanderings, Wishing you the same...xoxo
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