The Cruel Miss

Oh, Downty, I love thee so.   Fair warning: I’m about to talk in depth about Season 6 Episode 7 of darling Downty including the Cruel Miss, so if you’d rather have our local weather report (frozen tundra), kitty tail, recipe for pork chops, and book update, scroll to the bottom! And now my dear Girlfriends? Strike up the MUSICA! Song for Mary. IMG_5678

There were just a couple of things I wanted to say about last week’s episode before I get started on this one. Just a couple mentions, because this was a beautiful dress and hat on Cora and should be given a little moment.

IMG_5735

But, I have to say, this hat on Henry was not really my cup of tea as it was precariously perched maybe a foot above his ears, thereby elongating the head not to his great advantage.

IMG_5739

But just as I was getting used to it, Mary and Henry got caught in the rain, the hat disappeared, and as he was zooming in on Mary’s lips, I felt myself warming toward this guy who’s only real fault is that he isn’t Tom.

IMG_5729

Also, I wanted to say a little something about this outfit!

IMG_5724

Wow! Dinner out with the boys. Wasn’t this whole restaurant scene, the men in tuxedoes, Mary illuminating the room in her gold gloves, her turquoise earrings, her satin headband, her gorgeous dress, just beautiful?

IMG_5793

And this week the fashion beat kept going . . .  Cora! That hat, the scarf, the colors, is that beading on her top?  And those pearls!

pink-perfectionIMG_5792

And these glasses. Quite something. Not sure what, but very interesting and zippy for Mary. I’m with her all the way, her hats, her glasses and her headbands  because just like Mary  . . .accessoriesI just don’t have quite as many.

IMG_5785

Beautiful. These people have accessories that shine in the dark!

IMG_5779

But my favorite person this week was darling Violet, aka, Granny, Dowager Countess of Grantham and Queen of Downton Abbey.  Cool in defeat, she decides to whisk herself to the South of France to lick her wounds and try to forget the whole (and meaningless at it turns out) hospital debacle and the fact that they dumped her unceremoniously, actually without even bothering to tell her.  In small and totally understandable retaliation, Violet was going to France without telling the family, except she said she would write to Tom! Because he is “the sensible one!!” Me and Violet = on same page. But before she left she did two outstanding things:

IMG_5781

First, she went to visit Lord Merton’s (“Dickie” to his closest friends like us) daughter-in-law, who was clearly cut from the same cloth as her husband, Dickie’s hideous son, Larry. Dickie has two sons, both of them horrible snobs and selfish beyond measure, and they stand between Isobel (Violet’s best friend and mother of the sadly dead Matthew) and Lord Merton, who, tepidly, some of us wish would get together, why I don’t know. I think we’re supposed to but I haven’t really been able to care too much. Except for him. I do sort of feel sorry for him. Isobel does fine on her own, but that poor man with that rotten family really does need her.

IMG_5780

Anyway, here is the haughty daughter-in-law, mean girl Amelia Crookshank, who really just wants to foist her father-in-law OFF herself, just in case he becomes a burden, so that’s why she’s been being nice to Isobel. Granny saw right through this greedy “cruel miss” because her rat-o-meter is highly sensitive and sent off alarms the moment she laid eyes on Amelia. Granny made short work of her, exposing her true motives, then slapped her back with the “Not if I see you first” comment, and took off for France. But before she left she planned one more wonderful thing because Violet’s wake is almost as good as the woman herself. (← the Royal Purple)IMG_5845

She got her son a little THANK GOD FOR NOT DYING present.  A new puppy! I’m really going to miss this show.

IMG_5847

And he was thrilled of course… and weren’t we all!

IMG_5849

And either the dog was just as thrilled, or he deserves an Academy Award for best actor. “So natural,” the reviewers exclaim in unison! So, that was good.

IMG_5832

Something else good (although, despite what Edith says about never being so comfortable in her life, I find that a bit hard to believe, she doesn’t look comfortable to me).marryme

IMG_5838

But still, the languorousness of it must have worked because the enamored Bertie asked her to marry him.  Can I bring Marigold?  What? You mean The Ward? Really? You want her to live with us? Okay, I guess so.  So Edith’s thinking about it.  Happiness for Edith is a warm gun. Fleeting.  She is a girl balanced on a window ledge called Typhoon Mary and only we know it.aint life grandIMG_5795

And then they all go to the car race and THIS happens. Tom meets Bright Young Thing, editor Laura Edmonds who works for Edith. Course the first thing he tells her is that he used to be the chauffeur. Not sure what he wishes to prove with that one.  He is sure not the chauffeur anymore! Did you see Laura smoking in the office, how she waved that cigarette around like she was directing an orchestra? Very artsy! Ah well, so be it. I don’t want this good man to end up alone.  I am resigned.

Just kidding, truth is that I’m just trying to save face. I’m not resigned because in my heart I think Julian is just trying to throw me off the trail, but it can’t be done, I see through his ruse and hold on to idiot faith for Tom’s destiny to be entwined with Mary’s despite all his terrible hints to the contrary. Like this for  instance:

IMG_5798

Hint-Hint. Not even engaged but full-0n kissing in front of a grandstand in broad daylight.  I’m glad Granny was in France and did not have to witness this wanton exhibition.IMG_5803

Another hat, and works as a rather good head thickener, don’t you think? (Note: white bunting as racetrack decor!)

IMG_5805

And off they go without any seatbelts or football helmets. Don’t you just KNOW that Julian is having every kind of fun with these cars.  Just wonderful!!!

IMG_5822

But UH OH, tragedy strikes, you can tell by the shocked faces . . . . Could history be repeating itself? First Matthew dies in car crash and now . . . could Mary just be the car-guy jinxs of all time??????

IMG_5825 Oh. Okay, whew, just that other very nice guy died.  Charlie Rogers, Henry’s best friend, so now he is in tears. Mary wants to never see him again, she can’t take this car stuff, but we are beginning to feel his pain and think he is a wonderful, brave and honorable person for diving under that burning car in a last ditch effort to save his friend. It’s all so futile, Henry’s “Carpe Diem” moment is going down the drain. Later we find out that Tom is much more upset about Mary’s apparent change of heart than she is, and tells her she is making the biggest mistake of her life. But actually I think he is seeing his future career as a car-guy himself go up in flames.

It’s worrisome that there are only two more episodes for Mary to get herself in love and happy! (Not to mention Anna getting her twins!) I may not sleep! Oh yeah, they aren’t real. Okay. Whew.

IMG_5814

Now for Mrs. Patmore. Our girl fixed Mr. Carson’s wagon. Well done! Also, she got herself a dream. Her own Bed and Breakfast. Sturdy little business woman, quietly setting herself up.  But who was the guy in the bushes and why would he be watching her??? Anybody know? Hopefully he is bringing word that she will be receiving an inheritance from a long lost relative. Or that the baby girl she gave up for adoption all those years ago is coming back to claim her! (I just made that up.)

IMG_5827

Anyway, Mrs. Patmore fake-bandaged Mrs. Hughes arm, thereby rendering her unable to make dinner. Poor Mr. Carson was forced to do it himself. It was heartbreaking, all that warming up he had to do, the two forks, two plates and all, the long walk to the table, poor man fell asleep over his dinner!

IMG_5826

Mrs. Hughes looks like she is having canary for dinner.  And allows Mr. Carson to “do the dishes in the morning.” So thoughtful. Because Mr. Carson is truly getting on my nerves.

IMG_5775

He is persecuting poor old Barrow. Never ever says one nice thing. I would find it very difficult to constantly be this mean to just one person who was doing me no harm!!! But Carson is steel. And now, Barrow’s only joy in life, the fragile place where his fragment of self-esteem had balanced itself, hanging by a cat whisker, the teaching of reading to Andy? Gone too. Whisked away by the do-gooder schoolmaster. No one wants Barrow around. He has nothing to live for. Not fair! And so handsome too.

IMG_5637

And this sentiment counts double today, because not only is it the end of the Downty recap for this week, this is also something I painted on my book.  Eeeek, I have been wanting to tell you.  She is done. yay! The flaps are written, the endpapers are done, the spine is designed, and so is the back cover, I chose the ribbon color, and yes, I cried. I have wanted to write this book my whole life. TeaTimeBut it took me till now to figure out how to do it, because it seems that all things happen when they are supposed to. The person wanting the movie option has called again! So it’s not over yet! I love it so much I’ve decided to call this trilogy, “Dinner in Three Courses.” Because you can take the girl out of the cookbook, but you can’t take the cookbook out of the girl: The Fairy Tale Girl is the Appetizer, Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams is the Main Course, and A Fine Romance is the Dessert, which of course, in this neck of the woods, we always eat first.

Susan Branch...life is short dishtowelMVID-Ad-Victoria This is the ad I designed for the May-June issue of Victoria Magazine . . . Joe added to the copy from where it says, “Based on….” Which makes it a family affair (which it actually always has been). ♥ MVID-Ad-TeaTimeThis one is for Tea Time Magazine (which btw, has really wonderful recipes in it!) . . . each ad got a different girl. Like her jammie bottoms?  I knew you would. And Now? I just designed the very first page of the 2017 calendars, which is my next project. Before we leave for our cross-country book tour at the end of April, all of my projects will be done, and turned in.  To celebrate it’s 30th year, we will have a brand new printing of Heart of the Home, with 16 new pages included, coming in July . . . yes, and all the calendars will be done. I will be FREE as a bird. FREE, FREE, FREE! (Till I decide what next fool hardy thing I should do!)  But now?IMG_5866

Now I wander around the house taking pictures of snow flakes frozen to  the windows. Because, until I was almost 36, I never even knew this existed!

IMG_5872

It all came as a wonderful surprise, these lovely wintry views across the frozen tundra.

IMG_5871

Little feathery ice trails.

IMG_5869

Look at what I was missing!

IMG_5866

 So what if the pipes are frozen in one of the upstairs bathrooms? So what if when we open the silverware drawer we get blasted with icy air because somehow back in there seems not to have any insulation! So what if they are  warning us that we can get frostbite in only ten minutes in the great outdoors? We can take it!  And, we stay in! We are no dummies!

IMG_3075We know where our bread is buttered.  And where our stuffing lies waiting . . .Stuffed Pork ChopsThis is our dinner tonight . . . Oven on for extra coziness! Apples, raisins, cinnamon, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and juicy pork chops . . . who could ask for anything more on a wild and wooly winter night? And I have time! No book!

IMG_4388

Jack knows how to stay warm!

get-attachment.aspx-14

And we all send Valentine good wishes . . . from our house to yours . . .

SB-21

 Happy Valentine’s Day Girlfriends!!!  I can’t thank you enough for your wonderful support during this rather lonely journey through book writing. It’s such a difference to read your kind comments and know I’m not alone. And a special thank you to everyone who wrote yesterday to tell me it was Sunday! XOXO

Girlfriendsforeverart Girlfriends

Thank YOU!

birdandsign

Book Tour MapBe sure to stop by and say hello while we are out and about!  I’d love to meet you!

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 504 Comments

It’s Monday! Why didn’t anyone tell me?

Oh my!  MUSICA

IMG_5581

snow

IMG_5673

So, guess what Joe just told me?  It’s Monday! That probably doesn’t come to a surprise to you, but . . .

IMG_5674

I coulda’ sworn it was Sunday!  Note: View from kitchen window right now, Squirrel hanging from bird feeder!

kitchen in the blizzard

I missed Downton last night!  I just found this out, I was gearing up to see it tonight, and I’m now in a bit of a dither.  Joe saw it, he said nothing monumental happened, that he thought Julian was “stalling.”

IMG_5666

And look, we are in the middle of a blizzard right this minute!  Joe is outside  filling the bird feeders and digging us a tunnel to the liquor store.

kitchen in the blizzard

We have the best view from our kitchen window, cold on the outside, warm and cozy inside. It’s really a heavenly day!  Wind is blowing!  White flakes blurring the house across the street, big red snow plows going up and down the roads.

IMG_5664

Jack is fascinated by the wildlife around the bird feeders. “Eyes on the prize,” that’s what he is thinking. Prize being fresh squirrel meat. Which he will never have in this lifetime.

IMG_5611

And darling Girl Kitty only worries about where her next meal is coming from. After fifteen years of togetherness, she is still never quite sure.

IMG_5665

Birds are well taken care of. We have the fattest fluffiest coldest birds in the world right now.

Bird

IMG_5662

Merry In The Winter

And here is the reason I lost track of time . . . I’ve been on a roll, as you know, trying to finish Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams (which is listed on Amazon as #1 New Release!). Very exciting! And Look! 

IMG_5630

Yesterday, which was supposed to be Saturday, so that today would be Sunday, so I would get to watch Downton tonight . . .

IMG_5637

I did this!

IMG_5636

I painted these words on the last page of the book!!!!  Aren’t they beautiful??

IMG_4468

ohhappyday

I must have gone delirious after this because, that was it. I jumped around joyfully for a while, it’s really hard to believe after so many months!  But then I re-introduced myself to the real life things like folding clothes and eating dinner and talking and talking with my darling man about our new dream of going to Scotland in the fall. I still have a ton to do on the book. All the corrections, and I have to design the back cover and the end papers and things like that! But it’s so close! happiness

fireAnd now, I’ll have you know, because of this wonderful fire Joe made, I am going to the kitchen to make grilled cheese sandwiches, which I will mash with the spatula to make them extra crispy, like this:

grilled cheese sandwich

and we will take our sandwiches to the sofa and cozy down in the storm with the throws that my grandma knit and WATCH Downton (yes Joe’s going to watch it again!), luxuriously maybe even twice, con kitty, just forgetting about the world, praying that the electricity doesn’t go out. But if it does, too bad, I will just have to take a nap. Because it’s WILD out there. Someone said we should expect 18″!  I am all for it!

IMG_2133

 

Jack doesn’t care, he just waits patiently on the sofa.  Anyway,  I am so SORRY Girlfriends, that I messed up.  You can go ahead and leave comments about Downton, because I’m going to close the computer, and go watch it right now, and I won’t read anything you say until I’m done, so YOU can basically write the Blog this time! :-) And I’ll come back and comment on your comments!  A job for everybody! Love you Girlfriends! Stay warm! XOXO

the reason I'm so happy

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , | 573 Comments