HAPPY SEPTEMBER GIRLFRIENDS, Rabbit-Rabbit, one day late, but with heart!  MUSICA


Hello Everyone

fall leaves

 Are we ready for a change of seasons? 

leaf garland

We are so ready!  Did you all see the new fall leaf garland Janie designed for us?  She was inspired by the garland of leaves I put in my window every year ~  but hers is going to last a lot longer than mine do!  They do not curl and will not crumble!♣ 

Books came in!

SO!  This was our big excitement last week.  AUTUMN BOOKS!  Arriving at our Studio in California.  


The first book under our own Spring Street Publishing imprint.  We are so proud. Our first child.  And she is a beauty.  All ribbons and curls, oooh what a girl . . .



For all of you still waiting for yours, they are on the way!  And you are the very first to have them. They aren’t in any bookstores yet, nor are they on Amazon.  JFY.  Just for you. Because we like us best.


leavesHere’s Sheri, Kellee and Robin, with Alfredo behind the camera, getting the books ready to ship, putting a signed bookplate into every copy before they go out.  They’re all gone now, because this is the MOST hard working crew (Thank you Everyone!), so if you haven’t gotten yours yet, look for it today or tomorrow!  

About a half an hour ago an email went out from our Studio to all our favorite Independent Bookstores to tell them about AUTUMN, so hopefully you’ll be able to find copies in your local stores in time for Thanksgiving!  Fingers crossed.  If you want your bookstore to carry my books and calendars, be sure to tell them, they have so many things on their minds these days, they just forget.  I think we know exactly how they feel!


JackThis is my To-Do list this morning: 1. Pack two hundred more pages of my new book to send to  my dad (Blog Daddy) to read and edit. (done!)  2. Pack a thank you gift to Jessica and Bob for watching the kitties when we went to Nantucket. (done!) (Jessica sent this picture  via phone while I was over there.)  3. Sign as many bookplates as I can.  4. Go get my yearly blood test.  ✔5. Sign and send updated contracts for Time Factory for the 2016 calendars and for Publications International for the mailnew Mom Tell Me Your Story and Recipe Books. (done!)  6. Send new 2016 covers for all five calendars to Time Factory for their catalog layouts. (done!)  7. Read over schedule for Rhode Island PBS co-hosting appearance next Tuesday night (not to make total fool of self).  8. Send requested photos and bio to stores for signings in November.    It’s like my Back to School list.  Lots too do, but this time of year makes me WANT to do it.

leaves and p.s. The book girls, the book.  It’s really my thing now, more than anything else. I’m working hard to choose just the right words.

I would have also added #9 to the list: Work in the garden, but I changed my mind because apparently we are going out with a bang here on Martha’s Vineyard, weatherwise, it seems, this is what it looks like outside this morning:

IMG_5443 . . . drippy and dark, but it’s not raining. I wish I could tell you the sprinklers were hitting the door, but that’s not it either. It’s supposed to be 80° here today, we’re luckier than Boston, they have the same humidity we have but it’s 90° up there.  So I am inside for the duration.  With my little cool boxes of air conditioning keeping me happy.


Isn’t this gorgeous?  I can just about smell these flowers, and feel those clouds overhead, and breath that misty air while standing on that bridge. We have a lot to do between now and next Spring, but we are really trying to have everything under control so we can go there  and take you all (virtually, I have to say, not to start any rumors I may have to explain to Joe) to Scotland via England and the Queen Mary 2, in May. Are you ready? The thought just sends a chill through my whole body. I hope we can do it!!  Fingers crossed!


I’ve been doing a little investigation to see what we might be getting ourselves into, and I like what I’m finding, just look how beautiful this place is!


To drive on this road, past that little white house, stopping for sheep to cross, listening to old MUSICA, willy nilly, with no schedule nor rhyme nor reason to the day . . . this is my idea of nirvana.  


This too.  Walk over this bridge?  Please.  Would we not love this?  I think we would.  So we are trying.


My dad is doing the first edit of the book right now (the most important one, he one with the in it ~ you all know how good he is with words).And on September 14, I plan to send the whole thing to the “real” editor to see where we stand. Also on my To-Do list is an educational adventure which I’m doing in the evenings after my day of writing and painting is done. It’s important that I understand the people when I get to Scotland so I can eavesdrop in the pubs and find out what’s on the menu without saying, “huh?” all the time. From what I hear, in some places the accents are quite strong and it’s not always easy.  So I have accepted the additional burden of attuning myself to the Scottish accent and maybe a bit o’ slang while I’m at it. You ken?

OutlanderAye, it’s a heavy burden but I found the perfect way to make it not only bearable, but a pure pleasure.   Have any of you read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon?  I loved the Jamiebook (it goes back in time from the 1940′s to the 1740′s and is wildly romantic) so when I heard they’d made it into a movie for cable TV, I actually had to do the unthinkable (because of those ridiculous “packages” you have to buy), and sign up to get Starz, just so I can watch Outlander.  I had to.  For science.  It’s my back-to-school project.  And, shockingly, it only added $10 to my monthly bill.  So I’m glad I did it ~ for more reasons than one, as I’m sure you can see. #1. It’s working, The movie is filled with people with strong accents, and I’m beginning to understand them ~ can even speak a little of it to my bathroom mirror and whisper into Jack’s pointy ear that he’s my little Sassenach.

Highlands of Scotland

But #2, the movie has been wonderful. A wee bit more violent kissthan I like and there seem to be naked people here and there, but what else is new.  I just look the other way while they bandage up his shoulder, don’t see much of the jousting, and hope for some kissing.  And in the meantime I turn to Joe and say, “what’d he say?” less and less all the time.  So when we get there, maybe we’ll be ready. I love my school and my teachers are never boring.

Oh, we are in for a good time . . . and between now and then we have a lot to look forward to . . .


In late October we go home to California, crossing the country our favorite way, by train, packing up our teapot for our room to all trainswith a view . . . It’s going to a short visit because I have a book to finish, but any visit will be wonderful ~ I’m homesick for my family ~ so we are going.  We’ll have a week at my Dad’s and another at my Mom’s, and one more in San Luis Obispo. And of course, we will bring you along via the Blog, and there will be Twitter from the Twain for those of you who are on Twitter and updates on FOSB Facebook too!

Downton AbbeyAnd then, we’ll be home for the holidays, and then we’re THERE Girlfriends, back to where it all began!  Our little English relatives, to see what they have been up to.

But before we do all of that, how about a few memories of summer?  Because it’s not over yet . . .

clam lightsThere’s still time for a little dinner under the twinkle lights…

June 2010 142

Out in the moonlight in the garden ~ because as much as we love our books and movies, we want some of our memories to be real and star us in lead roles. The following will be our cast and crew . . .


The most wonderful sunsets . . .

August 2010 005

Quiet evenings at the beach . . . watching the sun slip under the waves . . .


Seeing the whole sky try to follow it down . . .


And then it’s us, who follows it home . . .


Or maybe we find someone else’s deck to park ourselves for a while.


Good Night Sunset


and Hello


Moon Rise . . .


I know you’ve been following the moon too this summer . . . what a treat she’s been, eh?  Aye, a freebie beyond compare.


flirtatious too . . .


I found this on someone else’s website and I thought, that’s the truth. I could never in a hundred years get tired of this.

The moon belongs to everyone artwork Susan BranchExcept now.  No . . . kidding, I’m just going to see if I can put a few more check marks on my To-Do list.  BTW, I just opened my back door ~ Martha stopped by to drop off some DELICIOUS vegetarian chili she just made (extra for us) ~ when the door opened my glasses instantly fogged up.  That should tell you something. It’s a wall of wet heat outside my delightfully air conditioned room.  The grocery shopping part of my to-do list will have to wait until some other day!  

Have yourself a wonderful day dearest ones. Do something sweet for yourself and the ones you love. Maybe something cold on ice at the end of the day?  I will too.   XOXO 

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Here we are, leaving Nantucket Harbor . . .heading home to Martha’s Vineyard . . . MUSICA . . .

leaving Nantucket

Home sweet Home


It was a short trip, but oh so sweet, we really needed a little summer break, all work and no play makes us dull boys.  It’s just so amazing to me that this “other world” is only a one-hour-and-ten-minute boat ride away.  Must do more of this!  I promised you lots more pictures Girlfriends, and here they are . . .


This gate with the little pathway and trellis in Sconset . . .

One of Beatrix's lovely paintings

reminded me of one of my favorite paintings by Beatrix Potter . . .


I showed you some photos of the tiny village of Sconset at the eastern end of Nantucket in my last post, but I’m from the school of “there can never be enough” when it comes to this charming village . . . so here we are again . . .


With small closely-packed cottages, picket fences and porches, and streets made from clam shells . . .



And lovely flower gardens wherever there is a patch of dirt . . .


flower border


flower border


You can see the rose trellises they put on the roofs here . . . lots of houses have them.

flower border


Another trellis on this house . . .The oldest house in Sconset is called “Auld Lang Syne” and was built around 1670.

Time heals


Could you ever tire of this?  No, me either.

flower border


We went to dinner one night here at the Chanticleer Restaurant, just up the street from those little clam shell streets.  One of the prettiest places I’ve ever seen. If you ever get the chance to come here, I think you would love this.


There are several eating areas to choose from . . . this is one of the outdoor porches . . .



There is another outdoor porch on the left of this photo . . . the two porches go down both sides of this lawn . . . that’s the main dining room inside those windows, for those chilly nights when you need a crackling fire to have dinner by.



But not this perfectly mild evening . . . By the time we left, these tables were full of people eating outside under the stars.


We chose to have a table on the indoor porch overlooking the back garden . . . this is the table across from us.  Do you see the roses?  It was really just this beautiful . . . There’s also a bar where you can eat where they had live Jazz.  But in this room (our room), they played French music.

rose and hearts


We had Pink wine . . .


Our toast . . . Here’s to beauty! And Mas MUSICA . . .


The fresh island-grown tomatoes were so sweet, they tasted just like they look . . .


And what vacation would be complete without these?



The Chanticleer is almost covered in ivy . . .

And then, off we go the next morning to Nantucket Town . . . this is the main town on the island . . .


The crosswalks are brick, the original roads are still cobblestone . . . the island is very much protected by the Nantucket Conservation Foundation.  There are many rules about what can and cannot happen here. I’m not a person who loves rules, but I’m glad they have them on Nantucket.


Because it never changes.  The cobblestone streets were built one stone at a time many years ago, not many towns in America have these! They aren’t that good for stiletto heels (if you thought you might be wearing them, I would suggest you think again . . . ) and they are bumpy to drive on, but they will be staying despite all of that.



There are lots of interesting one-of-a-kind shops too, it’s truly a browser’s paradise.




This three story brick building was built in 1772 complete with widow’s walk to get a good view of the ships coming back from sea . . . you can read about Historic Nantucket here ~ Nantucket was the home port for the ships that took part in the Boston Tea Party. How about that!


Downtown Nantucket just after alighting from the way-back machine. Of course I love color, but there is something about these wonderful old black and white photos.


All roads lead to Nantucket!


For lunch this day we went over to Galley Beach Restaurant . . . Could it get any better?  No, really, this is just about as good as it gets.  That is our table right there on the left, the first one. If I lived here I would bring my book and come here every day!



If we looked out to the right, we saw the beach, if we looked to the left, we saw this . . .

The galley menu

If we looked down, we saw the menu . . .


And then this . . . under all these crisp-cooked island vegetables is fresh melt-in-your-mouth codfish surrounded in Lemon Beurre Blanc Sauce . . .


Then back to the house for a nap on the porch amongst a yard full of bunnies who seem to trust us (except the look in that eye says, “Yes, I trust you, but don’t try anything.”)



This is where we were staying . . . I think the original part of the house was built in around 1860.

beautiful old photo

This is just part of the reason I think that . . . the house is filled with photos like this . . .


You can just see the widow’s walk behind the white chimney in the photo of the house above, and here, we’ve climbed the attic stairs and gone through a door in the roof for a bird’s eye view  of the bay. . .


More view from the top . . .


And I took a few more photos inside . . . this is one of the cozy guest bedrooms . . . Every room has books in it, good ones too.


It’s a house of memories . . .


Another peaceful bedroom . . .


This recipe was on the wall in the kitchen, Cousin Hattie’s Apple Pie, a family recipe I’m sure . . . It must be delicious!  It has cinnamon, apples, nutmeg and bourbon in it!  Worth framing!

Family faces


A house with kitty feet on the stairs.

nantucketA house of history.


Old photos, paintings, quilts, pillows, books and rugs, nothing matching, everything old and homey and real . . .


A whole wall of family height measurements, initials and dates . . . you see 1928, 1957, 1971, and so many more . . . amazing . . .


And lots of paintings of the house . . .

my paintbrush, doing what comes naturally


 I worked on my book in the early mornings, with this as my view as the sun rose. Oh Girls, I’m loving writing this book.  

world view


 Time marches on, our last sunset, so quiet and peaceful, and time to go home . . .

leaving nantucket

Here we are, in Nantucket Harbor, on board the Hyline, getting ready to depart . . .


This is what it looks like on the inside of our boat . . . quite comfy, there’s a snack bar, and we have a table.


Here’s the view out the front of the boat . . .


And, we’re off! The view from my window . . .

IMG_6297 Leaving the harbor, past the lighthouse, and this big boat just coming in . . .lucky them!


I took this from the window, that’s the same big boat curling around the harbor . . .


And off we go . . . Our little getaway is over.  But we learned one thing for sure . . . we should not wait ten years before we do this again! Deep breath, ocean air, sparkling day, cry of seagulls overhead, good memories . . . so lucky. ♥  Now back to reality . . .

island view


Love you Hope you liked that! See you soon! XOXO

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