But first, we go Ommmmm.

musicHow can so much happen in so short a time? But first, we go ommmmm, we take a deep breath and we make tea. Then we turn on our MUSICA ~ Did I mention that I’m going to tell you the story of where the “MUSICA” came from in the new book? I think you will like it almost as much as the MUSICA.flowerLake Winnipesaukee

Now that we are all kicked back and relaxed, do you remember this gorgeous spot?  Isn’t this the most magical view in the world?  I can hear the lake lapping at the shore and smell the pine trees from here.

Lake Winnipesaukee

Have you figured it out where we are?  Yes!  You are so smart! It’s Meredith, New Hampshire, in 2013, where we went for one of our very first book signings for A FINE ROMANCE. 

moon over Lake Winnipesaukee

And I was taking these pictures from the deck of our room at the most wonderful hotel called Mill Falls at the Lake . . . LOOK at that moon!

Moon over Lake Winnipesaukee

And that was how it looked over Lake Winnipesaukee . . . Wasn’t it amazing?  One of my best moons ever! Well, we’re going back! To the same hotel, to the same bookstore.

Insider Bookshop with A Fine Romance 2013The wonderful Innisfree Bookshop called and invited us (and all of you) and THE FAIRY TALE GIRL for our first planned book signing together! New Hampshire in October? Be still my heart!!!


Fairy Tale Girl Name Tag for book signingsI hope you can make it.  I hope I’m giving those of you who live nearby enough time to plan a balloonslittle getaway. I made name tags for us again so we can recognize each other. The book signing is Saturday, October 3, from 11 to 1 p.m. and I’m sure it will be very festive!  Please come! Put it on your calendar! It’s very pretty there!  Innisfree Bookshop is in the Mill Falls Marketplace. Just CLICK here  to print out your name tag . . .

Staff, Susan Branch Studios

Here are some of my favorite people, wearing their name tags from A FINE ROMANCE … that’s Sheri on the left, her daughter Maddie and our friend Bonnie (both of whom came to help last time when all the books came in), and Kellee on the right.  They’re standing in the garden of my California Studio ~ I know many of you have spoken to Sheri or Kellee on the phone, so this is what they look like!


By the time we get to New Hampshire the hills and woods of New England will look like this! Even after all these years, I still can’t quite believe the colors are real! We’re not going to do Autumn artsa lot of signings this year, we’re going to save ourselves for a cross-country tour next May after Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams makes its debut.  We’re going to stay home and enjoy fall and Christmas on the Island this year and cook and paint wonderful things for my second new book! I promise to take lots of pictures in New Hampshire so if you’re too far away, you won’t have to miss a thing . . . we’re also heading up to Lake Champlain, a place I’ve never been, for an actual vacation!!!  Unheard of around here!  We are so ready!  I’ll tell you all about it, we don’t go until the end of the month.

The Fairy Tale Girl

I couldn’t think of going anywhere until that book gets here. If I see a UPS truck, my heart falls into my feet.  But so far, we are still waiting. Kellee and Sheri are on pins and needles too, the studio is all ready to get a whole lotta books!   IN THE MEANTIME ~ I had a party and promised to show you, so here we go! We’ll just have to take our minds off that UPS truck !

more dappled walls

While I chopped, squeezed, measured and sautéed, the sun shimmered through the wisteria onto the wall, which I just LOVE.  Pretty darn fairy-like if you ask me!

shadows and dappled rooms

I have a thing about that kind of light . . .

morning light

The way it lands sort of willy nilly, and puts those lacy shadows on the wall, I just have to take pictures of it. It’s such a moment in time.

dappled walls

Even in the laundry room . . . 

Cocktails in the garden

drinkAnother moment in time.  I adore dappled things, even these big blotches of light through the trees.  We decided to have cocktails and bites of cheese and pickles and smoked fish and olives and gin and tonics with crushed ice and lime wedges in the Adirondack chairs while the sun slowly slipped out of the sky  . . . it was just cool enough for a little shawl, and when it got dark, we had this to look at . . .

clam lights

the arborAll lit up and so pretty. . . But we decided to be comfy and totally bug free, and eat indoors . . .
setting the table

Dish Playtime!  This night I wanted everything to be light and airy, end of summerish with just a TOUCH of fall… 

polishing the silver with cat

And Jack, my little shadow, totally agreed with me!  Just a touch of fall, he meowed catwhile I got out the silverware. Most of my silverware came to me over the years .  .  . a little from my grandmother and lots was collected from flea markets like Brimfield in MA, and from antique stores all across the country . . . it’s very mix and match, but very romantic too. 

setting the table

See summer?  See fall?

vintage glassware

But of course, you can’t get people to look at your table settings UNLESS you include food!

spicy mango salad

I made spicy Mango salad, with red peppers, chopped mint and cilantro, lime juice and sesame oil (from p.82 of the Girlfriend book).  Joe made a brilliant saddle of lamb with rosemary and garlic that was melt-in-your-mouth juicy and delicious.cooking

making basil ice cream

basket of tomatoesI also made basil ice cream, to serve with wonderful summer tomatoes that were salted and peppered and drizzled with olive oil and left to sit for a few hours.  Then I put a spoonful of tomatoes with juice in a small dessert bowl, 

homemade basil ice cream

. . . a scoop of basil ice cream on top, then a drizzle of balsamic reduction, and voila! Tastebud heaven.  This is the dessert that reminds us that a tomato is a fruit. It’s a different kind of dessert but easy and fun. I thought we might reprint Heart of the Home next year and add a few new recipes like this one. 

bean salad

I made our favorite bean salad too, with sage and little bits of cauliflower for crunch. I also made a quinoa salad with fresh ginger and currants, green onions, water chestnuts and roasted All kinds of old stovespeanuts. All was served with hot crusty raisin rolls and butter. My goal was to make everything ahead and I did and I was so glad I did!  I got to spend the entire time outside talking with every one . . . it was so easy!

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Was a wonderful dinner party

It was wonderful, dinner for eight, and all my favorite MUSICA was playing. . .


table setting dinner party

All very simpatico and charming, catching up with good friends. Made me think . . .Julia Child

A little credit where credit is due. I wrote this in my Autumn book in 2004 ~ it was in being printed when she passed away.

Julia ChildJuliaChildI really didn’t mean to get into Julia today, but there is hardly a dinner party I have where I don’t say a little thank you to her for her inspiration.  It’s like she reached out of the dark when I was around 22, took me by the shoulders and said, WAKE UP! I’ve loved her ever since.

Moon at the dinner party

And look what was watching over us during dinner!  The MOON! Or was that Julia? 

Country Living British

And so now, it’s cocktail time somewhere, right here, it’s now, and this is my little excitement for today, my new British Country Living just arrived, so that’s where I’m going . . .  Hope you’re remembering to give yourself a little treat, because I know you and you deserve it! small treatsRabbit Rabbit Girlfriends, Happy September




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First a Little Musica!

First a little MUSICA;


Now, because of our give-away, a little prayer for you …


we want to be him

And now a little kitty ~ Joe and I walked past this scene the other day and both of us said almost at the same time, “I want his life.”

little things

Jackie naps

Vanna would like his life too, but noooooo, she is about to be a very busy girl.  But really, I almost hate to do this post ~ I’m still luxuriating in the 4,500  BEAUTIFUL, WONDERFUL comments you’ve left in the last couple of posts!  I don’t want to paste over them! I don’t want them to disappear.  I want to keep them forever! THANK YOU WONDERFUL PEOPLE. You have made


V E R Y   H A P P Y



I have to show you what the people who send out WILLARD provided me with for the first time. You can’t see it all here, but it’s actually a map earthof the whole world. As each WILLARD is opened, those pins start dropping into different parts of the world ~ and when they do, a window opens for just a moment showing the name of the person who has just opened her Willard, and where she lives. It is so mesmerizing I could barely get anything else done.  I saw names of my friends come down!  I wanted to call them and say, “I know what you’re doing!” I watched and applauded while pins dropped into Paris, Jerusalem, Africa, Hawaii, China, Kansas, Romania, Japan, OneWorldPortugal, Turkey, New York, Dallas and Toronto, to name a few,  and I felt like we had this great big giant wonderful club.  I just went to look and they’re still coming down, one was just opened in New Brunswick!


Welcome to all the New Girlfriends, so happy to have you here! I have to tell you, you are in such good company because . . . 

normalYes, it’s true. You don’t run into this most places you go, but here, it’s a guarantee!  Oops, I hear Vanna upstairs milling about, getting ready to come down and pull names for our Giveaways.  I think she’s about ready to make her grand entrance.  But before she gets here, I just want to make sure you all got your WILLARD?


 If you didn’t, be sure to check your spam folders, sometimes WILLARD takes a detour!  You can also try signing up again and we’ll see what happens for the next one (which I am already plotting) . . . or, get a cup of tea, and take yourself here, to read Willard. 

And now, with a little drum roll please, the adorable Queen of the Deep Dive, the wild, the wonderful, the wiry Miss Vanna, this time carrying her little lambdog “Toto,” which, I think you’ll agree, looks exactly like a lamb. Both are shrouded in the undeniable mist of a Fairy Tale.  Toto, splendid in pink satin ribbon, and Vanna, wearing lizard-green bathing attire and silver glitter ankle boot stilettos. Which she has just kicked off, having handed Toto over to me. SO, the stage, she is set.  Are we ready????

We are so ready.

I just looked up from kissing Toto, and Vanna is GONE, has taken the high dive into the vat filled to the brim with your names, and all I can see now is a deep, whirling-dervish vortex, left behind from the celebrated scissor kick Vanna is famous for. I yell into the black churning whirlpool, susan branch fairy“Pull three winners, Vanna, get them from all over, don’t let them be touching each other down there!” (She says she thinks I was born in a barn, but I’m just making sure we do this right.) I see her working her way back up through the ticker tape melee of names. I hear the music …and try to be patient. She’s coming! Her long, shapely lizard arm has just surfaced, and there are three names in her hand. I think we are there Girlfriends. 


our walk

OK, this is really it. For our first prize, the lucky winner of a personalized copy of my brand new book, THE FAIRY TALE GIRLPLUS AUTUMN from the Heart of the Home, PLUS my new 2016 Wall-Calendar, and the adorable handmade Fairy Tale Banner . . . Is . . . close your eyes, cross your fingers, because I hope this is YOU . . .  R A E   L A N G E !!!  

fairy tale girl

. . . at least for one lucky girl, and yes, better for one than for none!  Means we all still have a chance!  Don’t you agree? YES!!!

celebrateBecause there is 


Give away Hobson's Choice

susan branch fairyThe second-prize winner of a delicious evening at home ~ Dinner and a Movie ~ a personalized copy of AUTUMN from the HEART of the HOME, PLUS, the MOST adorable movie IN the world AS we know it TODAY . . . IS . . . . MAMIE VL, who promises to share with her mom!


C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S    M A M I E ! !

If you aren’t Mamie, but would like to see this charming, funny, smart, feel-good movie anyway, Hobson’s Choice is available from AMAZON . . . you’ll want to watch it over and over, it’s definitely library material and the perfect item for a cozy fall evening.♥ 


More testing watercolors


. . .the ART BLOTTER, signed and totally messed up by yours truly in the quest of making art! Here you find terrible examples of penmanship, splotches of watercolor, a list of four-letter words rhyming with “told” to be used in a poem about Autumn, some trouble with my pen, and a fat, leggy purple bird created from a brush stroke.  The “lucky winner” has only a first name, so we’ll start with the happy-girlletters in part of her email address which are: “BASBLEU” ~ is this you? And her name has two “n’s” in it . . . it’s you, DIANNE!

Hope you Enjoy it!  I know it’s going to a good home. 

I’ll be emailing all you lucky winners to ask for your addresses so I can send your prizes.  Prize number one will go out to RAE letteras soon as THE FAIRY TALE GIRL arrives.

If this was not your lucky day (at least in this one teensy respect which cannot possibly count in the scheme of things) never fear, for we shall strike again another day.  Until then, back to our regularly scheduled programming.  Love you ALL for being here and taking part, in my eyes, you’re a room full of winners.

sb border

On the ferry to the Cape

So ~ I thought I’d tell you a little story to cheer you up and hopefully help most of you forget we even had a drawing!  It’s about the town of Barnstable across the water from us on Cape Cod  — I heard this on the local news a couple of days ago ~ it was funny so I wrote it down to tell you. Barnstable yikes!residents are trying to close down the sky-diving school at the Barnstable airport. They are unhappy because the newbie skydivers, experiencing their very first dives, are screaming profanities from the moment they leave the plane, all the way down, and the townspeople don’t like it.  I can definitely see both sides of this story. I wouldn’t like it either . . . and I would hate to hear what I would holler on my first sky dive.


Makes my hands clammy just to think of it. Luckily that will never happen in this lifetime so all are safe from me.

Next, fyi, I’ve been asked several times if we have the Prayer for a Little Home in a print, and yes, I’m happy to say, we do, and this is it . . . you can read about it HERE , just scroll down to the middle of the page and you’ll see it there . . . xoxo


Have I taken your mind off it yet?

legacy boxes

Well, here’s a little show and tell: Remember these Legacy boxes I wrote about sometime back? (If not click on that link and you can read the story). Those are two of them above, I have branched out into four now.

legacy boxes

You need to read the story, but I like to save little bits of ephemera, cute things I find along the way, all kinds of things, a champagne cork with the date on it, gift cards, a bottle of wax-covered ink, bookplates, bits of this and that that catch my eye and seem special.

Legacy boxesThere’s everything from postage stamps to seed packages and even a few vintage things I find in antique stores.  All wrapped in tissue and tucked away for the future. So someday someone will find them, like treasure. Gifts for unknown persons in the future. 

snail mail

Well, I found something new to put in one of my boxes.  This is the outside of it . . . dated 1906, and written to someone (Miss Augusta Andersson) in Boston from someone in Babylon (if Google is correct) which is (says G.) in Iraq.

vintage clown

When you open the card, this is what you find inside.  They just don’t make ’em like they used to! See the feet and the hand?  The sender wrote in spidery handwriting all around the face of the scary clown. A little bit of history.

old clown card

He is missing one of his arms . . . but to think he has survived for 109 years!

vintage clown card

I wanted you to see his feet.  So into the “legacy” box he goes.  For future discovery ~ for show and tell in the year 2115.

best MV

At the end of this week I send the manuscript for MARTHA’S VINEYARD, ISLE of DREAMS to my copy editor for the official spell check!  Musica I just finished figuring out the chapters.  It’s almost done.  Next, I start painting for it! I love it Girlfriends, I really do. You are going to love Martha’s Vineyard in the 1980s!

fairy tale girlwishes

washing dishes

And I am having a dinner party on Thursday night!  So the cleaning has continued, only now with a vengeance. Just like starting over. :-)


dish cabinet

Everything had to come down and get washed!  Most of my dishes can go into the dishwasher, but things like the hand-painted glasses above, I wash by hand so I don’t loose the cute red stripes.

vintage dishes

There is NO BETTER WAY to get your house clean than by inviting your friends to mull around in it for an entire evening! It’s a win-win!

dish hutch

So here’s the hutch, all washed and sparkling . . . v. proud of it. (My dad, aka Blogdaddy, took the doors off these cupboards for me the very first week we moved into this house, maybe even the very first day.)

bird land


And the whole time I was working the birds were going wild at the feeders outside my kitchen windows.  I call this our fish tank, because we can just watch these guys for hours!

oh the light

My tomatoes are ripening, there are flowers from the garden in the vases . . . this is dawn, the porch light was on and I took the picture because liked the way it was illuminating the post outside.


brownie anyone?

I even made brownies, so you know things are getting back to normal! Now I am on my way to figure out the menu for our party!  Something I can make-ahead, I’ve already decided that much ~ I don’t want to miss a moment with our friends, feels like a long time since I’ve done this!


With lve from me, and Vanna and Toto, and Joe and Jack and Girl Kitty too.  Thank you for EVERYTHING, Girlfriends.  You make life so much fun!  Have a wonderful day, and night, and so forth and so on forever and ever. XOXO

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