Book Tour 101

Hi Girlfriends!!! MUSICA   . . . Here we are, in Cincinnati, Ohio, going soon to our Saturday book signing at Joseph-Beth at 2 pm . . . I had a few hours this morning so I thought I’d update you on this lovely trip across country . . . where everything is blossoming and it’s . . .spring!


You should see the wild dogwoods, both pink and white, all through Pennsylvania and here in Ohio . . . they grow wild, and in the Allegheny mountains, they were so thick they almost looked like snow!


Most trees are leafing out now . . .


And so far, our welcoming committees have been outstanding! This almost required a dog-napping . . .

IMG_7356 get-attachment.aspx


Where are we? I don’t know. But, thank goodness, because . . .


None of this would be possible without my map-man, pathfinder, van organizer, sidekick and love of my life. 

23 city booktour

Here we are, just pulling out of our driveway on the Island, heading for the ferry in the Fine Romance van, all packed and “ready” as we’ll ever be, because this is it! here we go!IMG_7234

Kisses goodbye . . . 💋


And so it begins . . . SO EXCITING . . . For a little San Fernando Valley Girl, this is beyond wonderful . . .

IMG_7650 normalMeeting all our wonderful Girlfriends, Blog Girls, FOSB’s, and Tweetettes . . . do you see yourself here?IMG_7535


Oh, yes we can!


Sometimes I read from one of the books . . . and I always answer questions . . .


Here I am, ear scratching while talking to our Twitter Girlfriend Georgie @FarmGirlGeorgie (she’s wearing a scarf she just made from her new Spoonflower fabric) and we are speaking . . .



This is Liz, the event coordinator at R.J. Julia’s in Connecticut, introducing me . . .


We’ve been having fun wherever we go . . .


We love our little Independent Bookstores . . .


The Learned Owl is a family affair, that’s Kate Schlademan (who owns the store) in the green, with her mom and dad, Lois and Jim . . .


These bookstores add so much character to their towns, towns that make for a wonderful livable, homey America . . . we celebrate them!birdandsign

Out of the 23 book signings we’ve scheduled, today in Cincinnati will be our fifth . . . we still have 18 to go . . . Come see us! ← Click there for our itinerary.ThreeBooks

But if you can’t make it, we’ve left signed copies of all the books at each of the stores we’ve visited . . . (even a few Autumn books) ~ you’ll find phone numbers for these stores in our itinerary . . .

Off she goes!


I’d love for you to meet some of our friends . . . like Barbara and her husband . . .


Yes! Our Fairy Tale Guys have been there too!


And so many Girlfriends!friendsIMG_7696







And twin sisters too . . .FG230

All with so much in common . . .

And perfect timing for Mother’s Day . . . so many Moms and Daughters . . .




family love






Hearts can Inspire




The “road” has been fun, as it always is . . . so much to see. This little car parked next to us at one of our hotels . . . we thought, “How green! Only a rubber band to keep this one going!”


I waited until the cart was half empty before I took the photo, to make us look at least a little bit civilized . . . so you didn’t get to see that we really did bring the kitchen sink.


I’m always trying to catch good photos out our car windows . . . Pennsylvania has the most beautiful old stone houses and barns . . .


Not a lot of traffic if you keep off the main highways! Here we are on our way to a tiny town in Ohio called, of all things, and most appropriately, “Willard.”

photo 1

We wanted to stop there to visit with our printer . . . the ones who make it possible for us to put “made in America” on all of our books . . .

photo 2

Here we are in the waiting room, looking out the window toward the parking lot on a perfectly gorgeous spring day!


The printing plant was huge, covering over 30 acres, there were even railroad cars parked inside, being filled . . . and SO interesting, a place filled to the brim with books ~ and with them, the hopes and dreams of authors and publishers, that they may have created something to help make the world a better place.

antique books

Go Little Book!

. . . I’m sorry, they wouldn’t let us take photos inside, so I can’t show you. We had to walk down little yellow painted walkways (for safety sake) and wear earplugs! HUGE MACHINES . . . and all those trade secrets had to be protected. But they showed us how HEART OF THE HOME was coming along, and gave us the components of the book, pages, ribbon, cover . . . to take with us.


The pages aren’t bound yet, but they’ve been sewn together . . . I’m wild about the color, love the paper, really happy about the new recipes and the new art . . . my baby has a whole new set of clothes! 


It was a treat to meet the people responsible and see pages so very hot off the press!♨️

Pie tops for Heart of the Home

Seems like just yesterday I was doing this . . .🎨


So, let’s see, what other fun things have we seen? Oh yes, we love to visit supermarkets in other parts of the country . . . This is Hienen’s in Hudson, Ohio ~ a perfectly wonderful place, GO there if you can… you will love it . . . It’s Trader Joe’s, times ten, every kind of flower, a real butcher cutting meat, huge salad bar, beautiful already-made salads, gorgeous breads, and then of course, the dessert section! No, we did not JUST take pictures!a picture


Loved the architecture there too . . . and these charming spring wreaths . . .


And the tree lined streets . . .


And the signs of spring everywhere we looked . . . I had to take pictures for you, flowers to  wish you the very happiest . . .

Mothers dayTo all you wonderful mothers and nurturers everywhere. While we’ve been on the road, we’ve had Teacher’s Day and Nurse’s Day too, nurturers all! Be sure to reward yourselves . . .Make that milk cake you see on your May calendar page, or go HERE for the recipe . . . And then . . . do this . . .

Spring has sprung

B e c a u s e . . . .fun is goodAnd you deserve it!  Okay, off I go to the exercise room to ride that bike and read my new book . . . We’ll keep in touch . . . thank you for coming along. Hope we get to see some of you along the way! Thank you for your wonderful, tear-inducing,  comments about the new book ~ and, well, for everything! XOXO

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We’re getting ready to go. Of course, as usual when there are kitties and springtime involved, it’s a little bittersweet, because, like this . . .  here’s what it sounded like on Martha’s Vineyard this morning . . .  MUSICA MusicaIMG_7223

Spring has sprung . . . Joe is outside planting things in the soft sunshine this very moment . . .


My kitchen windowsill is filled with
first bloom IMG_7208

And the back yard is having a wedding all by itself . . . those petals fly away like confetti on every breeze . . . And the birds are singing . . .
SingingBirdstripofflowersAnd the ground is stirring . . .


And the lawn is greening up . . .stripofflowers


We’re in there!


The dogwood has tiny little buds, not like this photo, right now it’s just beginning . . .

Blooming dogwood

We’re going to miss the bloom, but this is what it will look like in another couple of weeks.home


We are preparing to leave home for two months (and believe me, we really do need this break in our normal everyday, work-at-home, butt-defining action, we are really looking forward to it!!!). We’ll be driving 8,000 miles and visiting 23 bookstores across the country . . . So my darling Joe (who has very long hair, looking extremely cute, and on his way right now to get a haircut) is loading up the van with a few extra books to bring along just in case we run out (like we did last time)!


We’ll bring all three books with us . . . and even a few Autumn books too. (If you’re interested to see how they’re being reviewed on Amazon 😂, you can start right HERE, and may I say THANK YOU, you sweethearts who have left reviews! Your word of mouth means everything, as it always has. We still have signed copies if you need them . . . thinking, Mother’s Day .)


And while Joe is loading everything up our trusty Fine Romance Van . . . I am doing what I always do when we go on a long trip . . . trying to figure out what to bring so I don’t bring too much . . .bathingThat’s a very old photo of me getting ready for a trip to California, trying on my Laura Ashley slip under my dress, and Joe has the camera! So right now there are piles of clothes hanging and folded all over the bedroom, everything written down as above . . . all I have left to do is to stuff it into the suitcases.suitcases  But first . . .  we should get Vanna, and THEN, after she has done her thing, I have more surprises for you . . . to take the sting out of what Vanna must now do. BTW, for you Newbies, Vanna is our in-house “random number generator,” which is what they call the function on this blog that chooses the winner. We named her Vanna because, I think you’ll agree, it is a better than “random number generator,” and has a nice flavor of game-show hostess about it. Now she Vanna's shoehas become part of the family. On “work days” we let her sleep in our Peter Rabbit Room, but normally she, being a sort of Euro-trash, satin-slipper kind of gal, is off getting her nails done or shoe shopping, or playing tennis in the south of France. She randomly generates just for us, no one else, she is ours, and we love her because she is so wonderfully dramatic and whimsical. For instance, she came downstairs just now wearing her favorite lime green lizard suit, skin-tight, shiny with scales, perfect for slithering through 3,000 tiny slips of papers with your names on them. Also, she is wearing a bathing cap covered in tiny pink rubber points. What a picture! She took the Silver in the 2004 Olympics for the high dive, which she still does exquisitely. She is now poised like a luna moth on tip toes, standing on the very edge of my art table, UP she goes, swan like, perfect orange fingernails streaking down like flames into the vat of names . . . and we wait, while the game show theme plays . . . and we remind ourselves of the lovely parting gifts . . .


There will be three winners, and each of them will get a complete set of books,  “the trilogy” (signed by the author, better known as Friend Of Vanna), PLUS a stubby overworked pencil, a used up paintbrush, and bookmark made from my paint blotter paper, all exquisitely drenched in the DNA of kitties, lavender tea with milk and honey, a few deep winters and crackling fires, and many, many daydreams .

xEach of our lucky winners will also get a package of wisteria seeds from my garden. (Sad note, must add: Be sure to check your area about seeds from foreign lands, like Massachusetts, and don’t use them if you are somewhere like California, where seeds from other places could wreak havoc with the lettuce crop among other things . . . just bundle them off to a less exacting state . . . 💛)

And now, Vanna?  The winners please?

wisteria on the porchHer flaming fingers reach out to me, with three tissue-thin pieces of paper in them . . . and it is my pleasure/pain to announce . . .

Winner number One is the much loved Sharon Civale (on behalf of her generous sister Jennifer Chapman)

Winner number Two is the adorable Shellie L. (the Shellie L. with “the little girl’s room” and the wonderful step-mom)

And Winner number Three, drum roll, is the luv-lee Suzy B. of Bamburger Family Fame.

C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S to our Fabulous Winners, and thank everyone who entered, one and all! This would be no fun without all of us!!! 


And now . . . oh, the unbearable weight of the waiting, zee lovely Vanna just flung herself back into the vat, scissor-kicking clear to the bottom, all elbows and knees bumping the sides of the canvas vat . . . I am so sorry because we can only have ONE HANDMADE VINTAGE QUILT WINNER, and I would like EVERYONE to win ~ BUT, Here we goooooo . . . the Grand Prize Winner for the quilt flapping in the wind above (the mostly white one) AND for a package of wisteria seeds fresh off my driveway where they bounced out of their little pods . . . IS:

Trisha . . . who we are apparently going to meet (as she wrote in her comment), along with her daughter-in-law, this coming Saturday our very first event in Plainville, MA! Congratulations Trisha!!!



I’m so excited for our winners . . . AND now, I’m going to do all I can to take your mind off the devastation, with lovely consolation prizes and fare-thee-wells from me to you . . . I wish I could fix you all a plate of soft-in-the-middle, crunchy-on-the-outside, buttery potato pancakes, because I know that would make you feel 100% better, but this is the best I can do from here: Mark page 110 in Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams (so you can make them for yourself) ~ and do it with this . . .

MVID-BookamarksA special Little House bookmark, a tiny, 9″ token of my great affection, from me to you with love, and huge amounts of gratitude.

get-attachment.aspxstripofflowersYour sweet words in your comments have been my joy and my strength, and caused me hours of laughters and tears reading them . . . honestly, I know it probably sounds corny, but it is the truth. I can’t help it, I’ve become addicted to you, not just to you, but to us. Just click on that link above, print your bookmark on card stock, cut around the black line, and maybe even give it to all your favorite moms for . . .Mothers dayflowerWhich is coming up . . . but since we’ll be traveling I want to make sure we get to celebrate this very special day together. So in honor of Mom’s and of Spring, I thought we might enjoy an early Mother’s Day and make some plans with the perfect MUSICA  and my recipe for . . .

ChocChipPancakesDelicious Chocolate Pancakes in honor of  good Mom’s everywhere, and especially for this little doll . . .OriginalFairyTaleGirlAreYouTheReason

She definitely is.  And, while we’re at it, something else perfect for giving, easy, and just delicious for this time of year when the strawberries are at their very juiciest best . . .Chocolate-dipped-strawberriesAnd another surprise, because you’ve been asking . . .

Dream Charms

Our Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams & our Girlfriends Forever Dream Charms have come back in! Yup, we have ’em. 

Girlfriends dream charm

Each comes in a cello bag on his own little gift card. Unfortunately the manufacturer did not send us as many as we ordered, but I think we might have enough for everyone who wants one. Martha's Vineyard Isle of Dreams . . . Dream Charm

Because nothing happens unless first we dream! Also, Janie made us some new banners, the most darling little Mother’s Day Banners, each with their own tiny tulip-decorated envelope and gift card.And then, one more thing . . . to help celebrate the 30th Anniversary of my very first book . . .


words fairytale dream

surprise!Heart of the Home Dream Charm

  It’s a new Heart of the Home Dream Charm ~ which is on order now. Little hearts of course, what else. We will let you know when they arrive at the studio! Pretty cute, eh?
charmNever stop!!!! As for fabric . . . I’m being asked if there will be more, and Oh, yes, there will be ~ all the whites will be up there soon, some are already, the Crabapples were the most recent addition . . . and more . . .

Susan Branch whites

Feed Your Creative Heart

labels3 labels4

Labels, 3″ to 7″ across . . . with art and quotes on them . . . just went up in the last couple of days and will be for sale as soon as they are deemed okay by Spoonflower.

Fussy Cut Lower Corner

And the same with my “Little Patches” . . . each about 3″ wide . . .

Fussy Cut Quilt

as shown on this quilt made by Blue Ribbon Designs . . . That fabric will be available within the next few days also. And while we’re away, Kellee will keep on adding to my Design Library on Spoonflower.


One of our Girlfriends suggested I make fabric from those blotter cards I test paint and pens on . . . and I think I will! What a colorful idea!  My kind of “contemporary!” Contemporary with heart.


And our lambs and other “Baby Love” fabric will go up very soon, too. We’ll do our best to keep you busy! 

I guess that’s about it for today . . . but if you didn’t get the newest WILLARD, you can go HERE to read it, and sign up HERE to get the next one . . . and feel free to sign up your beloveds . . . we’d be happy if they were our beloveds too.

Isle_of_Dreamsbouquet flowers

May Day is coming, leave a flower on a doorknob or under a windshield wiper to surprise someone. If it’s a bouquet, a small basket is traditional, but old wallpaper, rolled into a cone, makes the sweetest Tussie Mussie holders for your arrangement. Read about the tradition HERE. And something else we should all do on Rabbit-Rabbit Day . . .


May dayThose white flowers on a hawthorne tree are heavenly, the dew must really be something!

on her way

And now, away I go! We drive onto the ferry boat early Saturday morning for our first event that afternoon . . . I will be blogging and taking lots of pictures from the road . . . so check in and be reminded of how beautiful our country is . . . with possible “glimpses of heaven in unexpected places” as our Twitter Girlfriend, Bren, is wishing for us. we’ll drive safely and you do that too, and take care of yourselves.  Come see us if you can.  And, remember, we’re going to England in the fall, so eat right, take deep breaths of fresh air, park a long way from your destination, provide yourself with lots of Red Letter Days so you are rested and healthy for a wonderful trip, k? Love you! See you on the Mainland! XOXO

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