Transition Time

First off, some favorite Old Musica ♥  It’s transition time, Girlfriends ~ a big change of season is on the way for us!  Nothing shows the conflict between the past and the future, and the exact spot where the line divides, more eloquently than this photograph . . . out in our backyard . . .

snowdrops

flowers

. . . it’s a fight to the finish, but I know who’s going to win.  We are!  We’ve had our winter fires, our hot soups home-sweet-homeand grilled cheese sandwiches, we’ve had our dark and cozy afternoons, we are up to here with hot chocolate and wearing four sweaters in the house ~ someday we will want all of these things again, we will pine for that first falling leaf and the smell of woodsmoke, just as right now we are pining to go OUTSIDE and PLAY!  You California girls are already there, lots of you across the country are going outside without a sweater. But in this neck of the woods, we still have a ways to go.  The weather report has us in the 4o’s for the next ten days.  We are not complaining.

chicks

Spring

One of the ways we know the season is about to make a radical change is the way the sunrise streams through the kitchen windows; the way it plays over the cupboards and stove.  The sun has changed positions, has come around to give us more morning light.  Jack says Hi!  Don’t you just want to grab him?  He will let you.  He will lay on his back in your arms like a baby and turn those green lights on you and then you have to kiss him a hundred times just as he planned, until he can escape.

Jack and daffodils

Because to be truthful? Despite all that love?  The turkeys in the driveway are more interesting than you.  And by the way, probably the very best $10 a person can spend while waiting for spring to arrive ~ we went to Maurice the Florist (we say Mor-eest-the-Flor-eest) and got a bunch of daffodils.   Aren’t they perky?  What snow?

hyacinths for the soul

Kitty Love

Jack reminds me . . .  we have more food for soul:  our charm collection has grown and now includes, from left to right, pink flowers for our “Girlfriends,” green hedgerows for “A Fine Romance,” the brand new tuxedo charm for “Kitty Love,” and swirls of sea foam for “Martha’s Vineyard.”

Kitty Love

KITTY LOVE comes just like the rest of them, on its own gift card.  Jack and Girl have ordered one.  I think they’re giving it to me for mother’s day.

girl

Girl Kitty prefers to use her tuxedo as camouflage.

birdsWe also got in a collection of wonderful birds cut from metal ~ four different shapes This one is made to hang from a window or a cupboard knob; the others stand alone and have stands that can be screwed to a shelf or a fence or a window sill.  Look how delicate this is.  They aren’t in the web store yet, I want to take pictures of them today ~ I just happened to set this one on my book about the wonderful Edith Holden (The Edwardian Lady) ~  it looked so cute I had to show you.

Holly Oak

I’m working hard on the new book every day, we’re not going out much, just working since the weather is perfect for it.  I love writing it, we are laughing ourselves silly reading some of the entries in my old diaries, remembering my first ferry ride when I thought everyone on the boat looked like a Kennedy, the first time I saw this little house in the woods and how sad it was, the first time I ever saw a cardinal land on my birdfeeder,  I’m remembering so many details about coming to the island . . .

Holly Oak

. . . and how I had to figure out how to live in a place that had seasons ~ it was quite an interesting challenge that first year . . . especially winter! It goes from happy home-sweet-homechildhood, to broken heart, to starting over, in scrapbook form, or so it seems right now, lots of pictures (before and afters of the rooms in that little house), recipes, and quotes.  I’ve written 267 double-spaced pages so far. I write, Joe edits, I write some more.  I’ll have to give you some excerpts one of these days.  It’s making me very happy.

 
And, speaking of  H A P P Y, what are you going to do for our next big holiday?  Any plans?

gummy worms

No, I don’t mean Easter!  This isn’t our Easter dinner.  Our next holiday is April Fool’s Day!  Just around the corner!  Have you done your holiday shopping?

gummy worm

Gotta pick up some gummy worms and figure out where I can hide them this year! (He always forgets what day it is.)  I’ll get them when I go grocery shopping this morning ~ do any of you have a favorite April Fool’s joke?

Tonight I get to go to TGIF at my girlfriend Jaime’s house, everyone is bringing an appetizer, so I’m off to cook and watch Great Expectations on TCM.  I haven’t seen my girlfriends all together for way too long.  I’m in the mood for girl talk!  So off I go now . . .   leaving a little reminder on how to “lighten up” for APRIL!  Byeeeee, Girls!  Love you ~ have a wonderful day! 

spring

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BLOG TOUR

Today I’m going to take you on a first-ever tour of the Blog.  There are surprises when you scroll down, but first we need MUSICA.  Because no matter WHAT it looks like out your window, the season are changing, it’s Spring!  I bounce off the walls for this music.  ”. . . It’s a  beehive of budding son and daughter life . . .”

spring!

I thought, before we pull the name of the lucky winner of our wonderful vintage book BEST OF STILLMEADOW, I might give you a little tour of how this blog works.  I’ve never done that and although lots of you have your own blogs or have learned your way around, some of you are new.  So I thought, well, here we go.  Can’t hurt, might help. 

spring!

First off, I get questions about this all the time:  so, when words are underlined and in color, that means it’s a link (just like the word MUSICA above).  You click on it and a new window will open right on top of this one where you can find recipes, stories, information, photos, a bookmark to print out, and other things I hope will add interest to the subject of the post.  Click on them and see what waits for you!

flowers

Next, in that row across the top of the blog there are those little bits of art with words around them, such as I LOVE ENGLAND, HOME COOKING (there are lots of new Spring recipes up, btw), and VISITING MARTHA’S VINEYARD.  If you put your cursor on any of them, there will be a drop-down; you can click on any of the subjects there for more posts about everything from Old China Dishes, Cleaning Silver or Wishing on the Moon, to Jane Austen or My Favorite Movies.  So if you are bored with a post, or I’ve left it up too long, I hope you’ll find something interesting up there.

birdie Skylarks are larking, see them all double parking . .  

Next, in the column on the right, there are all kinds of links to things such as my favorite blogs and websites; my YOUTUBE Channel where there are lots of homemade mini-movies, or EVENTS, where I post my book signings and speaking Bookworks in Albuquerqueengagements.  Right now EVENTS is filled with photos from our cross-country tour for A FINE ROMANCE (in case you missed it).  The blog ARCHIVES are there too, at the bottom of that column you’ll find a dated list of all 342 posts I’ve done since I started this blog three years ago this coming June.  (There are a couple of posts at the very bottom that came from what was not yet a blog, only a website.  And for definition, a blog is a website but a website is not necessarily a blog.  What makes a blog a blog are the comments.  That’s you. )

What else?  Oh … OK, Shopping.  That’s one of the icons at the top.  When you click on it now, you will find that Kellee has posted a brand new “Table of Contents” ~ in the column on the left.  She did an amazing job . . . everything is so much easier to find.  Our web store is filled with things I make myself (like calendars and books or my new blends of tea), or things I ask people to make for me (like Janie’s Banners or my glass charms for A Fine Romance or Kitty LoveGirlfriends . . . p.s. btw, while I’m thinking about it, a new shipment of GIRLFRIENDS charms along with our brand new KITTY LOVE charm should be in any moment, maybe even today!).  We also like to share things I love, like the very best candles in the world, or things I have for my own house that I think you might like too, such as my favorite books, Beatrix Potter figurines, cute dishtowels, or teapots with hearts of them.  We try to keep it interesting, so we might try something for a while, then change it out for something new like our new striped dishtowels in this photo (I got yellow, but they come in four colors).  We are IMG_3913small, just the three of us (Kellee, Sheri and me) plus our right hand guy, Alfredo, so we never get very many of anything, which sometimes makes it hard, but at least it’s not boring.

cream anyone?“Shopping” got its start when I heard over and over again how hard it was for people to find my things in stores ~ and because I couldn’t force stores to carry my calendars and books and never knew for sure who did, I couldn’t tell anyone where to look.  So I decided to make this a central location where you can come if all else fails.  Plus, it’s much more fun now when I show you something in a photo, such as from me to you with lovemy vintage elephant creamer for example, if while I’m out and about I find another one in an antique store, I can get it and offer it here (this allows me to wander mindlessly for hours through antique stores looking for great deals which I love to do anyway!).  ALSO, at the very bottom of the new table of contents is FREE STUFF.  Click on that and you can print out free stationery, a Tea Party Invitation, lots of bookmarks; all kinds of things show up there (from me to you with Love) . . . right now there are new Springtime “Wallpapers” for your computer.  We try to change everything at least seasonally, so check in every so often.

flower-border

One last thing: some of you come to this blog directly through www.susanbranch.com, and some of you have signed up so it’s mailed directly to My how-to-write-a-book reminder cardyour email box.  The problem with the emailed version is that you may not be getting most of the stuff I just wrote about above.  Plus, when I put up a video (like the one below), for some reason you just get a black box, it doesn’t show up.  I don’t know why.  The worst part is they don’t give you a place to leave a comment.  In order to see the videos or leave a comment you must come to www.susanbranch.com.  Then, to leave a comment, scroll to the bottom of any post you wish to comment on ~ there you will see the tiny word “comments” in light grey letters, click on that, and that’s where you leave your comment.  That’s what you need to do in order to enter the drawings, because that’s where the “random number generator” (better and more fondly known as “Vanna”) chooses the winners.

← OK, I guess that pretty much sums it up.  I hope this helps!  It’s a lot to read, so sorry, but I thought I would get it over with in one giant fell swoop, with loverly MUSICA playing to keep you happy during study session!

flowers

Now, speaking of archives:  In December 1986, a few months before my first date with Joe (which I wrote about in A Fine Romance) and only about one month after  me with Heartthe publication of my first book HEART OF THE HOME (the surprise and shock of which I had not yet gotten over, putting a perpetual giggle behind every word of this interview), I was invited to a local Cape Cod television program called Books and the World to talk with Marion Vuilleumier.  I recently dug out this tape, and had it put onto a disk so it could be uploaded to YOUTUBE.  It’s a questionable choice for me to show you this, as I (perhaps slightly overly critical and then again, perhaps not) find it quite embarrassing.  It’s my first time on television and I’m very nervous.  It’s a thirty-minute interview, so get tea and watch when you feel like it.  I’m sorry I sound like an idiot, but apparently that’s what I was.  I like to think I’m better now, but probably not, TV has always been scary.  Anyway,  I’ve included liner notes under the video, to read as you go along:  they are the who, what, where, why, and when of what is going on.

xoxo

REASONS TO BE EMBARRASSED, in order of appearance:

1. weird stare

2. I know nothing about anything . . .

3. Vellum?  It’s not vellum, it’s . . . uh, wait a minute I have to go look.  Bristol Board!  Why can’t I ever remember that?  I love giving out false information on television so people watching can say to themselves, Vellum?

4. Which is so much better too . . . really?

5. “They help each other out there, they take an interest in other people.”  Can someone please pass the sugar.

6.  Oooooo.  Big Buildings in New York.  Kill me, kill me now.

7. The secret French liqueur turned out to be Grand Marnier.  The rest of the story:  I never expected to get that job, which is why I tried for it, just for the experience, plus the interview was in that scary big-building place, New York, which I liked (I’d only been there maybe twice before, in my pitiful defense) and they paid for me to go.  But I did get it!  Then I had a problem, because flying to twenty cities a year instead of walking island dirt roads out to the sea every morning was not really my cup of tea.  So I said thank you but no.

8. “Imagination goes with childhood.”  Love that!

9. Dreamer . . . Cozy inn?  Need clone.

And now, me with the Baby lions:

Me in Mexico 1966

I wrote a little about going to Mexico City with my wild-animal-trainer boyfriend in the GIRLFRIENDS book, but I had to show you the babies we had in the house with us for one night.  How adorable are they!  At this time in my life I had never painted a picture, I could only cook grilled cheese sandwiches and spaghetti, I had never planted a garden, I made a lot of my clothes and dishtowels for my mom, but I had never heard of Martha’s Vineyard, and almost every book I’d read was a fairy tale in one form or another.  I was nineteen.  Since I’m writing my new book, I spend lots of time in this sort of territory.

fairytales

AND NOW, with no further adeiu, because this time Vanna is actually up and chomping at the bit to draw the name because she is OUT of here this morning, has a date or something.  So, there she goes,  arm swirling, names flipping and flying, more swirling, she does an amazing job of mixing things up!  Here we go, she has one!  And the lucky winner is:

ELAINE CORBLY-MCGUIRE 

Elaine, there’s an email waiting in your box.  Write me back and tell me where to send your book!  Congratulations!  And thank ALL of you all for the WONDERFUL amazing fun lovely lucky comments!  Have a wonderful day! Happy weekend! XOXO

flowers

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