Hello from Smallville!

“Hello,” as my dad says, “from Smallville!”  ’Cause that’s where I live too.  And I like it lit the firehere.  Sometimes the world just seems too big ~ but the bigger it gets, the smaller I get ~ because here in Smallville,  it’s always a nice day. There’s plenty to do in Smallville too … it’s not a boring place.

  Things that don’t count in the big world are EVERYTHING here.  When the world tries to get into Smallville and upset the smallness, I shut it out, turn on the MUSICA (listening to this now), light a fire (hearing it crackle), watch the birds busy at the feeders (peep-peep), and do what needs to be done.

toxic world

doing dishes

Like cleaning shelves. Nothing more common sense than this, sometimes it needs to be done.  I give myself a sense of purpose and accomplishment by getting the cooking juices off yellow glasswaremy shelves with a hot soapy cloth; washing dishes (I wash the ones with gold trim on them by hand) and putting them back on the shelves, shiny and clean.  Standing back and looking at my handiwork and saying, “ahhhh, look at that sparkle!”  I’m always happiest when my corner of the world is clean and organized and a new year for me always includes organization, which my mom says, is the key to success.

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doing dishes

Some of the dishes are washed by hand, and these just came out of the dishwasher.

doing dishes

It’s before dawn and my audience is very quiet, just waking up, she pussyfoots around.  No loud applause.  Just purring.  

And speaking of organization . . .

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address book

The other thing I wanted to share with you is an organizing thing that has turned out to be SO GOOD I had to tell you about it.  I had this old (no longer in print) unused address book lying around, so I grabbed it and turned it into a brand new thing.

address book

It’s now my “Internet Address and Password Log Book.”  Before I thought of this, I had all my notewebsites and passwords written, but not alphabetized, on four pieces of paper (adding more pages all the time) that got limper and more tattered and worn by the day; torn on the fold and messy with additions and pencil smears ~ I would have to “re-do” the whole thing every so often.

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address book

Now I have a real book I can put everything in. Like here, under C, the phone number and email address for Customer Service at my Studio.

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address book

It’s a hard-cover book with alphabet tabs that keep everything I need right at my fingertips.

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organization

For instance, under M, for Mom, here are all the websites, user names and passwords I need in order to pay my mom’s bills online.  There are copies of her two credit cards, in case I need them. (These pages look a lot better in real life than they do in these photos ~ I didn’t think it would be very smart for me to show the world my passwords so I sort of squiggled them out; I knew you would be proud of me for the quick thinking.)

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advice from mom

address book

Under G is my Google Password, and all my contacts with the people at Gladys Taber, my Gmail and Goodreads Passwords too.  Under S, I have web addresses for all the online places I like to Shop, passwords and usernames for shoes and sweaters and art supplies (sometimes I cross-reference and put art supplies under A, or U for Utrecht); under P, I have my Pinterest and Paypal account numbers . . . under C I have my Computer fix-it people, my Credit Card account numbers and contacts, and so on. I can pack this book up and take it with me no matter where I go! Very handy don’t you think? SO much better than my previous way of doing it.

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address book

I thought maybe this was something you might want to do. And, just in case you don’t have an old address book lying around . . .

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address book

I do!  Two in fact, you can choose! You like yellow?  We have yellow.  You like blue? We have blue!

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Both come complete with alphabet tabs . . .

address book

They’re both in full color, binder style, they come with lots of pages. I blow on my fingernails, polish them on my sweater, say to myself, Brilliant!  It makes me feel good to be organized.

address books

And if you like it too, I have something for you!

word

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A new drawing for these two “Internet Address Books,” one for our lucky winner, and one for the lucky winner to give away to her lucky friend! All you have to do is leave a comment and you’ll be entered into the drawing.  (NOTE: If the blog is mailed to you, you might not see a place to leave a comment, go directly to www.susanbranch.com, scroll to the bottom of this post, look for the tiny word “Comments” at the very end in tiny grey letters, click there to comment so you’re entered into the drawing.)  Vanna (she’s our virtual in-house Game Girl and “random number generator,” although she would hate to be called this) is on high alert, ready to do her job in a few days, to choose the winner.

So here in Smallville, all is well, even though it’s freezing outside . . .

frozen garden

And everything is coated in this crisp frozen-on snow crust . . .

ice feathers on the windows

The wind whistles and the shutters bang and ice crystals grace all our upstairs windows ~

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Inside Smallville, it’s 72°, it’s organized (within reason) and as flowery and summer-like as  I need it to be while I paint for our new 2016 calendars.

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kittyLast but not least, I realize there’s not enough Kitty Love in this post, in case you need a fix, go HERE, for full and complete inundation.

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And a reminder of the best of the little things in life:

kitten

A kitty will make you laugh every day and that is simply priceless.  Love you Girlfriends.  Don’t forget to leave your comment.  Have a wonderful day!  All my love from Smallville, USA.  XOXO

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Downton and the Full Moon

The Full Moon and Downton Abbey go so well together!  MUSICA

Violet's House

Did we love it?  Oh yes!  There are many wonderful houses on Downton Abbey; I just love going inside those gorgeous rooms, with the beautiful dishes, fireplaces, paintings, wallpaper, furniture, rugs and cut glass pitchercut glass, etched glass, sparkling glass ~ it’s the reason I watch,  besides the clothes, the jewelry, the views of England, the history, and the witty repartee ~ but this brick house is my favorite ~ Violet’s (the Dowager Countess’s) is the one I would take if they offered me my choice.  Yes, much more than Downton Abbey itself.  That’s just too much house for me.  Home darling.  Let’s go home.  Pull in, get the suitcases . . . Jeeves dear!  Bring the tea!

tea

By the way Violet’s wonderful house is called Byfleet Manor in real life; you can go there, have tea, and even stay there!  It’s in Surrey!

One of my other main reasons for loving this show is these two:

The girls

That’s how they talk to each other.  They don’t even have to talk, they manage to say everything that needs saying just with their facial expressions.  Their tongue-in-cheek comments require that I see each episode three times in order to catch everything. Not to mention their clothes.  Look at Isobel’s jacket, the buttons! The gloves!  Their acting is wonderful but you have to give credit to the storytellers, Julian Fellowes and his team . . . something so cute last night (in the first episode of the 5th season) was the detail that the grandchildren are calling Robert (the Earl of Grantham) “Donk” (Donk, referring to Pin the Tail on the Donkey). It just has to be something they came up with from real life!  No one could make that up!

Downton Abbey Who's Who

These are the upstairs characters (missing is Lord Gillingham, Mary’s current boyfriend and childhood friend, and others I’m sure) ~

Downstairs charactersHere are the downstairs characters . . . Alfred has gone off to cooking school, Ivy’s gone and Edna is evil and gone too, but now we have Phyllis Baxter, who is Cora’s lady’s maid and just gave away the secret that Barrow was holding over her head.

I know not all of you are watching, so I won’t stay on this subject further, suffice it to say (about last night):  I LOVED sweet Mr. Molesley’s personal make-over to attract Baxter’s interest, despite Robert’s question about him being “Latin.”  And doesn’t Thomas Barrow make your skin crawl? I kind of think that if he got together with Miss Bunting (the schoolteacher rabble-rouser) they could join forces and terrorize the neighborhood.  I’d be scared, that’s for sure!  And I can’t wait to go on the scandalous vacation with Lady Mary and Lord Gillingham, maybe next week? ~ I hope they go somewhere in a darling car, with darling luggage,

darling car!

and lovely traveling clothes to a Country House Estate with massive gardens in the beautiful English Countryside . . .  if you didn’t catch it, they are going to “audition” each other for possible marriage; trying out s-e-x because they are in l-o-v-e, but afraid.  It’s 1924.  OMG.  Oh yes, and Edith.  Poor Edith. There’s always something.  But last night she made me laugh out loud when she disdainfully said to her sister Mary, “I thought only imbeciles were happy all the time” in her precise English accent which turns the word “imbecile” into a kind of sausage stuffed with cheese.

happy! I know those of you who saw it will have your favorite parts and it’s fun to hash them over ~ (I’m probably wrong about Miss Bunting; but right now I’m old enough to be firmly against change :-) despite how good it might be, plus she was really rude to darling Robert), but, get ready for a rapid change of subject, the real reason I’m writing is this, below . . . Because I don’t want another full moon to get by without you having your New Year’s present!

TAAA DAAAAA!

Full Moons 2015

I don’t want us to miss a single one! (Especially those school children who are waiting for their bookmarks!)

4 am

Outside in the summer, inside in the winter, from the beach, from the car, from the woods, in your own front yard, you get to make wishes on them all!

up close, the moon

A pure sky miracle!

The pink moon

How can that be possible?

Susan Branch Moon Bookmark 2015

So click HERE and you can print it out . . .

And now, it’s back to work for me

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I’m working on this little painting

watercoloring

Kind of easy to see who we’re talking about here 

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Jack likes it . . . he modeled for me . . .

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That white spot is my favorite green plaid shawl over the back of my chair . . . and that’s what I’m about to do right now; finish painting it! Then, after Comcast comes and updates our service, we’re going for our walk; 40 degrees and clear today, turkeys pecking around in the yard as we speak.  Then I take in my new computer because the Google bar has disappeared!  Try living without that for a few days!  Those Downton Abbey people were lucky ~ their problems didn’t include lack of Google!

Have a wonderful day girlfriends! Wob you! XOXO 

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