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 . . .”
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. ♥
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!
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.
♫ 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 engagements. 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 Girlfriends . . . 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 small, 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.
“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 my 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.
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 your 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!
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 the 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.
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:
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.
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, 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