It’s that time of year, so MUCH to be thankful for and the perfect season for it! Surprise everyone! It’s a holiday WILLARD! With lots of bits and bobs to help celebrate a luv-lee holiday season. MUSICA, click here, then come back to read more.

First off, as you know, we always send out our Cookie Jar at this time of year, but with Thanksgiving coming so late, we decided not to wait. We wanted to give you time to plan your Cookie Exchange parties for December. Cookie Exchanges are such easy parties to give, they can be as fancy or as simple as you like, a quick cup of spiced cider in the kitchen after work, or a cocktail party in front of the fire.

They’re not only fun but practical too. Invite ten friends, ask each to bring five dozen homemade Christmas cookies. Set out platters so they can unload their cookies, then each guest refills their container with six of each cookie ~ each of your friends goes home with five dozen delicious cookies, all different! Christmas baking is done. Pack ‘em up and ship ‘em out! And if you need some recipes, click HERE, then on the cookie names on the jar, and the recipe will come up!

I know some of you are getting snow already! We’re not there yet, but the temperature is dropping and it’s getting very cozy around here. I was outside yesterday working around the garden and raking leaves. It was a clear crisp afternoon, crows were cawing, the sun shone through the birch and maple leaves, the smell of woodsmoke from neighbors' fires mingled with the wind up from the harbor and the salt smell of the sea.

Leaves skittered across the lawn over the picket fence as twilight fell, and people begin lighting their lamps. It’s getting dark so early now, my cheeks and fingertips were beginning to burn from the cold … I put away the rake and went in, followed through the door by a flurry of yellow leaves. I put the kettle on and settled in to write this down before I forgot it. Red letter days deserve recognition.


The perfect way to “see” the wind!

Our house is just about to celebrate it’s 170th Thanksgiving.

Oh yes, we are full-on decorated.

We’re snuggling deep under the covers these chilly nights, falling asleep to wind knocking on our windows and the sound of the fog horn.
Out on our walk, Joe pulls a cold honey-crisp apple out of his jacket pocket, we take turn taking bites and trying not to let the juice run wild as we pick our way under falling leaves, around mud puddles, to where the woods open to the water. The best part of our day. We figure out everything out there on that three-mile, dirt-road walk; this week we reminded each other how good it feels to think that what we do matters to the ones we love the most and promised to tell each other more. I thanked him for bringing that apple, and he thanked me for thanking him.

I have to show you the big beautiful 3-layer carrot cake I made a couple of weeks ago .. it's so delicious and perfect for the season, everyone LOVED it ~ you’ll find the recipe in my first book, Heart of the Home. I made it for my girlfriend’s birthday so I decorated it a little differently ~ it turned out so cute I thought I’d show you. Make 1 1/2 times the frosting so you have enough to do the sides (be sure the cake is cool before you start or the frosting will melt), put chopped pistachio nuts on the top, and if you have one, you can center a marigold in the middle. Peel carrots and with a small knife round the tops of peels to look like real carrots, all sizes, tall, short, fat, and skinny, and press lightly into frosting. It drips with handmade charm, and tastes even better than it looks!

I also made cider donuts! They are so good and so easy, crunchy with sugar and cinnamon, perfect for Christmas breakfast, serve them hot from the oven with cups of Autumn Spiced Cider. The recipe is HERE, at the very bottom of this post. Such a cooking time of year, its almost time to pull down my big yellow bowl to make my grandma’s stuffing. Makes my kitchen smell JUST like her, sage, butter, and onions. A house needs a grandma in it. Especially at the holidays.

Here’s your 2020 Full Moon bookmark. Click on it, print it out on card stock, fold and glue the two sides together ~ you can laminate it (at Staples or FedEx) to make a nice little stocking stuffer.

If you live to be a hundred, you’ll experience 1,200 wonderful magical full moons. It sounds like a lot, but it’s not really enough. Because I make wishes on everything from lady bugs to dandelions, of course I make wishes on the full moon. When there's light spreading across the world, I can’t help but want to be a part of it. When looking up at the Snow Moon this week, let’s all make a wish for our friends and families and say a prayer for the world. They say if a whole bunch of people pray at the same time, mountains can be moved.

Speaking of blessings, I have my winter all planned, while the wind blows and the fire is popping I’ll be working on my new book, ENCHANTED.

Writing and watercoloring, drinking tea, feeding birds, listening to the snow fall, wrapped in my shawl, Jack curled-up, asleep on my art table under lamplight. We’ll walk every day we can, unless there’s ice! Joe will be in his office taking care of all things that require math. Burrowed in for days and weeks of uninterrupted home-born happiness.

Fingers are still crossed for “my movie.” Academy Award winning director-producer type-people are reading Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams, so there is still hope ~ it could happen! Maybe not in my lifetime the way it’s going! But, when you’re looking at that Snow moon, think of me.

I would love to see Holly Oak come alive on the big screen, little cottage in the woods in 1982 sounds wonderful to me! Are you going to watch The Crown? We are! Can’t wait! It starts November 17 on Netflix, with a new cast! Be there or be square!

Time to bring our traditions down from the attic and put them out again. And here’s a photo of our brand new tradition, started last year at Christmas dinner. Joe found these blinky-light necklaces somewhere ~ they were the hit of the night! I thought YOU would love them too. SO, I found them for our web store. You can take them to a party, to Grandma’s house, to New Year’s Eve with all your friends! They’re childhood!

And one more of my favorites: My Bird Tree has always been my favorite holiday decoration, the first to go up and last to come down. It happened organically, without realizing, it seems I’ve always sort of collected birds.

One day I went around the house and rounded them all up from their perches on bookshelves and window sills, and when I saw them all together, I realized I had enough for a whole tree and my Bird Tree was born. And guess what, I put one together for you… it’s a starter kit that comes with a two-foot tree and 12 birds! You can collect the rest, that’s the fun part ~ I bet you already have some!

I did sort of the same thing a few years back when I was decorating my dining room for Christmas ~ I shopped the house and gathered everything white that might work . . . plus I cleaned windows, mirrors, sparkly glass, and silver. I wanted our dining room to twinkle.

Iince then I’ve found things to add to it, white Scherenschnitte paper-cut trees, Angel Chimes, glass candlesticks and white candles, snowflakes (dangling from my sideboard tied to lace on the dresser scarf), with tree garland and white doves hanging in front of the mirror (lots of these things are in our web store). All we need is twinkle lights, a sparkling tree with our old and loved ornaments, and all is calm, all is bright. It goes so well with first snow! The perfect Marshmallow World. Can’t wait to wake up that first snowy morning. Anticipation! Because I grew up with NO snow, I have a lot of childhood to make up for!

If you get three of my 12 x 12” Heart of the Home wall-calendars, we’ll send you with my new PHOTO Calendar, A Year in the English Countryside, for FREE. Click HERE, in the comment section of your order, write the secret code: FREECALENDAR. And check out my Facebook page, for special offers all holiday season!
And we have something special for all of you who need to get a lot of not-too-expensive gifts for co-workers, best friends, and family, something that combines my two favorite things, pretty and practical.

Never think it’s nothing, it’s so not nothing; Kellee thanks you, Sheri thanks you, and Alfredo thanks you too. We’re always thinking of what you might like, and we wrap and send them with love. It’s as homemade as we know how to make it through a computer. We feel like we’re in it together. A mutual admiration society. So thank you. Yes, and you should know, I’m also thankful for YOU. Without you I wouldn’t be writing books! I love our connection. Not only for the sweet words of encouragement you send, making me feel like I’m never really alone, but also for the practical support you give our web store. Our store there is small, you can probably find some of the things we carry somewhere else, and probably even cheaper than we sell them, but you keep coming and for that, I thank you.

As you know, there’s a lot of worry in the world these days ~ but you can help! Do what my dad told me, “Be an elf," wear a cute hat, a colorful sweater, smile at strangers, cheer people up." YOU are your own best gift. The world needs you. ’Tis the season for . . .

Enjoy, Girlfriends. Take time to stop and smell the flowers. I marked off a couple of FREE days on my December calendar already, for serendipity or sleep, whichever comes first! Make some space for yourself for appreciating. Breathing is more important than doing. Time, for you, for friends and family, that’s the best gift of all, and the hardest to come by.

Blessings on you and yours

P.S.If you’d like to receive my blog in your email box, go HERE, follow easy instructions. And for a a little free gift, you can sign up your best friend, your mom, sister, aunt, grandma, or daughter. We gossip, we tell stories, we make things. There are surprises,ideas, recipes, and free stuff. It’s like Downton Abbey, you can call your friends and gossip with us!