StorkNet Interview with

Click here to visit Susan Branch's Website!
Susan Branch and a young fan at a book signing

Susan Branch's collection of handwritten, watercolored Heart of the Home books have sold more than one million copies. She has developed several very successful product lines based on her work, including greeting cards, placecards, stickers, wrapping paper, note cards, recipe boxes and recipe cards, with new ideas and products always in creation. Her books are watercolored with detailed borders, scenes and pictures of flowers, food, vegetables, kitchen items, straw hats, cats, etc. Everything is handwritten in Susan's beautiful handwriting. Really! Cooking is the stated subject of most of her books, but the true theme is family, love, best friends, and the celebration of life. Susan Branch lives on Martha's Vineyard (so does Joe - her "cute, smart, nice, wonderful" hubby, but you'll read about him in her newsletter).

Some very important links:

Susan Branch's webpage

What's new with Susan Branch!

Download a piece of Susan's beautiful stationery

Susan's newsletter information ~ Enjoy the back copies too! If you would like to join the Susan Branch Mailing List, please send your name and address to:
Susan Branch
P.O. Box 2463 Vineyard
Haven, MA 02568

For information on where to find Susan Branch stationery products, call Portal Publications at 1-800-227-1720

Click on the images below to learn about Susan's scrumptious cookbooks, keepsake books and write-in books!

 

Willard!

Wondering what Willard means? Susan explains, "Who is Willard? My newsletter is named after my grandfather. When we were kids, our grandfather sent everyone he knew an identical letter at Christmas time—a long letter that told his every move for the previous year. We thought he originated the idea (maybe he did!), but one day the same kind of letter came from someone else and my brother said, "Oh! It's a Willard!" That did it—from then on this kind of letter had a name. So I decided to make it official in his honor." Click on the flower pot above to subscribe to Susan's Willard!

 

Click on the strawberry shortcake image above for a yummy original recipe (whatever she's serving at this time) by Susan Branch...

As new moms and moms-to-be, this is a time when we are creating and saving memories. We're scrapbooking and looking for many interesting ways to preserve our precious memories. We're writing in baby books, sending thank you cards, working with papers, stickers, stamps, paints and other crafty decorations. How lucky are we? Susan Branch has stopped by to help! She has also donated three very exciting prizes for participants of this interview. Thank you, Susan! Here are two photos of the first prize (1, 2) and one each of prize two and three. And the winners are: KRISTA, KELCHRSIE and VICKI! Congratulations!

StorkNet: Thank you, Susan, for joining us on StorkNet. Our new moms are anxiously awaiting your advice and ideas as they create and save memories with some added excitement and style! Let's get to our questions...

Gwen: I love all of your products. I have several albums and all of your stickers. Will you be coming out with new sticker and rubber stamp designs in the future. Will you also be coming out with any new scrapbook designs?

Susan: Hi Gwen - Hi Everybody! Oh yes! We are working RIGHT NOW to make all new stickers to add to the collection - all kinds of things - even a "BIGGER THICKER STICKER!" New scrapbooks too - 6 new designs, I believe.

Tricia: I would like to start scrapbooking but am overwhelmed with all of the supplies! What are the absolute basics I need to get started?

Susan: Hi Tricia - I know how you feel - There's a LOT to choose from. But if you narrow down your subject for your first scrapbook it would probably be a little easier to get started. Choose something like a special birthday, a new baby, a vacation - do it for you or do it as a gift. Get a small scrapbook, stickers that go with your subject, some background papers, some restickable glue and maybe some of those scissors that cut interesting edges. But watch out 'cause this is addictive!

taramarie: I just want to start by saying how much I love your work. I do scrapbooking and I love the pictures and scenes that you use for your products. I also wanted to comment on the "Willard." I thought that was the cutest thing! My question is about time. Where do you find the time to do all the things that you do. You must be a whiz at time management (I am sure you have a book or journal to help me with that, huh?) I just wish I had the time to do one of the things you do. You are truly talented and I applaud you and your work.

Susan: What a nice thing to say! Thank you! I think it LOOKS like I am a good time manager because I love doing what I do so much I just do it all the time!! I did look around, a few years ago before I met Joe, for a few more hours in the day. And I did find them - but it requires a big change - they exist between 5am and 8am. 3 extra hours! I used to sit in front of the T.V. 'till midnight, doing nothing - now I get up early and go to bed early.

Kelchrsie: How did you get the courage to take the first steps in starting your own business? I know not everyone is like me and afraid of failure... But if you were a little frightened, how did you go about facing those fears? I love all of your work. It's my favorite! Thanks in advance for the advice.

Susan: Thank you. And it does take courage. In fact, now I say that the chief ingredient for success is courage! It takes guts to put yourself out there, and it's hard. When I was all alone here on Martha's Vineyard and writing my first book that no one had asked for and no one was waiting for and there was no reason for me to be doing it, I started and stopped - When I stopped I thought, why should I do this, it will never go anywhere. But a few months later I realized, "BOY! That's a self-fulfilling prophecy. It definitely WON'T go anywhere if I never do it!" Then I decided if worse came to worse, these little pages I was doing would make very good Christmas presents! It became a win-win situation! Life is short, don't waste it by not trying. Find a reason to do it that's not so scary to think about (i.e. Christmas presents!).

Cassie: Susan, I love the look of your books, calendars, stencils, etc. What is the easiest way to get that "shabby chic"/casual/comfortable look in a home? I love the sweet, casual, comfortable look of all of your things, but I end up with things a little too fussy, and I have a hard time picking things out that don't all match. I'd like to have a home that's really inviting and about our family, but I end up finding it looking sort of strained! Thanks for any help you can give! Cassie in Texas

Susan: Hi Cassie - Well I'm sure that your home is wonderful. I did write a few pages in Girlfriends Forever (pg. 55 The Art of the Home) about decorating that you might find interesting. I've always loved decorating, even when I was a kid! (Which is really a little sick if you think about it!) But I put in lots of ideas on how to make decorating easy, how to put your own personal look on your things and how to keep it simple. It's really much easier than you would think - kind of a formula - has more to do with love than anything else. Check it out! And you're ahead of the game, you already know what you want it to look like!

Elizabeth: I love your books! Really, I am drawn to your unique and versatile style of handwriting and lettering. I am interested in developing my lettering skills in order to enhance my scrapbooks, create personalized stationary, etc. How did you develop your talent in order to make your books so beautiful?

Susan: Hi Elizabeth. Well, all I know is I always got an "A" in handwriting! Math? no. Handwriting? Yes! Funny that I ended up making my living out of handwriting! Just goes to show no talent is TOO small! I just loved it and practiced all kinds of styles when I was young - but my "real" everyday FAST handwriting isn't beautiful! Lots of people express this worry about their handwriting because they want "beautiful" scrapbooks - but I always say that it is the HUMAN thing that makes a scrapbook valuable, and beautiful. Imagine if your Great Grandma had done a scrapbook for you - wouldn't you actually like her mistakes? Where she crossed out, put in 3 exclamation points, underlined - showed her personality? Wouldn't that be better than "perfect?" I can tell so much more from a handwritten letter than from one that has been typed.

If you love to letter, and would like to learn other styles, then it's time to COPY. There are books on lettering. There are classes in calligraphy. You can copy the styles and techniques and then develop one that works for you. One really fun way to dress up a letter or card - I make these stickers that are all just capital letters - and each is a different color and wound about by a flower. They're big too, so on an envelope, for example, say I'm doing someone's name, Elizabeth - I'll choose a big beautiful flowered "E", and then in a black pen, I'll PRINT the other letters l i z a b e t h, with the letters just a little further apart than normal. Looks great! And just takes a minute!

Ashley: Have you ever thought of creating greeting cards or even possibly a greeting card software program with your wonderful designs? You are so very talented!

Susan: Hi Ashley - Thank you! I actually do have a line of greeting cards out there... sometimes it's hard to find my things...I get letters every day where people tell me they go on "Susan Branch Treasure Hunts!" Because so far it's like this secret, mothers to daughters, sister to sister, girlfriend to girlfriend - which is what makes this kind of "chat" so fun for me! I get to "visit" with you!

Maggie A: I'm sure your business must keep you extremely busy. But I was just curious what THE Susan Branch does in her off hours for fun? Btw, congratulations on all your successes. I look forward to someday owning everything you produce.

Susan: Hi Maggie - I love to go to lunch and take my book!! And I love to work on "my toy" (that's what I call my little picket fenced garden.) I love to ride the train to California to see my family (3 glorious days alone (with Joe!) in a little room with a view chugging across America with my book and my pens and paper - heaven) - And I love walking into my studio and feeling the creativity around me - what a wonderful feeling! I love making little things for my house. I love reading the letters I get every day - sometimes from 8 year olds, sometimes from 90 year olds. And I love to walk through the woods down to where the pond opens into the sea, everyday, with Joe. I love love love life.

Míchelle: Wow! Susan Branch! I have to say that I just love ALL of your designs! There isn't a single thing I can honestly say that I don't completely love, really! I also just wanted to comment on what a beautiful area you live in. I'm from the Pacific Northwest (Idaho to be exact!). And while it's lovely here, I really long now to experience Martha's Vineyard. And I owe that all to you. Your descriptions and photos have just drawn me to really want to visit there someday. You are truly fortunate to live somewhere as picturesque as that.

Susan: Hi Michelle - I took my first train ride through Idaho last year and you DO live in a beautiful part of the country! What drew me to New England from California (where I grew up) were 3 main things - the seasons (still amazing!), the history and tradition (graveyards here are beyond beautiful; American flags fly; small town parades take place) and the architecture!! The old houses are so charming - nooks and crannies, porches and picket fences, roses on trellises, you can feel the past here and our connection to each other seems a little clearer. It's truly a step back in time.

Diane: Do you do everything in only watercolor? Have you ever experimented in pastels (chalks) or colored pencils? If so, what brands do you recommend?

Susan: Hi Diane - No it's all watercolors for me. Sounds boring I know, but I didn't paint my first picture until I was 30, didn't know I could! So when I did, and it looked like something, I was so amazed and astonished and grateful that I probably didn't DARE push my luck and try for more!! What I might really like to try someday (in my spare time!) is to do portraits in oils...

Vicki: First off, let me just say what absolutely gorgeous products you design. I am overwhelmed by all the talent you possess. I am particularly in love with your beautiful style of handwriting! How on earth did you ever learn to write that way? Is this just your normal handwriting, or is this something that's taken you years to perfect? Also, will you ever have your style of handwriting made into a computer font (like a font CD perhaps)... so that the rest of us handwriting challenged people can "borrow" it? I could very easily see your font style becoming extremely popular among the scrapbooking crowd.

Susan: Hi Vicki - Thank you so much!! I'm a very lucky person. Who would think that you could make a living from handwriting??!! It's my "normal" handwriting when I am careful - but if I'm in a hurry my handwriting definitely looks like someone completely different! I probably won't make a font from it - mainly because then anyone could just type up a book like Heart of the Home and I think it's pretty neat that my books are handwritten, because they are like homemade gifts from my heart, which is exactly what they are!

Patty: Hi Susan! Do you happen to do book signing tours? If so, could you give us a list of dates, or tell us where we may find such information? I'd really love to catch up with you someday to have you autograph one of your beautiful books for me.

Susan: Yes Patty - I do go and do signings from time to time! I love doing it but it takes me away from the studio and sometimes that's hard. I try now to keep everyone up to date about things that are happening (features in magazines, booksignings, QVC appearances, new products, etc.) on my website www.susanbranch.com. You can also get an address for my newsletter there - get old newsletters, print out stationary to use at home and all kinds of other fun stuff. Good recipes! Anyway, hope to meet you and sign your book someday!

Donae K.: What inspired you to go into business with your unique style of artwork and writing? Could you please give some suggestions to a novice artist and writer? Maybe some tips on how to get started? Also, if you don't mind me asking... how were you "discovered?"

Susan: Well, you know it's been very gradual... I think my life was decided ahead of time, and my job was to put one foot in front of the other and go where I was supposed to go - which I've tried to do. Writing the first book was really stepping outside the box for me and the inspiration there was many things. Supporting myself was one. Those "Christmas presents" I spoke of before - but also, my Mom, who was a mom in the 1950's - A stay at home mother of 8 children (I'm the oldest) - and she GOT NO CREDIT FOR IT!! That seemed incredible to me even when I was 10 years old! And she was SO good at it!! So when I was writing my first book, a little voice said to me "You can say Thank You! To your mom and to all the wonderful, nurturing, loving home-making moms out there who give up so much for the love of home and family." That's what the little voice said!! I wanted my readers to feel proud of what they do. Because it's everything... Back to your question - for a novice and writer, it is that you follow your heart - that's my best advice. And for a PHYSICAL thing that I believe REALLY HELPS, if you meditate and think about your heart and what you want, I think the energy of that can make miracles happen.

Margaret: Hello there, Susan! I cannot believe I'm even talking to you! I just LOVE all your products! I noticed you've recently really started getting into designing various scrapbook and rubber stamp supplies and such. What "new" or "in the works" products do you have going or are working on that you could tell me about? I am always hot-to-trot to hear, read or see anything new of yours. Gosh, it's so great talking to you like this! Have a super nice day.

Susan: Hi Margaret. I'm with you... love love love the new stuff! And there is a ton coming... all new scrapbooking things and lots of them - new papers and vellums and sticker files (cute!!) (but not too cute!!) But you should SEE the embroidery kits coming! They'll be out in September at Michael's Crafts among other places. I loved to embroider when I was a kid and because my Mom taught me how, I could make wonderful things for my hope chest (and embroider butterflies on the back pocket of my jeans!) The new kits are for dish towels and pot holders, sachets and guest towels. Some are 100% cotton and some are 100% linen. Some cross-stitch and some stamped. All EASY - and since I'm an instant gratification kind of sewer, they probably take only an hour or two per project, but make something totally wonderful you'd be proud to own or give as a gift. I'm so proud of them because I don't think there is anything like them out there. I want to do more! I promise, if you've never embroidered, you can DO these! Also, in January, the most beautiful tea set is coming. Watch my web site for updates - otherwise I'll take up all the gigs answering this question!

Krista: Hi Susan! It's so great to see you here at StorkNet! I'm a long time fan and have most of your books and lots of your prints in our home.

Are you planning on making birth announcements? Both of my kids have your Baby Love books and I write in Baby Blessings frequently. I would love to see birth announcements! No more babies for me, but I'd buy the announcements all the same. I'm sure they'd be lovely. Thanks for the great recipes, art, ideas and quotes. And oh my gosh~ for the Hula Girl recipe!

Susan: Hi Krista - my favorite thing about Baby Love is that when I go to book signings I get to see how the Moms have filled them in! So wonderful! Everyone is so creative! To tell you the truth there are not enough hours in the day for every thing I would like to make!! I hope to even do baby clothes someday... But all those decisions are really not mine to make - I'm here to do whatever I can, but it's the companies that I design for that decide what product they want to do... so write to them!! Do you know, I keep many of the letters I get. When people write: "Do a tea set!" "WHEN will you do a tea set?" "I need a tea set...." I keep all those letters and then when I get a company interested in working with me, I give them those letters and it really makes a difference! (I'll tell the stationery people about those Baby Announcements!)

Vicki: Hello Susan. I was just wondering how many books you happen to have out in publication right now. I saw many on your site. But as I did a search for your work, I found on another site many more of your books that I had not yet seen listed before on your site. I'd like to collect them all as they are so very well written. And I just love all of your art work. My own mother does watercolor. I am really anxious to show her the success you've achieved with your talent. Do you have any tips I could share with her?

Susan: Hi Vicki - I have lots of books, but some of them have more to them than others. Some are small - little inspirations and gift books. But the ones that say "Little Brown" on them - (that's my publisher), the ones that are listed on my web site, are the "bigger" books - like The Summer Book or Vineyard Seasons. I don't put the smaller books on my web site so as not to confuse anyone, I want you to know when I've done a "REAL" book as opposed to a GIFT book. Your mom is lucky to have something of her own to love - I don't know about tips - because as most of you know, just making something from nothing is it's own great reward! Tell her I say "HELLO!"

Alicia: I am very interested in working from home after I have my baby; how did you do it?

Susan: Congratulations on your baby! How did I work from home? I really don't know exactly - I just DID - the trick is to find something you LOVE - something you'd do whether you get paid or not... and then, get paid!!

Karen: Hi-ya Susan! I have a question for you... where do you find the wonderful endearing quotes that you use throughout your designs? I see some are very old (by the dates). They all fit so well with your work. It's just like they were meant to be used together.

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Susan: Hi Karen. I love to read. And when I read something that sends me to the moon, like for instance some of the words in West with the Night by Beryl Markham, I get my yellow marker and mark those beautiful words. Before I wrote books I used to write beautiful quotes over my doorways in my house. I collected quote books and when I rode the train I would put stars next to the quotes I loved. It taught me so much. Mark Twain's quotes were SO wonderful, I got curious.... WHO IS THIS GUY? (I'd never read any of his books) So I read his autobiography (edited by Charles Neider) and fell completely, totally, MADLY in LOVE with him. Put the book down when I got done, the next day Joe and I drove to his home in Connecticut and I cried all the way through the tour. MADLY in LOVE! Joe (darling man) gave me a signed photo of him for Christmas and it hangs in my studio for inspiration. Quotes have taken me places I wouldn't have ordinarily gone. Another thing about them is that when I first started, I wasn't necessarily brave enough to say what I thought, so I let the world sages say it, so much more beautifully than I could. Did you know that all the answers to all the hard questions are already there for all of us? It's true, it's all been said - you could tell the story of the world, just with quotes!

Jessie: Hello, are you working on any other new books right now? I really love your work.

Susan: Hi Jessie - Thank you! I just finished a book called Christmas Memories. It's part scrapbook, part guided journal. It's designed to hold 5 years of Christmas in one place and you can put it on your coffee table every Christmas. Places inside for your Christmas card, for lots of photos and momentos, places to write (in your BEAUTIFUL perfect-just-like-it-is handwriting), places for your kids to write... you'll love it. Coming from Little Brown, October this year.

Caroline: Hi Susan! I love your new scrapbook albums to pieces! I was wondering though if you ever have plans to make them expandable? I'd love to be able to add refill pages to make them bigger.

Susan: Hi Caroline - My scrapbooks are expandable right now! They have those little metal screws in them and come apart so you can add new pages. The pages are all traditional sizes and available wherever there is scrapbooking. (Just pull up the little bar in the back of the book, use a screwdriver or coin to turn the screw and voila, there you go!)

Cathy: After surfing around the net looking for heart of the home topics, I was so tickled when I came across your website! It's so well put together! I'm totally amazed at how many areas you are proficient in! I swear you're like Martha Stewart! I only wish I had 1/8th of your tremendous talent! How did you get started in your business and how long has it taken you to build it up to where you're at now? You must really love what you do.

Susan: Hi Cathy - Well, my first book came out way back in the last century! 1986! I'm sure you can tell if you've been reading this that I feel very lucky to have my job! I really do love it. What I think Martha Stewart is a genius in is business! She shows all of us we can do it too! I'm just learning that part and wish I had 1/8 of her tremendous business talent - it would really be a big help these days!!

Sona: Wow, where do you get the inspiration for all of your lovely water color designs? Do you use models or do these just pop off the top off you head? I really love how soft and country-looking they all appear.

Susan: Thank you, Sona - I have always painted what is around me - flowers from my garden, my vases, hats, shoes, dishes, sisters, mom's photos, yard, cars, quilts, perfume bottles, wooden spoons, teacups, apples, candles, cats, then I'd make up some things. But the best art for me comes from the real things.

Connie: Susan, your recipes are simply marvelous! Do you devise these yourself? Or have they been passed down from past generations? Would you share with us some of your very favorites?

Susan: Hi Connie - Thank you - The recipes mean so much to me so your compliment is something I value. All the pretty cookbooks in the world are just fine, but they mean nothing and have zero integrity unless the recipes really work!! Plus, I learned to cook by cooking my way through Julia Child's French Cooking books - she is one of my heroes - she really changed the world! And I got a good education from those books - but my need for instant gratification was there even then and after a while I got the urge to develop recipes of my own. Some elaborate recipes would take me 3 days to make - but they would be gobbled up in 20 minutes! This was unacceptable! So I wanted recipes that SEEMED like they took 3 days to cook!! And there are plenty of wonderful, simple things to make that make the fans go wild and that's what it's all about anyway! Yes, a lot of my recipes were our family favorites - How could I begin to tell you favorites!!? It's impossible... but check out my web site - I just put up some new good ones for Spring and Summer!

Kate: Would there be any chance you might produce a scrapbooking idea book?

Susan: Hi Kate. Yes, a scrapbook idea book is in the works - but here are a few quick ideas: when you go on vacation, get the mast head from the newspaper of the place you're visiting (The Maui Times, Paris Tribune, Venice Chronicle...) and put it on your scrapbooking page - it'll have the date and sometimes little pertinent information (i.e. Martha's Vineyard Gazette: "Martha's Vineyard an island 3 miles of the coast of Massachussetts... 100 square miles" etc.). Keep matchbook covers, concert tickets, tiny bags of sand, cocktail napkins with house plans drawn on, anything REAL that will fit... to add charm and story to your forever memory books.

Cheryl: I have taken a ton of pictures with my digital camera and I'd like to print a lot of them out and make a scrapbook. But I'm afraid the paper will yellow over time or fade. What can I do to make sure they'll last a long time?

Susan: Hi Cheryl - This is a tricky question because the digital technology is so new. There is acid-free copy paper available, check your local supply store they run about $13.00 a ream/500 sheets, this paper won't yellow or discolor. The problem comes in with the ink that you would probably be using in your printer at home. It will not last "forever." And I'm not sure what the expected life-span would be. What I have found is that there is a new machine at our local photo shop, where you give them your little photo card, and they make digital print outs for you. With this new machine they actually use the same chemicals that regular photos are developed with, so they will last "forever." And they cost about $0.70 each for a 4 x 6 photo. These machines are brand new so you might have to hunt one down in your area but for these precious photos, that you do want to last forever, it would be worth the search.

Shannon: I have an Ikea dresser that is not quite wood. I want to sand it and paint it black. Will sanding it make it fall apart since it is a cheap dresser to start with?

Susan: Hi Shannon. I don't think so. Sand it lightly just to give the paint something to hang on to.

Well, I guess that's all for today. Thank you all for taking time to think up such wonderful questions and thanks to StorkNet and Nancy Eggleston for giving me this opportunity to connect with such nice people. Special thanks to Vicki for bringing me to StorkNet's attention!

With Love and XXX from the Heart of the Home
and me,


Susan Branch's Books

Heart of the Home - "I've always had a love of cooking and entertaining. This book began when I started painting recipe cards with watercolors as gifts for my friends. Martha's Vineyard has provided so much inspiration; since I am originally from California, the different seasons come as a constant and delightful surprise. The recipes in Heart of the Home emphasize simple preparation and fresh food and they will take you through the seasons, from a Fourth of July picnic to a Valentine's Day celebration, and from warming winter meals to light, summery menus. They are many times tried and known to be true. The heart of the home has always been the kitchen-the delicious smell of cooking food, the hustle and bustle of the preparation, and the informal gathering of family and friends. I hope this book adds a bright spot to your kitchen, the heart of your home." Susan Branch

Vineyard Seasons - "When I moved to New England from California, I was struck by the number of wonderful traditions dictated by the changing seasons. It all seemed so right, like the pieces of a puzzle fitting perfectly together-a time for all things. This book is my way of putting that puzzle together in a personal cookbook, which I hand-lettered and watercolored. It includes all the special goods that herald the changing seasons: Asparagus in Mustard Cream Sauce in the spring, Pumpkin Soup in the fall, (Not Just the Regular) Stew in the winter, and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto in the summer. Also included are recipes from my childhood such as Potato Heaven, Hot Apple Soup, and Chicken and Dumplings. Interwoven throughout the book are suggestions for romantic evenings, children's parties, homemade gifts, and, of course, ideas for celebrations for each of the seasons. There is a maxim that says, "Have nothing in your home that you do not believe to be beautiful or know to be useful." This book, I hope, is both, and it comes to you with love from the heart of my home." Susan Branch

Christmas from the Heart of the Home - "Christmas Delights-Festive Foods-Dinner Fantasies-Breakfast Celebrations Galore-Trim a Tree-Enchanting Gifts-and much, much more! Many people ask how I got started painting-so: In 1977, after years of sewing, embroidery, quilt making, cooking, gardening and decorating, I was given a gift certificate to an art store as a Christmas present. So, I went and exchanged it for my first watercolors, thinking I'd "try it." With no art lessons, I began painting the things around me that I loved-my cats, quilts, baskets of flowers, straw hats, and my sister, when I could pin her down. My friends liked them, so I did more and more. As time passed I decided to try and combine my old hobby of cooking with my new passion-painting. I am often asked if the art work for my books is done larger and then "reduced" to fit the pages-the answer is no. I do each page exactly to size-the originals look just like they do here in the book. What a wonderful Christmas present that was! It changed my life. I love doing these books and I hope they can be an inspiration to anyone out there who has a dream of their own-not to give up and to keep on trying. With love and Merry Christmas!" Susan Branch

The Summer Book - "For two summers, with the beautiful island of Martha's Vineyard for inspiration, I water-colored and handwrote The Summer Book in my studio with all the windows open, ocean breezes ruffling the curtains and flower fragrances wafting from the garden. Long walks to the sea every day provided me with lots of day-dreaming opportunities. So, from the garden and farmers' markets, to the kitchen and grill, from the beach to the backyard, summer in all its golden glory comes to you through my favorite delicious-but-easy summer recipes: Stonewall Beach Crab Cakes, Sweet Corn, Raspberry Soup, Pineapple Salsa, Roasted Veggies, Spice-Rubbed Barbecued Steaks, Summer Baked Apples and Blueberry Bread Pudding. There are picnics and croquet and midnight suppers and decorating for house and garden and the best old pastimes of Library Days and Camping and sleeping under the stars. Gather wildflowers, have a tea party, plant a knot garden, learn to draw and practice the fine art of porch sitting-all reminders for you to make lots of memories this summer. To Henry James, "summer afternoon" were the two most beautiful words in the English language. I'm kind of partial to "summer evenings" myself. "Summer dreams" are nice too and I hope all yours come true. With love from the Heart of the Home and me..." Susan Branch

Girlfriends Forever - Girlfriends Forever is about the joys of sharing everything with a good friend: recipes; style, decorating, and wardrobe tips; memories; and party ideas. Susan Branch, in her appealing, personal style, tells of her life with her friends, from her exhilarating experience of meeting the Beatles to her "Tuesday Girls" get-togethers, and offers tips on the "art of the home." Sprinkled throughout are her thoughts on food and love, all highlighted by quotes and fresh, vivid watercolors. The recipes have a winning combination of snappy taste and healthy, low-fat ingredients, and contain complete nutritional information.

Love From The Heart of the Home - This little book will you set the stage. Passion, tenderness, infatuation, enchantment, adoration; sweethearts, flames and true love are all here -- bewitchment, too! You'll find love potions, aphrodisiacs, stories, advice, good ideas, dinner for two, and breakfast in bed; everything to set your heart a flutter.

Sweets to the Sweet - "Sweets to the Sweet... This mouth-watering little book answers that ago-old question, "what's for dessert?" Here you'll find the extravagant indulgences you need for that special dinner. From old-fashioned layer cakes to rich chocolate mousse-fabulous fruit delights to sensual sauces - these easy recipes will bring out the ooohs and aaaahs that make you feel like the genius that you are. Tell everyone Save Room For Dessert. With Love, Susan Branch"

Christmas Joy - A little book of Christmas Love: Ideas and fun for food, family and friends; and of course cookies! "Wishing you a heart full of joy" -- Susan Branch"

Heart of the Home Postcard Collection - "Thirty watercolored postcards, wonderful for quick hellos, for favorite recipes or party invitations, for friendly notes, or even for framing if you are so inclined. They come with love from the Heart of the Home and me . . . Susan Branch."

Days - "Originally I wanted to call this book "The Day Book, Birthday Book, Diary, Journal, Calendar, Organizer Book from the Heart of the Home!" A good descriptive name but maybe a little long. I decided Days would say it all. For years I have kept a little book where I jot down the day's happenings, my memories, and now these books are just about the story of my life. When The Summer Book came out, my girl friend Jaime gave me a party and this crown of flowers - I wrote about it in my book and put this photo on the back cover so I would never forget. I hope this book finds a special place in your life. May all your Days be sweet ones. Susan Branch
P.S. This book has a covered spiral binding."

Baby Love - "The love in your heart wasn't put there to stay. Love isn't love till it's given away. A keepsake book from the Heart of the Home. Wishing you Joy and Happiness! Congratulations! Remember all the tender, funny, and magic moments with your Baby. Time flies, so preserve Baby's footprint, keep a lock of Baby's hair, and be sure to save your memories - before and after Baby! Susan Branch"

Heart of the Home Address Book - New, from Susan Branch, a hand painted book that no fan will want to miss -- the Heart of the Home Address Book. It's the ideal gift for holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions -- now and for years to come. Filled with Branch's homespun wit and wisdom and decorated with her signature watercolors, this lovely address book features a ring binding that allows for paper refills as well as special pages for recording birthdays, anniversaries, and other special dates.

Images and photo used with permission from Susan Branch and are copyrighted as stated below.
© 2001 by Susan Stewart Branch and Time Warner Bookmark

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