Tag Archives: susan branch

A Birthday Surprise!

Jennifer Michie Birthday Surprise

It rained during my walk this morning and I came home drenched! Feeling cold and miserable, I headed up to take a shower and while washing my hair, I heard a loud thump!

When I came downstairs, I saw a pile of mail and a thin cardboard package the postman had shoved through my letterbox and what was inside? Well a birthday gift from one of my dearest girlfriends! She had sent me Susan Branch’s new BOOK!

I hurried into the kitchen, to get the kettle going. I made myself a cup of tea, cut a slice of birthday cake, lit my candles and in the dimness of the morning started to flip through the book. I know it’s cheating to look before you read, but I just couldn’t help myself!

What a lovely surprise and a wonderful way to start the weekend!

Heading Toward Autumn

We had a wonderful, wonderful weekend this past weekend. We got to spend Sunday with friends who came all the way from Colorado! It was a miracle they made it out!

They are on a little traveling adventure and spent some of their very valuable time with us. We were simply thrilled! The world is a better place with kindred spirits in it. My girlfriend even brought me a few surprises, one of them being the lovely Susan Branch’s new book:

A Fine Romance Susan Branch

Oh! Happiness is!

The weather has taken a definite turn toward Autumn this past weekend and when I left the house yesterday morning to head to the train station it was a brisk 45 F!

The sunlight is changing too. While working in the main studio I noticed that the shadows were different. The room felt cooler with the light not streaming through as strongly as it had been a week before. It made me think of Wyeth, I think he would have liked painting in the main studio yesterday!

Cranberries, 1966

Cranberries, 1966

Last night we feasted on grilled cheese and tomato soup. I picked up a can of soup on my way home. I’m a Campbell’s girl and they had limited edition Andy Warhol’s “Soup Cans” as their design, so of course, that is what jumped into my basket. I think the soup even tasted better because it looked like an Andy Warhol can! Cute!

Jennifer Michie Tomato Soup

The Season of Hope

I received a gorgeous Christmas parcel in the post the other week from a very dear someone, a kindred spirit and yesterday morning, my first morning of Christmas freedom, I sat alone on the couch, a cup of coffee in one hand and this book in the other. The James Galway Christmas album playing and all my twinkle lights on, keeping me cozy as the rain splished splashed down outside:

I have given Susan Branch books to friends over the years, but have not had one myself, so this book in particular, it being her Christmas book, is very special to me.

I came across this quote and read it and read it again. For all that is happening in the world right now, I felt that it was befitting. We are in a Season of Hope and we must continue to walk in faith:

What A Weekend!

Oh what a weekend this has been! Mr. Michie took me to see “The Muppets”! I loved it, I have always loved them, I wasn’t sure how much of the original Muppet music they would use and I couldn’t believe when they sang, “The Rainbow Connection”! That is my favorite Muppet song!

Now, I want to make these from Bakerella and have a party:

I got ready for our date, by putting on a layer of “rainbow connection” glittery nail polish over my red nails that Mr. Michie treated me to getting done for Valentine’s Day. The glittery nail polish was courtesy of my Mom and I love it, I feel like I should be going out to a party with it on, it is just so FUN!

We went out to dinner after “The Muppets” to finish our date night and then spent the rest of weekend, resting, cleaning, writing, cooking, baking and munching on Valentine’s candy. We also drank plenty of tea and hot chocolate out of our Valentine’s Day surprises.

Mr. Michie took me to Emma Bridgewater and I bought him the “Red Fox” mug and he got me the “Pink Hearts” mug. My hot chocolate just tastes better out of it! Of course there are lots of snowmen shaped marshmallows skating on the top of my hot chocolate, again another surprise in my Valentine Care Package from my parents! HEAVEN!

I am teaching a 2 hour evening Photography Class at the moment on Pinhole Photography and dark room techniques. I am loving it! And my feedback from the 20 students who have signed up, is that they are LOVING it too! So, I am very pleased.

I got a head start for my next class and made just over 2 dozen chocolate cupcakes for them to munch on during our break, I will make my Nana’s chocolate coffee icing to frost them with when I get in from school, so they will be ready to go.

I was missing home and had a real hankering for Southern Cooking, so Sunday dinner was iced tea, fried chicken, rice and gravy, green beans, creamed corn and dinner rolls. I even made banana pudding for dessert. While dinner was cooking I did a little “pinning”:

and caught up with some e-mails. I have a few to reply to, you know who you are! I also caught up with my Google Reader and I wished that I was on this starry walk with the lovely Susan Branch, doesn’t it look romantic!

I hope that all of you had a wonderful weekend too!

(All images copyright their respective owners, images link to their respective blogs/sites)


P.S. This is my 500th Post! WOW! Thanks for sticking with me through all my ramblings!

The Giant Valentine’s Day Round-Up!

I truly love all Holidays. Christmas more than any other holiday holds a truly special place in my heart. But, the magic of Valentine’s is something special and I don’t think you particularly need a Valentine to spend it with, it can be a bunch of friends, a close family member, even just little old Y-O-U. It is about celebrating love and that can be love in whatever form it comes in.

I also love Valentine’s day, because it is a chance to decorate again, I decorate my house for every holiday you see. After taking down my Christmas decorations (Shh! Mine aren’t all down yet, don’t tell anyone, but I still need my twinkle lights up) and the emptiness that your house feels, it is nice to have a chance to fill it up again with the air of festivities, bustling about in the form of pink and white and red.

Below are some Valentine ideas for you, some from things I have come across on Pinterest, others from some of my favorite blogs. Enjoy! (click on the images to be taken to the relevant site, all images copyright, their respective owners)

Cooking:
 

Serena of the Farm Chicks has created the most adorable cookie flags to decorate your valentine treats. Adorable for classroom party cupcakes!

Jenny has made a lobster mac-n-cheese for a more grown-up Valentine dinner! YUM!

Delicious with a cup of tea, the lovely Susan Branch has made heart shaped orange and chocolate tea biscuits, a lovely way to start the day with your sweetheart over your favorite cuppa.

Sweetopia, shows you how to decorate these adorable Paris inspired cookies! Amour!

 
Making:
 

The Purl Bee does it again with these rose clips. Very sweet for a little Valentine’s hair all dressed up for a party.

Create Valentine Day Crackers with Not Martha! A fun idea to decorate your table with.

Eat Drink Chic created invitations for a Valentine Couch Picnic, an inventive way to spend the evening in, a stack of movies and plenty of delicious snacks to share with your sweetie!

 
Decorating:
 

Hand dye your own ribbon to decorate your Valentine’s gifts with. A romantic touch for the boy or girl in your life.

While looking into each other’s eyes you can sip your Valentine’s Day punch through decorated straws. What is it about pink and red and white that just shouts happiness?

Orange You Glad?

Orange you glad that as it gets darker sooner outside, it gets cozier sooner inside? I am! My candles are lit as soon as I get home from work and my cozy lamps make the rooms feel cheerier in this Fall season. We are not long away from twinkle lights and late nights up talking over a cup of hot chocolate for me and a cup of hot tea for Mr. Michie.

When the seasons turn to evening coming quicker and the air gets frosty, I love to have breakfast for  dinner. We do it so many ways; we will have Southern breakfast with biscuits and grits, or maybe French style, a Croque-Monsieur with a fried egg on top and a dressed salad, or a fluffy cheesy omelet with toast or simply a nice stack of pancakes, dripping with syrup.

After receiving my last “Willard” from the lovely Susan Branch, I went to check out her new homepage and in reading, discovered the following recipe, I think it will be going into our “breakfast for dinner” stash of ideas. I can’t wait to try it!

(Image copyright Susan Branch click on the image to go to a larger version)

Quick as A Rabbit

I went to the gorgeous Susan Branch’s website today and saw this bunny cake on her homepage. He is too cute not to share! Wouldn’t he be fun to make for all the little people coming to your Easter party?

(Image copyright Susan Branch)

Hopes, Wishes & Dreams

Santa Claus is coming soon, so we’re gonna have to be on our best behavior from now on! One of my favorite things during the holidays is buying presents. I like receiving, but, the thing I love more, is to see the look on someone’s face when you have given them that perfect present, whether it be homemade or purchased.

I have already bought a few Christmas gifts at the Fair and I have done a little window shopping, but I have not seriously shopped yet. I don’t mind picking up things as I see them, but I like the hustle and bustle of a real holiday crowd all out shopping with Christmas lights strung through the streets and store windows decked out in magical displays. Fortnum & Mason, always do beautiful windows; last year was The Snow Queen, in all her frosty glory. This year the theme is Swan Lake.
There is usually a shopping meltdown, someone is too hot, or arms are tired from carrying packages, or there are too many pushy people and when that happens we just stop, have a meltdown hug and then continue (in theory) a little more merrily on our way.

I am a constant list writer, I love the satisfaction of crossing something off of my list. I write out a list of everyone I am giving too with ideas, or items already purchased. This year I am doing a mixture of some bought and some homemade gifts.

I am going to make up cotton drawstring bags and embroider on them a vintage Christmas pattern or something I designed pertaining to the person on the receiving end and I will fill them with homemade mini pound cakes or a fresh homemade bread loaf (I haven’t decided which, both are so yummy!).

All beautifully wrapped in cellophane and bakers twine or a big grosgrain bow, maybe a spring of holly tucked in the bow knot and then placed inside their bag.I think homespun gifts are a nice old-fashioned touch to a magical holiday that can become all to commercial if you let.

This would be the cutest stationary by Susan Branch to write out your Christmas hopes, wishes and dreams or a gift giving list on. 

(“S” by:Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische)

Apple Picking Season

I met my husband last week after work and walking away from his building we passed the most delightful apple tree near the gates. Its branches were laden with fruit ripe for the picking. Their juicy ruby red skins glittered in the afternoon sun. I wanted to jump the small hedge in front of the tree and start picking apples. Unfortunately, I didn’t have anything to carry them in, for once I was unprepared. My husband handed me his phone and I attempted to photograph my discovery in the blustery weather.

It brought me back to being little. I grew up on a farm and during this time of year my dad would come home with bushels of apples and my parents would start making the most delicious applesauce. My sister and I would sit at the counter and watch my dad run the cooked apples through a food mill and see the now smooth mixture plip-plop into the pot below. Seasoned with sugar and cinnamon, we would live off of this, it was one of our favorite breakfasts!

My mom would portion off some of the plain apple mixture for herself and start to make her apple butter for the winter. She would sterilize her jars and our job was to hand her the lids to screw on over this rich cinnamony reddish-brown spread that tasted like heaven on biscuits or toast. We would have it all winter long to enjoy and she always made enough to give away as gifts as well.

This apple tree reminded me of being little, when your world was so simple and there was nothing better in the universe than to wake up to a bowl of fresh applesauce on a cool morning, your dangling legs swinging back and forth off the chair at the counter, watching the sun creep over the orchard from the kitchen window. I think there still might be nothing better in the world, than to wake up to your favorite comforts in a cozy home filled with love.

As Laura Ingalls Wilder said, “It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.”

(Apple Basket Image by Susan Branch)

Creme de Pumpkin

Who doesn’t like creme brulee? This recipe from the Susan Branch website looks heavenly. It would be like putting the best of fall in your mouth and a new twist on the classic pumpkin pie. I love pumpkin pie, that was my Birthday “cake” this year.

Just like Mrs. Branch, I would LOVE it chilled first too (as that is my favorite way to eat creme brulee)! Then make a hot crunchy bubbly brown sugar topping to crack your spoon through. For me that is the best part, the glass breaking sugar crunch of your spoon dipping in for the first bite. I would also be tempted to serve it with some fresh whipped vanilla cream piped next to it.

This was too wonderful an autumnal discovery not to share. Click on the image and it will whisk you away to this yummy recipe.

Click here to go directly to her Website and discover more Fall recipes in her cooking section:

SusanBranchHeart