Monday, September 5, 2011

Pay It Forward: Artist Susan Branch

"Home artist" Susan Branch, who grew up the oldest of eight children, is a self-taught artist, cookbook writer, seamstress, gardener and so on...Why do I love her blog? Let me count the ways!

1. That little bird who chirps a few seconds after I open the page. 
He always surprises me.

2. The blog's beautiful design. Oh those gorgeous water-colored borders.

3. Her beautiful photographs of her beautiful life on two coasts - in California and in Martha's Vineyard, Mass. This is a visual feast.

4. Her voice. She's approachable. Humor and humility shine through the writing of this uber-successful woman.

5. The way she encourages little ol' me to slow down and do things like make chocolate syrup or put a bird bath in my backyard. Just because this will bring more beauty to my life.

Susan Branch doesn't intimidate. Take her recipe on making chocolate sauce from scratch. As part of the directions she says: "Is it good?  It’s good.  Better have a little more. Then a nap, the perfect thing to do while the rest of the sauce cools down." That made my 14-year-old smile as he helped me make the sauce over the weekend for his godparents and their six year old girl.

 Sure, Susan puts her chocolate sauce in a cute little Ball jar with her personalized label and a doily and everything.

 But then, she reassures us we needn't worry if our gift looks as gorgeous as hers. "But I have to say, if I was given a jar of this sauce with nothing on it at all I would still be thrilled!

She's right. G. and I made chocolate sauce the other night and put it in a humble jar without decorations. On Saturday, we gave it to Godcousin C., who shares an early September birthday with G. She and her family were thrilled with the sauce! Her aunt enthused: "Homemade chocolate sauce? The best birthday present ever!" (See C.'s sweet hand pointing to it?)

A reader recently commented on Susan Branch's blog: "I feel as though I could crawl into your website and live there happily ever after."

Me too! Thank you, Susan Branch, for putting some more lovely into our lives.

This post was inspired by Holly at a Life-Sized Catholic blog. Pay it forward! 


  1. xoxo SO sweet! I'm touched -- Thank you!

  2. I enjoy her work immensely, too. My grandmother passed away 2 years ago and my own mother is rather harsh and emotionally distant, so she always reminds me of the mother/grandmother that is lacking in my own life. I'm so grateful for her work, and her willingness to gently encourage us to bring simple, heartfelt beauty into our everyday.

  3. @Jennifer: Yes, she helps us mother ourselves, doesn't she?

  4. I couldn't agree more. Actually, my mom gave me three Susan Branch books when I was a young mother -- "Heart of the Home," "Vineyard Seasons" and "Christmas" -- and they made me feel so warm and snuggly and clever -- because she wrote them just for me, right? Now that my mom is gone, the books and the ideas are that much more precious.

  5. @Mariella: You have GOT to try the chocolate sauce!

  6. I have a lot of her cookbooks and some of her other products. love love them.

  7. There is nothing not to love about Susan Branch!