Hi Friends!

I hope you are enjoying nice Springtime (or Autumn) days in your little corner of the world! Our weather has been so crazy in the Midwest for the past few weeks. It seems to change every few minutes ~ raindrops, snowflakes, a bit of sunshine, and high winds. Our bright, yellow daffodils and forsythia add a touch of sunshine to the garden, as their cheerful blossoms dance in the strong Springtime breezes. Near the front porch, our magnolia is already showing its bright fuchsia blossoms. Sweet, green leaves are so welcome as the trees and shrubs wake up.Β  We have squishy, wet lawns and lots of mud, too! Robins are everywhere. I’ve never seen so many! Yet, it’s still much too early to clean up our garden beds here in USDA Zone 5b. Our nighttime temperatures are still dropping into the 20s. Snowflakes are dancing down even as I write…

So, I have been very busy nesting… and resting, with anticipation!


I’m enjoying spending creative hours downstairs, in my little ‘Paper Garden’ studio, where the sun always shines. (Thanks to daylight bulbs! πŸ™‚ )Β  I’ve been busy playing with watercolors and stamping petite, garden scenes for my handmade cards. Sometimes we just have to make our own bits of Springtime! β™₯


Since childhood, I have been passionate about writing old-fashioned letters to family and friends, near and far. So, I’m taking on the challenge of writing one letter or note every day this month. By spending less time online, I have found much more time for the joy of letter writing!


I’ve gathered pretty stationery from my writing desk, a favorite pen, and lots of postage stamps. Letters carry handmade smiles, since they come right from the heart. Nothing makes me happier than mailing off a handmade card or letter to someone special! β™₯ While writing or creating, I think about the recipient the entire time… so it feels almost like a little visit. Sharing handmade kindness has always been my cup of tea! (I think I’m going to need more postage stamps soon! πŸ™‚ )


My favorite project for the past few weeks has been a secret, surprise, family memory-keeping project. πŸ™‚ I’m enjoying it immensely, and find myself smiling the whole time I am journaling! Can’t wait to deliver this heartfelt gift of family memories, in person, very soon! β™₯β™₯


Reading is always one of the best parts of nesting! Finding new inspiration for the garden, the front porch, and our home is just one of the delights of the changing seasons. I’m already dreaming of antiquing trips to the 3 French Hens French Country Market and have marked the 2016 dates on our calendar!


The past week, I’ve been rereading The Fairy Tale Girl by Susan Branch. It has been so lovely to enjoy this volume of her beautifully illustrated, handwritten, watercolored memoir again. It’s filled with both smiles and heartbreak, as we learn more about Susan’s early years. Published last year, this volume of Susan’s memoir ended with a real ‘Cliff-hanger.’ So, I’ve been waiting… and waiting… and waiting enthusiastically for ~


Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams, the second volume of Susan’s memoir.Β  Her excited fans were able to preorder this book last November, while Susan was still lovingly writing, illustrating, and watercoloring her story. It feels like I have been waiting for this book for thirty years… since Susan published her first Heart of the Home book. It arrived in our mailbox just yesterday!! πŸ™‚

Oh my! I can’t tell you how much I adore (and connect to) Susan’s story of buying a little house of her own, transforming it into a cozy home, honoring the history of the previous homeowner, planting a garden, and creating a happy, little ‘nest’ to write and watercolor, in her own special, handmade way! I’m trying to read s-l-o-w-l-y…Β  to savor Susan’s wonderful story and artwork. Of course, I read into the wee hours of last night. (I just couldn’t stop!)


Susan Branch’s long-awaited memoir is now complete!! She is celebrating this trilogy ~ with A Fine Romance (dessert, served first!), The Fairy Tale Girl (the appetizer), and now Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams (the main course). Readers can indulge in her memoir in any order, and will be immediately drawn into her personal stories. It feels like such an amazing honor to read the lifetime memories of someone I have admired for so long!Β  A movie or tv series based on Susan’s memoir is already in the planning stages! (We are all wondering which actress will be chosen to play Susan!) All three books are available now through Susan Branch’s website (autographed) and will be in bookstores everywhere in time for Mother’s Day! Next month, I’m really looking forward to another Afternoon Tea and book signing with Susan Branch. Of course, I will bring you along!! β™₯β™₯


Thank you so much for stopping to visit today!

It’s so sweet of you to keep me company

as I wait for busy, Springtime days in garden!

Happy weekend!


P.S.Β  Are you already enjoying time outdoors, or nesting inside… while waiting for warm Springtime days?

25 thoughts on “Nesting…

  1. Dawn,
    Weather, you are so lucky to have some. I miss being forced to stay indoors due to rain or cold. Southern California used to have more weather than they do of late. In any event, your descriptions of activities you’ve been keeping busy with are so enticing. What a wonderful project—writing a handwritten note to each of the friends or family on your list.

    I still have not purchased Susan’s books but I will. I love her blog posts and the warm feeling they leave me with each time I visit. It’s like a kinder, gentler time and place. πŸ™‚

    Have a wonderful weekend. We’re expecting a good rain tomorrow, I hope to hunker down and get some spring cleaning started.

    • Hi, Karen! Your colorful garden will be so blessed by a rainy day! Our weather seems to change every five minutes this Spring. It’s really crazy! So, I’m really taking advantage of the last few ‘easy’ weeks inside, before busy days in the garden begin. Do you ever have a season when the garden doesn’t need your attention, Karen?

      It feels so very special to read Susan’s memoirs! ❀ She was very open about the happy times and the heartbreak. It has been so interesting to read about the changing roles of women, just a few short years older than me! Fascinating to think about! I know you will love them! ❀ Perhaps your library already has Susan's books just waiting for a rainy day. Have a happy weekend, Karen! β™‘

  2. Hello Dawn, it’s so nice to see a post by you this evening! You always spread so much happiness in each post! I’m happy to hear your garden is awakening. It won’t be long now before you are enjoying your lovely garden! I’m afraid our spring shrubs and trees started to bloom a little too early this year. We too have been having crazy weather–lot’s of wind coupled with freezing temperatures a few nights ago nipped our beautiful blossoms. We may even get a snow shower tomorrow. The early warmth of March forced many things to bloom early this year. It’s sad to see the vibrant pink azaleas turn into a dull faded color.
    I share your happiness at the arrival of Susan’s new book! Isn’t it beautiful, as only Susan can illustrate? I’m excitedly reading every chance I get. What a wonderful writer she is!
    Enjoy your time in your paper garden, dear Dawn! β™₯

    • Hi, Martha Ellen! I’ve been thinking of you! I’m so sorry to hear about the freezing night temperatures nipping your beautiful blossoms. It’s so sad! Our magnolia blossoms are opening a bit too early. I’m very concerned about the cold nights, too. After our mild winter, it’s such a crazy Spring weather cycle!

      I’m really enjoying Isle of Dreams!! ❀ It feels like I have been waiting 30 years to hear more of Susan's story. Hope we can chat together about the book! I'm trying to savor it s-l-o-w-l-y! Sending warm hugs, Martha Ellen! Happy weekend! β™‘

  3. Hello sweetie! I’very been wondering how you are feeling but I see you’ve been bust nesting so that is good. I love your inspiration of writing a letter every day. I fall so short in that realm. With our world of instant communication via the internet, letter writing is becoming a lost art. You do it soooo well! We are quite a bit behind you here in Zone 4 of northern WI. The greens of the daffodils are up but not blossoms yet. And good thing because we have a huge snow cover again today! One of these years I want to plant snowdrops. I think it must be Springtime magic to see them peeping through our early Spring snowfalls. My Isle of Dreams is on its way! Cannot wait! And soon it will be time for our tea party with all the girlfriends! Time is flying. Have a wonderful weekend! β™‘….another Karen!

    • Hi, Karen! Thanks for thinking of me. I’m still taking it easy ~ getting lots of rest. I’ve intentionally been spending less time on the computer this month to make time for letter writing and card making. It feels so refreshing! Hoping to make lots of mailboxes happy in honor of National Letter Writing Month. πŸ™‚ So glad that your daffodil blossoms are waiting for the snow to melt. Maybe this will be your last snowfall!

      Oh, Karen! You will love, love, love Isle of Dreams! It ships by 2-day mail, so you should have it this weekend! Can’t wait to talk all about it… over tea! ❀ See you soon! β™‘

  4. The upside to this fickle weather is that the daffodils are so vibrant under the gray skies. We really are having a long, slowly opening season with them. The other day, the sky was so dark and the forsythia so bright against it.
    Truth-be-told, I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had time to nest, however, today there was a lull in activities. I couldn’t get warm after being outside, so wrapped a blanket around me – and proceeded to take a nap! Sublime.
    Your time in your paper garden sounds quite peaceful and and your letter writing will surely bring joy to many.
    I hope you are feeling better. May 1 = French Hens. πŸ™‚

    • Hi, Penny! It’s so nice to connect again! ❀ Late this afternoon, I noticed the beautiful contrast of our fuchsia magnolia blossoms against the dark, gray sky to the west. It was so striking!

      Thanks so much for your good wishes. Nesting is my way of slowing down to rest a bit longer. It’s a nice treat, too! Hoping to feel 100% soon. The garden will be calling!

      I think opening day for 3 French Hens will be May 14th. It’s the second Saturday. Hope it’s much warmer by then!

      Hope your schedule has been filled with good-busy activities! Last Sunday, we wandered through the Daffodil Glade at the Arboretum. Perhaps one-third of the flowers were in bloom. Lots of buds still waiting to open. Their season should last quite a bit longer! There were lots of people enjoying the little patches of ‘sunshine’ throughout the glade! πŸ™‚ Have a happy weekend, dear Penny! β™‘

  5. Oh my gosh! You have written everything I would love to say on my blog…just so much more eloquent then I could ever do! I too am writing letters to friends and family this month! And I got Susan’s book yesterday and am finishing up The Fairytale Girl one as we speak!! I’m nesting, since we’re having 20 degree temps outside today!


    • Hi, Gert! You are so sweet!! It’s wonderful to know that we are both letter writers at heart. πŸ™‚ Kindred spirits! I reread The Fairy Tale Girl just this week… and saved the last five pages until Isle of Dreams arrived. It was a nice way to begin Susan’s newest treasure! Now I’m trying to read slowly to savor both the words and artwork. Can you imagine how many happy Girlfriends will be reading the same book this weekend? It warms my heart just thinking about it! πŸ™‚ Enjoy nice, cozy nesting all weekend long, dear Gert! I’m so happy that you stopped to visit today! β™‘

  6. I’m so jealous you have your copy of Susan’s book! Mine (ordered ages ago) is on the way but still not in my hands. Fingers crossed it’s today!

    • Hi, Ginnie! I know just how you feel! Fingers crossed that today is the happy day! It’s the perfect, chilly weekend to snuggle up with a wonderful book! πŸ’• Can’t wait to chat with you over tea, Ginnie! β™‘

  7. Hi Dawn,
    So much has been going on here I felt like I have been on a treadmill…..but I am remembering to breathe…and that helps! I have moved my mother in with Jim and I. She has been living with my brother in Dallas, but it was just not a good situation for her at this point. I am thrilled to have her here. She may be 93 next week, but I have a master gardener now full time! My place is looking great and with her magic touch I should actually get some tomatoes this year!! It is a change, but we are all committed to making it work.
    Just this last week I received a handwritten letter from a friend, I was so surprised and it was so nice!! Can’t remember when I last got a letter in the mail.
    But what did come in the mail today was Susan’s book. I plan to turn in early and hope I have enough sense to not pull an all nighter!πŸ˜€
    It is already getting rave reviews!

    Enjoyed today’s post! I hope you plan on taking us all shopping at 3 French Hens market!

    • Hi, Chris! You have really been busy! So glad that your ‘One Little Word’ is helping throughout the year. It sounds lovely to have your mom living with you now. It’s so hard when our parents live at a great distance. My parents live in the Southwest and I miss them dearly. I love knowing that your mom is a Master Gardener! πŸ™‚ Handwritten letters and notes are such wonderful gifts of the heart! So happy that your book arrived in time for the weekend, Chris. It’s such fun to have so many people reading the same book together! Happy reading! β™‘

  8. Dawn, your posts are always full of joy and enthusiasm. I too am a letter-writer. I enjoy putting pen to paper, buying or making a just-right card, selecting pretty postage (the boring flag ones just don’t cut it when you can have hearts or flowers instead) and sending it off in the mail.

    I’m mostly outdoors now, even in the rain, as the temps have warmed. A season of rain, after four years of drought, brought out all sorts of self-seeded wonders, along with plenty of weeds. I go on the attack daily to keep the small ones from getting bigger or worse, flowering and scattering more seeds for next year. I’m ruthless!

    Sweet peas have taken over the front corner garden, propped up by love in a mist and bordered by cornflowers, all self-seeded and in love with the rain. I’m loving it.

    You’ll be outdoors soon enough. Thanks for reminding me to order Susan’s next book!


    • Hi, Alys! You are such a sweetie! We are most definitely letter-writing kindreds. I’m the one at the post office who always asks to see all of the stamps, so I can choose the perfect ones for my letters. Flowers and hearts are my favorites, too! (Other outgoing mail gets the boring stamps. πŸ™‚ ) Back in the day, I would even make ink for my pen & nib to coordinate with the postage stamps!

      I just love imagining you working in your garden each day. All those seeds have been waiting such a long time for rain! The same thing happens in my parents’ desert landscape. Long dormant weed seeds sprout so quickly after a rain. How is your new raised bed working out? Your sweet peas look gorgeous, Alys! After seeing them in your garden, I added sweet pea seeds to my list. I haven’t planted them for so many years, but love filling tiny vases with their sweet blossoms.

      Susan’s newest book is a true treasure!! I highly recommend it!! She is starting off on a nationwide book signing tour, and will stop in several California cities, too. It’s a very special treat, if you ever have the chance to meet her! πŸ™‚

      I’m looking forward to time outside. This week, I will rake and mow the lawn. I will wait a bit longer to uncover the flower beds. Our safe planting date here is May 15th. It’s always one of my favorite days of the year! So happy you stopped to visit today, Alys. Thanks for always being a special part of our conversation here! β™‘

      • Dawn, I’m happy to hear that sweet peas will make an appearance in your garden this year. They are fun to put in tiny vases. I love making little arrangements here and there and always have small jars on hand to do just that. Sometimes I add a band of washi tape or ribbon.

        As for stamps at the post office, yup! That’s me, too. I bought the summer harvest stamps last week. Have you seen them? They’re cute and they’ll make your mouth water too. πŸ˜‰

        Today’s the 12th, so you are just about one month away from planting your summer garden. Let the countdown begin.

    • Hi, Keith! I agree! When I think of birds’ nests, I think of words like cozy, family, safe, Springtime, and new beginnings. What could be sweeter? Thanks so much for stopping by and joining in the conversation. Sending sunny thoughts your way! πŸ”†

  9. We all need a little spring time nesting. πŸ™‚ I actually enjoy a rainy spring day because it forces me to stay inside and get something done. lol! 83 degrees here today and of course it was spent in the garden. I need to get those Susan Branch books!

    • Hi, Jann! Nesting can be a real treat! Now I have so many plans for Spring and Summer. (More than I can possibly finish!) πŸ˜‰ I think you would adore all three Susan Branch books, Jann! What amazing memoirs, beautifully hand lettered and watercolored. Her books are always filled with wonderful quotes, too! I truly treasure Susan’s memoirs and will reread them often for inspiration! Thanks so much for stopping to visit today, Jann! πŸ’—

  10. Hi Dawn, I miss the days before the Internet when letter writing was my only way to communicate with my family because phone calls were too expensive! I have saved all the letters I received in return. Sometimes I want to go back to those days, but then I realize I’m spoiled with the instant communication. I have a “smart” phone now and love that I can text my family and pretty much get a quick reply. So I love that you are taking the time to correspond in this way and making cards as well. I’m sure these missives will be treasured. I love Susan’s newest book, too. The best part was about her little house. I think she did what all of us wish we could do when we feel like starting over. I have rearranged and redecorated my house over the years as a way to put a “face” on my heart’s desire to begin again. Perhaps that’s why I love gardening so much. Each year I can go out and walk the paths and look for what is new as my garden begins again!

    • Hi Cathy! We have been spoiled by all of the instant communication. While I always enjoy hearing from friends via email, I will always adore writing letters ~ little gifts from the heart! What fun to write on lovely stationery and to choose a pretty postage stamp, too! I really love creating handmade cards for family and friends. The entire time I am making a card, I am thinking about the person that I am creating it for. It almost feels like a little visit with them!

      Wasn’t Martha’s Vineyard ~ Isle of Dreams the most wonderful book? I loved reading about Susan’s little house and how she made it into such a cozy home. I really connected to that part, since I bought my little house when I was single. My dad helped me with the restoration work and my mom taught me about all of the plants in the garden. Although I wasn’t running away from anything, my heart told me that it was time to put down ‘roots.’ I’m still so proud of the wisdom of that decision, so long ago!

      Beginning again is one of the ways we grow. It keeps life interesting, doesn’t it? Retirement has been an exciting new beginning for me! I knew that I wanted to continue to grow by following the same intentions that followed in my classroom: be creative, learn something new every day, and to make a difference. It’s keeping me very busy in this new chapter in life! πŸ™‚ Springtime in the garden is one of my favorite new beginnings, too! It’s such fun to see the new growth each day. Today I’m going out to work in my Friendship Garden. (All of the plants in this bed are gifts from friends’ gardens.) I just love thinking about these special gardening friends as I work! As always, I will be counting my blessings out loud! Thanks so much for stopping by and being a special part of the conversation here, Cathy! Wishing you happy days in the garden! β™‘

  11. I love the idea of a Friendship Garden, but alas, I have so few gardening friends. But I do have several plants that were given to me (i.e. for Mother’s Day) that are sprinkled throughout my garden which bring a special warmth to my heart when I see them. I left my parents’ home to get married so I never had my “own” place. Perhaps that’s why I crave a space I can call my own. I’ve toyed with the idea of building a little “playhouse” for myself in our small wooded area….but I’ve never been able to justify it in the scheme of things. That’s why I hope to build a real playhouse for our granddaughter in the next year or two when she’ll be old enjoy to enjoy it.

    • Your garden is just filled with a Mother’s love, Cathy! I know that your heart smiles each time you see these gifts of love! We always gave my mom a special Mother’s Day plant for her garden when she lived and gardened in the Midwest. What fun you will have building (and decorating!) a playhouse for your granddaughter! πŸ™‚ It sounds like a perfect place for girls of all ages! I am imagining tea parties in her playhouse! Hope you can enjoy time in your garden today, Cathy!β™‘

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