A Gift ~ Tied with Heartstrings

Tea and cake for a celebration

Hi Friends!

It felt like a gift! Truly it did!

It was one of those gifts that we wait a very long time for, making it feel even sweeter.

I wasn’t alone, as I waited. Thousands of Girlfriends were also waiting!

Beloved author, Susan Branch, has been hard at work for over a year, pouring through the diaries she has kept since her 20s and all of her cherished, old photos. She was lovingly writing her memoir, watercoloring her illustrations, and choosing just the right photos to tell her story.  Her newest book, The Fairy Tale Girl, published in September, is what we have all been waiting for!

Susan Branch book collection

My treasured collection of Susan Branch books

After reading her books again and again through the years, Susan’s devoted readers already knew many parts of her story. Her charming blog posts let us peek into her wonderful life today on Martha’s Vineyard.

Susan Branch speaking at Westmoreland Country Club

Susan is such a wonderful storyteller!

Over the years, so many of us have been blessed to meet Susan. We smiled as she shared her delightful stories about traveling through the English Countryside at book signings across the country. We listened with rapt attention, at a tea party in her honor, as she told us about the time she met the Beatles.

Susan Branch signing books after tea party

What a joy to meet Susan for the second time, at a lovely tea party!

Last May, Susan’s legions of devoted Girlfriends had the opportunity to pre-order her new book. While Susan was still busy illustrating her memoir, adding the photos, choosing the perfect paper, and ribbon bookmark, we cheered her on. ‘Our’ book was almost ready… and we were eagerly waiting!

Just two weeks ago, our books began arriving in our mailboxes! I was sitting on the front porch with with a guest, when our mail carrier walked up holding a package. I *might* have squealed and hugged the package! 🙂

I knew that it was a true gift, tied with heartstrings!

DSCN5885The long-awaited moment had arrived!

DSCN5889The Fairy Tale Girl ~ by Susan Branch

Oh, the joys of reading Susan’s life story…

With great anticipation, I had carefully planned ahead for some long, lazy afternoons of reading. I wanted to savor her words, her illustrations,… her story! Afternoons on the front porch, with The Fairy Tale Girl and a cup of tea, were such a gift. There were knowing smiles as she shared her childhood stories of growing up in the 1950s and 1960s. Laughter filled my heart and tears flowed. The beautifully watercolored song lyrics had me singing along to the soundtrack of my life. (I’m just a wee bit younger than Susan.)  As I read, I often paused to think about my own life during the very same time, making so many connections.

Each chapter felt like a gift from Susan.

She is sharing her heart with all of us!

What a privilege it is to know the real story

of  the author who has inspired me in so many ways over the years.

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It is so enchanting to watch Susan grow into the amazing woman we all admire today!

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The diaries that Susan has kept since she was in her 20s fill her memoir with vivid details

and the pure emotions of each chapter in her life.

She is very open and honest about her adventures in life,

her happy childhood, hopes, dreams, heartbreak,

and starting over.

It’s easy to see why Susan cherishes both her lifelong girlfriends

and the Girlfriends (fans) that celebrate her today.

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I had planned to read the entire memoir very slowly, savoring each moment.

However, when Susan’s heart was broken,

I just had to keep reading nonstop, trying to pull her through those years.

As the chapters of her life unfold,

Susan reminds us all that life is sprinkled with both sad and joyful parts.

It is just another one of Susan’s gifts ~ tied with heartstrings!

♥♥♥

Susan writes,

“A part of ALL of us is written into the pages

of The Fairy Tale Girl.”

♥♥♥

So true…

You might enjoy reading The Fairy Tale Girl, too!

As you read Susan’s story,

you will certainly reflect on your own life

(or perhaps your mother’s life),

growing up at a time

when women’s roles were evolving.

♥♥♥

It’s the very best kind of book ~

the kind that leaves you wanting more!

Susan leaves us with a real “cliff-hanger” at the end of the book.

Now we are anxiously waiting for Book Two of her memoir,

Martha’s Vineyard ~ Isle of Dreams.

Book Two will be published in Spring of 2016.

I can’t wait to read about how Susan runs away from heartbreak in California,

buys a little home of her own on Martha’s Vineyard, in Massachusetts,

and makes all of her dreams come true!

It’s sure to be another lovely gift ~ tied with heartstrings!

♥♥♥

Whether you are a seasoned Susan Branch fan or brand new to her books,

you will love her engaging writing style and charming artwork.

Autographed copies are available now at SusanBranch.com

Visit your favorite independent bookstore soon.

Amazon will have the book later this month.

Happy Reading!

♡ Dawn

P.S.  Can’t wait to chat about this book! If you are a nearby Girlfriend, let’s get together over tea to talk about the book. 🙂  Please share your thoughts with a comment or via email.  I look forward to chatting…

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Happy Trails…

Hi Friends!

Rabbit, Rabbit! May is finally here…  and that is something that I always celebrate!

In our Midwest perennial and herb gardens, mid-May is planting time. Very soon, seeds can be sown in our garden beds and tender annuals can be planted in containers for the deck and front porch. Spring Planting Day is always the happiest of days at our house! I’ve been planning, buying seeds, and waiting for the big day to arrive…

Celebrating the small moments that make life so sweet is something we often do here at Petals.Paper.Simple Thymes. Today is a BIG celebration of a small moment ~ and you are a very special part of our celebration!

Over the past year, so much has grown in our garden.

Along with the water and sunshine that helped our flowers and herbs grow,

stories from the heart, photos, and friends (old and new)

have helped our little blog grow, too.

Today,

Petals.Paper.Simple Thymes 

is exactly one year old!!

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This week, at at Floral Design workshop, it was such fun to create a bouquet to celebrate our first year!

It has been such a joy to connect with so many kindred spirits across the globe!

Gardeners, paper crafters, and those of us who celebrate the simple things in life

have been gathering here for the past twelve months.

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Each one of you has become a sweet blossom in our bouquet of friends!

Thank you all so much for spending time here,

returning again and again,

and leaving such thoughtful comments.

I am truly humbled by your friendship!

YOU

are my favorite part of our blog!

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It is always a special joy to to think of YOU while writing each post.

Year Two will bring more stories to warm your heart,

simple garden ideas to inspire you,

and lots of surprises, too!

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♡ Heartfelt thanks!

Happy Trails…

Are you ready for a nice, long walk? Lace up your sturdy boots, grab a hat and sunscreen, and don’t forget to bring a bottle of water! Our ‘Happy Trails’ will take us deep into the Sonoran Desert in Arizona.

Last week, the weather was just perfect for long hikes in the Arizona desert.

Last week, the weather was just perfect for long hikes in the Arizona desert.

Just a week ago, my husband and I had a wonderful time exploring the Lost Dutchman State Park, near Apache Junction, Arizona. Temperatures were in the low 80s the day we packed a picnic and set out for a new adventure. The blue skies and gentle breezes were just perfect for hiking!

Four Peaks, with elevations of 7,000 feet, towers majestically over the Tonto National Forest.

Four Peaks, with elevations of 7,000 feet, tower majestically over the Tonto National Forest. An amethyst mine on one peak produces the most exquisite purple gem stones. During the winter, snow can often be seen on top of Four Peaks.

Early spring rains and above average temperatures during March, made the Sonoran desert more lush and colorful than usual this April.

Let’s hit the trail…

The Palo Verde trees in bloom bring an extra burst of sunshine to the desert landscape in April.

The Palo Verde trees in bloom brought an extra burst of sunshine to the desert landscape in April. What a stunning contrast to the dark, rugged Superstition Mountains in the distance.

The spectacular mountain views were such a treat as we followed one of the many trails through the Lost Dutchman State Park. It was so different from the flat trails we often hike in Illinois. Desert lizards, birds, bees, and butterflies were our companions as we hiked along the dusty trails.

Beautiful views captured our attention around each bend in the trail.

Beautiful views captured our attention around each bend in the trails.

Legends of  a hidden gold mine added an element of mystery to the natural beauty of  The Lost Dutchman State Park. It was easy to imagine the days of the Old West as we hiked along the trails.

Just two weeks earlier, the desert was a sea of yellow. Above average temperatures turned the bright, yellow blossoms of the brittle brush dry and brown.

So glad you could hike along with us!

Next time, join us for a hike along The Great Western Trail,

through the Tonto National Forest.

You’ll love the breathtaking views, with mountains in every direction.

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Wishing you ‘Happy Trails’, sweet friends!

I’m so glad that you stopped by today!

Sending warm sunshine!

♡Dawn

With Gratitude…

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Hi Friends!

Happy New Year! Isn’t it exciting to know that happy surprises await us all in 2015?

Creating our little blog was certainly one of my happiest surprises during the past year. Today Petals.Paper.Simple Thymes is exactly eight months old. You have been such an important part of this blogging adventure! It’s so remarkable to watch our friendships grow and bloom, even though we live in so many different parts of the world. Thank you all so much for taking a few minutes each week to visit this little gathering place for kindred spirits!

There are so many nice blog memories of 2014…

We have spent many peaceful times together in our Midwest perennial and herb gardens as they changed with the seasons. Often we chatted together over the garden gate. We have visited my favorite French Country Market in search of antiques. Together we have walked along a Midwestern prairie and hiked in the Sonoran desert. Sometimes we just sipped iced tea and shared stories on our front porch.

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It has been truly heartwarming to read your comments on each post. The very best part of writing a blog is hearing from you! From the moment I click ‘Publish,’ I can’t wait to see what you have to say! You add the most thoughtful surprises along the way. Thank you so much for sharing this journey together!

WordPress just created an Annual Report filled with interesting statistics about our blog. Last year, the Five Most-Viewed Posts were:

⚛   Inspiration is Blooming Everywhere!

⚛    Fairy Tales…

⚛    Let’s Celebrate!

⚛    Celebrating Susan!

⚛    A Walk through Our Friendship Garden…

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It’s very exciting to think about where our journey will take us in the New Year!

Thank you so much for being here!

susanbranch.com

 

With heartfelt gratitude,

♡ Dawn

Making Friends…

Mary Engelbreit has captured my feelings perfectly today!

 

Hi Friends!

Rabbit! Rabbit! Sending an abundance of good wishes as November begins! It’s the perfect time to celebrate all of the friends that gather here at our little blog! Some are dear friends that live nearby, while others are dear friends that live in other parts of the U.S., and in other parts of the world. Some are brand new friends that have already touched my heart in so many ways. We are kindred spirits, one and all, and that is a wonderful thing to celebrate!

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The comments you leave each time you come to visit are such lovely gifts! Sharing our stories, encouraging one another, learning new things together, and sharing smiles makes it such fun to check in each day. I hope you can feel the joy of gathering here with friends, whether you are near or far. Our connections keep our friendships growing!

Today our little blog is six months old! Our friendships have grown through three seasons in the garden. Time flies so quickly, but spending time in the garden always seems to slow time down to a most enjoyable pace. Gardening always helps me focus on the little things ~  often the most important things in life! From our front porch swing and rocking chair, I’ve been watching our Magnolia tree. It’s easy to see how long we have been gathering together here at Petals.Paper.Simple Thymes…

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Early Spring

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Late Spring

June

Early Summer

Labor Day Weekend

Late Summer

Late October

Autumn

Our friendships continue to grow and blossom here!

Thank you all for taking the time to visit

and sharing your thoughts, too!

YOU make our little blog such a happy place to gather. 

♡♡♡♡

So, of course, I had to tell you in my favorite way…

with a little card ~ made just for you!

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One of the joys of making cards is thinking about the special recipient the whole time that I am making their card. It feels almost like a little visit. As I made this card last night, I was thinking of ALL of the friends, old and new, who visit our blog.

For our papercrafting friends: First I embossed SU ‘Crumb Cake’ CS with the Embossalicious ‘Florals’ EF, and distressed the edges with Distress ‘Tea Dye’ ink. Next I added a Wilton doily, and added the sentiment using Wplus9 ‘Hand Lettered Thanks’  dies and stamps. Then I embellished the focal point, using the SU Sizzlits ‘Little Leaves,’ the CTMH sentiment ‘Kindred Spirits,’ a CTMH corrugated star, button, and DMC floss. The paper roses were made from vintage pages of a German book. A butterfly from a SU punch was the finishing touch.

It’s amazing that kindred spirits gather here from so many continents. We wish our friends in the Northern Hemisphere a wonderful Autumn day, while we wish our friends in the Southern Hemisphere a lovely Spring day. Although many friends visit quietly, I can see all of the countries where they live each time I peek at the statistics for our blog. It always thrills me and it humbles me. I am so happy that we have somehow found one another, in this great, big, wonderful world! ♡

 

Heartfelt thanks for being here…

and making our blog so much fun!

 

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Happy November days!

♡ Dawn

A New ‘Garden’ Season!

Our 'Autumn' Blaze Red Maple reflects the beauty of each Autumn day!

Our ‘Autumn Blaze’ Red Maple reflects the beauty of each October day!

Hi Friends!

Change is in the air in our Midwest garden! Our chilly nighttime temperatures, shorter daylight hours, and brilliant Autumn colors are poignant reminders that a new ‘garden’ season is just around the corner. Now the precious hours spent gardening in the warmth of an Autumn afternoon seem ever so fleeting!

Although the garden colors are fading quickly now, there are still some lovely reminders of our colorful Summer days. Bright pink Cosmos blossoms still dance in the breeze in our old-fashioned Cutting Garden.

These Cosmos grew from special seeds from Rheinstetten, Germany. A gift of friendship from a faraway friend!

These Cosmos grew from seeds sent from Rheinstetten, Germany. What a lovely gift of friendship from a faraway friend!

There was a surprise discovery this week in our Autumn garden! Finding a blossom from an early Spring Anemone, blooming beside a fallen Autumn leaf, made my heart leap! Oh, the small thrills that make a gardener’s heart dance with delight. Surely, you can understand…

A brave Anenome, that typically blooms in May and June, is blooming in our garden this October!

A brave Anemone, that typically blooms in May and June, is blooming in our garden this October!

 

Brilliant leaves twirl down creating a colorful in a colorful dance on a Autumn breeze.

Brilliant leaves twirl down creating a colorful dance on an Autumn breeze.

After gazing upward, again and again, to enjoy the glorious colors overhead, it was time to begin a few gardenkeeping tasks today. With my favorite herb snips in hand, I headed through the garden gate to begin harvesting bundles of herbs to dry for our kitchen this winter.

Oh, the delights that greet us as we step through the gate of our Herb and Tea Garden!

Oh, the delights that greet us as we step through the gate of our Herb and Tea Garden!

It’s such fun to snip sprigs of Rosemary, Sage, Marjoram, Oregano, and Thyme gathering each bundle tightly with a small rubber band. Thoughts of winter soups and Thanksgiving stuffing come to mind at harvest time. Our dried herbs will flavor so many meals in the coming months.

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The small bundles of herbs will hang to dry in our cool, dark basement until they are ready to use in the kitchen.

Harvesting Hydrangeas is always one of my special joys. In October, we usually have so many lovely, mauve-colored Hydrangeas to dry ~ enough to fill many baskets, crocks, and stoneware pitchers for a gorgeous ‘winter garden’ inside. Sadly, last winter’s long, severe cold and snow cover in the Midwest meant no flowers at all on most of our mophead Hydrangeas! It was the first time that there were no buds, only large, healthy leaves on the Hydrangeas growing near our front porch. Garden bloggers in many areas reported the same disappointment in their gardens this summer.

Just one small basket of Hydrangeas, mostly of the lacecap variety, was harvested with great care. Each blossom seemed more precious than ever before! I will truly miss having dried bouquets of my favorite, old-fashioned flowers nearby while sipping tea, reading, and watching the snowflakes fall outside the window all winter long! Nature has taught me that nothing is certain in the garden. Over the years, I have learned a great deal about the importance of patience… and hope!

There were only a few blooms on our Hydrangeas this season.

There were very few blooms on our Hydrangeas this season.

Harvest time has just begun! Herbs and Hydrangeas are hanging to dry in the basement.

Harvest time has just begun! Some herbs and Hydrangeas are already hanging in the basement to dry.

This week, we had our first frost and the garden is preparing to rest. My favorite Rosemary plant has already been brought in from the Herb Garden and is happily growing in a large pot in our sunny dining room. Its heavenly scent will remind me of summer days in the garden through the coldest of winter days. A gorgeous Mandevilla plant that bloomed all summer on our deck is now blooming in the dining room, adjusting to the sunny, southern exposure. It will be so nice to enjoy this colorful souvenir of summertime in the weeks to come!

This is always the time when a gardener reflects on the past season and looks ahead to next year’s garden. As a garden blogger, there will be new gardening hopes, dreams, and plans to share. Travels to the sunny Southwest will bring some lovely desert gardens to our blog. I look forward to sharing some favorite gardens I’ve visited on past European adventures, too. What fun to remember beautiful castle gardens while our Midwest cottage garden rests!

Yes, the garden is changing…

Colorful Maple leaves grace the birdbath on a sunny Autumn day.

Colorful Maple leaves grace the birdbath on a sunny Autumn day.

… and a new garden season is just beginning here!!

I’m looking forward to sharing another favorite passion of mine in the coming months! A long-time dream of mine has just come true. I have set up a Studio space in our basement where I can create (and be messy!). It’s a wonderful place to spread out and enjoy making cards, scrapbooking, watercoloring, and to begin experimenting with new techniques in a mixed media art journal.

It will be such fun to sow new seeds of inspiration, water them with passion, and encourage new skills to grow and blossom!

Hope you will enjoy visits to my ‘Paper Garden,’ too…

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Now I can spend my days in the ‘garden’ all winter long! ♡

Banners and bunting celebrate my passion for paper!

Colors, patterns, and texture make my heart sing.

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It was such fun to create a banner for my new Studio space!

For my papercrafting friends:  First I die cut banners using SU ‘Banners’ Framelits and embossed the Bazzill ‘Forget Me Not’ cardstock with the Embossalicious ‘Flowers’ EF. I layered K&Company Floral Tags, embossed with the Cuttlebug ‘Birds and Swirls’ EF. Next I die cut Spellbinders ‘Scalloped Ovals’ on SU ‘Very Vanilla’ cardstock and embossed them with the SU Sizzix ‘Flowers’ EF. Then I added letters die cut with SU ‘Little Letters’ Thinlets on The Paper Company ‘Chocolate Truffle’ cardstock. Finally, I used SU dimensionals to add the sentiment and strung the banner with natural polished hemp.

It’s such a treat to spend time in my ‘Paper Garden’…  now that my perennial and herb gardens are slowing down.

I’m ever so grateful that YOU are here visiting! I truly appreciate the time you spend here at Petals.Paper.Simple Thymes!

For me, spending time with Kindred Spirits is always such a joy!

Come visit again soon…

Autumn blessings, sweet friends!

♡Dawn

P.S.  Are there special hobbies that you enjoy during the winter months? Or do you continue the same passions year round?

Celebrating Susan!

 

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Celebrating Susan… today and always! ♡

 

Hi Friends!

Inspiration is all around us. But every once in a while, if you are very fortunate, you will discover someone who inspires you in so many ways! If you are very, very fortunate… you may even meet that special someone who has influenced your life, and have the chance to share your gratitude. I’ve been saving this story until this week ~ for it is such a warm and joyful memory. Hope you will feel a spark of my excitement, too!

Today we are celebrating Susan Branch!

Susan Branch in her garden on Martha's Vineyard

Susan in her garden on Martha’s Vineyard    {Photo Credit ~ Joe Hall}

Susan Branch is the delightful author and illustrator of fourteen best-selling ‘Heart of the Home’ books. Each book is a hand-lettered, watercolored treasure to be enjoyed again and again! It was my good fortune to discover Susan in 1986, when her first book, Heart of the Home, was published. This special book was the perfect gift for my mom, who loves making home a warm, cozy, happy place! Over the years, my collection of Susan’s books has grown. Her books have been given, with love, as special gifts of the heart. Susan has hand-lettered and painted so much love into each of her books. Filled with whimsical charm, Susan’s books feel “like children’s books, written for grown-ups!”

Her creativity is stirred, blended, and mixed with Susan’s kindness, joy, and caring ways.  She is adored by her fans worldwide!! Susan has always had a strong desire to connect with her readers, through personal letters, lovely newsletters, and her delightfully engaging website. Through her charming blog, Susan has gathered a community of kindred spirits, who enjoy the small moments that make each day special! We are the ‘Girlfriends’ ~ kindred spirits, one and all!

What joy the Girlfriends felt when Susan and Joe decided to celebrate their 25th anniversary with a crossing on the Queen Mary 2, and two months spent meandering through the English Countryside! We shared the adventure right along with them on her blog. Susan’s letters, photos, watercolors, and videos thrilled us all. As they traveled, Susan kept a detailed diary and upon returning, spent many months hand-lettering and watercoloring her latest book,

                  A Fine Romance ~ Falling in Love with the English Countryside

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Heart-shaped gingerbread scones and a cup of tea greeted my copy of A Fine Romance… hot off the press. What a joy to read again and again!

A Fine Romance is a lighthearted, hand-painted treasure sharing her affection for Joe, their time in England, and the beauty of a homemade life. It’s part love story and part travel guide… and proof that dreams can come true!  I laughed, cried, and my heart danced as I followed Susan and Joe’s journey through the English countryside. Susan’s charming diary leads us through wildflower meadows, along grassy fields filled with lambs, and takes us into the historic homes and gardens of her favorite artists and writers. Together we travel footpaths that lead to lovely tea rooms, quaint antique shops, and cozy inns. An interactive index on Susan’s website provides so many helpful tips, resources, and ideas for enjoying an adventure through the English countryside ~ a real journey or a shared dream!

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 While hand-lettering and painting in her studio on Martha’s Vineyard,

Susan promised herself that when the book was finished, she would come…

meet the Girlfriends!

So, last summer, Susan and Joe packed up their ‘A Fine Romance’ van and set out on a cross-country booksigning tour. Two events were planned in Chicagoland and Girlfriends came from throughout the Midwest to greet her. You can only imagine my excitement and joy!! I would have the great fortune to meet the person who has inspired our cozy home, several of our family traditions, our holiday gatherings, my garden, and so much more! ♡ These magical events happened exactly one year ago this week…

 

 Visiting with Susan Branch… 

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Girlfriends crowded into Anderson’s Bookshop to meet Susan Branch.

Anderson’s Bookshop was completely filled with chatty Girlfriends ~ kindred spirits and special friends meeting for the very first time! Susan had designed special name tags for us to wear, so that we would recognize one another. (It felt like we already ‘knew’ one another from our conversations on her blog over the years). It truly felt like a reunion! Susan shared wonderful stories about their adventures in England. She answered all of our questions. We were enchanted, as she took time to talk with each one of us, before signing our books. We all enjoyed the chance to chat with Joe, too.  I will always remember being the first in line to visit with Susan… and the big hug she gave me! I was so thrilled and excited, that it took my breath away! Just thinking about it today makes my heart smile!

 

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Susan and Joe traveled across the country in their special ‘A Fine Romance’ van, bringing joy and happiness everywhere they stopped!

We just couldn’t let this magical, long-awaited evening end. So, our conversation continued outside later in the evening.

We ended our first visit by saying, “See you again at the Tea Party!”

 

Two days later, over one hundred Girlfriends gathered at the Westmoreland Country Club for an Afternoon Tea with Susan Branch. It was such fun to meet even more Girlfriends. Susan would be so thrilled to know that so many of the Girlfriends that met in person that afternoon have kept in touch, becoming true friends! We are ever so grateful to Susan, for bringing us all together! When Joe and Susan arrived for the Tea Party, Susan spotted me (with my camera, of course) and greeted me with a cheery “Hi, Dawn!” It was a perfect afternoon… a Tea Party with Susan!

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Joe and Susan arrived at the Westmoreland Country Club for a grand Tea Party.

 

 Susan shared many of her favorite stories about their adventures in the English Countryside.

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She charmed us with the story of how she met the Beatles!

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As she enchanted us all with her storytelling, I peeked over at Joe, listening closely, from across the room.

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Love filled the whole room that afternoon!

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{Photo Credit ~ Joe Hall}

Then it was time to wait in the looooong line to talk with Susan, as she signed our books. When you are waiting in line with kindred spirits, it is a true joy!

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(Photo Credit ~ Karen P.}

 Can’t you just feel the happiness? 

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It was just lovely to meet you, too, Susan!

You are such a blessing in our lives!

{Please come visit us again!}

Scatter sunshine!

♡Dawn

                                        P.S.  Susan is currently working hard on her next book… and we can’t wait!

New Growth… in So Many Ways!

 

May 1st ~ New Beginnings Watching each day as plants emerged under our Magnolia, after such a long winter!

May 1st ~ New Beginnings
Watching each day as plants emerged under our Magnolia, after such a long winter!

 

First Week of June ~ New Growth! Colorful blossoms add such happiness each day!

June 1st ~ New Growth… in so many ways
Colorful blossoms add such happiness to each new day!

 

Hi Friends!

So glad that you are here! We’re celebrating the small moments that make each day special!  Today, our blog Petals.Paper.Simple Thymes is exactly one month old! You, dear friends, are a big part of this small celebration! ♡ I always say “our blog,” since it certainly wouldn’t be as much fun without you here!

As sunshine and showers have nurtured our garden and helped it to flourish over the past four weeks, your visits and kind words have helped our quiet, little blog begin to grow, as well.  You are the sunshine and showers that help us grow here at Petals.Paper.Simple Thymes! I must send so much gratitude out to everyone who stops by for a visit during these busy Springtime days!

I’ve grown, too! Of course, I’m discovering how to write posts, add media, and how to use the WordPress tools. But much more important than learning how a blog works, I’m discovering what it means to blog!  Sharing and connecting with old friends and new friends is why blogging has become important to me. What could be sweeter than discovering kindred spirits, both near and far?

I knew I had stumbled upon a wonderful thing the first evening that I clicked “publish” on my first post. Within the hour, a visitor from New Zealand was reading my words. What an amazing feeling ~ both surprised and grateful! In the past few weeks, dear lifelong friends have come often to visit. New friends have shared their thoughts, as we have watched our friendships grow and flourish.

Our visitors have come from Germany, Canada, the UK, Russia, Australia, and all parts of the U.S. I’ve met such interesting people ~ gardeners from the Bronx, Savannah, an island in Puget Sound, New England, and closer to home in the Midwest. Friends, new and old, have shared the stories of their quilts, their homes, and memories of simpler times with all of us. Readers have shared interesting book titles. So many lovely Girlfriends have dropped by from Susan Branch’s blog to visit. Lots of papercrafters have visited us, too. (I promise to post card making adventures very soon! It’s just so hard in the Springtime, when one passion takes you outside to dig in the dirt, while another other passion must wait for quiet time inside!) My heart sings with gratitude for everyone who has come to visit!

Anne of Green Gables (by L.M. Montgomery) says best, what I’m feeling in my heart today…

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think.

It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” 

Anne, you were so right… and I am so grateful!

While you are here, let’s take a little walk to see the new growth in our garden on this first day of June. It’s hot and humid today, so a tall glass of iced tea will refresh us as we walk… and soak up the magic of Springtime!

Deep purple Clematis is climbing up the arbor.

Deep purple Clematis is climbing up the arbor, with new blooms each day.

This Rhododendron plant came from our childhood home. It feels like we both grew up together, with love and nurturing from my mom! ♡

This Rhododendron plant came from our childhood home. It feels like we both grew up together, with love and nurturing from my mom! ♡

Our Peonies are in bloom now. In a few days, the palest pink Peonies will bloom, too!   It will be such fun to cut Peonies to fill a crock for the front porch!

Our Peonies are in bloom now. In a few days, pale pink Peonies will bloom, too. It will be such fun to cut Peonies to fill a crock for the front porch!

Dianthus blossoms add a hint of delicate pink  to the garden this week.

Dianthus blossoms add a hint of delicate pink to the garden this week.

Shasta Daisies will always be one of my favorites ~ so fresh and simple!

Shasta Daisies will always be one of my favorites ~ so fresh and simple!

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Thanks for coming to visit on this special day! You are cherished, sweet friends!

♡ Dawn

P.S.   Do you read a lot of different blogs?  Do you like to leave comments or just visit quietly?