Only Five Minutes More . . .

For starters, you need some . . . Frank!  MUSICA  Only Five Minutes more . . . or maybe we’ll take the whole weekend!

Hello Everyone

How are you?  Everything is good here . . . this music makes me so happy!  I’m still chugging away on the new book.  The first one goes to the printer on June 15 ~ we’ll see if I make it!  I’m still painting and adding photos and art to the pages. I decided yesterday it’s a very good sign that when I find the perfect quote for the perfect spot, I get tears in my eyes (sort of like I do at the end of a really good movie).  I can’t wait to show it to you!  

frolicking cat bird

But in the meantime, I thought we’d let our drawing for the giveaway go for a few more days . . . we have lots of books to give away!  I just want to make sure everyone’s had a chance to sign up.  So, if you haven’t, be sure to leave a comment, we’re giving away 10 of my new book, coming in August called THE FAIRY TALE GIRL ~ you can read all about it in the post just below this one.  By the way, did you catch it ~ on the edge of the new cover?  That the flowers are all missing a petal?  “He loves me, he loves me not . . .”  It’s a little clue.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share somemore Vineyard spring.  Birds are frolicking in our birdbath.  So fun to watch.  Only one out of three of those is real ~ the one surrounding himself in water drops.

Lily of the Valley

 Joe’s favorite flower is in bloom, the Lily of the Valley . . . thank you again to Mrs. Bowditch, the woman who owned our house from 1949 to 1980 ~ she left such a treasure for us. Funny how you can get to know a person like I’ve gotten to know the Bowditches, from the things they’ve left behind.

bouquet Lily of the Valley

I always have to bring in a little bouquet for the kitchen table . . . so we can bury our noses in them every so often.

Vintage Vase with Lily of the Valley

Like little bells . . .


Yes, when I get a good subject, I take a zillion photos!

Oh to be at MV

Today is the official start of summer here on the Island, no matter what the calendar says.  It’s Memorial Day Weekend, and literally overnight our town turns from a quiet little country outback into Vacation Central . . . people come from everywhere . . .

The ferry in Vineyard Haven

Boat after boat arrives . . .

Tourists unloading from ferry in vineyard haven

We like it . . . it’s a wonderful change from the quiet winter.  Plus we know it isn’t a year-round thing, so it’s always fun to see them come, and it’s always nice to see them go!  The best of all worlds. We have a weekend guest of our own to welcome off the boat today! The guest room is ready with Lily of the Valley as a welcome greeting.

Memorial Day Martha's Vineyard

And this is the event that happens every year on the Friday before Memorial Day ~ today!  A wonderful old tradition called The Children’s Walk to the Sea ~ it’s been going on here since the 1870s.  The Vineyard Haven Grammar School is just up the street from our house, so we get a birds-eye view of the parade every year as it passes by our house.  Isn’t it adorable? First comes the kindergarteners, followed by the 1st grade, on up to the 8th graders, and all their teachers too.

Children's Walk to the Sea Martha's Vineyard

And it comes complete with a marching band and George M. Cohan musica!

Memorial Day Parade Vineyard Haven

And, adorable children, carrying flags and bouquets of flowers.  They march through town, down to the water, where they throw their flowers into the sea in memory of those who have fought and died for our country.

Girl Kitty

Girl Kitty keeps an eye out for the kids!

my garden

And here’s our kitchen garden . . . Joe’s been raking and getting it ready while I’m inside “directing”  from my studio window! We’ll have strawberries soon if the catbirds leave us some! Time to plant tomatoes and lettuce and lemon thyme . . .


Our garden, though small, always makes us happy ~ it’s just enough to give us that “thank goodness it’s spring” feeling.  You can read more about it HERE:   Here are the basic elements that made it happen:



And look at this perky little goldfinch outside our kitchen window.  Hmm, he says, I taut I taw a puddy cat.


Oh yeah. No doubt about it.


Jackie keeps a watch.


So a little reminder for the holiday weekend, be spontaneous and keep it simple and have a WONDERFUL time.  Here’s a delicious potato salad recipe made with roasted potatoes you might like to try . . .

Warm Potato Salad

I’m going back to work in Fairy Tale Land ~  and guess what’s coming on TCM in about 10 minutes?  Pride and Prejudice!  The old one with Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier!  Perfection!  So lucky!  Have a great day Girlfriends.  Don’t forget, if you haven’t signed up for the drawing, be sure to leave a comment . . . we’ll do it next week.  Let Vanna frolic for the weekend!  You too!  XOXO Bye for now!

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My dad says I should blame it all on Vanna. It’s her fault I’ve been away so long!  I love the way that sounds.  But first thing’s first . . . we need MUSICA to go with our Fairy Tale.

butterflies IMG_1043

 Don’t be mad at us ~ we come bearing gifts . . . I’m sorry I’ve been away so long.  I hope I didn’t worry you, I missed you just as much as you missed me!  Everyone is happy and healthy around here and keeping out of trouble the best we can.  You can see we are surrounded with mini-miracles, Girl and Jack in the same photo!!  Yesterday! (Look at his cute folded paws!)



‘Course the whole world is a miracle now that the lilacs are in bloom . . . this is my view out the window from my art table.

flower border


Here’s up close and personal, a bee’s-eye view.


IMG_1058  Here’s the sky view, lilacs are everywhere on the Island right now ~ it smells wonderful outside!

  So here’s more of what’s been happening around here. Besides the fact that we have two new baby squirrels coming to the feeders ~ who won’t hold still for six seconds so I can take their picture, but they are adorable! The tiniest ears in the world.


Our tulips and daffodils bloomed, so perky after that cold winter. You have to call that a miracle!


And then there’s this . . . our ornamental pear tree.  I’m very big on spring flowers, I like the shock of it!  This does it for me!



We still have a few of these Angelique tulips in bloom . . .


My birthday was perfection, thank you all so much for your well wishes!  My dad and his wife Jeanie sent me this darling birdhouse!

birthday party


And the dogwood did its part by blooming soon after . . .


Heres another photo of the dogwood . . .


When Joe was digging the hole to plant the dogwood, he found that little blue bottle in it.  I celebrate that little bottle all the time. Buried treasure! Kind of a fairy tale, don’t you think?


Here’s another picture of the pear . . . I can’t get enough of it. I could live there.


Here it is again, showing off with the weeping cherry and forsythia . . .

new england forsythia

And more forsythia, not to be outdone . . .


When we bought this house in 1989, there was a wonderful magnolia in the garden that bloomed every year and made the perfect spring picture for all passers by. In fact, long before I bought this house, I used to drive past it in the spring, just to see all the wonderful flowering trees in bloom.  The woman who owned the house before me, Mrs. Bowditch, was a garden lover.

magnolia tree

This was her tree, and the legacy she left for us.  But one day, this beautiful magnoliatree up and died, and I’ve mourned it ever since.  I know Mrs. Bowditch was looking down from heaven saying, “Susan, Put it back. It’s your job.”  It took three years to find the right kind here on the island to replace it with.  I wanted the exact same variety.  But they didn’t seem to carry it in our nurseries ~ only other varieties, with different flowers.  In addition, I find it hard to trust the name tags on the trees, I trust them more if there is a flower I can see.

planting a new Magnolia tree

There was exactly one flower on this one when we found it last year at Vineyard Gardens, but it looked like the right kind!!!  So excited, we took a chance and brought it home.


And prayed that it wasn’t some sort of trick. I waited for it to bloom this year, and we got lucky, because it was the right kind! It still has a way to go before it reaches the glory of the original tree, but I am so happy to have this view back! A pure pleasure. Happy Mother’s Day, Mrs. Bowditch.Thank you for the inspiration!

magnolia tree

And here we are in the way back . . . enjoying more . . .  



Oh yes, we’ve been celebrating by walking through the woods out to the pond and the ocean every day . . . 


The leaves are back!  We watch seagulls, terns, finches and osprey flit, dive and prey and we do “Morning Science” which always starts with the words, “I wonder why” . . .  Big breaths of this air soothes the winter soul. A blessing.


Speaking of blessings, here’s one of the things I missed ~ well, I missed sharing it with you ~ was Princess Charlotte’s Birth Day!  Weren’t you thrilled they had a girl?  How perfect! And isn’t Kate’s dress adorable?  

Princess Charlotte William and Kate must wake up and pinch themselves every day!   Now Kate can shop for baby dresses!  Of course we non-royalty types celebrate in our own way, by drinking tea from our new Emma mugs!  Not a bad way to go!  Too cute! I hope everyone got one . . . Kellee announced their arrival on Facebook . . . I know they’ll sell out from Emma soon, if not already.  They always have a limited supply of these special event mugs which is the good news and the bad news!  

Another thing I missed with you was . . .

Mother's Day

So, Happy Mother’s Day to all of my soul-nurturing Girlfriends.  The world wouldn’t be fit to live in handwithout you!  You are kind of IT.   I just saw a wonderful movie that I think would make the perfect Mother’s Day gift for you.  It’s not new, it came out in 2011, so it’s available on Netflix and all kinds of places, even on YouTube. I know you’ll love it.  It’s called The Well Digger’s Daughter.  It’s French, you have to read subtitles, but it’s easy to get used to and the cinematography is heaven with lovely views of the French countryside. I loved the musica too.  And the dad in this movie is wonderful too.  Also, the clothes on his five daughters!  It’s set just as WWI is beginning.  So happy Belated Mother’s Day dearest ones!   


So where have I been?  What is my pitiful excuse?  You aren’t buying the Vanna excuse?  I didn’t think so.


envelopeI’ve been doing this .  I’ve been writing our book. I made you a promise to try to have it before Christmas do I decided to put my shoulder into it and make it actually happen. The Musica for today was a hint.  I’ve been playing it for inspiration and strength.   I think anyone who must march to a finish line would be helped by playing this music.



And this is where I am now.  Deep into my watercolors, making new art for our new book, which finally has a name.  You’ll be the first to know . . . ready?  I’m scared . . . OK, here we go . . . 


Here’s the first time I wrote it . . . trying it on for size . . . to be or not to be, that is was the question.



And I liked it! So here’s where I got serious.


And here’s where I started to mean business.

butterflies Book Cover Mock-up3

 And here’s where there’s no turning back.  Yesterday, Kellee posted THE FAIRY TALE GIRL in the web store for presale (everytime I type presale, my auto fix changes it to “resale” and now it’s Donotdisturbchanging autofix to “outfox.”  Stop helping me outfox!)

Anyway, this is the book I’ve been trying to write since about 2006 and would not have been happy in life if I didn’t. I had to, even though it’s a completely new thing for me and I had to practice by writing A FINE ROMANCE first.  Which was not only fun, but very helpful as far as learning is concerned.

THE FAIRY TALE GIRL began as just one book, but when I added the art and photos and recipes, it was too big, so I had to make it two books ~ The Fairy Tale Girl comes complete with a cliff hanger ~ so very soon we’ll also have the sequel called MARTHA’S VINEYARD, ISLE of DREAMS. And guess what else?  They are novels! Based on my diaries.

my diariesYikesI know, but it’s true.  And this isn’t even all of them!  So, of course I’m scared to death!  But counting on the fact that

fairytalesI’m plowing forward despite trepidation.  I think you will like it, it’s sort of like the blog only more and longer. For the next month, before it goes to print, I will be digging through old 

img066photographs like this one, laying out my pages in the book with them so you can see what I’m writing about ~ and painting the art so you can go on a little virtual journey with me back to the 1900s.  What do you think? A novel with pictures!

For those of you interested in preordering The Fairy Tale Girl, yours will be signed copies and shipped to you first before anyone else ~  as soon after August 15th as possible, on a first-come first-serve basis (because we really never know how many to print of these things). The actual “Publication Date,” when you should be able to find it in stores, is October. That’s so we have time to send books to reviewers.

magicAnd now, because I’ve been away so long, and because that was bad, I want to make it up to you by GIVING AWAY the first ten copies of A Fairy Tale Girl by Susan BranchTHE FAIRY TALE GIRL to ten of YOU!  So leave a comment and we’ll have a drawing, and wear poor Vanna out with all the work to choose ten winners!  It’s good for her!  They’ll ship out the moment they arrive.  And BTW, if my Blog is delivered your email address, you need to come here to in order to leave a comment ~ at the very bottom of this post, where you see a row of tiny words, look for “comment,” click there, and voila, leave a comment, and you’ll be entered.

thankyoufor your support ~ love you Girls.  Everyday I’ve thought the same thing as I’ve been writing, “What would the Girlfriends like me to tell them about?”  This time it’s a fairy tale, complete with a Prince Charming, a bite of poison apple, and lessons learned!  We all have a bit of that fairy tale in us, right? ~ but I’m not telling anymore! Until maybe next time.  Previews are only fair. 

Have a wonderful day! XOXO 


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