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 www. 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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  1. Looking forward to adding this book to my collection!

  2. Barbara Page says:

    I am so thrilled to hear THE FAIRYTALE GIRL is coming soon! I read A FINE ROMANCE three times, and it inspired my own sailing to England on the elegant QM2 and meandering through little English villages. Thank you Susan for inspiring me always!

  3. Linda Lepage says:

    Dearest Susan!
    I just LOVE reading this blog every week! I read them several times! I also LOVE Martha’s Vinyard! I was there once, with my hubby as part of our honeymoon, many years ago…. I so want to go back! It would be just lovely to have tea with you! I’m planning to get your newest book for my mom for her birthday! And I hope I win a copy for myself!
    Hugs!! (((((())))))

  4. Teresa Harral says:

    Looking forward to The Fairytale Girl! Love LOVE your blogs!

  5. Linda C. says:

    Hi Susan! Love your blogs…love all that you create! I find it amazing you and so many of us have so much in common with the things we enjoy… bring us all together with your art, love of nature, cooking, travels and appreciation of the wonders of everyday life!! You do it all beautifully!! Looking forward to your new book!!! Thank you!

  6. Ginger says:

    I look forward to your new book. I loved A Fine Romance and purchased copies for my daughter and a couple of dear friends. I love a good book! I am so excited!

  7. Beverly says:

    Your new book sounds like a wonderful adventure! I look forward to reading it and looking at all the wonderful pictures!

  8. Kay Crocker says:

    Good Afternoon from the Central Coast. I love the slice of life your blogs bring. The children’s parade is precious. Thanks for sharing. Kay

  9. Jean says:

    I so loved A Fine Romance. I expect this one to be just as good, if not better!!!

  10. Lisa Nicholson says:

    Can’t wait to see your new book. Love that Spring is finally here!

  11. Chris Zolenski says:

    Love the lilacs Susan

  12. Susan says:

    Oh, Susan, my anticipation for “The Fairy Tale Girl” is at an all-time high! My heart-felt thanks to you, for writing us another book to savor and enjoy~

  13. JoAnn says:

    I love your photos, and love your blog!

  14. Mich Lueken says:

    Your blog absolutely makes my day, as do your wonderful books ! Your books, blog and website are not just something to read but are a beautiful way of life. Thank you so much for that Susan. I would LOVE to have a copy of your new book.

  15. Alysia A. says:

    Looks like a delightful book–we all need to escape now and then and remember the happy expectation we felt when we read fairytales as children!

  16. Lisa Vi from Flower Mound, Tx says:

    I’ve been out of touch for awhile but so excited to hear about the new book and would love to win it! Thanks!

  17. Jillian says:

    I am so happy I found your website! I first found your beautiful artwork and inspiring quotes when I was in college. I came across little square boxes in a little store that we’re filled with individual cards that each had a reprint of one of your pieces of artwork accompanied by a message. I handed them out to everyone I knew. Some anonymously and some personally but everyone that I saw that received them had a smile on their face. Thank you so much for your wonderful work! I will eagerly be looking for your new book!

  18. laura says:

    Oh Susan, how I’ve missed you! Almost a year ago I was stricken with crazy vertigo which left me unable to drive, work or even read! Until recently, I was unable to leave my house. It’s been a frustrating journey, but I am finally coming back to the world just in time for my daughters wedding on June 20th! Thank God for small miracles! The only salvation I had was the nature outside my window…and my camera. I had a praying mantis that I named Mickey, and he was my subject for 6 weeks. My girls were worried what would happen if he left me, as they saw how I would find him on the same plant every day and talk to him like a friend! Haha…ie: ‘Mom has lost her marbles’! He left me on my birthday (august 14th 😉 ). You might like my photos on Instagram, user name ‘yogalohaeast’. Although I was living a bit of a nightmare…I prefered to think of it as a fairytale. So now…I will read, and read, and read your blog that brings me such joy! Thank you from the bottom of my exhausted little heart! laura

  19. Karen Mraz says:

    I can’t wait to read your new book. I loved A Fine Romance!

  20. Carla Erlandson says:

    Susan, Your blog makes my days brighter – so thank you.
    I wanted to share my very own Fairy Tale with you. John and I grew up on the same street many years ago. We were both animal lovers and I had a crush on him… When he was in 9th grade and I was in 7th, I asked him to dance at a junior high dance. We danced 1 slow song… And then a year or so later, he disappeared… his family moved and that was that… but I always remembered his birthday and every year on February 12th, wondered where he was and what he was like. Fast forward about 35 years and I get a “friend request” on Facebook – from John. We started talking, then met and now, almost 4 years later, are planning our wedding in October. When we were first talking, a friend gave me a card that said, “Once in a while, in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairytale.” I had never married and indeed, this is my fairytale.
    I am such a fan of yours… I love your attitude about things (I work in a psychiatric hospital which can be a very dark place). When I saw the name of your new book, I was thrilled! Fairytales are the best.
    Thank You! Carla

    • sbranch says:

      What a dream! Love it Carla! And thank you for the important work you do … it must be very difficult at times.

  21. Carol Zwart says:

    Looking forward to the new book !!

  22. Kenna Morris says:

    Dear Susan:

    Just got back from Arroyo Grande, took my dog down into the creek for a splash under the swinging bridge:)

    Your blog is my “coping mechanism” for working in prison. As you may expect, it is rather dungeon-like, we are there on 10 hr shifts, so at break time I go to your blog for my daily dose of “sunshine happiness.” The colorful photos of your garden, studio and especially merry meowy faces of Girl Kitty & Jack, always make me smile.

    I am restored and inspired to create as much beauty and humor as possible on my time off. Currently I’m working on a fractured fairytale: the troll’s point of view from Billy Goat’s Gruff, and cutting out a plywood mermaid to decorate, fun! Art is like oxygen, no?

    Please enter me in your drawing for the “Fairy Tale Girl.” I can tell it’s another masterpiece that will inspire me further.

    Thanks again for taking the time to bring uplifting thoughts to sooooo many of us. The artwork is delicate and magical; something we all need.

    We will be in Oak Bluff’s this September to soak up the beauty of MV. You should get a kickback from the Bureau of Tourism or at least free cat food for eternity, for luring so many of us to MV:)


    • sbranch says:

      I am so happy to have you here . . . it must be very difficult work, and maybe not enough kudos or appreciation, but I, for one, thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing it. xoxo

  23. Deb Harmon says:

    Ah, Susan, how I have missed you! You bring such sunshine into my life!! Can’t wait to read your new book again and again!!
    Thanks so much!
    Deb Harmon

  24. Carol Jones says:

    I was getting very concerned about you! I am so relieved that your absence was for a wonderful reason. I love your words, your art, your calm spirit. I am so looking forward to the new book. I took A Fine Romance with me to the hospital when I had major back surgery in February. It’s so nice to have you back. Congratulations on achieving a major milestone.

  25. Susan, you always have a way of making me feel that what you paint about and say on your blog can come true. So your book must be the same.
    It has been a long time until my health permitted me to be able to stop and read what has been going on here.
    Luckily for me you have been hard at work and so it has not been hard to catch up. I don’t know if Vanna has chosen the winners yet or not, but I had to leave you a note of thanks.
    In the last two weeks I’ve lost a grandmother to Parkinson’s disease, been broken hearted for my Grandfather who lay next to her as she peacefully passed away on Father’s day.
    After taking care of her mother until 103 and her mother in law until 97, mercifully she went before she forgot us and many of the other horrible symptoms of Parkinsons.
    I miss her. I see her in your art work. She was an amazing cook, loved to do laundry and clean. And my Grandpa scrimped and saved so that she was able to be home and not in a hospital or nursing home.
    He did his part. He just wishes she would have taken him with her. : (
    True Love. On my blog is a beautiful picture of her and him in their bed a couple days before she passed.
    He was like a puppy dog and never left her side. Neither did she.


    • sbranch says:

      Oh my gosh Amanda, that is so sad for you and your grandfather, makes me cry. True Love. is SO wonderful. Thank you for sharing. I am very touched. Sending love.

  26. Vivian Borgstrom says:

    I just love everything you do ! However, your pictures and description of Martha’s Vineyard almost make me want to move….and I’m a California person !
    Thank you so, so much for being you and “giving” of your wonderful talents to us. I have been a fan for many years and pre-ordered my new book immediately !
    Thank you , thank you again for many hours of pleasure that you give to me. I wish I could give you something in return! Much love and many hugs….Vivian

    • sbranch says:

      You do by coming here and saying such nice things — you’ll never know — it’s really like a dream come true to be able to connect with everyone in this wonderful way. Thank you Vivian!

  27. Addie says:

    You are such an inspiration! I got the courage to move by myself to Oregon, a place I’ve been wanting to live for awhile – because of your book, Martha’s Vineyard.
    Thank you for being so amazing!

    • sbranch says:

      How wonderful Addie, I hope you’ll be happy there, following your heart, making your dreams come true. xoxo

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