Lilacs in dooryards, holding quiet conversations with an early moon. Amy Lowell

It’s Lilac time again on Martha’s Vineyard. And the wisteria on the arbor over my kitchen door has a bumper crop of long grape-like flower clusters dripping from the branches; fragrant purple haze wafts (don’t you love that word?) in through my upstairs windows and circles the bed at night. The whole island seems primed and ready to make full use of these first sun-kissed days. Golden light reflects off of picket fences and church spires; you see Spring in the grins of the dogs out for walks; Spring in the faces of the guys in their work-trucks with the windows rolled down; Spring in the outdoor cafes and the bicyclists on Main Street. Every few days the sky turns black and delivers a drenching rain which nobody begrudges.

It's Spring again, and birds on the wing again, start to sing again, Love's sweet melody...

Two of my best girlfriends live nearby (next door, and across the street) . . . in muddy boots we wander back and forth to each other’s gardens to see what’s new. You’d be amazed at how long we can stare at a 3 inch juicy piece of perennial just poking through the freshly thawed earth, hashing it over.

Dogwood trees are in bloom, and the pink and white blossoms on the apple trees are, as I read somewhere, “like a shout of joy.” They fairly holler “whoopee!” (just like the rest of us!)

So what’s new? Well, first off, I heard your requests for more train information, so in “TRAIN TRAVEL 101” I’ve given you all the information you need to be a professional Amtrak cross-country-train-trip aficionado. Bon voyage!

Spontaneity is a wonderful thing, so it's good to plan for it!

Also, a few other things. We just found a boatload of my old STICKERS (which are no longer in stores) — they are the very last we will have of these stickers unless we find someone new to produce for us. So if you want them, this is it, when they’re gone, they’re gone. There’s no crying in baseball.

The same thing with the LENOX TEA THINGS. . . we have only so many left, when they’re gone, that will be it.

A new line of fabric was just introduced at Spring Quilt Market this month, called In Love with Nature. And guess what? I designed us some letter fabric! Oh yeah. Here’s a photo of a quilt I designed, using my new In Love with Nature fabric and this new Letter Fabric, so now you will be able to make “Story Quilts:”

You see how this works? The letters are cut out of the fabric and appliqued all the way aroun the quilt (and say 'Great wide wonderful world, With the wonderful water round you curled, And the wonderful grass upon your breast, O world you are beautifully dressed.').

This is just pasted-up paper, but the entire quilt pattern will be available in September, when the In Love With Nature fabric goes into the stores. You will be able to make things, pillows, potholders, dish towels, dresses, whatever, and write a story, your favorite song, the date of your wedding and who came, a favorite quote, all about the night your baby was born, anything you want. Isn’t that fun?

Fun is Good.

And, FYI, “TEA PARTY,” my newest collection from RJR, is in your local quilt stores now.

If any of you who’ve made things from my fabric, would like to show them off, please send us PHOTOS of your creations. We think it would be fun to put them up on our web site for all the world to see. Of course we’ll include your name on the projects — we love to celebrate creativity, there’s so much of it out there!

Creativity is really the structuring of magin. Anne Kent Rush

We heard back from Checks in the Mail, so hopefully we will be able to have checks for you again soon. Thanks to you and all your good begging letters, huge help!!! A perfect example of power to the people!

New stuff in the WEB STORE, fun things. And something really brand new coming I hope you will like. Before I started writing books, I painted paintings. Only for a few years, and I don’t have many left, just a few here and there. I have some, my parents have some, my brothers and sisters and friends. Here’s one in my dining room here on the island:

I painted this in 1979 — one of my very first paintings. I’ve been asked many times if I had original art to sell, which I really don’t — just these few originals that I want to keep. I just found someone to make gorgeous fine art giclees from these original watercolor paintings. The paper they’re printed on is beautiful, heavy, textured, 100% cotton, and I really do not think anyone could tell the difference between the original and the giclee print. That’s how good they are.

We’re opening up a new place on our web site for just these fine art prints. They’ll be sold unframed, so you can match your own decorating style — I put several of my paintings in thin gold frames and love that look too. The giclees will be signed and numbered, limited editions. There will be artists proofs, though I can’t say how many yet. That’s all I know so far, but we are aiming to get the first 3 paintings up by next month. So check back. I even have that very first geranium I painted, so this is going to be fun.

OK, it’s time for me to take Joe his tea, gather him up, get him going so we can head out on our walk! There’s a tree, at the bend in the dirt road, about half way out to the pond, where there’s a mother squirrel and 4 babies. They play within 3 feet of where we walk by, and aren’t afraid of us. The babies are adorable, fat, practically edible. So we need to see what they’re up to this morning.

The animals talk in reasonable tones that children understand. Maxine Kumin

Have a wonderful day!

With love from the Heart of the Home and me... Susan Branch. There is no doubt that raining away on a fresh blue morning can be exhilarating. Jean Rhys

Write EK SUCCESS if you would like to see them produce Susan Branch stickers and scrapbooks.