Author Archives: susanrose56

Rambling Rose

Last summer I embarked on a rather aggressive project; making a queen-sized quilt for the Murphy Bed in our new Rockwood Trailer. Since we christened her  “Rambling Rose”  it seemed appropriate to design a quilt covered in a garden of, well, rambling roses. My first step was to find the perfect embroidery pattern. After much back and forth, I found just what I was looking for on It is named Pearl Roses Quilt and consists of ten different patterns of beautifully designed pink roses connected by a swirling pattern of ‘pearls’ and green leaves.

These designs stitched up beautifully on my Brother PE-770 embroidery machine. I selected nine of the ten patterns and embroidered each of these nine designs a total of eleven times (yes that is 99 embroidered blocks!)  That is a lot of rat-a-tat tatting, 90 hours to be more precise! In the end the result was well worth the multiple spools of thread and stabilizer I went through. After squaring off the blocks which ended up being 7-1/2″ squares, they were assembled 9 across and 11 down, forming a quilt top of 63″ x 77″, perfect to cover the bed. After stitching the blocks together I added a 12″ solid border around three sides which will enable me to ‘box’ the corners. This is important in a Murphy Bed as it helps to hold it in place when the bed is placed in its stored position.

The toughest part was quilting such a large quilt on my sewing machine. After sandwiching the batting and flannel backing to the quilt top, I had to crawl all over it stretching and aligning, then pinning it together. My left knee complained for a day afterward! Then came the actual quilting, another test of my patience and engineering skills. I own a Husqavarna Sapphire 930 which has a wider sewing arm than my old machine but still, it was a chore moving such a bulky quilt through it. My ‘stitch in the ditch’ is not the straightest and my diamond quilting on the border leaves a lot to be desired…but knowing I did it myself is worth every crooked line and off-kilter diamond!!

The next step is to make and sew the binding. This will be made of the same material as the because I think it will look nice and two, my mistakes will not be as noticeable. 😉 

I need to find a way to remove the chalk marks from the quilt. I hoped these would help me to sew straight quilting lines (LOL). I’ll worry about that once it is finished…maybe by then time and handling will have worn them out of sight. One can only hope.

Along the way I questioned why I put so much work into something no one may see except my husband and I (and anyone who uses the trailer overnight). Then I thought, “”Hey, why shouldn’t I give myself as much time, creativity and energy as I give to others; I’m worth it!” And that settled the argument with self.

Mt Auburn Cemetery

Last weekend, with my friends Peggie and Donna, I took a trip to the Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA.  The reason for our adventure, on this drizzly Saturday morning, was for ‘inspiration’; to find something that would spark our creative juices and which we could incorporate into our many loves which, between the three of us include photography, sewing, poetry, graphic design, quilting, etc. Once we’ve found our inspiration, we were, in the words of our leader for the day, Peggie, to post it in our blog within the week.

I love to sew, to embroider and to quilt. I’ve been sewing and doing cross-stitch embroidery for years, I’ve recently gotten into machine embroidery which is such a powerful creative avenue, it is mind-boggling.  I’ve found that I can incorporate machine embroidery with quilting for some rather nice results. However I don’t want to lose sight of the art of piece quilting. For this reason, I made looking for design inspiration for a piece-quilted wall hanging my mission.

While walking through the cemetery I endeavored to look for unique images from which a quilt could be made. But I have to temper my enthusiasm. There are ‘landscape’ quilts which are actually like paintings…but from fabric. Some are quite stunning. I am not that ambition…yet. I’m still very new to the art of quilting.

What I did find, however, was a circular, kind of mandala design on the end of one of the larger headstones. It caught my eye. It was the uniqueness I was searching for. I think I can transpose that design onto a template, choose appropriate fabric and put together a very nice wall hanging.

My intention was to add that photo to this blog post. However my computer has decided that, after nine years of serving me faithfully, to not read my SD card.  I will need to upload the photo to another computer and email it back to myself.

Once I have it, I will upload in a subsequent blog…hopefully with my template and fabric choices.


Heavy sigh…

Here it is almost a year since I said I was back…and I’ve done nothing on this site. I need to get my act together…seriously. I look at all the fun things I did here and can’t believe I’ve let them gather so much dust. Time to get crackin’!!

Reminders are going into the phone…

I’m Back!!

I’ve recovered my SusanROBrien website! I had some technical issues but have finally been able to correct them. Look forward to more posts going forward as well as expanded sections for other works. It’s been a very long time since I’ve had to maintain a website so you may see a slow start…but every project begins with one little step.

Tri Club Competition 2014

The South Shore Camera Club which I belong to is participating in a Tri Club competition with two other clubs; the Boston Camera Club and the Newton Camera Club. This is the second year of this very competitive image face-off between the three clubs.

As I did last year, I entered an image into each of the twelve categories and, lucky me, one of my images made it into the finals! This image is not the one I thought might get in…but I’m really happy that it did! The twelve categories were Macro (which I won in with my close-up of this cat I saw in Napa Valley) Panorama (of the Cape Cod Canal), In The Kitchen (decorating cookies), 50 Feet from the House (the commuter train), Mechanical (roller coaster in Hershey Park), Night Photo (ice sculpture unicorn), Nature (tiny lily flowers), Holiday/Celebration (ice bath in Quebec),Street Photography (street musician in San Francisco), iPhone (Bourne Bridge at sunrise), Reflection (Railroad bridge after a rain), and Vacation (snowstorm in old Quebec City).

The final competition is on April 16th at EP Levine in Waltham. Here, the 3 images in each category, one from each club, will be put together in a head to head competition. Three judges will award each image points from 1 to 10…and the image with the most points is the winner. Then the points from each category are totaled up and the club with the most points is declared the winner…and gets to bring home the trophy!!

Wish me luck on my image “Cat’s Eyes” as well as our club overall. It should be great fun!


These are quick screen shots of the other images I submitted into the preliminaries at my club…the roller coaster, the snow scene and the reflection of the railroad bridge all made it into the 3rd round…but were dropped after that. I’ll accept that as a personal win!!










Juried Exhibit Image Accepted!

I’m very happy to write that one of the images I entered into a juried exhibit in Plymouth, MA was accepted! There were about 1100 entries and only 203 were accepted into the show. This is the same image I entered into last year’s TriClub competition…and which was selected as a finalist.

The image, titled “Ascension”. is a black and white taken back in October of 2012 in a hotel lobby in Newport, RI. The image printed on metallic paper and I think it really brought out the glimmer; it almost looks like it is lit up!!

There is an opening reception on March 30, 2014. It will be interesting to hear what other visitors to the exhibit have to say about it.Image

Shutterbox 2013 and Old Quebec City

My progress on Shutterbox 2013 is very slow. I think I still have about a week’s worth of work before I can get it sent over to Blurb and printed…I was hoping to be done by now as I have a few other projects I’d like to get moving on.

I just returned from a weekend trip to Old Quebec City. Old Quebec City looks like it stood still in time; a few streets snatched from Dicken’s Village…and to add to the atmosphere; there was snow…and quite a bit of it! It was the last weekend of the Winter Carnival and there was a party atmosphere everywhere you went. We suffered the cold, braved the elements and watched a great ending Parade in front of Parliament. Hopefully some of the photos I took are okay. I still take far too many photos… this is a habit I’ll have to work harder to break. Like many of the photos from previous trips, most will be relegated to a storage device, never seeing the light of day!


I also have to print a couple of my images for a juried show down in Plymouth. I”ll place two into the running…and hope one is taken. This is a very popular show and I’ve not had much luck being accepted…but all I can do is keep trying!

The site is coming along…but, again, lots of work left to do…especially with the photography portion. It will get there in time…sometimes it is all about the journey and not the destination.

Until next time.

Do You Need A Break? From What?

Today’s topic: Think about what you need a break from…and why? The answer to this question will probably involve your 9-5 day job.

If you answered that you needed a break from work, what does that mean? That you don’t like to get up in the morning and drive to your office? That you can’t stand the politics of the workplace? Does it mean you want to work for yourself? Most likely…but think about that for a minute. If you work for yourself you must be self-motivated, self-directed and doing something that is in demand. You can’t ‘sleep in’ because your living depends on you doing whatever it is you do…and that can’t wait until 10 or 11 in the morning. You may need to drive somewhere. Sure, it will be at your pace and on your schedule…but you still need to get dressed and leave the house. As far as politics, you will find that everywhere. Your story may be better than the editor’s niece…but guess who has the edge when push comes to shove? Your photographs may be as great as Ansel Adams but if you don’t knock on doors and humble yourself, they will remain framed in your storage closet. Working for yourself is hard work and that is why the majority of us will have corporate ties until we retire…because it is not easy working for yourself. I don’t know if I’d have the confidence in myself or my talent to completely walk away from a steady, corporate job…even if my endeavors paid off. Why? Because there are those days when the only thing getting me out of bed is obligations at work; because I have a meeting to run, or a worksheet is due. If I didn’t have this obligation, I would have just said the heck with it…and hid under the covers.  I’d tell myself I could catch up later…why not? I’m the only one I’m accountable for. But when you depend on your talent, your aggressiveness, your competitiveness, your connections to make ends meet, you better be motivated enough to throw off the covers and attack the world…because there will always be someone nipping at your heels to get their article published or their exhibit in a show.

Site Update…and more

I’ve finally added my Blurb books to the website. The link is in the header menu at the top of the web page. Clicking on each of the images will bring you directly to that book in my store on Blurb. Although I haven’t published a book in a while I feel another ’30 Poems in 30 Days’ is on the horizon. I know that once I begin writing, I’ll keep at it and complete it. I need a challenge and that was a good one.It’s easy to do one thing for 30 days…knowing it is only for 30 days!


There are a lot of 30 day projects you can do. One of my friends tossed out 2 things a day for 30 days and is feeling less cluttered, another took a mile walk a day for 30 days. No, it’s not a marathon but it was a great accomplishment for someone who did not normally exercise. Take a picture a day for 30 days, write 50 words a day for 30 days, drink 8 glasses of water a day for 30 days, give up bread for 30 days, say good morning to the grumpy person in your office for 30 days! It’s fun, it’s free and you never know how beneficial it is until you do it.

I feel like I’ve gotten my spark back and will be moving on some creative projects. It’s time to quit beating myself up for procrastination and I need to quit being afraid I’m not good enough. I won’t know if I can make it as a writer, poet or photographer until I get out there and start doing something with my work.

Get Moving!!


Yesterday I posted about how the new year is three weeks old and I’ve done nothing toward any of the many goals I carry in my head. Then I read a post by one of my JOS friends ( and understood. I was making excuses; pure and simple. Well, it’s time to stop making excuses and get moving. I have the time, I just need to manage it better; I have the motivation, I just need to quit procrastinating; I have the talent, I just need to put it out there. Today, January 19, 2014, is the beginning of my new year. Time to get moving!!!