Though there is a nip in the air there is still so much light and warmth to get out and about after school.
The magic of Autumn's free harvest!
Getting close to magesty!
The beauty of nature.
I love making the most of our time between leaving school and getting dinner on the table. The dark winter nights will be clamped about us in the blink of an eye, then it will be lit fires, cosy darkness and crafts at the kitchen table. But for now, we revel in the outdoors.
As I aim to be a stay at home artist as well as a stay at home mum, I have spent this entire morning working on my etsy shop.
It is actually a very time consuming process to create the picture, transfer it to the computer via camera or scanner whilst all the time fixating on the contrast, the resolution, the detail, the need for the loo and yet another cup of tea.
I now have a craving for scrambled eggs but just thought I'd post a little gallery of what I did this morning...
Taking photos outside provides the best results - a tip I would suggest is that you don't let the cat out when you lay out your wares for it will lie on them. Another tip would be to check the lawn before you kneel down to take the photo otherwise you may kneel on a slug.
I'm very into colouring in pages for both adults and children for I feel it has the very therapeutic effect of settling a busy mind.
This little fairy daydreamer is so intricate in her lacy wings that I think it would satisfy an avid adult who loves colouring in as a well as a child. Plus when it's complete it makes a beautiful stain glass or patchwork effect.
To earn my crust from my passion for illustration is literally the stuff of dreams for me. So out comes the pencil case at every opportunity and I'm doodling, drawing and colouring like a thing possessed.
Now both my children are at school all day I am simultaneously excited and terrified at the notion that I might actually finish something and, dare I say it, earn a living.
So far I have managed to finish some designs and make them into cards.
Cards are fabulous of course but I do love storytelling too and wanted to combine the two, and so along came the concertina story card.
Meet Humphrey, here he is in charge of cocktails at the Birthday party, a party with a difference. In Humphrey's world you get what you ask for for your birthday, whether that's a monster, tiger or dinosaur, the only real issue is, how to keep them in the box!
This is the inside and can keep tiddlers occupied with colouring if they fancy it, plus they can display their colouring efforts on the shelf like a little gallery.
This is the cover and more pages to colour in.
If you fancy reading Humphrey's birthday tale here it is...
There's also tigers, dinosaurs and fairies in my etsy shop (and some beautiful nudes too!):
Just a quick, funny sketch of how one mum can get it so wrong...
Marianne Misfit was determined to make the most of the last day of the Summer holidays. Her little girl Betsy was starting Year One and little Arthur was starting full time nursery so this would be her last chance to have them all to herself.
They spent hours at the park playing monsters, much to the annoyance of other, less tolerant folk...
Betsy was in her own mermaid world of wonder...
'Swing me as high as a dinosaur!' shouted Arthur, though he cried in terror whenever his swing moved. Betsy now saw the swing as a challenge to get as high as possible, maybe even over the top. Marianne felt sick watching her with thoughts of casualty visits looming in her mind.
Later, after a fabulous day of fun, Marianne sat down at her laptop and thought about the next day. Did she have both P.E. kits ready? Would she ever find Betsy's reading book which disappeared on the first day of the holidays and hadn't been seen since?
Opening up her facebook page she felt a mix of feelings. It would be the first time that she would have whole days available to her. The possibilities were endless and exciting but her heart twanged anxiously as she remembered the cosy afternoons together, the autumnal walks when the parks were less clogged with school children. She felt a sense of a new beginning along with a sense of loss.
She determined to be positive and make the most of this opportunity. It was a fresh start. She would finally have time to be the perfect housewife and mum. Visions of the children arriving home to freshly baked biscuits and milk, a spotless house and a creatively satisfied mum filled her mind.
There would be time to do homework and keep abreast of all school affairs without trying to hoover, cook dinner and entertain children all at the same time.
Feeling better she started to read her facebook page and immediately realised that she'd f**ked up again...
For more funny tales of Mrs Misfit getting it wrong, have a wee look at my short stories...
This little character of a mermaid building a sand castle popped onto the page whilst I watched my little ones swimming with daddy. Perhaps I am hoping beyond all hope that we will have nice sand castle weather soon!
The sun finally put his hat on and I took a cup of tea into the garden for the first time this year. In my mind there were visions of positioning the chair in a ray of sun and day dreaming with the cat on my lap.
Unfortunately, there was a problem with the garden chair - I couldn't find it, or the cat...
When the children asked to play in the garden I had to tell them that Sleeping Beauty's castle was in the knot of thorns and we had to wait for Prince Charming to wake her before we could get the paddling pool out. They nodded their understanding as though this were perfectly reasonable and went to play in their bedroom.
Marianne felt that every surface of her home was covered with the debris of family life. It would be nice to claim one patch of it as her own.
Her friend Lottie Loudmouth stated in her booming voice that animals wee on things to mark their territory. 'NOTHING WILL GO NEAR THE TERRIER'S FAVOURITE SPOT IN THE GARDEN, HE WEES ON IT DAILY THEN SUNBATHES UNDISTURBED!' She bellowed so hard that Marianne's hair ruffled in the breeze.
Though Lottie was a dear friend who always tried to help, Marianne felt that urinating on the furniture was not a good idea. So she bought herself a pillow.
It was a lovely pink pillow with owls on it. She thought, 'This will mark my own little bit of territory,' and sat on it to drink tea.
Unfortunately she was very wrong.
Grandad visited and propped his head upon the pillow to ease his scalp infection.
His befuddled head filled with profound thoughts while his teeth floated next to him.
Marianne gave the pillow a quick wash after he had trundled home to get rid of the flecks of skin and bloodstains where Grandad had scratched himself.
'This is the beauty of the pillow,' Marianne said to herself as she pegged it out to dry, 'it's transportable and washable. When it's dry I shall sit on it in the garden and read.'
Unfortunately Arthur pulled the pillow off the line and used it as a trampoline. It wasn't long before he discovered that violent pillow jumping so soon after consuming spaghetti hoops was not good for his tummy. He demonstrated this all over the pillow which found it's way to the washing machine again.
Betsy pulled the pillow off the line and used it as a ballast for her tent.
It got pen and grass stains on it.
That evening the pillow was finally dry enough to go back on the sofa after the children had gone to bed. Marianne plumped it up ready for her quiet time watching murder mysteries and went out to fix herself a gin and tonic.
Whilst she was gone Mr Misfit thought the pillow would make a good tray for his dinner. Unfortunately he became entranced by an ice truck stuck in a snow drift on the tv and had an accident with the tomato sauce. He chased the ketchup around until the owls looked like they had been involved in a drive by shooting.
The next day Marianne washed the pillow again and pegged it out to dry.
Marianne brought it in once it was dry and laid it on the sofa while she made coffee. In her absence the disdainful cat with a tail like a bog brush dragged it onto the floor and set up home on it.
It became the cat's favourite snoozing place.
So Mrs Misfit found a new place to rest and read...for the moment.
I have promised to make my daughter a blanket from all her old baby clothes for ages now. Too late I realised I am rubbish at sewing. I have sewn this blanket to my trousers, to our duvet and to itself. I skewered by thumb with the needle and had to put a plaster on it. I then sewed the plaster to the blanket. Thank goodness it's now finished before I sew myself up in a straight jacket!
To the external world I smile and speak positively about venturing to the local park with my tiddlets.
Internally I am not nearly so positive. One child explores the park in a gentle, methodical manner, enjoying each activity along the way. The other flies round in a whirlwind of heightened excitement. Barely has his bottom sat on a swing and he's wriggling off in a frenzied fever rushing for the slide.
It is at these times that I wish I had the eyes of a Chameleon. While I appreciate having two bulbous eyes swivelling in opposite directions may look disturbing on a human it would appease my anxieties about keeping an eye on both children at the same time.
I am more on the paranoid side of child safety and believe there is a potential pervert hiding in every bush so any crowded scene with my children running wild fills me with terror.
Then there is the dreaded moment where they want to have a go on the roundabout. Not once, I stress NOT ONCE have they played on a roundabout without suffering an injury of somesort. The roundabout is basically a wheel of death.
There is the treacherous moment of getting on the swirling, hypnotic wheel that seems to draw everything towards it like a black hole. Rarely does it come to a complete halt necessitating your child to do a 'grab and leap' action to secure a place. At the tender ages of 3 and 5 my two do not possess great levels of dexterity or co-ordination (neither do I at the grand age of 38 either!) and so there is this heart stopping moment where their dear little hands reach for a handle flying past and they take the leap of faith.
Most times they go in too aggressively and find themselves flying backwards after being rebuffed by the wheel of bad fortune.
If your tot manages to get on without winding themselves, they then spend a few agonising moments clinging to a bar battling with central fugal forces beyond their control. Watching little folk cling to this medieval machine of terror is rather like watching a rodeo, which child will fly off first? Yet they go back again and again like moths to a flame.
Perhaps the humble roundabout is a testimony to human nature - we just can't help doing things that are not that good for us!
I have decided to try a different roast for each Sunday for the following reasons:
1. Betsy and Arthur will eat anything that's covered in gravy.
2. We can dine out on leftovers for the rest of the week.
3. I can make huge batches of proper gravy and freeze them so that I can hide veg under it at any time (see point 1).
4. Socks and pants dry very well on the handle of the oven door or on the lid of the slow cooker.
So I plopped a lovely brisket joint over sliced potatoes in my oven, draped our freshly laundered underwear over the oven handle and left it for a couple of hours to go for a brisk family walk in the wintry lanes.
There are two published tales of the hilarity and woe Marianne suffers trying to be a fabulous woman, wife and mother and only succeeding in being a domestic misfit.
Funny Festivities: amzn.to/1OBSaGY
It is Autumn for Marianne Misfit. The weather is glorious and golden but there is the usual haphazard hilarity. Despite a farcical attempt at fancy dress, Marianne manages to survive the Halloween party from hell. The family trip to see the fireworks is a disaster ending in Marianne mud wrestling her daughter and her husband Andy trapped in a port-a-loo facing a three year old with a bad stomach. Christmas has lost its glow as Marianne is facing the problem of existing on a tight budget whilst trying to afford the usual presents and food. To make matters worse she has invited her snooty parents-in-law for Christmas dinner. Things get so bad that she almost calls the whole thing off claiming her children are infested with head lice. Her two friends Patsy and Lottie have different anxieties of their own, namely absent husbands and sore buttocks. Will Marianne salvage any Christmas presents from the goats? Will Lottie's blog continue whilst Colin's bottom is so sore? Will Patsy ever find out what her partner Jerry is getting up to in Thailand?
Funny Love: amzn.to/1Jw0Oqd
When Marianne Misfit visits her ever so perfect neighbour Patsy, she inadvertently opens a can of worms. Talking about ham stuck to her slipper somehow transforms into an embarrassing dissection of her her sex life with her husband.
With their lunatic assumptions, odd advice and utterly embarrassing behaviour, Marianne's friends encourage her to embark on a series of hilarious attempts to spice up her love life with disastrous results, trips to Marks and Spencer will never be the same again.
Will Marianne finally get to the bottom of what her husband really wants in the bedroom?
Is Patsy's life as perfect as it seems?
And will Lottie's geraniums ever recover from the horrors of her 'Happy Ending Harness'?
This is a romantic comedy of misfits trying to spice up their sex lives and offering friendship of the heartfelt but humiliating kind.
This tale of one woman's plight to spice up her marital relations will have you either laughing at her misadventures or relating to her misguided but very real insecurities.
I am never properly attired for the freezing weather. I seem to favour layering various clothes of inappropriate lengths and materials. When I see my little boy pootling along in his all-in-one weatherproof outfit suitable for mountain expeditions in the North Pole I wonder whether I could wear a grown up one out and about and still maintain my dignity!