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It's all very well declaring to the internet that I'm giving up work to live like Tom and Barbara, but you have no idea what my life is like or what that means, so, a more complete intro:

I have two beasts, one six (big beast) and one four (small beast), oh and the one I married who is thirty seven (Mr.Steel&Stitch).  I have a mortgage (rather a lot - smallish house, very small garden), two cars, a cat with no tail and I've had a very sensible job in local government since 2006.  There was a fabulous two year break where I set up a business for the maverick Alastair Hendy (food writer and photographer), but probably more of that later.

Yes, Mr.Steel&Stitch does have a sensible job too, and no, I couldn't have left work if he didn't have that, but I still have to find a sizable amount a month to cover all the bills, so I'm by no means a kept woman.  He just has a lot of faith in me (sweet Mary...)

Finally, I have been working on a way to make crafting pay for nearly 10 years, and have now had my second crochet book commissioned by CICO publishers, so I have learned the hard way, and I really do feel like I know my shizzle.  I have also worked really, really, really hard to get to this point, so if you're wanting to go this route too, don't be under any illusion that you'll suddenly become HRH Kirstie Allsop overnight, it's taken bleeding fingers and RSI to get here.

More of that later, for now it's all about frugal, and this weekend we managed to spend no money at all going out bird spotting for the RSPB's Big Garden Bird Watch.  They sent a booklet in the post with pics and tick boxes and the beasts where unbelievably excited about it.  We met with pals, had an amazing muddy time and lost count at 5 crows and a wood pigeon.

I also consolidated my assets - aka went through the yarn stash to see what I actually have to make the final pieces for Book.  Turns out I had plenty to work with and had no need for the emergency HobbyCraft trip I'd anticipated, so all in all a good start.  Of course I still have 2 and a half pay checks to come, let's see how I'm feeling 3 months time.

Dear Blogsphere, craft fans and the internet,

Firstly I must apologise for the absence; there was Christmas, New Year, Book 1 about to go into print, Book 2 well under way, regular job, looking after the beasts, cooking, cleaning (ok, maybe not so much of the cleaning), trying to be healthy and happy and the usual collection of family dramas, non-family dramas, tears and the Hunger Games trilogy to get through.

And I decided it was all too much.  There has to be a better way.

So I've handed in my notice, and from mid-feb I'm going to see if there IS a better way.  A way to make crochet, craft and creativity pay enough, backed up by growing as much of our food as possible as well as making,  mending, upcycling and creating a home-made home that doesn't compromise on style.

I know lots of you have been thinking about this too, it's not just me that's fed up with never seeing the children, commuting horrid hours, eating rubbish because it's quick and easy, being shattered when the weekend comes, so I invite you all to embark on this journey with me. From the comfort of your computer you can watch and see how it all unfolds.  I'll post as much of the crafty stuff as I'm allowed to share with you (without breaching any sort of contract with The Publisher), give you advice on how you too can make money from crafting, post whatever tutorials might be useful, money-saving and fun, as well as all the stuff that we'll learn about living in a  way that gives us more time together, is healthier, way more sustainable and hopefully much, much more fulfilling.  (I tell you, it better chuffing had be, I've given up a terribly sensible job for this...)

p.s. this is me, hi.