We may have something just for YOU!!

Happy Monday folks!!

Can you believe that Cards And Candles For All Occasions is SEVEN today?!

Seven years ago our business started as a dream, a hobby which we hoped would make us a little pocket money and now it’s a full time business!!

To celebrate we are offering a 17% discount on all orders between now and 9pm on Sunday 30th April 2017, all you have to do is quote “7for2017” when you message or buy through our website 🙂

This discount applies to all orders whether they are in stock items or personalised/custom orders, so what are you waiting for?

Visit us either on our website, Twitter or Facebook.

6 Towns Radio and Staffordshire SANDS

6towns logo

Thursday 17th October 2013 was an exciting day for the committee members of Staffordshire SANDS, as we were invited to the studio of 6 Towns radio, Stoke on Trent to be interviewed about the charity and explain what Staffordshire SANDS is within the community.

Josephine Ashton and Laura Jane Quick we happy to be interviewed on the 6 Towns Radio Parental Patter programme to explain why Staffordshire SANDS was set up, our involvement with University Hospital of North Staffordshire and how we can help bereaved families who have lost babies during pregnancy, birth or shortly after.

A few weeks ago Laura sent an email to Six Towns Radio, Burslem, Stoke on Trent asking if they would be able to help promote Staffordshire SANDS in any way and before receiving this communication they were unaware that our organisation existed. When Carol Lovatt contacted Laura to find out more about our charity, she explained that although she had never heard of Staffordshire SANDS she was very interested in finding out more about the charity, promoting our work and assisting in any way she can.

It was an honour for Laura and Josephine to be invited onto Carol’s radio show which runs every Thursday from 12:00noon until 2:00pm, the show is called Parental Patter and can be found on Facebook… the show is described as:

Parental Patter on 6 Towns Radio is a show specially for new mums, new dads, grandparents and individuals involved with caregiving to children from 0-18, featuring professionals offering advice on a wide variety of subjects, from breastfeeding, potty training to health, wellbeing, education and entertainment.

The show is guaranteed to help you with the daily joys and challenges of parenthood and is presented by Carol Lovatt.

sands logo

The interview began with Josephine and Laura explaining that Staffordshire SANDS was set up in July 2012 and although a part of the UK SANDS group, we are solely responsible for our own fundraising, advertising, raising awareness and working within our local community. That said we do have to adhere to the regulations and protocol of UK SANDS.

Staffordshire SANDS offers support to bereaved families who have lost their baby during pregnancy, childbirth or during those early days… we raise funds at various events to allow us to be able to provide the University Hospital of North Staffordshire with memory boxes which are given to bereaved parents, each box contains small items which can be kept by the parents or indeed laid to rest with their precious baby. Staffordshire SANDS are currently looking for experience knitters to get in touch to help with knitting small baby blankets to be included in these memory boxes.

We had a very relaxed and informal chat with Carol, explaining all about the work Staffordshire SANDS does within the community and the support we desperately need to reach a wider audience and get to the families who need our support. Staffordshire SANDS is not just for bereaved parents but for anyone who has been affected by baby loss… grandparents, siblings, members of the wider family network and close friends. We are here for anyone who may need our support.

Staffordshire SANDS is lucky enough to be the chosen Charity Of The Year of the Kidsgrove Mayor, Councillor Kyle Robinson and as such we have many events coming up in the Kidsgrove area, proceeds from each will be going directly to Staffordshire SANDS.

31st October 2013 – 8:00pm until 2:00am
Ghost Hunters Of Stoke On Trent are investigating Kidsgrove Town Hall
Tickets are priced at £25.00 and this is an over 18’s only event

1st November 2013 – 7:00pm until 11:00pm
Halloween Party at Kidsgrove Town Hall
Tickets are priced at £5 per adult, £3 per child or £14 per family

7th November 2013 starting at 7:15pm
Kidsgrove Community Choir presents an Evening of Seasonal Music
St Thomas’ Church, Kidsgrove
Tickets are £5.00 per adult and £3.00 per child

9th November 2013
1940’s Dance at Kidsgrove Town Hall
Tickets are £9.00 each

30th November 2013 – 10:00am until 4:00pm
Victorian Christmas Market, Kidsgrove Town Hall

31st December 2013 – 8:00pm – 1:00am
Kidsgrove Mayor’s New Year’s Eve Party
Tickets are £10.00 per adult, £6.00 per child under 11years

Staffordshire SANDS will also have our information and merchandise stall at the Huggies Day Nursery Christmas event on Friday 1st November 2013 alongside many other local businesses, this is taking place in the premises of Huggies Day Nursery, Bradwell.

If you have suffered the loss of a baby within your family and would like to speak to someone within the Staffordshire SANDS committee please contact us via the following methods:

Staffordshire SANDS on Facebook

Email us at staffordshire_sands@yahoo.com

Visit the Staffordshire SANDS website

A Learning Curve…

Some of you may remember that I joined Jan Jackman’s Stampin’ Up! ‘Stampers Six’ club last year… this meant spending lots of our hard earned cash on lots and lots of fab stamps and goodies.

I can hear you all now thinking that this is a good thing and wondering why I would be complaining about this? Well, the thing is that stamping and I have never really got along, I’ve never been able to stamp nice crisp lines or design a card which I was happy with so one of my big aims for 2011 is to get to grips with stamping and colouring my stamped images, then incorporating them into my cardmaking.

I’ve acquired a wide selection of rubber stamps, unmounted stamps and ink pads over the last few months so have been experimenting with different stamps in different colours, also trying different brands of ink pads to see which work best and also trying out the various designs which I have – a wide range of both images and sentiments. I think my favourite is my StazOn ink pad as it seems to dry the quickest and doesn’t seem to bleed the edges of the images.

I’ve spent the last few weeks experimenting with different card and paper for stamping on to as well… so far I seem to have found a decent stack of paper which doesn’t smudge, holds the image well and has a nice shimmery finish – the problem is that I can’t remember where I bought it from lol.

I seem to be getting somewhere, I’m actually quite happy with how my stamping is progressing at the moment… I’ve even sent a few of my stamped notecards to friends and have received some positive feedback, I’m not one to settle for that though – I want to add colour to my stamped images!!

I started thinking about what colouring mediums I had in my craft boxes and came across my Promarkers and Papermania Watercolour Pens and some successful crafting began… lots of trial and error with colouring, etc but I’m really happy with the results and have even listed a couple of my own stamped and coloured cards in our Folksy shop. I’d love to hear your feedback!!

This is the first one which I completed and I love the colours of it, together with the image which is just so innocent looking… just like a child who’s been caught licking the chocolate from the cooking bowl:

1

Next we have this really cute puppy dog, the colours and sentiment could be adjusted for pretty much any occasion, she just looks so sweet:

2

Here we have this gorgeous fairy-like image, suitable for any little girl (or big girl)… I love lilac colour schemes which is why I’ve chosen this backing paper:
3

My hubby has a rather ‘unhealthy’ addiction to cows (don’t ask lol) so when I saw this image I knew that I had to have it. I think the chocolate and pinky coloured background paper ties in well with the colours used in the stamped image:

4

And to this last one, I’ve also added a diecut and layered fox, to add to the garden theme:

get well soon fox

I’d love to hear your feedback, especially from seasoned stampers who may see areas where I can improve as I’m by no means an expert, I just like to experiment 🙂

In the Hobbycraft Christmas sale I bought lots of unmounted stamps – I think it was either seven or eight sets, now I need to buy an acrylic block to use them but there will be lots more stamped cards coming soon.

Thanks for reading.

Love Laura xxx

Review: Diddybears

In 2010 I met the lovely Diddybears on Twitter… it wasn’t long before I grew to admire these gorgeous creations and I knew that hubby would love them too.

In December I took delivery of the gorgeous Taylor Diddybear, a gorgeous little fellow who has been handcrafted with love and is sooo cute you just can’t help but fall in love with him!!

Taylor Diddybear

Taylor Diddybear is made from dark brown Shetland wool, with beige limbs, snout and ears. He likes pancakes and playing the drums.

All Diddybears are approximtely 6cm tall. They have movable head and limbs, but don’t like rough play – it gives them indigestion!

These beautiful bears are the perfect gift for any collector or teddy bear lover but due to their handcrafted nature they are unsuitable for children.

I would highly recommend Diddybears to anyone who is looking for a little something special… they are of excellent quality, very reasonably priced and the customer service is superb.

Taylor Diddybear has made a very welcome and beautiful addition to our teddy bear collection and I’m sure we will be returning customers in the future.

Lots of love and best wishes to all of the Diddybears for a fab 2011!!

Love Laura and Gordon xxx

Candle Safety

Did you know that candle fires account for almost 5% of all reported house fires in the UK?

Or that, over the last decade, fires started by burning candles have almost trebled?

In our modern lives we have become so used to central heating and electric light bulbs that most of us have forgotten how dangerous candles can be.

We use candles to create that warm cosy glow on a winter’s evening and Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without decorated candles on the dinner table.

Unfortunately we have forgotten the disasters that can also result from the use of a small naked flame!

Excessive heat can shatter a glass candleholder or container and make it more likely that anything flammable which might be nearby will catch fire so make always make sure that your candles are placed in suitable containers/holders before being lit.

In general, we would advise that candles should be treated with respect if they are to be enjoyed safely.

After all, if used sensibly they can produce a unique atmosphere and one which we all enjoy especially during the festive period.

The key is not to forget that you are dealing with naked flame, which even on this small scale, can lead to tragedy.

Top tips for safe use of candles:

  • Never leave candles unattended
  • Always place candle holders on a heat resistant surface
  • Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets
  • Do not touch or move until fully cooled
  • Trim candlewicks to 1/4 inch each time before burning.
  • Place candles on a level surface away from flammable materials, heat or draughts
  • Never allow the flame to come in contact with a glass container
  • If a candle overheats and flares, cover it with a damp cloth – never use water
  • Do not burn a candle for longer than the manufacturer recommends
  • Always place candles at least four inches apart from one another to be sure they don’t melt one another or create their own draughts that will cause the candles to burn improperly.

Remember, safety is the most important thing in any household… you may strive to create the perfect atmosphere but please also remember to be careful and look out for accidents before they happen.

candle glow

It Makes It All Worthwhile…

wishuponastar

Crafting started as a hobby for us, handcrafting unique ecosoy candles and personalised greetings cards and keepsake cards, although our love for these crafts soon grew so much that we struggled to find a use for all of our creations and as a result we decided to take the big step to turn our much loved hobbies into a full time business.

On 24th April 2010, Cards And Candles For All Occasions was born… lots of hard work, learning, good experiences and not so good ones along the way and here we are at the end of our first ‘calendar year’ after a very successful pre-Christmas events calendar.

Throughout our first eight months in business we have attended several craft fairs and events as well as setting up our own website, Folksy shop, Misi shop and also business page on the popular networking site of Facebook though there is still so much more for us to do. Online presence is extremely important for any business nowadays and every day brings another outlet, networking or directory site. There is always something to do.

This year has been in no way an easy journey for us, each week is filled with long hours of crafting, researching new ideas and techniques as well as marketing, promotion, packaging and sourcing suppliers. Not to mention meetings with potential stockists and business advisors, emails and phone calls to events organisers, stock taking and paperwork. Some weeks it has felt like an uphill struggle with not much achieved.

So why do we carry on? Customer feedback makes it all worthwhile. At the various events we attend we encourage our potential customers to give their opinions on our range of stock, tell us where they think we could improve and also be honest with us about the things they are not so keen on – all of this feedback really helps us to develop our business and our crafting ideas, after all we are making our products to sell and if people don’t like them then they won’t buy. Simple really.

When dealing with customers face to face it is far easier to see their reactions to their purchases, listen to their tone of voice as they are commenting and watch their body language – we have really learned a lot about “reading people” since we started out but dealing with customers online is much more difficult, all you have to go on is written text which isn’t always portrayed as it is intended.

Feedback from our customers is invaluable to us as it helps us to look at our product ranges to see what works and what doesn’t… it is particularly lovely to hear from customers who have purchased online, to hear their thoughts when their order arrived.

This evening we received this lovely message from a very valued customer:

“Yesterday I received a package from Cards And Candles For All Occasions, so delicately wrapped with love and professionalism – it almost seemed a shame to open the delightful packaging. When I opened the package and saw the cards and keepsake cards which I ordered for my loved ones this Christmas I was filled with overwhelming joy – such beautiful works of art, such attention to detail and care has gone into each piece.

I will definitely be recommending Cards And Candles For All Occasions for a long time to come – I received wonderful customer service, I was kept well informed throughout the order, handcrafting and postage processes and the quality of goods is superb, and all for such wonderfully competitive prices too. I cannot recommend this company enough and I shall definitely be a returning customer.

Kindest regards, many thanks and best wishes for a wonderful festive season and your continued success in the New Year.

Alexander Cuthbertson”

Feedback like this is what makes our business worthwhile, to know that our customers appreciate our work and love what we do really helps us through the ‘not so good’ days as we know that our customers can see the work we put into each item, the care and attention and they know that each item is unique.

We are truly thankful to each and every wonderful person who has shown us support, encouragement and custom since Cards And Candles For All Occasions began and we hope that we can continue to make you all proud of what we are achieving.

To see more of our wonderful customer feedback, please visit our website at http://landmcardsforalloccasions.webs.com and click on ‘guestbook’ or ‘testimonials’ – we would love to hear your feedback too 🙂

May we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and hope that the festive season is full of love and cheer for you which continues into the New Year, a year full of love, happiness and good health to each and everyone.

Love Laura and Gordon xxx

Last Event of 2010

Sunday 12th December 2010, saw the last event of the year for Cards And Candles For All Occasions… this was the Christmas Craft And Gift Fair at Moorville Hall Hotel, Stoke on Trent – organised by the lovely Mandy of Mum’s Knits & Bits.

This is a local event to us and Mandy is also a friend of ours (this is a new business venture for her and only her second craft fair, the first was also held at Moorville Hall Hotel in October this year) so we were eager to support this event and help build it up to be a regular event at this venue.

Sadly it seems that no matter how much hard work this organiser puts into organising craft and gift fairs at this venue, the public don’t seem to show much support. Prior to this event there was an extensive advertising campaign in the local press, radio and internet as well as the venue displaying posters to raise awareness of the event.

Sunday’s event had a variety of stallholders and wonderful gift ideas, including:

Cards And Candles For All Occasions
Mum’s Knits & Bits
Arbonne
Spellestial
German Cheesecake
Jewellery by Sue Hahn
Purple Moon Accessories
Gemini Cards
Wool spinning and knitted gifts
Glass painting by Patricia
Hobby related gift baskets
And much more…

The day also saw lots of Christmas music and cheer, a visit from Father Christmas and a raffle raising funds for the Children’s Ward at University of North Staffordshire Hospital.

Unfortunately there were very few visitors to this event and the people who did browse were mainly gym users who happened to be passing the hall which we were using.

This was a very disappointing event for both organiser and stallholders alike, very few sales were made and by the end of the day morale seemed quite low – for many stallholders this was the last event of 2010, the last opportunity to sell Christmas stock and like many, we were looking for a boost in sales to cover the Christmas holidays which sadly didn’t happen.

All of that said, Mandy did a great job of organising this event and we will definitely be attending future events organised by Mum’s Knits & Bits in the Stoke on Trent area. Thank you Mandy for all of your hard work!!

Now it’s time for our “major stock take and sort out” before Cards And Candles For All Occasions begin thinking of new ideas for the 2011 events circuit… here’s hoping that 2011 will be our year!!

Merry Christmas everyone… we hope you have a wonderful festive season and that the New Year is all you want it to be!!

Love Laura and Gordon xxx
Cards And Candles For All Occasions