A New Year, A New Plan… Moving Our Business Forward

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We are back!!!

Happy New Year, I Hope you all had a wonderful festive period with your loved ones and are having a great start to 2017.

Today we re-open Cards And Candles For All Occasions after our extended, one month, Christmas break and along with those closest to me we have decided that I need to make some changes to the way I run the business.

As much as I love the handcrafted work I do and dealing with so many amazing people, both customers and suppliers, over the past few months I have been forced to stop and look at my own health too. Since launching Cards And Candles For All Occasions in April 2010, I have been working full time hours every day of every week, some times working straight through the night to meet customer deadlines or get things all done and the realisation has now come to me that I cannot continue in this way.

At thirty six years old, I have been suffering with Fibromyalgia, Depression and Anxiety for a number of years and especially over the past eighteen months my health has been deteriorating, there are days where I feel unable to function but I sit at my desk doing the best that I can to fulfill all of my commitments to our business and customers.

The end part of 2016 was particularly difficult for me as my health was not in a good place due to the hours I was working, I was taking on more orders than I could handle as I did not want to disappoint anyone and in turn this was adding to the need for working excessive hours and stress levels were rising. It was getting to the stage whereby I could barely function effectively as I was so exhausted, in huge amounts of pain and I constantly felt stressed. Something needed to change.

I took the decision to have an extended break over the Christmas period to give myself some time to recharge (I slept most of Christmas, only really waking up for my pain medication), re-evaluate the future of Cards And Candles For All Occasions and plan the best way to move forward with my business. The thought of closing the business was considered and discussed, but this is the last thing I want to do. I know what I want to do, I just have to put those plans into action.

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Over the last couple of weeks we have made a lot of decisions about the future of Cards And Candles For All Occasions and how we plan to move the business forward… in order for me to be able to continue with the handcrafted business which I love, the biggest change I have to make is to reduce the hours in my working week.

Until now I have pretty much been working seven days a week, every hour possible and it is having a detrimental effect on my health – the increasing pain, the insomnia and exhaustion, the mental effects of Fibromyalgia, they all contribute to making me miserable and the thing I have found hardest of all is accepting that I cannot keep up with the lifestyle and working life I held before Fibromyalgia took over.

I never thought I would end up in a wheelchair with a chronic illness at just thirty five years old!! But here I am, this is the life I have and now I have to move forward with a plan to make the most of what I have, make things so that they are manageable and in the bigger picture remember to look after myself too.

I need to find a suitable “Work + Life = Balance” otherwise, as a friend stated this morning:

You need to stick to the plan sweetheart or you will be permanently closed. Invest in you xx

The last thing that I want to do is to be forced by my health to close my business, but I can totally agree with the above comment as the way I was going before Christmas I was heading for a serious burn out and I cannot afford either physically, mentally or financially to risk this in the long-term.

Today is a big day for Cards And Candles For All Occasions as not only are we re-opening for 2017, but today is also the day we are implementing the changes which have been decided upon which will allow me to continue to work with you, our wonderful customers, on the unique, handcrafted and personalised products we all love.

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As I have said above, the biggest change we are making to Cards And Candles For All Occasions is our business working hours, with immediate effect our working hours are as follows:

Monday – open from 11:00am until 5:00pm

Tuesday – open from 12:00noon until 6:00pm

Wednesday – CLOSED

Thursday – open from 11:00am until 5:00pm

Friday – open from 11:00am until 5:00pm

Saturday – CLOSED

Sunday CLOSED

We hope that you will understand our reasons for reducing our working hours and in time, once we adjust to our new schedule we are hoping that it will make us more efficient in dealing with your enquiries and processing/handcrafting your orders. My hope is that by reducing my working hours it will help to improve my mental and physical health allowing me to be more productive when I am working, therefore if all goes to plan there should be minimal disruption to our customers.

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The second change that we are making to Cards And Candles For All Occasions to help in moving forward more efficiently is lead times for our orders, with immediate effect we have listed below the minimum amount of notice we will require for each product we sell to allow us to source materials, design and handcraft your product ready for dispatch:

Standard Greeting Cards
Minimum 10 days notice

Keepsake Cards (eg. Bookatrix, Easel Drawer, Handbag)
Minimum 14 days notice

Exploding Box Keepsake
Minimum 21 days notice

Ecosoy Candles
Minimum 14 days notice

Wooden Gifts (eg. Themed Frames, Plaques, Candle Holders)
Minimum 21 days

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support and look forward to working with you throughout 2017 and beyond.

xxx Love Laura xxx

Cards And Candles For All Occasions website

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Wordless Wednesday – Our Etsy Shop Has ReOpened

Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Etsy

Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Facebook

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Wordless Wednesday: Recent Customer Orders

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My Latest Work – 21.06.2016

Good morning all, I hope everyone is well.

First let me apologise for being awol over the last few weeks, I know my blog is looking rather neglected – this has not been deliberate, I have been having a difficult time with my health and once I finish working on customer orders I don’t seem to have any energy left for anything else.

So far this week has started a little better, so let’s hope it continues this way!!

Recently we have been receiving a lot of customer orders for our handcrafted exploding box keepsake gifts, these are so versatile as they have so many areas for decoration so can include many more elements than a standard greeting card. They are perfect for any occasion.

The most recent handcrafted exploding box keepsake gifts we have completed are here below…

The first one is for a wedding – this one is personalised with a message to the bride and groom and includes names of all their bridesmaids, as well as photographs of the wedding venue, their colour scheme and a crystal swan centrepiece.

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The second one is for a very special lady who lives in France so I was asked to make this very “Paris-themed” and the centre-piece is a model of the Eiffel Tower, the elements around the sides are all things relating to France and that are important to the lady’s life.

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I hope you like out latest handcrafted keepsake designs and would love to hear your comments 🙂

To keep up to date with what we’re doing you can join us over on Facebook, our page is www.facebook.com/cardsandcandlesforalloccasions

Have a great week!!

xxx Love Laura xxx

Handcrafted Exploding Box – 80th Birthday #Handmade

We were recently asked to design and create an unique handcrafted exploding box design for a gentleman’s mother in laws 80th birthday, we were asked to create make of her life experiences and loves, and it’s safe to say this lady has had a very varied and exciting life.

The customer specifically asked for a floral centrepiece so this was created using silk flowers glued into a small container.

Over the years the lady’s occupations have included nurse, candy floss maker, bingo caller and taxi driver.

Her favourite drink is vodka and orange juice.

Her favourite flowers are poppies and daisies.

She is a huge Manchester United supporter.

We were asked to include her starsign (Taurus) and an 80th birthday element, together with a birthday message.

Here is the finished keepsake exploding box.

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You can follow Cards And Candles For All Occasions in many ways:

Our Website

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Exciting news – we are now stockists for…

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We have very exciting news for you all… as of today we are now *exclusive* stockists of handcrafted cards by a very lovely lady called Teresa from The Fat Cactus.

The Fat Cactus is owned and run by Teresa Morgan who is a fantastic designer of papercrafted items, who we met several years ago through visiting our local craft shop where she worked. A few weeks ago we got talking about her work and after Cards And Candles For All Occasions management discussions, we approached Teresa to ask if she would be interested in working with us to which she is delighted to explore this new avenue.

Teresa is on the design team of many designers and you can find out more details about this by visiting her *blog*

Over the next few days we will be adding our initial range of Fat Cactus handcrafted greetings cards to our website in the section “Handcrafted By The Fat Cactus but here is a preview of what you will be able to purchase very soon.

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We would like to take this opportunity to welcome Teresa onto the Cards And Candles For All Occasions Team and look forward to a long and fruitful working experience together.

We hope you are looking forward to the launch of The Fat Cactus range and will join us in welcoming Teresa to our business.

xx Love from Laura and Dan xx

Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Facebook

Blogs I Follow – The Fat Cactus

I recently found a new blog to follow – this blog belongs to one of the lovely ladies who works in the craft shop I regularly use. The Craft Room at Garners is my favourite local craft shop as it stocks such a wide variety of crafting supplies and the ladies who work there are all fab, I can easily lose hours in this shop between browsing and chatting 🙂

When I found Teresa’s blog I knew that I would be adding it to my “following” list and checking it out regularly as her work is amazing and she incorporates so many different techniques and it’s definitely a blog to follow if you’re looking for inspiration, on those days when the crafting mojo has gone walkabout.

While browsing this morning I came across this blog post “THE EAST WIND NEW RELEASE – TRANSFORMATION” and I instantly knew I could relate to the sentiment of this piece ‘It’s never too late to find out who you want to be’ as with all the life changes I have gone through in the past twelve months and personal challenges I continue to face, this is a really important sentiment and something we should all remember.

Teresa’s use of colour and patterns in the background are beautiful… the main image and sentiments are stamped perfectly and coloured in such pretty colours – she has a wonderful talent!!

Its all perspective

I would definitely recommend that you pop over to visit “The Fat Cactus” blog and take a look around for some amazing work and lots of inspiration 🙂

Thank you for sharing your work for everyone to enjoy Teresa!

xx Love Laura xx

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