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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Customer Commissioned Orders – 8×8 Birthday Cards

One of our regular customers recently contacted us for a selection of handcrafted birthday cards which were to be eight inch square in size, each with a very specific theme.

Each card has an personal message on the insert and has been designed and crafted to our customers requirements.

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We hope you like these designs and if you are interested in looking at more of our work, or would like to discuss the design of a greetings or keepsake card to your requirements then we would love to hear from you πŸ™‚

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Or visit our Website

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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Handcrafted Exploding Box Keepsake – Birthday Theme

We were asked to create a very special birthday themed handcrafted exploding box keepsake, the recipient had very varied tastes and we were asked to include these in her birthday keepsake.

Here is the finished result which our customer loved πŸ™‚

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If you like what you see or would like to discuss ideas for your own special handcrafted keepsake then you can find us in many places, which are:

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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 πŸ™‚

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!!

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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 πŸ™‚

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

xx Love Laura xx

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Handcrafted 21st Birthday ‘Make Up Bag’ Card

We were contacted by a customer looking for a unique greeting card for a 21st birthday… we were asked if we would be able to create a make-up bag themed card, this was something we hadn’t done before but we are always happy to accept a challenge from our customers. The colour scheme was to be black and silver with coloured accents.

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We started with an eight inch square card and use black pearlised card to create the base for the make-up bag which was to be the card front, this was then matted and layered using silver pearlised cardstock. The top part of the make-up bag closes with a velcro fastening, when this is lifted it reveals a silver mirri card ‘mirror’ as would be in a girls cosmetic bag.

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We used the Cricut Plantin Schoolbook cartridge to cut the “21” in black and silver cardstock, as well as “Charlotte” in black cardstock. The “21” was then layered to give a three dimensional effect. “Charlotte” was added to the closing part of the make-up bag. We added a Happy Birthday Sentiment to the front.

Inside the make-up bag we used diecuts from the Lea’bilities cosmetics cutting dies… these were cut from metallic red and silver cardstock before being affixed inside the card.

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The completed card folds flat with velcro fastening on the front so can be sent in a standard eight inch square envelope, it is a standard ‘open and close’ card design with plenty of space for the sender to write their own message or greeting.

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I have been assured that Charlotte loved her card and the unique-ness of it, our customer who ordered this card also loved it so much so we received a card in the post, full or praise and positive feedback.

Feedback like this makes me very happy now as this is why I love my job – I can make customers smile and that makes me smile πŸ™‚

xxx Love Laura xxx

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Wordless Wednesday: I love you more than all the words in all the books

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Cards And Candles For All Occasions website

Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Twitter

Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Facebook

Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Etsy

Cards And Candles For All Occasions on eBay