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

cacfao-logo-clear-background-png

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.

1

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.

working_hours

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.

about-your-online-order

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

Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Facebook

Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Twitter

In Memory Of A Wonderful Mum – She Is Gone

I recently contacted Dandelion Wishes and Good Night Kisses through their Facebook page, after admiring their work for a very long time.

As most of you will know, we lost my Mum on 23rd February 2007, and as it is now coming up to Mum’s 60th birthday I had decided that I want to get something special done with a poem we were sent to be read at her funeral.

We have family who live in New Zealand (my Dad’s youngest sister, her husband and two children) who were sadly unable to make it over to the UK for Mum’s funeral so they decided on a poem and sent it over to us via email… we had this poem read during Mum’s service.

I spoke to Sarah about incorporating this poem into a special remembrance piece… after some discussion we decided that Sarah would add this poem to one of her large handcrafted blocks with a matching tealight holder.

Mum 1

Mum 2

I am absolutely overwhelmed with the attention to detail and how pretty Dandelion Wishes and Good Night Kisses work is. Sarah’s customer service is fantastic and she kept me informed every step of the way, sending me photographs of her progress and giving many options for each piece.

I would highly recommend Dandelion Wishes and Good Night Kisses to anyone looking for a special and unique gift or memorial piece.

Here is my new memorial plaque and candle holder in their new home, on the shelf above my desk. Sat next to them is my Hugs For Noah Award which we received in 2014.

DSCF0001

DSCF0003

In special memory of my beautiful Mum, Christine Thomson
xxx 15.05.1956 – 23.02.2007 xxx

Personal Project: Noah’s 4th Birthday

Some of you will know that we have recently been working on a ‘secret’ project which we were unable to share with you all. This was a set of plaques for a very special little boy’s 4th birthday party.

This little boy is Noah… you will have seen him mentioned on our blog, he is the little boy behind www.hugsfornoah.co.uk – Noah and his family are a huge inspiration to us and with everything they go through each day, they always have a positive outlook on life. The phrase “dreams come true” definitely stands where this family are concerned.

When we were invited to Noah’s birthday party we knew that we wanted to do something special for him, so when his mummy told us that they were having a Toy Story themed party we knew exactly what we wanted to do πŸ™‚

As all of the items in this blog are Toy Story, therefore copywritten and Trademarked by Disney, we will be unable to reproduce these items for sale.

All of these Toy Story items were handcrafted by us as gifts for Noah’s birthday.

Firstly we designed, had laser cut and then we handpainted four different quotes, each painted in bright colours and finished with glitter accents:

DSCF0031

DSCF0032

DSCF0035

DSCF0029

Then we also had designed and CNC cut, Noah’s name with the phrase “To Infinity And Beyond” which was handpainted in bright acrylic paints before we added small themed embellishments:

DSCF0018

DSCF0021

DSCF0023

DSCF0025

DSCF0027

Of course, as Noah’s birthday party was themed, we needed to handcraft a greeting card to suit, complete with a personalised insert with our message:

DSCF0046

DSCF0050

And of course as anyone who knows Noah’s family will know, each time they host an event whether it be a Birthday, Easter, Christening or Gala Dinner they always have a little something for everyone to take home as a reminder of the special day, so to complete our gifts for Noah’s birthday, we handpainted laser cut number 4’s and cupcakes in nice bright colours before threading these using round beads and star/teddy shaped beads and attached to keyrings.

DSCF0037

We had a fab time at Noah’s 4th birthday party yesterday and these are just a few of the photos taken on the day πŸ™‚

Noah's 4th Birthday Party (8)

Noah's 4th Birthday Party (11)

Noah's 4th Birthday Party (20)

Noah's 4th Birthday Party (2)

Noah's 4th Birthday Party (3)

Noah's 4th Birthday Party (4)

Noah's 4th Birthday Party (5)

Noah's 4th Birthday Party (6)

Noah's 4th Birthday Party (9)

Noah's 4th Birthday Party (10)

Noah's 4th Birthday Party (12)

Noah's 4th Birthday Party (13)

Noah's 4th Birthday Party (15)

Noah's 4th Birthday Party (16)

Noah's 4th Birthday Party (18)

Noah's 4th Birthday Party (25)

Noah's 4th Birthday Party (26)

Selfies with Shelly (1)

Selfies with Shelly (2)

Noah had such a busy and exciting day yesterday alongside the fact that he isn’t very well so we didn’t get to see him open his presents as he had an early night, but we have just seen photos on Facebook of him opening his presents from us so here they are:

Presents from Laura and Dan (2)

Presents from Laura and Dan (1)

Presents from Laura and Dan (3)

Presents from Laura and Dan (4)

And of course, no Noah event would be complete without the obligatory Boothpix selfies, so here is ours ❀

Boothpix (3)

As you can see everyone who attended Noah’s 4th birthday party had an amazing time and we would just like to thank Shelly, Rob, Noah and family for inviting us to be a part of Noah’s special day… it was a long day but worth every second.

Sending you all lots of love and hugs, and lots of get well soon hugs to Noah.

Hopefully we will see you again soon, and perhaps arrange a weekend visit over the summer.

xxx Lots of love, Laura and Dan xxx

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!!

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 πŸ™‚

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

xx Love Laura xx

Cards And Candles For All Occasions (Facebook)

Cards And Candles For All Occasions (Website)

Cards And Candles For All Occasions (Twitter)

Cards And Candles For All Occasions (Pinterest)

CACFAO Logo 28012016 PNG

Our Christmas Order Books Are Closing Soon

Orders Closing

Over the last few weeks I have been debating closing our order books due to the volume of orders we have in progress and waiting, I hate letting people down so have been putting it off for as long as I viably can but as the order books get fuller and fuller I now have no choice.

Any personalised or custom orders MUST be placed with me by Friday 20th November 2015 at the very latest to ensure Christmas delivery… unfortunately I will be unable to accept any personalised orders required before mid-January after this date.

After this date we will still have our range of “ready to post” items available for you to purchase for delivery in time for Christmas.

Don’t forget that we are holding an Online (Facebook) Black Friday Pre-Christmas Market Night on Friday 27th November 2015 where we will be offering lots of Christmassy bargains – these items will all be ‘ready to post’ in time for Christmas.

https://www.facebook.com/events/414239642106210/

We would like to thank you for your ongoing custom, support and understanding.

xxx Laura xxx

New Business Cards - October 2015

Merry Christmas Everyone – live, laugh and love!!

Christmas is about love

As Christmas Day quickly comes around
And family all come rushing
We’re bound to gain an extra pound
With all the cakes, sweeties and stuffing

It’s time to buy yourself a treat
While your family all sit on your favourite seat
Browse our albums, see our stock
If you’d like to order we’d love to talk

We have candles and candle holders
Beautiful scents as they smoulder
Quotations and lyrics in bespoke frames
Pretty themed frames and freestanding names

We can create something personalised
An item to treasure which you’ll know what it means
All of our items are reasonably priced
Something pretty to evoke your dreams

Have a wonderful, happy and loving Christmas
A prosperous and fulfilling New Year
Making lots of fun family memories
Which bring lots of laughter, perhaps a little tear

We wish for you love, happiness, prosperity during this Christmas and following into the New Year. May 2015 bring you everything that you wish for and bring lots of happiness to you and your families.

Lots of love, Laura and Gordon
Cards And Candles For All Occasions
Badger’s Woodcrafts

1

2

3

4

Wordless Wednesday – Gerbs Room Door Plaque #Plaque

Posted from WordPress for Windows Phone