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

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Happy Post – Little Rainbow Moon

There is a mixed media artist who I have been following on Etsy and Facebook for some time now… the style of their work is so well suited to my own art journaling techniques (although she is far better than me) and they sell a range of planner and journaling stickers and accessories. The shop is Little Rainbow Moon đŸ’–

When I discovered that Little Rainbow Moon has started selling Monthly Subscription Boxes I was absolutely gutted that I had missed the July box as this had an arrows and feathers theme… anyone who knows me will know of my love (or is it obsession?) anything feather or wings related, so when Jo announced that the items would be available in her Etsy shop individually, needless to say I was sitting there waiting for them to be loaded and checked those items out instantly just to make sure that I didn’t miss out!!

So my order has arrived and here it is… I love everything about it and can’t wait to order more of Little Rainbow Moon’s goodies!!!

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First of all we have this gorgeous Personal Size Planner Sticker Set – I love the theme, the artwork is beautiful and dreamcatchers are something I have always had around me so this kit really speaks to me and I can’t wait to use it.

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Of course I then added to my shopping basket the Feather and Arrow Ephemera pack which I am over the moon with, there are so many pieces in this pack that I can’t wait to start using them in my journals and planners.

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I also purchased a co-ordinating “Dare To Dream” dashboard for my Travelers Notebook – this is the first TN dashboard which I have bought so other than it looking pretty, I’m not sure if I’ll use it for anything else. My dashboards in my planners have my page flags, post its, etc on them but those are not really needed in my travelers notebook.

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Even although I said I was only going to buy items from the Feather and Arrows kit this month, I couldn’t help adding in a few extras!! Jo’s work has a very addictive quality – once you start collecting her work, I really don’t think you can stop lol.

I love the quote on this Butterfly Tag, and like feathers, wings and dreamcatchers, I also have a love of butterflies as they have some personal significance to me and are just so beautiful and elegant. In this photo also shows the Journaling/Planning Word Stickers – the colours are gorgeous!!

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The Rainbow Ephemera pack is also fantastic value for money and such pretty artwork, they are perfect for adding a little colour to any project you’re working on and I can already think of lots of ways of using them.

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As you will have worked out by now, I also love using quotes in my work so the set of Quote Cards from Little Rainbow Moon were an obvious choice for my journaling – so many great quotes and lovely backgrounds to choose from đŸ™‚

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Lastly, I couldn’t go shopping on such a fab Etsy shop without feeding my Washi Tape addiction lol… I have another set of three Washi Tapes to come but here is the haul so far đŸ˜‚

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Lastly, I have pre-ordered my August and September Mystery Kits and if the goodies which I’ve already got are anything to go by then I can’t wait for them to arrive.

Don’t forget to pop over to Little Rainbow Moon on Etsy to see more of their fab work and treat yourself to something pretty.

xxx Love Laura xxx

My First Completed Art Journal – July 2016

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I hope you have enjoyed this nosey through my first art journal and I hope to share more with you soon, as my techniques are developing and through watching lots of tutorials online I’m trying out lots of new ideas too đŸ™‚

I would love to hear your thoughts xxx