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.

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

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 💖

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 🙂

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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 😂

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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

Bits Of Stationery: Christmas Planner Kit

Following on from my post about my new Christmas planner from Paperchase, I went onto the Christmas Planner Addicts group on Facebook in search of new accessories for my planner.

The first thing I decided that I needed to order was the Christmas Planner Kit from Bits Of Stationery and it has just arrived this morning… to say that I am delighted with it really would be selling Rachel’s work short, the quality is fantastic and there is far more included that I thought. I’m so happy with this kit and can now start my Christmas planner 🙂

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If you’re looking for any accessories, dividers, dashboards or charms for your planner set up then I would highly recommend that you pop over to visit Bits Of Stationery on Etsy.

Happy Post – The Plump Planner

Lots of people within the planner community often talk about The Plump Planner on Etsy but the shop is so popular that she only opens for a few hours each weekend.

I have been browsing this shop for a number of weeks now and finally managed to place my order when she was open last weekend and am so happy that I did. My order arrived within a few days and the quality is fantastic, The Plump Planner’s prices are also so reasonable too so I can definitely say that I’ll be ordering again.

These are the sets of stickers that I ordered in my very first Plump Planner order and I am over the moon with them, I opted for:

* Grumpy Pants
* Just My Type
* Counted Sheep Again
* I Am A Unicorn
* I Found My Unicorn
* Woodland Friends
* Forest Friends
* Simple Succulent
* Over The Rainbow
* Dream Big

Plump Planner Stickers

As soon as I received my order I knew exactly which kit I wanted to use first but my planner was already decorated up until the end of August, but undeterred I found the first blank week (commencing 29th August 2016) and set about my newest weekly layout, here is is with my Simple Succulent set from The Plump Planner, alongside my Mood Tracker and Pain Tracker stickers from The Geeky Planner and decorated with some washi tape.

Plump Planner

The Simply Succulent set goes so well with the decorative Cacti stickers from London Gifties which I had purchased a while ago but hadn’t quite worked out what I was going to use them for.

Here is my completed weekly spread 🙂

Plump Planner and London Gifties

I would highly recommend The Plump Planner on Etsy and will be back soon to order more stickery goodies!!

Happy Planner Weekly Layout – w/c 25.07.2016

Today I thought I would share with you my weekly layout in my Happy Planner for week commencing 25th July 2016, this layout was created using the Monsters Inspired Weekly Kit, Mood Tracker and Pain Tracker stickers all from The Geeky Planner on Etsy.

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The Geeky Planner’s stickers are all great quality and her weekly layout kits are more than enough to cover two full weeks planning, or if you prefer more white space then you could easily make them stretch further.

You can find The Geeky Planner on Etsy, by clicking >HERE< – I can’t recommend their stickers highly enough 🙂

This Business Needs Planning #PlannerAddict

Today has been a planner day!!

I have been setting up my Websters Pages Colour Crush Blue Personal Planner for the business for keeping track of orders, customer details, income, expenses, etc but of course I have included a few pretties 😉

Business Planner & Folio (1)

This the outside of my planner alongside the matching Websters Folio (more details about that later):

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The beautiful unicorn Planner Addict charm was handmade to my own requirements by the very lovely and helpful 4 Munchkin Crafts – such a lovely lady to deal with, keeps you informed every step of the order process and has such a beautiful selection of gifts… I have placed quite a few orders from this small business in the past and have never been disappointed.

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The blue tassle charm came in my planner set when I purchased it and matches it so well. The blue Superman pen which is a great colour match for this planner and writes beautifully came in a Planner Subscription Box from Ugly Bug Does.

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I am currently using a selection of handmade by me dividers, Websters standard dividers, Filofax inserts and WHSmith inserts.

My Pretty Summer (1)

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My Pretty Summer (4)

The beautiful planner dashboards I have used are from My Pretty Summer – her artwork is beautiful and if I could justify and use every one of her designs then I happily would but I’d need quite a few more planners for that 😉

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Lastly is my Websters Folio which holds my essential planner stationery including some stickers, thin washi tape, pens, pencil, page flags and Filofax punch… perfect for planning on the go.

So there it is… do you think it will keep me organised?

Today is a Planner Day!!! #PlannerAddict

Cards And Candles For All Occasions has re-opened today after two weeks annual leave and the first thing on the agenda is planning. I need to plan the next few weeks for the business and get everything set up so that we know where we are.

Firstly, we have my MAMBI Happy Planner which has pretty much everything in it… this stays on my desk so that me and my partner know exactly what’s happening without having to look for my individual personal and business planners.

This is my weekly layout in my personal planner for week commencing 18th July 2016. The stickers you see here are by two different Etsy stores which are:

Ugly Bug Does

The Geeky Planner

HP layout wc 18072016

I have recently decided to set up a Christmas planner after joining the “Christmas Planner Addicts” group on Facebook and purchased a gorgeous red personal sized planner from Paperchase for just £4.75 complete with dividers and inserts – a perfect bargain for planning Christmas on a budget!!!

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And of course, as fellow planner addicts will know, a new planner needs new accessories so I shopped around and found this lovely Christmas Mystery Kit from My Unicorn Planner which includes some beautiful planner clips and this Christmas tree journalling card. I highly recommend this shop to any planners out there 😀

My Unicorn Planner

Next I decided that I needed some new stationery so I browsed Etsy and found a Mystery Stationery Box from The Delightful Unicorn which arrived this morning and I love, even some retro sweeties as a treat.

The Delightful Unicorn

On the “Christmas Planner Addict” group on Facebook, I recently entered a RAOK (Random Act Of Kindness) giveaway for a selection of Christmas washi tape samples and was lucky enough to win these, from the lovely Rosie Meer – another little bit of Happy Mail to arrive this morning 🙂

Xmas Washi Sample from Rosie Meer

Lastly, I sorted through my sticker stash and found a few Christmas stickers to add to my Christmas planner supplies so here they are:

Winter Stickers

So this is my ‘everything’ planner and what I’ve got for setting up my Christmas planner.

My next post will be my newly set up Business Planner 🙂