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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Handcrafted Keepsake Gift Box – Baby Boy’s Christening

Our newest keepsake card design is proving very popular and I have to say I am loving working on something a little bit different… this is an 8x8inch easel card which is mounted on top of a handcrafted drawer which incorporates the card and gift box in one.

This particular design is for a baby boy’s Christening and incorporates a Sugar Nellie digital stamp which has been coloured using Promarker pens, before being die cut using an X-Cut scalloped circle die. There is also a die cut, layered cross with floral embellishments and a Christening themed verse and personalisation.

Christening Keepsake for Rupert Brian (4)

We also added a lacy Christening gown as the baby boy’s parents are following tradition and he will be wearing their family heirloom gown – it is such a lovely change to hear of a baby who is wearing traditional wear at their Christening, made even more special having previously been worn by other family members.

Christening Keepsake for Rupert Brian (1)

The base of this keepsake is made using pearlised cardstock, this is an opening drawer which means a gift can be placed inside the gift box or this can be used for other keepsakes by the recipient.

Christening Keepsake for Rupert Brian (6)

Christening Keepsake for Rupert Brian (5)

This design of keepsake card can be handcrafted to any colour scheme, theme or occasion to give a unique and personalised gift for your loved one.

If you would like to discuss your requirements for a keepsake like this or indeed any of your greetings card or keepsake card requests, please email us at admin@cardsandcandlesforalloccasions.co.uk

xxx Love Laura xxx

Cards And Candles For All Occasions

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#HugsForNoah Valentine Day Christening

As many of you will know from our blog posts, Facebook updates and dedicated sections on our website, we are huge supporters of #HugsForNoah.

Noah is a very special little boy who was born on 6th March 2012 with a condition called Spina Bifida, there were many complications throughout pregnancy and Noah has several medical conditions which a lot of adults would give in to, but he does’t complain and just keeps on going with his gorgeous smile. You can read Noah’s story on his website… www.hugsfornoah.co.uk

When we heard that Noah’s Christening was to be held on Valentine’s Day 2015, I knew that I wanted to create a special keepsake for Noah to remember this special day. It was an honour when Noah’s mummy asked us to handcraft keepsake personalised candles for each of Noah’s Godparents – we designed two tall pillar candles with Noah’s name, date of his Christening, the colour scheme to match this special occasion and then scaled this design down for the five smaller pillar candles which were then personalised with a special message from Noah.

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We were invited to attend Noah’s Christening which was held at the beautiful Holme Cultram Abbey, a day filled with so many smiles and surprises with Noah and his family – it is always an honour to spend time with such a special family.

Noah (3)

Ballooon Release (1)

Ballooon Release (2)

Ballooon Release (3)

Noah (1)

Rob, Shelly and Noah (2)

Rob, Shelly, Noah, Steph, Ally and Lucas

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The biggest and best surprise of the day?? The day before Noah’s Christening he stood for the first time!! Needless to say the photograph which Rob and Shelly shared of this amazing moment brought many happy tears and smiles and Noah’s progress in the last few weeks has come on in leaps and bounds. Noah is an amazing little boy 🙂

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You can see a video of the highlights from Noah’s Christening here:

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

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Silent Sunday – Valentine’s Day 2015

Ewe Are My Sunshine

I cant bear to be away from you.1

I cant bear to be away from you.2

Bee Mine

Owl Always Love You

Cards And Candles For All Occasions website

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Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Etsy

Cards And Candles For All Occasions on eBay

Silent Sunday: Decorated Themed Box Frames

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Featured Business: Shellybobbins

Shellybobbins Shop

Are you looking for a piece of unique handcrafted jewellery? Perhaps something special as a gift for a loved one’s Christmas or birthday? Why not pop over to the very lovely Shellybobbins® blog and Shellybobbins® Facebook where you can see a variety of Shelly’s wonderful work.

Shelly is a good friend of ours and as such we are always watching out for new designs and there are some new items which I just can’t help but treat myself to, especially the gorgeous handbeaded bracelets Shelly makes to order using three different colours of glass pearl beads, which you can discuss with Shelly in your own favourite colours, with between five and seven of your chosen charms (the number of charms used in your bracelet will depend on the size of each one).

Once you have chosen the colours and charms theme for your bracelet Shelly will put the colours and charms together and email you a photograph for approval before assembling your bracelet by hand… a very delicate and time-consuming process which is all done by hand with great care and attention.  Payment is made to Shelybobbins® via Paypal.  Shelly always sends photographs for approval before dispatching your order and is a joy to correspond with – nothing is too much trouble for Shelly when working with her customers.

Here is a small selection of the silver charms which Shelly has available for these gorgeous charm bracelets, but don’t forget that you can also have handmade fimo clay baby feet on your bracelet if you prefer:

Jewellery charms

For my gorgeous bracelet I chose to have four tiny baby footprints handmade from Fimo by Shelly, a silver cross, heart and angel all hanging on beautiful blue and white glass beads. The quality of these bracelets is second to none, the craftsmanship is superb and to be honest I think it was an absolute bargain at just £22.00 which includes gift wrapping and first class delivery within the UK!!

Laura's Shellybobbins bracelet

Shelly’s wonderful handcrafted jewellery comes in beautiful gift wrap as standard with the following branding/label however for an additional charge of £5.99 you can have your beautiful purchase delivered in a personalised, embroidered envelope for that extra special touch.

Shellybobbins Jewellery Label

Shellybobbins® has a beautiful colleciton of handcrafted jewellery and below is just a small selection of the beautiful accessories and jewellery handcrafted by Shellybobbins:

Shellybobbins Footprint Brooch
Shellybobbins Lollipop Brooch
Neutral Natural Colour Beaded Bracelet
Chocolate Heart Beaded Necklace and Earrings Jewellery
Pink and white beaded fimo footprint bracelet
Blue Fimo Footprint Silver Angel Wing Necklace
Pink Fimo Footprint Necklace
Shellybobbins Red Heart Beaded Necklace and Earrings Jewellery
Shellybobbins Fimo Button Brooch
Shellybobbins Blue Beaded Necklace and Earring Jewellery

Why not follow Shellybobbins© on Twitter at twitter.com/shellibobbins®

On Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheShellybobbins®

Or on her blog at www.shellybobbins.blogspot.co.uk/

Shellybobbins® is recognised in the media for her excellent work and is a very proud Theo Paphitis Small Business Sunday ( #SBS) winner 🙂

Shellybobbins SBS Winner