Tuesday 28 June 2011

The wrap winners are........


The 3 winners names pulled out of the hat are ....

If you could email me over your address details - I will pop your goodies in the post

Thank you so much to everyone who left a comment - all very much appreciated - keep your eyes peeled - will be doing some more giveaways very soon.

Wrap giveaway update!

So, at last it is very nearly time to announce the winner of the wrap giveaway - which was promised to you way back in February when 99 very kind blog friends and a few on Facebook too, helped me with a little research.

Because you have been so patient and as we are now very nearly in July, I have decided to offer 3 wrap giveaways prizes - each receiving 12 sheets of wrap and a set of 12 gift tags.

I say nearly as I need to write out all the names and put them into a hat, as the children want to pull out the winning names so keep looking, will let you know very soon.

Monday 27 June 2011


So yesterday and today has been termed a 'heatwave' - I would, in all honesty expect it to last a little longer than 2 days but a heatwave it is, according to the weather men!! So on the hottest day on the year so far, I have to pack CHRISTMAS cards. My unit is in an old beer factory so was pleasantly cool considering the temperature outside. This huge pile on and under the table represent 37,000+ cards that need to be made into 6000+ packs!

After panicking slightly in my last post and can I just say a huge thank you to all of those lovely offers of help! I have just had to stop thinking about it and get on with it! I can lay 30 sets out at a time and can get 200 packs per box and so 5 and a bit boxes per design!!

When you start to see the boxes fill up and the pile on the table lessen - I feel I am getting there! Well sort of! My parents have been up today to look after the children as they have an INSET day, so they very kindly addressed all my envelopes for my catalogue drop and it's meant I had an extra couple of hours packing as I didn't have to stop for school runs.

Every evening I'm sitting in front of the TV folding packet tops - not too bad a job and again, as I start to see the brown paper packets lessen it doesn't seem as bad!

I did want to say a very special thank you to the lovely Gabs AKA Gabriella Buckingham AKA Moobaacluck who sent me this lovely surprise gift in the post the other day. I have hung it up in my studio and when it all gets too much, I will glance over to it and smile!

I really wish I was Superwoman.
She'd have these Christmas cards packed in no time!

Thursday 23 June 2011

I am Drowning!

Back in January during Top Drawer (London Trade Show) we met a buyer for a company which has 30+ stores in the UK. We received a Christmas order from them in late April- a 'big' order for an August dispatch. We found the money to get the print runs under way for 38,000 Christmas cards, 17,000 place settings and packet tops. I ordered the cello's and 60,000 envelopes and worked out, from a previous large'ish order, that it would take me about 27 days to pack.

So as everything arrived, it got neatly piled in every available space ready to be started when there was a quiet moment. The ideal situation would be to have it all packed by the end of June before we went off to our next trade show in Harrogate in July, as we would be busy on our return.

Well it is now the 23rd of June and only one week to go in my 'ideal' scenario and I have to date, only managed to pack nearly 800 packs (5464 packs short of my target!) as there simply has not been many 'quiet moments'!!

Am I beginning to panic? - just a little if I'm honest!!!

I do have a little help but even with the 2 of us, we don't seem to be getting very far because at the same time all our new products are arriving and need packing before the show. I need to send sample packs out to my agents, design the new order form, make up, label and address 500+ catalogue packs to be sent out to all our trade customers. I need to prepare my show stand, ribbon up my display boards and think about my stand layout. The website and trade website need to be updated as well as dealing with our normal day to day website and trade orders.

I do have until the beginning of August, I wanted to be organised by the end of June so that July could be my show focus - but I will have to find the time to do them both at the same time. It will get done - I will make sure of it but not quite how I would have liked.

Oh, and today they added 4,000+ rolls of tape to their order! So I will have to find the money and time for that too! The joys of running a small but scalable business.

I feel so privileged that they placed an order with us and I know it will get done but if I am a little quiet in the next few weeks - you know why!!

Monday 20 June 2011

Today, we are 3!

So today dots and spots is 3 years old – I take the date from the first day I received payment from a shop for my cards!! That was when it all got serious but .....

......I never imagined 3 years on, I would be where I am today.

Some days, when there are a hundred and one jobs to do, I think what ‘monster’ have I created?!!! Sometimes it can all be so consuming and I wonder how did I end up with this ‘to do’ list that never seems to end no matter how many hours I devote to it. Then I observe my husband – a teacher, doing the job I used to do – leaving the house at 7.30 every morning and not coming home until nearly 5pm, writing reports and having to go in for trips and plays and sports days and meetings!

By creating dots and spots, I have given myself a little flexibility – yes I work hard, yes I work many more hours than I did teaching but what I am doing, I am doing for me and my family. I can take a morning off to watch an assembly, if the children are ill, I don’t need to feel so guilty about having to take a day off work. I don’t have to spend my weekends and holidays writing reports and planning – because if the truth be know I don’t really ever get a holiday or many weekends off (yet!) I seem to work every day but can pick and choose when and for how long, depending on the ‘to do’ list.

I feel very lucky to be able to see my products ‘out there’ in the shops – a brand that is becoming distinctive and recognisable. Designs, which people will pay for and come back for more. In 3 years we have developed a whole range of products and designs – some are still with us since the beginning – some have been put to one side or have been developed in a different way.

There is still so much I want to do – I'm hoping in another three years time, I will look back at this blog entry and smile , enjoying even more new products and designs and writing about how far we have come! I guess it’s quite an achievement, given the current state of country, some would say a silly time to start a business but it really did just evolve, never any business plan, never any detailed projections, as each opportunity has arisen, so we have done our best to grab it with both hands and I guess, that’s how things will continue.

So Happy 3rd Birthday dots and spots and fingers crossed, there will be many more birthday's to come.

Sunday 19 June 2011

Happy Father's Day!

I am a very lucky lady - I have 3 fantastic 'Father' role models in my life.
My father, my father in law and my wonderful husband
who is a fabulous father to our 2 children.

My dad has always been there for me and is now doing the same for my own children - as with me, he is always at their beck and call. Even if it means standing in the freezing British sea holding on to the end of the rope for hours on end.

And then there is Jeff who is a wonderful father to our 2 very lucky children - always there for them whether it be helping with homework, watching their made up shows, going cycling, swimming, helping with technical stuff or jumping around like an idiot in front of the wii - you name it, he does it. His cooking skills are the only thing that let him down but the children don't complain about the toast tea when he is left in charge!

Happy Father's Day

Friday 17 June 2011

Wonderful Wrap!

I'm currently updating my catalogue and as we have so many new things to share, which are now reaching me off the production line, today it was time to take some photographs!

I wanted to photograph the wrap as a tall, tower of presents so firstly I had to find 12 boxes differing in size - which was harder than I thought! Then wrap them which took longer than expected but it was worth it....

Ta - daaaa!

A little bit more detail!

Here is the wrapping paper and gift tags (still unpunched and unstrung)

and here is EVERYTHING else!!

Now you can see why I have been so busy - this photo certainly does show how cohesive all the new goodies are.

So we have

4 new postcard ranges

* Home * Seaside * Pink Pattern * Blue Pattern *

An advent Calendar

6 new magnets

Gift packs for presents or parties

4 new greetings cards

Mugs - which are currently only available to trade

Party Invitations and Thank You's

4 new notebooks with plain and squared pages

And of course my lovely new wrap and co-ordinating gift tags.

Now I know this is still a bit of a tease - my poor husband does all my website designing but he is also a Deputy Head and is in the middle of report writing. As soon as we can, we will load everything onto the site and let you know when it's all on sale.

Wednesday 15 June 2011

For Take That fans only!!

Back in November, I celebrated my 40th Birthday and my husband gave me the best present ever - tickets for Take That! I am a 'real' fan - always have been.

So last night was the night - my night with the boys and my sister.

We crossed over the bridge and made our way to

Cardiff and the Millennium Stadium.

We were right up in the top of the stadium - just 3 rows from the back but it was worth it, regardless of where we were - the atmosphere was A*M*A*Z*I*N*G

With the big screens you could see




and *Jason*

They first performed as a four......

Then on came *Mr Robbie Williams*

who sang all the favourites including Angels!

Then they all joined together to sing - The Flood and

the Back drop was a wall of real water!

and the original Take That line up was complete!

They sang a fab mix of old and new tracks -

The set was incredible and the atmosphere electric

I have never seen anything like it!

Thank you Jeff for the birthday surprise tickets - had the best time!

Am feeling a little tired after not getting in until 1.30 this morning - starting to feel my age!!!

Here is a 'wobbily' minute video - just to get the scale of it all!