Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Christopher Cavania Sanders - Part 1

Christopher Cavania Sanders (Sandy) was born on 25 December 1905 in Hall Green, a small village near Wakefield in Yorkshire. His parents were Alf Sanders, a horse dealer and Sarah, who kept a small millinery shop which later became a general store. For reasons not known, sandy was initially brought up by his maternal grandparents-Francis and Frances Blakeley- in nearby Ossett. Francis was a boiler engineer and when he died in 1917, sandy moved back to live with his parents.Sandy & maternal grandparents circa 1915/16

Sandy spoke little of his early life, even to his children, though he did refer to loneliness whilst living with his grandparents and to his grandfather being in distress and in pain during his final year of life. His father was known to be self opinionated, authoritarian and obstinate and Sandy did recall being forced to make horses jump walls, throwing him on more than one occasion. His father died in 1951, having had a stroke the previous year, and Sandy tried to help him recover by taking him around all his old associates. A dutiful response in view of their difficult relationship.

When he returned to live with his parents, he continued his education at Ossett Grammer School travelling by bicycle. A freedom for Sandy, when he was older was to ride a motorbike around the Moors.

A school report for Spring 1920 showed Sandy coming first in form in Literature, Physics, Maths, Geometry and not surprisingly Art. His Headmaster commented however on 'too many detentions, often due to thoughtless mischief'. The Art Master strongly encouraged Sandy, leading him to determine that he would be an artist. This would run against the norm for Hall Green, where some men would work on the land but the majority would go down the pit. Sandy would have appeared to his peers as a strange animal and it showed his strengh of character that he persisted.

This persistence led him at 17 having private art lessons in Wakefield and he then went on to attend Leeds College of Art. Finally in 1926 he was accepted at the Royal College of Art in London. circa 1922 Sandy & Sarah his mother, taken at the family farm.

Where does the name Cavania come from?

I often get asked where does Cavania come from? It's a family name and I have always loved it from a small child even to the point I wanted to name one of my children this. Which I guess I did in a way, Cavania is my second child with amount of hours and attention it requires. As some are aware my Grandfather Christopher Cavania Sanders RA was a Royal Academician and this is where the artistic side comes in. I myself knew very little about my Grandfather as he had his first stroke when I was 6 years old and then went on to have numerous more, which left him unable to communicate, paint or tend to himself. I often wondered the story behind this Man who started life in Yorkshire as the son of a horse dealer and ended up as a highly regarded artist. So I asked my Uncle Roger, Christopher's first born, if he could jot down a life story for me. I thought you might like to share and so I am going to post it in five parts.Oil on canvas, Upper Westgate, Wakefield 1934-1960 curtesy of The Hepworth, Wakefield

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Aussie's can party

I had an email today from a family friend Mary, she sent me some photo's of her nieces celebrating at home in Perth Australia on 26th January, Australia day. The skyline firework display is spectacular as everyone has the day off and all settle in for a day of picnics and games on the forshore. Once the sun goes down the display starts, with boats on the Swan River and sky scrapers as the launch pads, the timing, colours and music are fabulous. If you have never been to Australia save your pennies as it is a trip of a lifetime, the weather is great, the food is fresh and bountiful and the people are a beautifully friendly bunch, Aussie's certainly know how to party, we're not jealous!

Spring Fair 2008

It's nearly time for 2008's Spring Fair and I cant believe where the last year has taken Cavania. To say it has been a whirlwind would be an understatement, an office(that is not my dining room) and now there are six of us working hard everyday trying to steer this snowball. If you have not yet registered for your tickets follow the link below. This is a TRADE only fair so it's just for stores, sorry.

Monday, 28 January 2008

Fairies at the bottom of my garden

Today I found little dresses pegged out to dry at the bottom of my garden. They certainly look like dresses from our range called 'Dresses Shoes & Handbags'. We have greeting cards, keepsake boxes, memo blocks address books and so much more. Lots of new gifts now in stock so if you are a store give the office a tinkle and ask to see your agent and they will be able to show lots of gorgeous things! 01895 824899

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Happy Australia Day

Happy Australia Day to all my Aussie family, friends and customers. My Aussie husband is in a jolly mood and will be partaking in a few tinnies this evening.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Forest's Garden Centre

This photo of a fabulous Cavania display was sent by Forests Garden Centre is was patiently put together by Lyndsey, a very creative lady. If you wish to visit Forests you will find them at,
Oddford Lane, Two Dales, Nr. Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 2EX.

If you too are one of our stockists do please send us a photo of your eye catching Cavania display, we would love to feature them.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Watch out Cavania

We got a great 'Thank You' card today from four gorgeous little girls called, Natalie, Katie, Sophie and Lillie. We gave them a spare computer and accessories from our office, and they have made a picture of one of them sitting at their study desk. I think Cavania has some competition in the card designing steaks, Umm I will have to keep a close eye on them!

Sunday, 20 January 2008

New Advert

This is our new advert that is springing up all over the place.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Our Midlands Agent

This is Ian Bradley our Midlands agent
Favorite movie - Shawshank Redemption/French Connection/Pulp Fiction
Favorite Food - Italian, with a nice Chianti
Favorite song - Good Times Bad Times (Led Zeppelin), Paint It Black (Rolling Stones), Wildwood (Paul Weller)
Favorite Place - In front of an open fire in a cosy pub after a long walk in the Lake District or cooking in our kitchen with a glass of red (for me, not the food)
Quote or saying - Work hard, play harder. Laugh often. Enjoy life.

Areas Ian covers, - Birmingham, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire,Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northants

If you would like Ian to show you the samples from our range do please call the office on 01895 824899 to arrange an appointment.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Cavania's Little Girl

Here is Juana a little girl who lives in Guatemala, she is 10 years old and we are very privileged to be her sponsor. You to can sponsor a child and make a difference through Actionaid just follow the link below. It can cost as little as £15 a month and you will get updates as to their progress and their community. It was a special moment when we opened the post this morning to receive the information pack,a photo and a little history about Juana. We will write to her and keep you updated with her

Wednesday, 16 January 2008


Here is a our latest range 'Silhouettes' it was the hit of the show. I enjoyed designing this range it was like stepping back in time and being a child again. I can remember day dreaming my way through beautifully illustrated books and tried to bring this inspiration to the collection with a touch of today's trends. There are twelve greeting cards, mini cards and keepsake boxes all have been decorated with diamante's and the keepsake boxes have a hand tied satin black bow. The black of the silhouettes have been spot varnished to bring them alive when they catch the light. Which one is your favorite?

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Show Over

The show is now over and the stand was finally dismantled at 9.45pm it took just under 5 hours to break down the 5.5x3meter stand, compared to the three days to set up! I was not at the show for the last day as I have been busy in the studio today working on a new range already. In three and a half weeks we start the next show at the NEC in Birmingham, there we have our biggest stand ever a 10x 2.5 meters goodness only knows how long that will take to put together. It should'nt be to bad as we have just had a practice run.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

First Day at Top Drawer

Thank you so much to all of you who dropped by the stand today and for all your wonderful comments on our new look. A great day was had by all, Christian, James and myself are delighted and completely shattered at the same time! See you tomorrow.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

At Last

As you can see we have finally finished, well not quite as we do have a few bits to do in the morning. But the end result was great, it's been a very long three days and now time for sleep before our big day tomorrow. We hope to see many of you at the show, D12 is our stand number.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Day 2- Building the stand

This was the second day of the mammoth task of constructing the new stand. As you can see by the photos we went with the duck egg blue colour which turned out to be a little darker and more of a teal colour and the metallic finish in the paint really brings the wallpaper alive. It was a long day and not all the construction work got finished so back again Christian and I go tomorrow. Now we are in the office working late on order forms, catalogues and lables ect. Tomorrow is the final day for getting it all finished as the show starts Sunday morning so I had better get on with and get some sleep. I'm really looking forward to dressing the stand tomorrow, the overall impression so far is fantastic and I love it. Thank you James and Christian for all your hard work. xxx

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Building the Stand

Today the construction of the new stand started and what a day the boys had, Christian, James and his younger brother Steven spent a long day at Earls Court. There was no power to our section of the show so the power tools would'nt work and after two hours of waiting for the organisers to sell us clips for hanging the walls, eventually the stand started to take shape. Due to all the delays we are behind schedule and tomorrow Christian, James and myself are laying the wooden floor and painting the walls and then dressing the stand, hopefully. I have always wanted to do a time delay camera on the construction and break down of a trade show. It starts as a giant empty room and within three days an amazing transformation into hundreds of fabulous designer stands. .Here are a few photos of the day, Christian has taken all the photos so in them are James and Steven(in the blue stripes).

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Previous Stands

I stumbled across a photo from one of our earlier stands and thought it would be interesting to catalogue our history so far! This was our very first trade show in Brighton May 2004.On the left is Harrogate, July 04. Right is Top Drawer,Jan 06.Harrogate July 06 and Top Drawer Jan 07.

New Stand

Another day of chaos more paint and more finishing touches to be decided. I ordered silk fabric today to make curtains for the stand, so all day tomorrow I will be attached to the sewing machine, literally!
But in the middle of all the madness my gorgeous husband popped in with a stunning bunch of vintage roses, to lift my spirt and give me the push to get on with it.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Recycle Christmas Cards

Recycle Christmas cards
When it comes to Christmas cards, Tesco has teamed up with the Woodland Trust and other businesses to make it easy for you to recycle your share of the 1.5 billion Christmas cards we send and receive every year. If Tesco's can recycle 100 million, they will be able to achieve the target of planting 24,000 trees. Emily Symons (Louise Appleton in Emmerdale) is lending her support too. “It's a great way for people to get their New Year off to a ‘greener’ start and get into the recycling habit,” she says.

New Stand

As you can see by the photos we have been working hard all weekend on building the new stand for this years trade shows. It would appear that every room in the house is covered in MDF, paint pots and tools. Even Faye our daughter has lent a hand when needed holding the end of a tape measure and on tea duties. I have four more days left to make curtains paint boards and so much more. I still can't make my mind up as to the colour theme pink or duck egg blue!!!!

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Dog's Trust

Can you help??? The Dog's Trust is raising money by collecting used stamps. You can send them direct to them or you can send them to us and we will drop them in to them. We have a pot in the Cavania office and I have asked all the offices around us and they too are collecting. Together we can make a difference.
Thank you xxx
Cavania Cards
Unit 6
Park Place
Dogs Trust West London
Highway Farm
Harvil Road

Nostalgia wrapping paper

Here is our new wrapping paper made up from the Nostalgia range of cards images. We have lots of matching gift lines soon to be revealed.
One for boy's
and one for girl's

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Top Drawer

We will be exhibiting at the Spring Top Drawer (trade only) in just under a couple of weeks. We are trying to finish collections and new gift lines as well as working on a new layout for the stand. Time is ticking and I am starting to get nervous, I always do just before the shows, I get a little scared at showing off the new designs.....will you like them?

If you are a shop and would like to register for tickets

Butterfly Stamp

My darling Husband who has the patience of all the saints has been teaching me to use the computer for the past 7 months. Little by little I am finding new effects and short cuts, this evening whilst sat in front of the TV I decided to try a few things out. Every time I asked "how do I" the reply was "I not telling you, work it out, you know it". This is the result so far, not a finished greeting card by a long way. But I just wanted to share with all of you who can not use computers that a little practise can go a long way. If you had said to me at the beginig of 2007 that by Christmas I would have set up a blog and made a retail shop let alone make a picture from scratch on my laptop, I would have not believed you. Just have a little faith!

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Les elfes de stephanie

I met a talented polymer clay artist at the Spirit of Christmas show in November and just had to buy a couple of her cupcake fairies for Faye my daughter, to pop in her Christmas stocking.
Stephanie is from the Champagne region of France and is as enchanting as her little fairies. Each little fairy is made by hand, as you can see in the photos they are truly charming. You can visit her shop on line at


A photo of a couple of cards in our new baby occasion card range called 'Nostalgia'. We have images of storks, prams and rocking horses and much more. Finished with a lace embossed frilly edge and a hand tied bow to match.