Spring Cleaning



I have really good intentions. Such good intentions that my husband calls me “The Ideas Man” because I am so full of them… that sometimes lack the follow through I would like. Unfortunately, spring seems to exacerbate that tendency; what with lovely sunshiny weather and fresh breezes blowing through my open windows. I did start out with such good intentions, especially with my Word of the Day and setting practice (I WILL get back to that! And you will love it. Trust me), but then the bloody finger happened. Who knew gardening could be an extreme activity??

Anyway, I hit the ground running this morning after a massive twenty person Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday night, which is always a hit, given that Australians neither celebrate Thanksgiving nor have any clue about its origins (NOT Pilgrims, but a celebration of the harvest — no wonder they have no clue… it comes after winter here!). The massive post dinner clean up inspired a long, long, long needed clean up of my email inbox and closet. Who knew I had so much clutter– both cyber and fabric?! I feel a little more in control of my life. A little… but hoping this inspires more action. 

What are you doing to spring clean?  x d




Evidenced by the sad state of this word, my poor pinkie finger is suffering after falling and breaking it yesterday. Who knew you need your pinkie for so much?! Rats. Self imposed rest? Not so bad.

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Word a Day (okay, at least a few times a week…)

ImageWell, hello there. It’s been awhile. I get it… are we still friends? Hope so. The last few months have been a whirlwind of Young Blood Designers’ Markets, a visit from my best friend — aka. my missing limb — and then work, work, work! It’s been great, and as a result, you’ve been neglected. Sincerest apologies. But I’m back with an initiative that may just keep me honest: The Word of the Day.

I spent yesterday at this amazing day long course run by Wayne Thompson of The Australian Type Foundry, which was just about the most fun I’ve had since… well, the gem setting course I took the week before (more later!). Anyway, it has inspired me to do *try* to write a word of the day, to stretch my little brain to do something a little different with my calligraphy and writing skills and maybe, just maybe, discover something new. Consider it a visual diary of sorts.

Given how long it has taken me to write this, and the last two days of stress and work on a particular project, today’s word is apt: Dogged. Not only have I been doggedly pursuing a huge list of things, but I will need to be dogged to pursue this goal.

Anyway, keep in touch via Instagram (@thesmithonline), Facebook and Twitter for daily updates.

See you soon?!

x d 

Alphabet Soup

A beautiful example from the 19th century.

I’ve been thinking a lot about letters this week. This is probably not that surprising, given what I do. However, it’s been really interesting to think about letters in a different way: from the point of view of the letter as a work of design, not just a letter. What got me started on all of this was a meeting with the fabulous Tara O’Keefe, of De La Mod, a company that specialises in boutique stationary and corporate identity. Tara has developed this fabulous concept where you can go online to design your own wedding invitation, in real time, and without the hassle of hours spent either gluing your fingers together or meeting with endless people to get just the right thing.

Anyway… we were chatting about how we’ve noticed a move back to a more personal approach to design, and weddings in particular, which we, as designers and makers, are pretty excited about. Gone are cookie cutter, straight from the bridal mag weddings, in favour of bespoke services, ranging from jewellery to menus to invitations and design. And so we got to chatting about monograms, and thus letters as design.

My job this weekend is to get started on some letters as a design. So I’ve taken a look at some illuminated manuscripts to get me started. Imagine using quills and inks to create art like this! Amazing. It seems that I’ve got big shoes to fill, but I’m pretty excited to get started.

Have a great weekend,

x d

A Week in the life of me…


It’s been quite a week — busy, busy, busy, and I feel like I am running all the time… but I love it! It’s amazing to feel energised about what you are doing, and I feel really fortunate this week to do what I do. Mania is probably another word for it, but I think that anyone who has their own business, or has worked doing something they love, has felt the same thing. As an entrepreneur, I feel really lucky to have the freedom (and the responsibility) to wear so many different hats throughout the course of my days, despite the fact that it can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming. Over the last week I have been: a jeweller, a calligrapher, a sales person, a landlord, a tattoo designer (love that one!), a web developer (not terribly skilled at this… or skilled at all), an accountant (ditto the developer skill level), a business planner, a housekeeper, a cat keeper (demanding little fur ball), a diplomat, a blogger, a graphic designer… The list goes on… and on…

So to all those out there who are running their own businesses and working hard at doing a thousand things at once, I send you a great big WAY TO GO! And for those of you who support people like me, an even bigger WAY TO GO! We couldn’t do it without you.

Enough from me for the moment. It’s back to the bench. With only 23 days to go before the Young Blood Markets, it’s time to get a move on!

x d

Back in the saddle again…

I can just hear them little doggies as I sing that song in my head, still in a frighteningly off-key tone… and get back in the saddle. It’s been a long time. A long time to contemplate just exactly what I’m doing and where I’m heading. Very existential, but like all things in my life, I rushed headlong into something, before really figuring it out. And thus the veerrrryyyyy long break in between posts and in between thoughts of what and who and how. But I’m back.

Forever is composed of nows. ~ Emily Dickinson

I heard this quote tonight and it just seemed to fit. It’s taken awhile, but I finally feel like Now is a good time. Energized, refreshed, rejuvenated… whatever you want to call it, I feel like I am back to creating and doing, and to that end, want to write about it.

So begins this journey (again), into the world of jewellery and calligraphy. Not just my own… but a lot of my own… and some of that which inspires me. It’s time to say YES again to the world out there, and to re-enter it with a little bit of a spring in my step, rather than a drag of the heels. 

Life… yer a bowl o’cherries (and a glass of wine).  

x danielleImage

Sapphires, glorious sapphires – the perfect Engagement stone

I think that we have an obsession with diamonds. I love diamonds… who’s kidding who…but I also know that diamonds aren’t always in my price range for the size that I want. Enter coloured gemstones. Sapphires are an amazing alternative for engagement or wedding rings, and (usually) don’t cost nearly as much for lovely, big coloured stones.

We can thank Kate Middleton for the latest spark in sapphire fever. Her multi-carat stunner is a great example of a classic sapphire engagement ring design, surrounded by a diamond halo on a platinum band. What most people don’t know is that sapphires come in a huge rainbow of colours, from clear white to the deepest purple.

Colour range of sapphires

In terms of colour, there are “desired” colours — like cornflower blue for Ceylon sapphires — that are the most highly valued and priced, but other, less popular colours are forgotten. Gorgeous greens, soft yellows and hot pinks fall by the wayside in a lot of commercial jewellery in favour of the ever popular blue sapphire. My rule of thumb for coloured gems is that if you like the colour and the shape, don’t worry about whether it is “rare” or not. Pink sapphires grew in popularity when someone realized that those off-colour, pinkish rubies were actually kind of lovely. (Sapphires & Rubies share basically the same chemical make up. Rubies are red, and sapphires are all other colours)

The thing that makes sapphires great for day to day rings, like engagement rings, is that they are the closest gemstone in hardness to diamond. They will take all of the knocks, scratches and scrapes that any hardworking ring will, and stay looking pretty good over time. Also, because they come in so many great colours, you can choose the perfect colour for you.

So there you have it: a fabulous alternative to diamond for your engagement ring or wedding ring. Happy Monday!

White Gold Wave Ring with pink sapphires