This blog has moved!

New handmade jewellery blog.After a major website redesign and overhaul the Simone Walsh Handmade Jewellery blog has now moved right here.

Some older blog posts have also been moved to that location, but the entire blog dating way back to 2006 will remain here as an archive with the previous design still in place.

All new content will be posted on the new blog. And you can visit the entirely new handmade jewellery shop while you’re at it!

So it’s goodbye from here for now!

Out of action for a bit

Just a quick note to let you know that I will be out of action for a little while as I’m about to undergo major surgery (after it was cancelled the first time a few weeks back!).

However, orders will go out as normal: I will have a glamorous assistant to pack and post orders while I’m recovering.

But be aware that whatever is currently in stock in the shop is all I have available at the moment. So if you want a specific jewellery design, you should get in quick!

Also note that changes to standard length necklaces will take at least an extra week to be done and custom ring sizes are currently not available.

This is because I will be unable to work at my jewellery bench at all for at least a couple of weeks and will have a limited capacity for making jewellery for several more weeks. On the upside, I hope to have extra time to do some planning, designing and research work while I’m recovering!

Visit the handmade jewellery shop.

See you on the other side!

Don’t forget your mum!

Chrysanthemum pendant.

It seems hard to believe, but Mother’s Day in Australia is looming large: it’s on 11 May.

Check out some of my suggested handmade jewellery designs for mums of all types and ages.

Shopping for Mother’s Day

As always, my best advice is to order as early as you can when buying gifts for a deadline.

However, my suggested last minute order cut off dates are:

  • Standard delivery: 2 May 2014
  • Express Post: 7 May 2014

Go shopping!

Back in action for a bit!

For those who saw my earlier (now removed) blog post about me being out of action for a while due to having surgery, well it has unexpectedly been delayed! So I have a temporary reprieve while I wait for a new date in the next week or two.

I will post again when I know more.

Whenever the new date is set for, orders for handmade jewellery will be posted out as normal.

However, there will be limited stock available for at least a few weeks due to my inability to work in the studio while I’m recovering.

Stay tuned!

New necklace clasps

Just so you know, I’ve recently started using hinged sterling silver clasps for all of my necklaces rather than the handmade shepherd hook clasps I was previously using.

Lobster clasp on a pendant chain.   handmade-chain-clasp

The lobster clasp on the left is now used for all regular pendants and chains in the shop. And the bolt clasp on the right is used for all handmade chains, including bracelets.

Both of these clasp designs are sterling silver and provide extra security for your handmade jewellery. And no longer making clasp findings myself means I will have more time for working on finished jewellery pieces. Yay!

Busy!

I’ve been a bit quiet of late, but behind the scenes I’ve had an awful lot of stuff going on.

My bathroom was completely gutted and has been (mostly) rebuilt after the old one (which wasn’t old at all!) fell apart.

So not only have I spent a chunk of time with either very limited or no bathroom facilities in my home and workplace, I’ve also had to keep tradespeople’s hours, which – not remotely being a morning person – has almost killed me! It’s been a pretty big disruption, but it’s now almost complete.

Some of my busy-ness!

In addition I’ve had a huge amount of paperwork and planning work to get done. And a lot of general catching up after an extremely busy lead up to Christmas and falling in a heap of exhaustion for a while afterwards.

Plus I’m getting myself and my business organised to deal with me going through a fairly big medical event in the next few weeks – I’ll be having major surgery which will require several weeks of recovery. I’ll post more about the impact that might have on my handmade jewellery business closer to the time, but the shop will remain open and orders will be posted out as normal, thanks to my glamorous assistant!

And finally I’m still working hard on researching and planning the changes mooted in my recent Time for a change blog post. I’ll have more to share with you about that exciting but daunting project soon!

Time for a change

I'm trying so hard - artwork by Danah Kim.
Trying – artwork on my office wall by Danah Kim.

It’s a shiny new year and this one in particular I hope to be a very important one for me and my handmade jewellery business.

I’m very fortunate in what I do for a living: I get to create beautiful objects with my hands that people like enough that they are happy to buy them from me.

And enough people are happy to do so that I’m able to do this work as my full time job.

It’s a very great privilege and I’d rather be doing this type of work than anything else.

But starting from 2014, my handmade jewellery business has to change.

I’d like to share with you in some detail why that’s the case, even if the ‘how’ isn’t quite ready to be shared at this point.

The busy season

Let me describe what Christmas – by far the busiest time of year for my business – looks like for me.

I usually start planning and working towards it in around June or July. By early September I’m working so hard on making jewellery and putting plans into action that I can say goodbye to having almost any days off – including weekends.

From the start of September 2013 I had just one and a half days off up until just before Christmas Day. And all of those non-days off entailed very long hours of work. Most weeks I was working at least 120 hours. My days involved eating, sleeping and working and pretty much nothing else – and there wasn’t really enough sleeping going on or time to prepare decent meals.

In October I got sick – I had two colds in a row and the second one especially was a bad one. Yet I didn’t have a single day off – not even a single hour off. I needed to keep working as hard as I possibly could.

By early November my hands had started going to pieces. I regularly had splits in my skin which were the result of working my hands too hard rather than specific injuries. I’d have to tape them together and keep working. My nails were worn right down and my skin was dry and flaking, no matter how well I tried to look after it. And then there was the RSI – a pain deep in my wrist which I generally had to try to work around or ignore.

By the time the busy season stopped a few days before Christmas I felt completely wrecked, both physically and mentally. And then I had to race around madly in a short space of time to get my own Christmas sorted.

As for the rest of the year, the hours may not be so long and I can be more flexible with my time, but more often than not I still work 7 days a week. Plus I often have to drop personal plans in order to work – generally it seems easier to just not make personal plans in the first place.

It’s not sustainable

So my life is almost all business, all year, every year – only more so for part of it. I’m sure you can see that this simply isn’t a sustainable way to live and work, no matter how much I love what I do.

Working so much harms my health, my relationships and my ability to enjoy the world around me. As I get older this will only get harder.

And in spite of working so hard, like many self-employed designers I’m often barely scraping by financially.

I’m luckier than many in that my business is successful enough that I’m able to get by without any other income coming into my household. But my profit is less than the average salary in Australia and things can get very tight and quite scary. If there was even a moderate hiccup in my life, I’m not sure I’d be able to get through it financially.

The problem is that because I’m already working much harder than is sustainable, I have no way to continue to grow the business – it’s grown as much as it possibly can within its current structure. And that really isn’t enough.

Where to next?

For a few years now I’ve known that all of this has been building up into a major problem and that sooner or later I would hit the limit of the amount of work I could physically do myself. I’ve now reached that limit. The business wants to keep growing and needs to do so, but I can’t manage it as it currently stands.

Something has to change – both for the wellbeing of me personally and my business. And the continued wellbeing of my business will hopefully benefit my customers as well as myself.

As for what the change looks like, well after years of considering various possibilities I think I have finally nailed down a first do-able step which I believe also maintains the core integrity of my business. And I have an idea of how that might lead to other steps.

I have more research and thinking to do before I start telling people about it, but there are changes afoot and I wanted my customers to better understand why that is the case.

In the next little while I’ll start talking about what my plans are and how things are likely to change – and I will be asking for your always valued input.

So, stay tuned.

PS. Happy new year!

Last orders, please!

It’s getting close to the time when pre-Christmas delivery of orders is less likely to happen, so make sure you place your orders asap.

My suggested cut off for last minute Christmas orders within Australia is 5pm AEST on Sunday 22 December 2013. However, to be safe, order earlier if you can.

Note that orders posted on the Monday are only guaranteed to arrive in South Australia on Christmas eve. It’s likely orders will still arrive in other metropolitan areas in Australia that day, but it’s not guaranteed. Again, to be safe, order earlier – ideally before Friday.

As a reminder, right now you can get a free upgrade to Express Post for orders over $50 for delivery in Australia – ends 22 December.

Learn more about delivery for Christmas and in general.

Go shopping!

Free Express Post upgrade!

Still need to do buy some gifts or nice things for yourself before Christmas? It’s not too late to order handmade jewellery for pre-Christmas delivery within Australia*!

And as a festive season gift I’m giving a free upgrade to Express Post delivery for orders of $50 or more being delivered within Australia!

But the early you shop, the safer you be: shop now!

Best selling handmade jewellery designs.

* My suggested cut off for last minute Christmas orders is 5pm AEST on 22 December 2013 – but order earlier to be safer! Note that it may now be too late for international orders to arrive in time.

Final Christmas pudding coins!

The final Christmas pudding coins I’m planning to make this season are now available in the shop!

Best of all you can nab a set at a special end of year discount!

Handmade Christmas pudding coins in fine silver.

The coins have been hugely popular again this year, so get in quick!

Quick and easy Christmas pudding

In case you’re worried that you haven’t made your pudding yet – or if you feel daunted about making one at all – the coin sets each include my family’s recipe for Christmas pudding. The recipe is very easy to make and is best made on the day.

It’s also a Depression-era recipe which is accidentally vegan – and delicious!

There’s also a recipe for my Nana’s very indulgent (and very non-vegan!) brandy sauce, which is best made the day before Christmas.

Christmas deliveries

The best advice when shopping online for Christmas is to not leave it until the last minute!

That way you can be sure that the handmade jewellery designs you want are available and your order will arrive in plenty of time.

Bearing that in mind, here are my suggested Christmas order cut off dates:

  • International post: 10 December 2013
  • Australian standard post: 15 December 2013
  • Australian Express Post*: 21 December 2013

Last minute orders should be placed by 5pm AEST on these dates.

After these dates we’ll continue to post orders as quickly as possible, but the later you order the less chance you have of your delivery arriving prior to Christmas.

* Express Post is only guaranteed next business day delivery to Adelaide and surrounds. Other locations may still receive Express Post deliveries the next business day, but it’s not guaranteed – to be safe order earlier.

After Christmas:

Orders will be sent as usual after Christmas Day, but allow a little more time than usual for delivery given the number of public holidays at that time of year.

See you in Sydney this weekend!

The Finders Keepers - Sydney - December 2013.Me and my handmade jewellery will be at The Finders Keepers design market in Sydney this weekend!

The market is held at Australian Technology Park in the Locomotive Workshop at Henderson Road, Eveleigh in the inner west.

I’ll be there from 6-10pm on Friday and from 10am to 5pm on Saturday. Drop by and say hello!

You can check out lots of my designs in person and even pick up a set of Christmas pudding tokens at a special market only price – and get a stack of Christmas shopping done from all sorts of indie designers.

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