My Story

I'm a simple girl from a small town in Ohio living in a beautiful coastal town in Florida. I'm married to my very supportive high school sweetheart and we have a beautiful cat, Hula. I studied interior design in college and after several career reincarnations I am now here, living the unexpected life of jewelry designer and absolutely LOVING it!!! This blog chronicals my journey through this wild and exhilarating and sometimes exasperating world of jewelry making from idea to fruition!

Update: Here we are 6 years later and I'm very happy to report that things are going well! I have a thriving shop on Etsy, my own website, I show occasionally at local art/craft shows, and my work is now available at Old Florida Gallery and Outdoor Center in Englewood FL! So follow along... it's getting very interesting!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas is about presents... but not how THEY spin it!

Over the past several years I've found it increasingly difficult to find the Christmas Spirit. Probably because the media and retailers shove their idea of what this blessed day is about in our faces before Halloween has even come and gone. But if we can hold fast to the true gift of his birth and celebrate it the way we choose. Not by feeling forced into giving the most expensive presents, but by giving gifts wrapped in his image, the most exquisitely wrapped gift, the gift of ourselves to those we hold dear! The following is an entry from Sarah Ban Breathnach's book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy from which I read everyday. Maybe this can help you find your Spirit too.


Gifts of the Magi

Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents.  ~Jo March
 
Jo’s right. Remember when she grumbled about not having any money for presents in Little Women? Christmas is about gifts. Always has been. But we feel uncomfortable with this emphasis on gimme, gimme, gimme. Buy, buy, buy. Charge, charge, charge. We admonish our children to remember the reason for the season , even though we have difficulty remembering it ourselves when we are caught up in the chaos and commotion of the holidays.
Today let’s ruminate on the Real role of gifts in the Christmas story. Those gifts were wrapped in miracles, which is probably why we can’t find them in malls or in mail-order catalogues.   The first gift was of Spirit: unconditional Love. The next gift came from a Jewish teenagers named Miriam, who was known to her family and friends as Mary.   Her Christmas present was selflessness, the complete surrender of ego and will needed to bring Heaven down to Earth. The gifts of her fiancĂ©, Joseph, were trust and faith. He trusted that Mary wasn’t pregnant with another man’s child; he believed there really was a divine plan to get them through this mess. The Child brought forgiveness. Wholeness. Second chances. The angels’ gifts were tidings of comfort, joy and peace, the reassurance that there was nothing to fear, so rejoice.   The shepherd boy’s gift was generosity: his favourite lamb for the baby’s birthday present. The innkeeper’s wife’s gifts were compassion and charity: a warm, dry, safe place for the homeless family to stay, her best coverlet to wrap the new mother and little one, a meal for Joseph, the donkey’s fresh hay.
   Three kings from the east traveled many hot, dusty miles following a bright star in search of a royal birth. The sages’ divination foretold the coming of the ‘King of Kings’; on their camels backs were treasures with which to honour his arrival. But when they arrived in Bethlehem , they found the newborn prince in a cow stall instead of a palace. The shocked Wise Men unwrapped gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but their real gifts were wonder, acceptance, and courage. They offered wonder by surrendering logic, reason, and common sense. Accepting the impossible, they suspended skepticism long enough to double-cross the insane King Herod, frantically searching for the child who would change the world. With courage – at the risk of their won lives – the Wise Men helped the young family escape to a safe haven in Egypt .
 Of, yes, Christmas is all about gifts. Nothing but gifts. But such gifts! Gifts tied with heartstrings. Gifts that surprise and delight. Gifts that transform the mundane into the miraculous. Gifts that nurture the souls of both the giver and the given. Perfect gifts. Authentic gifts. The gifts of Spirit, a frightened teenage girl, her bewildered sweetheart, the child, the angels, the shepherd boy, the inn-keepers wife. The gifts of the Magi.
Unconditional Love. Selflessness. Trust. Faith. Forgiveness. Wholeness. Second Chances. Comfort. Joy. Peace. Reassurance. Rejoicing. Generosity. Compassion. Charity. Wonder. Acceptance. Courage.
To give such gifts. To truly open our hearts to receive such gifts gratefully.
Christmas just won’t be Christmas without any presents.

Sarah Ban Breathnach
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Insider Information...

 

This is a tutorial on how to use Etsy to your advantage and find the various seller's discount codes for handcrafted holiday deals!   
I've been on Etsy now since 2009 and not just selling, I started as a consumer and things have changed a lot since then, really in just the last year.  On Etsy everything is either handmade or vintage and you'll find everything from food and books, to pottery and makeup, and even a vintage kitchen sink!  So I'm just going to dive right in here, every shop on Etsy is unique, yet uniquely similar in that each shop has an announcement section (just under the banner at the top) on the front page.  In this announcement section you'll find notes from the seller, shipping deadlines, and any information they think is important for you to know, like discount codes or a map of where to find them!  Honestly I'm shocked at how many people don't look around shops before purchasing, and I say this from experience (I've offered many a sale and customers have purchased, but not entered my clearly displayed discount codes)!  Where has the sense of adventure gone, the thrill of the hunt, are we really all that pressed for time!?!  I mean, you're on the internet, possibly on your lunch break, or you can't sleep, maybe you're just bored and passing time, or you're shopping for a purpose.  I don't know about you, but I like to keep as much of my hard earned dollars in my own wallet as possible, so I'm ALWAYS looking for a discount and most sellers make it super easy and the deals are right there for the taking!!!  Especially now during the holiday season when each day it would seem is a reason for a different sale (black Friday, small business Saturday, cyber Monday) so sellers put discount codes in their announcements so they don't have to edit each and every listing for each new sale they offer!  It really only takes a minute or two to look around and explore the different areas of the shops.  Visit the seller's profile page to learn more about them and their process or how they came to do what it is that they do.  Visit their policies page to see their stand on returns and shipping.  And there's a mix of course, some sellers haven't taken the time to create their "sections" but the serious artisans most certainly have!  You can even SHOP LOCAL on the site!  At the bottom left-hand side of the main Etsy page is a clickable link that takes you to a screen on which you can enter your zip code to discover shops in your own back yard!  One more thing, ASK, click the contact button to "convo"  the shop owner.  Most artisans are more than happy to accommodate special requests anything from faster shipping to smaller or larger sizes, simply ask, most of us truly enjoy interacting with our customers!  And I can't say this about every website, but this is true for most Etsians anyway, we're not trolls hiding inside your computer trying to get you to buy our product, we're real people, masters of our craft offering our art and soul for your enjoyment!  So what do you think, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to navigating Etsy, but I think I've armed you with enough of the details to give you a boost.  Now go get those holiday deals ; )                   

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving

I am most thankful simply to be home!  During the past 6 years I have either been in San Francisco or L.A. for the Thanksgiving holiday working auto shows.  My family was always gracious enough to celebrate the holiday either before or after the actual day, but this year (since my retirement) I am home and hosting the dinner myself : D  And in honor of this blessed event I plan to do it right, even taking some risks!  I will be making a pumpkin pie from scratch, pumpkin and all (click the link for the recipe I'm using)!  I did quite a bit of research before settling on this recipe, and there are A LOT of recipes out there, but this one seemed the most straight forward and natural.  All of the rest of the dinners ingredients are ready to be prepared.  We've got a 19lb turkey, candied yams, mashed potatoes, and cranberry relish (all also from scratch), green bean casserole, and everything on the menu is a family tradition including  "THE salad" and homemade dinner rolls, so the rest should be a piece of cake.  Of course, the planner that I am, I did purchase a can of pumpkin pie filling as back-up just in case something goes awry.   Wish me luck!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!

UPDATE:
This recipe is totally worth the effort, but be forewarned you will need a bit of muscle and elbow grease to cut these pumpkins open!!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Too Good Not To Share!

 I know this is pretty far outside the content of my normal posts, but this shepherd's pie recipe (from Martha Stewart's everyday food mag.) is too amazing not to share!  It's really quick to make with very little clean-up and tastes INCREDIBLE!!!  I took a few shortcuts and made a couple of changes that I'll share because time is an issue for me.  The recipe calls for mashed potatoes (as the crust/topping) and to save time and hassle I used the Simply Potatoes brand of pre-made mashed potatoes, one because they are quick and easy (these are a staple in my household, I always have them in the fridge) and two 'cause they're natural (no high fructose garbage or partially hydrogenated bull sh*t).  It also calls for a frozen veggie mixture and I recently discovered the Publix "casual + light" mix (a great combo of fresh frozen corn, green beans, peas, carrots, and limas) I use this for my pot pies too : )  For the onion I also used frozen (we always have these in the freezer too since a whole "sweet" onion is usually too much for one recipe, so we simply chop and freeze the excess).  Thyme is another ingredient, one that I did not have in my pantry, so I used Herbs de Provence of which the first ingredient is thyme, it gave it a lovely sweetness and depth of flavor that really added a nice balance to the dish!  You can also make this ahead and heat later!  I will definitely be making this recipe again and again!!!  Enjoy : D

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN OFFICIALLY CANCELED : (

Confirmed Artisans/Vendors: (and more to come)
❥ click name for a preview : )
*Stephanie ~ SSMDesign Jewelry Personified (Dec. 9th and 10th) ~ 
Handcrafted Fine Jewelry
*Raphaella ~ Heartful Art (Dec. 9th) ~ 

Motivational Art and Paintings
*Colette ~ Thirty-One (Dec. 9th) ~ 

Customizable Handbags and Accessories
*Stephanie ~ Rodan and Fields (Dec. 9th and 10th) ~

Beauty Products
*Jeff ~ The Coffee Plant (Dec. 9th and 10th) ~ 

Craft Roasted Small Batch Coffee
*Kristi ~ Kristi’s Klean Kreations

Bath and Beauty
*Paisley ~ Paisley Fawn (Dec. 9th) ~

Handmade Plush and whimsically Twisted Illustration
*Karen ~ Yummy Wear Diaper Cakes

Fanciful Diaper Cakes
*Meredith ~ Wild Woman Beads

Beaded and Lampwork  Jewelry
*Bonnie ~  Bon Jean Creations (Dec. 9th) ~ 
Hand Sewn Treasures
*Amanda ~ Hawaiian Butterfly Organics (Dec. 10th) ~ 

Organic Bath and Beauty Products
 

 

Monday, November 14, 2011

It has been decided...

I have been wavering for weeks as to whether or not to host a holiday open house.  A venue for my friends, neighbors, and the public with an opportunity to browse and do some holiday shopping in one no-hassle no-pressure environment where they can choose from a multitude of handcrafted items from local artisans while getting to know their neighbors.  I have finally decided to go forward with the planning!  Details and photos to follow as artisans and specifics are confirmed : )  Stay tuned...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Local Flavor ~ The Annual Sarasota Chalk Festival



Above are a few photos from this years annual Sarasota Chalk Festival (click the link for more photos and information).  I've been unable to to attend this and many other amazing events in previous years due to my heavy travel schedule with my former job and was delighted to finally see all of the incredible talent displayed by artists from around the globe. 

Time Off For Good Behavior ; )

I am giving myself the gift of time for the next couple days!  I've been working non-stop for months in preparations for this past Saturdays event and for the upcoming holidays, so now I'm giving myself a day or two off : ) 

Saturday was a success!  It was a beautiful fall day in sunny Florida, though a bit windy for my taste, overall it was a great first event experience and everything went pretty smoothly!  My jewelry designs were well received, I made a lot of contacts, even had a few sales and a raffle!  It wasn't as busy as I'd hoped, but season has only just begun!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Countdown Begins...

                               www.SSMDesign.etsy.com
Well, the countdown has begun.  I am now within the the final 2 week stretch before my very first public showing of my jewelry at the Stoneybrook at Venice Art Festival.  I still have quite a long list of to-dos, but the excitement and anticipation I'm feeling are palpable!  Honestly I don't know what to expect, I've been to art/craft shows as a patron before and my years of working events should have me well prepared.   It should be loads of fun and plan to drink it all up and enjoy each and every moment : )  But now to the final preparations...  and by all means, if you are in the area on Sat. Nov. 5th please stop by and say hello (directions are posted below)!

Friday, October 14, 2011

OMG It's Working...

                               www.SSMDesign.etsy.com

I've been reading the forums, watching countless videos, and working diligently on my SEO (search engine optimization) and holy cow, the changes I've made are working!!!  I keep a close eye on my shop stats and google analytics and my numbers, views, and favorites are going way up!!!  I still have a lot to do, but this makes it all worth while and definitely keeps the motivation alive!   WOO HOO!!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Goals, Goals, and MORE Goals...

                               www.SSMDesign.etsy.com

Since beginning the "Holiday BootCamp"  I find myself constantly setting goals and adding to my to do list, but isn't all bad!  Not only am I setting goals, I'm reaching and surpassing them too!!!  I set a goal to have 100 items listed in my Etsy shop before the holiday shopping begins.  I am proud to report that I have listed 96 so far, and have so many more items made and ready for listing that I will be well over the 100 mark by the weekend!!!  This boot camp has been such a great motivator for me, I'm learning so much in so many areas and seem to be working around the clock, but loving it all : D  Of course there is stress but it's a good kind of stress, the kind I put on myself to better my very own business.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

If You Don't Have Anything Nice To Say...





Remember the saying "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all", well I think more people should follow this rule.  Granted I did open myself up to the critique, however I was expecting at least a little constructive criticism, not the complete decimation of 2 years worth of hard work!  I know there are issues that need to be addressed, that's why I asked for help.  But I was expecting an objective and neutral view from a stranger to give me ideas on bettering my shop, however this was NOT helpful it was simply hurtful!!!  I'm not a wuss, I can handle a difference in opinion, but I've been working very hard to better my business and this just stresses me out, (telling me I need to change everything I've been working so hard to improve) plus it snuffs creativity.  I will overcome this, I always have and I always will.  But please remember in your daily round that words can cut deeper than a blade and the scars can last far longer!  Choose your words wisely and tread lightly on the souls of others and your own.  This is also a reminder that just because you think you've learned a lesson, don't think for a moment that the test is over!!! 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Motivation

So I've begun Etsy HolidayBootcamp.  I have fantastic buddies who are helping to keep me motivated with weekly brainstorming, and random messages of urgent persuasion and so far I've been extremely productive as a result!  Thank you to (in no particular order) Angela of Dolce Beada, Rachel of Exhausted Creativity, Jennifer of Thoroughly Modern Mommy, and my unofficial local cheerleader Meredith of Wild Woman Beads for your help, and creativity!  I couldn't do it without you all!!!  I'm slightly stress right now, the week 3 goals came out yesterday and I haven't even begun week 2 : (  more to add to the to do list I suppose.  Trudging ahead a little further everyday...  here's hoping this will be a productive holiday season for us all!!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Loss of Brilliance

The world lost a true visionary yesterday in Steve Jobs!  I find myself mourning the loss of a man I never met, but feel I know, at least a little.  As I type this entry on my MacBook with plans in the very near future to purchase an iPhone, I realize how much his body of work makes my work and life easier everyday!  As a very right-brained person Macs just make sense and anyone who owns one will tell you the same!  They come with a very small manual, which you really never need to open because all of it's functions work the way you think they should.  I find it interesting that Apple stock has been on such a roller coaster ride since his announcement to step down, how the thinking could be that Apple and it's innovative technology would cease to move forward without him at the helm!?!  Do people really think that such a genius would leave without first setting Apple's future in motion!?!  Steve Jobs was one man, one brilliant man who no doubt surrounded himself with genius to take his dreams to an infinite future of incredible advancements in technology!!!  Thank you Steve Jobs and all the minds of Apple for constantly transforming the world as we knew it for the better!!!

Friday, September 30, 2011

New Friends and Possibilities...

Yesterday was kind of rough.  I am realizing that I know quite a few people, but there aren't a whole lot of them that I would truly consider friends and that saddens me, a lot!  There are many reasons I can think of and I'm working on myself as well as my situation, but I also feel that one shouldn't have to change who they are to be loved!!!  So I am choosing to see today filled with possibilities and my future as being just as open : )  I have so much "new" in life right now that I can't see it any other way, so here's to tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that etc...  I too am on the edge of glory, if only for myself!!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Me a teacher...

I have had several people not only suggest that I teach jewelry making and also ask me to teach them.  I feel as though I have only scratched the surface of designing jewelry myself, so the thought of teaching is a bit terrifying, I wouldn't even know where to begin.  However, when discussing this with a friend she reminded me that passing on my own knowledge will lead to learning from my students as well.  Needless to say, I am considering it, but I'm also not in any way closer to actually holding class and I know that the path will be laid in front of me if that is where I am to go.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Productivity

Although I have been quite ill for the better part of a month, first with food poisoning then a nasty chest cold, I have still managed to complete a few items on my ever-growing checklist!  The biggest accomplishment being my application submission to the 2010/11 season of local art & craft shows, with  5 entries and locations throughout Sarasota county, plus a confirmed date for the Stoneybrook at Venice FALL FESTIVAL (Nov. 5th for 11-3pm).  Now I must work feverishly to increase my stock of jewelry, not to mention focus on listing items on my sites!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Consumer Empathy

After several days of back and forth messages in the custom ordering of my art/craft show banners I can now empathize with my customers placing custom orders with me.  It is truly a leap of faith, going from the idea and picture you have in your head to the hope that your communications will convey that thought with the creator and the that the finished product will come out the same or possibly even better!  There is anxiety with wondering if it will in fact come out favorably, will I love the actual product as much as this picture in my brain.  It is quite the process, custom ordering, there are so many decisions to be made and the lovely lady I've been working with, Krista of the Girls mom, has been an absolute pleasure to work with making the process virtually effortless of my end (aside from my second guessing myself)!  This has been a learning experience for me, one that will most definitely make me a better seller : )

Sunday, August 14, 2011

This week...

This has been an interesting week to say the least.  It's had its highs and its lows as any other and I've learned a few new things.  Today, for example, I came across another Etsy seller boasting 250 sales in 2 months and while I am proud to keep company with such an entrepreneur I cannot for the life of me understand how!?!  Just as in other facets of business, it doesn't seem to matter what your product is or how great the quality, no, it's all about the marketing!  I have to say this is very disheartening : (  And someone I thought was in my corner it turns out is not.  I was able to help someone else out though, so score one for me.  Here's to hoping this is a better week overall!  Cheers!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Happy Thank You More Please!

I recently watched a movie of the same name (recommended) and have adopted the mantra!  With the website up and functional and my very first sale complete and delivered, new orders on both etsy sites, and many other other blessings to count, I feel that it is very important to acknowledge all of the good in my life and give thanks regularly to keep the flow open!  It also helps keep my focus on the positives and away from the negatives : )  and so I find myself saying more and more HAPPY THANK YOU MORE PLEASE!!!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Pride and Accomplishment

I know that pride is one of the seven deadly sins, but damn it I am proud!!!  I feel such a huge sense of accomplishment upon the completion of my website!!!  MY WEBSITE, that I BUILT, just me, only me    : D  and it took almost a month, but I did it!  Blood, sweat, and tears went into the making of this site.  Well maybe not blood, there were definitely tears, lots of tears.  Now all that is left to do is fill it with my lovelies : )  They say that if you build it they will come, so come and have a gander, and maybe buy yourself a little something...  www.JewelryPersonified.com !  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Perfection

Most of my life I have trudged, blood sweat and tears, chasing perfection.  I know now that there is no such thing and consider myself a perfectionist in recovery, but like anyone in recovery I have lapses.  Most of the time they only affect me, however some days when I am at my most frustrated, I lash out at those closest to me : (  I usually take it all out on myself though and recognize that I say things to myself that I would never dream of saying to another human being.  I don't know why I'm so hard on myself, but I've heard it said that we are our own worst critics, I can certainly attest to that!  I was accused once by someone trying to hurt me of not being detail oriented.  And honestly I know to the core of my being that nothing could be farther from the truth!  For me the beauty is in the details, the little unexpected touches you may not even notice until much later.  But why is it that something you know to be false can have such a lasting effect!?!  I try to remind myself that you get what you give, and there's enough negativity in the world with out me adding to it.  So be good to yourself because no one else has the power to make you happy!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Victories

I had a much needed victory yesterday!  I'm feeling confident enough now in my techniques and design abilities to experiment and had this idea to attempt something that others have not been able to do successfully.  I'm not going to go into full detail here because I don't want to disclose my approach, but the photo is proof of my victory : )  The failures I've been dealing with of late have tested my confidence to continue, but in hindsight, that is simply the universe's way of helping us appreciate the victories.  And victories, no matter how small, can raise the spirit just enough to persevere!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sometimes when you win, you lose

I had to eat crow today!  And what really sucks is that I know I'm right, but they have what I need and I can't find it anywhere else, so here I am asking for forgiveness when I am in the right : (  And just so you can see where I'm coming from, I stuck to my guns and requested a refund that I knew I deserved and after several emails I got it, but then the next day my full order that I spent an entire morning preparing was deleted by the company!  And the worst part is, with as many internet companies that supply jewelry findings I can't find a single other one that carries these parts, so I have to ask for a pardon.  Compromise... sometimes it works in your favor and sometimes it doesn't!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Craziness

Life has been a bit crazy this week!  My husband separated his shoulder in a watercraft accident on Sun. and can't do a whole lot for himself, my sister-in-law gave birth to a beautiful 6lb 11oz baby boy yesterday (10 days early), and my older sister is in town for a visit, plus the usual day to day that throws you for a loop!  So, I've been a bit lax with my posts this week, please forgive me.  I'm hoping this coming week will be more sedate : )

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

It's easy, yeah right

It's easy to say something is easy when you know what you are doing, but when you are learning something new and completely foreign the hurdles can be extremely frustrating.  As I said in a previous post, I am building my own ecommerce website with no prior training in doing such a monumental task.  And when I started whining in frustration about how stupid it makes me feel, my husband ever so sweetly reminded that "I'm not stupid, just ignorant".  Now you may be thinking what an a-hole, but he's right if you take a moment to consider the point.  We are all ignorant of what we do not understand because we have not learned the skill, technique, or language.   And before I started reading about and practicing html, css, and other internet speak I was ignorant, but now that I'm forced to study and learn it I'm not!  And while I can't say at this moment that I will ever truly be good enough to help someone else, it is making the process a little easier to create changes within my pages now that I possess the knowledge of the code.  Never stop learning, learn something new each and every day, even if it's something small : )

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Independence

I am so immensely thankful for the freedom to be able to have my own business and be independent of the corporate world!   Independence to me is the ability to be myself, do what I want when I want, show my face, choose my own clothing, walk around anywhere I wish, and own my business, and these are only a few examples of the freedoms I usually take for granted!!!  "Independence Day" helps to remind me of what so many others only dream to have!!! And so, I say a HUGE THANK YOU to all of the men and women working and fighting every day to keep our freedoms!!!  Happy Birthday America, land of the free and home of the brave : D

Here is a link to another great cause ~ http://operationtankyou.blogspot.com/

Friday, July 1, 2011

Persistence

Persistence does pay off!  I finally found a great source for rose cut stones after hours and hours of searching the web!  Now if all of my time (what probably amounts to weeks) searching for rose gold filled bulk chain could pay off, I'd be golden.
Update, I figured out how to afford the purchases I need to make to get these new design ideas going    : D YAY!!!  Ordering today, assuming silver and gold don't go up again : p 
And please learn for my mistake and always do your research first!  I've decided to build my own website and I am not tech savvy, I know just enough to get by.  So I had to do a lot of reading before and during the process of creating this blog, so I know the same is going to be true for the website.  If you are considering your own blog and/or website, believe me when I say cutting corners is not beneficial, your time is better spent once you've learned the ins and outs.  I thought I had made a decision on the site I would use to build my ecommerce shop.  However, yesterday morning I discovered a company whose prices where less than half those of the company I've been reading such glowing testimonials about and being the frugal person that I am, my interest was peaked.  I got so excited by all of their exuberant claims and flashy tricks that I jumped right in and started creating without a second thought!  Basically, I wasted a whole lot of time yesterday by not checking reviews on them before I began!!!  Because after reading reviews, it sounds like their service and ethical practices leave a lot to be desired : (  Guess, I'll have to bite the bullet and pay the extra cash for a reputable company!  Back to the drawing board...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ranting and Raving

***Warning ~ I'm about to go off!!!***
I am a pretty passionate person and while some view it as endearing character trait of mine, some see it an annoyance!  Again, I am who I am, so with that said...  every day I scour the web in search of the gemstones and findings for this project I have in my head that's just clawing to get and out and be "real"!  I am so inspired by what I find!  I've been jabbering on about it for some time now to anyone who would listen, when what I really want to do less talking and more doing!  But where do I find all of this money!?!  The saying goes, if you build it they will come, well the plans are drawn and the permits are secured, so to speak, but I just need the capital to start!  I search, and I search, and I search, for grants any kind of help that doesn't have interest, but the road blocks are everywhere!  Just when I think I've found it, the deadline for submissions has already passed (in most cases by only days or weeks,  it's so infinitely frustrating)!  But I'll find the money somewhere, I won't stop 'til I do!  I just truly hope it's sooner, oh please make it sooner!?!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I am quite the conundrum...

and always have been!  When I was a child, I can't say little as I've never been a very large person standing only 5'2",  I liked to play dress-up.  I'd put on my frilly fluffy Easter dress, add my mom's Candies and grandmother's old fashion jewelery making myself look as glamorous as possible. Then I'd prance around the neighborhood inviting everyone I could to the back porch for a play I'd put on with my younger sister and next door neighbors, dancing around to Madonna's Like a Virgin record (and yes, they were actually vinyl in those days).  But looking back, I think it was more about the drama and spectacle of it all rather than the clothes.  Most days you'd find me playing in the ditch behind the house fishing for crawdads, climbing the neighbors giant weeping willow to see just high I could climb (I did make it all the way to the top eventually), or hiking through "private property" to monkey island always sporting the little rompers my mom so lovingly handmade.  These days I'm pretty darn girly, always!  I adore pink and flourishes, I don't like to be hot, I don't really like to get dirty but will if it's for a good cause, and I love to get dressed up both for the way it makes me feel and for the spectacle : ) However, if I thought I wouldn't get arrested, I would climb the huge banyan trees at my favorite place in Sarasota, the Ca' d'Zan!  I imagine most people are like this too, but would never admit it, not out loud anyway.  But I don't care who knows, I am what I am, and I only aspire to be the best version of me I can be!!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Getting to know me better : )

So this weeks posts will be a series of snippets on getting to know me better.  I have added Pandora (in the sidebar, lower left) so you can sample the music I'm listening to as I'm creating.  I've also added a video section, so you can enjoy the antics of my silly kitties.  Hula, the baby is a purebred blue point ragdoll we adopted at only 4 months old (now 11 months and growing fast with the sweetest demeanor) and Kona a 6 year old chocolate bi-color ragdoll (spastic and slightly schizophrenic, but a love when the mood strikes).  Both are rescues from a local shelter where I volunteer http://www.stfrancisarfl.org/  I strongly support adopting from a local non-profit shelter.  You'll not only be gaining a fabulous new member of the family, but helping your local community/economy as well!  They have animals of all ages, breeds, and personalities, even pure breeds and all have incredible stories to tell : )  Clearly from their names I adore Hawaii!  My husband and I took our 10 year anniversary vacation there and I fell instantly head-over-heels in love!  We explored The Big Island's coffee plantations and Kilauea, Maui's road to Hana, and lush wild chicken inhabited Kauai each is very different and extraordinary in its beauty.  I am captivated by every facet and will live there, at least part of the year, as soon as I can figure out how to swing it!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ever Have One of THOSE Days

I seem to be experiencing one of those today!  It's Saturday, and I really want to be somewhere else enjoying myself, anywhere really! Catching some rays at the beach, exploring on watercraft, hiking, but instead I am attempting to check off a few items on my LONG to do list and everything seems against me : (  Updating listings, no I get a few pictures in and the battery on my camera dies, so I have to plug it in to charge, guess I'll come back to that one later.  Transferring all of my email accounts over to one integrated location, sure seems simple enough, but of course there are kinks to work out and it takes way longer than I thought.  I am constantly reminded that there is a "plan" and though we may think that we have mastered a skill we will be further tested to make certain we actually have!  I guess I need to heed my own advise here and move on the next item, 'cause what I'm doing now is not what I'm supposed to be doing at this moment. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fascinating How The Stars Align

I find it truly fascinating how the events of life align without us even knowing it's happening, until there you are down the avenue of time and it clicks!  You realize all of these experiences, some good and some bad, happened for a reason to lead you where you needed to be right when you needed to be there!  The people we meet in a random conversation, the places we discover when we think we are lost, are all leading us somewhere.  I believe in free will, but I also think that destiny, or the universe, or God, or whatever you call it plays a big roll in our journey through life!  Last night as I lay in bed I was thinking back to exactly where this chapter of my life began and realized that I don't think there is one particular point in time,  everything flows together.  From the jewelry store I worked in during the holiday season to be able to afford incidentals while in unpaid training for the airlines.  The brief job at the estate and coin shop with a friend of the family after I had to quit what I thought at the time was my dream job in interior design.  To the girl next to me in the security line at the airport, as I was so frequently was during my job of the past 6 years working auto shows.  A quick glance was all it took and I was fixated on the stunning necklace she wore.  Dragonflies are my totem and this piece carried so many of the elements I adore!  I had to know where I could get one of my own and thus began a months long and very frustrating search that eventually lead me to Etsy.  I didn't have much to go on, as she couldn't remember exactly where she'd purchased it, only that the designer was from California and it was made of copper, but I did find that necklace and where it to this day : ).  So you just never know how what may seem like an inconsequential moment in life is pivotal.  Etsy allows people all over the world to discover my work!  So to that girl in the security line I say thank you for being brave enough to talk to a complete stranger and for sharing your knowledge!  And to that designer in California, who has sadly closed her shop at least for now, thank you for creating such beautiful designs!  And to Etsy, an enormous thank you for helping me get my work out there for the world to find!!!  From daily experience we glean little bits of knowledge that we apply to our lives and livelihood!  So tread lightly and be kind, you never know who you'll need or where you'll be when your moment arrives!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My AH HA moment...

This was my ah ha moment;  I received an email containing this video http://youtu.be/-GCm-u_vlaQ from etsy, the server where I've set up shop to sell my jewelry.  It was like Derek Sivers got into my head,  somehow pulled this out, and made me see my obstacle in a way that would render it an obstacle no more!!!  I'm not being full of myself here, believe me, but before I saw this and my family or friends would tell me that my "stuff" whether decorating, jewelry, ideas, or whatever is amazing I just wrote it off! Of course they're going to say that, they are my family/friends they are supposed to say that, it's really nothing special!  I surrender to it now, I mean really what do I have to lose!  If you like my "whatever" and it makes you smile, fantastic, I'm elated we can connect in that way!  And if not, that's okay too.  I may not be for everyone, but I am liked by some, and for that I am thankful!!!   We have all been given the gift of a talent and it is our responsibility in life to discover it and nurture it and be the absolute best at it we can be!  Maybe this can help you realize your "stuff" IS special too : )

Check out my wares ~ www.SSMDesign.etsy.com

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My very first blog post : )

Wow what a process all of this is, creating a business from scratch, there is so much to it and I feel I've just scratched the surface!  As with everything else in life I am learning as I go and I don't think I could have chosen a more expensive "craft"!  Just when I think I have everything I need, I learn a new technique or discover a new tool or stumble upon a new gemstone I just have to have and it begins anew!  I am certainly not complaining!  I truly enjoy the creation and discovery, but the paperwork and inventory, and having more money going out than coming in!  I fear I will need to get a part-time job soon if things don't turn around and I've only just quit the rat race!  But I digress, I'm 2 years in, surrounded by findings, brain flooded with ideas, and too little time in the days to get it all accomplished!!!  But as my mom reminded me this morning, "you can eat an elephant one bite at a time". So goals, I must set goals and stick to them, and another item is added to the ever-growing checklist as I'm certain you too are all to familiar ; p

latest and greatest creations

UA-17231022-3