My Story

I'm a 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 fur baby, 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!

My art is available at Old Florida Gallery and Outdoor Center in Englewood Florida

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

SSMDesign ~ Jewelry Personified

My redesigned website is live with integrated blog
therefore I will no longer be adding to this page. 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

A fantastic little article - The Importance of Handmade

Why Handmade Matters

We live in a world where many things are mass produced. Not that there is anything necessarily wrong with that. It’s great that some things are manufactured in massive quantities in order to fill a worldwide demand for them.
But it’s also wonderful that more people everywhere are beginning to embrace things that are made by hand in small quantities. In case you hadn’t heard, here is why handmade matters.

Options Are Why Handmade Matters

1. Handmade is the New American Manufacturing

The past few decades have seen a consistent decline in traditional American manufacturing. It’s sad on one hand. On the other, it has paved the way for a new type of American manufacturing … one that embraces human potential and gives individuals a voice they might not otherwise have. To buy a handmade product is to affirm and give continuous life to that human voice. When done throughout a community, multiple times over, an entire city can find new life. We see it happening all across the nation today and it’s making our nation a better place, one community at a time.

2. It’s Human Nature to Value the Creative Spirit

“Art and love are the same thing: It’s the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you.” – Chuck Klosterman
When you make something, you leave a part of yourself in it. When you are finished creating, you take pride in the work partly because you see yourself in it. When you buy something someone else made, you yourself are reflected in that purchase. Whether it’s the color, the texture, the shape, or just the mood you happen to be in, an item that has been crafted as an expression of the creative spirit person who made it is treasured and valued far beyond an item that was made for worldly mass consumption.

3. Handmade Items are Crafted in an Environment of Joy, Honor, and Respect

Have you ever studied the work space of a person who creates for a living? Their creations are almost always made in a space of joy, honor, and respect. Those same values somehow find their way into the very fiber of a handmade item. For example, consider that every inch of the yarn that forms a hand knit garment once flowed through the fingers of the Maker who knit the garment with intention and purpose. Who wouldn’t take extra special care of such an item.

4. A Handmade Item Cannot be Duplicated

No two handmade items are exactly alike. Variations in color, shading, texture, shape and grain are inherent in a handmade item. No two items are alike, so that every single one is one-of-a-kind. This means that every handmade item you purchase is also one-of-a-kind. What’s not to like about that?

5. Everything is More Beautiful When it’s Made with a Heart

You can serve your guests a frozen, mass produced pound cake or you can treat them to the one your mom made. The frozen one will do in a pinch, but only the one your mom made will touch the very heart of every one of your guests.
A consumer shift is happening. A movement if you will. More and more, people are willing to be educated about the value of a item that is made by hand.
People are starting to dream about things that don’t exist, but should, and then making them come to life.
This is why handmade matters. Surely everyone can understand that.
Want to learn more? Log onto your favorite search engine and search for “artisan local handmade in [your city, state].” Find something wonderful. It won’t take long, I promise. Go out and buy it. Then come back here and tell me all about it in the comments below.
Why do you think handmade matters?
Cabinetmaker Photo via Shutterstock

Thursday, April 28, 2016

No Plated Jewelry For Me, Thanks!!!

If you've ever wondered why I refuse to incorporate plated components in my jewelry designs here's the reason. Plating adds only a minute amount of gold or silver over base metals and when that plating wears off, and it will (the amount of time is dependent upon body chemistry), those base metals now sit against your skin and your body is exposed to those heavy metals. The skin can now absorb those heavy metals, which can be in the body for a looong time! Another reason is that I don't like to waste money! I'd rather be able to wear jewelry for a long time rather than only once or twice before it's garbage!

What's the difference between solid precious metals, filled (i.e. gold filled or silver filled), and plated you may be asking. Solid precious metals (gold, silver, platinum, to name a few) are pure metals with alloys (copper, palladium, nickel, also just a few) incorporated into them during casting to make them harder/stronger and more wearable. Most precious or noble metals are quite soft in their purest states. Filled/fill/rolled gold or silver are created with a substantial layer of solid precious metal applied with heat over a central core of base metal, usually copper or brass. The solid precious metal is usually at least 5% of the overall metal content. I have gold filled antique and vintage jewelry pieces from the late 1800's and early 1900's (back then it was often called rolled gold) that are still in great wearable condition with very minimal to no gold wear through to the base metal. And lastly plated metals. Plating is a chemical or electrochemical process in which a thin layer of gold is attracted to the base metal, usually 0.05% or less of the overall metal content. Everyone's body chemistry is different. My body chemistry is naturally very acidic 😕 I can only wear a piece of plated jewelry once or twice before I'm down to base metal. I always know when the plating is gone when I start feel very location specific skin irritation. This happens a lot with bras at the adjustment points, those components are always plated! Some people can wear plated jewelry on and off for up to a year before they're down to base metal.

Here's a fact you might find Interesting - white gold isn't naturally as white as it appears in jewelry stores! White gold is naturally slightly yellow. Gold is yellow. The alloys added to make gold white, such as nickel and more recently palladium, just aren't enough to make it as bright white as silver (which is the whitest of all of the precious metals) or platinum. White gold is usually rhodium plated to make it appear whiter! And as with all plating it will eventually wear off and you'll need to have it plated again if you want it to look as it did before and plan to continue wearing the piece.

You've probably seen it before, but here's an example of wear through. It looks as like this ring started out in copper, then it was nickel plated, then gold plated. This is a ring I just couldn't pass up it was SO pretty! I absolutely adored it, but I only got to wear it a few times 😔

Friday, October 9, 2015

This darling little butterfly necklace is one of my newest creations! I make them from natural coquina shells I collect from our nearby beaches, each on is unique and one of kind! I've added a little peek at the creation process ; )