Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

Packing Up! April 3, 2014

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 9:47 am



Leaving for another trip to Kasei, Ghana, West Africa on Tuesday…

and very excited to see friends and work in the school with the teachers again.

And with many fewer suitcases to transport this time.

We had 18 suitcases in June at 50 pounds each.

We also had 10 high schoolers to help lug them around.

These will be filled with library books for the primary school,

science equipment for the middle school, a fetal heart monitor for the hospital,

school supplies, Sunday School teaching materials, and much more.

Pictures and perhaps a story or two when I return the end of April.

We will join with the Presbyterian church in the village for Easter Sunday.

It will surely include lots of drumming, singing, and dancing!

Hallelujah! Amen!


March Pinterest Fun! March 31, 2014

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 7:32 am

Did I make it?

Did I make my self-imposed deadline for posting

about my Personal Pinterest Challenge by the end of  each month?


          Food first (always)…

I’m starting off with my newest chocolate dessert favorite…

and there are so many in my past…Pots de Creme.

This recipe is from Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond,

who make scrumptious eats for everyday cooks.

This one couldn’t be simpler.

She even helps us learn the correct French pronunciation

for this yummy dessert.

Five ingredients and a blender. My kind of dessert making!

5 ingredients

Semi-sweet chocolate chips, eggs, salt, vanilla, and the secret weapon…

espresso powder (to make very strong, very hot coffee).

The espresso powder is my idea.

Ree suggests just good strong coffee,

but the richness of the espresso adds that extra boost to the chocolate flavor.

pots de creme

Here’s the recipe with lots more info and photos, and really…it’s so easy!

And so spoon-licking (maybe even bowl-licking) good!

The hardest part is waiting the 3-4 hours it sets up in the frig before you can dig in!

Next time I make it, I promise to get out some fancy dessert glasses.


Next up is my Pinterest crafty idea…

It’s an appliquéd tea towel.

Each year, I team with a few other crafty ladies to come up with a

fun afternoon activity for our church’s annual Women’s Retreat.

Of course, we made bracelets and earrings in past years…

also paper collaged memory boxes and mixed media canvases.

All great good times of fellowship and laughter.

 So this year, we’re thinking this project

and it was time to give the idea a try.

Leggy bird towel

Leggy bird towel 2

Cute, huh!  We look for crafty things that people can do with their

hands, but don’t distract too much for the important stuff,

like talking and laughing.

Easy, peasy with some fabric scraps, fusible webbing,

embroidery thread, and a button.

A great tutorial here courtesy of Martha Stewart.

I think the ladies will love making these!


Asymmetry Boot Camp Recap March 25, 2014

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 3:21 pm

Love My Art Jewelry just finished up its latest Boot Camp and it was all about a nemesis common to many jewelry designers…Asymmetry.

I’ve said before that I’m so drawn to pieces of jewelry with this attribute, but personally struggle with it in my own designs. Maybe it’s a right brain, left brain thing…how you’re wired to look at the world or a gift in manipulating the things around you in an off-kilter, but oh, so pleasing manner.

I don’t know.

There is one trick to achieving an asymmetrical look that someone shared with me early in my jewelry making adventures. It’s kind of faux asymmetry, if you will. A baby step…

Get out 4 or 5 different kinds of beads, put them separate numbered groups. Beads #1, Beads #2 , Beads #3, etc…

Then with a paper and pencil, make up a random sequence using those numbers.

Say I have 5 groups of beads, here’s a possible sequence…

2 2 1 2 4 3 1 2 5

Then arrange the beads in that order…repeat the order until you have a bracelet or a necklace.  So it’s kind of like creating with repeated asymmetrical groups, I think.  Maybe not true asymmetry, but playing with beads this way really got me thinking outside my tendency to create with rigid patterns and symmetry.  In this necklace, I repeated the pattern 4 times (minus one bead at the end of the line that I lost!)

**Can you figure out which bead is missing?

bead pattern

To my eye, this necklace has an asymmetrical effect with a pleasing balance of weight, color, and textures just by repetition of a random ordered grouping of beads.

Here’s a few pieces from my work in the LMAJ Boot Camp…

Etched copper bar necklace 2


Flower and Bird on Copper

Poly clay flower connector and copper button by me

I really struggled with these earrings…found it much more difficult to get something pleasing in such a small space and with so few beady options.

In the end, I really like them!


Asymm. Earrings 2



This last necklace was my final project in my metals class this session. The pendant was hand cut from copper sheet and embossed. I bezel set three stones. Some issues getting the stones tucked in because I wanted them so close together, but I persevered.

three stone pendant


To see what other folks have done in this boot camp go here.  And enjoy!


We’re All Ears Challenge March 21, 2014

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 12:15 am
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Last month, Earrings Everyday started a monthly earring challenge.

The March inspiration is totally adorable…

a pen and watercolor by Beatrix Potter, from her book,

The Tailor of Gloucester.

As a child, I fell in love with all her books,

but my favorite was Mrs. Tiggy Winkles.  Still love hedge hogs.


Today is the big reveal for all those participating this month,

so be sure to go to Earrings Everyday and check them out.

I decided to take a few elements and colors from this piece to create

some simple earrings.

 The nut-brown color of the mouse’s fur and tree stump

and the pretty blue threads that are used in floral stitchery.

Our inspiration!

beatrixpotter-miceatwork-threading the needle

So with small wood beads, dark blue waxed linen cord, some seed beads,

and ear wires made from brass head pins…

Here are the earrings…

Nut brown earrings 2

Interestingly, I hardly ever feature seed beads in my earrings,

and here it’s happened two months in a row with these challenges.

A new trend?  Hmm…


Lucky Number 11…That’s you, Cindi! March 19, 2014

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 9:09 am
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Well, I’m a couple of days late getting this giveaway finished…and I so enjoyed reading all the comments of those who entered. You all have had some amazing sounding bead shops in your life, in your home towns, or miles away, or on the web.

Thanks for sharing all the lovely reasons we love our bead shops.

And Cindi Bernloehr…it’s your lucky day! She wrote that it’s not just the beady goodness she loved in her store, but the wonderful people there, who were willing to mentor her as a new jewelry maker.  Yes!!

Here’s what will show up at Cindi’s doorstep very soon…

Three of the buttons I had so much fun making.

trio of buttons

And, I did say there would a surprise.  Not one, but two!

 I’m sharing some gorgeous sari silk ribbon I just got

and some of my favorite recycled glass beads from Ghana. 

ribbon bundle

blue beads

Thought I end today’s post with a pair of etched copper and opalite earrings.

The copper was cut from sheet metal, stamped with a design using StazOn ink, and etched in ferric chloride. After a thorough cleaning, I drilled the holes and domed them. Next, oxidized and polished them, then threw them into the tumbler. Final step was applying a Renaissance wax coating to seal the finish.

Seems like a lot of steps, but so worth the time and effort for this look!

Etched flower earrings


My First Love… March 6, 2014

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 3:06 pm
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My first love…as in “Bead Store Love”.  Was and is a small, wonderful, independently owned local shop.  The Bouncing Bead. Literally, with hard wood floors, you’d hear and see small beautiful beads bouncing and skittering away when dropped. I may have done this more than a few times during my weekly visits.

Since my first visit 7 years ago, the store has moved about two miles further out, it is now carpeted, and has a new owner, the lovely and knowledgeable Joleen.  It’s still my go-to shop for beading needs. I love The Bouncing Bead because…

1.  It is where I took my very first jewelry class…Basic Bead Stringing. I’ve since taken Wire Wrapping and Fun with Fire (twice).  The original owner, Laura, let me repeat the class for free because I was still too nervous to fire up my torch at home.  Sweet!  They continue to offer a wide selection of classes with great instructors.

2. They have a very large selection of stones, pearls, Czech glass, seed beads, and findings. AND, this is what I really love..while most items are sold on strands and in bagged quantities, there is a HUGE selection available for individual purchase. I could buy one pearl or one head pin, or one jump ring.  For someone starting out in jewelry making, this was a tremendous service.  Back in the day, I would buy just enough supplies to make one pair of earrings at a time. Seems pretty silly to me now, but it certainly fit my needs at the time.

3. Lastly, there has always been experienced, friendly, helpful staff. Many times, I could bring in a project that I was having trouble with and receive great advice and possible solutions.  They are always willing to special order for me as well.

Recently, an opportunity came up to offer Fresh Baked Designs in the shop.

Of course!  What a lovely chance to share jewelry made with some of the great offerings in the shop.  My handcrafted copper and polymer clay buttons are also for sale.

Here’s what I’m working on today…in polymer clay and copper…

Aqua Buttons

Copper buttons

Colorful PC Buttons

(for the big view, click on the photo)

Hoping The Bouncing Bead customers will get a kick out of these.

And if you are a San Diego and La Mesa local, please do yourself a huge beady favor and go soon.   Directions and hours here.

So, here’s my question to you all…Do you have a favorite, beloved bead store?

 It can be local or on line. Independent or franchise.

And tell me, tell me, why you love it so much.

 Leave your comment by Monday, March 17th

and you’ll be entered in a little giveaway.

One winner will receive three buttons (copper and PC) made by me

and another little surprise that’s a secret.

(It wouldn’t be a surprise now if I told you, would it?)


Metamorphosis March 3, 2014

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 12:45 am
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Last week, I ended with a little tease about a quirky, but interesting challenge in my metal’s class this session. During the first class of a new session, the teacher will give us some odd material and let us go. We have about six sessions to figure it out…cut it, smash it, twist it, bead it, wire it…whatever we can think of.  Just turn it into a piece of jewelry.  Tomorrow night is the show-off.

It feels like Iron Chef, when they lower down the secret ingredient.  This session, Pam brought us a bag of brass bullet casings. Really??  Not too excited about this one.

Have to say it’s been an education. I had no idea that there are people out there who make jewelry out of these. If you haven’t seen what can be created with these, do an internet search sometime. Amazing!

Won’t bore you with the details, but at first I was just going to glue a filigree butterfly to the outside and call it a pendant. But as people started talking about what they were struggling with for this project, I started to take it more seriously. Luckily, my son-in-law, Ron, and grandson, Zach, had bucketfuls of casings in the garage and a willing spirit to give me a hand…helping drill out the tops and making some cuts for experimental workings.

As etching is a focus technique we’re working on, I decided to try it using ferric chloride. Always wanted to try this method using StazOn ink and a stamp pad. Need to pay attention to some serious guidelines for this, but easy to do.

Tutorial here.

LOVE the results, although there was a little misstep on my first one.  I drew a simple design with a sharpie pen, but left it in the acid way too long. Pretty sad-looking.

Acid experiment


The next one was rolled on an inked stamp and left in the acid bath for 20 minutes.  Success!

etching success


So this is the casing I decided to use and discarded my butterfly pendant idea. This etched design was just too pretty to cover up.  The idea of some kind of pin popped into my head last week and I did some reading on a brooch style called a fibula. Originating in the ancient Roman world, it’s based on a coil-spring hinged pin, used as a decorative clasp for clothing, shawls, and cloaks.  When you have time, do a Google image search for some awesome examples…however, search for ‘fibula jewelry’ or you’ll get tons of info about your leg bones!

Since I was using antiqued brass material, I thought this might be an interesting way to go.  Never tried a pin before, so why not!

After some wire bending, hammering. and fiddling, here’s the final piece. And you can see I did keep some semblance of an insect in the design…

Fibula 1


This design used brass wire, a quartzite crystal shard, and some picasso finish Czech glass beads.  Will I use more bullet casings in my jewelry designs…Hmmm, don’t know.              Will I do more etching…Absolutely!!       Will I make more fibulas…You bet!!



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