Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

Way Past Due… July 2, 2016

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 12:34 pm

It’s about time I shared this awesome book with you all!

This started well over a year ago with an email from Sarah at  Barron’s Publishing house for Quarto Books based in London.  She wanted to know if I’d be interested in submitting photos of my jewelry for a new book that Jean Power was working on…and gave some parameters for their needs.  Sure, I replied!  I had to have the pieces in my possession. Now Jean is a world renown teacher and author in the beading world of jewelry making.  Her work is amazing!

While I greatly admire those who do,  I have stated here several times before that that is one area of jewelry that I have no interest or patience for.  So I was curious why my stuff was asked for?  Note: after actually receiving the book…Jean created a wonderful resource for stringers, wire wranglers, and seed beaders.

Anyway, after some back and forth emails and photos, I was asked for some specific pieces to be whisked off to London by courrier for further consideration and professional photos. This was months and months ago. Finally received another email from Sarah that my jewelry was on its way home and that the book was due to be out in the Spring. I could also expect a copy in the mail.  Yeah!  I have to admit that this beautiful book arrive back in May.  I was blown away by the thoroughness of it’s scope for jewelry makers…beginners or the more experienced.  I’ll try to give you a taste with some photos.  All in all, a great experience for me to be a part of this project. Congratulations to Jean Power!


Beading cover

Beading…Learn it. Love it. is an encyclopedia of techniques and projects for all levels, with detailed steps and clear photos.  Four chapters in all, starting with Beads, Findings, and Tool. Then on to chapters on Stringing, Wirework, and Beadwork.  Each of these sections opens with inspiration photos (including my pieces), essential tools and supplies, techniques galore, easy and more advanced projects by guest designers.  The complete package!


beading 9


Beading 8


Beading 6


Beading 3


Beading 1


Beading 4




Beading 7


Available at Amazon!   A fantastic addition to your jewelry making library!




Wrapping Up the Jasper June 4, 2016

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 8:46 am

     Today I’m showing off the necklace I finished up last week for my class at the Adult School.  This is the second free form bezel I’ve made that is perfect for those imperfect stones and rocks. I picked up this cool Jasper piece at a small craft fair in the park for a dollar.  Love that it has both a polished side and a matte gray side.  It was a bit rough. And there was a bit of a crevice on the front that I decided to disguise with a silver leaf…my first one…which I soldered onto one of the wire stems.  I ground down the wire on the backside so that it would lay flatter onto the stone. Pretty happy with the result.

     Finished off the piece with sterling wire links and more jasper stones.  The clasps and sweet square links were ‘gifted’ by a friend from a broken necklace. It’s a perfect touch for this necklace.



bezel with leaf 2


bezel with leaf 4


bezel with leaf 5


bezel with leaf



     School is on break for the summer.  My goal for the summer is to try traditional bezel setting at home with a couple of cabs. Lost wax casting will be the class focus this fall.  Something new to try for sure!


     Any goals for for your jewelry making summer?  Do tell.


Next! May 28, 2016

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 6:55 pm

   Just a few shots of my next projects in learning about tinning or working with a soldering iron.  Learning something new with every piece.

   Copper hand cut and finished cross, broken piece of porcelain, glass slides, and glass pebbles.


molten cross 4


molten cross 3


tinned china


Tinned china 2


Tinned glass


Tinned glass cabs


   I made a purchase today too…a pair of tile nippers.  There are a couple of chipped china plates in my cupboard I have plans for.




Lava and Shards… May 23, 2016

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 12:45 pm

Out of the earth.

Molten lava and crystal shards.

What could be more elementary.


   The first necklace uses some base metal and silver plated findings. Nothing fancy.  Except for the two beautiful crystal shards.  Yes, probably treated with  some radiation to make them iridescent. Still beautiful. Simply wired. Simply long.


Shard necklace 1


shard necklace 3


shard necklace 4


     Next up is something I’ve admired for a while.  Molten solder stamping. Some poetically refer to it as molten lava jewelry.  And when you are in the middle of it, it is like playing with lava.  Using a soldering iron instead of a torch, silver lead free solder wire is melted onto copper metal discs.  Again the iron is used to heat the solder into a liquid puddle. Then quick as you can, press a red rubber design stamp into the molten mass.  Leave a minute or so to cool and the stamp will easily release.


molten lava 2


     New goal for the next round…less solder.  Really want a bit more of the copper to peek through the solder.

     I’ll keep you posted on my experiments.  I have ideas.


****Adding a couple of links that might be helpful…

Sarah Johnson from Hardrocks video

Ashley Hackshaw tutorial

Stephanie Lee tutorial

And for inspiration…a Pinterest board of ideas






Buttoned Up May 19, 2016

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 11:11 am

Remember this little guy from a couple of weeks ago?  My practice attempt with aspirations of becoming a bangle bracelet that ended up being a ring?


buckle ring


This week in jewelry class…round two…this time I engaged the services of the rolling mill.

First, forging the thick copper wire into the basic shape…aiming to get the two tails of wire as close and straight as possible.  Then, after three or four passes through the rolling mill, I tweaked the flattened wire together some more with a hammer and bench block. (annealing a few times in-between wire wrangling to keep the wire pliable helped with this process )

Next, silver soldered the wires together.  More passes through the rolling mill until I was happy with the thickness. After annealing again, I forged a bangle shape with the use of an oval bracelet mandrel…and this is why I’m thrilled to have such a class and lab in my community with access to all these tools.

Then, came the shaping of the ‘buckle’ clasp…more fiddling.  Stamping some details added some interest. After filing and smoothing the ends, it was time for the silver button.  I was able to finish up the piece at home using a heap of silver scrap wire to make the button and solder it to the copper wire.

Last step…oxidizing, polishing, and tumbling for that patina we all love!


silver button bangle 5



silver button bangle 4



silver button bangle 3



silver button bangle 2

Now my chunky little ring has a big sister!  It still needs some clean up working on the inside to remove the extra silver solder.  I’m feeling more confident about moving on to the prize…this bangle in all sterling silver!




Beachcomber… May 8, 2016

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 7:47 pm

Is there ever a time when something grabs hold of your attention and won’t let go?  I’ll be honest and say that this necklace owes everything to a design by the fabulous Lorelei Eurto. I wonder if it’s too much of a copy. Can’t say.  I can only be honest about what I know about its inspiration with you all.  And honest about how happy it made me to put it together. I hope you’ll visit her blog and see why I’m so gaga over it.

Her recent blog post showcased some new beads by Halcraft (available at Michaels) that just smacked me between the eyes…looked like bleached wood ‘potato chips’. I could barely finish breakfast, before running to my nearest Michaels and buying the one strand they had left. They have three more on order and I’ll be calling on Wednesday to see if they have arrived. Promise I’ll leave some for you all.

So here it is…after that confession and all…


Beachcomber 4


Besides those cool bleached wood chips, there some shiny agates…just like the ones you’d pick up on the beach and put in your pocket… and a gorgeous lamp work bead by Ikuyo Yamanaka. You can see more of her impressive work here.

This one seemed perfect as it looks like a tiny little tide pool for my beachcomber necklace.


Beachcomber 3



Beachcomber 2




Forging ahead… May 4, 2016

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 11:01 am

I’ve had the good fortune to live in a area that has a great Adult Education program. In fact for many, many years, I taught Parent Participation Pre-school classes under that umbrella. For the last three years, I’ve been a student of Pam Ryerson’s in her jewelry classes. Love that she teaches different skills and techniques of metal smithing. Pounding, bending, soldering…This session focused on forging and an intro to tube setting stones. Sadly, I missed last week’s tube setting lesson, but I do plan to catch up soon.


Here’s a look at two projects…The first was a practice piece learning how different hammers and tools effect metal wire.  This started out as a dirty piece of thick copper, probably 10 gauge. After a good cleaning and straightening, I went to work shaping and flattening the wire.  Annealing often really helped keep the wire malleable during the whole process.  I was going for a flowing ‘ribbon’ look to the fibula. A double peen hammer became my friend in this process.  To create the pin end of the fibula, I used the rolling mill to lengthen, thin, and square the round wire. Lots of filing and sanding to finish up this piece.  Two shiny fine silver balls added some nice contrast to the rustic warmth of the oxidized copper patina.

This forging business is going to interest me for a long time…


ribbon fibula 1


Ribbon fibula adds a nice touch to a shawl or sweater.


ribbon fibula 2


The  next project began with an idea of creating a bangle bracelet that had a buckle looking clasp.  The double end of the wires would have a soldered bezel set stone on top that would act like a button.  If you are having trouble imagining this, that’s okay…I’m having trouble explaining it.  Saw one on Pinterest in sterling silver that caught my eye.  Even took a leap of faith and purchased a long length of 10 g. sterling silver wire!  In class last night, I began to make a prototype in copper.  Bending the wire in half to make the loop end…no problem.  Getting the two lengths of wire together and forging them flat is where I had big trouble.  The wires bent in all directions and just would not do what my brain wanted them to.


After helpful consultation with Pam, we decided to solder the wires together first, then forge them. However, I’d ruined about 4 inches of the ends already. I cut that hot mess off and just decided that to go ahead and play with the rest of the piece and see what happens. Since it was now too short to be a bracelet, I’d use it as a ‘lesson’ piece.


After soldering the wires together, it was much easier to forge them cohesively.  Figured I try to at least get a ring out this…It was very thick wire, but after more annealing, forging, manipulating with heavy duty pliers, and a ring mandrel…Ta Dah!!




It’s a big, heavy ring and fits on my index finger.  I will definitely be trying this again for a bracelet sized piece in copper again.  And practice soldering a set stone onto the top of the bend on the clasp.

Learn something new every time I pick up a hammer!










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