Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

Just a quick post… August 22, 2016

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 10:48 am

Good morning!  I was an early bird this morning.  Up at 4:30 a.m…couldn’t sleep.  I’ve learned not to fight it when this happens and just get up quietly, get the dog, and close the bedroom door very softly to let the Mr. sleep.  It’s 10:30 now and I’ve just eaten second breakfasts, since the first one was almost six hours ago.

Also got a bit of jewelry makings done this morning.

Another bracelet…


dragonfly bracelet


Then, two necklaces with brass chains…


Opalite drop necklace


amethyst shard


I’ll leave you with a new free photo editing app called Prisma for your cell phone.  It’s got so many cool effects…my favorite so far is Mosaic.


Unknown 2


And this one using a photo shot with my cell phone last month in Paris. I absolutely love this work by Charles Cordier at the Musee d’Orsay. Although, it can stand alone in its own beauty,

I couldn’t resist trying the Mosaic effect.


unknown 1



Where there’s smoke, there’s fire… August 19, 2016

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 12:13 pm

It’s been a long dry summer here in Southern California.  Actually, it’s been a long, dry five years or more.  That means for many of us residents, from July through October, we experience a long, tense time of wild fires.  There are currently a big nasty one in a neighboring county that has displaced over 80,000 residents and seems to be nowhere near contained yet. Despite the valiant sustained efforts of 1,500 firefighters.

In our married life, we have been evacuated twice due to threats from these fires, in two different homes. Fortunately, we returned to our intact homes. But the experiences have left me with a heightened sense threat when I see plumes of smoke nearby.  Like two days ago…

We left home to go pick up our other car at the dealer and could see large plumes of smoke over the hill.  Black smoke. Not good…that means the fire is consuming.  White smoke is good…the fire is being quenched.  It’s also hard to tell just how close a fire is…it could be a half a mile or 10 miles.  We decided we’d better check it out before we leave home and drove up to the top of a hill for a better view.  Surprised to see big flames about a mile away, burning just behind an area of homes near our local high school.  The fire was burning up a hill filled with brush and eucalyptus trees.  Fire crews were also present. And air tankers dropping huge loads of water from a nearby reservoir. And helicopters dropping red fire retardant on the homes and brush.  We watched in amazement at the courage and stamina of these crews and the accuracy of the water drops.  Fortunately no homes or lives were lost, but it took two days to get everything under control and make sure there were not hot spots to erupt again. These men and women are ready and tons of experience in strategically dealing with these yearly fires. I am very grateful for what they do and pray for their safety through this dangerous season.


Transition…so yesterday, I decided to play along with Earrings Everyday’s monthly challenge with a twist…a literal twist.  This month’s inspirations was summer campfires…those mesmerizing, glowing logs that provide us with an excuse to make s’mores and sings folk songs.  All fun, and most importantly, campfires are controlled fires.


unsplash_tirza van dijk


unsplash_alex holt


My earrings are called Smoke and Fire, using freeform twisting, spiral components that suggests towering smoke from a wild fire…an uncontrolled fire. I like the fact that the copper has a burnt look due to the dip in LOS for oxidation.  And the scorched headpins were made with the fire from a torch.  The beads are small pieces of man-made ‘beach glass’ and Czech glass.  The oxidized ear wires have also been give a special detail…so hard to photograph…I embossed the curve with a tiny design from a brass texture plate.


Smoke and Fire


Smoke and Fire 2




To see what other designers have created to meet this month’s challenge, go here!

                                  Stay safe out there!






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!





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