Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

Bittersweet Goodbye…Hopeful Hello November 27, 2015

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 9:27 am

     I said a very sad goodbye last week to a wonderful little gift shop in the heart of La Mesa Village…Handful of Wildflowers. The sweet owner, Sherri, took a chance on a fledgling jewelry maker four years ago. Together we sold a boatload of jewelry.  Due to a combination of doubled rent and eighteen months of disrupting street work, Sherri made the difficult choice to close up shop. But, she went out with a festive “celebration of life”, complete with food, wine, and mariachi band.




                           She and her delightful shop will be greatly missed.


And then…hello to a new opportunity…

One of the vendors at the holiday market last weekend approached me about looking into a new store in a very busy area of our city. Couldn’t be a busier location with tons of foot traffic…at the corner of Fifth Avenue and University.  Creative Crossroads is the name…rents out spaces to local artists and artisans.  I thought, ” What do I have to lose? It could be a very nice opportunity to sell in a new part of town.”  Sent an email with photos to the owner and received a positive response with an appointment to see her.  She was very enthusiastic about my stuff, especially the etched copper pieces…so I plunged. Starting off with some wall space. And enlisting my sweetie’s help to make me a large rustic looking frame, about 2×3 feet. I envision adding a piece of cork board covered with linen.  Some nice pins will hold the earring cards and a few necklaces.  Maybe I’ll try to fancy up the frame with some distressed paint treatment and a bit of embellishment at the corners. Not sure yet…but excited to see what this open door might hold.





And another friend emailed me with info about a pop-up market opportunity in December in yet another new area…so, I’m in!

It’s Saturday, December 12th, 11:00-5:00, at Mona Lizzy’s Art Studio, 2610 Adams Ave. in Kensington. Web site here.

Looks like such a fun space…art studio, yoga classes, hair salon, wine and craft nights, sewing classes…my kind of place!

Once again, I am gobsmacked by my life right now…never, ever, envisioned my retirement years would play out this way. I had so many satisfying years as a parent educator, preschool teacher, then in elementary school. In some ways, teaching in the classroom seems a life time ago and not just seven years.

 Life is full of surprises!




Last minute additions November 19, 2015

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 2:26 pm

This weekend is one of my favorite holiday markets. Even better that it is at our church and helps support several non profits. Friendly, festive, fabulous “church lady made” baked goods, and fantastic artisan wares…including my dessert pedestals and jewelry.

Yesterday, I decided I needed a few more etched pieces…

hand cut from copper sheet metal. 


Some plain.




Some with recycled glass.

Rachel's earrings



And one hit with a texture hammer.

(oops…my camera caught some dents in these…

I need to put these back on the dapping block

and give them a few whacks with the rubber mallet again.

Gotta love that ‘third eye’.)

textured copper drops

And just because I’m in love with these glass drops…

turq glass drops

I’m in awe that there are 330 subscribers to this blog…and very grateful.

Not sure where you all live, but if anyone is near downtown San Diego

on Friday or Saturday, it would be a real pleasure to meet you.

Details and directions are here.

And wherever you may be…

Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving !


Switching gears… November 11, 2015

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 3:34 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Setting aside bigger and chunkier pieces to round out my inventory for the Holiday Market with  some sweet sterling silver necklaces. I don’t usually offer gift boxes, but for this market I will.

                             These can be ready to gift…how easy is that!

Mystic Blue Quartz

mystic blue with filigree

Charms with pearls, turquoise, and smokey quartz

silver branch with charms

Love this modern twist on “love”

love charm with three rings

What’s on your holiday list of jewelry to make?

If you have some ‘best sellers’, I’d love to hear what they are !


Does this sound familiar ?… November 5, 2015

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 2:30 pm

Do you ever love something you created so much that your knees are knocking just thinking about making something with it?  Does that make any sense ?

While I didn’t actually create the whole dragonfly focal…I did mess with it a bit…altered it. Kind of spur of the moment, too. In the same order from Lima Beads, I had a couple of dragonfly pendants and some gorgeous recycled glass drops (planned for some earrings). Well, upon closer inspection, I was very concerned that the tail of the dragonfly was too pointy and too thin to be of any use in a jewelry piece.

When what to my wandering eye should appear?…but a lovely turquoise glass drop that just might fit nicely over that spindly tail. I did need to nip off the ball tip first, but with some epoxy, it was a perfect solution. Honestly, couldn’t take my eyes off of it.

Then, it sat and sat and sat on my workbench. I knew it could make a knock-out necklace, but I was afraid I couldn’t live up to the challenge. Kept laying it next to different beads and brass chain to see what struck my imagination.  Today, I gave myself one of those swift kicks in the pants (mentally) and said, “Just do it, stupid!”  It’s not permanent. You can take it all apart. Get over yourself.

I also had this other idea of the focal being suspended from the wings, instead of close to the tiny head. So using punch pliers and a deep breath, I made holes at the wing tips.  Exhale…  I also used some 0000 steel wool to scrub off the dark brown patina to expose the brighter brass highlights in the design.

So here it is…And I like it!

dragonfly and leaves 2

Dragonfly and leaves

dragonfly and leaves 3


Seed Bead Beauties November 1, 2015

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 1:35 pm

Erin Siegel shared this very easy seed bead bracelet tutorial almost two years ago…I saved it, then lost it, and lo and behold, just rediscovered it yesterday.  Always looking for ways to use up more of my huge stash of seed beads.  One of things I love most about this project is its versatility…change up the number of strands, toggle or clasp designs, combination of seed bead shapes, color, and sizes.  It could easily be extended in length and make a knock-out necklace.  Also, love the portability of this project…no need for tools, bench blocks, hammers, or torches.

       Here’s Erin’s bracelet…so pretty and delicate and perfect for Fall or Winter…

Silver Branches Bracelet Tutorial

So with about 5 yards of waxed linen cord, several varieties of seed beads, a another leaf toggle closure, off I went.

I actually made this one on a TV tray…watching a recorded episode of my favorite PBS show…The Great British Baking Show.  See, very portable and compact!

leaf toggle

leaf toggle and seed beads

The next one used only two colors of beads.  I also tried alternating four different patterns of beads, which are grouped in threes.  All silver, two silver and one brown, two brown and one silver, all brown. Repeat.

My technique of organized randomness, I guess. And simple.

square toggle and seed beads

square toggle

square toggle 2

I’m keeping this one.  Love the colors. It’s a party on my wrist.

Also, thinking that this would be a fabulous Girl’s Night Out party project…or for our next Women’s Retreat.  Always on the look out for great jewelry ideas.

So one more time…here Erin’s great tutorial !


Still playing with beads… October 30, 2015

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 10:57 am

In the last post I confessed to running to the nearest Michael’s and snatching up their last string of those dark red glass beads from the Pretty Palettes bead challenge. I’m still playing with them.

This time incorporating just a few between the large chunky wood beads in front and for a bead loop closure. If you’ve been around my blog for a month or two, you’ll also notice that I continue to play with red and turquoise palette in this necklace. Can’t seem to get enough of that color combo. Although this time, it’s more burgundy, but I still think it plays beautifully with turquoise.

At first I thought it would be too heavy a piece with all those ceramic beads around the neck…but the wood beads do lighten the load quite a bit.

chunky wood necklace 4

chunky wood necklace

As I test-drive the necklace around the house this morning, it actually feels great…you know it’s there, but it’s not annoying. I’m also checking on the security of the loop closure…bending over, jumping up and down, shaking it a bit…so far, so good.

And speaking of feels good…it’s almost feeling like Fall in Southern California this week. So I decided to make steak and potato pasties. I actually thought that they were a Swedish dish, because my Swedish grandmother made these and on to our whole family. Not until I was a teenager did I learn that she got the recipe from the wives of Welsh miners who lived in Butte, Montana. My grandfather was a night foreman in the Mt. Con mine.


           It’s still a treat to prepare and even better to eat…and always reminds me of family.


Pretty Palettes October Challenge Reveal ! October 28, 2015

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

I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago about an invitation from Erin Prais Hintz to partner with her for this month’s Pretty Palettes bead challenge, sponsored by Halcraft Company…which produces all those wonderful Bead Gallery beads. Halcraft not only sponsors these monthly challenges, but their website has tons of great design inspiration. They also have a fantastic Pinterest site with even more design ideas for you.

                   Here is this month’s inspiration photo and color palette…

                                                    perfectly timed for Fall.




Erin selected and sent me this gorgeous group of Bead Gallery beads to design anything I wanted. Oh, my!




I was struck by two things immediately with this color palette of beads.

First off, the range of gray tones. While there’s the expected gold, burnt orange, and burgundy, there’s two shades of gray. Unusual, for sure. And I love gray! And I’ve added more gray to my Fall wardrobe than any other color the last few years.  Tops, sweaters, knitted neck scarves, comfy suede flats… Designing jewelry that would compliment gray clothing pieces would be a focus.

Secondly, I wanted to use the antique silver daisy spacers more as a group, rather than individually…to show off the beaded, ruffled edge effects. To treat them as a larger element in design.


This first set uses a nice mix of materials…beads, metal daisy spacers and toggle clasp, as well as sari silk and one of my polymer clay leaves.  It was originally made to be a large button, but I’m happy to say that it fit very well into this design.


close up peek


burgundy leaf set


The next set highlights the luminous cherry quartz rounds…love this with the silver accents! Unusual combo for a Fall palette, but it would be so lovely with a gray cable knit turtleneck sweater I have. And then there’s that beautiful silver leaf toggle clasp!


leaf toggle bracelet 2



bracelet on gray



My last piece plays with a wire work design using some of that prepped copper wire I wrote about here and the 4mm opaque red glass beads that remind me so much of pomegranate seeds…




I’m so smitten with these little beauties that I purchased a another strand at Michael’s. Bought their very last one, in fact.  After creating 18 gauge hammered copper bars with wire wrapped bead links for a chain, I made a fringe of those ‘pomegranate seed’ beads dotted with a mix of natural stone, shell, turquoise, pyrite, pearl, and Czech glass beads.


fringe close up 2


fringe necklace


I think this fringed necklace would look amazing on sweaters in so many different Fall colors.  I can’t wait to get into my sweater cupboard, just as soon as the temperature drops below 70 degrees, which sadly doesn’t look like anytime soon.


The good news is that I still have plenty of beads left over from this challenge

to have many more hours of fun…

                                                             Thank you, Erin !











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