Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

Inspirations and Aspirations… January 11, 2019

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 12:11 pm

Happy New Year to you all!  Hope 2019 will be one of great surprises and opportunities to create in whatever medium you use or would like to start using!

I thought my first post for this year should be about these little gems of inspiration.  I have been collecting some mostly stone cabs for a while, waiting for inspiration to hit.  The next jewelry class session starts at the end of January and will focus again on creating settings and setting stones.  I’m ready!  I have this lovely collect of inspirations. And I have aspirations of continuing to hone my metal smithing and stone setting skills.

First up…I’ve had these two the longest.  The one on the left is a beautiful glass cab. The one on the right…just not sure what it is, but it’s a bit uneven in height around the edges.



Isn’t this one pretty?  It’s a Rhodolite Garnet. The description said that it’s a Polki Rose cut. The unusual faceting is one thing that drew me to this stone. I’m thinking of creating a ring with this.






These three are smallish.  Pinkie is a very odd shaped Rhododrosite.  Not sure why I even purchased this.




I’m super excited about these two!  The one on the left is a Dendritic Opal. Love, love the white with contrasting black.  One could almost imagine a winter scene on the surface. I’d love to use annealed steel with this or go for a really black, oxidized sterling silver.

The one next to it is a Labradorite druzy.  Druzies are very popular these days, but I’ve never seen a Labradorite.  It’s quite thick, so I’ll really need to think about a setting for this one.




The top three in this pic were freebies with my order of the Opal and Lab cabochons.  Two more labradorite and another smaller druzy.  Sweet!!  The deep blue oval stone at the bottom is a Blue faceted Tourmaline.  The photo just does not give this one justice.  Such a deep, deep blue.  I may need to cut out the back of the setting to allow in more light???  




And finally, the twin of the Ammonite I prong set in sterling silver last year.  I purchased the pair.  I was very happy with the way the setting turned out, so I’ll probably repeat this.



If you did not see my April post about the Ammonite piece, look here.

As I write this post, I realize I have set myself quite a list of projects and probably would be wise to pick my top three cabs.  Hmmm…a hard choice to be sure!

What Inspirations and Aspirations do you have for this fresh, new year?






Wire Whimsies… November 20, 2018

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 10:59 am

Looking for easy, fun holiday gifts for friends and family?  So was I!  These garden whimsies are not only economical, but give you another way to use those hard earned wire wrangling skills from your jewelry making.

Supplies are annealed steel wire from the hardware store…I used 16 gauge for the flower frames and 19 gauge for the birdies.  The bead wrapping was with 24 gauge.  Note: the 16 gauge was actually used for wrapping rebar and came in a wax paper type wrapping. The 300 plus foot roll was less than 5 bucks! That makes a whole lot of flowers!


wirework 2


This black annealed wire is pliable even in the thicker gauges. I did use tools to manipulate it, but also used my fingers…the best tools I have!  Two things to know about this wire. First it has a black and slightly oily coating.  You’ll see it on your hands for sure.  Second, this coating helps protect it from rust when wet. Since I want these to be used outside in the garden, I spray the finished piece with two coats of Permalac.  

These are the tools I had handy.


wirework 1


Notice the nippers I used…DO NOT use your jewelry wire cutters. The steel is too strong and will ruin them.  Yes, I did learn this the hard way.

And you’ll need some sparklies….These are from Michael’s this week.  The red labels were half price and all regularly priced jewelry supplies were 50% off! They are all about 6mm and the flowers use maybe 30 plus each.  It all depends on how big your flowers are and how closely you wrap the beads. 


wirework 3

Score for the team!

For the flowers, I spiraled the wire right off the spool.  It took about 5 feet of wire to get ten wraps.  Bent the wire at 90 degrees and straightened the curve out with my wire straightening tool for a stem.  Then, used pliers to create the leaf.  Nipped off the end to leave the stem piece about 12 inches long.  The length is up to you.  The total wire length for the frame was about 7 feet.  The flowers ended up being 4 to 5 inches in diameter.

Using the 24 gauge wire, I wired the bottom of the flower spiral to the stem and wrapped the beads around the outer spiral.  Then wire wrapped the stem to add a touch more detail and stability.  Expect to use about 6 feet of this wire.


wirework 4


Love how these are free flowing and a bit wonky…it adds to the charm! You can also fiddle with the spirals to suit your needs.  Or push them out a little so they have some dimension.  

I also played around with bird designs.  These are for hanging in a window or a tree branch, but I think they would also be super cute on a wire stem and perched in a potted plant as well.


wirework 5


If you need some inspiration or design ideas, I’ve been saving a ton of ideas on a Pinterest board named Wire Whimsy.  There’s also lots of Christmas wire ornament ideas.  Are 111 pins showing a bit of an obsession?

Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving!

And happy wire wrangling!



My favorite craft event! November 7, 2018

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 10:27 am

This weekend will be the tenth FPC Holiday Market and I remember the first one…I was so nervous. It was the first time I was selling my jewelry to the public. Do you remember your first selling event? I felt like a new mother taking her precious baby out in public for the first time and wondering if people would ooh and aah and love them as much as I did.  Or just stare blankly  and walk on by with no reaction what so ever.

Well, it turned out pretty well and has grown into my favorite market experience. And people have been very generous and kind and encouraging of my work. I am grateful.




Today, I am excited to share this piece with you. The gorgeous sand dollar focal is by a local potter named Miki Yamamoto. I’ve gotten to know her over the past several years at this event. She’s a lovely person and amazing potter.  Miki’s Pottery

I was lucky enough to snag this sand dollar (Uh, that sounds like I pilfered it. I didn’t.) She  told me she thought they’d make good jewelry, but she just didn’t have time to make anything. I told her I’d try out something and have it ready for this event.  


Tidepool Treasures


It just called out for some additional beachy, tide pool treasures to finish a necklace. Luckily, I had all these bits in my stash. Including the thick creamy Irish waxed linen cord. Abalone discs, shell buttons, mother of pearl nuggets. Plus carved stone and matte agate beads. The loose knotted cording just seemed right for this casual design. 


Tidepool 3

Hope Miki likes it and thinks I did her work justice.


Kintsugi… October 30, 2018

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 3:38 pm

The first time I read this word…Kintsugi…was in a jewelry blog a couple of weeks ago.  The woman who was posting shared that the stone she was attempting to bezel set mystifyingly broke in two pieces.  She asked her readers to post suggestions as to how to rectify this seeming tragedy.  One commenter wrote that Kintsugi might just work.  

Kintsugi? What’s that? Okay, it caught my attention! And that began my happy rabbit trail into this fascinating repair technique, that expanded to its own art form, and then blossomed into a philosophy of acceptance. If you are unfamiliar with Kintsugi (also known as Kintsukuroi) I suggest you do your own on line search and see where it leads you. Meanwhile, here’s a few tantalizing tidbits… 





This technique of repairing broken pottery began in the 1500’s in Japan and over time taken on the more personal life philosophy.  Closely related to it’s cousin, Wabi Sabi.




Can you see how this might apply to your jewelry work?  There are many places on the internet to find faux Kintsugi ‘fixes’, using two part epoxy or strong glue and gold mica powder in place of lacquer and real powdered gold or silver. 

I’m inserting a link here to a very entertaining youtube video with some good info about DIY fixes, especially if you are interested in a food safe repair.

I have begun to experiment with this DIY technique.  And while I had no broken pots or vases laying around, I did try to break a couple of small plates from the thrift store to practice on.  Crazy, huh?  Not as easy as it sounds.  Giving just the right amount of whack with a hammer is iffy.  I was trying for 3-4 larger pieces, but got way too many. But plenty to practice with, I guess.

Here’s a couple of early tries…  First, just two pieces and the edges.  The application is a bit sloppy. One blog just used a match stick to apply the colored epoxy.  Messy!  Had to clean up with a fine craft razor blade tool.

Kintsugi 1


Then, this small piece of plate with three sea glass pieces.  Still hard for me to control the application. I glued a pin fastener to the back.

Kintsugi 3


Really liked the sea glass bits outlined in the gold.  This one still needs more ‘clean up’ with the razor blade.


Kintsugi 2


One more experiment yesterday…this time with just sea glass.  While not Kintsugi pottery mending, I do like using the gold epoxy to connect and outline the sea glass. And I used a small paint brush to apply the goop…seemed to have more control.


tri sea glass 3


I really would like to get my hands on some broken cabochons or stones to try this technique of repairing them.  Could be really great looking!  Do any of you have experience with this technique?

Would love to hear from you!




Full Steam Ahead… October 6, 2018

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 2:32 pm
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The first of three holiday markets is coming up next Saturday and I’m working up some pretty jewelry to tempt the customers. Just posting photos of some new makes today.  Bird nests, hoops, leather cuffs, and sterling hearts.  Plus my very popular bracelets made from recycled glass beads I brought home from Ghana this summer.  LOVE!



birdnest 1


four cuffs


cobalt czech


colbalt hoops


3 hearts 2


Ghana bracelets


amethyst heart charm


Now I just have to inventory, price and tag, and store these babies til next weekend!





Cast Aways… September 20, 2018

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 11:52 am

I am five weeks into a lost wax casting class.  This is my third or fourth try at it.  My success rate is hovering about 50 percent in getting useful pieces for jewelry. My technique is pretty simple…stamping a design into a small lump of flattened wax or using die cutters with wax sheet.  Or using plastic/resin buttons.  I would love to have some castings of organic materials, like leaves…but these have been epic fails for me.  Other students have done some really amazing things with bits and pieces of nature and I’m a bit jealous. And also very happy for them.  Lost wax is a hard taskmaster, so we celebrate every success and commiserate each loss.

Here’s a few photos from my most recent foray…

This first one shows the incomplete cast of leaf.  This is the backside where I ‘painted’ a thin coat of wax to add some stability and thickness. Also shows the sprue (base). Fortunately, I can use this solid silver piece in another casting attempt.

casting 3

This small charm is from a stamped lump of sculpting wax.  I realized after finishing it that it was too thick to use small jump rings. So I’m going to grind down the back to reduce the depth of the piece.  I’ll try an recover the silver dust to reuse.

casting 2

The back needs some more work!

casting 1


 Think I like this silver initial charm, but again it is so thick. It’s not only heavy, but kind of a waste of silver.  Then, there is this cute butterfly…I loved it when it came out of the casting plaster.  This is one that I punched out of wax sheet. A butterfly and a tiny flower. I use metal design stamps to decorate before casting and made one hole at the top.

Then, I decided to punch another hole at the bottom for a gem stone dangle and the metal was too thin and broke…  Big time sad!

It’s now scrap metal.

casting 4

Here’s a finished necklace with a textured heart.  Hand formed from sculpting wax and stamped.  Again, it’s pretty thick and weighty, but it looks great.

casting 5


casting 6


So the lesson to learn…not too thick and not too thin.

Just like Goldilocks, I’m searching for “just right”.

 We’ll see if I can pull it off with the next batch.



Easing in… September 6, 2018

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 2:25 pm
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The calendar is staring me in the face these days. I have several Fall craft fairs starting in early October and don’t have much in the jewelry coffers.  Been pretty lazy this summer, so I really, really need to get started.  And it seems to me that the longer I go without creating something, the harder it is to get back into it.  Is that true with you?

Today, I decided to start with something simple that uses up lots of odds and ends that still clutter my work bench.  It was kind of fun picking through the little piles and choose beads and such that might be useful.  The pink buttons were an after thought.

Last year I made a few of these crystal sun catchers right after Christmas and thought these would be a great little addition to my jewelry display tables.  I have a wonderful little tree display that would suit these perfectly and catch the light.  Hoping this will help catch customers’ attention and draw them into my booth.  Like bees to fragrant flowers…


These are last year’s crystal hangers…

crystal hangers


These are today’s makings…


suncatcher 1


suncatcher 2


sun catcher 3


Seven done…well, almost done.  I still need to make the wire loop hangers. While not jewelry, I hope shoppers will be delighted with these one of a kind sparklies for friends and family.  And truth-be-told, there are still piles of orphan beads to use up.  Good thing I purchased a box of 12 crystal chandelier replacement pieces.


Postscript…   Finished two more and now I’m done.  The “beachy” sun catcher is quirky, but I kind of like it!


sun catcher 4