Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

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 that 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!









Gifts for Friends… April 26, 2016

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 5:14 pm

This week is crazy busy, but fun. We’re getting ready for our annual Women’s Retreat this weekend with almost 100 women…more than ever before. So excited to see old friends and make new ones. This is the first year that the program is being planned by the next generation… such a gift to have younger women share what God has been doing in their lives.

As a little thank you, I’ve made bracelets for the two co-leaders. The engraved bracelet bars are from Michaels and I thought they would love the sentiment.


It is well 2



It is well


Next up is a gift for our Women’s Bible Study teacher.  We tackled Revelation this year and she has done a truly amazing job giving us a balanced scriptural understand of this book of hope.  I’ve had this pair of serving spoons/salad servers for quite awhile…intending to ‘bead them up’ sometime. Well, today was the day to get them jazzed up with lots of interesting glass beads with a beach-y theme.  Love how they turned out and BONUS!

     The beads give them a really nice weight and feel!


beaded spoons2


POP UP Ready ! April 15, 2016

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 9:15 pm

     Tomorrow is POP UP Market Day at Mona Lizzy’s Studio in North Park. I’ll be there from 11:00-5:00. So I’m spending today making sure all the jewelry is polished, tagged, and ready to go. And I’m thrilled that I don’t have to provided tables or lug the pop up tent. Always check that my phone is charged and the Square is working properly.

      Here’s a peek at some new pieces that will be offered for customers’ shopping pleasure…

Sterling Silver and Chalcedony


Etched Copper and Amethyst Crystals

copper and amethyst crystals

Copper with Sterling Accents

copper rings

Some long ‘charming’ key necklaces…

the keys

two keys

And two sweet bird nest and key necklaces

with some lovely faceted ammonite beads.

nest and key

nest and key 2

I think I’m ready to go!




And one more small detour… April 7, 2016

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 11:56 am

    Today, it is finally raining as long promised by the weather channels…actually expecting  rain through the whole weekend.  And here in Southern California, we can  use every drop.

     A very good day to work on one more project…making up batches of DIY Lip Balms for a show and tell gathering time at our Women’s Retreat that last weekend of this month. Almost 100 women will gather at the historic Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside. Founded in 1798 and known as the King of Missions.  They offer a beautiful, peaceful retreat center…with generous hospitality to all who come.

    On Saturday evening we put together small gatherings with those willing to share their skills and talents, everything from making salsa to making simple earrings to easy, no bake desserts…and more.  Last year I offered a “make and take” DIY Sugar Scrub.   The ladies loved it!  So, this year I decided to look for more body care ideas…I’ve made lotion bars, lip balms, and a lovely milk and oatmeal bath soak.  All recipes found by the boatload on Pinterest.  Only one venture bombed…I mean really bombed!  Just could not get the right formula or technique for those bath fizzy bombs that are popular now.  Tried several recipes and techniques for adding ingredients.  But all except one did what I called a Pre-Bomb…the mixtures just kept slowly exploding and oozing out of the silicone cupcake forms.

Here’s an easy recipe I’ll share for the lip balm:

    3 Tablespoons shaved bee’s wax (Michaels)

    2 Tablespoons shea butter (found mine at a local organic market)

    3 Tablespoons coconut oil ( Target)

   Bits of old lipstick

Notes:  You might also consider getting bee’s wax in the bead form for easier prep. I purchased mine in a large block and used a veggie peeler for make shavings. For another source of shea butter, check the hair care sections that cater to African Americans.  Make sure to purchase 100 percent shea butter and not a shea lotion.  Coconut oil is so popular now, most grocery stores carry it. I actually used one less tablespoon than the 4 T.  in the original recipe, as I didn’t want it to be too oily feeling.  3T. is great.


Lip Balm 1

I purchased 50 clear plastic lip balm pots from Amazon for $10. From PSC Products.

Directions:  In a small glass bowl, melt the bee’s wax in the microwave. I do this in 30 second increments and stir with a plastic or metal spoon.  It took about 3-4 times to melt completely.  Be careful to use potholders, as the bowl will be hot.  Add in the shea butter, coconut oil, and about a one inch piece of lipstick. Stir until melted.  Microwave a bit more if needed.

 Using a small spoon, ladle into the lip balm pots. Let cool. It solidifies pretty quickly. Add the lids.

This recipe makes between 14-16 small pots.


Lip Balm Pots


I made these 50 lip balms using only 3 batches of the recipe.  Actually the last time I added a bit more of each ingredient to fill the last 22 pots( neutral shade on the right).  I really like this recipe…very easy and economical.  Feels great on the lips and love just a hint of color you get.  This would make a great party project for teen girls, too.


   Credit where credit is due!   The link to the recipe site from Happiness is Homemade.

   Next time I’ll photograph mine in a cute white bowl!









Small distractions… April 5, 2016

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 2:27 pm

      Last week, my post was about my attempts to get myself in gear and out of idle mode…

      I’ve been able to get some work done this past week, and probably would have finished more, had it not been for the fact that I get easily distracted.  Pinterest is a big distractor for me…especially in the yummy recipe department.  I blame the mouth-watering photos of the food.  Recently I’ve been obsessed with meringues…so easy and they make elegant, light dessert bases for whipped cream and berries, aka Pavlovas.  Or ice cream and hot fudge sauce.




      My next distraction happened yesterday with a quick stop at a gift shop…spied these cool looking wine glasses that had been decorated with glass pebbles and wire wrapping.  Of course, I rushed home and dug around in my cupboard for an old wine glass. Then, through my craft bins to find those glass pebbles I knew were somewhere in there.  Eureka!

     I did have to figure out how to glue those pebbles onto the glass first. E6000 seemed to be my best shot at it…but of course, they kept sliding down the glass. I finally decided to hold them in place with pieces of blue painter’s tape for a few hours til they were dry.  Then, added the swirly wire wrapping with 18 gauge non-tarnish silver artisan wire.  Bingo!


beaded wineglass


    Kind of hard to photograph, but I think the solid background is better.  Think my next attempt will be to fancy up a plain glass flower vase. Sweet.


beaded wine glass 2


     Lastly, another pair of 14K gold filled ear threads with gorgeous pearls.


gold and pearl threads


                           And I just may keep these too!







Getting in gear… March 31, 2016

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 10:13 am

      I had to give myself a little pep talk last week…but it hasn’t quite taken hold yet. This morning, I’m going to one of the stores that sells my jewelry and take the inventory home.  Despite some promising sales at first, it just doesn’t seem to be the venue for me. So, no more wasting time and money there.  Just not sure where to go now. Maybe reopen my Etsy and Square Market shops?  More craft fairs?  Meanwhile, I do need to get going. There is another pop up market in North Park I’ve committed to in a couple of weeks and I have big wholes in my stuff.

      I don’t do much in gold colors, but here’s two things I’ve done recently to share with you. The necklace features a beautiful verdigris brass pendant from the Zola Elements line I purchased at Lima Bead’s online shop. Beautifully detailed and good quality for very little money.  Very happy to have snagged three pendants!


verdigris feather


      I knotted some large Czech glass beads on waxed linen cord and a chunky gold chain that was ‘gifted’ to me by a friend. Finished off with a tassel made with embroidery floss.

      And then, these 14k gold filled thread earrings. Which I’m keeping, BTW. I rarely wear gold jewelry, but every once in awhile I get the hankering for it and these will fit the bill nicely.  Thread earrings are making a comeback it seems.  I purchased three sets from Rio Grande along with some 14k gold filled head pins. Love these small opalescent gold beads!


gold threads


                  Lightweight!  Good swing!  Nice sparkle!



Departure Point… March 5, 2016

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 11:40 am

       Still trying to wrap my head around the pastel pink and blue of Pantone’s color choices for 2016. The company’s promo was encouraging the mixing of the two. I did create two pair of earrings for a blog challenge a couple of months ago, but one pink and one blue. Just couldn’t quite like anything I did to mix the two.  That’s okay with me. I may not love their choices, but they are meant to turn our attention to colors that we may not normally embrace.  So here’s another one of my experiments with pink color Pantone calls Rose Quartz.

And this time, very girly.

With pearls, rhinestones, silk, and sparkle.

Very different from what I usually design.


Cherry Quartz tassel 3


It’s about 32 inches long and slips easily over the head.

 With a variety of 6mm glass pearls and beads knotted on

waxed linen cord.


Cherry quartz tassel necklace



The tassel has rhinestones, a large Cherry Quartz,

and soft, feathery silk ribbons.



Cherry quartz tassel 2


Even if it’s not my personal taste, I had fun playing with

the colors, the beads, and an esthetic that stretched  my

 brain a bit.




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