Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

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!









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!










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