Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

Simple Stretchy Fun! May 19, 2020

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 3:10 pm

Stretch bracelets

I’m not tackling anything too difficult these days with jewelry. Just looking for some easy fun with supplies that I already have. I haven’t used stretch cord in a very long time, so these were a bit of fun yesterday. Got out all my seed beads and smallish beads. The knots ended up too large to slide inside the seed beads, so I camouflaged them with a dangling charm. Beaded 14 inches of pre-stretched cord so they can easily double wrap on my wrist.

Added note…I wanted a random look for the aqua-green and gold bracelet with the palm tree charm. I learned this easy trick to do this. Pretty sure I’ve shared this before, but it’s been awhile.

First I decided on a number sequence with 1-5.

I chose 4-1-3-5-2.
Using this number pattern for the greenish beads, I put a gold bead between each grouping. EX. 4 greens, 1 gold, 1 green, 1 gold, 3 greens, 1 gold, etc… Keep repeating the pattern until you reach the desired length.
Does that make sense? Visually you get a random look with little effort and without the worry about the outcome.  Works like a charm every time!


Stay well and keep washing your hands, friends!


Taking the challenge! April 30, 2020

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 1:46 pm

    I’ve been able to participate in a four week jewelry course via Zoom through our Adult School…free of charge.  Their goal isn’t so much new learning, but keeping people connected during our isolation. Admirable goal, for sure, and I am grateful see friends each week.

    Understanding that we have widely varying supplies and tools in our homes, our teacher has tried to come up with a weekly project or challenge everyone can participate in.  Last week, after sharing tutorials, she asked us to try out Kumihimo, a sort of round weaving technique.  I made my own ‘loom’ out of scrap cardboard and used some white and turquoise thickish twine.  Fun, but don’t have any end caps to finish the cord into a bracelet.

    This past Tuesday, Pam gave us a new challenge theme…polka dots.  Create any piece of jewelry using a dot inspiration.  Very open-ended, again we don’t have the ability to go out shopping for supplies. This gave me the opportunity to go digging into my supply closet and shelves to see what I have on hand.  I am both pleased and chagrined to write that I found a treasure trove…a small box of wonderful, colorful Jennifer Heynen beads and connectors.  I must explain…Some of you might remember her Michael’s line of components under the name Jennifer Jangles.  I loved her colorful, whimsical ceramic work. Well, the line was discontinued long ago and when all the remnants when on clearance, I bought up quite a lot.  Then, evidently, promptly forgot I did this.  I’ve had this selection for many years now and just rediscovered its delights yesterday…and how perfectly suited they are for this challenge!

                An embarrassment of riches.


Dot challenge 6

Dot challenge 7


   You can see that she not only loves color and stripes, but lots and lots of dots.  Perfect!

   I had a lovely morning deciding on a design for a necklace to meet this week’s challenge, featuring a very large, red, polka-dotted flower. And although, they are hard to see in my photos, the yellow beads also have dots. I think the nice round beads might also qualify as “dot-ish”, too.  What do you think?


Dot challenge 5


   Here is the result of my playtime.  Made even easier, because I used some of her already beaded chain.  Just added a few bits and bobs, here and there.  Also, thought a pair of asymmetrical earrings completed this whimsical set.


Dot challenge 4


Dot challenge 2


Dot challenge 1


   Great news is that there are still plenty of

Jennifer Jangles to have more fun with!


All dress up and nowhere to go… April 23, 2020

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 4:00 pm

   I rarely look at the calendar anymore…all the meetings, classes, appointments, granddaughter’s swim meets, lunches, Bible studies, etc… are canceled. But I happened to glance at it today and noticed that our 11th annual Women’s Retreat would have started tomorrow.  We decided to cancel over a month ago, but were able to reserve for next April.

   It made me really sad. I miss these women and this sacred time together.

   These five pair of earrings were made by me about two months ago as gifts for the leadership team.  I purchased a package of gold plated teardrop frames with the idea of creating a variety of designs for these gifts.  Happy with the results, but not sure if they will be saved for next year or not.  April, 2021 seems like a long time away.


         Praying it’s a very different world by then.

five earrings


Corona pastimes… April 19, 2020

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 1:23 pm

Hoping and praying you are all well and staying cozy at home.  This is one crazy time.

I haven’t made much in awhile, but do have two things to share with you that were made  during this time at home.  The first one was out of desperation, I think. I had just resorted to cutting my own hair.  Let me rephrase that…Trying to cut my own hair.  I’m going to owe my hair stylist extra to repair the mess when we can all safely go outside again.  I found myself in big need of some joy…a simple moment of joy.  Making jewelry does that for me.  This necklace came from that day.  I wear it almost everyday now as a reminder that joy is a daily choice.  Not matter your place, who you are with, what you are facing.  I am not naive to the real pain and suffering in the world. It is heartbreaking.  This necklace is a touchstone to remind me to look for the joy and blessings in the midst of it all.  Simple stamped brass tag with a beautiful labradorite on a ball chain.






This second piece is over the top for me…a riot of color.  And a result of a couple of nights binge watching TV.  Looking for something to occupy my hands.


corona chain


 I ‘rediscovered’ a Tub o’Beads in the back of my closet.  The $10 inexpensive tub of glass beads from Indonesia. And a spool of 20 gauge oxidized copper wire.  So soothing running my fingers through the beads and pick out the next perfect one to add to the chain.  The hardest part was the decision to end the chain…at 42 inches.  Adding a toggle clasp allowed me to wear it as one very long single chain or double it.  I then decided to make two different focal dangles on lobster claws that would make this necklace even more convertible.  Wear one or both dangles. It was a fun project and a great calming activity in the midst of this upheaval of life.  


corona chain 2


How are you coping?  What activities are keeping you calm or finding moments of joy?  Are you finding any creative inspiration during this pandemic crisis?  I hope so.

But if not, we can all give ourselves grace to just be still.  






Hello, friends…it’s been awhile. December 5, 2019

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 2:15 pm

Yes, I really mean hello again.  I’ve missed you!  It’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted.  A combination of many reasons, but it all comes down to L.I.F.E.

It feels good to have a little something to share with you all.  I was still able to take a class this fall with the Adult School.  I’m currently working to finish up a necklace with a setting created for a dendritic opal cabochon.  A gorgeous stone and it’s also most ready to set.  Then onto making a chain with wire wrapped moon stones.  I hope to show it off at the end of next week!

Most class sessions, our teacher has a fun little side challenge for us.  She brings in some random (not jewelry) pieces for us to take home and create something with it.  One time there were bullet casings, another time some shiny gold discs from electronic something or other.  Last year, she had a big pile of hard metal open rectangles.  Have no idea what they were for.  Too hard to bend or hammer or cut. And couldn’t solder with them either.

This session, someone gifted her huge bags of random buttons.  Kinda plain.  Nothing that said “WOW!”    Black, white, clear, and beige looking.  We could take as many as we wanted and had to use at least one button in our design.  Other materials could also be used.

Next week is our last class and our showcase.  Here’s what I came up with.  I did use more than one button…okay, more than thirty…  Also, carved stone beads, a few mother of pearl nuggets.  All knotted on waxed linen cord.


Buttons 1


buttons 2


In the spirit of the challenge and with generosity, another student brought in some big mother of pearls buttons to share with us.  I used two of these pretty babies to make a swishy pair of earrings.


Mother of pearl buttons


     Stay tuned for the unveiling of the finished necklace!  

I’m hopeful!



Thoughts on creativity… May 31, 2019

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 2:58 pm

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about creativity.  Specifically, my own creativity and my process.  I think everyone is creative in their own way(s) and their creative process can be very individualistic.  No scientific research here, just my own musings about myself…fancy word is metacognition.  Why do I do what I do and how do I go about it?  Have you ever thought about these things?

I came into jewelry making late in my life.  Actually the year I retired from teaching elementary school at 57 years old. At that time I had no idea that I would become so passionate about it and truly enjoy the making and the learning.  I sometimes wonder who I’d be and what I’d be doing now, if I had discovered jewelry making at a much younger age.  And sometimes I feel that I won’t have enough TIME left in my life to learn everything I want to learn about creating jewelry or something else entirely new I haven’t even thought about yet. There is an urgency to my quest. And maybe that’s why I sometimes feel like my attention is so scattered.  Like dog who sees squirrels everywhere and wants to chase them all.

But TIME cuts both ways… In one way, I have less time, but in another perhaps more important way, I have more time now.  I have more time in retirement to explore, take classes, and practice what I’m learning. It is a gift that not everyone has and I do not want to waste it, but use it with all the gratitude I have.

For me, creativity starts with CURIOSITY.  I remember being fascinated with jewelry pieces in shows or museums or shops and thinking…How did they do that?  Where did they start? What did they do next?  What materials did they use? I wanted to turn the pieces over and upside down to investigate all the parts. Trying to imagine their process. My curiosity extends to many things in the world.  Cooking, sewing, art, architecture… I try to break things down into smaller steps. Take them apart in my head and then put them back together.  I am happy and excited when I follow where my curiosity takes me.

While I continue to pursue jewelry making, I can and do take the time to get side tracked, whether it’s getting to know my cast iron skillet and get creative with recipes or discover the joys of watercoloring notecards and envelopes.  I can’t seem to get enough of watching and learning what watercolors do on paper!  I get ‘itchy fingers’ if I don’t spend a little time each day with paints and paper.  I fall asleep at night thinking about what I want to try the next day…  Sound familiar???


cards 12


These next two are my attempts to copy what I’ve seen on Pinterest.  Again, trying to figure out how the artist accomplished what they did. Colors, layering, techniques, supplies… I am very grateful to all the artists who post on Pinterest, share tutorials, and write blogs about their own experiences and experiments. We all benefit in our own understanding and helping others learn.


winter woods



The last little bit I’ve learned about myself in creative pursuits is that I like SOLITUDE and SPACE. While I do like the camaraderie of other people in classes and occasional craft parties I get “testy” when I’m interrupted, either by people or events (phone, doorbell, etc…) Not pretty.  I remember going to a Beading Party night at the local bead shop, where everyone brings their projects to work on.  Lovely people, fun atmosphere.  But I quickly discovered that as I got into my project of making wire wrapped rings, I got very quiet and focused. Kind of tuned out everyone around me. While I did make a dozen rings that night, the others probably thought I was a pretty unfriendly sort and glad I didn’t return. I also like lots of space to get out all my supplies before I start.  While I have a lovely room for all my stuff, I tend to like to take over the kitchen island and all the counters as well.  And the laundry room. I savor my alone time and space to really dig in and create stuff. It always amazes me how much time passes when I get ‘in the zone’. Four hours gone in a heart  beat.


Exhibit A… work bench evidence of a messy ‘creative mind’. Project left-overs, jewelry to be re-created, and projects-to-be. Yikes! Someday, it will again be used to make things, instead of a repository of stuff.


work bench


So there you have it.  My few thoughts about my creativity.  It starts with having a curious mind about the world around me and beyond me. It flourishes with time.  And bears fruit with solitude and space.

How about you?  Have you thought about your creativity?  Where does it start?  What is needed for it to flourish and bear fruit?

I’d love to hear from you!



Two for the road… May 14, 2019

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 7:41 pm

I have one craft fair commitment this spring out at the lovely Summers Past Farms. They have a one day Lavender Festival on June 8th.  I wanted to include many of the PMC pieces I have made in this event.  So here’s the newest finished necklaces…


Honey Bee with citrine chips. Haven’t decided yet, but I might go back and oxidize this pendent. 

Homey bee PMC


Honey bee PMC 2



And a patterned heart with turquoise chips

turquoise heart PMC



Heart PMC 2


All findings on these fine silver pendants are either sterling silver or fine silver.  I have two more weeks of class and did invest in another packet of PMC.

Stay tuned…