Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

UPs and DOWNs March 4, 2015

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 5:18 pm

Yesterday was a day of ups and downs…jewelry-wise. The best UP was receiving a lovely little package in the mail all the way from British Columbia. I shared about my entry in the Earrings Everyday blog challenge in my last post. What I didn’t share was that I won one of the contributor’s give-aways! A pair of earrings made by Nathalie Lesage! Whoop! Of my choice from her pewter collection! Double whoop!!

Okay, enough exclamation marks. Enough to say that I really admire her work in all metals and she is a master at creative wire wrapping. You will definitely want to treat yourself to a peek at her blog. Must add that her packaging is so lovely and professional…a treat to open and reveal the treasure inside.


















When looking at all the great choices, I was immediately drawn to this pair of mixed metals and cool embellishments.

Love everything about these long beauties.  Thank you, Nathalie!

Celine earrings


And now for the DOWNER…I’ve really been struggling in the jewelry class lately. This current project is not going smoothly. It took me five times to sweat solder the sterling silver bezel to an etched copper back plate. Grrr…  Then, last night I was soldering a pretty swirly bail to another small bezel and melted it. Really melted it.  Unrepairable. Into the scrap bowl.  This bezel was to hold a gorgeous little green agate that would hang below the larger pendant. At least in my mind.

Double Grrr…

So today, I decided to work on the piece at home rather than wait another week, because I was starting not to like it and needed to get on with the work or dump it.  The upshot is that I’m encouraged because soldering the two swirly bails onto the back plate went really well. Starting to see the possibilities again with this pendant. Not what I originally had planned, but close perhaps.  I need to finish setting the stone, oxidize and polish the piece. Thinking of making a wire wrapped stone and leather neck strap to complete it.  Encouraged is a good word, isn’t it?














Trailing Roses February 20, 2015

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 12:31 am
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This month marks the first anniversary of one of the best monthly jewelry challenges around…WE’RE ALL EARS over at the Earrings Everyday blog.  I’ve missed out the last few months, but am excited to join in today and help celebrate their first year of earring joy. Love that the sponsors come up with such unique inspirations each month…textiles, photos, paintings, architecture… And for busy people, each monthly challenge has a quick turn around time.  The inspiration is posted the first Friday of the month and the blog hop is the third Friday.  And who doesn’t l-o-v-e earrings!

This month is no exception. Lim Zhi Wei combines her lovely paintings with real flowers, especially roses, to create something special. View more of her work here.

You could say that people are waiting impatiently for Spring to arrive!







I decided to create a couple of pairs of Trailing Roses earrings using 24 gauge annealed steel wire and tiny glass pearls in pink and white.

The wire, when cleaned with steel wool, was an antique silver-gray that I thought went well with the pearls. It is also stiff enough to add needed structure to the earrings while maintaining a delicate look.

Finished with oxidized sterling ear wires.

white roses










Pink roses


When you want to give yourself a little treat, hop over to see what other jewelry artists were inspired to create from this lovely inspiration piece.

At Earrings Everyday.  Enjoy!




Done… February 14, 2015

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This piece has been in process for many weeks…and today, it is finished. Last step was three hours in the tumbler…after oxidizing and hand polishing. My nails are a total mess, but I’m happy-hearted.

This is by far my most challenging piece of jewelry.

lapis agate necklace

















lapis agate necklace 2


And on to the next project…another pendant necklace. This time I wanted to use an engraved copper back plate. The ocean jasper will first be soldered to a sterling silver back plate. Trimmed to leave a bit of silver edge showing around the stone. I’m going for a layered look. The small green agate will hang below the pendant.

          In my mind at least, this is how it will look.  We shall see…


in process ocean agate















ocean agate pendant


A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood February 9, 2015

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 1:51 pm

While I don’t normally sell at craft markets, it was hard to pass this one up…Crafting for the Cure. Vendor fees, raffle ticket sales, food sales all went to support The American Cancer Society. That feels really good…

It was a glorious San Diego day, in a beautiful park with lovely shady trees. Although I didn’t really sell much, I had great conversations with some of the 60 other vendors and people who stopped by the booth. Can’t complain.

A professional photographer even stopped by to take some photos. Glad to have this record of how I set up the tent. One thing I noticed that I am missing…if I do decide to try some other events like this…is signage. Really liked some of the professional looking banners that other vendors had displayed.

I’ll definitely have a good think about this…



Recycled Glass Joy January 29, 2015

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Could hardly wait to start working with some new recycled glass beads from Lima Beads. This on-line shop has one of the best selections of this type of bead. For these large drop beads, I decided to play with some wire wrapping…mostly on the long brass ear wires I love. Not too much, just enough to play off of the pretty opaque colors of the glass. The hardest part was wrangling the stiff brass wire for the wraps. Oh, my thumbs!

Teal glass drops


sea foam glass drops














Lime Glass drops



Lima calls this last bead ‘vintage turquoise recycled glass’…

Think I might have to order some more. Love!

aqua glass drops 2



Quick Post of New Work January 23, 2015

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 12:34 pm
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Happy Friday, everyone!

I’m still getting components and finished jewelry ready for the February 7th event…

With over 60 crafters, really feeling like I really need to bring my A game.

Just finished up this butterfly necklace with some lovely pearls.

Butterfly and pearls

Next are just a few earrings…

abalone pearls

Feather etch

flower etch

Flower etch with turn

 I hope that what sets my jewelry apart is that most all the components,

ear wires and headpins are hand made with lots of love and care.

And finally, a little progress report on my bezel setting work with this lapis agate.  I used a the sweat soldering technique to attach the ball details and bail. Which means melting tiny pieces of solder on the back of each piece first. Then hitting the setting from underneath with the flame to ‘remelt’ the solder to attach these pieces to the backing. Last steps were to set the stone and then a good polish and tumble.  My plan is to make a wire wrapped beaded chain with these beautiful little lapis lazuli stones I purchased at Lost Cities.

lapis agate pendant

Lapis agate with strand

Hope your weekend is a great one !



Hard Work is Good January 16, 2015

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 11:24 am
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I am beginning the new year with some challenging work. And although there are some definite frustrations going on, it feels really good to try something hard. Before Christmas, I took a class on tinning pendants with a soldering iron…Always wanted to give this a try. It seemed pretty easy under the watchful eye of the instructor, so I sent in a last-minute request to Santa for a soldering iron and jewelry quality silver solder. And just in case Santa heard my plea, I mailed away for some glass slides.

Super excited to give this a try. However, neglected to read up on tinning the soldering tip before tinning a piece and think I ruined the tip. Luckily there was an extra couple of tips in the package and I realized I’d better do some internet investigating on how to do this. Better luck the second go round. Still learning and my efforts were a bit gloopy, but think I’ll get the hang of it with more practice. Adding the jump ring required several tries and a third hand tool.

paris ornament

             Eiffel Tower ornament made in the class.

                       Love the touch of silk.















I also gave tinning a try one of my polymer clay hearts,

just to see if it would work.

Might make some cute Valentine necklaces.

soldered heart button 2


This is my first and only attempt at home with my new Christmas present…pretty rough edges, so I decided to add some silver blobs at the top corners and make it look “organic”, “rustic”, and “artisan”.  Covers a lot of imperfections, I hope.

Tinned pendant


Hard Work, part two…I enrolled in the adult school metals class again, mainly to work on bezel setting stones.  I have been inspired by the work of  Deborah at Cold Feet Studio. Love the flowing, organic look of her pieces. She paints, quilts, doodles, and writes, too. An amazing artist.

So, instead of just the bezel and stone, I am trying a little bit of detailed work. I mean a very little…just a few silver blobs and a vine-looking bail for a pendant. Here’s a peek at my progress.  These were my choices for the stone. I chose the lapis agate. It took me three tries to successfully solder the bezel. Grrr…

Three stones














The bezel is now soldered to the back plate, but these details are just sitting there for this photo. Next week, I’ll attempt to attach them. Then, there’s the finishing work of setting the stone and filing and sanding the back plate. Not sure if I’ll antique the silver yet, but I definitely want to hand make the chain, with perhaps some silver wrapped lapis beads. The best news so far was an easy-peasy sawing experience for the back plate.

Not one broken blade!

Lapis agate 2


I’ll keep you posted on it’s progress. Wish me luck !



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