Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

Taking care of business… February 1, 2016

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 3:01 pm

In my last post I went public about some things that needed attending to.  In particular, two bezel set pieces that needed more finishing work. So at last Tuesday’s evening class, I introduced myself to the flex shaft and some polishing bits.  I was pretty much playing around with some of the cones and wheels to see what effect they had on the silver. The bezel edges also got a bit more attention with the burnisher to see if they would sit flatter against the coral and glass cabochons. Much better, I think.




I was trying to achieve more of a ‘mirror shine’ on the bezel backs…Take a close look at the one on the right.  When I went was photo editing, imagine my surprise to see the edge of my camera and two of my fingers reflected in the silver!  Now that’s a shine!




Now to that pesky prong setting from the last post…also worked like crazy in class to get the joins soldered.  That’s 12 joins on the piece. And desperately trying not to melt the ones I’d finished while soldering others.  Thought I had it once.  But when I went to set the stone, one of the prongs popped off…so back to pickling, soldering, pickling, cleaning and polishing all over again. But, necessary.

The good news is that I got lots and lots of practice with pick soldering…I used to set the tiny pallions of solder on the join before using the torch.  Pick solder has you heat the pallion until it balls up. Then scoop it up on the tip of your pick…then you go in with the torch to heat up your bezel. When the metal’s all warmed up, then you set the solder down on the join.  What I liked about this method is you didn’t accidentally ‘blow’ the solder bit off its join while you were heating up the piece.

Blue Nile 4


Blue Nile 3


I decided this necklace needed some largish sterling silver links wrapped around some colorful Tibetan beads.


Blue Nile 5


Blue Nile 6


Here’s the youtube video from Beaducation that demonstrates freeform prong setting and pick soldering.

 I’ll definitely give this another try !



Airing some laundry… January 23, 2016

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 10:39 am

Am I trying to be too cute with my blog titles?  Hmmm….

What I’m alluding to are some things in my jewelry making that need to see the light of day.  These have been tucked away for awhile, partly because they show just how much I need to learn to bring my skills to a new level.

Two bezel settings are first up. These are from a jewelry class that ended last spring. I am self aware enough to know that there are some big problems with them, especially in the finishing department. Having reenrolled in two session for this spring, my goals are to used these two pieces to really work on filing, sanding, and polishing.  They still won’t be up to snuff because of some soldering boo-boos, but they can still serve as practice pieces. There are a few “waves and knicks” in the bezel edge on the coral piece and the decorative beading on the Czech glass piece is not butted up to the bezel in places. And a little blob of too much solder on the right side of the bail.  A date with the sanding wheel is in its future!

 I have a gorgeous labradorite cabochon waiting in the wings, so I want to be more skilled when I tackle that one.


two bezels


I show you the back so you can see what lies ahead…all those scratches! Can I get these to a mirror finish?

 We shall see…


two bezel backs


Next up is my first effort with a prong setting…

After watching a video, I thought “Well, that looks pretty easy and within my skill set”. But as sometimes happens, instead of starting with a simple project, my brain takes on grandiose plans with something I’ve never actually tried before.  Does that ever happen to you?  I do this with recipes I’ve never made before too.  Adding ingredients, or worse yet…substituting ingredients because I want to make it NOW and don’t exactly have the right things in my pantry.

While at a local bead shop, I honestly did look for a simple cabochon to try out prong setting.  When what to my wandering eyes should appear…but a big tray of these gorgeous Lapis Lazuli carved beads.

And there it begins…


carved lapis



I already had a small stash of these Tibetan beads I’d been saving for “the perfect project”.

In my head, I see a beautifully finished chain of polished, hammered sterling rings and these lovely colored stone beads. Oh, yeah!


carved lapis and beads


Here was the plan…following the video tutorial from Beaducation, make a base from 16 gauge sterling wire.

Easy. Check.

Mark out the placement of the prongs, cut pieces from 18 gauge wire, and solder into place.



prong set 1


prong set 2


Check…uh…these prongs were looking way too flimsy  for this stone. My class teacher suggested one option of bending each prong into a U shape.  Good thing I had cut the wire extra long. Maybe a possibility.  Or cut them off, file and sand the base smooth again and cut the prongs from 16 gauge wire.

Also need to solder a U shaped bail at the top.


prong set 3


So, what to do?  Not sure yet…still thinking.  Stay tuned…




How’s your New Year going? January 15, 2016

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 10:40 am

Hope it’s off to a great start! And there’s nothing like a little challenge to get your jewelry making juices flowing.  I’ve written many times before about Earrings Everyday blog. Not only to they have a team of designers that have a wonderfully wide variety of styles to share…they post a monthly design challenge. January’s inspiration was the new Pantone colors for 2016. There’s been lots of chatter on the web about the two color choices this year…Rose Quartz and Serenity.  Pretty much pale pink and baby blue.


If you’d like to read about the original challenge, go here.  While Pantone highlights these two colors as trends for Spring 2016, they also show a palette of ten that are suppose to be unisex and playful.


In my mind, inspiration is not meant to be literal, but is to ‘tickle’ your mind and fire up your imagination…so the colors in these two pair of earrings don’t really fall into this palette, but are inspired by it…

The pink in these faceted glass beads is much more vivid, florescent even.  The rhinestones and pearls give both pair of earrings a romantic feminine theme.


Pink and pearls


The Amazonite in this pair is a much paler version of the turquoise in the Pantone palette. Again it plays well with the brass and pearls in this asymmetric design.


Amazonite and Moon charm


To see what others have created for January’s challenge, visit Earrings Everyday !


Do you have any plans to jump start your New Year jewelry making?




Merry Christmas, Everyone! December 24, 2015

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 12:02 pm

      So happy to say that a pretty pair of red earrings will be going to a new home with CANDY  WATTS!  # 8 came up lucky this time!


red glass button earrings


      Please let me know your email, Candy, so I can arrange delivery after the holiday festivities.



                           Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happiest of Holidays!

Like the Wise Men…may we seek the only One who can fill the emptiness in our heart and give true peace.

                         God came to earth to do what we could never do…save ourselves.




Merry Giftie to You ! December 16, 2015

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 1:20 pm

     Santa brought me an early present yesterday…it landed right in my mailbox.  Truthfully, it was a little gift to myself.  Some of my new favorite recycled glass button beads. In three colors!  Cobalt, turquoise, and a deep red. And I’m making up some pretty earrings this afternoon.

     First, I apply a coat of Renaissance Wax and give each piece a good buffing. I like what it does to the finish and coating provides some measure of protection against accidental scratching of the glass surface.


glass button beads

      I love these because they are made of recycled glass, but even more for their luminous colors. My poor attempts to photograph them with the sunlight behind failed miserably. You’ll just have to take my word that they are even more gorgeous  if you have short hair like me…or wear your hair in a party up-do.


red glass button earrings

     To spread a tiny bit of holiday cheer, I’m gifting a pair of these to one of you!  Just leave which color you would prefer…cobalt, turquoise, or red… in your comment post.

     Be sure to leave your email if needed, so I can reach you easily if your number comes up.  I’m also happy to switch out this long sterling silver ear wire for a shorter French hook style. This giveaway is open until Wednesday, December 23rd.  I’ll post the winner on Christmas Eve.  I probably won’t be able to mail out the prize until the next Monday…maybe these should be called Happy New Yearrings!

(P.S. Dear WordPress, how can I keep these snowflakes falling all year long??  I just love them!)

Merry Christmas, Happiest of Holidays,

and a Sparkling New Year!



New display… December 10, 2015

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 12:57 pm

   This is what I came up with for the new display at Creative Crossroads…

with a heaping portion of help from my husband.

     We found some old dirty redwood boards from a long ago fence that is no longer there.  I gave them a good scrubbing with a wire brush before he made the frame to my specifications.  A friend had some old cork bulletin board removed for a classroom remodel.  This was given new life after covering it with a cream-colored linen fabric.  I fancied it up a bit with some fabric flowers and buttons and a small chalkboard holder for my business cards.


CXR jewelry display 2


All ready for tonight’s Taste and Tinis of Hillcrest !

With a ticket, one can amble a self guided tour of restaurants

to sample food and martinis and do some fabulous shopping.

Can’t say as I’ve ever had a martini,

but I’m down with food and shopping part!



Now It’s Play Time! December 6, 2015

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 5:24 pm

Just click on the first photo to access an enlarged slideshow!



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