Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

Pretty Palettes Challenge October 8, 2015

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 10:12 am

I received a very special invitation earlier this week. From a very creative soul, Erin Prais-Hintz. The owner of Tesori Trovati. She creates and hosts a monthly challenge for Halcraft Company…who make all those lovely Bead Gallery beads and components that many of us drool over at Michael’s, affectionately known as the Wall O’ Beads.  Erin must have creativity oozing out of her pores, because she writes poetry in 30 words, paints, is a master with polymer clay, designs amazing jewelry, and a self-described color addict. Her invite was to partner with her for this month’s Pretty Palettes color challenge.  Visit the Halcraft web site to see past challenges…you’ll be delighted you did! Once you are on their homepage, just type Pretty Palettes into the search box to view past challenges and read more about her thoughts behind this month’s inspiration.

The inspiration is a photo that Erin selects and a color palette she ‘pulls’ from the image.

This is October’s color palette. Perfect for Fall!

I love the unusual combination of the gray tones with the traditional red and golden browns.

Although it’s still going to be in the 90’s here the next few days, I’m going to pretend I’m in Wisconsin, enjoying some cool, crisp days and turning leaves.  We had a lovely visit to that region in October a few years back.


She then has the enviable task of selecting strands from the Bead Gallery to use in jewelry designs. Didn’t Erin do an incredible job!

And I’m sticking close to my mailbox, as I’m expecting a package of these goodies very soon!


Erin and I will post a reveal on October 28th… So do come back and see what we’ve done. And you, too, are invited to play along. Head to your local Michael’s and grab some or all of these beads and design you’re own jewelry…anything at all. You may add additional things from your stash, if you wish.

If you have a blog, write up a little post and link it (with Linkz) to the October 28th post Erin will do on the Halcraft site. Then we can all enjoy!

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite photos from that Wisconsin trip.

From a hike at Devil’s Lake…

Devil's Lake hike

                    P.S. I just received the package in the mail this afternoon.

                                         The beads are even prettier in person.

                                                                   …and I get to play with them!


Singing the Blues… October 5, 2015

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 12:58 pm

What joy there is in refreshing rain here today in Southern California…

the blessed rain with dark gray skies!

It’s been way too long.

So I’m singing the blues today with a smile on my face.

With a little help from my friends

…Lapis Lazuli, Mystic Blue Quartz, Recycled Glass, and Chalcedony.


lapis stack


blue wired glass


lapis and mystic blue


turq chalcedony pillows


And because this is Southern California,

I know that the sun never stays away for too long.

Here’s to blue skies with a bright spot of sunshine.

(with glowing Carnelian bios)


lapis and carnelian


Prepping Wire… September 30, 2015

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 4:11 pm

If you’ve been around my blog for a while, you know how much I love working with copper wire.  My first source is the garage. My spouse has always been very supportive of my jewelry work and me nosing around his stashes for wire and tools. Even designing earring displays for me. I love him! But I digress…

The other source is the hardware store…particularly Ace Hardware. They usually have copper wire in all the different gauges I use. Also, a great variety of annealed steel wire. My favorite ‘look’ for copper is an antique patina…just love the warm glow it gives to pieces. I used to apply a Liver of Sulphur patina after I finished jewelry construction, then lots of scrubbing to remove the darkest parts and expose the highlights of the metal. Not sure when it hit me, but I started opening up the wire package and removing the whole spool of wire to dunk into the LOS solution first. It’s a lot less work to finish and I don’t have to worry about getting LOS on stones, pearls, or other beads.


Each pre-treated spool is put into its own baggie, labeled with the wire gauge, and ready to use.  I can also control the amount of patina I want. The thicker wire on the right has been further prepped by a quick swipe with 000 steel wool to give it a spotty effect…some light, some darker.

LOS on copper

Here’s a pair of earrings and ear wires made today…

Copper and chalcedony

Annealed steel wire is another story…it comes in the same type of spooled package as the copper, but is coated with a black powder to keep it from rusting. Way too messy to use as is. I didn’t include a photo of my hands but believe me, it’s messy! I first cut off a length of wire I think I’ll need for some work. Then give it a good scrubbing to get off the black and expose the lovely dark gray wire underneath. In order to keep the wire from rusting, I apply a thin coating of Renaissance Wax with my fingers.  Let dry, then buff with a piece of paper towel.  Ready to use.

I used it to wire wrap some agates into a remade chain in this necklace. The smaller agate pebbles are knotted on caramel colored waxed linen cord.

agate stones

agate stones 2

While I never use the steel wire for ear wires, it is a good match with oxidized sterling silver.

Loved knotting these agate beads today…a kind of “in the zone” activity…so I used up the leftover strand in a Half and Half necklace.

Half beads, Half chain.  Oh, and a few pyrites thrown in the mix.

You can wear it with the chain in front or the agates in front

        or just throw it around your neck and wear it wherever it lands!

agate and pyrite necklace

agate and pyrite necklace 2

And a pair of earrings to finish off the day.

agate and silver


Riffing on Red September 28, 2015

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

      Pleased as punch to receive my new order from Lima Beads…they have some of the best selections of recycled glass beads and pendants…those luminous faux beach glass pretties. Gorgeous colors and huge variety of shapes and sizes.

      I love these long pendant drops. Can’t choose a favorite, but was thrilled when I noticed that the red ones went perfectly with the tiny glass seed beads I’ve been using lately.

long glass drops

               Here’s another look at my new favorite color combo…red and turquoise.

Long red glass

Long red glass set

     Last is a look at an experiment from yesterday…trying to tin the tops of some beads. Not happy with the results and sad that I lost a few beads in my efforts.  While I’m attracted to silver tinning in jewelry, I find it immensely frustrating to execute well.

  The one on the left may end up on a long chain…not sure about the blue glass yet.  Hmmm…may try putting these two orphans together in a necklace.

Tinning Tops


Making progress… September 26, 2015

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 4:51 pm

This showing up business, if even for an hour or two, seems to be working for me this week. Today, I checked on inventory at one of the stores that sells my work in preparation for the big Oktoberfest celebration (is that redundant?) next weekend.

Added a few things and polished up the pieces to look shiny and nice.

At home, I made my first dip into the ‘remake’ bowl and took out a pretty pair of stamped sterling hoops…not terribly big, about quarter sized. I love these, something I would wear, but for some reason, no sale. So I decided to add a bit of something extra. Some gorgeous Mystic Blue Quartz cubes…that denim blue that is so hard to find in any other stone. Wired with some handmade fine silver head pins. Love!


Mystic blue in hoops


Next, just because I still had these deep red seed beads and turquoise rondelles on my bench from yesterday’s work, I put together these sweet feathery earrings. Pretty sure you’re going to be seeing more of those thin stamped pewter tubes from me. I picked up a bag of them on our travels in the Northwest. Love!!


You may not notice, but I tend to (always) photograph my earrings pretty straight forward with the right one lower than the left one. My attempt at being artsy with the camera. I recently read a blog post that suggested that earrings should be ‘posed’ like they are having a conversation with each other…so here’s my attempt with that.


silver feathers 2


     “So, an earring walks into a bar, and says to the bartender…”

                    If you’re brave or silly enough, I’d love to hear you finish the joke !





I showed up today… September 25, 2015

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 12:08 pm

Taking those wise words to heart and just showing up…

I know something’s working because I fell asleep last night

dreaming about making this pair of earrings.


long gold pair


And these…


Long shells


Just not sure what’s up with all the gold metal lately ?!


Ho Hum… September 24, 2015

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 1:09 pm

Two weeks until the first of two Holiday Markets that I’ve committed to this year.

The days are ticking away and I’ve yet to get started.

This quote has been seen in many blog posts and it’s time I took it to heart.

“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up & get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part & a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.

Things occur to you.”
~ Chuck Close

So today I showed up in my jewelry studio.

Since I don’t know where to start in creating new stuff,

I decided to get out all the inventory I have and look at it with a keen, critical eye.

And yes, it’s hard when they are your babies, but it’s necessary once in awhile.

The ones that didn’t pass muster went into a “makeover’ bowl.

Fate to be determined later.

All the others got a good look at pricing and cleaning.

I also ran across a few gold-bronze colored ring blanks

I ordered on a lark from Nunn Designs.

I make tons of wired wrapped rings,

and thought these solid blanks could be cool to try.

Here’s a link.

I’d even set aside a few beads at one time to embellish these with…

I had ideas.

So here’s what I created today. Pretty pleased with the results.

gold rings

I was able to punch a hole in the blank to wire wrap the Czech glass bead on.

gold stick rings

No lightning bolts yet.

But maybe the clouds in my brain have parted a tiny bit.



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