Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

Box of Beady Fun ! July 25, 2015

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 3:02 pm

Do you see fringe and tassels everywhere?

Seems to be very popular on jewelry, scarves, purses, jackets, vests, sweaters…

Must be the BOHO influence.

I saw this video tutorial by the folks at Fizzy Pops on Pinterest the other day and wanted to give it a try. I’m always looking for fun jewelry ideas for our Women’s Retreat and high school girls’ get-togethers. This one looked doable and fun! Their supplies called for colored wooden beads and the tassel necklaces are adorable and colorful. As I was looking for wooden bead options at Michaels, I came across this box of beads by Bead Landing…could be plastic, maybe acrylic…but with the shiny faceted finish, they looked perfect for this project. Such great colors for some summer fun! And with a 50% off coupon, 1116 beads cost me only $7.50.  I then walked the box of pretties over to the DMC embroidery floss display and picked out some colors that I thought would make great tassels.

For the first one, I decided to make a simple color block style with the orchid and dark blue beads, using a pale orchid cotton cording that I already had, tied up with a double knotted bow. May rethink that finish and try something else, but I think it fits this fun, and flirty style necklace. May try some thin leather cording?

This necklace has 74 beads total…so each box has the potential for 15 necklaces…that’s 50 cents in beads per necklace! A skein of floss was about 40 cents. Wow !  Cheap and cute!

beaded fringe

Just looking into this bead box, I see so many pretty color combos…may try mint and turquoise next. Or salmon pink and green. Or black and yellow.

What do you see when you look inside?  Any suggestions?

box of beads

Sure, it’s a huge departure from my usual makings,

but occasional detours are what make this journey fun!


And now, back to our regularly scheduled program… July 19, 2015

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 6:36 pm

So, what have I been up to, jewelry-wise? Here’s a little photo show…

with a few comments  thrown in.

Feathercopper necklace

Texture copper pendant with bone feather

fine silver pendants

Fine silver PMC pendant necklaces, finished on sterling silver chains.

lapis and turquoise earrings

Lapis Lazuli rondelles with turquoise drops, finished with oxidized

sterling silver wire wraps and ear wires.

Mystic brio earrings

Simply lovely Mystic Blue Quartz briolette earrings.

two rings

Czech glass and iridescent Quartz shard rings.

Etched Brass Discs 2

Etched brass discs with oxidized finish.

These last photos are purchases from my trip to a local gem and bead show a month ago.

Kind of sad in light of my last post, right?

The one where I say I’m shedding material possessions.

mystic cubes

Some Mystic Blue Quartz cubes.

three strands

Tiny and gorgeous gems.

Two pearl strands

I love pearls !

two strands

And Labradorite !!  And Iolite !!!

tibet beads

And finally, beads from Nepal…

I’m over-the-moon about these !

Shall I dole out these beauties one or two at a time ?

Or just blow the whole bunch in one amazing, gorgeous piece of jewelry?


Three Little Words… July 15, 2015

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 11:29 am

Another birthday approaches…this one is kind of a hallmark in several ways. Pretty sure I will officially qualify for any senior discount, no matter what the minimum age is. And I’m now a card carrying member of Medicare and glad for it.

If you haven’t figured it out, I will be 65 next week. I apologize in advance if this gets a bit philosophical, but I also believe that life’s experiences inform and effect your artistic pursuits. They have to. And because I am the proprietor of this blog space and it’s my birthday, I would like to share a few thoughts rumbling around in my head lately. First, it’s a bit of an eye-opener when I think that I’m probably entering the last quarter of my life (Lord willing!).  And here’s my question…

                                      How can I not only age with grace, but age in grace?

I should like to do both because I also feel they are connected. And perhaps I have the question the wrong way round. If I wish to age with grace, must I first work on aging in grace?…Meaning using my time and attention to the things of God. As the external body diminishes, can the internal/eternal be cultivated and grow with better attention? Our Bible study is currently tackling this question and it is challenging and producing more questions. All, except one, are retired and of a similar age. There are many gifts in retirement and one of the most obvious is more free time…time to choose how you want to spend it. I have found that requires no small efforts in discipline from me. It is too easy for me to think that if it doesn’t get done today, there’s always tomorrow…or the next day. I will admit that I struggle off and on with this. So different from knowing that if I don’t get up at 5:45 AM and get my butt to work, I won’t have a job tomorrow.  It’s enough to say that for now, I am connected with several group Bible studies because I need the accountability in my life for my spiritual growth. And that I do find my awareness of how God is working around me growing as never before. Aging in grace so that I may age with grace will continue to be a focus for a long time, I think…maybe the rest of of my time.

                                          And now those Three Little Words…I have enough.

Please know that I do have an understanding that as an American, this could and should more accurately be stated, I have MORE THAN enough… and we must all work to balance this inequity.  But it is also my belief that greed is part of the human condition and is alway waiting at the door to steal your joy no matter how little or much you may have. A huge part of this is being grateful for the gifts you have been given and give thanks to the One who gave. And pass it on to others who need it. Gratitude keeps this thief of joy at bay and needs to be continually practiced. So many voices in our culture seem to tell us not to be satisfied with what we have. And not just in possessions or money…but also in love, beauty, recognition, admiration, power. Others shouldn’t just like us, they should envy us.

So, I want to practice this until it is my habit of thought and action. I do find myself making moves to divest myself of things…books, nicknacks, clothes, furniture. Beady friends, I will confess that reduction in my jewelry making inventory is not on the list yet.

A tiny example, jewelry-wise. Several companies have approached me lately, offering goodies, in exchange for banners or side bar buttons on this blog. Flattered, for sure. But, I’m just not interested in more, not interested in growing my business at my age. No thank you to company entanglements. I am grateful for the many readers who encourage me, and give me some great advice or kick in the pants when I need it. Just between us. (And put up with my birthday musings.) It is enough for me.

I would love to replace excess material things with more. More love, more grace, more forgiveness, more mercy…the things of heaven.

Oh, and please, Lord, a really good sense of humor! Pretty sure that’s going to come in handy, too.

This is the blog post by Ann Voskamp that got me thinking about these three little words.

She writes a lot on living with gratitude… Eucharisteo.


The Sunday After… June 21, 2015

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 1:02 pm

This powerful prayer was written by Jill Duffield…and prayed by many churches this morning across the nation, including mine.

Almighty God, our gathering together for worship and prayer is, this day, both an offering of praise and a show of courage. We come to this sanctuary mindful that even sacred spaces are not necessarily safe spaces. We bow our heads remembering our brothers and sisters in Christ whose last earthly act was prayer. We give thanks for the lives of your faithful servants: Clementa Pinckney, Cynthia Hurd, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Tywanza Sanders, Myra Thompson, Ethel Lee Lance, Susie Jackson, Daniel Simmons and Depayne Middleton Doctor. Comfort their families and friends and strengthen them in the difficult days that are ahead. We pray, too, because Christ commands us to, for Dylan Roof and his family. Bring peace, transform hearts, show us again your resurrection power in places we cannot imagine it can come.

You tell us, Lord God, that perfect love casts out fear and the families of the victims of Mother Church and the people of Charleston have shown us what loving fearlessness looks like. Forgiveness has been extended, hands have been held, hymns have been sung, prayers have been lifted, unity has been demonstrated. The Goliath of hate and racism has not and will not win.

People of faith and prayer, slain after extending Christ’s welcome in God’s house, have left a legacy that cannot be gunned down. Their lives of love and grace have begat love and grace. The gifts of the Spirit that you gave them – gifts of love, joy, peace, gentleness and goodness – appeared defeated on Wednesday night, but on Thursday when people came together and sang, “We Shall Overcome,” and on Friday when words of forgiveness were spoken and a vigil packed a coliseum, and on Saturday when crowds gathered in solidarity to say that symbols have consequences, and today as we and countless others pray for peace and commit to being peacemakers, we recognize the gifts you gave those nine are unstoppable, exponential, inevitable and victorious.

God of justice and compassion, you sent your Son for the sake of the world you love. He was murdered, his last words a prayer for forgiveness. Three days later he rose from the dead, his first words ones of reassurance, telling us not to be afraid because even death had been defeated.

Today we remember and proclaim: Violence and hate do not have the last word. The love of God made known to us through Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, always has the last word. The Spirit’s crop of goodness and love and joy and peace and gentleness will not stop growing. Now is the time for us – people of faith, brothers and sisters of every race and background – to recognize these unshakable truths and in the midst of the storm, trust the power of the One in the boat with us.

We yield ourselves to you, Triune God, knowing you bring redemption, reconciliation and resurrection. Make us your witnesses. May your perfect love in us and shown through us, cast out fear and help transform the world.



Putting myself out there… June 15, 2015

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 11:06 am

Here where I live, we are in the middle of a yearly event…a month long County Fair. My husband and I used to work there in the summers as it provided some nice extra income for us teachers who didn’t get a paycheck in the summer. We also got kind of burned out on the whole fair experience…now we only go maybe every few years to enjoy the exhibits of woodworking, photography, fine art, cows, sheep, and of course the gem, minerals and jewelry.  Okay, and maybe some really tasty, expensive, and bad-for-you fair food. Darn hard to pass up that corn dog. New favorite is the BBQ corn on the cob with chipoltle mayonnaise. Oh, my!

This year, a few of us in the jewelry class egged/encouraged each other to enter the jewelry competition. And we did. I entered two bezel set stone necklaces. Surprisingly easy and love that it is not juried, so everyone has a wonderful opportunity to share their work.  Last Wednesday night was the reception for the exhibitors with an opportunity to meet the judges and other jewelry artists, and see our scores and comments. My favorite part was to walk around with a judge as he commented on each piece. Very enlightening to hear what he was looking for, appreciated, and thought could be improved.  While I didn’t win any ribbons, it was great to get some professional opinions and suggestions.

I’ll admit it was a bit scary putting my work out there for judging, but in the end, I got some worthwhile feedback to improve the work I’m interested in doing on this leg of my jewelry journey.

fair entries 4

I need to set the stones up higher for a better, tighter fit on the bezel. And need to work on a finer finish to the pieces. They liked the flow of the designs and creative balled jump rings. My display was very plain and clean. If I do it again, I’ll think a bit more about spicing it up a bit. I was more of an after-thought on my part, but is 10% of the score.

Also saw some really amazing jewelry! Both in the amateur and professional categories. It was exciting to see that Sandy from our little group won third place in the lost wax cast jewelry. Woot!

Last week was also the last metals class for the session. Whaaa! No more until the Fall. I did finish up my tiny amount of PMC with these two pendants. And decided to keep the finished cross on a simple snake chain. Keeper or sell it, not sure yet. PMC was fun to try, and even though I feel confident enough to make these at home, not sure I’ll continue to explore this medium.

cross 1

                       Filed, sanded, oxidized, polished, and tumbled.

     Frustrating that my photos don’t show just how shiny they are.

PMC pendants

Have you ever been tempted to put your jewelry in a juried show or judging situation?  Care to share your experience?  I’d love to hear what you thought and how it might have effected what you create now.


Long time, no posting… May 28, 2015

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 3:53 pm

I’m back. Did you miss me? Two weeks touring some sights in the South and along the East coast. Been in and out of the Atlanta airport probably 10 times, but never outside the airport until now. Loved seeing another part of our beautiful country.  Ate shrimp and grits for the first time and loved, loved it!  Also, collard greens…a bit too vinegary for my taste. Saw some lovely, historic cities…especially Charleston. Ended our trip with five wonderful days in Washington, DC.  DC always makes me more proud and more humble that I was before.

Also returned to the Adult School jewelry class to try my hand at PMC for the first time. Missed out on a couple of lessons, but as always, the teacher and other students are so generous to help each other catch up. I knew that this product was pricey, but have to say that I was still a bit shocked at the tiny amount in the packet for 33 dollars.

I decided to start very simply with a hand formed cross. Like playdoh, I rolled out a long thin worm, stamped a design into one end and folded it over to form the vertical piece. Rolled and stamped the shorter cross-bar and carefully placed it underneath.  Made a tiny amount of slip with a bit of the clay and distilled water to ‘paint’ all around where the two piece join to secure them. I also used the tiny paintbrush dipped in the water to smooth out any cracks or ragged edges.


After letting the piece dry over night, it was time to torch fire it. I still find myself holding my breath sometimes when I’m soldering…but didn’t think this would work so well after learning the cross would probably take almost 10 minutes of torching.

Ten minutes that seemed like an hour! This is what it looked like when cooled. Notice the nice scorched mark on the firing block.


Next step is cleaning it.  Scrubbed with OOOO steel wool. This is just the initial step in polishing…just removing the thin top layer of white metal.


It’s very shiny…but the shiny white of pure silver.  So it won’t tarnish. I’m stopping here for a bit to decide the next step.  Oxidize or not.

And how to finish the necklace.  Simple silver chain?  Beaded chain?                 With stones? Leather cord? Strand of pearls?  Thinking about who might wear a cross like this. What finishes would they like?

                              I’m open to ideas, people! What do you think?


Winner Times Two! April 21, 2015

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 3:00 pm

Woke up this morning excited for some reason…oh, I know… Today is the giveaway drawing!  And I decided to do it the old fashioned way,too. Putting all 34 names on little slips of paper into a hat.  A San Diego State Aztec’s ball cap. My husband is a season ticket holder for the Aztec’s basketball team and it was the first hat I found in the house to grab.

in the hat

I’ll keep this post short and sweet…the two names that were drawn were…


                                                   Congratulations to Cindy and Barb!

Make sure your fire insurance is paid up.  Just kidding!

   Please email me at with your mailing address

and I’ll get these babies wrapped up and on their way.

                  And thank you to everyone for playing along

and writing such kind remarks in your comments.

And thanks again to the generosity of the Sterno Company!




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 308 other followers