Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

A little bit of work… September 21, 2016

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 8:02 pm

Since it’s officially Fall tomorrow, it’s about time I got some jewelry made for a couple of holiday markets coming way too soon.  As I have been a real slacker this summer, I’m trying not to hyperventilate about my lack of new jewelry to show…

Thought I’d start out easy with a session of making sterling silver ear wires. And add one new pair of earrings my skimpy box of jewelry.  Love these faceted opalite briolettes I bought on a recent trip up the California coast. Very sad the shop only had these two.






I tried out a bit of a different style of ear wire with these flattened ball headpins I made from 20 gauge round wire.  Like them a lot!





Oh, I forgot to add that I’m trying out some new wire for these…I’ve always used 20 gauge dead soft sterling silver.  After forming I would light hammer with a rawhide mallet, tumble at least 30 minutes to work harden the ear wires so they would maintain their “springiness” and not become distorted in shape with use.

I recently read a article by a metal smith who stated that contrary to what I’ve always been told that a tumbler does not work harden sterling metal. REALLY???  They highly recommended using half hard wire for ear wires.  So I bought a troy ounce from Rio Grande to try this out.  Have to say that it’s been great to skip that extra step. The wire is noticeably stiffer to work with and naturally springy.  While I would not use the half hard wire for wire wrapping projects, I think it’s a really good choice for ear wires.


On another note…I am wildly excited and nervous about moving forward with a lost wax casting project in my jewelry class this session.  I feel like I’ve been spinning my wheels for weeks with nothing to show for my efforts. Scrapped several pieces that I just wasn’t happy with. But last night, I completed adding three pieces to the sprues and investing with the plaster.  Aren’t you impressed that I can throw around some fancy new terminology?  Next Tuesday, I assist the teacher in casting the pieces in silver…and hopefully, I’ll have something to show you very soon!




Gifts from the Sea… September 10, 2016

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 4:54 pm

For a few days this summer, we hosted a missionary family of four from Kyrgyzstan…home for the summer and enjoying everything Southern California has to offer a family with preteens.  They took off camping for a few weeks and borrowed some of our gear for their trip.  What a lovely surprise was tucked inside the backpack when the gear was returned! A large baggie of shells and beach goodies.

With some drilling help from the Mr., I put together these two necklaces and a pair of earrings with a few of these gifts from the sea…


With sponge coral coins, jasper tubes, and silver beads…

              (Love the color of those sponge coral beads!)





With mother of pearl, Czech glass, and wood chips…






With sponge coral coins, silver beads,

and mother of pearl…



Mother Nature is the best jewelry supplier, isn’t she?  

Do you have any gifts from Mother Nature you use in your jewelry designs?




Just a quick post… August 22, 2016

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 10:48 am

Good morning!  I was an early bird this morning.  Up at 4:30 a.m…couldn’t sleep.  I’ve learned not to fight it when this happens and just get up quietly, get the dog, and close the bedroom door very softly to let the Mr. sleep.  It’s 10:30 now and I’ve just eaten second breakfasts, since the first one was almost six hours ago.

Also got a bit of jewelry makings done this morning.

Another bracelet…


dragonfly bracelet


Then, two necklaces with brass chains…


Opalite drop necklace


amethyst shard


I’ll leave you with a new free photo editing app called Prisma for your cell phone.  It’s got so many cool effects…my favorite so far is Mosaic.


Unknown 2


And this one using a photo shot with my cell phone last month in Paris. I absolutely love this work by Charles Cordier at the Musee d’Orsay. Although, it can stand alone in its own beauty,

I couldn’t resist trying the Mosaic effect.


unknown 1



Where there’s smoke, there’s fire… August 19, 2016

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 12:13 pm

It’s been a long dry summer here in Southern California.  Actually, it’s been a long, dry five years or more.  That means for many of us residents, from July through October, we experience a long, tense time of wild fires.  There are currently a big nasty one in a neighboring county that has displaced over 80,000 residents and seems to be nowhere near contained yet. Despite the valiant sustained efforts of 1,500 firefighters.

In our married life, we have been evacuated twice due to threats from these fires, in two different homes. Fortunately, we returned to our intact homes. But the experiences have left me with a heightened sense threat when I see plumes of smoke nearby.  Like two days ago…

We left home to go pick up our other car at the dealer and could see large plumes of smoke over the hill.  Black smoke. Not good…that means the fire is consuming.  White smoke is good…the fire is being quenched.  It’s also hard to tell just how close a fire is…it could be a half a mile or 10 miles.  We decided we’d better check it out before we leave home and drove up to the top of a hill for a better view.  Surprised to see big flames about a mile away, burning just behind an area of homes near our local high school.  The fire was burning up a hill filled with brush and eucalyptus trees.  Fire crews were also present. And air tankers dropping huge loads of water from a nearby reservoir. And helicopters dropping red fire retardant on the homes and brush.  We watched in amazement at the courage and stamina of these crews and the accuracy of the water drops.  Fortunately no homes or lives were lost, but it took two days to get everything under control and make sure there were not hot spots to erupt again. These men and women are ready and tons of experience in strategically dealing with these yearly fires. I am very grateful for what they do and pray for their safety through this dangerous season.


Transition…so yesterday, I decided to play along with Earrings Everyday’s monthly challenge with a twist…a literal twist.  This month’s inspirations was summer campfires…those mesmerizing, glowing logs that provide us with an excuse to make s’mores and sings folk songs.  All fun, and most importantly, campfires are controlled fires.


unsplash_tirza van dijk


unsplash_alex holt


My earrings are called Smoke and Fire, using freeform twisting, spiral components that suggests towering smoke from a wild fire…an uncontrolled fire. I like the fact that the copper has a burnt look due to the dip in LOS for oxidation.  And the scorched headpins were made with the fire from a torch.  The beads are small pieces of man-made ‘beach glass’ and Czech glass.  The oxidized ear wires have also been give a special detail…so hard to photograph…I embossed the curve with a tiny design from a brass texture plate.


Smoke and Fire


Smoke and Fire 2




To see what other designers have created to meet this month’s challenge, go here!

                                  Stay safe out there!






Way Past Due… July 2, 2016

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 12:34 pm

It’s about time I shared this awesome book with you all!

This started well over a year ago with an email from Sarah at  Barron’s Publishing house for Quarto Books based in London.  She wanted to know if I’d be interested in submitting photos of my jewelry for a new book that Jean Power was working on…and gave some parameters for their needs.  Sure, I replied!  I had to have the pieces in my possession. Now Jean is a world renown teacher and author in the beading world of jewelry making.  Her work is amazing!

While I greatly admire those who do,  I have stated here several times before that that is one area of jewelry that I have no interest or patience for.  So I was curious why my stuff was asked for?  Note: after actually receiving the book…Jean created a wonderful resource for stringers, wire wranglers, and seed beaders.

Anyway, after some back and forth emails and photos, I was asked for some specific pieces to be whisked off to London by courrier for further consideration and professional photos. This was months and months ago. Finally received another email from Sarah that my jewelry was on its way home and that the book was due to be out in the Spring. I could also expect a copy in the mail.  Yeah!  I have to admit that this beautiful book arrive back in May.  I was blown away by the thoroughness of it’s scope for jewelry makers…beginners or the more experienced.  I’ll try to give you a taste with some photos.  All in all, a great experience for me to be a part of this project. Congratulations to Jean Power!


Beading cover

Beading…Learn it. Love it. is an encyclopedia of techniques and projects for all levels, with detailed steps and clear photos.  Four chapters in all, starting with Beads, Findings, and Tool. Then on to chapters on Stringing, Wirework, and Beadwork.  Each of these sections opens with inspiration photos (including my pieces), essential tools and supplies, techniques galore, easy and more advanced projects by guest designers.  The complete package!


beading 9


Beading 8


Beading 6


Beading 3


Beading 1


Beading 4




Beading 7


Available at Amazon!   A fantastic addition to your jewelry making library!




Wrapping Up the Jasper June 4, 2016

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 8:46 am

     Today I’m showing off the necklace I finished up last week for my class at the Adult School.  This is the second free form bezel I’ve made that is perfect for those imperfect stones and rocks. I picked up this cool Jasper piece at a small craft fair in the park for a dollar.  Love that it has both a polished side and a matte gray side.  It was a bit rough. And there was a bit of a crevice on the front that I decided to disguise with a silver leaf…my first one…which I soldered onto one of the wire stems.  I ground down the wire on the backside so that it would lay flatter onto the stone. Pretty happy with the result.

     Finished off the piece with sterling wire links and more jasper stones.  The clasps and sweet square links were ‘gifted’ by a friend from a broken necklace. It’s a perfect touch for this necklace.



bezel with leaf 2


bezel with leaf 4


bezel with leaf 5


bezel with leaf



     School is on break for the summer.  My goal for the summer is to try traditional bezel setting at home with a couple of cabs. Lost wax casting will be the class focus this fall.  Something new to try for sure!


     Any goals for for your jewelry making summer?  Do tell.


Next! May 28, 2016

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 6:55 pm

   Just a few shots of my next projects in learning about tinning or working with a soldering iron.  Learning something new with every piece.

   Copper hand cut and finished cross, broken piece of porcelain, glass slides, and glass pebbles.


molten cross 4


molten cross 3


tinned china


Tinned china 2


Tinned glass


Tinned glass cabs


   I made a purchase today too…a pair of tile nippers.  There are a couple of chipped china plates in my cupboard I have plans for.