Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

A big leap…into leather! September 24, 2017

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 3:03 pm

In the last post, I was super excited to find out (a bit belatedly) that you can indeed use paper embossing folders on copper sheet metal.  And get great impressions.  People are doing all kinds of non-scrapbooking things with those things.  Polymer clay, metal, and leather.

Which brings me to today.  I really, really wanted to try out leather to use in bracelets and components.  And while Lima Beads and others have great leather selections, I was more interested in getting my hands on leather scraps to play around with first.

Google is my friend.  “Scrap leather nearby”

Who knew that a terrific leather supply store was just about three miles from my house!  Located in a small industrial building area, it’s been there about 15 years, after moving from downtown.  Mr. Ray not only repairs leather goods and sells everything a leather related, he has an awesomely large collection of Breyer horses for sale.  And big bins of scrap leather in all sizes, thickness, and colors.  Way cool!  Mr. Ray is turning 80 and is full of stories about the leather industry and so helpful with my questions. While I was there, a young man came in holding two pieces of black leather and wanted to know if he could sew them together.  Mr. Ray told him, “Of course”.  Then, took him back to his workshop table and spent time giving him sewing lessons, so that he would be comfortable doing this when he got home.  Lovely man.

This is what I picked out to start my leather adventures…It was $10 per pound, so this cost me about $3.50.  I also bought 15 yards of leather and suede lace for about 50 cents a yard.

Isn’t that fuchsia color gorgeous?

leather scraps


I’m planning on taking this pile of goodies to class Tuesday night and experimenting with the embossing plates and the rolling mill.  But in the meantime, I just couldn’t stand not trying out some feather earrings and stamping.  I have a bit to learn about the force needed for a good impression, but I’m pleased with this first try.


leather feathers-2


Hoping I’ll have more to share in a week or two.  I learned you can use alcohol inks, paints, dyes, stains and other cool ways to embellish leather.  I also found a pattern for making luggage tags.  These would be fun to personalize for Christmas gifts, wouldn’t they?





Pleasantly surprised! September 20, 2017

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 2:14 pm

So a brand new Tuesday Morning store opened up in my neighborhood recently. If you aren’t familiar with this franchise, it’s a bit like a Ross or Marshall’s but more focused on home, bedding, and kitchen goods…but with some occasional great deals on jewelry makings, like beads, findings, chain, tools, etc…

On my second visit, I was checking out the craft section for any little fun finds when I spied a rack of embossing folders used for paper crafts.  99 cents each! Now, I have neither an embossing machine nor do paper crafting, but I wondered if these could work with copper sheet metal and a rolling mill??  I bought two at that price to take to class last night and try them out.  Bees and Flower designs.

They worked beautifully!  Nice deep two sided impressions.  In fact, for the one I probably used too much pressure and the plastic embossing folder curled a bit.  I’m pretty sure it can be used again…the raised designs were also not smashed or flattened any in the rolling mill.  A very good sign that these can be used multiple times.

You can see that the one on the left is curled. I’m wondering if I can ‘uncurl’ it by running it through the rolling mill again upside down (reverse side first)?  We’ll see.

Any of you have success or something to share about your experiences with these embossing folders in non-traditional ways??  Love to hear from you!



embossing copper



embossing folders


After embossing the metal, I die cut large rounds from the flowered sheet. Filed/smoothed the edges, drilled holes, oxidized in LOS, scrubbed with wet/dry sandpaper, domed, polished, and sealed.  Ready to use in earrings!

You can see the three pairs from the embossed copper.  Also one with small rectangles that I heat patinated with a torch.  Such lovely deep impressions!  They would probably be awesome with some alcohol inks or patina paints.  Hmmm…


embossed copper

These will be offered for sale in October at a church mission fair.  All sales donated to the mission fund.  Also for sale…eight of my favorite bracelets with leather, metal buttons, and Krobo recycled glass beads I bring home from Ghana.  Bracelet love.


Ghana bead bracelets





Comforting work… September 12, 2017

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 4:02 pm

My heart aches with the events of recent days…displaced persons, loss of life, destruction from flood and hurricanes and earthquakes and fires. And then, the anniversary of 9/11. It feels like too much to bear, doesn’t it? But I dare not turn away. It would not honor those who are suffering and those who are helping. So I pray and send what I can. And look for ways to help those around that I can touch, taking encouragement from all the wise people who are writing and reminding us to be kind to each other.

 Every act of kindness and humanity helps.

It also helps to take a little time to do what I love…mess around, try new things, and make some jewelry. Taking a break from the world. Replenishing, refreshing, relaxing.

Here are a few pair of earrings after trying out some new Vintaj patina paints and alcohol inks on brass, copper, and base metal.  Added bits and bobs of beads and ear wires.  Only four, but it feels nice to accomplish and make something with my hands.


painted turq. leaves


painted palm leaves



painted discs



painted leaves


What are you doing to help yourself through these tough times?  And if any of you kind readers are in the midst of these disasters, I am truly sorry and pray that you and your loved ones are safe and sheltered.



Late night addition of this altered brass dragonfly component…using metal patina paints, epoxied jewels, and a bit of a tweak of the wings for added dimension.


altered dragonfly 1


altered dragonfly 2






Itchy fingers… August 27, 2017

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 11:24 am

So, I just could keep my hands off of the butterfly necklace.  While I loved the utter simplicity of the necklace, my eyes just kept going back to the pairs of brass earrings with the milky glow of opalite beads.

I had just enough of the rice shaped beads to add so the neck chain.  More accurately, I replaced some of the chain with the linked beads to keep the length at 18 inches.



brass butterfly and opale


There, now I can sleep.


Back at it… August 25, 2017

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 11:37 am

I really, really, needed to get back to making some jewelry.  Especially for the Upper Hand shop.  My display was looking sad.  First up was turning the jewelry board into a wall display by covering some ceiling tile with a pretty clean off white linen.  Fresh and eye-level is good.

Then, the harder part…picking up the tools and getting to work.  My bench space was so messy that I by-passed it completely and just plopped down cross-legged on the floor with chains, wire, component and bead boxes spread out around me.  (I paid the price later with aching hips!) Lots of brass this time.  With turquoise howlite, opalite, Czech glass, and caribou horn (I think).  Oh, and a clearance rack surprise at Michael’s of five, sweet, brass leaf connectors. Simple, casual, and classy necklaces and earrings.  Perfect for Fall or anytime of the year in my opinion.


brass and leaves 2-2


brass and leaves


rose and pearls 2


rose and pearls


brass and opalite


This last necklace is my favorite of yesterday’s makings.  The focal is from Lima Beads…they have amazing brass components.  Also purchased the tiny dragonflies and leaves in the earrings shown above.

I did tweak the butterfly a bit.  Polished with some fine grade wet/dry sand paper to bring out the highlights.  I actually do this on most brass that has any relief designs.  It arrived with only one hole on the left wing, so I gave it another one on the right to give it a ‘straight at you’ look.


brass butterfly


I’m feeling better about having something new to share with clients soon!



Purple is rare… August 22, 2017

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 9:02 am

While I do like an occasional touch of purple, mostly amethyst briolettes, here and there in my designs, I rarely veer this far into this area of the color palette. It’s always an accent color, never the main attraction.

When choosing some new seed beads for the class I taught last month, these really caught my attention to go with the fine linked silver chain I had already selected.  Thought I’d share the finished piece with you all.  I’m also thinking of shortening up the chain and adding a clasp in order to move the design up closer to the face .

It’s sooooo sparkly!


purple ladder



purple ladder 2


And goes so nicely with these earrings I shared with you in the last post.


ladder earrings


Question!  Is there a color you rarely use in your jewelry designs?  Can you articulate why??  I really can’t say why I’m not drawn to purple.  I don’t have  any purple pieces in my closet either.  What would it take for you to try a rarely used color in your work?

Any thoughts?


Hello, Friends… August 5, 2017

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 3:06 pm

I feel the need to probably reintroduce myself, since it’s been months and months since I’ve posted on this blog…I’m Lynda, traveler on a jewelry journey.  I post things to mark my journey and to share with those who are interested.

Lots of reasons for the silence here, but the main one is that I just haven’t had much new to post about.  And I don’t want to bore anyone, least of all, myself.

So, what’s new on this jewelry journey?   Teaching!  While I have had years and years of teaching experience…in preschool, parent education, and elementary education, I have only taught a handful of jewelry workshops and groups, mostly at women’s retreats and our local library.  Today, I taught my first class at a bead supply shop, The Bouncing Bead.  Six delightful students.  And a paycheck.  I think I just went from volunteer/amateur to professional. I got to combine my passion for creating jewelry with my experience as a teacher.  It is always a learning experience to logically break down a project you can do in your sleep, into sequenced steps, to teach to a newbie. Their questions helped me refine my thinking, should I teach this class again.

Students were taught tips and strategies for creating that perfect, lollipop wire loop.  And the process for creating the seed bead ladder necklace.

seed bead ladder 3

I may have skimped a bit on my length of time for the class.  It was two hours, probably more like 2 1/2 to 3 to completely finish the project.  But the students were very kind to me and all said they could finish up the necklace at home.  My goal was that they should have enough knowledge and confidence to go home a recreate this necklace.

And have some fun!

As part of the class, I shared many, but not all, the variations of this design process…including these earrings.

ladder earrings


And I had fun…Also starting thinking about another class for the shop.

Ten Minute Earrings.  Teach four different styles of quick and easy earrings. Posts, hoops, hammered pendant, etc…

Possibly teach how to create handcrafted earwires to go with them.  Thinking, thinking…