Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

Painting leather… October 26, 2017

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 12:32 pm

More experiments with leather yesterday.  I’m having too much fun when I should really be giving full attention to inventory for some holiday markets.  Hoping these add some new interest for those returning shoppers.

This first one was dabbed with acrylic paints in lilac, turquoise, and old gold. Then stamped all over with StazOn ink.


painted cuff


painted cuff 2


And this, embellished with a gorgeous Vintaj Dragonfly and a carnelian nugget.

dragonfly cuff


This bracelet was embossed, then painted with a mix of acrylic paint and antiquing medium.  Rubbed with a paper towel when almost dry.

With more Vintaj beauties.

green cuff


This last one, is a piece of one of my husband’s old leather belts.  And you guessed it!

Another Vintaj pretty.

old belt leather


              Two more cuffs made from pieces of the old belt…giving it a new life!


flower cuff


hoplite cuff


Thinking I need to hit the thrift stores for some more leather belts!


More shopping temptations… October 21, 2017

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 11:02 am















I am now taking the afternoon off to go have lunch with my daughters and see a movie!


Getting in gear… October 20, 2017

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 4:03 pm

The first of three Holiday Markets is coming in a couple of weeks…time to get a move on! I’m trying to add some new things to my offerings…the leather pieces I’ve recently shown you and this week I’ve created some embossed and textured sterling silver components from sheet metal.  Cut, shaped, embossed or hammered, pickled, oxidized, sanded, tumbled, polished, and wired up.  Oh, and forgot, domed!

 They’ve been through a lot to get to this…










Love these!  But I’m going to need to order more sheet metal soon.





More Leather Lessons… October 11, 2017

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 11:39 am

Hello!  I’m having more fun learning how to work with leather and really appreciate the comments and suggestions from those of you have more experience than I do…please keep them coming!


First, I’m becoming more sensitive to the workings of how much pressure to use in the rolling mill to get a nice deep impression on these leather straps.  Not too light and not so hard that I destroy the plastic embossing plates.  Also, I experimented with a piece of file folder with the plates to see if I could continue a pattern along a strip of leather without getting empty spaces or a demarcation line from the plate’s edge.  Hmmm…still working on consistency in this.  Suggestions?  I was wondering if the small pasta machine that I use with the poly clay work would also do the trick.  Then, I wouldn’t need to wait to use the rolling mill in my metal’s class on Tuesday nights.  I’ll let you know how that goes…


leather 4


Next…a nice finish to the leather is achieved by application (sometimes, multiple applications) of my old friend, Renaissance Wax.  The wax was applied to the edges as well. After drying and buffing with an old terry cloth rag, it not only provides protection, but a nice soft sheen. The edges also had a more finished look that I liked.  Also noticed that an extra application in spots can even out some color variations.  The application will darken the leather a bit.  These pre-made straps come as unfinished tooling leather…pretty light in color.  My new best friend, Mr. Ray, told me to just leaving them out in the sun to naturally darken them.  It did this for a few days, then the Ren Wax did the rest of the work to give the leather color I wanted.

Last lesson for today…I tried rounding the ends of some bracelet straps.  A work in progress…after trimming the corners with scissors, I tried using a rasp file and smoothing out the edges.  This seemed to work okay.  I then, rubbed some of the wax on the edges to finish them off and color-blend with the rest of the bracelet .

Trying out some button closures, too.  Always adding a few drops of hypo-cement to any knots for extra security.  This brass button was fancied up with some metal paint patina.  Cute!


leather 2


leather 3


Leather 1



Leather Lessons October 4, 2017

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 1:30 pm

Lesson one…working with leather is not going to be quick and easy.  I really didn’t think it would be, but I can always hope.  I’ve mangled a few embossing folders and scrap pieces of leather experimenting with how much pressure to use in the rolling mill.

Exhibit A



I do love the texture and it has stayed put.  Some have told me that this embossing technique would only work with untreated leather…that it would ‘bounce back’ after a few days.  I think I can still use parts of this piece for earrings.  I saved you from seeing the truly mangled embossing plate.  It went right in the trash.


Lesson two…Leather is totally fun to play with!  Being so cheap using these scraps, I’m not a nervous wreck to try out stuff or afraid of ruining it, because I no doubt will have more failures. And failures mean more lessons to learn.  Right?

This bracelet isn’t what I’d expected, but I love it.  The impression is too light…again learning to use the rolling mill. It was a thicker piece of leather and a ready-made bracelet for a $1.50.  Mr. Ray had a basket of them by the checkout counter.  May need to go get some more of these babies.  The metal hole punch worked pretty well. I just stretched the holes a bit with an awl to accommodate the leather cord.  Tied on this purchased bracelet bar and added some drops of hypo-cement for security.  Ready to wear.

            In fact, it’s a keeper!  On my wrist right now.


Exhibit B

it is well 2

it is well bracelet


P.S.  Love this phrase…It is well with my soul…  From an old, beloved hymn written by Horatio Spafford, who was intimately acquainted with tears and tragedy.




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