Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

Has it been almost two months??? May 21, 2017

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 7:16 pm

Where has the time gone?

We’ve been busy remodeling a bathroom.  Took out a blue cast iron tub from 1953 when the house was built.  It now has a sleek modern white tub with beautiful white subway tile with gray veins that look like marble. Love!  Just patching the floor left to do.  And installing the new bath fixtures and sliding tub doors.  I say ‘just’, but that’s still a lot for these DIYers.

Just a few things to share tonight, as I haven’t done much in the workshop lately.  A couple of special order earrings and a fun twist on the ladder chain necklace design.

This first pair was made with a bit of Egyptian inspiration.

Egyptian inspired


A client requested this pair of sterling silver

stamped hoops with amethyst briolettes.


SS hoops with amethyst

This ladder necklace used a pretty palette of seed beads on delicate gold chain.  It’s wonderfully supple and easy to wear.

seed bead ladder 3

seed bead ladder 2

Can you imagine other beautiful color palettes

for this design?

Hoping this summer means more time spent in the workshop!




Nothing like a deadline… March 29, 2017

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 5:08 pm

April is just around the corner.  And that means I need to prepare for a craft fair on April 8th.  One I haven’t been to before which always makes me a little nervous. My usual strategy is to visit the ones I might be interested in first, to scout out the venue, crowd, and fellow vendors.  I signed up for this one on the word from some vendors at a Christmas market in December.

It’s the Jamul Kiwanas’ Hot Rod and Chili Cook-off.  You can see why I might be a little skeptical about selling my jewelry.  No mention of a craft market, right?  And it’s way the heck out in a very rural area at a large Thousand Trails campground.  Does this sound like a good idea to you?  I just hope that there will be folks who will be delightedly surprised to find a fabulous artisan craft market at the event.

The rest is show and tell.  Got a lot done the last few days.  Mostly in brass and Czech glass beads in pretty spring colors.  And mostly long necklaces.

flower and leaf earringsbutterfly earringsbutterfly with leavesbird nest and birdiesbird nest and leaves 2key and flower charmsleaf chainsbead ladders 4multi colored bead ladderschandelier pendant

Tomorrow I’m concentrating on etching copper pieces.  Really bummed that Radio Shack is going out of business. They were two minutes away and my supplier of etching solution.  Glad I still have one bottle left.






An ode to the color of the year… March 25, 2017

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 3:07 pm

Here it is…March is almost over, and nary a peep from me about Pantone’s newest color of the year.


It’s not that I don’t like green.  I love it.  In my garden.  In my wallet.  On my plate.

Just not crazy about green jewelry.  Except maybe a little patina on copper or brass, here and there.

However, I am currently gaga over this green.  In my soup bowl.  Roasted Asparagus Soup!  That’s how I like my greens.  If you will indulge me for a wee bit, I’ll tell you just how much I love this soup.



I have eaten a bowl of it for lunch every day this week.  I start craving it around 10:00 in the morning and have to keep myself from having ‘lunch’ that early in the day. Some days it worked, some days it didn’t.  One day I had some at 10:00 and 2:00.  By the way, it’s extra delicious with  a grilled cheese sandwich.

I want to share my joy in this delicious soup. I want to give bowls of it to my friends and family as birthday gifts.  And Christmas gifts. Not sure they’d appreciate the idea as much as I do. I want to write a blog post about it so others will know its tasty merits.

I love it because it’s a snap to prepare…so you can have some right away.  Less than 30 minutes.  Have I made a just a teensy bit curious to try it?  I hope so.

How did you find this amazing soup, you ask?  I’m happy to share.  It was a recipe on Melissa d’Arabian’s Facebook page.  Every Tuesday, she has a 30 minute video about cooking up something yummy for dinner. You might know her from the Food Network.  She’s the chef from Ten Dollar Dinners and a former Food Network Star winner.  Anyway, this week she made Almost Raw Asparagus Soup, starting with a quick roasting of a bunch of asparagus.  The rest of the work was done in a blender.  Here’s her recipe.

Then, I’ll tell you the little changes I did for mine.

Almost Raw Asparagus Soup with Yogurt and Almonds

1 1/2 pounds asparagus
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 cup Greek yogurt, for garnish
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, roughly chopped, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the asparagus and oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper on a baking sheet. Roast the asparagus until lightly roasted but still crunchy, about 5 minutes. Cool the asparagus slightly. Combine 1 cup water, the asparagus, broth and lemon juice in a blender and puree until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer the soup to a medium heavy saucepan and heat the soup. Stir in the mint and lemon zest and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Divide the soup among bowls and garnish with the Greek yogurt and almonds.

You can see just how healthy and delicious this must taste just by reading the ingredients. After, I watched the video and read the recipe, I wanted to make this NOW.  I did have asparagus, chicken broth, lemon, and Greek yogurt.  Of course, no almonds, or mint.  So I improvised.   I love the flavor of roasted veggies, so I did roast the asparagus for 15 minutes until bit charred.  Instead of mint, I added basil leaves.  I also added some defrosted frozen peas for extra fresh green flavor. And I also added the Greek yogurt into the blender, instead of as a garnish.  And just because I can take it, a few dashes of hot sauce.

And that brings me to the last reason I love this soup…you can jazz it up or down anyway you choose.  Different herbs, seasonings, garnishes.

If I’ve encouraged you give it a try, let me know your favorite way to prepare it.  I’d love to know!



Finally…a tutorial for you March 4, 2017

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 12:24 pm

Yes, it’s a long time coming.  I promised you a tutorial or two for the sweet little post earrings I’ve been making.  So sorry for the delay…

I admit I am less than an amateur in making tutorials.  I think I’ve made two, maybe three.    So when I found this one already on line, I jumped out of my seat.  Thrilled that someone had beaten me to it.  It’s a good start for you if you want to add these to your jewelry making tool kit.  This one can be made into simple spirals or made into a stud earring component to attach other small beads and dangles.

God bless Craftsy!  And God bless Bobbi Maw! This tutorial saved me hours and hours of my own poor efforts. I do have a couple of variations to share with you however…

First, as I mentioned, you could certainly stop the spiral whenever you wish…more swirls, bigger spiral earring?  Great!  Just cut the wire and file or sand the end smooth.  No need to add the loop at the bottom.  Like these…



Second, after the ninety degree bend, you could add a small bead, then start your spiral.  A neat or messy spiral.  Your choice.  I like mine with a tighter wrap about three times around the bead, overlapping the wires a bit.   Like these…





Or,  go ahead and add the wire loop connector at the bottom, and add a pretty bead dangle. Here I chose a Czech glass leaf as a nod to the coming Spring…  Shown on one of my new earring cards.  Did I tell you that these cards are the same front and back?  So pretty for displaying earrings, don’t you think?





One of the best tips in this tutorial is about how to trim the wire posts on each earring to the exact same length by butting them up to the end edge of a ruler.  So cool.


Got some ideas??   Good!

Spiral away!






A break in the rain… January 27, 2017

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 3:39 pm

Today I’m celebrating a break in the rain to take some photos and share a jewelry making supplier for very cool earring cards.  California has been blessed with more rain than the ground can soak up in places…enough for the years-long drought to be called off.  Hopefully, people will have developed wise water-saving habits in the past few years that will help conserve the bounty that fell from the sky.

Still playing with wired-up studs.  I know I promised a tutorial on these, and I will keep that promise soon.  I promise.

I find that 22 gauge wire is working best for these tiny studs and especially when wire wrapping smaller beads.


                    First up…I HEART you to INFINITY.


Playing with wrapping. It took me a bit to figure out how to spiral the wire and include the post.


Saw this flower design in Pinterest.  Really peaked my interest to see if I could figure out how to make them.

The ones on the right are made with 20 gauge wire and a larger diameter mandrel.


Last are double spiral wrapped blue crystals.  Sweet!


And on to some new earring cards.  I really like the ones I made for these small studs, but ran out of tags to embellish.  In a web search, up pops a company called 8Seasons.  They not only have tons of beading supplies, but tons of tags for gifts and earring cards.  I really like these plain ones that I can fancy up, but I fell in love with these lovely bird cards.  There were pages and pages of cute designs and shapes. They are very inexpensive and come in packs of 50.  Search “paper label tags” on their web site.

It is a company in China, so you’ll need to be patient for your goodies to arrive.  Customer service was great…I had a question and received a quick and thorough answer by email.



Hope you are all cozy, warm, and dry!



Giveaway Winners! January 7, 2017

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 10:49 am

Yes, winners!  Plural…I decided to draw two names.  About half of the entrants wanted the purple ones and the other half was split between the red and turquoise pairs.  So I did two drawings…one just for the purple studs and one for the red/turquoise group.  So…

Beth Kurcab is the winner of the purple studs!

And Tina wins the red pair!

Congrats to you both!

Please send me an email at with your name and address and they will be on their way very soon. 

Thank you everyone for playing along…and I hope that a soon-to-be posted tutorial for you all will be wonderful way to ‘gift’ all readers of this blog.  Until I get it fully ready to publish…here’s a few more (well, a lot, frankly) studs I’ve been working on lately.  I’m actually ‘growing’ a pretty cute earring tree of these little treasures.  Also made up some new earring display cards from plain gift tags and twine.  A bit of stamping and scrap book paper circles. And a big hug and thank you to my grand, Jenna, for being an awesome and patient earring model yesterday.










I think these photos help show their actual size.



I love how this next pair of tube bead studs

can be worn two ways.







Going small has been a fun and challenging way to start the New Year!




Tiny Treasures January 2, 2017

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

Happy New Year, everyone!

Thought I’d start the New Year off with a short post about some new earrings…what a wonderful way to energize myself by playing with beads and wire.  And a new style for me.

After retirement, my hair style kept getting shorter and shorter until it’s slightly longer than a buzz cut.  Just kidding, but not much…   I thoroughly enjoy making and wearing longer, swingier earrings with my shorty do.  Rarely wear studs, almost never.  That is until these sweet Herkimer diamond studs crossed my path.  I purchased them last fall and l-o-v-e wearing them.  Just a hint of sparkle, yet still rustic.


These little gems have peeked my interest in trying to make small studs.  

After trying a few with 20 gauge wire, I settled on 22 gauge…much easier to wrap and still perfect for the smaller beads and earring posts.  I can wrap up the stones right from the spool and don’t have any waste! Right now I’m using gold  and silver plated anti-tarnish craft wire.  May switch to sterling and gold-filled soon. 

Here’s three pair to share with you…this project is perfect with those left over beads and stones.


            These first two use faceted Czech glass beads.



This last pair is my favorite so far!  

Faceted amethyst glass drops.


And how about a little giveaway to start the New Year off!

Just post a comment and let me know which of these pair of Tiny Treasures you’d like if you win.  

Turquoise, Red, or Purple ?

Be sure to include your contact email in your post.

Giveaway closes on this Friday, the 6th at midnight.

Best wishes for a creative year!