Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

Ruffles! May 19, 2018

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Still playing and learning about how different fabrics react to the flame…  And how cutting more petal shapes on a circle of fabric give these flowers a pretty ruffled look.  I actually cut five shallow slits around the edges of each circle, maybe 1/2 to 3/4 inches.  It didn’t take much to get the desired look.  Stacking the layers a little off center gives the final flower a fuller look as well.

My fav so far is the pink one.  This was very inexpensive lining material.  Love how just a touch of heat puckered and ruffled the edges.

 Reminds me of old-fashioned tea roses…


3 flowers


The dark pink organza was fun to play with, but not as fond of the shiny, glittery look.  The jazzy multi-colored one is actually the back of the fabric, with more muted colors.  Again, not as fond of the shiny front side.

Besides the usual lapel pin, these would be cute fastening a scarf or shawl, on a purse, pinned into the hair, or added to a chunky chain necklace.  Any other ideas??



Sew Easy… May 11, 2018

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 9:58 am

Sew…the oldest granddaughter’s prom is this Saturday.  Many weeks ago, she sweetly asked if I would shorten her prom dress.  This gave me pause.  Of course, I wanted to help with this, but my sewing machine has been sitting idle for several years because it’s sew messed up.  I’ve  been threatening to take it in to be fixed many, many times, but never followed through.  This 1958 slant needle Singer, that I inherited from my grandmother in 1968, is in a cabinet table with a knee treadle.  I’ve always loved it… And missed it. So many wonderful memories of making baby rompers, corduroy  overalls for toddlers, and dresses for my girls.  So after taking it in to the Sew and Vac shop and getting a very polite reminder to keep it well-oiled and maintained, I happily shortened her beautiful dress 3 and 1/2 inches.  And ended up with a very long wide strip of floral satin.

Then I asked if she’d like me to make her date’s boutonniere from the left over fabric?  She said yes, please.  Of course, I’ve never made a fabric flower in my life, but trusted that someone out there had put an easy-to-follow tutorial on the web.  Actually, hundreds of people seemed to have made tutorials on a head-spinning number of ways to McGyver fabric flowers.  And of course, I chose one that uses fire.  Here are some tutorial links on this method, if you’re tempted to try this.  


Flame Edge Flower tutorial

Singed Chiffon Flower tutorial

Fabric Flower Bouquet tutorial


Fairly easy to make.  Loved that one tutorial cautioned that children under 20 should not try this at home.  I did use a long pair of tweezers to hold onto the fabric as I passed it close to the tea light.  After stitching the petals all together with the glass pearl center, E6000 was used to glue the flower and leaves to a pin bar.  I did dazzle it up a bit by a light touch of gold acrylic paint here and there to the edges of the petals. The fabric leaves came off a $1 stem of flowers from the Dollar Tree.  They looked pretty cheap and shiny, so I repainted them as well.  

Love how this turned out and so did the GGirl.  


lapel pin


lapel pin 2


I still have about a dozen pin backs left in the package.  Guess what I’m going to making more of… 


Okay…that didn’t take long.  This afternoon, I made a few more of these pretty pins (after a run to the fabric store).  I had them cut just an eighth of a yard of each polyester fabric…just a little over 4 inches wide.  

And I’m getting the hang of it.  Only a couple of petals lost their lives in the flame.


fabric flowers


One Resolution… April 24, 2018

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Just a quick post to share one resolution from the last post a couple of weeks ago.  The other piece is still ‘under consideration’.  That one’s going to take more time to resolve its problems.

What started out as a bracelet focal has become a simple necklace.  I did add a pale blue Swarovski crystal dangle as an accent to the glass opal in the setting.  Sweet and simple.


glass opal necklace


I did want to share this piece that I started in last week’s class, but finished this afternoon.  About a year ago, I purchased this polished ammonite slice for it’s intriguing spiral design and gorgeous deep brown tones.  Had no idea what to do with it until now.

Deciding that a wire prong setting was the best approach, I began playing with 16 gauge wire and shaping to conform to the shape as best I could.  A bit tricky with the uneven shape for sure.  Persistence paid off.  This setting really went together easily and fast. Not bragging, just amazed and grateful. The last time I tried a prong setting, two prongs kept breaking off when I was setting the stone in.  Grrr…

Finished up this piece with a strand of polished faceted agates in a matching color palette. The sterling spiral clasp seemed an appropriate closure.


ammonite 1


ammonite 2


ammonite 3


ammonite 4






Unresolved… April 12, 2018

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 2:23 pm

Unresolved…what does this word mean??  I have heard it most recently on Project Runway.  In fact, several times.  From one or more of the judges to a designer regarding their garment sent down the runway.  “There’s something unresolved in that sleeve.”  Or “The back of your dress seems unresolved, don’t you think?”  I take it to mean that there is something unsatisfying about the problem area.  More work to be done.  Another try at it is needed.  Well, I seem to have two unresolved pieces to share with you.

I will preface these by saying that I often start a project without an overall plan. I get an idea for a focal, but don’t know if it’s going to be a necklace, bracelet or ring.  Pretty sure that’s what happened with these two.  I didn’t have a plan or final vision.

First is this glass cab…love how the setting turned out.

glass cab 2

And you can see with the two soldered jump rings, it was looking like a bracelet focal.  I just didn’t know what kind of bracelet.  Originally I had flattened a long piece of 14 gauge wire to make a bangle, but was very unhappy with how hard it was to get the hook into one of the jump rings for closure.  (Hmm…who didn’t plan ahead with bigger jump rings. I wonder)  Then, I thought of wrapping up a chain of blue Swarovski crystals.  Didn’t like that either…too sparkly for my taste.  Next, I thought maybe some kind of interesting sterling link chain, like the love knot link.  Then, I ran out of 18 gauge wire to make more jump rings.  So here it sits.  I’m pretty sure I’ll go with the silver links and take off the crystals.  Hoping that the weight of links will give visual and physical balance to this bracelet. May need to add one crystal to the clasp to add more weight to keep the focal sitting pretty on top of the wrist.


Next up is this necklace…Just finished the setting in class the other night and set the stones at home yesterday.  

turquoise pendant


Great!  But again, I had no plan or idea for the rest…a simple chain, stand of beads, chain and beads, leather???  So this is it for now, but it lacks something.  I have some small turquoise beads, in fact several kinds, but just not this particular shade of turquoise.  Wouldn’t you know it?  May have to go shopping.  Meanwhile it will sit on its plain chain until I get a plan.  Also, need to ‘resolve’ that wonky small bezel a little more.  I kind of like the wavy-ness, but don’t want the stone to fall out!


Last to share is this copper shield ring…

It is finished, done, resolved.

shield ring 2


shield ring

And being worn on my left index finger right now.  Cool, modern, comfy to wear.  The copper disc was cut from some textured metal run through a rolling mill.  Some sanding, polishing, forming into this rounded shield.  Added some 16 gauge wire for the band.  That was the tricky part…to get a good fit and not mangle the wire in the process.  Success!




Enameling wrap up… February 14, 2018

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Last night was the last class on enameling.  So time to wrap up with a few pieces and thoughts to share.

Let’s get the failures and learnings out of the way…  First, I am grateful for a class to play and learn in with a group of wonderful students who are so open to sharing with they learn too. And can’t forget our excellent teacher Pam.   Also, copper is a cheap material to experiment with.  Don’t think I’d be so free if I was working in sterling or fine silver.  In these two pieces I was trying to learn how to enamel on bits of millefiori glass rods.  When fired properly, they melt down flat into the enamel and turn into gorgeous flower blooms.  Just couldn’t get it done.  Mine just rolled up into balls and stayed that way.  Felt like I had fired it for ten minutes.  You can see that one got close, but with the amount of time I spent torching (or torturing) those poor little things, the enamel colors look scorched and burnt.  Nothing like the colors I laid down on the copper.  On the plus side, I did see the beautiful color possible on just putting flux on bare copper…a lovely orange-pink golden color is the best I can describe it.  I actually like the piece on the bottom and would have used it to make something, but one of the glass ‘balls’ popped off. You can see that it left a tiny ghost flower design behind.


enamel test

And on to the more successful ones…  I wanted to show some finished jewelry, because I was a bit puzzled on how to use these components in creating pieces to wear.


multi color enamel



blue enamel


Love  the colors of this next pair…reminds me of the red earth of Utah or Kauai.  I think my husband still has his red dirt shirt from the island.  These are like Zion, upside-down. Blue sky below, red earth above.  Pam showed me how to create the bottom pieces using the dye cutter…easy, peasy trick.  Love them!  But the camera’s ‘third’ eye is showing me some crazing on the left one.  Not sure what caused that.  Did I drop in the water too soon after firing?  Anyone out there know?


zion enamel 2


And just in time for Valentine’s Day…

a bit unusual for me, color-wise.

enamel heart necklace 2


enamel heart necklace


Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!  Hugs all around!





Learning enameling January 31, 2018

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 12:22 pm

This session in the Adult School Jewelry class is about torch fired enameling.  It’s just six weeks, so just enough time to learn a bit and experiment a lot.  Which I love to do.  I will admit that I wasn’t too excited about this, as I think of it as a kind of old fashioned style of jewelry, but I am being open minded and reserving judgment… Part of the joy in these class is learning from other students, seeing what they are learning as they try new things.

We are using powdered enamel…finely ground bits of colored glass, to add color to copper metal shapes. Using a torch, the glass grains melt and adhere to the prepared copper surface. Lucky us, the teacher has supplied the class with about a hundred plus colors of enamels… transparents and opaques.  Lovely!

I’ve chosen to experiment on copper metal that’s been embossed, so the surface has quite a lot of texture. But a few pieces, like the pendant and purple disc earrings you’ll see are more smooth. Last night I also tried out another technique that uses a ‘watercolor’ technique I saw on youtube…gotta love youtube!  Instead of sifting on the dry enamel powders, the powder is mixed with water and a bit of Klyr Fire ( that acts like a glue), then applied with a tiny paint brush.  Excited to work some more on this technique next time.


This was my first attempt.  Just looked like burnt copper, not the lovely green enamel I used.  Not sure what went wrong, but I do like that the leafy embossed copper design shows through the glassy surface.

enamel 4


And number two…The purple was a dry application, then I went back and applied a mix of aqua and dabs of darker green using the watercolor technique.  Love the bits of bright copper showing.  I don’t usually like bright copper in jewelry (you know I’m a huge fan of oxidized copper), but love it with these enamels.

enamel 1


And the backs…Ugly.  The backs were actually done first, called counter enameling, because glass want to pull to the center, so this counter acts that action when you do the front of the piece.  It seems that the color tend to change the more times you fire the piece.  The flame of the torch is actually underneath the piece.

enamel 2



And these…a total experiment.  I just kept adding more colors with the paintbrush and firing.  Just to see what would happen.  A.  Some of the enamels are like shiny glass, others are a bit dull looking.  Especially the orange/red.  B. I love the bits of copper showing through.  It’s a very interesting, modern look to my eye.

enamel 7



Next…Do you see the difference in the two colors.  Glassy purple and orange pit-ty red. I think that the red enamel takes longer to melt, so I needed to keep at it longer.  So at the top of my list next class, is to refire it and see what happens.  Again this heart was cut from an embossed sheet of copper.  I then used a paint brushed loaded with wet enamel to pack the low parts of the design. Love how the copper metal ridges are showing in this piece.

enamel 3



Last one for now…  These pendants were hammered out from old thick wire from the garage.  I textured just the top part and applied to colors of enamel.  Again, love the bright copper color that gives these a simple modern look to a very old art form.

enamel 5


Finally, if you have a little time and would like to watch some short youtube videos in enameling, here’s a couple to wet your appetite.

Dry enameling basics… 

Wet enameling with Ricky Frank..  first of four in a series. Does amazing work. I did not grind my own enamel powers as he did though.


And there you have it, til next time…






Into the ocean… January 5, 2018

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 11:59 am
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Exhale.   I just finished it this morning…holding my breath. Like diving into the ocean. I feel good.  Really good.  About this necklace.  I think this is my sixth stone I’ve bezel set.  My first with a gallery style bezel wire and so happy I didn’t melt it when soldering all the different pieces on.

I had purchased the gorgeous Labradorite cab a few years ago…thinking that when I was ready, I’d tackle setting it.  I’d take the stone out every six months or so and stare at it, then put it away again.  Never felt ready.  Then last month, I thought…What am I waiting for?  I’ll probably never ‘feel’ ready.  If I waited for everything to ‘feel right’ I probably wouldn’t accomplish very much in life. Just get started, already!!  So, I did.  The setting evolved in fits and starts…then lay aside over the holidays.  Finished it up yesterday and set it today.

The necklace part is a lustrous collection of pearls and tiny labradorite faceted rondells. Pearls in various shades of blue, purple, green and gray.  Everything I see in the Lab cab. I had a hard time deciding on whether to make a silver chain for this or go with something with stones or pearls.  The pearls said yes.  Sadly, I don’t think these photos do the pearls justice.  They really do pick up much more of the colors in the stone.  Oh, well.


labradorite 4


labradorite 2


labradorite 5


As I sit typing up this blog post, I’m wearing the necklace to see how it feels.  It feels just right.