Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

Three in One Postie July 30, 2014

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July is winding down, so it’s time to do a little finishing up on a couple of things.

First, the Art Bead Scene challenge.

I haven’t participated in several months, maybe more…

either the art didn’t particularly inspire me or a time crunch.

This month, I was determined to push through this challenge.

That’s what makes it a challenge, right?  Here is the inspiration painting.



The Little Mermaid, 1911 by Edmund Delac

Pencil, pen, black ink, and watercolor with scratching out on paper

And here’s my necklace,  with a poly clay pendant with a glass cabochon

I had made for a Sally Russick cab challenge that I never used.

The glass pebble is backed with a scrap of Japanese rice paper.

I then encased the pebble in textured polymer clay.

After the first baking, the piece was painted with a mixture of alcohol inks and glaze.

Baked again, and varnished.

Mermaid's Tale close up

Mermaid's Tale


Next two quickies are for my monthly Pinterest Pin challenge…

I’m trying to go ahead and make some of the things that I pin, for heaven’s sake!

Crafty Me made this hanging tea light/ flower vase

from a too-cute mason jar with handle…Dollar Store score!!

(Think I heading back there tomorrow, because I decided I really, really need

more of these for summer drinks. Don’t you?)

Some beads, 18 gauge aluminum wire from the hardware store,

and baker’s twine is all I needed.

hanging flower vase

hanging glass jar



And the Foodie Me…made this fancy looking appetizer last week.

Well, not these particular ones, because I forgot to take photos.

However, I can attest to the fact that they were easy and delicious…

and impressive to guests.


Cut thick slices of a French baguette, straight across on end, slanted on the other.

Pull about some of the soft innards.

Spoon in whatever tasty dip and top with whatever veggies you like.

I made some with spicy red pepper hummus and some with a cream cheese Ranch dip.



Asymmetry Boot Camp Recap March 25, 2014

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Love My Art Jewelry just finished up its latest Boot Camp and it was all about a nemesis common to many jewelry designers…Asymmetry.

I’ve said before that I’m so drawn to pieces of jewelry with this attribute, but personally struggle with it in my own designs. Maybe it’s a right brain, left brain thing…how you’re wired to look at the world or a gift in manipulating the things around you in an off-kilter, but oh, so pleasing manner.

I don’t know.

There is one trick to achieving an asymmetrical look that someone shared with me early in my jewelry making adventures. It’s kind of faux asymmetry, if you will. A baby step…

Get out 4 or 5 different kinds of beads, put them separate numbered groups. Beads #1, Beads #2 , Beads #3, etc…

Then with a paper and pencil, make up a random sequence using those numbers.

Say I have 5 groups of beads, here’s a possible sequence…

2 2 1 2 4 3 1 2 5

Then arrange the beads in that order…repeat the order until you have a bracelet or a necklace.  So it’s kind of like creating with repeated asymmetrical groups, I think.  Maybe not true asymmetry, but playing with beads this way really got me thinking outside my tendency to create with rigid patterns and symmetry.  In this necklace, I repeated the pattern 4 times (minus one bead at the end of the line that I lost!)

**Can you figure out which bead is missing?

bead pattern

To my eye, this necklace has an asymmetrical effect with a pleasing balance of weight, color, and textures just by repetition of a random ordered grouping of beads.

Here’s a few pieces from my work in the LMAJ Boot Camp…

Etched copper bar necklace 2


Flower and Bird on Copper

Poly clay flower connector and copper button by me

I really struggled with these earrings…found it much more difficult to get something pleasing in such a small space and with so few beady options.

In the end, I really like them!


Asymm. Earrings 2



This last necklace was my final project in my metals class this session. The pendant was hand cut from copper sheet and embossed. I bezel set three stones. Some issues getting the stones tucked in because I wanted them so close together, but I persevered.

three stone pendant


To see what other folks have done in this boot camp go here.  And enjoy!


My First Love… March 6, 2014

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My first love…as in “Bead Store Love”.  Was and is a small, wonderful, independently owned local shop.  The Bouncing Bead. Literally, with hard wood floors, you’d hear and see small beautiful beads bouncing and skittering away when dropped. I may have done this more than a few times during my weekly visits.

Since my first visit 7 years ago, the store has moved about two miles further out, it is now carpeted, and has a new owner, the lovely and knowledgeable Joleen.  It’s still my go-to shop for beading needs. I love The Bouncing Bead because…

1.  It is where I took my very first jewelry class…Basic Bead Stringing. I’ve since taken Wire Wrapping and Fun with Fire (twice).  The original owner, Laura, let me repeat the class for free because I was still too nervous to fire up my torch at home.  Sweet!  They continue to offer a wide selection of classes with great instructors.

2. They have a very large selection of stones, pearls, Czech glass, seed beads, and findings. AND, this is what I really love..while most items are sold on strands and in bagged quantities, there is a HUGE selection available for individual purchase. I could buy one pearl or one head pin, or one jump ring.  For someone starting out in jewelry making, this was a tremendous service.  Back in the day, I would buy just enough supplies to make one pair of earrings at a time. Seems pretty silly to me now, but it certainly fit my needs at the time.

3. Lastly, there has always been experienced, friendly, helpful staff. Many times, I could bring in a project that I was having trouble with and receive great advice and possible solutions.  They are always willing to special order for me as well.

Recently, an opportunity came up to offer Fresh Baked Designs in the shop.

Of course!  What a lovely chance to share jewelry made with some of the great offerings in the shop.  My handcrafted copper and polymer clay buttons are also for sale.

Here’s what I’m working on today…in polymer clay and copper…

Aqua Buttons

Copper buttons

Colorful PC Buttons

(for the big view, click on the photo)

Hoping The Bouncing Bead customers will get a kick out of these.

And if you are a San Diego and La Mesa local, please do yourself a huge beady favor and go soon.   Directions and hours here.

So, here’s my question to you all…Do you have a favorite, beloved bead store?

 It can be local or on line. Independent or franchise.

And tell me, tell me, why you love it so much.

 Leave your comment by Monday, March 17th

and you’ll be entered in a little giveaway.

One winner will receive three buttons (copper and PC) made by me

and another little surprise that’s a secret.

(It wouldn’t be a surprise now if I told you, would it?)


She’s a Winner !! September 28, 2013

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I woke up early this morning with this nagging feeling that there is something I had forgotten to do.

Then, it hit me.

Oh, yeah…time to pick a winner for the little give away that I posted last week !

And the random number generator said… #7.

Debra Freeland !

 Come on down!

So, Debra, please contact me with your address

and I’ll happily get this little package off to you pronto.


 Here is what she will receive from my recent faux ceramic glazed poly clay explorations:

A heart ornament, a pottery shard bead, and just because…three scroll beads.

Rose Heart


poly beads


The scroll beads were inspired from a tutorial that Rebekah Payne of Tree Wings Studio

posted on the Art Jewelry Elements blog earlier this month.

Truthfully, I’m not quite sure how I’ll use them in my jewelry designs yet,

but hoping Debra or some of you might share some ideas.



I am just having so much fun playing with this medium.

Last week, I shared some designs for a cabochon challenge.

These are some new ones using poly clay with the liquid polymer glaze finish.

I have found that the part I truly enjoy is mixing the glazes and the painting.

So relaxing.


PC bezel cabs

Two are with some glass pebble and Japanese paper cabs…

the other is a small piece of green beach glass.

Again, not quite sure what will become of them, but I’m getting some ideas.

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!




Shards September 20, 2013

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A short while ago, I wrote about the Art Bead Scene’s September Challenge.

And my initial explorations with a faux ceramic tile look with polymer clay.

 The artful meanderings have continued the last few days.

At first I thought I wanted to make some small tiles in the art nouveau style.

But I kept thinking about old pottery shards for beads and could I do this with poly clay?


 In fact, when I was at my local bead store looking for brass go-withs,

two people asked if they were pottery shards !

Quick Steps:

Roll out white Sculpty III clay.  Stamp design all over.

Cut out small ovals and rounds.  Slice off random edges.

Poke holes with large needle.


Mix glazes of Sculpty liquid poly clay and alcohol inks.

 Paint and daub the top only.

Bake again.

 Seal top only with satin varnish.

pottery shards

The lush, romantic style of the art work, Autumn by Alphonse Mucha,

inspired this beaded necklace.

Here’s a look at this gorgeous painting again.


shards 1

shards 2

And some lovely earrings with the two left over beads.

shard earrings

Using this technique to make some holiday ornaments, as well.

Here’s two completed.

two ornaments

I’ll definitely be making many more of these pretty pottery shards.

Already thinking about some faux Delft blues.


Bonus for all you blogger friends out there!

I just completed posting for three challenges in one week!

 To celebrate, I’m having a little giveaway:

I’ll draw one name at random from all the commenters

on this post next Friday, September 27th.

Be sure to leave a contact email if your email isn’t linked to your name.

The winner will receive one of my poly clay ornaments

and my last faux ceramic pottery shard bead from this batch.

 It’s about 3/4 inches long.

How’s that?!

( Yup, I switched out the original ornament to this one…it just came out of the oven and I love, love the finish on this one !)

Rose Heart


I love reading all your comments!  Thanks for stopping by today.


Artful Experimentations… September 7, 2013

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It’s time again for another Art Bead Scene challenge.

I’m not sure who selects each month’s inspiration,

but the variety is amazing.

Techniques, artist’s origins, subjects, eras, color palettes…

This month is no exception.

An 1896 art nouveau oil on pastel from

The  Seasons series by Alphonse Mucha.

sept 2013 - mucha palette

Titled “Autumn”.

But I bet you could have guessed that.

And just to get our creative juices flowing, on the side, is a color palette

derived  by Brandi Hussey.

There is just something so appealing in Mucha subject matter, mostly women,

and his nature inspired lines and colors.

I get the same feeling from another artist of this period,

Charles Rennie MacIntosh, although his work is more spare and stylized.

His rose motif is probably his most famous design element.

I purchased a small ceramic tile on one of our trips

to Glasgow many years ago (which I now cannot find !)




Which leads me to today’s artful meanderings…

I was thinking how to incorporate some art nouveau tile inspired beads into a piece of jewelry for this challenge.

 I’d bookmarked this polymer clay tutorial a while ago,

thinking how cool the faux ceramic treatment looks.


Today was the perfect day to give this tute a try.

Here’s my first attempts with this technique.

Quick steps:  Using white Sculpty III clay, roll out to 1/4 inch or so.

 Print the clay with stamps.

Cut out with cookie cutters or in the case of the small tile beads,

cut into small squares.  Bake.

Paint with a mixture of liquid polymer clay and alcohol inks.

Bake.  Paint with a satin varnish.

Show and Tell Time:

clay stamps

Stamps used

unbaked clay

Unbaked clay


Paint tray…Fun part, but messy.

I probably used my fingers as much as the paint brushes.

glazed clay

Ready for the second baking.

small tiles

Faux ceramic tile beads, ready for some jewelry experiments.

tile hearts

These will have decorative ornament hangers added for some holiday markets.

tile crosses

Some final thoughts…I really, really love this technique !!

And I think it’s worth more time and experimentation.

Stay tuned.

Hopefully, I’ll have a piece of jewelry worthy of submitting

to the Art Bead Scene challenge by the end of the month !


A Wire Work Out! June 16, 2013

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Wow, two blog hops in one week!

 This one today is the other regular challenge that I told myself I’d commit to this year

and I’m so very glad I have.

Love My Art Jewelry offers everyone a boot camp about every two months.

The first one was making and using ball head pins.

Hand texturing metal was the second boot camp topic.

The current one was all about working with wire.

And I love adding wire work to my jewelry…nothing too intricate, mind you.

If you are a regular visitor to my blog you no doubt know about my love of copper.

Copper wire is so lovely to work with. And cheap!!

I use copper first on most new designs when I need to work out the details.

For this blog hop I posting photos of some new and some old pieces I’ve done.

( of course, click on the images to enlarge)

blue wraps







And the newest work finished up today…

in one of my absolutely favorite color palettes of browns and turquoise.

wire flower necklace

Wire flower necklace2

Now for more wildly wonderful wire work, head on over to Love My Art Jewelry

and see what others have blogged about!


June Art Bead Scene Challenge June 13, 2013

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Hello, everyone!

Art Bead Scene hosts a wonderful monthly challenge with inspiration from a fine art piece.

The one caveat is that your original design must include at least one hand-made art bead.

June’s art work is a gorgeous watercolor that simply makes me want to pack my bags

and go spend a month at this seaside village!

june 2013 - franklin carmichael - jackknife village - palette 2

Jackknife Village, 1926

Franklin Carmichael

Watercolor on Paper

Color palette by Brandi Hussey

About the Art
In step with the fashions of the times, his work increasingly reflected the flat, simplified design popular in the 1920s.
During the late 1930s and 1940s, he branched out and worked on wood engravings and linocuts, all with the same precision and rhythmic quality of his paintings.
About the Artist
Canadian artist, Franklin Carmichael, May 4, 1890 – October 24, 1945.
The youngest and original member of the Group of Seven, Franklin Carmichael was born in 1890 in Orillia, Ontario. His father was a carriage maker. Carmichael arrived in Toronto at the age of twenty and entered the Ontario College of Art, where he studied with William Cruickshank and George Reid. In 1911, he began working as an apprentice at Grip Ltd. for $2.50 a week. He then joined Tom Thomson and other painters who were training to become serious artists, joining them on weekend sketching trips. He moved to Belgium in 1913 to study painting but due to the war soon returned to his native Ontario to rejoin the other artists. Carmichael was greatly influenced by Tom Thomson and shared space with him at the Studio Building in 1914. He was also on the fringe of the group because of his difference in age and was closely associated with the newer members of the Group of Seven.
Along with A. J. Casson and F. H. Brigden, Carmichael founded the Ontario Society of Painters in Watercolour in 1925. He also founded the Canadian Group of Painters in 1933, which several members of the Group of Seven would later join. He taught at the Ontario College of Art from 1932 to 1945.
Famous for his watercolours, many of his paintings depict Ontarian landscapes.

This painting that calls back a bucolic life was a delightful inspiration with so many directions to go.

I finally decided to go purely with the colors on this one.

Especially the lovely purple mountains and azure waters.

When I started dabbling in the acrylic paints for these two polymer clay beads however,

I’m afraid I got a teensy bit carried away with the vibrant side of these hues.

Jun ABS 2

June ABS submission

I seriously thought about toning them down to more closely match the colors in this painting,

but in the end, fell in love with my original choices, plus a dash of gold for the rolling hills.

Wouldn’t these be perfect for a seaside summer vacation?


February Art Bead Scene Challenge February 25, 2013

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Better late than never!

Here it is, the day before the challenge ends and I’m just getting this done.

                     Art Bead Scene offers this unique monthly challenge.

The blog tour of all the entries is this Thursday, February 28th at Art Bead Scene.

I have this inspiration on my desktop and kept eyeing its beauty,

but nothing seemed to come to me.

feb 2013 - heijinja by toshi yoshida palette

Not sure why…because there is so much loveliness in this wood cut.

Maybe too many great option to choose from?

 It’s titled Heijinja by Toshi Yoshida.

And the color palette by Brandi Hussey is, well, just plain gorgeous.

In the end, I decided to go with the vivid red and keep with the Asian style.

Not really convinced that the result is Japanese, but more Chinese.

I am happy with the mostly monochromatic look, with just a touch of black.

The focal was made with red polymer clay, then stamped.

After baking, a mix of antique stain and black acrylic was applied and wiped off.

Love the antique cinnabar look of these.

I did make a few different beads, and in the end chose the larger flat one.

cinnabar beads

I will definitely be using these two scroll beads in another piece of jewelry.

The bracelet also has some chunky dyed coral,

a few sparkly crystals, and a tassel for some fun.

Feb 13 ABS 2

Feb 13 ABS


New Work August 29, 2012

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Today was a very good day. Home alone and very productive jewelry -wise. I made a bunch of sterling ear wires so they are ready to use, hammered and textured sterling and copper pendant components for earrings. Finished six pair of earrings, and two necklaces. Oh, and worked on a gorgeous sage green freshwater pearl and crystal lariat style necklace for a friend, who is a mother-of-the-groom.  No wonder my hands and neck are sore.

The copper piece in this first necklace started out as a focal for a bracelet. I posted about it awhile ago when I wrote about experimenting with alcohol inks.

But I just wasn’t happy with anything I tried, design wise. So I ended up folding it in half and using it as a bail of sorts for this polymer clay heart.

Kept it simple with the braided leather cord and polymer bead clasp.


The second necklace is another effort to work on simple asymmetry in designing.

I pulled out dozens of bead boxes and containers and just started playing around with groupings of them.

(Sidebar comment: Really, really must not buy anymore beads until I use up more of what I already have!)

Must say it was quite fun and this is what I finally settled on.

Carved bone, rock crystal, fresh water pearls, and amethyst peanut seed beads