Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

From This to That… December 4, 2015

Yesterday morning was spent making a very nice stash of new copper etched components. I’ve had several people request a tutorial for this process. However, I do not feel nearly competent to a) explain it thoroughly enough or b) do an equal or better job that many already out there on the internet.  I searched many jewelry sites, like Rio Grande, for tutorials on the method I wanted to try. And did a search with “etching with ferric chloride tutorial”. You’ll get some for computer uses, but keep digging. And watch as many as you can before trying this…it does use a hazardous waste material…and one needs to be savvy about precautions. That said, it is addictive…No, not to the chemical, silly…the gorgeous things it does to copper.


I thought today I would give you a quick run down of the steps in the process. So you’ll know why my hands and nails are trashed, mostly from all the sanding and filing. Plus, I’ll admit I don’t usually use gloves for the LOS.  I’m too embarrassed to even go get a manicure.  Anyone else know what I’m talking about?? I’m not even going to show you a picture of my hands.

So how do I get from this…

Copper sheet metal I buy by the pound at an industrial metal supply. This is about half of what I purchased. It’s maybe 12×12 inches.




Punch out circles or hand cut shapes.

File, file, file, sand.

Punch and file holes for ear wires or attaching dangles.

Apply stamped design with StazOn ink.

Etch…this is where you might view/read tutorials.

After neutralizing in baking soda solution, clean off ink.

Sand lightly with 0000 steel wool.


Clean and buff with wet/dry sand paper and steel wool.

Use dapping block to create nice curves.

Tumble for two hours.

Apply two coats of Renaissance Wax.

Last buffing.

Then, here is what you get…


etched pendants


etched rounds


etched pieces


I also threw in a couple of pairs of hammered pendants.


Here’s a peek at a few earrings I made with some components

last week for the new shop in Hillcrest.


copper hearts


copper pendants


etched pendulums


So, that’s how I get from this to that.

If you haven’t already given etching metal a try,

I hope you are encouraged to at least add it to your jewelry bucket list!



Back in the saddle… October 17, 2014

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There’s a couple of big craft events looming on the horizon and I’ve been in a bit of a funk about getting things done. Perhaps it was the long hiatus getting ready for our travel and blaming jet lag (two weeks, really??). Went into my workroom a few times, looked around a few minutes, shrugged, walked out and shut the door. Pretty sure you all know what I’m talking about.

I decided one way to get going was to just make components. Spent one day just on punching out, etching, oxidizing, scrubbing, tumbling, and waxing copper pieces. Luckily, I had a good stash of head pins and ear wires already made.

Finally just started putting somethings together. It also helped that a cousin contacted me with an order for several pieces of jewelry that I needed to work on, too. Thank you for that!

Here’s a peek at what’s going on, focusing on copper for now. Need to add more sterling, leather, and        brass to my inventory later.


copper flower discs

stone butterfly

These gorgeous jasper stones were purchased from one of my favorite local shops…Lost Cities. Their staff is so knowledgeable and helpful. And while I cannot afford their collection of ethnic beads and ancient stones, I can and do love to look!

copper amber leaves


Also, trying out something new, since I put my Etsy shop on hold. I’m setting up a website through Square Up…I’ve been thrilled to be able to use the Square for face to face credit card sales at events. They also offer a free market place and the ability to set up a simple to run website. It’s certainly not finished, just added four items, but take a peek…


And just noticed yesterday that this blog has had over 101,000 visits by you guys!

Thanks so much for your encouragement and support these last four years.

I think that calls for a little celebratory give away! Stay tuned…hope to get something fun for this weekend.


Pearls, Pearls, Pearls…and Copper Too ! June 29, 2014

Last September, Michelle Buettner hosted a fabulous blog hop all about pearls.

Personally, this was one of my favorite hops of the year,

because I too love pearls and have a somewhat embarrassingly large cache of all kinds

that are used in many of my pieces of jewelry.

For that first hop, I challenged myself in one of my designs to pair pearls

with an unusual metal choice for me… Copper.

 Here’s a look at that piece.

pearls and copper


Copper pearls 2


I was pleasantly surprised by the number of positive comments

about the copper with pearls.

 So this time around for the Second (and hopefully, annual) Pearls, Pearls, Pearls Blog Hop,

I present to you… all copper and pearls!



Rosy pearls and copper discs


Cranberry pearl cluster


copper feathers


The copper components were created by me, either from copper sheet

or thick copper wire from the garage (thank you dear husband).

Ear wires and headpins (some sterling silver) were also made by moi.

Proud to say that all the metal elements were artisan made.

Have to give a shout out to those oysters for their fabulous work on those pearls!

I love the richness that these colored pearls add to the patinaed textured copper.


This last piece was inspired by the work of Shel herself…

Pearls and copper crimp beads on silk cord

with an etched and soldered copper cross.


cross 1


cross 3


If you want to know more, her resource page on all things “Pearls” is a must read,



To see the other lovely, pearly creations of the 2014 Pearls Blog Hop, go HERE.

Thank you, Shel, for inspiring all of us to appreciate

and create with this most lovely of gems.






Productive Day! May 11, 2014

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Love those days when I get into the groove with jewelry making.

Friday was just that kind of day for me.

Etching metal is a long process with the time spent in the etchant solution

and later on, the two hours in the jewelry tumbler.

This ‘down time’ allowed me to replenish the handmade sterling ear wires

and jump rings and fine silver head pins…

 and solder and texture a couple of pairs of sterling hoops.

Very, very satisfying work to be able to know

that every part of these earrings has my hand in it…

except of course, the lovely Czech glass beads.

Feather etched copper


Flame etched hearts


Teal glass with etched copper


SS long hoops


See the peachy cast on the side of the left earring here?

Could not figure out what this was in all the photos of this pair.

Finally figured out it must be my reflection in the fabulous shine of the metal.

Love what two hours in a tumbler does to sterling silver.

Now that’s a ‘mirror finish’ !

Hoops with cobalt glass drop


Til next time!

And a very Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms, grand moms, aunties,

and motherly, nurturing ladies out there!




Time for an Etching Update May 7, 2014

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Looking back at my posts of the last couple of months,

I see that there’s not much jewelry shown.

Time to correct this, I think!

Since returning from Africa, I have renewed my mania for etching copper…If I’m honest, obsession is probably the more accurate term. If anyone is thinking about starting to learn this method using ferric chloride, I’d highly recommend seeking tutorials, both text/photo and video on-line.

Beaducation has a free detailed video series here. This supplier also has a huge variety of inexpensive pre-cut shapes in base metals that would work very well with this etching method. I have only working with copper sheet metal…cutting my own copper discs with a die cut tool and shapes by hand with heavy kitchen sheers (actually very easy).

I do have one difference in method than shown in their series. They recommend covering the edges of the pieces in a heavy coat of permanent black marker ink, so that the etchant does not eat this part of the metal. I do not do this and there is a good reason. They are working with smooth, pre-finished blanks. I’m using hand cut pieces that are still a bit rough around the edges. Happily, I discovered that by leaving the edges exposed to the acid, these were naturally smoothed and finished by the treatment.  Much less work filing and sanding for me!  And you’ll notice in these earring components the very cool rounded ridge and striation marks all along the edge…love this!


           Still learning to “read” the process…this pair needed to stay in the acid a little longer.



copper disc wturquoise drops


etched butterflies


small etched floral



    These last three photos were taken a sunset on my porch.

Love the touch of gold added to the gorgeous patina!


Dandelion copper pendants


Amethyst copper pendants


Sea change bracelet with copper button


Just listed a few of these pieces in my Etsy shop !

And I promise to share more jewelry very soon!



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?)


Rainy Monday… October 28, 2013

Woke up early, early this morning to the lovely sound of rain.

Here in the very most southern part of California,

this can be a rare occurrence, especially this time of year.

We’re more likely to have a heat wave with the fierce Santa Ana winds,

more scary weather for us, as we remember this past week,

the deadly wild fires of ten years ago.

The refreshing rain outside gave me the needed courage

to do some refreshing inside my studio.

The courage to take out all my jewelry inventory

that has not sold in the last two years.

 A bold, severe look was due.

Some pieces passed my scrutiny to live another day, but many did not.

 A few just needed some sprucing up or re-fashioning.

Many were taken apart to become part of future pieces.

Tiny bits and scraps of sterling silver ended up

in the scrap heap.

Beads had to be sorted and stored away.

Useable pieces of chain, ear wires, components received

a thorough scrubbing in the tumbler.

Hear that??

That’s my sigh of satisfaction.

Nothing like a cleansing rain to help you see new life

and possibilities.

Here are a few new things from my workbench

in preparation for a local Holiday Market mid November.

Not the best photos…did I mention it was raining today ?

p.s. many of these new pieces have bits and pieces

of the rejects here and there.

(click image to enlarge)


flowered paddles

magnesite drops

turquoise donut drops

Rain sticks

colorful hoops

Green copper paddles

copper oval pendant 2

sterling bar necklace

redblue lamp work

Rocky Road

turqoise drops

Burgundy with lamp work

old chinese coin pendant

So, I’m curious…

How do you handle with your past-its-expiration-date inventory ??

I’d love a few new ideas !


Getting Unstuck August 10, 2013

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 11:58 am
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I’ve been at a somewhat of a stand still these past two weeks…

the jewelry maker’s version of writer’s block.

So yesterday I decided to spend some needed time

just cleaning up my work space.

Littles bits and pieces of past projects just left laying around.

 Decision time to either put them all away where they belong or toss ’em.

 And I came across a small dish of these discs

I had cut from Brighton Jewelry tins.

Just enough left to make an pair of colorful, retro earrings…

With hammered brass rings and ear wires forged from ball head pins.

Tin with Brass rings

and a cute necklace.

tin necklace 2

Tin necklace

So cleaning up seemed to do the trick for me this time.

Letting me ‘rediscover’ some hidden treasures.

 What do you do when you’re stuck in the mud ??

I’d love to hear from you!


Last Class June 5, 2013

Last night was the last jewelry class until the fall.

I’m really going to miss this weekly time of learning and working in the lab.

However, the exciting news is that the next session will be devoted to jewelry casting!  Whoot!

There are some in the class who have done this before and shared some really great pieces they made.

I have particularly enjoyed making component pieces from sheet metal…

texturing, doming, and learning(attempting) the skill of bezel setting stones.

Here’s a little gallery of some of the jewelry I completed during this session.


hope and joy

Hand cut, lace textured aluminum components

cherry lace 2




Nov 13


Die cut, textured copper with a wash of emerald alcohol ink


embossed ovals


Copper washers stretched in the rolling mill, then textured


turq. bezel earrings


Bezel set turquoise with textured sterling swirls



bead mix


Hand textured copper disc with glass, bone, and ceramic beads


copper close up


double wrap necklace


Spent some time at the end of class making a small stash of copper discs

and ball head pins to tie me over until the next session in September.

 Hope it’s enough!


Copper Works April 17, 2013

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This post will be mostly photos.

The textured copper post earrings were made in jewelry class last night and are not quite finished.

My first time attempting to attach sterling silver wire posts…a bit tricky for me.

I included a shot of an earring where the post “popped” off in the pickle solution,

which means that it really wasn’t a good soldering job.  GRRR… Try again.

 I’m also going to try and give the left earring a bit more texture to match the right one a little better.

Pam had purchased some really cool texturing hammers for us to use.

Then, into the tumbler for a good polishing.

Also thinking about adding some aquamarine nugget dangles.  Not sure…what do you think??

Last is a bracelet with a toggle clasp I made from a piece of copper sheet.

Added some of those pale green aquamarine nuggets.

copper post

copper post 3

copper post 2

post boo boo

Pam showed us a little different method of soldering on a post from Rio Grande.

See the tiny sterling jump ring?

You put the solder piece into the middle of the jump ring.

Then when they start to ‘liquify’ you quickly stick the end of the post wire into the puddle

and take the flame away and let the solder cool.

Nifty when it works! And a very strong earring post.

copper toggle 2

copper toggle

Copper and Aquamarine Bracelet just listed in my Etsy shop today…